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MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

Change Initiative Proposal Professional Context I currently work in a further education college in the north of England. Life Skills is a provision for post 16 learners with special educational needs (SEN). Learners arrive at college from both mainstream schools and special schools from around the borough and have a diverse range of issues and needs. Some learners have behavioural issues whilst other learners have diagnosed additional needs such as autism and Down’s syndrome. Learners may enroll within Life Skills as a ‘stepping stone’ onto a mainstream FE course needing support with confidence issues and adjusting to learning within in a large campus. The college had recently collaborated with the Local Education Authority (LEA) and now runs a full time permanent programme for six learners, 14-16 years old from pupil referral units (PRU) in the area. The learners have been excluded from mainstream compulsory education and can be described as disengaged with challenging behaviour. Macnab et al (2008) define these learners as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) resulting in barriers to learning and special educational needs. The 14-16 provision is not groundbreaking, nor is it a new programme within the college. A STEPS programme is provided to learners aged 14-16 who are still enrolled in mainstream education but are unlikely to achieve GCSE A*-C, these learners infill into vocational programmes alongside learners who have completed compulsory education and are now within the lifelong learning sector (aged 16 and above). Where the PRU provision differs however, is the fact that the six learners have the same timetable and move around together as opposed to infilling into vocational areas with older learners. Due to the infancy of the course, tutors from the Life Skills department have been teaching the PRU cohort. Mirroring the views from teaching staff in Attwood et al (2004) and Macnab et al (2008), little or no training has been


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

offered to teaching staff asked to take on the role of teacher for the 14-16 cohort, also there is reluctance from teaching staff as many have chosen to teach in FE to avoid learners of this age and focus on post 16 learners who have chosen to continue their study at the college. Learners follow a predominantly vocational pathway within the provision, accessing motor vehicle, construction and joinery. There is however, a personal development qualification that is required in order to achieve the qualification the learners enroll on to. Research has shown that accessing a vocational pathway is advantageous to reengaging the learner. Personal relationships with teachers, accessing a more ‘adult’ environment and the additional support received at college are all recurring themes consistent in research in this field of study. However from personal experience, the ‘writing’ part of the provision sees learners once again demotivated. Reasons for curriculum change The reasoning behind the change initiative is the instant barriers to learning that completing mundane worksheets in order to achieve units brings. Research has proven that vocational sessions reengage disaffected learners and this has proven to be the case with the PRU learners. Also residential experiences have been implemented to take learning outside the classroom and give learners a differing learning experience to the one they will have received in the schooling system. Ultimately though, qualifications need to be completed in a personal development and social skills area. This diploma compliments the vocational pathway that the PRU learners are enrolled upon. The change initiative is to ensure that this part of the learning experience is as engaging and relevant to the learners as the vocational pathway. The key issue explored in this paper is inclusion and more specifically, widening participation. Reengaging these disaffected learners is the strategy


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

of the department, therefore the area in which the learners regress back to being disengaged, should be a priority for change. Doncaster College’s widening participation strategy statement (2012) states: “…[Doncaster College] intend to extend and enhance opportunity to people in underrepresented groups and communities particularly those in lower socio-economic groups…” (Widening Participation Statement June 2012)

The change initiative would be both extending and enhancing the learning opportunities for learners who often come from lower socio-economic areas and backgrounds. Change Initiative Model In order to implement the change initiative, a number of change management models will be employed. The change management models complement each other in order to maintain a smooth transitional process and ultimately a successful change to the pedagogical methods employed by teachers, and the way the learners learn. Diagnosing the need for a curriculum change has been aided through the Mckinsey 7 s Framework. This model sets out 7 elements within the organisation that are interdependent and a change in any one of the element would have an effect on the others. The elements are sub categorized into hard and soft elements: Hard Elements

Soft Elements

Strategy

Shared Values

Structure

Skills

Systems

Style

Staff

Waterman and Peters argued that all elements must be aligned if an


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

organization is to be successful. This framework will be revisited throughout the change initiative in order to monitor the progress. Kotter’s 8 Step model will be employed during the change process, Kotter (1995) believed that there are eight key stages in leading and managing a change within an organization. Importantly, for this curriculum change the initial steps are vital in order for the initiative to be successful. Kotter (1995) stated that an increased urgency in order to inspire the rest of the team is integral. The second stage is building an appropriate guiding team, this stage has already been complete with stakeholders from the teaching staff and middle management buying in to the vision. Thirdly, Kotter believed that the team must get the vision right in order to efficiently lead the change initiative. Kotter’s 8 Step model is complimented by Fisher’s Transitional Curve (2012). Fisher understood that the emotional intelligence and personal journey within the change is important, it is also imperative that during this change that members of the teaching staff do not become disillusioned with the vision. Curriculum Change Proposal The implementation of iPads and Apple TV as an elearning tool to aid the teaching, learning and assessment of disaffected learners from Pupil Referral Units. Introduction E-Learning has become high on the agenda for many institutions, the use of technologies has had a massive impact on teaching, learning and assessment as well as for teaching staff to design and develop resources and materials. The current trend in elearning technologies is the use of tablet computers. There are numerous case studies both in the United Kingdom and around the world that show the positive effects of tablet technology and ubiquitous


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

learning. Currently, there are tablets available from leaders in the mobile technology market such as Google and Samsung. However, it is the Apple iPad that draws the attention of educators and innovators due to the extensive educational applications and the focus that Apple have made on education. Created and thought of initially as a consumption device, Apple has recently rolled out its third generation iPad and have just released the iPad mini, a smaller, lower cost tablet. The first generation iPad reportedly sold over 3 million units within the first few weeks (Murray and Olcese 2011) while according to the latest figures release by Apple, the iPad sold a record 22.9 million units in the 13 week first quarter (ending 29th December 2012) (Apple.com, 2013). Much research has also been carried out focusing on the effect of mobile technology on SEN learners. The ‘gaming’ aspect of learning and the fact that many of the learners have grown up with technology and are used to instant gratification of having information instantly all seem to have a positive effect on learning. Complimenting the iPad would be another of Apple’s wireless devices – Apple TV. Once again seen as a consumption device, Apple TV has the ability to mirror the iPad screen wirelessly. Reducing the need for computers and interactive whiteboard in the classroom. Learners have all the interactivity of a whiteboard and the power of a computer at their desks. Proposals

PRU class to trial iPads, one iPad given to each learner for the session.

Classes to range over a number of academic levels – Entry Level 1 – Level 1

Apple TV to be used in the three classes, device must be accompanied by large widescreen television.


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context •

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

iPads to be initially implemented in Personal and Social Development (PSD) classes with a view to be used within subject specialism sessions (art, sport, catering)

Currently, PRU learners are far more disengaged and challenging when asked to complete units in PSD, attendance is also an issue within these classes. Working towards literacy and numeracy targets is also proving to be difficult for teaching staff. The learners find classroom based education ‘boring’ and feel that it isn’t relevant to them and their futures. The implementation of these new technologies could make learning more interesting and exciting, ultimately meaning the learners become more engaged. The game like nature of some apps, including Math vs Zombies embeds the numeracy skills that learners are required to be working towards. This coupled with the fact that their iPad is mirrored on the large television in front of their classmates could encourage peer learning and group work. Resource Implications One of the restraining forces to the change initiative is the cost of resources. Currently, the third generation iPad retails from £399 per unit; the PRU class has six learners so the initial outlay for the college may be seen as expensive. Alternative options are the second-generation iPad retailing from £329 and the iPad mini, a smaller version of the iPad priced from £269. Coupled with this would be the cost of one Apple TV unit, this connects into a widescreen television via HDMI cable. The Apple TV unit retails at £99 from apple.com/uk . When comparing the cost of 6 ipads, Apple TV and a widescreen television with the outlay of an interactive whiteboard, projector and computer the former is very cost effective; especially as each learner has the interactivity of a Smartboard at their fingertips on their desk.


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

There are very little implications for training teaching staff. The touchscreen interface and gestures of an iPad are straightforward and are designed for even the most basic ICT user. Simple swipes and touches navigate through native apps and downloaded apps. Training would be undertaken over a week to ensure that teaching staff can navigate through the apps and feel comfortable in delivering lessons with the iPad as a taching, learning and assessment tool. The coaching of teaching staff is imperative as ‘technophobic’ teachers would be one of the restraining forces during the implementation. It is vital that during the training, staff must feel that the environment is motivating; coaches should be working with teachers and making the iPads relevant to their professional practice rather than telling the teaching staff that they must use the technology. Initially, the iPad will be used with its native applications. The use of Youtube, Maps and Safari (Apple’s internet browser) isn’t groundbreaking. However, the fact that these technologies and resources are converged into one portable device ensures information instantly and personalized for the learner. The key issue is how teachers change their pedagogical approach in blending the iPad into teaching, learning and assessment; using the iPad correctly rather than simply ‘having’ it in their sessions. Content creation apps appear to be at the forefront of the pedagogical potential of the iPad. Apps include iMovie, Garageband and a lite version of Photoshop are all available for a small price. These programs are accessible on a computer or laptop, but it is simply the portability and ease of use that makes the iPad stand out. This ubiquitous way of learning would mean a student could create their own content whenever, wherever. Eric A. Walters, director of science and technology at Marymount School New York lists the Writer’s Studio app as an important part of his pedagogy. Walters (2011) suggests Writer’s Studio allows learners to create eBooks that


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

include text images and audio, he argues that this app priced at $2.99 (ÂŁ1.99 in the UK app store as of April 2012) is considerably less than the cost of software for a PC or laptop. Ultimately, it would be beneficial to the department and the learners for the college to develop its own applications. This would individualise learning and teaching staff could develop assessment applications that can be made specifically for qualifications rather than trying to fit existing applications into their own assessment strategies. Anticipated Outcomes Haydon et al (2012) conducted a similar research project in a school in the Midwestern United States. They sampled the engagement and correct responses of three students during mathematic tasks both with a worksheet and with an iPad. Engagement during tasks increased by 17.5% and correct responses were up by 2.58 correct responses per minute (Haydon et al, 2012). The curriculum change and implementation of iPads for PRU learners will hopefully mirror the results found in Haydon et al research of similar leaners. Peer learning and assessment will increase while communication and confidence will also be seen to rise. Each device can be mirrored on the large television screen alternatively so learners can share their learning and responses to questions. Learners can also sync their own devices (iPod and iPhone) to the Apple TV so learners disrupting classes by looking at their phones could change from being negative to positive. The gaming aspect of the technology should also see an improvement in engagement leading to an increase in retention, attendance and achievement. Children very rarely give up after level one on a game yet often give up on


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

first sight of a maths worksheet. There are however many concerns surrounding the use of mobile technology in classrooms. Newton, D and Dell, A (2011) fear that the use of iPads will not simply change education and enthusiasm alone will not produce results, educators need to use assistive technology (AT) correctly to see positive results. These concerns will be taken into account during the implementation and accounted for in the evaluation and assessment of the change initiative. Evaluation and assessment of the effectiveness of the proposal The learner voice is integral to assessing the effectiveness of iPads and Apple TV in the classroom. Informal interviews will be undertaken throughout the first three weeks of the implementation to ascertain the thoughts and feeling of the learners. Achievement through assessment will also be monitored and taken into account during the initial stages of implementation. Like Haydon et al (2012) data will be collected to evaluate engagement during tasks and how learners respond to questions set. A mean average will be produced along with tables and graphs to visually show whether improvements have occurred. Regular team meetings will be scheduled throughout the change, ascertaining how teachers feel about the iPads and whether they believe the change is effective. Coaching will be offered to teaching staff who feel that the initiative isn’t working in their sessions and informal support will be offered throughout. Conclusion Technology is available for educators and the effective use of this technology is vital to take teaching into the digital age. Many learners have grown up with


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

technology and the way that iPads can give instant results during assessments will improve a learners’ motivation to learn. While the initial cost of the proposal may be seen as excessive, this personalized learning experience would improve engagement and motivation of learners with emotional and behavioural difficulties who revel in vocational education.


MAC01 Contemporary Issues in a Professional Context

Chris Medwell Part III – Proposal

Bibliography Attwood G, Croll P, Hamilton J (2004) Challenging students in further education: themes arising from a study of innovative FE provision for excluded and disaffected young people, Journal of Further and Higher Education 28 (1) pp 107-119 Andrew Culham (2003): ‘Including’ permanently excluded students from pupil referral units in further education, Journal of Further and Higher Education 27 (4) pp 399-409 Haydon, T, Hawkins, R, Denune, H, Kimener, L, McCoy, D, & Basham, J 2012, 'A Comparison of iPads and Worksheets on Math Skills of High School Students with Emotional Disturbance', Behavioral Disorders, 37, 4, pp. 232243, Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 26th January 2013. Jacky Lumby (2007): 14 – 16 year olds in further education colleges: lessons for learning and leadership, Journal of Vocational Education and Training 59 (1), pp 1 – 18 Macnab N, Visser J, Daniels H (2008) Provision in further education colleges for 14-16 year olds with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. British Journal of Special Education 35 (4) pp 241-246 Newton, D, & Dell, A 2011, 'Assistive Technology', Journal Of Special Education Technology, 26, 3, pp. 47-49, Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14th January 2013 http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2013/01/23Apple-Reports-RecordResults.html accessed 10th January http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_ipad accessed 10th January http://www.businessballs.com/changemanagement.htm January 2013

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