Saturday, May 10, 2014

Reflections on #ocTEL week on Concepts and strategies for Learning Technology and their relationship to CMALT

There has been much interesting discussion again this week, and a lot of issues raised and thoughtful, reflective comments posted by so many people that it has been a joy to participate, and occasionally to respond.  The focus of most of the comments and postings that I have read has been strongly focused on the pedagogy.  I think that the opening question about how one’s own practice relates to the quadrant (http://octel.alt.ac.uk/2014/course-materials/week-1-concepts-and-strategies-for-learning-technology/):


set a good tone, and some people even posted some of their practice and published quadrants, one that I looked at by Maha Bali (‏@Bali_Maha) lists some of her practice



There are two areas of CMALT that the work that people have done relate to:
  • 1a) An understanding of the constraints and benefits of different technologies
  • 2a) An understanding of teaching, learning and/or assessment processes

Clearly there is some overlap between these sections anyhow, but also, the way in which people have approached this week’s work has had different emphases, some people taking a more technological starting point and others a more pedagogic one.  Note, that neither of these are better, they reflect different ways of thinking, different interests and different starting points.
There has been discussion of strategies for learning and teaching (or was that teaching and learning) and that has covered both institutional and personal strategies, and the relationship between them, and sometimes the dissonance that can be created when personal belief systems and institutional structures are at odds.
There has also been discussion of learning theories and how practice relates to (preferred) learning theories.
All this has been excellent, and the spirit in which it has been undertaken has been that of mutual support and cooperation, which supports the principles as well.  In case you have forgotten the principles are:
  1. A commitment to exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning.
  2. A commitment to keep up to date with new technologies.
  3. An empathy with and willingness to learn from colleagues from different backgrounds and specialisms.
  4. A commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice. 


I would say that all those participating in the MOOC (at least all that I have seen) are amply demonstrating all four of the principles, and I think that is what has made membership of the MOOC such a pleasure.

What has been shown is people’s deep engagement and enthusiasm for thinking about teaching and learning and the processes involved.  All of this would come across very well in CMALT applications as it shows: 
  • Knowledge (experiential knowledge from people’s practice, engagement with the theory and how it supports their practice).
  • A willingness to learn and to share experience, good practice and ideas.
  • A keen ability to reflect on practice, and to think about how that reflection will impact on future practice.

All this is exactly what we are looking for when we are assessing CMALT applications.

The one thing that has sometimes been missing (because this is not CMALT applications, but a public discussion) is the supporting evidence.  I would not expect to find it here.  Often this material is sensitive, and ocTEL is not about proving what you have done, but learning from what you, and your colleagues, have done and are doing.

1 comment:

Teresa Mackinnon said...

Nice post Tom. As a new CMALT holder myself I would like to attest to he value of engaging in the CMALT process. Here's my eportfolio in case anyone is interested http://mahara.warwicklanguage.org.uk/view/view.php?t=sp8g9WRO4LcizFIlkduH