How Effective are Teaching and learning

how effective are teaching strategies and how to make innovative teaching aids and how to promote effective teaching and learning, how to measure effective teaching
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Published Date:15-07-2017
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Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Background There is a worldwide concern that our educational systems are outdated and failing to promote the necessary skills that will adequately prepare our children for the future. The previous generations’ motivation to study was strongly based on sense of duty. Younger generations have different motivational profiles: in their lives interest, emotions, and 1 engagement matter much more. The emerging social practices of the new generation are always evolving as is the state of digital communication. There is no reason to assume that the development of ICT will be any slower in the future. In contrast, new innovations will emerge at an increasingly faster pace – and we can only hope that they are going to be developed by Europeans. We need to take care of our future by designing innovative and engaging learning environments for our youth. Aim The aim of this paper is to provide a review on how we currently understand the role of schools and education in the digital era. This topic is not easy to tackle and there is no current research that can objectively tell us what would be the most beneficial way to move forwards. The problem goes far beyond technology. Current research literature indicates that we are moving from an individualistic knowledge acquisition culture towards a collaborative knowledge creation culture of learning. 2 As stated in the NMC Horizon Report Europe: 2014 Schools Edition, European schools are facing key challenges linked to the impact and use of new technologies. Todays ' young Europeans are the first generation to have come of age in a digital society. Computers, smartphones, and global communications have shaped and educated this generation of students. They are active and often enthusiastic participants in the creation of online communities since early childhood. The problem is that such activities generally take place outside schools. In many cases, informal learning is much more engaging and effective than formal learning. Furthermore, most pupils do not learn how to systematically make use of technology in academic activities. The other worrying trend is disengagement at school. Our own research indicates that the students with the best skills in technology are also the ones who are most bored and st disengaged at school. Important 21 Century skills involve, for instance, new forms of ( digital) literacies, creative problem solving skills, collaboration and communication skills, cultural and ethical awareness as well as entrepreneurship. In order to maintain well- being at school, Social and Emotional Learning ( SEL) is important for teachers, 3 pupils and parents. SEL includes the skills that are needed to regulate oneself and interact with others in constructive ways. Europeans who were born after 1980 can be labelled as "digital natives" since they do 4 5 not normally remember a world without digital technologies. The term itself is debated and it cannot be claimed that being a digital native necessarily indicates effective or sophisticated use of technology in educational settings. In order to 2 3 4 Prensky, 2001; Hakkarainen et al. 2015, in press. 5 Kirschner & van Merriënboer, 2013. 9Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ cultivate complex personal and social competencies, adolescents need systematic support from parents and teachers. It is important to investigate how digital technologies affect our everyday life inside and outside the educational environment. Our recent inquiries indicate that these so-called digital natives are far from being a unified group. There is a huge variation in ICT use among adolescents, even 6 among fairly homogenous populations, such as one city area. It is also quite likely that there is a gap between the informal knowledge and media practices of 7 digital natives and the practices of educational institutions. Young people need to discover meaningful ways of using technology for learning purposes and collaborative knowledge creation. For personalized and flexible learning, the use of technologies should be embedded in sophisticated pedagogical practice. There is no evidence that students’ learning styles are the key to designing personalized learning. Meaningful learning matters more. Students should be guided towards innovative practices of knowledge creation. The time of e-learning as it was originally defined appears to be over. MOOCs do not necessarily change anything since they are often based on knowledge transmission rather than knowledge creation. Rather, hybrid forms of learning are 8 advisable, where mobile, digital, virtual, social and physical learning spaces merge. Mobile devices and MTSD play a role when virtual and face-to-face merge in new and seamless ways. It is also important to design physical learning spaces in accordance with current knowledge practices and new forms of socio-digital participation. 9 Assessment is the tail that wags the dog: It guides student learning in many ways. ICT- based assessment is often recommended, but it is rarely indicated how it should be applied. It is possible that our assessment practices are the major obstacles to educational transformations. In some countries there are indicators that the efforts to improve school and PISA scores have resulted in increasingly obsessive individualized assessments. This trend hinders meaningful learning. 10 There is great disparity in our schools and education systems. Research shows that disparities persist in the availability of ICT-based educational tools and content. There is not only variation among adolescents, but also among schools and teachers in how they use ICT in schools. The lack of equal access to technology and knowledge puts entire communities and populations of students at a disadvantage, especially minorities and students in sparsely populated or geographically remote areas. In Finland and many other countries the availability of technology is adequate, but the primary challenge to overcome is the readiness deficiency for pedagogically meaningful use of ICT. It is imperative to develop innovative pedagogies that simultaneously support the acquisition of a deep knowledge base, st understanding, and 21 Century skills. Such instructional procedures do exist, such as problem-based and project-based learning as well as inquiry-based science education. Art, music, sports, and handicraft are also important for the balanced development of individuals. Such activities foster not only well-being, but also 6 Hietajärvi et al., 2015. 7 Hakkarainen et al. 2015, in press. 8 Lonka, 2012. 9 Darling-Hammond, 2012; Tillema, Leenknecht & Segers, 2011. 10 10Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ 11 cognitive development. Playful learning is recommended for all age groups, but playing is especially important for children. When it comes to economic equity, there are currently several conversations being had regarding how parents and families should contribute to buying technologies for schools. BYOD discussion ( Bring Your Own Device) is one example of this, indicating that each pupil could use their own devices at school. However, in many countries it is forbidden to use one’s own mobile devices at school. Instead of being denied technological tools, the pupils should learn how to use them in socially and pedagogically acceptable ways. They need to learn how to regulate their own use of mobile devices inside and outside school. The opposite approach is 1:1, favored by the manufacturers and companies, where each pupil is provided her own device by the school. Many pedagogues think that 1:1 is not necessary if the goal is to promote collaborative knowledge creation and meaningful P2P interaction. Action is needed to promote innovation in the classroom and to take advantage of increased use of social media, open educational resources, and the rise of data-driven learning and assessment. Consequently, this requires a new set of competences for 12 teachers , teacher educators, and education leaders. According to the Key Competence 13 Framework, digital competence involves the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology ( IST) and thus basic skills in Information and Communication Technology ( ICT) . In this paper, we are conceptualizing this issue in a novel way. Instead of discussing the technologies themselves, we will be discussing new ways of socio-digital 14 participation ( SDP). Teacher education and educational leadership need to be in constant development. 11 Hillman, Erickson & Kramer, 2008; Schlaug, G., Norton, A., Overy, K., & Winner, E., 2005; Sevdalis & Keller, 2011. 12 Most teachers use computers mainly for administrative tasks - schedules, tests... 13 c11090_en.htm. 14 Hakkarainen, 2009; Hietajärvi et al., 2015. 11Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ GENERAL INFORMATION KEY FINDINGS  It is important to base our conclusions on perceiving learning as knowledge st creation, rather than emphasizing mere knowledge acquisition. 21 century skills are integral parts of learning.  Learning takes place between people and their cultural surroundings. It is therefore important to develop collective cultural practices, physical learning environments, and institutional routines ( e .g. assessment) to support engagement, innovation, and knowledge creation at school. Paradoxically, this can be done by supporting local agency and participation.  The knowledge practices of digital natives are different from previous generations, even though there is no reason to assume that their cognitive system is profoundly different from ours. They have just extended their minds differently with new kinds of tools.  Well-being and Social and Emotional Learning ( SE L) are at least as st important as other 21 century skills (such as media literacy, cultural awareness, and complex problem solving) . Arts, music, sports, and handicraft are also important for balanced emotional and cognitive development.  Instead of computer-supported learning, it would be advisable to talk about new forms of Socio-Digital Participation (SD P). This includes media literacy, such as using social media and search engines.  There is no evidence that learning styles or types would be informative in designing learning environments. Alternatively, it would be advisable to observe users’ motivational profiles or study orientations. Meaningful and engaging learning methods are advisable, which support collaboration and self-regulation.  Pedagogical innovations are needed – technological innovations are often pedagogically weak. Fragmented projects start and end, but fundamental structures remain the same. Systematic development of flipped and inquiry-based learning programs with meaningful use of technologies would be advisable.  We need constant reforms in schools and teacher education. The schools are not following the important developments of society. We have perhaps spent too much time looking at test results, such as PISA. 12Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. INTRODUCTION This paper addresses the question of how schools can update their practices in the digital era. Research in this field is developing fast, since the development of technologies is exponential. Grasping the essence of this ever-changing digital landscape is like taking a picture of a rapidly moving target. The present paper looks at these problems from a global perspective, but focuses on Finland as its primary example. The methodology used is based on the collection and processing of secondary data available from the abundant amount of literature available on cognition, learning, schools, learning technologies, motivation, and teacher education. Our own original 15 empirical research is also used. This analysis is inevitably hypothetical, since predicting the future is always difficult. It is possible, however, to tackle some major issues in the literature. We are facing numerous severe problems and risks related to climate change, sustainability of the Earth, and radical inequality. Such problems are so complex that they exceed the capacity of individual cognition. Many researchers are concerned that there is 16 an increasingly deep ingenuity gap between such huge practical challenges and the limited problem-solving capabilities that are promoted by the prevailing 17 educational practices. Productive participation is essential in the emerging 18 innovation-driven knowledge-creation society. A society that is oriented toward building a sustainable future will require the cultivation of sophisticated innovative competencies by all citizens who need better capabilities of seeing things in fresh perspectives, enhanced self-efficacy, and associated identities as potential creators of knowledge. Therefore, it is critical to cultivate pedagogic practices that nurture such capabilities from an early age. In a time of rapid technological development and economic uncertainty, these competences are fundamental for personal and professional development as they enhance citizens' well-being and provide career opportunities. The abovementioned key competences were defined by EU in 2006 and many countries have modified these to fit their own cultural and societal needs. For instance, the new national core curriculum in 19 st 20 Finland defines seven core skills that are central in Finnish 21 century skills: 1) Thinking skills and learning to learn. 2) Cultural competencies, communications skills and self-expression. 3) Taking care of oneself and everyday skills. 4) Multiple literacies. 5) ICT competencies. 6) Work life skills and entrepreneurship. 7) Participation, agency, and the readiness to build sustainable future. 15, Mind the Gap – between digital natives and educational practices. A project funded by Academy of Finland Mind Program. 2013-2016. 16 Homer-Dixon, 2001; Facer, 2011. 17 Scardamalia et al., 2012. 18 Bereiter 2002; Hakkarainen, Palonen, Paavola, & Lehtinen, 2004. 19; (i n Finnish) . 20 (i n Finnish). 13Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ The new national core curriculum in Finland is the basis of locally accustomed and tailored 21 curricula in each school. 22 The European Commission Communication ‘Rethinking Education’ states that technology offers unprecedented opportunities to improve quality, access, and equity in education and training. It is a key lever for more effective learning and reducing barriers to education. In particular, social barriers play a large role. Individuals can learn anywhere, at any time, following flexible and individualized pathways. The Europe 2020 23 strategy provides the supporting framework for this flexibility, and the 2013 Country 24 Specific Recommendations highlight the importance of the Digital Agenda. More 25 recently, in its Council Conclusions from March 2015 , the European Council declared supporting efforts to encourage relevant education and training in digital skills. There are no simple solutions in the field of education, but fortunately there is a vast research base on learning and instruction. For instance, the members of the European Association for Learning and Instruction (EARLI) are currently conducting excellent research in addition to learning from the global research community. We already understand a great deal about human memory, the brain, and learning. Evidence is 26 swiftly accumulating regarding how people learn in addition to methods of promoting high-quality education. 21 en. 22 23 24 25 26 Bransford et al., 2000. 14Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND 2.1. A cognitive approach to learning In order to understand how to educate people, it is very important to understand some main principles of our cognitive system. Human memory does not work like a scanner or videotape. Rather, we constantly construct mental models of our environment. 27 Additionally, biases in human reasoning are well known. On the basis of what we know about human cognition, it is quite unlikely that people could ever be able to integrate all possible knowledge into an objective truth. Rather, we are likely to construct personal understanding on the basis of facts that are presented. Each reader, for instance, reads this same document on the basis of their own expertise and the interpretation depends on their mental models. Modern theories of learning see the learner as the central component in the creation of meaning. It is not possible for the teacher to transmit 28 knowledge into an empty container . In general, learning is viewed as an active, 29 constructive process, rather than a passive, reproductive process. The term “working memory” refers to a multilevel system of the human mind that provides temporary storage and enables the manipulation of information necessary for 30 the achievement of complex cognitive tasks, such as reasoning and conceptual learning. Working memory has a limited capacity, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to 31 consciously process more than 3-7 items of knowledge at the same time. It is therefore impossible to be capable of true multitasking ( i.e. carrying out two or more tasks simultaneously that require cognition or active information processing). The human cognitive system and brain functions only allow for switching between different tasks (i.e., perform different tasks in quick succession) even though the performance seems to 32 subjectively occur simultaneously. In this sense, the idea of “digital natives” being good at multitasking is an urban legend. Anther urban legend can be observed in regards to learning styles. There is no evidence that learning styles or types exist in the sense that people could be divided, 33 for instance, into “auditive”, “visual” or “kinesthetic” learners. Professor Jan Vermunt uses the term “learning styles”, but means something entirely different: there are different orientations, depending how willing students are to process meaning instead of applying rote learning. Such orientations to learning are not traits of people, but rather, 34 develop through interactions with students and the learning environment. It therefore does not make sense to design learning environments according to different “types” or “styles” of students, but instead, to help people develop increasingly functional and productive approaches to learning and studying. The stereotypical view of innate abilities and traits is harmful to this approach and reflects a 27 Gilovich, Griffin & Kahneman, 2012. 28 Biggs, 1996; Bransford et al., 2000. 29 e.g. Bruner, 1996; Lonka, Joram & Bryson, 1996; Loyens, & Gijbels, 2008. 30 Baddeley, 1992. 31 Dijksterhuis, Bos, Nordgren & van Baaren, 2006. 32 Kirschner & van Merriënboer, 2013. 33 Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008. 34 Lonka, Olkinuora & Mäkinen, 2004. 15Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ 35 fixed mindset. Such a mindset, in contrast to the growth mindset, reduces resilience and willingness to spend time working on the upper limits of our cognitive capacity. When solving complex problems, decisions are often based on abstracted mental models 36 (or scripts). Long-term experience with a certain domain causes mental models in memory to be better organized, thus enabling the learners to base their decisions on their past experiences rather than needing to fit each piece of data into a complete model. Mental models also guide the search for new information. All humans need to learn a 37 sufficient knowledge base in order to form functional mental models. It is not possible to learn thinking skills separately from knowledge. Therefore, there must be some knowledge base in biological memory as all information processing cannot be outsourced to search engines ( such as Google). The majority of research literature in psychology is based on the assumption that cognition takes place within the minds of individuals. Such an approach to defining 38 expertise relies on the acquisition metaphor of learning, which treats learning as an accumulation or change of an individual’s knowledge, but says nothing about the community around the learner. A cognitive view highlights the role of mental models, which, of course, is very important. However, decision-making is not only about mental models because human cognition is always embedded in a historical continuum of social community, culture, and its tools. 2.2. New approaches to learning and technologies Socio-constructivist or socio-cultural theories of learning have become increasingly 39 important in learning sciences. There are numerous tools that may help to reduce the load on human memory. Books, notes, calendars, and calculators were used in the past to help people to outsource parts of their cognitive functions and, consequently, expand their intellectual resources. In an information society, we use increasingly more intelligent technologies ( c omputers, search engines, artificial intelligence) to expand our biological memory. These external conceptual artefacts support human cognition in many ways. It is important that such external tools capitalize on the strengths of human cognition or help to overcome its weaknesses. Individuals need to rely on external supports to help them focus on crucial features of the problem rather 40 than forcing them to try and track more information than they are able to process. In many ways, we are still just beginning to understand how to use technology more to support our thinking rather than distract it. Learning is an interactive process of participating in cultural practices and shared activities that structure and shape cognitive activity in many ways. Learning always takes place in a context. This context is not only situational, but it relies on culturally and historically developed structures. Human beings have evolved in such a way that their normal cognitive development depends on a certain kind of cultural 41 environment for its realization. 35 Dweck, 2006. 36 Schmidt & Rikers, 2007. 37 Bereiter, 2002. 38 Paavola, Lonka & Hakkarainen, 2004. 39 Kumpulainen & Lipponen, 2010; Säljö, 2012; 40 Lonka, 2009. 41 Lave & Wenger, 1991; Sfard, 1998; Vygotsky, 1978; Tomasello, 1999. 16Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ Schools are institutions with highly structured methods of interaction. The classroom or lecture hall has its own roles, norms, rules, and tools. Students and teachers have developed certain types of identities, and they have become accustomed to certain ways of thinking and behaving. The majority of these collective ways of thinking and social practices may be beneficial, but some may be harmful. Recently it has become clear that it is imperative to change physical learning environments and technologies in 42 order to alter the ways in which people behave and think. The acquisition metaphor is not sufficient to explain learning in the digital era. The new 43 metaphor of learning is the knowledge-creation metaphor of learning. Its emphasis is not only on individuals or on the social community as such, but on the way people transform their practices by collaboratively developing artefacts and tools to mediate their current activity. It emphasizes the importance of deliberately engaging in generating, sharing, and jointly developing new conceptions, models, and other artefacts and instruments. Complex decisions, such as how to manage mobile devices in the classroom 44 call for constant creation of new knowledge practices. Such collectively cultivated knowledge practices determine the nature of learning. Knowledge practices are social procedures related to working with knowledge, i.e., personal, collaborative, and institutional routines. Personal knowledge practices of young people may be quite advanced outside schools and their informal methods of socio- digital participation (SDP) may be innovative and advanced. However, institutional routines in schools and educational institutes are crucial in determining whether school learning is reduced into mere knowledge acquisition and rote learning. Institutional routines include repeated procedures for carrying out learning tasks, solving problems, completing assignments, and creating epistemic artefacts, such as essays, 45 exam papers, blogs, videos, or research reports. The knowledge-creation metaphor is necessary to better understand the dynamics of pursuing novelty and innovation that appear to characterize modern knowledge-intensive work, including activities in schools. Rather than being a privilege of some selected population, knowledge creation is expected to be part of all citizens’ everyday activity in terms of tackling complex and ill-defined problems, adapting tools to novel purposes, and contributing to developing new professional standards. While an individual person may play a crucial role in endeavors of professional knowledge creation, this activity is always embedded in collaborative activity. Knowledge acquisition and knowledge creation are not mutually exclusive. They are both needed in order to adequately understand complex learning processes. For instance, in PBL tutorials students learn the facts and simultaneously develop high-level knowledge- creation skills. Greater emphasis on knowledge creation is likely to generate further innovations in education and technology. Technological tools may help to mediate the relation between human decision-making and its target, by providing cognitive support that is consistent with human cognition. In the future, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the Internet will likely fuse into hybrid networks consisting of people and complex tools. 42 Lonka, 2012; Kuuskorpi, 2012; 43 Paavola, Lipponen & Hakkarainen, 2004; Paavola & Hakkarainen, 2014. 44 Hakkarainen, 2009. 45 Muukkonen, 2011. 17Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ 2.3. New approaches to instruction The traditional concept of schooling, based on a re-production model (knowledge acquisition) where there is one classroom, one teacher, one class, and one subject at a 46 time, is being increasingly questioned. Rethinking the relationship between education and practices that scaffold knowledge creation is vital. Currently, the comparison of mere knowledge acquisition versus the added value of knowledge creation 47 is made increasingly often. Researchers refer to the former by using terms such as “knowledge transmission/telling” or “pedagogy in an industrial society”. The opposite would be “knowledge building/creation/transforming” or “pedagogy in the information society”. Also terms “socio-constructivist learning” or “deep learning” are used for the 48 latter type of learning. These two opposites form a continuum where one end is rote 49 learning and the other end is collaborative knowledge construction. Doing so might help us see important roles for different artefacts, technologies, and conceptual tools than are currently employed. Perhaps it is time to focus on developing further external tools to aid decision-making and thinking more explicitly about how they should be used in education. We cannot develop our cognitive system without re-organizing our social practices and inventing tools that help us use our cognitive limitations to our advantage. In the following sections, examples of how technologies are used will be presented. Technology co-evolves rapidly with novel learning practices. Learning becomes 50 51 increasingly blended or hybrid which means that Face-To-Face (F2F) and Peer-To- Peer (P2P) instruction is often combined with virtual learning environments. Recently, new forms of socio-digital participation and tools, such as social media and Mobile Touch 52 Screen Digital Devices ( MT SD) are part of such systems. Instead of exploring “learning environments” or “technological tools”, it may be possible to develop Knowledge Building environments (KBE) in general that enhance collaborative efforts to create and continually 53 improve ideas. In this context, our research group uses the term new forms of Socio- Digital Participation (SDP). Engaging Learning Environment ( E LE) is a holistic model of designing new learning environments. It was created to design a new learning space for the Helsinki World Design Capital in 2012. It is a synthetic model of innovative learning and instruction that 54 depicts learning as an iterative and cyclic knowledge advancement process. It involves an iterative process of: 1) diagnosing current knowledge and activating a meaningful context to guide and direct learning, 2) going through and facilitating various inquiries in which new knowledge and understanding is produced, and 3) assessing learning gains and knowledge produced so as to engage the participants in an expanding learning and inquiry cycle. Assessment is therefore an integral part of learning. Such activities characterize the activities of teachers, students, professionals and researchers equally. With this kind of general model, it is possible to cover different kinds of process-oriented instructional procedures. These include: PBL, inquiry ( or enquiry) -based learning, project or case-based learning, phenomenon-based learning, student-activating lectures, 46 Kumpulainen, Mikkola & Jaatinen, 2013. 47 Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2003; McFarlane, 2015. 48 Lonka, Olkinuora & Mäkinen, 2004; Loyens & Gijbels, 2008. 49 Lonka et al., 2008. 50 Bonk & Graham, 2006. 51 Vernadakis, Antoniou, Giannousi, Zetou, & Kioumourtzoglou, 2011; Wang, Fong, Kwan, 2010. 52 Joanne O’Mara et al., 2015. 53 Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2003. 54 Lonka, 2012¸ Lonka & Ahola, 1995: Lonka, Hakkarainen & Sintonen, 2000; Lonka & Ketonen, 2012. 18Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ MOOCs, simulations, flipped learning, and so on. These principles are common with all student-centered forms of learning. 55 In Finland, the national RYM Indoor Environment project ( 2011-2015) is aimed at creatively transforming the prevailing built learning environments by relying on a shared set of principles that could be customized to fit the need of the whole community. The idea was to transform spaces of learning by relying on the combined strength of innovative pedagogical methods and novel ICT-based instruments of learning that created dynamic spaces for facilitating learning. In order to facilitate knowledge-creating activity it was essential to integrate the physical space of learning with novel technology- mediated learning tools (virtual space) that elicit the participants’ personal learning 56 activity ( mental space) as well as their collaborative learning activity (s ocial space). An integrated approach on developing the spaces of learning and knowledge creation separated the present project from several other studies. 55, ; 56 Compare Nonaka, Konno, & Toyama, 2001. 19Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ 20Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. THE KNOWLEDGE PRACTICES OF DIGITAL NATIVES 3.1. Who are digital natives? The generation of young people, who were born around 1990s, may be called ”digital 57 natives”, since they were born together with Internet and mobile technologies. Typical knowledge practices for this generation are claimed to be multi-tasking, that is, carrying 58 out several activities side-by-side. They are also reading comfortably from screens, are fond of computer games, and are using social media extensively. Young people outsource many cognitive functions to different technological tools. 59 The concept of “digital native” is, however, a controversial idea. Our own research shows that even the Millennium -generation (who were born in 2000) are heterogeneous 60 in terms of their knowledge practices and technology use. Regardless, we can claim that the knowledge practices of young people have drastically changed during the last decade although the educational practices have largely remained the same. Marc Prensky ( 2012) pointed out that “today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (p. 68) . Further, there is no reason to assume that new technologies would automatically have a beneficial impact on learning and development. Carr ( 2010) pointed out that constant interruptions associated with the Internet, shallow surfing from one website to another, and a tendency to work with relatively short fragments of text might produce ‘grass- hopper minds’, unable to undertake coherent and disciplined thought; minds for whom knowledge is a matter of ‘cut and paste.’ Without support of parents and teachers some groups of students may not achieve the advanced skills and practices of using new technological tools. Although social media provides a strong sense of belonging to a community, it may also elicit self-presentation, virtual bullying, and exclusion of those 61 without socially desirable characteristics. Little is known, however, about what truly happens in developing minds of youth. Therefore longitudinal and careful studies are required. Our own project ( funded by The Academy of Finland) “Mind the Gap – between digital 62 natives and educational practices” integrates educational, developmental, socio- emotional, and neuroscientific approaches to examine the development of the minds of so called “digital natives”. We examine 1) patterns and trajectories of ICT use in different populations of young digital natives (disengaged vs. engaged ICT user; restricted vs. creative use of ICTs) . Experiences of early, middle and late adolescents are followed across four years regarding 2) intellectual, emotional, and social engagement and wellbeing; 3) contextual daily variation of engagement of those having diverging ICT experience, and 4) social networks. Further, we analyze 5) how the intensity of using ICTs structurally and functionally shapes the minds and brains of digital youth. The data collected is nested ( adolescents, classes, peers, teachers, schools, parents) , longitudinal and process-oriented in nature. 57 Prensky, 2005; 2012. 58 It is not possible to do such things simultaneosly that load the same functions of working memory. 59 Bennet, Maton & Kervin, 2008; Kirschner & van Merriënboer, 2013. 60 Hietajärvi et al., 2014. 61 Nadkarni & Hoffman, 2012. 62 21Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IS TECHNOLOGY AFFECTING THE BRAINS OF OUR CHILDREN? Concerns have been raised about how the ever growing pervasiveness of modern information technology in young people’s everyday lives affects their developing brains. A lively public debate has given rise to claims that extensive technology use might lead to a 63 decline in mental ability, seen as an inability to focus or think deeply. Although polarized opinions are voiced in the public sphere with great conviction, very little actual scientific evidence exists to substantiate these claims. Only a handful of experimental studies have examined the relationship between technology use and cognitive functioning, and these studies have produced conflicting results. For example, a study which is often cited in popular media showed an association between chronic media 64 multitasking and increased distractibility in adults, but a follow-up study by a different 65 research group failed to replicate these results. Even fewer studies have focused on children and adolescents, but some researchers suggest that media multitasking might in fact train the developing brain in a way that 66 enhances attentional capabilities. In an effort to shed more light on these issues and to provide much needed experimental evidence, a brain research study is currently being conducted as a part of our Mind the Gap project. In this study, brain activity of adolescents belonging to different ICT user groups is recorded with functional magnetic resonance imaging ( fMRI) during selective and divided attention to spoken and written sentences, alsoand during an audio-visual working memory task. The groups are then compared on their level of task performance speed and accuracy, brain activity, and brain structure in order to determine whether ICT use has any effect on these variables. These longitudinal follow-up studies are still in progress. Source: PhD candidate Mona Moisala, University of Helsinki, Finland. Supervisor: Professor Kimmo Alho. 3.2. School engagement and motivation 3.2.1. Academic emotions and interest 67 German professor Reinhard Pekrun is a pioneer in the research on academic emotions, pointing out that far more literature on test-related anxiety than on positive academic emotions exists. Pekrun and his colleagues defined academic emotion as “an emotion experienced in academic settings and related to studying, learning or instruction”. Such emotions are, for example, enjoyment of learning, pride of success, or test-related anxiety. Academic emotions are social in nature and emotional experiences are always situated in the immediate and broader social context. Teachers can influence their students’ emotions, although it may be difficult to make teachers change their instructional 68 behavior in such a way that functional student emotions are fostered. Research on the 63 e.g., Carr, 2010. 64 Ophir et al., 2009. 65 Minear et al., 2013. 66 Foehr, 2006. 67 Pekrun et al., 2002; Hidi & Renninger, 2006. 68 Opt’t Eynde & Turner, 2006; Pekrun, 2005. 22Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ impact of classroom instruction, learning environments, and social contexts on the development of academic emotions is still scarce. Interest is characterized by an affective component of positive emotion and a cognitive 69 component of concentration. Interest is an academic emotion that develops in the interaction between a person and the surrounding context. As such, instructions that activated prior knowledge, supported autonomy and a sense of control, and where 70 the goals were transparent, were reported to promote interest. While it seems clear that students’ emotions develop in social contexts, we do not yet know how this process can be fostered so that the enjoyment of learning is enhanced, and that negative emotions hindering learning are prevented or put to productive use. Future research on academic emotions should include more intervention studies and provide information on how instruction and social interaction with students can be modified in such a way that students’ emotional development is fostered. We investigated the role of academic emotions in studying and learning processes in teacher education and showed that situational academic emotions were related to study success. Anxiety was negatively related to the grade awarded for the course. Interested 71 students invested more study time and also gained better course grades than the others . 3.2.2. School engagement Emotional engagement in school is thought to play a central role in adolescents’ academic achievement and adjustment. Positive and negative emotional engagement has been shown to have significant concurrent and prospective associations with multiple 72 indicators of academic and psychological functioning. Many policymakers and educators focus on enhancing youth’s emotional engagement in school as a way to address issues 73 of underachievement, truancy, and school dropout. th The 2012 PISA results reveal that 15-year-old Finnish students ranked 60 out of 65 countries for how much they like school (OECD, 2013). The research shows that many Finnish secondary school students reported feeling inadequate to be successful in school, exhausted by school, and cynical about school value, a phenomenon which Finnish 74 scholars call school burnout. Studies of Finnish adolescents have also rarely examined 75 emotional engagement and school burnout simultaneously, even though research suggests that positive and negative emotional processes are distinct and may have 76 differential effects on adolescents’ academic and emotional wellbeing. Salmela-Aro et al. ( submitted) recently identified five groups of elementary school students in terms of engagement and burnout: Engaged (50%) students, who formed the majority; Stressed ( 4%) students, who reported high exhaustion and high inadequacy as a student; Cynical (15%) students, whose cynicism was directed in particular towards studying and school; Burnout risk ( 5%) students, who scored very high in all the 69 Hidi & Renninger, 2006. 70 Tsai et al., 2008. 71 Lonka & Ketonen, 2012. 72 Wang, Chow & Salmela-Aro, 2015. 73 National Research Council, 2003. 74 Salmela-Aro, Kiuru, Pietikainen, & Jokela, 2008. 75 See Tuominen-Soini & Salmela-Aro, 2014 for exception. 76 Janosz, Archambault, Morizot, & Pagani, 2007. 23Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ components of school burnout, particularly in cynicism but also in exhaustion and inadequacy as a student; and, finally, those at risk for cynicism (26%) , whose feelings of cynicism were elevated. These results revealed that almost half ( 46% ) of the elementary students felt cynicism towards school, thereby supporting the gap hypothesis between the school practices and digital natives. These groups of cynical students reported that they would be more engaged if new forms socio-digital participation ( SDP) would be applied at school. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that students in elementary school display diverse patterns of school engagement and burnout (see also Tuominen-Soini & Salmela-Aro, 2014). The results indicate that early adolescence is not consistently a time of either school engagement and well-being or disengagement and distress. Some students both value school and thrive at school, some students are exhausted despite their school engagement, some students are disengaged but still get along quite well, while a small minority of students display both low engagement and school adjustment problems. However, their engagement might be enhanced by employing new forms of socio-digital participation also in schools to support personal and shared interests, positive emotions, and implement innovative pedagogies that could make education a more engaging experience. Experiential and authentic learning, playfulness, and reorganizing the physical and social environment would be worth 77 trying. 3.2.3. Social and emotional learning SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) is defined as a comprehensive approach to reduce the risk factors associated with and to foster the protective mechanisms for positive life 78 development. SEL includes the skills that are needed to regulate oneself and one’s human relationships. The applications to education of emotional intelligence theory and developmental psychological models of social and emotional competence support this SEL 79 80 theory. Educational psychology theories, especially self-determination theory, emphasize the own efforts and autonomy of children and youth. SEL training helps 81 teachers deal with challenging situations and to promote their pupils’ autonomy. This 82 has consequences on the pupils’ well-being and their academic achievement. It is also important to integrate SEL with SDP. 77 McFarlane, 2015. 78 Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011, 79 Humphrey, 2013. 80 Ryan & Deci, 2000. 81 Talvio, 2014. 82 24Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ 4. PROMOTING PRACTICES OF KNOWLEDGE CREATION IN EDUCATION 4.1. Activities that promote knowledge creation Sophisticated instruments and practices of knowledge creation given to young students 83 may extend their minds . Technologies already exist that involve artificial intelligence, such as Siri and Skype Translator. New technologies may help our students augment their personal and collaborative intellectual resources in a way that makes knowledge creation feasible. This does not happen without scaffolding of the surrounding learning environment and more experienced peers, parents, and teachers. 84 Investigations of Professor Kai Hakkarainen and his colleagues revealed that primary and lower secondary school students who were supported by proper instruction and collaborative technologies were able to pursue challenging inquiries in biology and physics. Further, investigations of supportive technology-enhanced learning provided clear evidence 85 that technology-enhanced processes of Investigative Learning (or “progressive inquiry”, ) 86 87 or Inquiry-Based Science Teaching (IBST ) or Learning by Collaborative Designing (LCD ) do, in fact, foster students’ learning engagement at various levels of education. This helps build core literate and mathematical-scientific competencies. Measures of process skills, inquiry methods, and practices relevant to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics ( STEAM) education have been developed. Such approaches include not only using innovative technologies, but also, handicraft and art. It is essential that collaborative knowledge construction is involved. Students could be introduced to fabrication technologies such as CAD and 3D printing, constructing and programming robots, designing and constructing circuits, wearable computing (e-textiles) 88 by which one may create multi-faceted complex artefacts. Such technologies enable even young children to construct complex controllable artefacts with hybrid material, digital, and virtual features. Besides fun and practical activities, it is crucial to facilitate deep learning through guided engagement in scientific inquiry, expert-like designing; in short, students’ deliberate efforts to build, create, and synthesize knowledge. Such approaches highlight the importance of active personal and collaborative engagement of students in their learning processes. They are able to share objectives, produce artefacts in teams, and apply both self-reflection and peer review. Such processes are central to knowledge creation as it is understood in this context. Activities that promote knowledge creation provide guidance and socialize participants into authentic inquiry-based practices, such as posing questions, designing experiments, analyzing and interpreting results, and, thereby, cultivating scientific skills and acquiring a core 89 understanding of the “nature of science”. When students take part in design projects, 83 Clark, 2001; Donald, 1991; Ritella & Hakkarainen, 2012. 84 Hakkarainen 2003; 2004; 2009; Hakkarainen et al., 2013. 85 Hakkarainen, Lonka, Lipponen, 2004 This book was first published in Finnish in 1999 and it has sold more than 20 000 copies nationally until 2011. It has had an impact on national core curricula and teacher education in Finland. 86 Juuti, Loukomies, & Lavonen, 2013. 87 Seitamaa-Hakkarainen et al., 2010. 88 Blikstein, 2013 ; Buechley, Peppler, Eisenberg, & Kafai, 2013; Gershenfeld, 2007; Kangas, Seitamaa- Hakkarainen, & Hakkarainen, 2013. 89 Anderson, 2007; Linn & Eylon, 2006; Karpin, Juuti, & Lavonen, in press. 25Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies __________________________________________________________________________________________ they are able to develop capabilities to see possibilities, to try out new ideas by sketching and prototyping, and to make leaps of imagination. 4.2. Socially shared metacognition When introducing new technologies, schools have two choices. The first is to say that BYOD is forbidden and all private mobile devices should be turned off. This may not be such a good idea, if we want children to learn how to regulate their own learning and use their digital devices for learning. Professor Sanna Järvelä suggested that a better option would be to train our youth on how to regulate one’s own behavior and how to develop metacognitive skills that help them co-regulate their work in teams. Socially shared metacognition is one of the crucial components in collaborative problem 90 solving. Socially shared metacognition emerges when group members make their thinking visible and ask questions requiring an explanation or a rationale. Based on these explanations and rationales, the group discusses whether or not they select a new approach or a new strategy for proceeding in problem solving. For example, in a Finnish secondary school, an inquiry-based project supported by an asynchronous learning environment was conducted in a Geometry course with a 91 mathematics teacher and 13-year-old students. The students worked in pairs and they were instructed to make an inquiry about a polygon in a discussion forum. The inquiry with an invented problem was submitted to the learning environment as a computer note. Also a figure of a polygon was attached to the computer note. The student pairs were also instructed to read other pair’s inquiry notes, make comments and ask questions, and solve the invented problems. The student pair communicated in face-to- face situations as well as in computer-based learning environments. The computer notes in a discussion forum can be seen as a result of collaborative negotiations with a peer. The discussion in general reached a high level. The students evaluated other pairs ' work and provided alternative strategies to be used. The students asked for rationale or explanations if they did not understand. The students ' messages were either metacognitive in nature or they were important for interaction among the pairs. The mathematics teacher shared her expertise by providing metacognitive knowledge into the discussions. For example, she asked a pair of students to draw a triangle by using the suggested values to see whether it works or not. Mathematical problem solving in collaborative groups is also a challenge for pre-service teachers, especially if the interaction takes place solely in a computerized learning environment. In a group where the solution was constructed together and ideas were presented and developed further, socially shared metacognition emerged. In this group, the group member’s feelings of difficulty decreased during collaborative problem 92 solving. 90 Hurme, Järvelä, Merenluoto & Salonen, 2015. 91 Hurme, Palonen & Järvelä, 2006. 92 Hurme, Merenluoto & Järvelä, 2009. 26Innovative schools: teaching & learning in the digital era __________________________________________________________________________________________ 5. HOW OPEN ARE SCHOOLS TO USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES? 5.1. Challenges in using new technologies In order to prepare for the emerging innovation-driven knowledge society, students and teachers should be engaged in functioning as a knowledge-creating community, oriented toward advancements of collective knowledge. Such an undertaking entails both cultivating shared innovative practices and constructing gradually refined artefacts. After 20 years’ research experience in the field, we are well aware of the challenges involved. In 2009, 94% of Finnish 10- to 14-year-olds children and youth already used computers 93 in their spare time on a weekly basis. The most frequent activities being searches for information on the internet, studying, playing games, reading e-mail, and downloading and listening to music. More than half of these internet users (55%) reported online chatting, and 32% were registered for at least one online discussion forum. However, the use of educational technologies in Finnish schools is, on average, far from 94 adequate in terms of quality and frequency. During previous decades, due to poor infrastructure, lacking human capital ( teacher competencies), and institutional inertia, initial efforts of using educational technologies for transforming educational practices of Finland or elsewhere in Europe have not been 95 successful. Although a new generation of teachers and socio-digital participation has altered the landscape, many teachers’ still rely on traditional teacher-centered 96 instructional practices; hence in-depth pedagogic transformations are needed. It appears that educators or researchers have not sufficiently addressed the challenge of developing knowledge practices that trigger meaningful pedagogical uses of technology. In many cases, students and teachers have been expected to directly appropriate digital technologies to find meaningful practices for using them, without questioning prevailing educational practices and institutional routines or reflecting on the role that technology plays in transforming the context of education. To move further, we need to take a fundamentally different approach in terms of starting with new pedagogies and opportunistically appropriating diverse (m ore or less ubiquitous) technologies for assisting various aspects of learning and instruction. Some pilot projects regarding implementing technologies in schools through transforming social 97 practices have already revealed promising results. 98 With the changes regarding the socio-digital revolution bubbling under surface as well as the upcoming policy updates (the revised National Core Curriculum) , many schools ( for 99 instance all the schools in the city of Kaarina) have now taken a stance to open up their prevailing practices to critical evaluation and the development of novel approaches that utilize new technologies, such as investing in technological tools, participating in 93 Statistics Finland, Helsinki 2009. 94 Kumpulainen, Mikkola & Jaatinen, 2013. 95 Niemi, Kynäslahti, & Vahtivuori-Hänninen, 2013; Ritella & Hakkarainen, 2012. 96 McFarlane, 2015. 97 Niemi et al., 2013. 98 Hakkarainen, Hietajärvi, Alho, Lonka, Salmela-Aro, 2015. 99 In Finnish:; Kuuskorpi et al., 2015. 27

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