Building reflective communities of practice‌

Building reflective communities of
Julie Hughes
[email protected]
The University of Wolverhampton
Head of Department, Post-Compulsory Education
HEA National Teaching Fellow 2005
CRADLE (Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong
Teacher Training and Technologies Conference 2013
Friday, 1st March 2013. University of Huddersfield
Starting with the students
The PGCE blog lifeboat –
HMS Hardwork.
Using the weblog as an online journal became a big part of our growth
as reflective writers. Using the blog tool within the e-portfolio we
could share thoughts, feelings, fears, anxieties and excitement and
because it was a shared space we could see the value in the
perceptions, thoughts and beliefs of others in the group.
It was a space where we could feel safe from ridicule and criticism. We
would share war stories from the frontlines of teaching and by
discussing and commenting on other’s journeys as teachers we were
becoming reflective writers and practitioners without even knowing it!
Karim-Akhtar et al. PGCE group 2005/6
The importance of mentoring and listening to
staff narratives
I think what I’ve noticed most is that they sort of carry on without us
more if you know what I mean – whereas traditional teaching and
learning is very much teacher at the centre, all information coming
out through me but what often is seen to happen when using
PebblePad is that they can talk to each other, they answer each
other’s questions, they take threads of each other’s arguments –
really oblivious to the fact that I might be there or might not be
And this for Teacher Education is fantastic because what
we see is reflection – it’s reflection in practice, reflection
on action in action and it’s going on all the time – it’s crucial.
Maggie, Teacher for 23 years, Teacher Educator for 8 years
Pebbler since September 2008
Structure of today’s presentation
Structure of today’s presentation:
1) Consider how an e-portfolio system, PebblePad, has
used to
collaborative working;of the work –
the framing/theorising
theory, pedagogy and e-learning;
2) Explore how staff and students engage with dialogic
tools and practices;
• Consider
tool and
3) Hear
what staff and
say genre;
about the shift to
this form of teaching and learning;
• Demonstrate
(in part)
tools such
as PebblePad,
4) Reflect upon
how the
and practices
and dialogic
and support
evolving and
adapting across
School for Education
practice in our learners/colleagues.
Intro to me
E-portfolio teacher and
teacher educator – FD,
PGCE and M level 2004 to now.
Started with 15 students
(2004) now working
across teams, partners,
stakeholders and
professional bodies.
2012/3 - approx 1400
students and 55 staff.
E-portfolio mentor – supporting
individuals and teams at local,
regional and national levels across disciplines.
E-portfolio learner –
used e-p for appraisal
and CPD –attained QTLS
in 2009 with an eportfolio application.
E-portfolio embedding. Curriculum
development – revalidation and
pedagogy shift.
E-portfolio researcher
– using e-portfolio to
mentor and datagather- using
e-portfolio as a
writing frame with
both students and
colleagues to support
The University of Wolverhampton
Situated in the West Midlands across
3 campuses
Widening Participation University
23,000 students (a third are part time)
70% over 21
3867 students in SEF (16.7%)
One of the ‘big 4’ of ITE for PCE
7 WM colleges and RAF Cosford
Critical reflection
Collaborative learning
• We do not 'store' experience as data, like a computer: we
'story' it (Winter 1989, p.213).
• "What is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures
or conversation?" (Carroll (1865), p.1).
• Barrett (2005, p.19) suggests that reflection and “the
metaphor of portfolio as story” offer, “a powerful
environment in which students can collect and organize the
artifacts that result from engaging in these challenging, reallife tasks, and write reflections through which students draw
meaning” (Barrett 2005, p.21).
Critical reflexivity
Shift happens - critical readers/listeners/audience?
As e-portfolio teacher/assessor we need to, ‘change
our ways of engaging with text. In a sense we become
more than mere graders of the work; we become
actual users of a work, a real-life audience interacting
with the document’ (Blair & Takayoshi 1997, pp. 364-5).
Setting the scene – technology use in HE in the UK
Teachers draw on past experience rather than actual empirical
evidence and research literature. Despite the benefits and need for
more scholarly activities, there is little evidence that this actually
Arguably there is a need to shift to more scholarly approaches if the
potential of technologies is to be realised. The vision is one in which
educators are co‐innovators in understanding the key possibilities in
the relationship between technology and pedagogy, leading towards
a co‐evolved professional knowledge base that stems from reflective
practices that are mediated and shared; a practice that feeds into the
development of curricular designs that can actualise educational
visions. (Conole & Alevizou 2010, p.43)
E-learning theory
E-learning is often talked about as a ‘trojan mouse’,
which teachers let into their practice without
realizing that it will require them to rethink not just
how they use the particular hardware or software,
but all of what they do.
(Sharpe and Oliver 2007)
Rollercoaster –
the pedagogical being is is brittle, liable to shatter suddenly’
(Barnett, 2007 p.29) – the student and ‘teacher’ being.
A will to learn and pedagogy for uncertain times?
(Barnett 2007)
Students(read teachers also) must come into a felt relationship with
uncertainty in a space which supports a “will to learn” (Barnett 2007,
Question Mark Grafitti by Bilal Kamoon (Creative Commons)
Barnett’s vision (2007, p.7) for HE for the contemporary world
includes a vocabulary of terms “such as excitement, passion, selfconfidence, journey, travel, will, energy, being and becoming.”
Creative spaces
The will to live in creative spaces and their associated
temporal rhythms require positive courage; the courage
to live in the future and take on tasks that have to be
uncertain as to their outcomes (Barnett 2010, p.81).
The focus upon the journey (the process) rather than upon
arrival (the end product) as Richardson and St. Pierre
(2005, p.966-7) identify that, ‘in the story (or stories) of
becoming, we have a good chance of deconstructing the
underlying academic ideology – that being a something…
is better than becoming’.
Setting the scene – the ups and downs
There is evidence that e-portfolio implementation can be like a
game of snakes and ladders where initial rapid progress can suffer
major setbacks due to a poor understanding of the nature of eportfolios. Joyes, Gray and Hartnell-Young, 2010.
For me PebblePad-based teaching
and learning is like ….
There’s no nirvana in sight (yet)
bungee jumping
Learning (and teaching – my addition) in higher education calls
for a courage on the part of the learner/teacher and a will to
leap into a kind of void. There is bound to be uncertainty.
A pedagogy of air opens up spaces and calls for a will to learn on
the part of the student/teacher; to learn even amid uncertainty.
In the process, it is just possible that the student/teacher may
come into a new mode of being (Barnett 2007, p.1).
Teachers and the taught teach each other. Their roles are
interwoven, such that their boundaries become indistinct to
some extent (Barnett 2007, p.132).
We are witnessing ‘a new model of education’ rather than a
new model of learning’ as ‘our understanding of e-learning
matures, so our appreciation of the importance of theory
deepens…we see how learning can be socially situated in a way
never previously possible’.
(Mayes and de Freitas 2007, p.13)
Pedagogical bungee jumping may be catching
(Barnett 2007, p.133).
Iterative learning – what does it feel like to be
composing a professional self?
It’s like emptying a big jigsaw and building it slowly in pieces.
Finding pieces of work that fit together and building from there
and then maybe trying a different area afterwards. There's no
logical, symmetrical or linear route but emphasis upon drawing
out the best points and building upon them.
Claire, PGCE student
A web we weave, spiralling outwards with attachments
becoming part of the fabric.
Elaine, PGCE student
Learning waves – reflective writing
It was built upon constantly ... people were going backwards
and forward with their ideas - this was something very new
and exciting which changed this 1-1 relationship between
tutor and essay really, rather than tutor and student.
We were setting a piece of work, they were writing it up and
we marked it – we weren’t really discussing the process of
the writing with students, (before) we weren’t really
discussing the problems they might be having.
Whereas (now)... we’ve had more opportunities to intervene
in essay writing along the way – they can ask questions about
our questions and that’s how we take that forward.
Maggie Teacher Educator
Culture shifts?
New digital technologies and multimedia are transforming
how we teach and learn. They are transforming our
classrooms from spaces of delivery to spaces of active
inquiry and authorship. New digital media are empowering
students to become researchers, oral historians, and
cultural theorists in their own right.
Whether constructing their own life stories or interpreting
the life stories of others, the digital format transforms
students’ capacity to synthesize, interpret, theorize, and
create new cultural and historical knowledge. In this way,
digital formats potentially democratise learning and
produce critical subjects and authors (Weis et al. 2002,
But …
In teaching and learning currently, we tend to use
technology to support traditional modes of
teaching...We scarcely have the infrastructure, the
training, the habits, or the access to new technology
to be optimising its use just yet.
(Laurillard 2007)
Forgotten Classroom by ne* (Creative Commons)
Are you using technology for telling (information
push) or for talking?
What the teacher educators said about taking risks
I felt confident that I knew what I was doing. However, looking back I would
say that was a false perspective... I am a Luddite, I fear, in that I like the feel of
pencil on paper... Feedback has been I feel, clumsy and stilted... over the year
I have become more adept at this. Cathie 2008
Although I regarded myself as being quite IT literate and have always tried to
embrace ILT rather than feel threatened by it ...I also had concerns....there
was certainly that feeling of being only a small step ahead of them (the
students). David 2008
I needed to ‘face my fears and address them’. In doing so ...’my teaching has
completely and utterly changed, totally from how I was taught on the Cert Ed
– paper based.’ Annie 2010
Looking awry and theorising
We must acknowledge that pedagogy needs to be
‘re-done’ at the same time as it needs to be
(Beetham and Sharpe, 2007)
We need ‘a dialogue between theory and practice, as well as
between learning and teaching’
(Beetham & Sharpe 2007, p.3)
Give pedagogy back to the teachers.
(Laurillard 2007)
Pedagogy shift - (e)-portfolio ways of being
When teachers began developing portfolios over a decade ago,
we knew what we were about – with process writing and
collaborative pedagogies and, not least, portfolios – was pretty
ambitious; it was, in fact, nothing short of changing the face of
American education. (Yancey & Weiser 1997, p.1)
Baume (1999, 2003 p.4) conceptualised the developmental
portfolio as, “a compost heap…something refined over time,
enriched by addition, reduction and turning over.“
Messy, non-linear – getting your hands dirty!
What is an e-portfolio?
Well it’s...
• A systematic and organized collection of evidence used by
the teacher and the student to monitor the growth of the
student's knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
(Cole et al., 2000)
• What is produced when persons collect, select,
reflectively interpret, and/or present their own evidence
to support their assertions about what they have learned,
know, and can or should do. (Cambridge & Cambridge
• Emerging consensus (JISC 2008, p.6)
process and product – digital ringbinder and learning
landscape - inherent contradiction?
• a genre and a set of practices supported by a set of
technologies. (Cambridge 2008)
E-portfolio-based learning (JISC 2008)
Behind any product, or presentation, lie rich and complex
processes of planning, synthesising, sharing, discussing,
reflecting, giving, receiving and responding to feedback. These
processes – referred to here as ‘e-portfolio-based learning’ – are
the focus of increasing attention, since the process of learning
can be as important as the end product.
The use of ...e-portfolios... can promote more profound forms of
learning which can improve understanding of the self and the
curriculum, engage and motivate learners – individually and as
part of a community of practice, personalise learning and
promote reflective practice
(JISC 2008, p5)
JISC 2008, p.11
Talking not telling.
A dialogue-based
pedagogy and
model of/for
reflective learning.
Transition, induction and raising
expectations – PGCE
Reflective blogging
This approach to reflective writing as ‘everyday’ and habitual has been received
very positively – but you will need to examine your own teaching and feedback
Blog writing as warm up/rehearsal, writing patches , cumulative and
You need to consider your own online voices and
literacies – what is appropriate in these spaces?
Encouraging talkback to feedback – decentring
feedback addressivity – making going backwards
as a way to conceptualise development explicit.
Action planning as assumption
hunting (Brookfield 1995) – Nadia
Conceptualising Personal
Development Planning activity as a
verb not a noun – being aware of
deficit models and the potential
for really great content.
Developing buddying cultures
LSIS project 2012
CPD – masters module, cross sector
Learning from Gavin – Secondary IT ITE
On bloginars
I found it to be a very useful exercise, to
be honest, much more useful than I
anticipated it would be. It has really
opened my eyes to the potential of the
approaches that you have shared and
converted me to them in an almost
'Damascene' manner!
As I was doing the exercise and it was getting longer and
longer, I did wonder about the potential impact it might
have on the others with a bit less experience/confidence
but I figured you would probably moderate expectations
at the next face to face if I misjudged what was required and I was enjoying it! I think I also felt peer pressure to
do a good job, if you know what I mean?
Thank you so much for this really good breakdown of the article. I really like
the thematic sections and for me it is making much easier reading than
trying to digest an article. I have only had time today to start reading it
properly and thinking about my replies. I hope that even though a new week
is here that it won't be too late to come back and comment on it?
Thanks for the positive replies everyone - I'm glad you found the posts useful.
Reading through your comments I am struck once again by the utility of the
dialogic approach - several of you have interpreted concepts in really
interesting ways that are different than I would have done - and this in turn
helps my understanding develop further as it forces me to reflect and
reconsider what I thought I knew - something that would not have happened
had I read the article in isolation.
I feel a few dialogic activities winging their way towards my unsuspecting
trainees in the near future! I’m hoping so and I'll be back!
Unpredictable rhizomatic growth
Rhizome as model/map for unpredictability
Lateral, multi-forked root system
Not Western tree-like (ladder)
It’s ok (and sometimes very necessary) to grow and stretch
below the surface to establish good roots – your roots.
Engage students and colleagues along the way, exploit and
harness their knowledge about learning and teaching in this
My teaching has completely and utterly
changed, totally from how I was taught
on the Cert Ed – paper based ...
Sometimes I walk in and there’s just
images on the screen (on the blog) and
that is the teaching and learning of the
Students don’t cope well now with
other formats, “we were talked at for
an hour and a half – we go off and do
our own learning or you talk to us in a
different way”.
Annie (Foundation Degree Teacher for 4 years)
Pebbler since September 2009
So what’s different about learning in these spaces?
It’s more holistic, they see the links between the different
modules, they see that how they are developing in one area
can totally impact on something else, they get to see the
growth that’s taken place – it’s almost like watching
themselves from afar because the can see how they
worded things, see the language they used, how they
interacted, also later on when they need to think about it
in their professional capacity they can see that their
thought processes have changed as well.
Caroline 2010, Pebbler since 2008
Web 2.0 ways of teaching and learning?
(from the 1990s to the mid-2000s) websites tended to be like
separate gardens...Web 2.0 describes a particular kind of
ethos and a collective allotment. Instead of
individuals tending their own gardens, they come together to
work collaboratively in a shared space...
Web 2.0 invites users in to play (Gauntlett 2011, p.5-7).
Pedagogic shift and creating a collective
Scaling up to the majority will require different approaches,
more strategic coordination and staff development and support.
To date, on the whole, only a minority of enthusiastic teachers
and those with a research interest in the learning sciences,
educational technology or new media, have undertaken
experimentation with new innovations in pedagogy and
exploration of the use of new technologies. Embracing Web 2.0
approaches will require radically different strategies in terms of
designing, supporting and assessing learning.
Adoption of a more scholarly and reflective approach to
teaching practice is clearly a logical strategy to help achieve this
(Conole & Alevizou 2010, p.21)
Transformative potential?
Blending and digitising f2f activities.
Creativity supported and encouraged.
PebblePad as the link to support
integrative and iterative learning.
Archive and collation focus – pool to draw
An e-portfolio way of learning and being –
LaGuardia Community College’s mantra
Collect, select, reflect, connect.
Attwell and Hughes’ review of technology in ITE for LLUK
proposed that:
diversity will emerge only if educators, researchers and
communities are empowered to develop localised or novel
responses to socio-technical change – including developing
new approaches to curriculum, to assessment, to the
workforce and governance, as well as to pedagogy.
This approach, if adopted, would have major implications for
the training of teachers in the use of new technologies for
teaching and learning (2010, p.65).
Just because a technology was designed for
one purpose, it does not mean it won’t be
used for another. Once tools get ‘out into
the wild’ they are appropriated in multiple
and complex ways.
Bicycles came to be appropriated in the
struggle for women’s emancipation... record
players changed from being instruments for
dictation for tools for capturing and sharing
musical cultures.
Technologies are shaped and reshaped by
beta testers, by early adopters ... by their
users (addition mine).
(Facer 2011, pp.6-7).
PebblePad has allowed
me/liberated me to journey, to
create, to connect and to model
in ways I had never imagined
with earlier technologies.
Web 2.0 tools should be as open and
as inviting of creativity as possible;
and offer platforms where people
can truly make their mark, express
themselves and shape the
messiness... is therefore to be
encouraged (Gauntlet 2011, p.225).
Attwell, G. & Hughes, J. (2010). Pedagogic Approaches to Using Technology for Learning. Online: [accessed September 2010].
Barnett, R. (2007) A Will To Learn. Being a Student in an Age of Uncertainty. Berkshire: Open University Press.
Barnett, R. (2010) Being a University. London: Routledge.
Barrett, H. (2005) White Paper: Researching Electronic Portfolios and Learner Engagement. The Reflect
Initiative. (accessed 15 August 2005). Available from: <>.
Blair, K.L. & Takayoshi, P. (1997) Reflecting on Reading and Evaluating Electronic Portfolios in Yancey,
K.B. and Weiser, I. (1997) (eds.) Situating Portfolios. Four Perspectives. Utah: Utah State University
Karim-Akhtar, Y., Mahmood, K., Mcdonald, M., Mcdonald, T., McGuinness, S., Staunton, M., Purnell, E., Taylor, L.
& Woodhams, J. (2006) Pebble power, ESCalate, 5, Summer 06.(accessed 5 July 2006)Available from:<>.
Cambridge, D. (2008) Models of ePortfolio Practice. TLT Workshop. (accessed 13 July 2008). Available from:
Cambridge D, and Cambridge B. (2003) The Future of Electronic Portfolio Technology: Supporting What We
Know about Learning. Keynote address presented at ePortfolio 2003 (Scenarios): The first international
conference on the digital portfolio, October 10, 2003, Portier, France
Conole, G. & Alevizou, P. (2010) A literature review of the use of Web 2.0 tools in Higher Education.
Laurillard, D. (2007) Comment on the text 48b. Conole, G. and Oliver, M. (eds) (2007) Contemporary
Perspectives in E-Learning Research. Themes, Methods and Impact on Practice, London: Routledge.
Mayes, T, & de Freitas, S. (2007) Learning and elearning.The role of theory. In Beetham, H. & Sharpe, R.
(2007) (Eds.) Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age. Designing and delivering elearning. London:
Richardson, L. & St. Pierre, E.A. (2005) Writing: A Method of Inquiry in Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S.
(Eds.). The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Third edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pp.959-978.
Sharpe, R. & Oliver, M. (2007) Designing courses for e-learning in Conole, G. & Oliver, M. (2007)
Contemporary Perspectives in E- learning Reseach. Themes, methods and impact on practice. (Eds.)
London: Routledge pp.41-51.
Weis, T.M. et al. (2002) Digital technologies and pedagogies. Social Justice, 29(4), pp.153-69.
Winter, R. (1989) Learning from Experience: Principles and Practise in Action Research. Lewes: Falmer
Winter, R., Buck, A., & Sobiechowska, P. (1999) Professional Experience and the Investigative
Imagination: the Art of Reflective Writing. London: Routledge.

similar documents