In this Episode:
To see all the OutClassed episodes go to utb.fyi/outclassed
Podcast Episode Highlights:
0:50 Introducing Mike Phillips from Monash Uni
1:45 How Mike became interested in edtech and research
7:00 TPCK explained
12:00 One of the limitations of the model and how to think about using the framework
12:40 Is one element more important than another?
15:40 Distributed TPCK explained
16:40 The role that transparent and emerging technology applies to TPCK and the way to support not classify teachers
21:20 The interesting issue that arises with self rating
26:00 The collection of 5 things that help teachers make decisions
27:00 Epistemic network analysis
28:45 Pedagogical reasoning in action framework and how this can relate to decision making
30:00 Why PCK is just 1 form of knowledge out of 7 that teachers need and the implications on team teaching and collaboration
34:20 Can we use TPCK to assess the technology to determine its suitability?
41:25 How to start introducing the TPCK model into a school
44:05 If you had to choose SAMR or TPCK what would you choose and why?
52:00 Do you think we are making good progress and heading in the right direction?
58:00 What questions are exciting Mike and future trends have potential
1:04:00 Mike’s response to Silicon Valley executives sending their kids to schools with no tech
Resources and links mentioned:
Mike Reading 0:21
Welcome back to the outclassed podcast. It’s great to be with you again, as usual got Blake with me. Hang on, Blake.
I’m doing well. Mike, very excited about today’s today’s guests here. We’ve got Mike from Monash University, Mike, Mike Phillips goes by Mike. To many Mikes in the room, I think. And we’re going to be unpacking t pack today. So Mike, welcome. Welcome to the show.
Mike Phillips 0:43
Thanks very much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Mike Reading 0:45
Yeah, awesome. So I thought it’d be just good to get a little bit about your background on AI. Just before we hit record, you mentioned that you’d been a high school teacher for a while. So always interested to hear about a little bit about I guess, and their background. So maybe if you want to just start there, and we’ll work out. So what subjects were you teaching in, in high school?
Mike Phillips 1:02
So I originally qualified as a as a physics and geography teacher. And so I taught both of those t 12. But then also, like most teachers in schools, I ended up teaching a whole range of other things to us adopt maths in year 12. And then a bunch of other things below that both of those plus you know, obviously IT some science and histories and a whole range of different things.
Mike Reading 1:25
Yeah, well, very similar to me. I started off in science, and then ended up teaching history, geography for a number of years.
Mike Phillips 1:31
Yeah, it’s funny how that happens, isn’t it?
Mike Reading 1:32
Yeah, it’s a little bit of PE for a couple of semesters as well. So yeah, just they’re not putting your hand up, I got bored pretty easily and pretty quickly. So I was the guy, I was always like, yep, give me something else in my life to keep me interested.
Mike Phillips 1:44
Absolutely. And it was actually that time that I started to get really interested in education, technology, not because I was particularly good with it. In fact, you know, if I need something recorded on the telly, I’ll still get the kids to do it. So I’m stuck it up somewhere along the way. But I became really fascinated with what happens when when technology gets placed into a classroom of kids and teachers, and the different reactions that different teachers had in the school that I was working in, you know, I had some colleagues who were saying, just give me more of this, I love, it just can’t get enough, I’ll take on whatever comes next. And other teachers were, you know, tired of trying to hold back the digital tide and saying, Don’t bring any of that stuff anywhere near me on the kids. And so I became really fascinated in these polarized kind of reactions to the increasing numbers of technologies that were appearing in classrooms at that time.
Mike Reading 2:34
Yeah, wow. And so how far ago how long ago, are we going back here,
Mike Phillips 2:38
that was I finished teaching in schools in 2009. So just over a decade ago, so it was, when all those sort of mobile devices were sort of starting to come on onto the market. And we were starting to see a lot more laptops and things in classrooms, a lot more data projectors, those kinds of things. And starting to see the way that teachers are making decisions about how and what to use and when to use it. That was what really got me fascinated in in education technologies, and kind of paved the path where I am now.
Mike Reading 3:11
It sounds very similar, I can remember that transition from the overhead projector to PowerPoint and thinking, why am I spending so much time redoing these, because, you know, I had only your slides already done and put into a folder and within that, it sounds like we’re in about the same era.
Absolutely. And then then you realize, you know, as technologies evolve, we’ve had to redo our learning materials, you know, five times into each digital platform and LMS that has come and gone in the last 10 years. And it’s kind of funny to think about education being, you know, all these handouts and overhead projection things that were kind of there for 50 years plus, and then they got sort of transformed five times within 10 years. When the you know, the cycle digital education revolution came around. So super fascinating. I’m interested in like about how you made that jump from Classroom Teacher, you know, you’re fascinated with with technologies and for people that are listening, what does it look like to go from a teacher into academia and into research and those kind of things? How does that even work?
Mike Phillips 4:10
It’s it was a it was a pretty different and scary kind of time, I guess. I guess I was looking for a bit of a change. I’d been been teaching as I said, for 15 years and taken on some leadership positions in schools, you know, after a while you sort of tend to gravitate towards a lot of people tend to gravitate towards those and, and all of a sudden, I realized that I was spending a lot more time with other people’s kids rather than my own. And I thought that that balance doesn’t quite seem right. So I was looking for something a little bit different. And I’d actually just completed a master’s in education technology, because as I said, I was just I was just interested in the idea. And, and so I was really lucky in that. A good friend and colleague, who’s a professor in the faculty, Michael Henderson said, Well, if you’re looking for a bit of a change, why don’t you come and work as a research assistant? For a little while and see what you think. And so I thought I will I can, I know I can probably always pick up a job in in teaching, if I want to. So I thought I’ll get something a bit different a go. And I just fell in love with research and being able to spend time exploring questions that aren’t simple to answer, then take some time and some energy and some effort to think about and to explore. And, and ultimately, what I really wanted to be able to do was to be able to help teachers answer questions that I wasn’t able to answer as a teacher. So, you know, looking at these teachers that, as I said, in schools who make take on board all these different kinds of technologies, my work really over the last 10 years has been trying to figure out well, how is it that teachers make really good decisions about what technologies to use when and for what kind of purpose? So really, what I’m interested in is teacher decision making, particularly around education technologies, had it had teachers make these fantastic decisions day in day out, without being able to really bounce ideas off other adults in the room and doing it for hours and hours at a time. It’s a it’s an incredible thing that that teachers don’t know.
Mike Reading 6:08
Yeah, that’s really interesting. And so that’s been the main focus of your study for the last 10 years has been all around that.
Mike Phillips 6:15
Yeah, around education technologies and teachers to decision making in technology rich contexts. Yeah.
Mike Reading 6:22
So did you go in with a teaching background? having a little bit of an assault? Like, did you think you you knew what you were gonna find? Or?
Mike Phillips 6:29
No, and every day, I still keep finding new things, I still don’t know that I necessarily have the complete answer. You know, I think that it’s such a complex, complex space, and there are so many factors at play. You know, as we all know, as teachers, one thing that you might do with the nine class in period one, do exactly the same thing in period two with another nine class, and it’s a completely different outcome. So there are so many things that go on. It’s, yeah, it’s it’s a never ending investigation, I think.
That is to TPCK Marry into that. So you’re talking about decision making? You know, we’ve a lot of people have heard of Tupac, maybe you want to just unpack what that is. And then we can talk about in the context of decision making?
Mike Phillips 7:12
Yeah, sure. Well, I mean, I’m not the first person clearly in the world to start thinking about how teachers make choices or decisions. And so people have been researching and looking into that for a really long period of time. And in the US that the idea around teacher professionalism, and about what it is that teachers know, that separates them from other kinds of professions probably reached a crescendo in the in the mid 80s, where there was, at that time, Ronald Reagan, formed a task force that was really damning and critical of teachers and teaching. And so there was a guy who was the president of the American Education Research Association, probably the biggest Research Association in the world. He, the President, in 1986, was a guy called les Sherman, who some people may or may not have heard of, but what les was trying to figure out was, he was trying to support and not justify the professionalism of teachers, but but trying to really get out into the public, that teachers were professionals, and they should be treated that way and probably paid that way. And so what he was trying to do was to work out, what’s the difference between a content expert and a teacher? So what’s the difference, say, between a physicist and a physics teacher? And he said, Well, both a physicist and a physics teacher probably need to have really great content knowledge. If you don’t know anything about physics, you probably shouldn’t walk into a physics classroom. So that’s one of the things that I haven’t taught, and I don’t walk into a physics classroom. But he said that the physics teacher on top of this great content knowledge also has to have a thing that he called pedagogical knowledge. So knowledge about the people that you’re going to be trying to teach this content to, and about how you might have there might be an interplay between that content knowledge, and that pedagogical knowledge, how might you shape this particular content for this particular group of students or these individual students at this particular point in time for a particular purpose. And so what he was saying was that the great teachers when they bring this pedagogical knowledge and this content knowledge together, what we get is a sum that is greater than individual parts, that we actually have a fundamentally different form of knowledge that he called pedagogical content knowledge or pck. for short. That was in the mid 80s. And a lot of works being done particularly in science with a lot of science educators around this way that teachers transformed content for particular students for a particular purpose at a particular point in time. Well, about 20 years after that happened. There were two guys who were at that point both at Michigan State University in the US one guy by the name upon your Mishra another by the name of Matt, Kayla And when you’re in mat, like many of us started noticing, noticing the increasing number of digital devices that were appearing in classrooms. And so they said, Well, perhaps on top of Schumann’s idea of pck, maybe teachers also need to have some kind of technological knowledge. And now talking more than, like, what button do you press to turn this device on? We’re talking about a deeper understanding about the affordances, or opportunities and the constraints or limitations that different forms of technology can bring with their design? And how might those opportunities or limitations change the way that we represent content? How might those technologies or our understanding of those technologies change the way in which we approach having students work with students or having students work with teachers changing that pedagogical kind of notion. And so what they said was that they’re, in their opinion, really great teachers, when integrating technologies drew upon this idea of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge, or TPCK. So in 2006, they published an article that actually published a couple of articles before that, as had a couple other people who talked about this term. And in Matt and putting his own words, nobody, and I mean, nobody paid any attention to any of those early articles. But in 2006, they published an article in a journal called teachers teacher college record. And in that Pono, who’s a great designer as well, just represented these three forms of knowledge is three overlapping circles, like a Venn diagram, kind of an idea. And I think a lot of people think that it was that representation that allowed people to kind of understand what it was that they were talking about, that as soon as you change the technology, it’s going to change the content representation, and it’s going to change your pedagogical approach. Or if you change the content, well, maybe that technology all of a sudden isn’t fit for purpose. And so there’s this ongoing reconsideration of things, when one thing changes, so does everything else.
Do you think that is Mike, do you think that if if we add technology in the classroom, it does change the way we you know, do the pedagogy or, or the way we deliver the content?
I think, I think it certainly has the potential to and I think that it that it does, and I think that one of the problems though, with with a TPCK framework, and there are a number of limitations with it. But I think one of the big problems is that probably just because of ease of pronunciation, that T comes first, when actually I don’t know that teachers shouldn’t necessarily be thinking about technologies first, and then trying to fit everything else in around. It’s like, oh, I’ve got this new shiny toy, I want to use it in my classroom, how do I make it work? what’s probably gonna fall flat? Because it’s just not necessarily, you’re not necessarily thinking about that integrated approach. So I would either be thinking about what’s the content that I’m trying to teach? And then maybe think about, well, who are the kids now that I’m trying to teach it to? What’s the best way to be able to, to represent that content to this group of kids, and then the choice of technologies becomes relatively easy. And sometimes, the choice of technology for that particular group of kids at that point in time for that particular content might actually be a pen and paper, it might be last period on a Friday. And you might be thinking, actually, I don’t need any more distractions in my lesson, I might actually just go back to something that, you know, has a different kind of focus to it.
Mike Reading 13:36
Yeah, so if you look at content first, and I’m just starting to think down the lines of, you know, one of the trends that’s happening at the moment is like student centered learning, where the students almost design their own learning pathway, in a sense, yeah. Not necessarily starting with content in terms of forward loading, that you quite often what happens is you start with what technology is around me, and then try and build some content around that, in a sense, so and I can definitely see what you’re saying, like when we were told to go to interactive whiteboards, we were forced down a pathway of changing the way you interacted with students, right? Because now you had content in a certain way. But now you couldn’t deliver it in that way. So now that you everything, then technology shoehorned you into a way of teaching that teachers didn’t particularly like so? Yeah. Yeah. How do you how do you balance between that student centered pedagogy versus the content? And I mean, do you favor one side over another? I’m just interested in what your thoughts are?
Mike Phillips 14:31
No, I look, I mean, I think I think that a student centered approach is fantastic and works absolutely, brilliantly with with some kids and some some groups of kids and like everything. It doesn’t work with other groups as well. So I think it is a is a really great approach. But if you use it all the time, that’s the only tool in your toolbox, then it’s probably going to become blunt, relatively quickly. So I think, in the same way that if we’re offering opportunities for kids To be making decisions about content, for example, or maybe we should also be teaching them some of the ways in which as educators, we’re thinking about the technologies and their relationship to content, so that they can start to make really effective choices about what technologies they use as well, not just because I’ve used it before, simple or, you know, something like that. It’s actually fit for purpose. So I think that the TPCK framework, quite talks about teaching knowledge has the potential to, to do some some of that work for students as well. And so one of the things that came out, probably four or five years ago now was the notion of distributed TPCK . So, up until then, everyone had been kind of thinking about teacher knowledge as this individual attribute this thing that’s in a single person’s head or body or whatever it happens to be. But really, in schools, as we know, a lot of the time teachers talk with other teachers, you know, they’ll sit around in the staff room and have a chat about what’s going on. And, and so all of a sudden, people started to think, well, maybe this knowledge is actually distributed amongst groups of people, maybe you don’t have to be a technology expert on every single form of technology. But if I know that Blake’s really cool with with video production or something like that, and I’m wanting to do something like that, I can go and pick his brains and draw upon his knowledge. And I don’t have to be the keeper of every single part of that. And so kids can be involved in that as well.
So how does how does TPCK kind of account for the discovery of the technology? Because I know that like, there can often be an issue where if we’re not aware that there is such a thing as doing green screen in a video, for instance, or you know, something like that the the sort of the features of the technology are apparent to us, or we’re not familiar with them? How does how does, how does that kind of married a tea Packers team? That’s kind of assuming like, technology is this thing that we all kind of get, and we can just pick and choose all we want some video editing today? If we don’t know that, that that exists? To begin with, you know, especially with emerging technology, that’s one of the things I find difficult is that, you know, innovation happens rapidly in clusters, but often it doesn’t get out to the, to the whole school, you know, in terms of understanding. So how do you sort of marry that with TPCK? And what are some strategies, you’d also advice you would give to schools around them?
Mike Phillips 17:23
So yeah, absolutely right, it is probably almost impossible to keep up with all different innovations that are coming. Yeah, there’s just so many that come out so quickly. And even then, when you when you think you know, a piece of software, or how to use a piece of hardware, somebody will do something with it, and it was like, but I never knew it could do that. And you know, it’s like all of a sudden, there’s this wager that you never knew existed. And so there was a lady by the name of Suzy Cox, who in 2008, did a PhD in in the US. And she talked about this idea of emerging and transparent technologies. So she talked about a transparent technology being something for most teachers probably like a data projector, or, or a smart board or something like that. Or PowerPoint. We don’t even think about PowerPoint necessarily being a technology. But it’s just something that is a tool that we use in the classroom. So she talked about that as being a transparent technology, a bit like a whiteboard marker, is a form of technologies made by people. But we don’t think about well, how am I going to use this whiteboard marker in the same way that most teachers don’t think about? How am I going to use PowerPoint, they just do it. And so she talked about those as being transparent technologies. And I would argue that if teachers are using transparent technologies, and what might be transparent, for me, might be something completely new for another teacher. So it’s a very individual thing. But if a teacher is using a transparent technology, then probably it’s not related to TPCK. Because the technological considerations in the teachers thinking and decision making and not writ large, they’re in the background. So I would argue that’s probably just Schumann’s pck. It’s not really a technological, pedagogical content decision that’s being made. If it’s an emerging technology, something that’s relatively new to somebody, then they have to think about how am I what what does this VR headset mean, in terms of the way that I’m going to have to change the way that I organize my class with the kids? How am I going to actually get content into the I’ll get kids to design content using this this kind of technology in those situations. All the decision making has a technological component to it. It’s bouncing around all the time in teachers decision making. So in that case, I’d suggest that it’s that’s TPCK. So I think that one of the things that I’d suggest for schools is don’t assume that all teachers are coming at things at the same level. That that you’ve got some teachers who for whom VR AR is going to be, yeah, I’ve been using it for a couple of years now. I know all about it. So for them, you might actually be able to use those people and their technological knowledge, to be able to help support people for whom that’s an emerging kind of a technology. So it’s a way for us to be able to not classified teachers, but to support teachers, if they’re feeling like this is something that they might want to try.
And that’s deceptively profound, right? Because, because one of the things I’ve noticed is, is digital literacy varies more in staff body, typically, then it doesn’t the student body. And there is such a variance. There are people who, you know, certainly 510 years ago who could barely turn the computer on. And then you’ve got people who, you know, could not only turn the computer on, they’re collaborating on docs, they’re doing video editing, they’re doing a whole bunch of rich media, without thinking twice. And if you’re going to go in and leave a PD, and this ties into sort of what Mike does on a day to day basis, if you talk to 60 people at once, and you say, Okay, here’s how to use Google Docs, you’ve got 20 people disengaged, 20, people completely unaware of what’s going on, like this is way too difficult. And then you might reach like five people right in the middle, which isn’t necessarily a good use of your time. But I just want to spell a little bit and just get clear what what you’re saying. So. So basically, if if a technology is being used as a transparent technology, something that is, I guess, conventionally accepted, as you know, everyone’s aware of it like PowerPoint or something like that, that that wouldn’t fit into this model. And it would be used much as like a whiteboard marker or overhead projector or anything that was kind of used on mass, I guess, if you like, Is there any sort of way to think about qualifying those technologies? Because what what I’m interested in is using that as a way to deliver PD in the school, so to say, you know, what are the things that are transparent to you, we can take all those and for anyone who’s, you know, the outlier, we can go give them directed PD, and for anyone who’s saying, Oh, you know, for the for the areas that are clearly emerging, where people don’t know much about it at all, we could set up, you know, strategic PD there as well. Is that a good way to think about it? Or, you know, where am I going wrong with?
Mike Phillips 22:15
Yeah, no, I mean, it could be it could be used one of the one of the challenges, though, that we have. And we find this often without pre service teachers. So if you look at a lot of studies that use TPCK, because it’s easy to kind of get data from students that you’re teaching, a lot of it’s around pre service teachers. And if you go to a pre service teacher in the first year of their four year undergraduate degree, and basically asked them to do a self report, t pack kind of measurement thing, they’ll typically rate themselves really high. By the end of their four year degree, they typically rate themselves much lower than they did in first year. Arguably, it’s not because they’ve got worse or have forgotten things over that period of time, it’s just they realize that they know a lot less than they thought they did when they first started. So it’s an understand it’s a recognition of where they’re placed. So it’s a really hard thing to do to get teachers to do TPCK kind of self report stuff. Because if you don’t know about this thing, or don’t know that it exists, or how it works, or anything, you’re probably not even going to slowly start to consider that or if you if you only use PowerPoint and Excel in your classrooms, then you’re going to rate yourself really highly, because you think you’re using them really well. But you probably are. But it doesn’t necessarily give you the answers for all of those other kinds of technology. So it might be a thing where you could you could start to get people to rate themselves on a scale of one to five or whatever you wanted to over a range of different technologies. Or you could be saying, over the last six months, how often have you used these kinds of things. So you can go about it in a in a different kind of a way, and then start from a school leader or like yourself, like somebody in that kind of position in this school, to start to think about it through a TPCK lens, but you’re not necessarily asking TPCK kinds of questions necessarily. It’s about what it takes is actually doing with technologies.
Yeah. And then you got to take into account the relevance, you might ask them, are they using VR, but they’re like, Well, I didn’t see VR as relevant in terms of in terms of the content, you know, delivery. So there’s a whole whole myriad of of complexity gets unpacked in it doesn’t know, which is this indicative of your role during research is that the more doors you open, the more doors there are open.
Mike Phillips 24:38
Yeah, well, I mean, that’s that’s exactly right. And then, you know, we can we can continue to talk about TPCK. But one of the realities is that, in addition to teachers knowledge, they make decisions based on a whole range of other things as well. So one of the things that we were talking about there, for example, was skill. So if you’re particularly skilled using a particular application, particular type of hardware or whatever it happens to be, you’re probably more likely to use it than if you find it really difficult to do it or you don’t think that you’re particularly skilled in it. Similarly, if you’re seeing it, you know, Blake or Mike, you were working in a school as a teacher, then probably you’d be seen as one of the ed tech kind of folks in the school. And so your identity within that school community would be a technology using teacher. So if your identity is wrapped up with the technologies, you’re probably more likely to use it as well. Similarly, if you if you if you have beliefs, and there’s been a whole lot of work done around teachers beliefs, and technology integration, if you believe technologies are beneficial for student learning, or to help you with your teaching, or whatever it happens to be, if you value that, then again, you’re much more likely to try to integrate technologies or persist when things get a little bit trickier. So there’s actually a whole range of different things in addition to teachers knowledge that they use to make decisions about what to or not to do in classrooms. And so the last two or three years, three or four years, I’ve been trying to move beyond TPCK still included, but start to try to work out a way where we can look at the types of decisions that teachers made, and start to say, Well, what other kinds of things in addition to knowledge, come into the decision making that these teachers are going through? So I call that collection of five things I talked about skills, knowledge, identity, and values, which is kind of like beliefs, and epistemology, which is a fancy word for talking about the way different subject areas think about knowledge. So for example, the way chemistry thinks, you know, chemists think they want to kind of like atomized things down to its smallest kind of molecule. Whereas a biologist wants to think in broad kind of systems as a general, broad, general kind of an idea. So different subject areas have these different ways of constructing and thinking about knowledge. So with those five elements, skills, knowledge, identity values, and epistemology, or skive, I’d talk about those in terms of an EP what I call an EP wide, amongst others call an epistemic frame. So there’s this broader frame of things that teaches us to make decisions. And so that idea came from a guy called David Schaffer from the University of Wisconsin, in Madison in the US. And he’s got a really cool tool called epistemic network analysis, which allows us to actually measure and quantify the strength of connections between those types of elements, and the types of decisions that teachers make
Mike Reading 27:55
about these decisions, obviously, you’re trying to make you want to make improvements, right? So we’re trying to make things better. So what and like making decisions on what technology to use or make decisions on how to teach or what’s the end game?
Mike Phillips 28:11
Well, for, and that varies from teacher to teacher, but but for me, it’s looking at long term about improving student learning outcomes. So and that might not just be content learning outcomes, but that might be social learning outcomes, that might be a whole range of different things. But it’s about helping people to become better versions of themselves, I guess, which is, which is really a big part of what education is about. So yeah, all of those kinds of decisions. And so we’ve got a decision making framework, called pedagogical reasoning, and action, which has six kind of stages that most teachers go through, and sometimes in different orders, and they spend different amounts of time on things, but it’s a generally pretty well accepted kind of framework about how most teachers make a lot of decisions.
Mike Reading 29:02
So would you roll that out? Like a principal or middle leaders would pick that framework up and use it to group and move help move teachers towards an outcome? Or is that something that is more individualistic in terms of a teacher wants to improve? So then use this framework? Both both can do that.
Mike Phillips 29:21
So one of the things that I’m in the process of doing at the moment is gathering a whole lot of data from pre service teachers, as well as experienced in service teachers. Because what I want to find out is what are the differences in their decision making, if we can quantify it, and we can now map these kinds of connections? Are there significant differences between the way experienced teachers do this and the way that more novice teachers do this? And are we then able to get a more predictable and robust pathway to be able to get the novice to start thinking more like that the expert or the more experienced teacher and I’m also doing that across different subject areas. So we ran a ran a pilot study two years ago, where we looked at science technology and maths teachers and the way that they plan for lessons with the idea that a lot of countries around the world, a lot of governments around the world are wanting to try to start to come up with this idea of integrated stem. So having science technology and math teachers working with the same group of kids at the same time around these kind of integrated, challenging problem areas, what we found was that it’s almost like these teachers are speaking in different languages in the way that they plan, they just plan in fundamentally different ways. Which is problematic if we just say, Well, we’ve timetabled these teachers to teach together. Off you go and make it work? Well, it’s, I think it’s probably a little bit more complicated than that. And so we actually need to either do one of two things, I think, if we want that integrated stem idea, one is to have the teachers understand these differences, and try to teach them to speak one another’s language a little bit more so that they can actually truly integrate what it is they’re trying to do. Or point out these differences. And point these differences out to the kids in the classrooms and say, Well, if you’re thinking about this problem, like a mathematician, and you’re going about it this way, and you’re not having much success, well, a scientist might think about it this way, some perhaps you might want to change the way that you you considering the problem, and you might have some more success. So not necessarily trying to get everybody to think in exactly the same way. But starting to understand and unpack these these different subject based differences.
That primarily in the you know, what, what you would call the the pedagogical knowledge, the PK part of TPCK. Is that is that sort of where that that operates? Or does that cross into content knowledge and into technical knowledge as well?
Mike Phillips 32:02
Yeah, absolutely. And to make things a hand more complicated, Lee Schulman who came up with that idea of pck, back in the 80s, he talked about pck, being just one form of I think, was seven different forms of knowledge that teachers ate. So pck doesn’t actually really have something like knowledge of curriculum in it, or knowledge of, of educational contexts, which were two of the other ones that that he talked about. He also talked about this notion of general general pedagogical knowledge, which is whether you’re teaching science, or whether you’re teaching history, or whether you’re teaching PE, there are just some things that all those teachers will do. So, you know, we all probably recognize that it’s a bad idea to hit kids. Doesn’t matter what subject you’re teaching, there’s a general kind of pedagogical principle. So there are all of these different forms of knowledge, as well as technological knowledge. And it and for those, those stem teachers that we’re working with, it changes for all of them, all of those different things interact in different ways.
Mike Reading 33:14
So true, I found that when I went from science to the history and geography department, I just couldn’t believe the way they thought and the way they plan. I was just like, this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. It took me a while to come around to their way of thinking, but I can definitely see the reasons behind it. So you’re right.
Mike Phillips 33:32
It’s it’s about what what different groups of people fight, I think are important, what they value. And, you know, that’s one of the fantastic things I think about a lot of the education systems that I’ve been fortunate enough to look at, that they start off with a really broad base, they get kids to start thinking in a whole range of very different divergent sorts of ways. And so that’s a pretty cool thing. It’s it’s just difficult when we have teachers who are often teaching that in that one subject area, and they’re starting to think about things in sort of more finite siloed ways. This
is that power of diversity, isn’t it with diverse thinking, you know, diversity of perspective, all of those things add up to a better and resolve. But one thing I’m interested is to come back to for a moment in something that has sparked my interest when you’re talking about ways of kind of using it to assess things. I wonder, can we use TPCK to actually assess the technology itself? Because one idea that I was just thinking of like an overhead projector, if I was a graduate teacher now, I would probably treat an overhead projector as an emerging technology in that I didn’t have much knowledge of it. It’s certainly not something that I can do, you know, without thinking, you know, I have to figure out how it all sort of works and how I would teach with it. Can the model actually be used for assessing I think of the example of like, Google Docs is highly embedded in our school now. And this idea that you would email a Word doc around to everyone and then collate it all laid out like that. Just seemed is laughable. In fact, two teachers often joke about it now someone emails a document, because it’s so, you know, well, why didn’t you? So? So I wonder, can it be used in a way to actually assess the technology? Like, is there a way that we could look at the technologies we’re using in the school? Like, whether it’s the interactive whiteboard and see, is this something that actually matters? in the in the formation of good teaching, you know, through the lens of TPCK? Can it be used in that way? Or is it any any thoughts on that?
Mike Phillips 35:29
I, my initial reaction would be I probably wouldn’t do that. This is this is a framework that’s been designed specifically to, to look at teachers knowledge. So it’s not designed to assess technologies. And it’s not really even designed to assess teachers to rate them as good or bad. It’s just a way for us to start to think about the interactions between technologies and pedagogical approaches and content. So that there are plenty of other kinds of tools or frameworks that you can use to look at writing or assessing or evaluating different forms of technologies. I don’t think t Pac would necessarily get you the kinds of answers that you might be looking for there.
So it’s really a tool for for, like you’re saying almost the individuals to to use in their their kind of professional development, if you like,
Mike Phillips 36:28
Well, yeah. And it’s also a really good way sometimes to step back and think, well, if something didn’t work quite so well, where why might that be the case? Where did things sort of fall apart? Which part of this, these overlapping circles didn’t overlap in this particular case? And so it can be a good way for when things aren’t going the way that you might have hoped to actually step back and take a look at what’s going on?
Mike Reading 36:56
doing that, like you talked about the the trainee teachers that are coming through, and they rate themselves pretty high initially. And the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know, in a sense. So is a better when you’re coming up with that scale to to be almost like a black or white, I can do this skill, yes or no. Rather than like, I like the way you said in the last six months, how often have you used I think that’s a good indication. But in one sense, you could be using it using it wrong or poorly as well. So yeah, the skills play a piece in that I’m just wondering, I go to your school later. And I’m looking at this and going okay, I’d love to be able to progress my staff towards better teaching and learning. I guess it’s not like the summer model, in a sense, where he goes substitution and lay across, is there some way that you can think about that?
Mike Phillips 37:44
Yeah. So that that’s a question that actually one of my PhD students is looking at. So what does it actually mean? What does it look like to get better when you’re teaching with technologies? So what’s a better way of, you know, what’s a higher level of TPCK? What does that look like in the classroom? And so I think that what, there are some inherent problems in self report measures, as I’ve said, but they can be great to start a conversation. And then if you actually follow those up with with other ways of exploring what teachers are doing, so for example, observing what they’re doing, or having. And that doesn’t mean that the principal has to walk into the classroom, it might be that you were working in a school where people attend teaching together. And so what you’re doing is you’re actually empowering other teachers to work with, with their colleagues. And again, it’s not saying better or worse, good or bad. It’s just about saying, well, it seemed like you wanted to do this, but you got to this level, and then there was a problem or something changed, or something went wrong, let’s unpack that, and try to figure out what we might do next time around. So I’ve got another PhD student who’s doing a really interesting study, where he in his school in South Australia has introduced a program that he calls a digital leader program, and the digital leaders are students. And they’re the ones who are doing a lot of the upskilling of the teachers when it comes to their technological knowledge. The kids for the technology’s there for the kids, the technologies are transparent. For the teachers, not so much. They’re more emerging. And so he’s actually got a program there, where you’ve got kids working with teachers, and the kids are actually in classes, doing a lot of the tech problem solving stuff. So that frees the teachers then to actually focus on the content in the pedagogical approach, but at the same time, they’re still learning about the technologies in in real time in class, so that’s a that’s a totally different way to think about it.
Mike Reading 39:46
That’s really interesting. So you really need to define better for a start. And that would be at an individual level. I guess I got to give you some context. I was talking to a teacher yesterday just went through an appraisal with a principal and the principal didn’t like what He saw her in the class, because it was noisy, but she saw it as very creative and collaborative. And so there was two different worldviews looking at the same problem. And that problem was that she was being appraised on the principles notion of what better is, rather than what she says, You got to find that element where you’re allowed for that teacher identified definition, right?
Mike Phillips 40:22
Absolutely. I think you’re totally right, Mike, I think it’s a very individual kind of a thing as to what getting better looks like. And the other thing that I think is also really important for teachers and school leaders to keep in mind is that TPCK is not this kind of aspirational endpoint, where once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for life. Because, you know, the second you turn around, something’s gonna change in the class, and the moment that you had, it has just slipped away. And all of a sudden, you’re then struggling to bring everything back into into that nice, harmonious balance. And, and so it’s, it’s this thing, that’s a constant effort to try to get to that, that beautiful, sweet spot in the middle of that Venn diagram.
That said, law of entropy, right? We have to keep working on things. Yeah. And, and so like, if you are a school leader listening, or you know, your learning coordinator type or even in my position, you know, that being the IT director, one of the best ways to kind of use this, like, if you’re right at the start, and you’re thinking, Okay, well, you know, my staff may not even know what feedback is, I need to explain it, first of all, and, and what it is and how it works. Is it best to start, you know, should I be running a staff meeting? Should I be working in teams take it to curriculum? teams? Or, like, how should a school go about implementing a model like this?
Mike Phillips 41:45
Yeah, it’s a really good question. But I can. And one of the things that if people look at that tee peg diagram, one of the things that I think is often forgotten is a dotted blue line around the outside of it that says context. And context is absolutely the most important part, I think, of this framework. That what what appears to be somebody who has or a group of people maybe who might have technological pedagogical and content knowledge in one context, it’s not, it’s going to be totally different in another. So I think, to some extent, it depends on the organizational structure of your school, and how many people for example, you’ve got working in your school, I mean, ideally, you might be wanting to do this with individuals. But if you work in a large school, like you do, like, that’s probably a pretty tall order, like, it’s gonna take you a while to get around to everybody’s office. But so then you might be thinking about working with, with teams of teachers, and actually, you know, within the departments, I might be across a year level, or it might be I don’t know, whatever the structure happens to be. But I think if you particularly are in a big school, and you try to have a uniform application of this idea, then it’s going to be problematic, it’s going to be very hit and miss, and in a lot of cases, probably more Miss than hit. So I think the general explanation of it could be done in a in a staff meeting, so to say, Well, you know, particularly, say here in Victoria, where there’s been a lot of remote and distance learning over the last eight or so months, you know, a lot of teachers found it really difficult because they didn’t know where the technology seemed to fit within the things that they were doing in there face to face classrooms. Well, this is a beautiful framework that is relatively simple and easy to understand. And it gives you a place to put that technology component, and to see how it interacts. So you could start with that as a whole school kind of an approach so that people understand that the framework, but the way that they then apply it, and the way that they start to think about their practice, I think becomes a much more contextualized smaller group of people that you’d want to work with.
Mike Reading 43:59
What about like, if I had to say SAMR versus TPCK? If I were in a fight, would you take one framework over another? Or is there a place where maybe they intersect quite nicely, and one merges with another at some point? Oh,
Mike Phillips 44:11
yeah, the TPCK or SAMR arm wrestle that goes on, you know, there are people who argue for both in different ways. My personal preferences is for TPCK . And I think that probably because it’s been around for a little bit longer than than the SAMR model. In part, but you know, TPCK has a very large research base supporting it. So it’s been used in over three and a half 1000 studies now. And has been used in a whole range of different contexts. Now, that’s not saying that salmon doesn’t have a research base or that it’s, you know, not viable or whatever. It certainly is, but I think that from my perspective, they’ve been there’s been probably the deeper exploration and critique of the TPCK framework, not saying that it’s perfect, there are certainly a lot of challenges and problems with it. But that’s why I’d probably choose TPCK over SAMR.
SAMR has the benefit, I guess, of being that staged approach of is like a step by step plan. I think one of the struggles with TPCK that I’ve noted is, it’s a Venn diagram, traditionally, that’s how it’s presented. And I think it’s very helpful what you were saying earlier in that, you know, the technology doesn’t come first in it, but it does come somewhere. It’s not sort of everything at once. And that’s one of the things that I think Sam has going forward in terms of its effectiveness as a model, you know, a mental model to think about things as what these are they’re really to help us think about things, aren’t they? And in SAMR, I see is that you know, what’s nice, nice clean steps, even I’m probably more in your camp have not necessarily agreeing with those steps. But but the the TPCK model, I think has a nice, you know, visual appeal, it looks like I can understand that, you know, technology overlaps with content knowledge, and, and so on and so forth. But, but trying to get to the, I guess the core of how do I improve with feedback probably isn’t as simple. And so if we can rewind back to that a little bit, is there a sort of way we should be thinking about this in a staged approach?
Mike Phillips 46:22
Well, I think one of the one of the challenges the other challenges that I have with the SAMR model is that it’s hierarchical in that the more technology, the better digital technology, the better. And, and I’m I am an edtech. Fan, I enjoy teaching technologies, I enjoy seeing students working with technologies. But I also recognize that there are some situations in which the technologies are just unhelpful. They just don’t do what I’m trying to achieve. So for example, if I’m trying to teach students how to synthesize a large, large sort of body of text, and to come up with one of the main things or big ideas that are coming out of this, we’ve I go to a word cloud kind of platform and just dump all of the words into there, and he does the synthesis work for me, well, it hasn’t actually helped me teach the students what I want to teach them. It’s an amazing piece of software. But if I was to get students to do that, by hand, you know, we’ve posted notes and move things around and that kind of thing, I might actually have a better learning outcome for the students in the SAMR model. That wouldn’t be, you know, a better version of that. So I think one of the advantages with TPCK is that even though it considers technologies, it doesn’t say that more more use of technology is necessarily a better thing.
That’s such a eloquent way of putting it like great analogy, because it really makes it clear, I think, especially to me about how we should use the model to think about tech in the classroom isn’t about mod tech, and often have this discussion. And people say, Well, what do you do about maths, you know, maths, was a difficult learning area for using technology because they need to do working out, and they need to have demonstrated knowledge on graphs. And, and all of that is kind of difficult, unless you have every device with a stylus and, you know, sort of a high level of technology in the school. And, and I always say like, if you can’t improve the the outcome, don’t use the technology. And often, you know, for an IT guy that we want to say use tech regardless, you know, using tech for everything, replace paper, let’s throw it all out. But if at the end of the day, the year 12 exam requires you to write in pen and paper. Well, let’s not do all of our practice exams on on the laptop, you know, let’s actually write on pen and paper, because that’s the skill that we’re actually trying to improve.
Mike Phillips 48:52
Yeah, that’s right. So, you know, there are there are lots of awesome technologies out there. And I think that one of the things that I think getting better looks like with TPCK is actually being more considered in your choices of technology in having wider choices. So instead of just having your technology diet just focused on, you know, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, they actually have a richer, more varied kind of a diet and more options to choose from, the more options you have, the better choices you’re going to make. So I’d be advocating for people to be continuing to explore these different emerging technologies. And that might be you know, an old technology, but it’s emerging for you. Go out and experiment with it, try it out, see what it can and can do. And even if it then doesn’t fit into your class, tomorrow or next week, then at some future point, you might be thinking, Oh, I remember having a bit of a play with that. Yeah, I think that would could actually work in this particular students. And that way, you’re making better choices for your students. for the content that you’re trying to teach at that particular point in time.
And it’s about technology being being a seat at the table. And there’s this idea that I’ve been thinking about lately is that, you know, every company now is has to be a tech company, you know, this idea that Uber is seen as a tech company, but silvertop taxis is seen as a traditional taxi company, when in reality, you know, they’re both doing the same thing. They’re in the same market sector. But we think of Uber as a technology company. I think there’s a similar crossover happening in schools where we need to start thinking about technology as as an embedded part of the delivery of education, rather than, you know, your tech school. I mean, that that’s actually a phrase here. And in Victoria, there are tech schools. Yeah. And non tech schools. Where do you Where do you sit on that? Yeah, look,
Mike Phillips 50:49
I think, if anyone was questioning the place of technologies in the education before 2020, they’re probably not now. And I think that even though we’re starting to see, you know, returns to face to face schooling and those kinds of things. I think that one of the things that a lot of people were surprised about was not that there were some things that maybe didn’t work as well, online as they did in the face to face classroom. Some things just don’t translate as easily online. But I think a lot of people were really surprised at how some things that were that were challenging face to face classrooms worked incredibly well online. So I think that the placing of digital technologies is, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s here to stay that that digital technologies are not disappearing out of schools anytime soon. So I think that one of the things that that we have to do as teachers is start to think about what these offer us and our students, and how we can make teaching and learning better with these tools. And he said, like if you can use a different tool, but that doesn’t mean toss the whole idea of technologies out with that, that one moment.
Yeah, very sort of polarizing approaches. And instead of saying, well, it’s either in or it’s out. Do Do you think that overall, we’re in the right direction, from your point of view, like, you know, you’ve got PhD students doing what asking lots of great questions. Do you think that staff are making better decisions and are taking advantage of technology in a better way, and we are reaching this, you know, digital education revolution? Because I often think, you know, there’s this big promise of the digital education revolution. And I wonder where it is, it’s more of a digital education iteration. I think it’s what we’re in, where we’re stepping our way very, very slowly and in some cases, painstakingly, slowly, particularly in schools that are underfunded, or don’t have, you know, champions for this sort of stuff on in their staff. Do you think we are sort of making that happen? Or do you think there’s still a long way to go?
Mike Phillips 52:55
I think, I think both of those things, paradoxically, are true at the same time. So I think if you look back to the way that teachers were using technologies, individual teachers were using technologies in their classrooms, back in 2009, let’s say when I when I went to Monash, what teachers are doing in classrooms now, like you were just talking about Google Docs, for example, in 2009, that just would have made my brain explode that you could actually have people working collaboratively on on one document. And now it’s just like, it’s part for the course. It’s it’s just a fight. You know, we that’s just what we do. So I think that there have been revolutionary changes in the way that teachers do their work. Yes. But if we start talking about a revolution, in the way that say, Seymour Papert might have talked about the digitally driven blowing up of schools back in the 70s, or 80s, where we have a fundamental change in the power relations between teachers and students, where if we are able to empower students to take control of their their learning, then we change the power structures within classrooms, then I actually don’t think we’ve really had a revolution. In that kind of sense. I still see teachers standing up the front of classrooms, using technologies to present content really interesting and engaging ways. But they’re still the ones who are largely in control of a lot of those technologies. And the students are still sitting at desks, often in rows, in the same way that they would have in the 1950s. So on one hand, I think teachers do amazing work and do fantastic things, I think, to change what some people call a small g grammar of schooling, the way schools look and operate, then I think that’s a much much bigger challenge and a much longer term kind of an idea. Schools are very robust institutions in terms of their structure and the way that they there’s a guy, French philosopher, a guy by the name of Pierre bourdieu. He talks about Cultural reproduction or replication, that things stay the same week to week, year to year generation to generation. And we just continue to repeat that the same kinds of structures that we have seen in the past. And so I think that we are seeing, as we’ve been talking about earlier, in this podcast about Mikey, we’re talking about student choice and student led classrooms, and I was talking about these digital leaders in the in the school in South Australia, we are starting to see changes in those fundamental power structures that underpin teaching and learning. But I think it’s going to be a little while yet before we see wholesale change across the board.
Yeah, I completely agree. And it’s such an interesting place that we find ourselves in now we’ve just come out of COVID. And I’m, well, you know, in Australia, New Zealand, anyway, a lot of other countries going back into lockdowns now. But those post lockdown experiences, I’m so interested to see the research is going to come out about did. Everyone just go back to well, you know, this is what we know. And this is, like you said, an ingrained structure in the School of instruction first, or are we open to more flexibility in the classroom? And then the timetable? And, you know, I think that’s going to take organizational change, which obviously has to be led through through practice that’s, you know, modelled and proven with research, which I think, you know, like, like, we’re learning takes a long time.
Mike Phillips 56:28
Yeah, yeah, no, it can, but but it Look, it’s, it’s an exciting idea, to entertain and to start to explore. And as you say, I think just chipping away at these things, you know, and and it can feel like you’re sort of walking through quicksand and not getting anywhere particularly quickly. But it’s such an schools, then schooling and education is such an important part of our society and an important part of our world. That I think unless there are people who continue to want an aim and strive for a better education system that serves our kids better, which I think by necessity is going to need to include technologies, then then I think we might as well just throw our hands in the air and walk away from it all, if we’re not trying to make it better.
Okay, is Mike’s all about that his company’s called using tech better? So? Let’s see more value, I
Mike Reading 57:22
think. Yeah, it is this, that’s actually one of our core values is to make it better. So yeah, I mean, you’ve talked about like evaluating tech and the way that you’ve got tech considerations, and you got the way teachers make decisions and so on, and you got Ph. D. Students making studies? Is there any particular questions that have been asked at the moment that have kind of got you excited? Are you like, Oh, that’s a great question. I’m really keen to see the answer that comes out of that.
Mike Phillips 57:47
Yeah, there are quite a few. You know, that that idea of what does it actually look like to get better? How do we how do we know when someone is a teacher is getting better at integrating technologies into their classes? That’s a pretty cool idea. This stuff that I briefly mentioned, David Shafer in the US, and that mapping kind of tool, there are some really, really cool things coming out of that, where one of the things that that’s challenging at the moment is that it takes a while for us to produce those maps. But working with folks in kind of like learning analytics spaces, working with natural language processing tools, what we’re trying to do is is say, Well, what if Imagine if we were able to get something where a teacher was able to have a kind of a dashboard on on a computer screen or a tablet screen or something like that, that was saying, not that you’re doing things better or worse. But hey, did you realize that you were you were making decisions in this kind of way, in this class? Is that what you actually intended to do? So this whole idea of kind of just giving teachers a bit of a knowledge about what their practices look like, in real time, so it’d be like almost having like, another teacher in the room? That’s a pretty cool idea, I reckon, and a totally different way of using technologies to improve teaching and learning.
Mike Reading 59:08
So that would that could be perfect lead system, red, orange, green, something like that.
Mike Phillips 59:12
Oh, well, it could mean that. Yeah, it could be that that’s pretty sort of simple kind of an idea. But, you know, if a teacher set themselves some some goals about, you know, trying to focus on particular approaches, or particular techniques, or, you know, asking particular types of questions, or I don’t know, whatever it happened to be, and you could then in real time feedback to those teachers and say, well, you’re you’re trying to ask a whole lot of open questions in this particular class. Did you realize that you’ve just asked five closed questions in a row? Is, is that something that you wanted to do? And it might be? Well, yeah, I did, because the kids just weren’t getting it and I need to move on with the content. But, you know, yeah, those kinds of things.
Mike Reading 59:56
X percent of the lesson did, you just did not shut up for 40 minutes and Give the students time to process.
Mike Phillips 1:00:02
Yeah. And we’re also doing some stuff that I think is gonna be really cool, or potentially really cool working with larger groups of students. So a lot of schools now moving to like 10, taught classes where you might have 50 kids in a room or even more, maybe in two or three teachers working together, which is really exciting. But, but if we’ve got students working in groups in those settings, and arguably, then probably one of the things that we’re wanting them to do is to collaborate a little bit better. If that’s one of the aims, then, if you’ve got 60, or 70 kids in a room, two or three teachers, how on earth do you know which groups are collaborating? Well, in which groups are, for example. So again, if we could use some of these natural language processing, to be analyzing what students are talking about, and all of a sudden, you know, it says, well, Mike Phillips has been, you know, blathering on here for an hour and dominating the conversation, that’s probably not a good indication of collaboration, hey, Blake, maybe you might want to go over and check out Mike’s group, because there might seem to be a bit of a challenge going on there, then that’s another really exciting and interesting way to be starting to think about technologies influencing teacher knowledge, but in a very different kind of a way.
It’s like a dashboard, you know, you see those dashboards, but I can keep an eye on the kids screens? All at once you know, those new types of things? It’s like keeping an eye on their on their progress all at once, isn’t it?
Mike Phillips 1:01:25
Yeah, well, it’s just it’s just I mean, if you’ve got large groups of kids in a room, how do you know what’s going on, you know, with the group over in the corner, if you’re in another corner, he just can’t. So if we can use technology, Mike in a better way, then, you know, we might get better outcomes.
And in two degree, this is sort of happening. If I think about the student management challenges, like at our school, we have 450 Kids almost in a year level. If you’ve got over 400 kids in a year level, no one student manager can know every student, whereas if it’s 100, you know, you can conceivably know everyone’s name and roughly where they’re at. But when it’s 400, it’s just so far out of out of whack with what, you know, one person can manage. And so we do rely on tools to track cruises, to see people that aren’t reaching their potential not not, you know, they might still be getting good grades, but they’re not growing, and things like that. And I suppose that’s already happening. And this is just a next level of that, isn’t it, it’s more micro going down into the actual class, you know, task.
Mike Phillips 1:02:26
Yeah. And also in real time, too. So it’s not, it’s not being reactive a month, or, you know, a week or whatever, later, it’s actually during the class. And, and I think that’s, that’s going to be the next big thing. I think that changes a lot of teaching practices, is getting more information to support what we’ve probably had in the past has been like, and I think these guys have got it over here, I might go and try and explain it to them again, because I’ve just, I’ve just got that feeling, you know, they just don’t look like they really switched on today. If you could back that up with some data to go, you know what I was right, I’m gonna head over and have a quick chat to them now. You know, a bit more of a data informed set of teaching practices might be might be a really interesting way to go.
help you prioritize for sure. Look, Mike, I’m conscious of the time and I’m sure like all of us, you’ve got many things to do. But I just wanted to say thank you. It’s been an amazing, you know, exploration. There’s a number of names that I’m going to look up now and some, some other concepts I’m going to take back. And I just want to I just want to end on one more question. If that’s okay. Just around it’s sort of this, I guess, return to like traditional schooling that we’re seeing a little bit of now. What do you say to these, like Silicon Valley executives that are putting their kids into schools that have no technology? and sending kind of that mixed message? Do you think there’s value in that? Do you think there’s a certain type of achievement? And I know, we’ve got to talk about context and everything, but when you’ve got people who work in technology, worried about technology, that’s often a thing that we hear is, well, you know, people in Silicon Valley are sending their kids to a school with tech. Why are we bothering with laptops? You know, we can’t measure the impact of the of the technology when we have a hand written exam. Why do we need laptops in the class or not just laptops with any technologies? What’s kind of your, I guess, broad strokes on that? What’s the thinking? Or I guess the the, the thought process you have around why technology does matter in schools and what we say to people who say it doesn’t,
Mike Phillips 1:04:30
I think I certainly think technologies have a place and as do a whole range of other other things. And so I think if we’re offering balanced opportunities for young people, that involves some tech and some non tech options, then I think it’s a really important thing to keep that balance in play. But for people who say technology, for example, has no place in schools, I’ve been doing some work with virtual school before. Toria here in Melbourne, who are these to call the Distance Education Center, basically, in a totally online school. And without the technologies that they use, there would be a lot of students, they have a large enrollment, there would be a lot of students for a whole range of different reasons who who can’t attend face to face kind of schooling situation. For those students, they would have a much more impoverished education experience. Without those technologies, there’s just no way that they would have a richer series of connections, both with the teacher but with other kids in the class. Without those, I’ve got another PhD student who’s doing a study on how chronically ill keep going in and out of hospital all the time, stay connected to their friends, and their classmates and their teachers in schools with the use of technology. So I think that for the majority of students, I think that balance is there, but to say that technologies have no place in schools, then there are going to be a lot of students who are already struggling with certain kinds of challenges in their lives, who just going to completely miss out. And so I think that if we start to think about what’s good for most, and what’s really good for some, then I think it becomes pretty hard to argue why technologies shouldn’t be really core and important part of education systems.
Mike Reading 1:06:32
That’s a good summary
it is, and certainly job readiness as well. That’s what I come back to is if you’re trying to you still have to use your phone to fill out your report like, it’s not like there are many jobs left where you don’t have to use a computer. So it’s, you know, it’s a, it’s definitely about, you know, preparing our kids for that. And that’s been a big push as well in schools lately as his job readiness skills and how how we can do that earlier and earlier. While they’re studying. So, it looks like as I said, I don’t want to keep talking. But thank you, thank you again for your time. It’s been just a fascinating discussion, certainly enlightened and sort of, I guess, collodion, a lot of the the areas of TPCK that I guess for me, we’re still a little bit gray. So thank you again,
Mike Phillips 1:07:14
my absolute pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.
Mike Reading 1:07:17
Thanks. And we’ll catch up with everybody on the next episode of the art class podcast. I’m really glad that you had the opportunity to join us and again, thanks to Mike for sharing his wisdom and his experience in this area. And hopefully you found something that you can take away. start a conversation about around your faculty or across your team, or start to think through. If you got any questions just feel free to leave a comment and we’ll come back to you. Thanks very much. We’ll talk to you next time.
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