Development of curricula and learning resources that reflect a command and up-to-date knowledge of their discipline/subject field

I believe that I have to cater for my students’ needs, thus, I ask myself what would they like or perceive as interesting. I am a digital immigrant (considering my date of birth); they are digital natives (Prensky, 2001) who are very much concerned with visual and ICT processing. But dates can be deceiving, so although I am not born in the year span of digital natives, I do consider myself as not only being a digital native, but also as an innovator. In order to get the attention of digital natives, I have to try in ways that goes beyond the verbal approach. Hence, I use ICT based platforms for example the NMMU LEARN online portal (learn.nmmu.ac.za) as a learning tool [See image below].

LEARN PORTAL

On LEARN I provide information regarding the topics for the next week or two, as well as what I expect from my students for the next session(s). I also post snippets from articles, hyperlinks to other useful Internet resources and YOUTUBE links (www.youtube.com) [See image below] on LEARN, so that my students can explore what we have done in the classroom at a deeper level. In addition, I post tips for their assignments, as well as examples of previous tests and exam papers, on this portal.

 

Patterns YouTube

I also use the iPad and create my own iPad mathematics videos on the iPad. These videos are uploaded onto LEARN, the NMMU iLearn system, where students can review aspects that have been discussed in class. I also play some of these videos in class and use them then as a tool to further understanding and discussion (See image below).

Educreations Topic 8

 

Below is a screen image and links to some of my videos:

 

  • Educreations Circle Example

Polygons iPad

 

Click here to go to the Educreations app.

The LEARN portal also serve a special purpose for our MEd and PhD/DEd students [See Appendix B1]. A link has been placed in the MEd section which guides students and lecturers to a special website which I have designed. This website serves as a scaffold for research students, as it provides useful information and links related to the research journey. A vast number of aspects are covered, for example how to decide upon a research question, how to write a research proposal, research perspectives and paradigms, video interviews with well renown researchers, referencing techniques, resources on methodology available online and in the library, writing tips, specific academic phrases and terminology, etc. I believe in sharing and building capacity as a collective, therefore I go to great lengths to share the MEd designed website (http://tutor.nmmu.ac.za/med/index.htm) with my fellow colleagues and have shared its existence with them.

MEd Website

Prof Bill Holderness (no retired) has shown great interest in this, as has Prof Lesley Wood. A very positive aspect of this innovation is the fact that a student could use this online resource irrespective of where he/she is residing in the world.

A colleague, Mrs Carmel Mohammed, approached me to assist her students in a module regarding resource design. She required something that is specifically ICT based. I designed the following website that her students, as well as my Missionvale research community teachers use, namely extended Cyberhunts based upon the idea of knowledge as design and on the taxonomy of Bloom. This is available at www.nmmu.ac.za/Cyberhunt/index.htm or www.nmmu.ac.za/Cyberhunts/index.htm

 

Cyberhunts

My PowerPoint Animation Tutorial 

 Click on the PLAY button at the bottom to play tutorial.

My EXCEL Animation Tutorial 

Click on the PLAY button at the bottom to play tutorial.

RE-CURRICULATION: PGCE CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

As Head of Department and Head of Programme, I was leading the conceptualization and design of the NEW PGCE programme that will be submitted to the HEQC for scrutinizing. I attach the document, FORM 2, as well as a short summary of the conceptual framework of the newly conceptualised PGCE in the link below.

 

By taking cognizance of the NMMU vision and mission, the Faculty of Education’s mission and vision, the NMMU graduate attributes as well as all the national imperatives (including the requirements of the HEQC and MRTEQ), the PGCE has been conceptualized to prepare students NOT only for the current requirements, but also to prepare them with dispositions to and resilience towards an unknown future. This conceptualization based on the different theoretical perspectives of Darling-Hammond & Bransford (2005), Darling-Hammond (2005, 2006, 2012), Hawkins (2002) and Vali (1993) as adapted and depicted in Figure 1. This process culminated in a conceptual framework for the new PGCE titled ‘Preparing Teachers for a Changing World’ (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005, p. 12; Darling-Hammond, 2005, 2006, 2012; Hawkins, 2002; Vali, 1993) as presented in Figure 1 (Click here to enlarge Figure 1. Enlarge the PDF file display size.)

Figure 1: Conceptual framework of PGCE (Adapted from Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005, p. 12; Darling-Hammond, 2005, 2006, 2012; Hawkins, 2002; Vali, 1993)

      

During the curriculum renewal period  the PGCE  team consulted contemporary literature on teacher education and curriculum development, and analysed feedback collected from current students, alumni, staff, schools and stakeholders. 

The PGCE Conceptual Framework depicted by Figure 1, suggests that in order to prepare teachers for a changing world, it is important to include aspects related to:

  • Teaching as profession and
  • Learning in a democracy.

Pertinent aspects that have to be addressed and which are related to each of these aspects have been indicated below each of these headings in Figure 1.

In order to develop and enable the envisaged NMMU vision for professional teacher practice, it is vital to address three key knowledge aspects, each with sub-aspects, namely:

  • Knowledge of Learners and their Development in Social Contexts
  • Knowledge of Teaching
  • Knowledge of Subject Matter & Curriculum Goals

These above-mentioned three key knowledge aspects, also relate to the perspective of ‘I-Thou-It’ as posited by Hawkins (2002) in his publication, ‘The Informed Vision: Essays on Learning and Human Nature’. The I refer to the teacher, the Thou to the learner and the It to aspects outside the realm of the I and thou. However, it is important to note that the ‘I-Thou-It’ is not viewed as separate from one another, as they inform one another. For example, at certain points, the Thou might be the central focus, but this does not negate the influence, role or impact of the I and It at the same time.

In addition, Figure 1 also highlights that the PGCE student progresses and develops from starting as a ‘New Beginner’ to ‘Starting to Teach’ and being ‘Reflective and Reflexive’ in order to become a ‘Proficient and competent beginner teacher’. Personal self-reflection, being reflexive, acting professionally and the development of agency are regarded as key in assisting with the development of the future teacher. The reflective perspective is based on Vali (1993) which suggests a reflective practice framework based upon technical reflection, deliberative reflection, reflection in action, reflection on action, personalistic reflection and critical reflection.