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Educamps in Distance Education: Professional Development and Peer Learning for Student Teachers in ICT

Educamps in Distance Education: Professional Development and Peer Learning for Student Teachers in ICT

Title: Educamps in Distance Education: Professional Development and Peer Learning for Student Teachers in ICT
Author: Jakobsdóttir, Sólveig
Date: 2018-06-17
Language: English
Scope: 501-507
University/Institute: Háskóli Íslands
University of Iceland
School: Menntavísindasvið (HÍ)
School of education (UI)
Series: EDEN 2018 ANNUAL Conference;
ISSN: 978-615-5511-23-3
Subject: Distance education; Fjarkennsla; Educational change; Menntabreytingar
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/1853

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Jakobsdóttir, S. (2018). Educamps in distance education: professional development and peer learning for student teachers in ICT. In A. Volungeviciene og A. Szucs (editors), Exploring the Micro, Meso and Macro: Navigating between dimensions in the digital learning landscape - Conference Proceedings of the EDEN 2018 Annual Conference (pages. 501-507). Genoa: European Distance and E-Learning Network. http://www.eden-online.org/resources/proceedings-and-book-of-abstracts/


Some distance education programs offer campus sessions in their courses. That has been the case at the University of Iceland – School of Education (UISE) for the past decades. The question is how such sessions are best organised. Lectures and seminars have been the hallmark of university teaching for centuries but can now easily be available online in various formats including more interactive styles for example with (recorded) synchronous webinars. Already in 2008 there were indications that distance learners at the UISE who had were exposed to online recordings of lectures were less likely to want to spend face-to-face meetings on lectures (Jakobsdóttir, 2008) than those who were not used to watching lecture recordings online. This was not true regarding online asynchronous discussions. Students tended to appreciate f2f discussions during campus sessions regardless of their exposure to online asynchronous discussions (Jakobsdóttir, 2008; Jakobsdóttir, Jónsdóttir, Valsdóttir, Frímannsdóttir, & Jóhannsdóttir, 2008). Of course there are many other teaching methods that can be applied when people meet f2f. One method that we have found to be promising among teacher students learning about ICT is a type of workshop that has for example been called educamp or edcamp (Carpenter, 2016; Leal Fonseca, 2011). Similar methods have also been called unconference or over-the-shoulder learning, playdates, or teachmeets. An educamp as described by Leal Fonseca (2011) is an “unstructured collective learning experience” making tangible “possibilities of social software tools in learning and interaction processes while demonstrating face-to-face organizational forms that reflect social networked learning ideas.” Such events have probably mostly been organised for the purpose of professional development and a chance to make connections and learn from peers in an informal way. Due to the fast technological developments it is important to instil in teacher students a mind-set that nobody can be an expert in everything and that it is important to explore together and learn from each other. Teacher students in their second semester of several years of study can expect that the technological landscape will have shifted and changed and new pedagogical emphasis and sets of tools arrived or be on the horizon. The educamp method has been used in Iceland under the translated label (Icelandic) menntabudir since fall 2012 with various groups: teachers of ICT, special education, natural science and mathematics, and teachers with groups of pupils in schools for example recently on makerspaces projects at the primary level (Jakobsdóttir, 2015; Jakobsdóttir, Jónsdóttir, Gudmundsdóttir, & Pétursdóttir, 2014; Jakobsdóttir & Thayer, 2014). In addition, these types of events have been offered in campus sessions with graduate since 2012 and undergraduate students in ICT courses at the UISE since 2014. The method has been adapted with different groups and for different occasions but when it is used as part of the teacher education curriculum it may have a more formal aspect in the way that all participants are required to participate with contributions in dual role as teacher and learner and that such a project is evaluated as part of their grade. In this paper, educamps organised with undergraduate teacher education students are described as well as the reactions of students from three cohorts in 2014, 2015 and 2016 (additional data may be added in the final version of the paper from a 2018 cohort which is completing a similar project in spring semester 2018).


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