The revised Learning Event (LE) on web 2.0 tools and collaboration finished recently and what an experience it was. We tried out some of the ideas that emerged from the first LE earlier in the year and I participated as a facilitator in the Staff Room and in the final reflection. I was again impressed by the level of enthusiasm and commitment of the teachers involved.
It will take me several months to analyse all the data - and boy is there lots. So what can I say from what I see so far? Well I think we can consider it a success as far as the participants were concerned. The final questionnaire conducted by the European Schoolnet shows 66% indicating that the event was excellent and 30% very good (n=127). There was a terrific response to my final questionaire with 87 replies that is 58% of those that started the event. Here is a summary that I added to my presentation at Online Educa:
I need now to follow this up with more interviews and with an analysis of the discourse in the forums. However, from what I have seen so far, it appears that those teachers who persevered until the end - trying out what they had learned in their own teaching practice and then sharing their experience with their peers in the final reflection - learned not only about the tools but also about how to apply them for teaching and about the consequences for their own professional development. Whereas those that finished after the first 12 days of activity tended to learn only about the tools. If this can be confirmed in my analysis then it will be a significant result as this is precisely what we were aiming to improve.
39% of the teachers who started the LE completed the final activities, that is 59% of those that were still active after the first 12 days. This is a really good result; I was talking to a friend of my who delivers face-to-face training courses for HR professionals in the UK and she remarked that it is always a challenge to convince participants to come back to the course after a period away. Indeed, given that these figures only reflect postings to the forums (contributions), the number actually involved will have been higher as I am sure there will have been some who will have read the postings and benefited from the experience of others without posting themselves (lurkers). Such vicarious learning is surely valuable.
The quantitative results are useful in terms of offering immediate feedback. However, my research is primarily qualitative in nature and so I must now press on with the time consuming task of walking through the interview scripts and forum dialogues, coding and analysing. Onwards we go ...
About my research
My research was set in the context of the European Commission’s eTwinning initiative and it looked specifically at the use of eTwinning Learning Events (non-formal learning). It examined how the community influences the development of teachers’ competence in online collaboration and discourse, and it considered the contribution of social aspects and online moderation.
I am very grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Julie-Ann Sime from Lancaster University, and to my eTwinning soulmate, Tiina Sarisalmi, for their invaluable support. And to my examiners, Prof. Marilyn Leask from the University of Bedfordshire and Dr. Don Passey from the University of Lancaster, for their valuable advice.