H.W. Kjærgaard, L.P.B. Kjeldsen

VIA University College (DENMARK)
Due to the increased focus of teachers and students concerning the new potential and the ever-growing flow of digital resources offered by the Internet, there is a need for pedagogical planning models that can assist in balancing teacher and student expectations about the inclusion of the new learning conditions for teaching and learning.

Teachers at all levels are used to reflecting on their teaching. This takes place during the planning, carrying out, and evaluation of their teaching. Previously, these reflections were mainly the domain of the teacher, but today, students are increasingly invited to participate in these activities as learning (co-) designers, among other things because – at many tertiary institutions – more and more teaching and learning is scheduled and planned as study activities where the students need to take on the main responsibility for their learning.

Because of the above tendencies, the increasing expectations for the inclusion of digital technologies in education leads to at least three challenges for teachers and students alike:
1. Technology can be a platform for technology-mediated learning
2. The Internet offers an enormous array of learning tools and resources
3. Technology as a concrete tool may be part of the teaching and learning activities (e.g. mobile phones, 3D printers, or digital (online) microscopes).

For each of these areas, active choices must be made concerning the degree of inclusion of technology, just as it is necessary to decide to which extent these choices should be made by the teacher or the (individual) students. Literature in the area tells us that student motivation is increased both when students take part in the planning and carrying out of the teaching and when technology is included meaningfully; but as yet, we do not know if motivation also increases when students are involved and given freedom of choice concerning the degree of technology inclusion.

In this WIP, we therefore investigate whether the model we have called ”The Convergent Learning Space” can aid this balancing of teacher and student expectations concerning choice of technology, including student freedom to choose learning approach, learning space, accessibility, lifeworld, and learning tools. In addition, the study explores whether this balancing of expectations – based on the idea of the value of a pedagogical contract with students concerning choice of e.g. learning platform, digital resources, and learning tools – can enhance students’ motivation for applying themselves in academic work.

Based on the elements in the model for The Convergent Learning Space, the balancing will take place in the following stages:
1. Teacher introduces model to students
2. Using a web-based, dedicated tool, teacher and students make a joint description of the desired and appropriate
3. At the end of a teaching theme or course, students and teacher jointly evaluate the activities accomplished in relation to the various degrees of freedom chosen. This will take the form of a comparison between intentions and reality and will be based on a questionnaire.

The concrete negotiations that unfold during stages 1 and 2 are essential for the intended effect and hence the value of the work with the pedagogical contract.