DIGITAL LEARNING RESOURCE DESIGN WITHOUT FORGETTING PRAGMATISM: HOW CAN A CREATIVE WRITING COURSE INTEGRATE DIFFERENT BASIC SKILLS TO OPTIMIZE TIME EFFICIENCY AND LEARNING OUTCOMES?
Oslo and Akershus University, College of Applied Sciences (NORWAY)
In their recent survey (Rapport fra kartleggingen av digitale læringsressurser, 2013) on usage of digital learning resources in Norwegian schools, the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education (NCICTE) found that teachers do not particularly use digital learning resources all that much. Generally the teachers would however like to use them more than they do. One of the three most occurring reasons amongst ninth grade teachers from this survey for not using digital learning resources, seems to be that teachers find them to be too time consuming.
A teacher is often caught between prioritizing between what she wants to do in her teaching and what she has got the time to do. The challenge is to design digital learning resources that are not viewed as an extra, but more as a timesaver. How does one do that? The NCICTE survey results suggests that for this to happen, teachers must not only find the product to be of good quality, but also a time efficient tool to facilitate their students to reach the curriculum´s learning outcomes. For L1 teachers in Norway this could be challenging as the subject has a special responsibility for three of the five sweeping basic skills of the Norwegian curriculum, namely oral skills, reading and writing. The everyday time race of for instance a ninth grade L1 teacher would be to design time efficient sessions that combine more than one basic skill and preferably at the same time a knowledge learning outcome.
Using an example model of how a digital learning resource could be designed to help facilitate such a time efficient session, my paper will propose a pragmatic integration of basic skills to allow for both functional specialization of different modalities and an organization of these activities that would facilitate a quiet classroom when required and allow for a louder environment when students engage in discussion or use sound effects.
A digital creative writing learning resource would presumably focus solely on writing and digital skills. However, this particular example model, Kurt´s Crime School, does not. It is a digital creative writing course whose knowledge content is learning about the composition of fiction through studying crime fiction, and step-by-step writing your own crime story. The course consists of six chapters planned as 90 minutes lessons. Each chapter focuses on a different part of a crime story, such as for example writing about the crime scene or characterization of the criminal and the investigator. The first half of each session is planned as introductory activities where enthusiasm, games, sound effects and discussion of a short model text allow for a somewhat less quieter classroom than in the second half, where students are instructed to concentrate on quiet writing in a writing task related to the activities of the first half of the session.
The pragmatic aspect is thus to facilitate for all the combinatory needs that the teacher will have to take into consideration when planning her teaching to meet the curriculum and organizational needs of the class. The temptation to avoid for developers may thus be not only to remember to exploit the functional specialization of a particular modality, but also to not exploit it too much. A learning resource too invested in digital skills or writing skills, will not meet the practical reality of a teacher who needs to optimize time efficiency and learning outcomes while also integrating a functional application of basic skills.