Title
Is ICT integration proving harder than you thought?
We can help.

ICTPD.NET provides online resources and professional development to support the successful integration of ICT in learning. We can also help you with the development of a learning portal, online courses for teachers, students and professional groups and planning for ICT integration.
Home Page - Information Leaflet - email bj @ ictpd.net


Developing Online Curriculum
The Asynchronous Space And Time
Planning Tool

A tool to help understand, analyse, design and quality manage flexible delivery modes
Bryn Jones - 1997 rev 2000
Feedback and Comment is welcomed by email

Introduction
Background
About the Planning Tool
The Asynchronous Space And Time Planning Tool
Questions to ask prior to putting a unit of study online.
Design considerations for Online Curriculum

Introduction

Technology planning in education is a relatively new art and educators desperately need tools which are easy to use and which will allow them to understand and plan better.One of the key concepts to appreciate in beginning to design and implement online curriculum is that of Synchronous and Asynchronous Space and Time.

Background

Robbie McClintock in "Power and Pedagogy Ch 5" (1992 - very forward thinking) makes the comment that schools as we traditionally know them were created in the early 19th century. The only practical way to teach people was to bring them all to the same place at the same time, almost irrespective of their readiness to learn.

"Existing schools can be viewed as a means for synchronizing diverse activities in space and time."


McClintock calls this "Synchronous Space and Time".

Modern information and communications technologies free us to a greater or lesser degree from that constraint and allow us to consider education in "Asynchronous Space and Time".

"By asynchronous space and time, we mean the ability of people, who are not synchronized in the same place at the same time, to communicate easily with each other in a variety of responsive ways."

"Power and Pedagogy" and other excellent readings are available on line at ILT web.
(Not there anymore - try http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publicAtions/mcclintock.html)


The Asynchronous Space And Time Planning Tool

Bryn Jones
SPACE
c 1997
Synchronous
Asynchronous

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1. This activity happens with participants in the same place at the same time.
Examples

  • LectureGame of cricketGame of chessLive Theatre
  • Night in the pub

(The mode where traditional classroom education takes place)

2. This activity happens with participants in different places at the same time.
Examples

  • Live televisionTelephone chessVideo conferenceInternet Relay Chat
  • Satellite broadcast

(The class still meets at an appointed time and works as a cohort)

M

E

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3. This activity happens with participants in the same place at different times.
Examples

  • Notice boardPigeon holesChess board left in room?
  • Curriculum on the LAN

(This is the least common of the 4 modes in education)

4. This activity happens with participants in different places at different times.
Examples

  • Email listWeb pagesElectronic bulletin boards
  • Traditional distance education

(Potentially the least rewarding of the 4 modes for learners)

(First Presented as a Workshop at EdTech98)About the Planning Tool

Purpose of The Asynchronous Space and Time Planning Tool

  • To provide a tool to describe and categorise four modes of learning activity in space and time on a two dimensional matrix.To assess the advantages and disadvantages of each mode for a particular purpose.To assess what is gained and lost by moving an activity to another mode.To assess the extent to which technology (for example) can help to mitigate any losses or enhance any gains.To provide a means of assessing the changes in the quality of an activity when it changes modes.To provide a base line of quality assurance to assist in deciding if a mode of delivery is appropriate to the organisation. (i.e. If the quality drops below a certain point and we can't find a way to put it back, then we won't do it this mode.)
  • To provide a method for determining the most appropriate technologies to apply in particular delivery modes.
How to use The Asynchronous Space and Time Planning Tool
  • Place a learning activity in its appropriate box in the tool.To get a clearer idea of the concept, place a recreational activity in a quadrant and consider it's quality in that quadrant.List your 4 favourite pastimes and try putting these in each quadrant in turn - could technology help to compensate for the loss of quality in some quadrants.
  • List Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats of working in that quadrant.
Quality control using The Asynchronous Space and Time Planning Tool
  • Move an activity a new mode.Carefully describe how it would work in this new mode.Assess quality losses and gainsCan technology (or something else) make up for the losses?Is it worth proceeding at this stage?What existing technologies may help to improve the quality? 
  • What emerging technologies may help at some time in the future? 
Questions to ask prior to putting a unit of study online.
  • How many students are there in the group?Where are they located?How computer literate are they?What's their first language?Do they meet as a group (in space) at all during the unit, if so, how often?How (time) synchronous do you want the students to be?
    • Not at all - completely flexible, students can work through at their own pace.Somewhat - there are activities to complete within a specified time frame for the whole group, e.g. they must respond to this week's lesson by Thursday.
    • Very - there are prescribed activities at specified times which students must participate in.
    Which technologies are best suited to the needs of this group of students and this unit of study?
  • For example a group that spends most of its learning time in quadrant 4 may benefit from even an occasional visit to quadrant 2 to allow for a video conference.
Design considerations for Online Curriculum
  • It's harder to read screens than paper.Avoid too much distraction on screen.Students often scan screens rather than read them.Consider limiting the pixel width of the web page to control lines to readable lengths. Twelve words per line is a good rule of thumb. Many web sites go to more than double this and are unreadable. Structure of the experience must be overtly displayed.Use consistent structure across units of study. Use fonts and sizes that work well on screen and paper.Many learners, especially older ones, like to print things out to read. Consider their needs in your design.
  • ...

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Title
Is ICT integration proving harder than you thought?
We can help.

ICTPD.NET provides online resources and professional development to support the successful integration of ICT in learning. We can also help you with the development of a learning portal, online courses for teachers, students and professional groups and planning for ICT integration.
Home Page - Information Leaflet - email bj @ ictpd.net