Rogers, Graham, & Mayes(2007) – Cultural competence and instructional design

Research questions explored the study are:
(1) Are they aware of the differences between themselves and the cultural group for whom they are designing instruction?
(2) If so:
(a) How did they become aware of these differences?
(b) What importance do these differences assume in their thinking?
(c) How does understanding cultural differences affect instructional design practice?

Cultural characteristics are often vaguely defined and measured based on national level rather than more measurable features. The authors agreed with Maitland and Bauer’s conclusion, ‘‘national level characteristics must not be interpreted at the individual level’’ (p. 90). Although some attempts have been made at creating and using measures to reveal individual placement on some of these scales (see Clem, 2005; Neuliep, 2003), automatically imposing generalized frameworks, especially those derived from other fields, should be approached with caution.

The authors argue that we need:

“a more dynamic approach” …..that would  “account for both the complexities of the learners’ cultural predispositions as well as their individual uniqueness and ability to change.”(p. 4)


As Schwen, Evans, and Kalman (2005) elaborated, ‘‘The fault, if there is any, is not with the practitioners who are of necessity practicing at the edge of the professions knowledge. Rather the scholars in the community should
be attempting to make sense of especially sophisticated practice’’ (p. 13). For this reason, there is a gap, and more exploration is needed by researchers into the complex reality of practitioners.

Grounded theory was chosen to inform the methodology of this study because it is ideal for this type of exploratory research, allowing the complex multi-faceted issues to emerge without pre-imposing rigid definitions, and for future theory and research to be more grounded in real-world, lived experiences of actual practitioners (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Goulding, 2002).


culture can influence your expectations of yourself as a learner, and then your expectations of the teacher; those are the most basic ways that culture influences learning.

What is the process by which learners change and adapt to instructional techniques and approaches that are foreign to them—and how can we help to bridge the gaps more effectively?
• How can we find more ways to prove that being culturally responsive is worth it in the long run (for both financial and ethical reasons)?


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Impact of culture on teacher and technology use

A number of initiatives in the west ( e.g: OER, EFA etc.) is trying to create cross-cultural education materials for the learners all around the globe using technology.  Many researchers( e.g: Massy, 2005; Burnham, 2005) argue that culture plays a vital role in internationalizing educational materials. Thus the issues surrounding culture and educational technology is  gaining ground in research and development.


According to the the chapter titled “culture and online education.” in the Handbook of Distance Education (Moore & Anderson, 2003), there is little published research on the cultural aspects related to educational technology’’ (Gunawardena, Wilson, & Nolla, 2003, p. 770; Rogers, 2006).

It is clear that culture has a strong impact on human–computer interaction.



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Interaction analysis: foundations and practice

Interaction Analysis
An interdisciplinary method for the empirical investigation of the interaction of human beings with each other and with objects in their environment. It investigates human activities, such as talk, non-verbal interaction, and the use of artefacts and technologies, identifying routine practice and problems and the resources for their solution.


At the core of Interaction Analysis is this, “Knowledge and and action are fundamentally social in origin, organization, and use and are situation in particular social and material ecologies. Thus, expert knowledge and practice are seen not so much as located in the heads of individuals but as situated in the interactions among members of a community engaged with the material world.” Additionally, the authors situate learning as evidenced by the social interactions of the actors within a network. “Interaction Analytic studies see learning as distributed, ongoing social processes, in which evidence that learning is occurring or has occurred must be found in the ways in which people collaboratively do learning and do recognize learning as having occurred(p. 41).”



Jordan, B., & Henderson, A. (1995). Interaction analysis: Foundations and practice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(1), 39–103.

Interaction analysis: foundations and practice

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Guidelines for effective Professional Development

The author collected and analyzed 13 recent lists of characteristics of “effective” professional development and came to three conclusions. First, little agreement is apparent among researchers or practitioners on criteria for effectiveness. He urges going beyond evidence based on teacher self-reports to focus instead on the end goal of student achievement. Second, statements about effective development programs generally include “yes, but” qualifiers, frustrating policymakers and practitioners seeking simple answers. Yet, he agrees, the complexity of real-world context makes one-size-fits-all statements impossible. Finally, he says, while the promise of research-based decision making on professional development remains unfulfilled, it does not need to remain so. He urges identifying the strategies of effective teachers in each school and sharing them with colleagues as a basis for highly effective professional development in that context.


According to Guskey(2003), there is no explicit formula for generating effective professional development. There are a number of factors, such as differences in communities, cultures, socio-economic status, teacher turnover, and student turnover, that affect the whether or not a program will be successful. Due to these powerful contextual influences, broad-brush policies and guidelines for best practice may never be appropriate or accurate (Guskey, 2003).


Guskey, T. R. (2003). Analyzing lists of the characteristics of effective professional development to promote visionary leadership. NASSP Bulletin, 87(637), 4

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Chapter 12- TPCK in in-service education

In chapter 12 of the Handbook of TPCK for educators, Harris(2008) points out the discrepancy between teachers actions and  leaders’ vision. This is a reoccurring theme in many of my readings from Cuban’s(2001) book to some of the more recent articles from journals. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this chapter as I was able to relate to and think of ways I can help in-service teachers gain TPCK skills.

According to Harris(2008)

  • Technology “should assist with – not overshadow – teachers helping students to meet curriculum-based standards.” (p. 252)
  • “To an experienced educator, teaching is much like jazz performance: a well-practiced fusion of
    • careful, creative planning and
    • spontaneous improvisation” (p. 251)
  • Technology integration is defined as “pervasive and productive use of educational technologies for purposes of curriculum-based learning and teaching” (p. 252).

According to the author, the “wicked problem” of technology integration can be solved by understanding a number of interwoven aspects related to pedagogy, teaching and technology. It is necessary to recognize  that TPCK is not only focusing on knowledge from several domains such as CK, PK, TK, PCK, TCK, TPCK as suggested by Koehler and Mishra’s (2006) diagram but also is highly situated and thus is “influenced by contextual factors such as  culture, socioeconomic status, and organizational structures”(p. 255).

“… well-developed TPCK may be positively correlated with general teaching expertise” (p. 256).

The author recognizes that experienced teachers need a different type of professional development than novices. She proposes that professional development be developed around activity types (structures) within and across curriculum-based disciplines.

“given the socially situated, event-structured, episodic, and pragmatic nature of experienced teachers’ knowledge( Moallem, 1998; Putnam & Borko,2000)” (p. 257) activity structures”- ( as in sociocultural theory) can be used as “cultural tools that perpetuate and standardize interaction patterns and interaction norms and expectations”( p. 257) of teachers.

  • TPCK structure combinations: imitate, assimilate, innovate (p. 262)
    • => activity structures/types approach to TPCK-focused professional development for experienced teachers:
      • knowledge-building activities (p. 263)
      • knowledge expression activities (p. 264)
      • divergent knowledge expression activities (p. 264)

In conclusion, the author argued that activity structures/types approach is the way forward for in-service professional development that would provide opportunities for the  experienced teachers’ to be expand move towards a deep philosophical change.


Harris, J. (2008). TPCK inservice education: Assisting experienced teachers’ “planned improvisations.” In AACTE Committee in Innovation and Technology (Ed.), Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for educators (pp. 251-271). New York, NY: Routledge.

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Learning principles

I came across an interesting talk by Dr. Marsha Lovett’s of CMU Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence on how we can derive principles for creating learning materials( esp. OER) based on the research on Learning Sciences. She discussed three key principles:

  1.   Learning is skills specific. – Students learn the skills they practice and only those they practice
  2.   New knowledge is acquired through the lens of prior knowledge – Students see things differently from the way we do( What we intuitively feel will foster learning may not even be understood by students).
  3.   Learners refine their knowledge and skill with timely feedback and subsequent opportunities to practice – feedback and opportunities for additional practice is important part of learning process.

The entire video of this presentation is available at mms://



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Goals of Learning science

“Learning results from what the student does and thinks, and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.” Prof. Simon of CMU.

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