Thursday, November 15, 2012

Obsolete and Emerging Technology

Obsolete and Emerging Technology: An analysis of the Palm Pilot and Smart Phone

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Module 5: Widespread Movie Access


Growing up if I wanted to see a movie, my parents had to take me to the movie theater, rent or buy the movie. Today movies can be accessed almost anywhere. Mobile devices, computers, gas stations, grocery stores, on demand, libraries and devoted rental stores are just a few of the places where once can access movies. My personal favorite way to access movies tends to be through cable on demand. Renting movies on demand does not require me to travel to a specific place to retrieve and return the movie. I am able to access it conveniently in my own home and not worry about due dates or managing a toddler as I am trying to check out a movie. If I was a more avid movie watcher, I am sure I would love the convenience and features of Netflix. Though it is hard to beat RedBox’s prices for rental, however fees can add up due to failure to return movie by the given deadline. Consumers and movie watchers have plenty of choices and can even access a limited number of titles for free through the internet.
  
What force of emerging technologies is behind the competitive movie market? Is it increasing returns that are influencing the widespread access to movies or is it a case of the Red Queens? Increasing returns are summarized as two innovations that emerge around the same time with only one remaining successful as it causes the other to become extinct (Thornburg, 2008). This does not appear to be the case with movies. Some rental stores have closed recently, but others still thrive. Blockbuster is still a heavy contender in the competition over consumer’s movie purchases by creating their own version of the Red Box. Not everyone has access to the convenience of video on demand, something I recently experienced after moving and not having established cable service in my new residence. However, I can just go down the street to rent a movie for my son if desired. My recent move gave me different perspective in how and why people would access movies in different ways. Red Queens are defined by intense competition between two different technologies. The competition leads to other competitors being left behind. One could argue that Netflix and Red Box are fighting fiercly to be the Red Queens of the movie world. However, video on demand services provided through companies such as Cox Communications are still in the fight. As the fight continues the services and type of technology begins to evolve and change. Netflix, originally founded in 1999 (Anderson, 2004), was primarily a mail order business. Now Netflix can be streamed through devices like the Roku as well as your computer. Their service plans have changed to be more competitive. The fight is still on and people everywhere are able to benefit from the widespread access of movies.

References:

 Anderson, C. (2004). Chris Anderson of Wired on tech’s long tail [Video]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/chris_anderson_of_wired_on_tech_s_long_tail.html

Thornburg, D. (2008). Red Queens, butterflies, and strange attractors: Imperfect lenses into emergent technologies. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Increasing returns. [Vodcast]. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=4199715&Survey=1&47=5797856&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1

Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Red queens. [Vodcast]. Laureate Education, Inc. Retrieved from
http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=4199715&Survey=1&47=5797856&ClientNodeID=984645&coursenav=1&bhcp=1
 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Module 4: Second Life

Back in 2007, I remember watching a CSI episode that involved a murder that crossed over into an online meta-world, Second Life.  I had never heard of Second Life before but was rather intrigued by the idea of an online virtual world, but never gave it much thought until recently.  Fast forward five years and I am reading about Second Life references in books, watching a music video produced in Second Life at an ISTE conference, critiquing a fellow student’s technology presentation done in Second Life, and seeing that a Walden professor holds office hours in Second Life.    After doing more exploration of Second Life, I discovered it started emerging into 2002 with beta users and was publicly available in 2003 ("Wired travel guide," 2006).  Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life, do not publish statistics for the public, but after doing some investigating it seems that there are about 49,600 residents online with a total of 31,281,835 residents (http://gridsurvey.com/index ).  Resident is the term for a Second Life user.  The drastic difference between the two numbers could be indicative of the number of people who have had an account but no longer actively use Second Life.

Joining and creating an account is free for a basic membership.  However, you do have to pay monthly for a premium account.  With the premium account you receive a stipend where you are able to purchase different things including genitalia.  When you join you choose an avatar that you are later able to customize along with a name ("Wired travel guide," 2006).  You basically have the ability to invent yourself.  The Destination Guide featured on Second Life shows a wide range of categories from adults only to education to a wide variety on special interest groups.  It seems that there is a destination guide for you regardless of how common or obscure your interest is.

Second Life is a perfect example of a disruptive technology.  Disruptive technologies have been defined as technology that is brand new and is not a product of an already existing evolving technology (Laureate, 2009).  People have used chat rooms to interact and communicate online for the same purposes that people use Second Life; however the chat rooms were limited by text only.  Through Second Life users have the ability to interact with each other in a more dynamic way and use voice and/or text to communicate with each other.  People who use Second Life invest a significant amount of time in the virtual world with an average of forty hours a month ("Wired travel guide," 2006).

The social benefits of using Second Life can vary depending on the person.  Based off a study conducted at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Dell talks about her own experience with the findings that self-perception affects behavior.  She discovered that when she first entered the virtual world of Second Life she chose a “plain-Jane” avatar and ran away with the slightest prompting of social interaction.  Later on, with more confidence she changed her avatar to be more attractive and began to exert herself more in Second Life.  Dell experienced how her exerted self-confidence in Second Life transferred over to her feeling more confident in the real world (Dell, 2008).  People have the opportunity to explore different sides of themselves and their personalities through Second Life.  This virtual world also brings people together in a completely different way to interact and even collaborate.  It has even been proposed that Second Life could be used as a form of Student Management System and called “Sloodle” – a combination of Second Life and Moodle.



Resources:

Dell, K. (2008). How second life affects real life. Time, Retrieved from      
           http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1739601,00.html

Laureate (Producer). (2009). In Emerging and future technology [Audio podcast].
Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/

Wired travel guide: Second life. (2006, October). Wired,14(10), Retrieved from
            http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.10/sloverview_pr.html


Friday, October 5, 2012

Module 3: Rhymes of History: The Evolution of Stories



Whether one is a young child or an older adult, few people can resist a good story.  Stories have been around seemingly since the beginning of time. There is evidence of stories being shared as early as 15000 B.C. (Lockett, 2007).  In the Pyrenees Mountains, children found drawings in the Lascaux Caves. More than 2,000 figures that were painted in a narrative fashion of animals and other creatures.  Scientists who carbon dated the place believes that these narrative paintings were created around 1500 to 1300 B.C. (Lockett, 2007).  All over the world and throughout history, stories have been used to entertain and to explain.  Through the sharing of stories, people were able to “pass on wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the generations” (Lockett, 2007, p. 2). 

The concept of recording stories has been around as long as they have been shared.  Paintings on rocks, cuneiform found on tablets, hieroglyphics on papyrus (Lockett, 2007), written word on paper and now text on eReaders and other handheld devices (Barnard, 1999).  Since the first mechanically printed book first emerged around 1452 (Barnard, 1999), the technology of printing books has evolved drastically.  In 1999 Barnard accurately predicted that we will be reading books in handheld electronic book readers.  He described the quality of the screen as well as the ability to navigate through the stories, search, and use the device similar to a printed book (Barndard, 1999). 

The popularity of eReaders has begun to emerge into classrooms. Fourth grade teacher, Julie Kaplan, writes grants for Kindles through Donors Choose so individuals and companies can fund her project.  She has been quite successful and has received nine Kindle eReaders for her classroom with the desire for more.  Her students enjoy reading stories using the Kindle eReader.  She also helps assist her students in purchasing their own Kindles.  Kaplan is a huge fan of the Kindle and enjoys spending her leisure time reading books through this device.   

After a recent move, I downsized my book collection of over 200 plus books in exchange for an iPod Touch that has different apps for books.  I enjoy having the easy access to my books day or night.  Back in 2007, Brewster Kahle spoke about his desire to have a free digital library available to everyone that included every single book ever published.  Mobile devices are making it even easier for people to access books.  Easier access can lead to more reading.  Wouldn't it be nice if more people used their phone to read a book instead of catch up with Facebook or play Angry Birds?  





References


Friday, September 21, 2012

Module 2: The Invention of the Car

The invention of the car drastically change the lives of people. It has given people freedom and convenience as they are able to more freely travel from one place to another. The biggest downfall of the car is that the majority of cars are dependent upon a nonrenewable source. Inventors have been up to the challenge of creating alternatives.

Larry Burns, the Vice President of General Motors, gave a TED talk back in 2005 in regards to the future of cars and how they would run on hydrogen.  Seven years later this new technology does not seem to be emerging.  It is interesting to see where we will be going and what will be the next step.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Module 1: Emerging Technology: The "Flipped" Classroom



Emerging Technology: The Flipped Classroom

One of the buzz words in education today seems to be “flipped” classrooms.  This classroom model has students receiving instruction at home and doing the practical application in the classroom.  For the flipped model, instruction is usually received through an online podcast that is video or audio.  Educators who are incorporating this model are working on the assumption that every student has internet access of some sort to receive this instruction outside of the school day.  This model has received a lot more attention through the work of Salman Khan, the voice and person behind Khan Academy

This new technology and model for instruction is not without its challenges.  The most obvious hurdle is the technology infrastructure.  A doctoral fellow who has been studying the model points out, “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to flip the classroom without establishing a foundation of the instruction and technology. . . you have to create the environment in which students can go online” (Sparks, 2011, p. 1).  Classrooms and school districts approach this issue in various ways.   Decisions makers in my current school districts have been having discussions and drafting plans on what they will do in regards to district-wide wifi and policies in regards to having studies bring their own device or to supply devices to students.  And then there are the talks about what does the management of all of this look like.  

The other hurdle that most people overlook is the quality of the podcasts that are being used and how they are being used.  Khan Academy has grown in its popularity due to the press it has received over the past couple of years and has received several grants, including five million dollars from the O’Sullivan Foundation (Watters, 2011).    What originally started out as Salman Khan creating podcasts to help his younger relatives in different subjects, emerged into a website that provides the public with free video podcasts of him giving mini lectures on a variety of topics.  Many of these topics have follow up activities for people to apply what they have learned.  Teachers have been tapped into Khan Academy and started incorporating his podcasts into their classroom during class and as a “flipped” classroom model.  I have been one of the many teachers who have used Khan Academy in the classroom.
 
Khan Academy is a great tool to use in the classroom as well as to use outside of the classroom.  Used whole group in the classroom or outside of the classroom, it can be a great tool to be used to introduce or review a topic.  However, like any tool, it can be over used and abused and it is not a substitute for good, quality instruction.  Khan Academy or any podcast for that matter does not replace quality teaching within a classroom with hands on application and practice.  Students need more than to simply watch a video listening to a lecture and then taking an online quiz to test their ability.  Podcasts can be used as compliments toquality teaching, but not be used as a substitute.  My fear is that too many people are becoming dependent on podcasts that other people have produced instead of focusing in on how to create their own or perfect their own practice. 

 


References


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Module 5: Implementing New Technology


During my last two years in the classroom, I was the Educational Technology Mentor at my school.  Mesa Public Schools used the Ed Tech Mentor program as a way to provide onsite support for teachers.  Through one of the district initiatives, technology packages were sent to Title I schools that included of wireless slates, clickers, document cameras, and projectors.  One of my roles was to assist teachers in implementing the new technology into the classrooms.  The wireless slate was a piece of equipment I was particularly excited about.  It gave me mobility during my instruction and use proximity as a classroom management tool.  Students also loved having the opportunity to use the wireless slate during instruction.  The only drawback is that there is a learning curve in implementing the wireless slate into the classroom.  Learning how to use the wireless slate takes a certain amount of hand-eye coordination and most importantly – practice.  I would always use the wireless slate while presenting at staff meetings, I would demonstrate using wireless slates in the classroom, and I would provide one-on-one assistance to teachers.  Despite my efforts, most of the wireless slates can be found in their original boxes, untouched, lying on shelves.  Teachers expressed an interest in using this technology, so why did they fail to be fully implemented into the school?

The answer is that the wireless slate failed to meet Keller’s four conditions for motivation: attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction (Driscoll, 2005).  While teachers’ attention was initially captured during presentations, their attention in using the wireless slate was not sustained. Teachers did not find enough relevance in the use of the wireless slate.  Their current practices of instruction worked for them.  They also lacked the confidence to be able to successfully implement the wireless slate and feared that if they tried to use it that it could hinder instruction.  The blocks that the teachers had became insurmountable hurdles that have kept the wireless slate from being used. 

Despite the initial failure of the wireless slates, I believe a different approach may lead to them becoming successfully implemented into the school.  Teachers are in need of a different model of professional development when it comes to integrating technology into the classroom.  In addition to have a site based educational technology mentor, teachers need to have access to further support. Generation YES (Youth and Educators Succeeding) have developed a professional development model that is easy to implement, affordable, is effective and raises students’ self-esteem and confidence.  The model that they have developed consists of a team of students playing the role of technology experts.  Today’s student has more confidence in using and experimenting with technology than the average teacher.  Allowing students to share their knowledge and experience, with teachers gives students an important role to play and builds’ their confidence and self esteem.  Teachers sometimes feel more comfortable receiving a student’s assistance in experimenting with technology than a fellow colleague.  They do not feel as embarrassed if they struggle and stumble during the initial learning curve.  Having a student work with a teacher in learning how to use a wireless slate will lead to the teacher having more confidence.  Through the experimentation process, teachers will be able to see the relevance of using the wireless slate.  Teachers’ attention will be sustained as they see students enjoy using and demonstrating how to use the wireless slate in the classroom.  Utilizing this model of student experts to assist with technology implementation, will result in both teachers and students being more successful and satisfied. 


SMHS GenYes Rocks! from Debbie Kovesdy on Vimeo.
References


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Module 4: Networked Life

Ever since I can remember, my parents have religiously read the newspaper.  My mom covers each section thoroughly staying on top of the latest events happening around the world.  If anything related specifically to me or she thought I would find interesting, I would inevitably find a clipped article waiting for me on the counter.  The only thing that I regularly have read in the newspaper was the comics.
My networked life revolves around four tools that are all portable and ready to travel with me at any moment: my cell phone, iPod Touch, laptop and iPad.  All my devices are synched with apps that connect them, so I can access needed information or resources wherever I am.
Social networking keeps me in touch with family and friends and up to date with major events and issues.  Through different pages that I am subscribed to I also receive fitness, health, and parenting tips and advice.  I have also learned about new resources and ideas to incorporate into the classroom through different subscriptions and people that I follow.  My sister and I use FaceTime on a regular basis so we can talk, but most importantly so our children can talk to each other.  My two-year-old son loves talking to his cousin who is a few months older than him.  The Kindle App is one that I use on a daily basis as a way to decompress from the world by reading a good book.
I connect with fellow classmates on assignments through Skype conversations, BlackBoard discussion posts, and Blog posts.  I have developed relationships with classmates across the country who I chat with regularly about classes and life.  Our conversations that started as a class requirement have taken on a life of their own and are often a highlight in my busy day.
My students and I stayed connected through Edmodo, which was a wonderful way to teach students that social networking can also be academic.  I tweet with Twitter in the role of a professional in the world of educational technology, keeping all of my personal life reserved for FaceBook and a little left over for Google+.  Google Drive and Email are the main channels of communication and collaboration in my educational technology department.
I have never been one to turn on the news at night, read a newspaper regularly, or even carry books around to read for professional growth or pleasure. Through my various networking and connections, I am able to stay on top of the latest release in technology and the newest trend in education.  I bring back information to share with my fellow co-workers and classmates.  I rarely change my FaceBook status, but do find a way to stay in touch with friends and family.  And frequently, I am aware of what is happening in the world before my parents are able to read it in the newspaper.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Module 3: Our Connected World - Accomplishing Higher Achievement Through Collaboration


Back in 2005, Howard Rheingold gave a TED Talk focused on the new power of collaboration.  Rheingold will be the first to admit that collaboration is not a new concept; however what is new is the power of technology that lends itself to collaborative efforts today.  One example that Rheingold mentioned is Wikipedia and how thousands of people have volunteered their time and efforts to create a free encyclopedia that in a couple of years has been able to achieve over a million articles that are available in 200 languages.  We now work together under the premise "You prove to me that you are trustworthy and I will cooperate," opposed to the old form of business of "Neither of us can trust each other, so we have to make sub-optimal moves."  Rheingold believes that we have a natural inclination to work collaboratively within groups and cites many different examples beginning in nomadic societies to current times (Rheingold, 2008).

The numerous amounts of people that actively use social networking websites such as FaceBook, Twitter, and Google+, illustrates Rheingold’s belief that people are drawn to interact with each other.  Social networking sites have been evolving from solely being a way for people to connect socially to a way that people connect professionally and academically.  Classrooms are using social networking websites within the classroom as well as to connect with experts out of the classroom.  Sites, such as Edmodo, have been created to give teachers and students a safe, secure way to use academic networking within the classroom.  The variety of ways that students and teachers are able connect through the Internet and the use of mobile devices, enables students and teachers to engage in collaborative efforts that are not restricted by time or location.  Students are able to engage in constructivist activities such as problem-based learning using technology to engage in dialogue, problem solve, research problems and develop solutions.

In a journal article, “School-Wide Implementation of the Elements of Effective Classroom Instruction: Lessons from High-Performing, High Poverty Urban Schools,” one of the research questions that Cooke asks is “What are the organizational structures and systems perceived to contribute to high student performance in high-poverty urban schools with large concentrations of students of color? (Cooke, 2008, p. 93)” Through the different data that was collected six different themes were identified with the first one being collaboration.  The collaborative efforts that were witnessed to contribute towards the schools being effective were faculty working together as well as students working together.  Faculty collaborating together to provide access of the curriculum and support all students was highly valued. Students engaged in activities working together collaboratively to promote higher levels of thinking was also valued.  Not only was collaboration observed school-wide, it was also identified as a key system that ensured high academic success during interviews (Cooke, 2008).

Rheingold has pointed out that we are naturally inclined to work together.  Cooke has proven that it is an effective way of ensuring academic success.  So the question that remains is, why is collaboration not more prevalent nationwide in the K-12 classrooms?


Commented on:
Julie’s - http://juliekaplan.wordpress.com
Cora’s - http://corablades1.blogspot.com




References:

Cooke, S. (2008). School-wide implementation of the elements of effective classroom instruction:
Lessons from high-performing, high-poverty urban schools. University of Southern California). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/89230906?accountid=14872

Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved
 from
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Module 2: Cognitivism, Learning Theories, and _Isms... Oh MY!

Being a student of education, I have taken more than one class on learning theories. At every institution I have attended from community college to ASU to NAU and now Walden, I have had at least one class dedicated to this subject. And I have groaned more than once in regards to having to read and learn about learning theories again. I have been teaching for the past seven years. My classroom experience ranges from grades 4th - 8th. I have taught general ed, ESL, ELD, and dual language classes. I have written and planned lessons for a variety of different subjects and classes. And never once in my experience in the classroom did I stop and ask myself is the a behaviorist, cognitvist, or constructivist approach? And here I am after eight years of higher education and seven years of teaching, asking myself why are learning theories so relevant as I try to comprehend Marcy Driscoll'Psychology of Learning for Instruction.  See the ironic thing is that after having taken multiple classes on learning theories, my grasp and understanding for them is minimal at best.  The congitivist frame of thought would explain this phenomena to the fact that I have failed to find learning theories relevant.  Without relevance, I have not given anchors to true learning and understanding.  So I took a break from Driscoll's book and began to read blog posts by Bill Kerr and Karl Kapp. After reading Bill Kerr's post, "_isms as filter, not blinker" the importance of learning theories began to make sense to me.  He states, "How else could we have a big change without a theory to justify it and help us think about it?" (Kerr, 2007, pp. 2).  Learning theories are externalization of our thought process and how we learn.  We need those learning theories to justify, support, revamp, reform, and change the way we teach. For example, Kerr referenced a comment that Stephen Downs made stating that "much of the instructional design community remains rooted in behaviorism" (Kerr, 2007, pp. 5) and then goes on to make the statement that behaviorism was a theory that the majority of people had left behind decades ago (Kerr, 2007).  I had made the realization last module that the high stakes of standardized testing keeps behaviorism to be an approach that most teachers utilize, even though best practices show that there are other, more effective approaches to teaching.  Without learning theory to support what best practices are and what type of teaching is most effective, we would be blindly picking at what the best thing to do is.  Kerr and Kapp both agree that one learning theory does not completely explain every aspect and every situation in regards to how we process information.  Instead of subscribing to only one form of thought, they propose taking pieces of multiple different learning theories and "apply it effectively" (Kapp, 2007, pp. 3).  I like this idea because while I see the problems with taking solely a behaviorist approach to teaching, I also see that it has its place.  The whole concept of a grade system seems to be a behaviorist concept.  As I continue to contemplate the meaning and significance of learning theories, I am beginning to realize that "learning theory is indispensable to the curriculum reform effort" (Kerr, 2007, pp. 2). And for some additional food for thought, I came across an excellent four minute video by Dr. George Siemens as he speaks about the conflict of learning theories and human nature.




References:

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved 


Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.kaplaneduneering.com/kappnotes/index.php/2007/01/out-and-about-discussion-on-educational/

Comments Left at:
Julie: http://juliekaplan.wordpress.com
Seane: http://learningsquared.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Module 1: The Role of Teachers

The Changing Role of Teaching: Four Metaphors 

As technology continues to develop and evolve, it is crucial that our teaching styles and the roles we play need to develop and evolve.  In the article, Learning and Knowing in Networks: Changing roles for Educators and Designers, Siemens talks about four metaphors of teaching: educator as a master artist, educator as a network administrator, educator as a concierge, and educator as a curator (Siemens, 2008).
Using the metaphor of the educator as a master artist, than the classroom would be an art studio.  Students would be creating and working on their own pieces of art, as the educator is an observer who draws attention to innovative techniques.  The students learn from the educator's expertise as well as from their peers (Siemens, 2008).  In this metaphor, it seems to me that the students are given a lot of freedom to explore and utilize the resources available to them. I wonder about the amount of guidance the students would receive.  Would it be more limited in this metaphor in an effort to let the students explore?  I see this metaphor being more effective at the high school or college level.
With the metaphor of the educator as a network administrator, the role of the educator becomes one where the educator guides and aids students as they make connections and form learning networks.  Students spend time reflecting in where gaps in their learning networks may be and addressing them. The educator provides guidance through evaluating the quality of the learning networks (Siemens, 2008).  This metaphor of an educator is one that has a lot of value today in a world of social networking with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Students need to learn the value of networking and that it is more than just seeing what your friends are up to and how many "likes" you can get on a status update.
Traditionally a concierge assists people by providing information and help to people. They have a lot of knowledge about a vast number of topics.  In education, the educator as a concierge, would play a similar role providing students with information and showing them things that they may not discover on their own.  In the classroom this style may include traditional lectures along with time for independent exploration (Siemens, 2008).  This concept appeals to me a lot because it incorporates aspects of teaching that I accustomed to (lecture-style) and other aspects that I value (student exploration).  When done right, I can see this being highly effective.
The metaphor that appeals to me the best, however, is the educator as a curator.  One of the main reasons being that the curator is considered an expert learner and I am one that loves to continually learn.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a curator is one who has the care and superintendence of something.  Siemens talks about how the educator would play dual roles in order to balance "the freedom of individual learners with the thoughtful interpretation of the subject being explored" (pg. 17).  The educator would create a learning environment where students were free to explore, create, and express their ideas, but would also receive the guidance and support needed (Siemens, 2008).  In the digital world that we are in today, educators need to be expert learners who are thirsty for new knowledge that they can share with their students.  Educators need to be flexible in the roles that they play with their students.  There are times when students need direct instruction and there are other times when students need to have the freedom to explore on their own.  If more students were given freedom in the classroom, we would be amazed with what they are able to do and create. I have a student who I found out has his own YouTube Channel where he posts videos that he makes.  He has created two different TV shows each containing several episodes.  All of this he does in his free time at home with the help of his sister who records him.  I learned for the first time this past year how to create video and use YouTube.  Students know more than we think and given the right freedom and parameters, can amaze us with what they are able to do.  High levels of learning can occur with the educator playing the role of a curator.



References





Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Module 5: Static vs. Dynamic Tools


Online tools have been changing at a rapid rate and new tools are always being released. I feel as if I barely mastered PowerPoint and have just been introduced to the wonders and ability of BrainShark for creating presentations.  After analyzing static vs. dynamic tools, it seems as if the static tools are the ones that have been around the longest and the dynamic tools are constantly growing, developing and evolving. Granted, a lot of what makes a tools dynamic depends on the user. 
While I have the most experience using static tools, I have been learning and enjoying the dynamic ones. It feels like just a few weeks ago I started hearing the term Web 2.0 tools and I learned that there are now Web 3.0 tools as well! I started doing some research on all of the different tools that are available and am amazed at how much is out there and how little I knew about it all! There is a plethora of Web 2.0 tools out there! I really enjoyed the Introduction to Web 3.0 Tools written by Kecia Waddell and Prashanthi Selvanarayanan.  Web 3.0 is also known as the Semantic Web and is being developed to not just provide us with information but to help organize and evaluate the information for us.  Jason Ohler wrote about The Semantic Web in Education for Educause back in 2008. 
One of the most exciting tools that I just learned about is Duolingo.  It is a new tool in it's beta version at the moment that promises to help you learn a language while it quickly and accurately translates the web.  Luis von Ahn talks about his new project in a recent TedTalk called Massive-scale Online Collaboration.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Module 4: The Three Cs - Communication, Collaboration, Content



Tools for Communication -
  • Chat - Several different email suites, such as Gmail, have a chat and group chat feature
  • Email - Sending emails to individuals or groups of people is a great way to communicate and preserve a copy of the communication. These days it seems that every school district or educational institution has their own email suite. Free email accounts can be created through services such as Gmail or Yahoo. It costs a small fee but Gaggle is a great service for K12 students.
  • Edmodo - Social networking becomes academic networking.  Students and teacher can access Edmodo for free and privately.  Edmodo is a microblogging platform to communicate online.  Through Edmodo students and teachers can also share and store files.  Students can post directly to the class account or the teacher page, but not to each other. It is very easy for teachers to monitor student activity as well.
  • GroupTweet - GroupTweet enables Twitter users to communicate and collaborate privately.
  • ooVoo - With ooVoo, users can access 2-way video chat and 6-way text chat for no charge.  The site has the ability to record and send short video messages.
  • Skype - Another free video chat services enables up to 5 people to chat with video and up to 25 people to chat with audio. 
Tools for Content -
  • Vyew - A free collaboration platform that can be used for webinars, online conferences, real-time learning and instruction.   All activity can be tracked and logged. a great tool to use to deliver content.
  • EditGrid -  A free web-based application that works similar to Microsoft Excel. Some of the features of EditGrid include sharing, collaborating and publishing capabilities.
  • Keep and Share - Keep and Share is a free group file sharing system that allows for content to be shared and stored.  The accounts are password-controlled and secure. 
  • Stixy - Stixy is a free platform that works like an online bulletin board or whiteboard.  The workplace is perfect to share content and collaborate with other people.
  • Twiddla - Twiddla is a free platform that is ideal for online meetings and co-browsing. Groups can mark-up and comment on webpages, images, and other content.
Tools for Collaboration -
  • Wikis - Wikis are free collaborative platforms that allow for members to add, modify and delete content generally using a rich-text editor.  A personal favorite is Wikispaces
  • Writeboard - With this free collaborative writing software, groups can write, edit, track change and roll back to previous versions.
  • Mikogo - Mikogo is a free desktop sharing software that is ideal for online meetings, web conferences, presentations, remote support and collaborative efforts.
  • Wridea - Groups can collaborate and share ideas with this brainstorming tool that organizes and categorizes ideas on different pages, has unlimited storage and allows users to comment on topics and ideas.
  • ReviewBasics - ReviewBasics was a free online service that allows groups to collaborate and edit different types of content.  Users are able to share, annotate, and markup images, videos, and documents. The service is no longer offered for free, but for a small fee it can be accessed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Module 3: Assessing Collaboration


Collaboration is an essential skill for today’s society.  We do not live in a world that is full of individual geniuses; we live in a world that is dependent upon the collective minds of many (Laurette, 2008).  Collaborative learning through distance education is a way to prepare students for jobs where they will be required to collaborate in a variety of ways.  Randy Nelson speaks about what schools need to do to prepare students for the new models in the work place. One of the questions that arises is how should students be assessed for their work and participation in a collaborative learning community?  The answer is through a variety of methods. 
Dr. Siemens states assessment should be fair and direct based on stated outcomes (Laurette, 2008).  One effective way to do this is through the use of rubrics. Rubrics clearly define expectations set by the teacher and shared with the student.  Students who have a clear understanding of what is expected of them are able to perform better with a higher level of self confidence (Palloff and Pratt, 2005). Online tools that can be used to create rubrics are Rubistar and Teach-nology.
Self and peer assessments are examples of other effective ways of assessing students (Laurette, 2008).    This gives students an opportunity to reflect on their own contributions as well as the contributions of others in their group.  Evaluating and reflecting on one's collaborative activity and doing a self assessment is an essential part of online learning (Palloff and Pratt, 2005).  Dr. Parsons and the University of Dundee worked with the Blackboard Learning System to create a software program that allows for self and peer assessments.  This software program is now an embedded feature of Blackboard.

At times a group may run into problems with an individual who does not carry his or her weight.  Instructors have the opportunity to be proactive by setting the stage early on, clearly outlining expectations and modeling behavior.  Instructors should also frequently monitor participation and send an e-mail or make a quick phone call if there is a concern.  Often times a simple e-mail will help diffuse a small problem before it becomes a more complicated mess.  Providing students with conflict management and conflict resolution tips is another way that instructors can help students (Palloff and Pratt, 2005).  The University of California has a Conflict Management Skills site that has resources including a free downloadable book on Mediation and Conflict Management Book. 

Resources:

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Assessment of Collaborative Learning. Baltimore: Author.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.



Monday, January 2, 2012

Module 3: Learning to Storyboard

In order to create a video presentation for class on Motivating Students Through Online Games, my instructor wants a storyboard to be created and presented for feedback. I have never attempted to make a storyboard before, but am open to any and all feedback. I will be updating this post when I add on more or make changes. Thank you in advance for taking the time to view my storyboard and *extra* thanks to anyone who comments!