Article Discussion # 2

“In-Your-Pocket” and “On-the-Fly:”

Meeting the Needs of

Today’s New Generation of

Online Learners with Mobile

Learning Technology

One of the first thing that stood out to me while reading the article

http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/08_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf

was the age of the article. Many of the mobile devices that the article made reference to and the pictures where dated. That made me, think how far have we have come with being able to deliver learning through the medium of mobile devices since that article was written in 2008. In short, a long way I  think.

Today’s mobile devices have the power and abilities that would have been the envy of most laptops 10 years ago. I remember once reading that the computing power of today’s mobile phones is greater than that of the computers used to first take man to the moon!!! That’s pretty wild isn’t it? That in my pocket right now is a tool that is powerful enough to get a man to the moon and here I am wasting it on angry birds and boom beach.

So today technological innovation and software ability, check. I think the other reason we have come a long way towards online learning and mobile learning is the overall change in the mindset to how we learn. The ability of educational institutes to take a step away from the antiquated lecture halls and offer the information and learning in alternative delivery modes. The article stated “Technology is merely a tool that may or may not support the various learning activities that are available, as part of one’s individualized approach to learning, for selection from a cafeteria-style array of learning services.” I have spoken about the very same thing in my earlier blogs that the tech is just a tool that allows access to learning and that it is not a substitute for teaching.

One thing that I truly like about online and mobile learning is the freedom that it provides the student. How it can help overcome some of the social, economic and geographical berries that sometime stand in the way of a student’s education. I strongly believe that education should not be limited to those who can afford the high price tag attached to a full time, on campus living education, that may be thousands of miles away from home. This is the true value of distance learning/ mobile learning in my mind.

The article also spoke about the gen X, like technology we have kept moving forward and are now trying to teach the gen Z’s. The new issue isn’t about how do we adapt to online learning or mobile learning, the new problem is how do we get them to look up from the things. It could be said that this is a social problem not just a generational on. Again the article quoted

educators today must not only prepare students for future careers, but also prepare students for the “real world,”

Again, I have mentioned this before. I see our role as not only providing students with an education but to prepare them for the real world. This is especially true when I look at my own instructional topics. I try to tell students that you’re not always going to be able to “google it” that you can’t always post or blog a question. You are going to have to make a decision based on what you have in front of you, and live with the choice you have made. There are no span points or second chances in the real world sometimes.

I kind of got off track there.  To end I’d like to reiterate that eLearning, mobile learning, distance or online learning should always just be the tool to learning and never a substitute for an educator.

Dave E

End of course reflections

Ed366- Educational Technology and The Adult Learner

Well what can I say, it’s been a great 7 days.  Dave managed to break down my resistance to joining the world of twitter, even if it was out of necessity, and self survival. To be perfectly honest, I’m still not sure if I will be tweeting much after this course but at least the door has been opened. Through this course I’ve met a great group of people, which makes the classes much more enjoyable, so thank you all for that.  Over these 7 days I have also had my eye’s opened to the tools/technology that is available to assist me in my instructing.

As I had said in earlier blogs, for a long time I was somewhat limited to the amount of technology that I could introduce into my courses. As a result I didn’t really look at what I could be adding or using to make my course better other than fighting the battle to change some content. However that limitation that I had previously had become somewhat of a cage for me, the door to the cage was now open but I had been conditioned to stay inside. I would make excuses that there’s no real value or room for that stuff in my classes “it’s to hands on”, and in some cases this is still the case. However, after this course I am looking at things a bit differently, rather than looking for excuses as to why I can’t, I’m trying to see how and what I can. For me this is one of the biggest shifts.

I also enjoyed the way in which Dave allowed use to work through the tool and learn how they worked rather than the whole this is what it is, this is where is and this is how you use it. For me, the self-learning, peer collaboration approach allows me to have a much high retention rate, It must be because of my learning style, that right I said it!

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Or was it the collaborative learning?

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Overall great class, course, and experience.

Dave E

 

Presentation reflections

I particularly liked that way people presented used the technology to augment their teaching styles, I know not everyone has taught before but you did great regardless. The idea of technology augmenting teaching is where I personally see the place of tech in the classroom. The technology should be part of the medium for delivery of information, the presentation and collaboration of ideas, but it should never be a substitute for learning.

A few years ago I was at a national law enforcement campus, which will remain nameless, and I had the opportunity to see this occur first hand. I was sitting in a class of new recruits and , a very new, instructor who had be tasked with delivering the topic was sitting at a desk at the front of the class reading from a power point verbatim. This went on for the better part of the morning, him reading and the class fighting to stay awake. There were no offerings of insight into the information, no conversations, no examples or real life experiences shared. The students would have gotten the same experience and amount of learning from sitting in their rooms and reading the PowerPoint themselves.  Sure they were being given the information but they weren’t being taught anything they could learn on their own.  This was a perfect example where the instructor was relying on the technology to do the teaching rather than using the technology as a tool to teach. This is nothing new, we can all remember the teacher who can to class with stacks of overhead projections that they would read aloud, the class fighting to stay awake. The technology may be changing but it can’t hide or make up for poor teaching skills. At the core you still need a good teacher to teach.

When I look at my own presentation I hope that I was able to have that blend of technology and teaching in a way that was fun. Short of pepper spraying all of you I don’t think I could have explained it any other way. But if you still need more knowledge we may be able to arrange an expose the next time we spray the cadets!!!

 

Dave

 

Pros and cons of technology in the classroom

The first article that I have decided to blog about is titled, “the pros and cons of technology in the classroom”  http://www.edudemic.com/education-technology-pros-cons/ . I enjoyed the article and agreed most of the pros and cons if not all of the points.

There were several points raised about the pros for technology here is a couple I wanted to speak more about.

Data and analytic reporting– I liked how the article talked about teachers using technology as a tool to monitor a student’s progress, performance, participation and attendance.  By using technology in this way a teacher can identify students who may be in need of intervention or assistance, not to say that good teachers haven’t always done this. This is in line with my own personal view of technology in the class. The technology is just a tool for learning, not a replacement for teaching. I see the technology helping with oversight of the student’s online activities. The ability to see which student are putting in the effort but not progressing as opposed to the student who is simply not doing the readings or activities. It can help with earlier identification of problems and allow for targeted intervention.  With ever increasing class sizes and shrinking faculty I see this as a true asset that can help teachers better manage their classrooms.

Differentiated instruction– The article talks about using apps and software that can adapt to a student’s responses, becoming easier or more difficult depending on their individual performance. I think that this is an excellent utilization of technology. As with all classes you are going to have the high flyers and those students who will struggle. Having the ability to continually challenge the high performers can help keep them engaged, on the other side it can help motivate students who are struggling, keeping that material at a level they can understand and process.

the article also talked about the cons of technology in the classroom, again there were some great points that were raised.

Distracting– I think that we can all agree that having computers and cellphones in the classroom can be a major distraction. But what do we do about it? Is the problem that technology or is it the inability to stay on task/ lack of self-control.  In class today Dave used the analogy of taking the cookie jar away. If we simply remove the cell phone are we correcting the problem or are we just creating a monster.

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I think that in one of our responsibilities as instructors is to prepare students for the work force not just to give them an education. I believe that if we can help the student learn a level of self-control with technology in the classroom this may in turn translate to self-control in the workplace.

Disparity of access outside of class– I agree with this statement whole heartedly. Thinking back to our own childhoods we can all remember the child who you knew received little to no help at home with regards to school work. The reasons for this are complex and individualized to say the least. There is no doubt that those children didn’t have the same assistance to learn as other kids. One argument in this case can be that technology is an excellent tool that can be utilized to asset children like this today, and I agree, it is. However, what about the child who doesn’t have internet at home, or use of a computer outside of public educational setting? By making the use of technology such an integrated part of our classrooms are we inadvertently segregating students who come from less fortunate homes from the learning process? I don’t know what the answer to this is but I think every child should be entitled to the same opportunities to learn in a public educational system.

Screen time– Now the article touched on it briefly at the start but made no other mention of it in the cons section.  The increase of technology in the class room will also increase the amount of time that a child will be looking at a screen. There are multiple studies about the harmful effects of too much screen time on a child’s developing eyes, here’s one for your reading pleasure.

http://www.allaboutvision.com/cvs/children-computer-vision-syndrome.htm

Now the one thing that all studies tend to agree on is that there is a correlation between increased screen time and increased eye issues in children.  The human eye isn’t designed to stare at a screen for hours a day and the increase of screens in the classroom is no doubt adding to an already increasing problem.

The last thing that I will comment on is how the article talked about one con being that technology possibly replacing teachers. I have two opinions on this.

  1. If a teacher can be replaced by a program or app is there really a need for a teacher for that particular subject or material.
  2. Apps and programs are just tool for learning, they are not a true replacement for a  teacher, if this were not the case, teachers would have been replaced with text books long ago.

Dave

Confessions of a digital slacker

Yup, that’s me the digital slacker, but I’m getting better and self-identification is half the battle!

Over the years I managed to compile a large amount of digital information. Each time I moved from one department or agency to another I was quite diligent at taking everything with me and I mean everything. I was suffered from information overload videos, syllabus, ebooks, PowerPoints, websites, projects, forms, resumes, cover letters and even one of my crappy first year university papers.  I’d saved and kept them all. Then late last year I found myself with the time to downsize, purge, rename, refile and organize everything into a rather neat little package, that package being an external hard drive. Then disaster struck, and by disaster I mean the dame thing was stolen on me!!!!!  And with that over 20 years gone, my only consolation was that at least it was password protected. If only I had used a drop box!!!

So here I am starting out again, only this time I hope to do it right. Luckily I did have depletes of a lot of things I had collected but not all, there is about  500 gigs that are gone for good. So as I attempt to reorganize and reassemble everything, google docs is where I will try to invest a large amount of my time. I’m also going to use a drop box and another hard drive, if redundant systems work for NASA it should work for me.

The use of an electronic note book is a newer idea for me and to be honest I’m still not sure if I will use it. In the past I’ve used a password protected word file for passwords but I have never used it for anything other than that. I am still impartial to walking into a meeting with my black book and scribing down chicken scratches that only I or someone else with the use of rosetta stone can read. It’s what I am use to and like. I think that if I spent a large amount of time on the computer it would be something I would more apt to use.  

As for organizing the links and tools, this is something that I will be putting into practice. I think nicely organized note book will probably suit my need. See not even a paragraph out and I am contradicting myself, but only for links and tools!

To end I think the more time we take to organize the less time we will waste looking for what we had already made or found.

Dave

Day 5-thoughts

Self-assessment and remediation

Here I am sitting on a ferry trying to write a few blog paragraphs about Dave’s piece on self-assessment and remediation. While trying to read the article I was constantly distracted by not my children, as normally would be the case, but by a group of grown men who don’t seem to understand what acceptable conversational voice levels should be. Or is this where I have to look at myself (self-assessment) and realize that I cannot read or at least retain anything that I have read while I am distracted. Do I remedy this by moving from my comfy window view seat or do I remediate the situation by repeating what I have read until it takes hold!

All jokes aside the article really spoke to me particularly because of the ironic situation that I was facing. You see I suffer and have always suffered from a learning disability. It rears its ugly head particularly when I have to read and write. I have a hard time reading and retaining information particularly when I am distracted by any noise. My normal reading habit is to isolate myself and read, read, read until I have pounded the information in.

So what does any of this have to do with self-assessment and remediation? Having gone through most of my educational years without being identified as having any disability,  I developed the ability long ago to self-assess my own learning and develop ways of remediation. It is something that I developed out of necessity but I think it is it is a skill that we should be fostering in our students not just from an educational or learning perspective but also as a life/ work skill.

It seems today that society is reluctant to tell someone that particularly kids that you didn’t win, everyone gets a medal or no you didn’t pass. I get the whole not wanting to not wanting to hurt feelings business but what are we really creating by doing this. We have created a generation of now young adults who have never had to look inward to see what the issue is and what can I do to address it. The preverbal gut check. I think we can help the students by introducing to self-assessment and remediation we are setting them up for not only educational susses but also professionally in the work place.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

You may be happy to know that the group have men have moved on but they have left one of their friends behind, thankfully he has passed out, I think? Unfortunately the loud conversations have now been replaced with even louder snoring!!!!!!

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Contract Grading- first impressions and thoughts

That the hell is Rhizomatic learning!!  Google to the rescue,  oh that’s what it is. That was my first thoughts. After reading the  article and combining it with what I have experienced so far there are things that I see as beneficial with contract grading and also pitfalls or problems.

First off, I’m still not sure if I am a fan of contact grading. Maybe it is an aversion to the unknown or unfamiliar, but I don’t think that’s what it is, I’m usually pretty opened mind.  For now we will say the jury is still out.

I like the idea of having input and flexibility in the grading process, the ability to choose the volume of work you wish to take on.  I equate this to choose your own path adventure books, where a reader has to choose a path to get to the end of the book or our case the course. Some of us will choose the quickest path to the end “give me the 75%” while others will take the long road “aim high 100%”. But who’s to say which student put in the most effort. Is it the person who chooses to give 100% to 75% or the person who chooses to give 100% to 100%? In both cases they give 100% effort it’s just the volume of work that is different.   I like the choice of workloads and work/life balance that this can afford a student.

I also liked and agree with the way the contract was set at the start. Dave spoke in his article on how (Malcolm Knowles) said that you should start grading contracts from scratch with your students. I think that for anyone new to contact grading that it would be too much too soon.  The way that the contract was opened up part way through to negotiation is the best approach, however this is also where I see a pitfall.

One of the problems I see with negotiation process itself.  If conducted in the classroom setting is it truly a negation or is at a war of attrition. I can see situations where the loudest or strongest opinion in the room will sway things in their favor.

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And can you really blame them; we are human after all and want what’s best for our self’s at times, but is it really fair to everyone in the room. To avoid or attempt to negate this the instructor has to insure everyone’s voice is heard. I see the fairest way of negotiating a grading contract is to have one that is individualized.  In this way, each student would structure and present his or her grade contract to the instructor. The draw back with this is that it would be very labor and time consuming for the instructor.

Just some thoughts

Dave

Day 3 reflection

First off, thank you to everyone for your presentations today, I enjoyed and took something away for each of them.

As I had posted earlier this week, over the last 5 years of instructing, the extent of my educational technology use has been pretty limited. This was to a large part due to limited flexibility and input into course development/delivery. That has changed for me since joining Holland colleges faculty.  Now that I have the ability to develop the courses I present, I’m exited at the opportunities that exist .

I found todays tool parade and presentation very interesting and  informative. As I watched and listened to each of you present the tools I  found myself generating idea’s and trying to picture where I could utilize the tools in my own programs. Although most of my deliverables are hands on  I was able to visualize ways to apply the learning tools to current lecture topics.

I see multiple opportunities to utilize Prezi in my use of force model lectures. My only concerns being the black hole warning that Dave mentioned and  the public domain issue with the free version.

As for the google doc’s, I was aware of the feature in Gmail, but I never really made any attempt to explore or understand its versatility.  I don’t mind saying that in this regard I was the monkey at the computer.

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I am already in the process of moving documents over. I see multiple opportunities to stream line and centralize my documents, which will improve the way that I use them.

The Khan Academy site will no doubt be the bane of my son’s summer.  His math skills are going to hopefully improve greatly as I learn to utilize the site and its uses.  I am also looking forward to using the site for my own remedial lessons for some long forgotten skills and topics.

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I feel the biggest take away from today is that as a instructor I should always be on the lookout for new, better or different was to use current and emerging technologies in the classrooms, regardless of what I teach. If I am unwilling to keep up  with technological and sociological change,  I and the programs I teach will no longer be relevant and become antiquated.

Dave E

 

 

Blog # 2

Well, I realized earlier today that I hadn’t posted yesterdays blog link correctly into tweeter. I guess #ed366 comes at the end of the post. I have hopefully corrected that mistake and will not make the same one with this blog, please collaboratively learn from my mistake!

After reading Dave’s article I thought about the discussion earlier today regarding digital citizenship. We live in an age  where opinions, ideas, problems, and solutions can be posted, blogged, searched, emailed and retrieved faster than ever before. The speed at which all fields have advanced can be directly attributed to this exchange of information and collaboration through electronic medium. So if this type of collaboration clearly works outside of the classroom, it should do the same inside the class.

I think that by promoting and fostering collaborative learning in the classroom we help prepare learners for the real world. For those times you don’t have a text book and teacher to provide the direction or answer to a question.  In these situations we see it as wise, not cheating, to collaborate with others to overcome an issue or solve a problem. The same can be said in the class room as long as its not during a exam!    

For younger students I believe collaborative learning helps to develop the interpersonal and group skills that are needed to work with others toward a common goal or outcome. Most of our younger student’s maybe masters of the digital realm, having the ability to tweet, text and email at the speed of light. However, some have not developed the ability to collaborate with others in a face to face classroom setting. I think that as instructors, it is important that we develop this before we send them into the work force.

I feel that collaborative learning, in our current situation, allows us see our own limitations or lack of knowledge regarding a particular topic or task. This allows ourselves and others to learn as we navigate a new topic or problem. This type of learning also allows us to draw upon others strengths and the knowledge base. The exchange is a two way street both sharing and learning from one another.

In the article Dave wrote “Learning how to deal with uncertainty… with that feeling of not being sure what the right answer is and deciding anyway – that is the critical step towards knowing”  To me this speaks to those times when you must take a leap of faith or “educated guess” to a problem.  There is no doubt that learning will occur, the only question is will it be from success or from a mistake?  This is very true in the real world as in the class room. I think that the caveat to this is you have to have the wisdom or awareness to know when this is an acceptable risk to take. In the classroom the consequences may not be a profound or long lasting as they are in a real world situation.

A little quote to end.

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#ed366 expectations

Educational Technology and The Adult Learner

First day expectations 

When I was first registering for this course I didn’t really give much thought on what to expect. Honestly I was more concerned with making sure I registered for it correctly online. For the past 5 years I had been instructing on a national use of force program for a federal agency. The extent of educational technology was limited to the odd YouTube video, PowerPoint presentations and emails. There was little to no room or flexibility for me to introduce any learning material/ technology into the course that was not directly approved by the training and learning directorate. Now as an instructor for Holland College, I find myself in a position where I have a great deal of room and flexibility in not only what I present in my classes but also mediums that I use to assist in my instructing. 

The first thing that hope to get the most out of this course to get exposed and become functional in technologies that I am unfamiliar with whether  because of lack of knowledge or personal boycott.  In this regard I guess todays exercise of setting up a tweeter account has forced me to enter into a communication medium that I had been avoiding for quit sometime, even though it was for no valid reason. As the course continues I expect there will be several edtech that will be brought up that I am either unaware of or not current utilizing.

I also hope to develop or recognize ways it incorporate technologies into my current course. Primarily, I instruct hands on skills, most of the learning is presented using demonstration either in the gym or other venue with little classroom time. With that being said there is a small amount of lecturing that takes place. As the course continues I hope to identify ways to maximize edtech in my courses, whether it be gathering information for course development and communicating with students and faculty.

Finally, I am looking forward to networking and developing contacts with other instructors. I want hear what educational technologies they have successfully used in their courses. I would like to know what challenges they encountered and how they overcame them, also what has or have not worked for them.

Almost forgot to mention, I would also like to successfully  complete  the course!

Dave