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

Steph’s Final Reflection

Final Course Reflection

I’ve been putting off writing this because I still feel like I’m deep into it. I’ve been working away everyday since we’ve “finished”. Even during the actual classes I was spending every afternoon working on assignments. Thank goodness we have until Sunday to get everything complete because it wouldn’t have happened for me otherwise. I find it a lot of work. I’m continuously toggling back and forth between blogs, our notebooks, twitter, storify, and still researching what the heck to do for a complex explainer. I will knock one out before Sunday but I’m still not sure what it’s going to look like. I think like the presentation, I’m totally overthinking it.

I came into Ed366 with concerns about missing some time. It was fortunate to see on our learning contract that there was room for variation. So in an attempt to make up for missing class participation points, I decided to do everything possible on the rubric.

I didn’t count on how much fun I would have in the course. Not only by meeting (and liking) everyone, but having fun and gaining confidence figuring out the course material. Once upon a time, not long ago, if a website wanted me to “sign-up” or enter my email address I’d bail immediately. But a week later and I’ve signed up for Padlet, Jing, Prezi, Storify and Slack and become more familiar within my existing (but often neglected) google docs.

One aspect of the course that hit home for me that I never really chatted about was the “digital citizen” discussions. Over the past few years I’ve had a few experiences of struggles in that arena. A relative of mine is a very public figure who came under a ton of public scrutiny and was humiliated and bullied in the media for several years. I would choose not to watch certain segments on TV or read certain articles on the internet but it was impossible to escape the negativity all together. Unknowing fb friends would post stuff, leaving me with the dilemma of do I report? Block and delete? Ignore? Argue back? I didn’t necessarily know which was the best route.

So within the frame work of this course when that topic arose it was refreshing to hear positive comments about sticking up for people and remembering those that are the target are still people with feelings too. And just because something appears online or in the media doesn’t mean it’s true. There are two sides to everything.

I think Dave is a great instructor and I think our class gelled awesomely. I was honestly a little bummed when it was over. I’m glad to hear a number of us are reunited in a few weeks for the assessment course, although I’m doubtful it’ll be the same fun atmosphere we experienced in #ed366!

Over and out peeps
Steph

Steph’s Article #2 Response

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2011/rhdcc-hrsdc/HS38-22-2010-eng.pdf

The second article I chose to read and respond to was written by another UPEI professor, Greg McKenna. It is titled “Can learning disabilities explain low literacy?” This was a study done in 2010 and I’ve chosen to focus on the report that came as a result of that study.

Learning disabilities can be defined as “a condition giving rise to difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the level expected of those of the same age, especially when not associated with a physical handicap.”
Those who meet diagnostic criteria often have the benefit of government grants, tax incentives and the mandatory legal provision of their specific accommodations to be met by educational institutions.

While, “low literacy is a hidden problem. Many adults with low literacy have developed coping skills that enable them to function quite well in most situations. Low literacy does not mean low intelligence. This group does not receive additional supports educationally or financially.

They are two separate issues, however both have a similar outcomes. A deficit in the area of reading. While one group benefits from government assistance, the other does not. I ask your opinion, is that fair?

This study differs from most because it focused on adults as opposed to children. It looked at variables such as gender, age, education, income and employment status. It also looked at secondary variables such as parent’s level of education, co-occuring disabilities, remedial reading, and reading practices at home.

Some interesting findings were that gender was found not to be a considerable variable, however age was. Also there was a strong correlation between LD’s and co-occuring disabilities with vision or hearing. Educational attainment and level of income were found to be significantly and negatively associated with LD.

Given the number of individuals with low literacy skills, a significant concern is that only a relatively small percentage are receiving remedial services while in school. The study found that intervention should not be contingent on a specific diagnosis of LD, nor should services be withheld until a formal assessment and diagnosis is complete. (McKenna)

I agree with this as diagnosis can be a lengthy and expensive process that many families choose not to go through. But it would be beneficial to access supports and services.

Steph’s Article Response #1

The article I chose to read and respond to was one of Dave Cormier’s. The title is “Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum”. The link can be found here.

Rhizomatic Education : Community as Curriculum

In this article the traditional concept of education is challenged. What we think education should look like. How curriculum outcomes must be met and measured by an expert at the front of the room who’ll assign your work a number grade. Is that really the best way? Or just the way it’s always been done?
Also Dave explains further the concept of rhizomatic learning. I touched on that term briefly in a previous blog post and was interested to read up further on the topic.
“The rhizomatic model of learning, curriculum is not driven by predefined inputs from experts; it is constructed and negotiated in real time by the contributions of those engaged in the learning process. This community acts as the curriculum, spontaneously shaping, constructing, and reconstructing itself and the subject of its learning in the same way that the rhizome responds to changing environmental conditions.” (Cormier)

The challenge herein is that one must be mentally prepared to stretch and think more globally. I personally love the idea of community knowledge sharing. I think some of my best coursework has been completed in that way. However, I recognize not everyone will embrace a change in that direction. It means accepting fluidity, and fluid can mean messy. It can mean giving up control and shifting toward negotiation.

Whether we were aware of it or not, we were in the midst of rhizomatic and community learning throughout our Ed366 course. The first email outlining our choice of optional assignments, was laying the groundwork for the negotiations that were to follow. Recall our discussion on changing point values for different assignments. Not too often to students have a voice in the grading rubric. Then some assignments were nixed all together for one reason or another. But the plan was flexible and able to be modified as our circumstance as a group changed.

I’m sure for many of us, things seemed overwhelming at first. It was new. It wasn’t clear cut. But it gave us the flexibility to choose an entryway and exit strategy that was right for each of us.
Some questions came to mind as I was reading and I’ll pose them to you all now. If communal learning is key and of benefit, then why is Wikipedia not recognized as a valuable or credible resource? I have my own opinion but I’d like to hear yours.

Secondly, will anyone implement a negotiated rubric/learning contract into their own classes? Why or why not?
Thanks
Steph

A good time had by all

This was my first CAE course, and if they are all as interesting as this one, it’s going to be a great couple of years.

I have spent most of my time in the last number of years working largely solo – given the nature of what I do. Last September I decided to shake things up and took a Holland College course. Which ultimately led me to this one. In the last 10 months I have meet more people and had more interesting conversations than I have in the last five years. I think now I got just socially lazy.

It has been extremely helpful to observe the teaching styles during the presentations. It has made me consider carefully how I would approach a classroom. But I had largely forgotten about the human factor quite frankly. Hearing your observations about the over-eager, the slackers, the timid ones, the aggressive ones etc. was an eye opener. (You get some good ones right?!) I was only looking at what I would be bringing into a classroom. Now I know I have to really look at what those students will be bringing to the experience, baggage and all.

Educational technology is certainly has a larger scope than I had anticipated. I knew about the big ones – like Power Point, Prezi and Google Docs – but it is the smaller, lesser know ones that have grabbed  my attention. I love being a tech hero. That look on someone’s face when you’ve shown them something new or cool is awesome.  I think Dave must feel like that a lot.

educational-technology-meme1

 

 

 

 

Aaron’s Final Reflection

Final Blog

I can say it has been quite a journey.   I had no idea what I was in for.  After the first day I was pretty overwhelmed with it all.  I blogged about it.. or tried to.  I couldn’t post the blog and couldn’t get on the internet with my home computer.  The most logical way I thought of to prove to Dave that I attempted to do the work was to take a picture of what I had typed for the blog and I emailed the “cave-man screenshot”!  (Yes, I did not even know how to send a screen shot; so I took a picture of my computer screen with my phone!)

Today I have been able to post blogs, tweet links to programs that I have used to track other tweets, use programs I never heard of and I may even open up Socioviz (just for the fun of it)!  I would like to be able to see a graph of my learning cure over the last week.  (There is probably a program for that; I will tweet about it later.)

I can also say that my confidence has been boosted when it comes to technology.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be teaching this stuff any time soon, but I think now I can navigate through it without Dave sending me a message from “LMGTFY”.

On a side note, I liked the opportunity to network with other professionals.  The CAE program is giving me exposure to folks I wouldn’t  normally cross paths with.  I have learned a lot from our conversations and look to continue collaborating.  We have some common issues in all of the programs.  It is just nice to know that some of my problems are not figments of my imagination and that others have similar issues.

I made sure that I signed my name to my course evaluation.  I have no issue saying that I liked this, or disliked that. As for ED366, I want to make sure that Dave and the powers that be know what a benefit this course is.  As a coordinator first- teacher second, I benefited greatly even though I am a pure kinesthetic learner (I just threw this in to irritate Dave!)

I will miss our mornings together, and I just hope that the next CAE course is as engaging.

Good luck everyone,

 

Aaron

Aaron’s Presentation Reflection

ED 366 Presentation Reflection.

What I have tried to do is to capture the thought process when developing my presentation through my Work plan

Topic:

Here is what I want to do.  I want to present a survey to the group.  I want to survey their thoughts on the topic of how to develop a better way to asses students.  The plan is to give a presentation (google slides?: because I have not used it before) to the group based on what I want to develop.  Then I want to give the group a survey (google Forms: because I have not used it before either), and use the results to help me work on this problem.

Planning:

Experiment with Google slides to get my head around that program and develop the slides that I need.  I also need to develop a form that I want to submit to the group.  Do I embed the form?  Do I email it to them?  Do I use a link on Superfuntimes?  When I send the form, where do I get the results? Do they go to my Gmail account?

Development:

Google slides:  very similar to PowerPoint.  Formats the same

Google Forms:  Went through tutorial… easier to use template.  Chose the “survey” form because it seemes to accomplish what I am looking for.  Form itself is easy to develop (WATCH FOR SPELLING ERRORS!!!!!  IT DOES NOT SPELLCHECK AUTOMATICALLY)

How to link the two documents…..

I want each person to fill out the survey during the presentation.  This will start a fresh conversation around qualities of a good officer.  I want a further discussion as part of my group activity (with the survey).

LOOK AT THE TOP RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE FORM…. THERE IS A LITTLE BLUE BIRD ICON!

Test:  I clicked on the Twitter icon and entered #ED366 and there it was, on our twitter chat.  Now a little damage control.  Had to tweet the group to make sure they did not do the survey before the presentation.  I reopened the survey to accept submissions so I could test it before class.

Delivery:

0830: I tweeted the #ed366 group the link to the survey.  Tested it, it is working.

0840: Started my presentation (opened Google slides and Google Forms document).

0850: Got to the survey slide and had everyone open twitter and do the survey (actually I had everyone open twitter while I was trying to log on to the computer at the front of the class).

0855: Survey complete and I switched to Google Form “results” screen to show results.  Worked well, was able to see the live results in the presentation.. cool!

0857: Heckled by Dave about the spelling errors (damn you spellcheck!)

0900: realized I was over time and ended presentation

Overall Reflection:

Overall I was able to accomplish what I wanted.  My plan was to use something new, and it worked out pretty good (in my opinion).  I was able to use Google Slides, Google Forms and Twitter all together.  NEVER would have happened 7 days ago!  I don’t know about anyone else, but I was impressed.  And, I got some really good feedback about evaluation methods!  (Bonus for me)

Rose’s Article Discussion 2

http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/10_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf

“In an ideal world, instructional media developers – those who will actually create the planned instructional materials with which the student will interact – are included in the course development process from the beginning, to consult with and advise course team members on development-related topics as they arise.”  That does sound ideal!

I chose this article because I teach a distance course to our ACP Students.  I am still learning how the whole process works and the best ways to deliver the content. I was hoping this article would shed some light on all of it. One thing is for certain, long articles, 19 pages for instance, are not the way to deliver information…I seem to have the attention span of a squirrel.

Anyway, I did have some take away’s from this article. It was interesting to see how far distance learning has come and to feel out where our program currently fits in. I also enjoyed the easy break down of tips suggestions and considerations to help you along as you develop your course.

A couple things the article discusses is the importance of stakeholder buy in. If you don’t have buy in from ALL parties, you are going to run into problems. Everyone needs to be ready to work towards the common education goals. The way the article breaks down all those who should be involved in the development phase was interesting. I am now curious who was involved in creating our online program. Should new employees have some training in e-learning as they come in?  What transitions should be given to the veteran instructors now expected to, in essence, create a new course with new structure and materials. What do you do if you don’t get buy in from all parties?

I think the direction distance education is heading sounds exciting. As long as the resources, support and training come along for the ride, which all too often they don’t.  It feels like our program is just now starting to move from a simple text based approach to the next generation of collaborative and interactive learning.  Especially after this course, I definitely buy in more to the distance learning idea. And now have some new tools to add to the party to help transition my course to a more collaborative model.  When we look at the feedback from students in the distance program, we consistently see that they need more support and more material catered to the online approach. I agree with the article in that what better way to do this then to find ways for students to connect and collaborate easily and more effectively.

The other big feedback piece is the lack of technical support. This goes back to the development phase. Where are those people now?  I know I sure wasn’t able to field a lot of their techy questions. I was glad it was distance so I could go and look stuff up or ask around before replying.

Overall, despite the length, I enjoyed the article’s content. I have actually saved pieces of it into another document for me to reference later. My new “DL program learning tips” google doc 🙂

 

Aaron’s Article Blog #2

Article Blog #2

The second article that I read was “Technologies of Online learning” by Rory McGreal and Micheal Elliott.

The document talks about “some of the most exciting technologies and features used today”.   The article goes on to reference Skype, YouTube, CD-ROM , Napster, Wiki …   I have to admit that I felt pretty good until I read “Imagine the power of the Internet in the palm of your hand, using a Portable Digital Assistant (PDA)”.  It was at this point I stopped and went to the back of the article and read the references.   All of which ranged from 2000-2007.  Then I realized that all of the technology they were referencing was outdated.  I was originally confident because I recognized the names of the programs, but soon lost my smugness when I seen how old it all was.  I then had a flashback of Dave going on a mini rant about how he refused to spend a week teaching us programs that would be obsolete in a year or two (or less).  He managed to teach us how to fish (figuratively) with me knowing it at the time.  From Dave’s refusal to spoon feed, I am far more confident seeking out new technologies and experimenting with them.

When I step back and look at the concept of the article, I see that it is still valid and applicable.  If I take out the actual references to a specific site or program, the concepts of what they do and how they can be used in the class still apply.

To me, the technologies of online learning are not about the specific programs, but more about reaching a specific teaching point with the student.  Perhaps they need to see/hear/do/participate/re-play… the activity in order to fully grasp it.  This is what the online world offers.

Aaron’s Article Blog # 1

Article Blog #1

The article I read was titled “Teaching in an Online Learning Context” by Terry Anderson at Athabasca University.  The article focused on what the presence or role of the instructor is on an online course.  This concept is totally out of my realm.  I have completed one course (the Adult Learner) on-line.  I am not sure if I would have done better if it had been face to face or not.  What I really took form the course was that I need an update, fast!

The article goes on to talk about maximizing the effectiveness of facilitating online courses.   At my level of technology understanding, this is like a kindergarten student reading algebra.  I can make out the letters and symbols, but really have no concept of the formulas they combine into.  I will admit that I have made great progress in the last week, but this kindergarten student needs some time for it all to come together.

Taking the technology out of the topic, it is reassuring to see something familiar.  The author talks about social, cognitive and teaching presence that combines to build an educational experience.  I believe this theory holds true to any educational setting.  I think where I am struggling the most right now in a (technological setting) is in the area of cognitive presence.  I seem to be able to participate (with lots of guidance) but I really don’t know how it all happens.  (I know the car will start if I turn the key, but the concept of internal combustion seems to be missing.)

There is a section that talks about assessment.  Either I am hyper sensitive to assessment strategies or they seem to be everywhere.  The article talks about similar (conventional techniques) to what I am used to.  Quantity, quality, format, rubrics…. All summarized by a number.  The number then represents a reflection of performance.  I still am struggling for a “better way” to do my assessments, so that I can represent what I feel is importand. (I will leave the spelling error just for fun!)

At the end of the article the author talks about qualities of a good E-teacher.  I had a laugh when I read “an excellent e-teacher is an excellent teacher”.  This I agree with, except that I would be the first to say that I personally would be a terrible e-teacher!  Does this mean I am a poor teacher?