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Archive for the ‘E-book’ Category

Many online educators are searching for platforms that are relevant and agile. In the end, agility is maintained via flexible management.  In other words, instructors should be allowed to choose from the tools they prefer in an e-learning ecosystem so that they can configure their own e-learning environment.  Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) may enable educators to have this flexible management in the e-learning environment.

LTI is designed to allow plug-and-play integration of instructional applications within educational platforms, such as LMS.  LTI is an open specification created by IMS Global Learning Consortium.  Before the introduction of LTI, connecting custom learning applications with a learning management system (LMS) was complicated and often expensive.  To accomplish this connection, an organization’s IT department had to assign or hire a developer to integrate each application with the LMS.  This process consumed a great deal of time and had to be revisited with each update of the application or LMS.  Conversely, it is easier to get the tools and platforms to work together (i.e., interoperability) if the LMSs and applications conform to the LTI specifications with their application programming interfaces (APIs).

Currently, most LMSs allow third-party applications to integrate with the platform, but the APIs used by each LMS are different (e.g., Blackboard versus Canvas).  For example, a vendor making an application for video editing would need to develop several APIs for their application so that it could connect with the various LMSs.  By contrast, LTI creates a common API that can be employed by any LMS or application developer.  This common API allows applications to be rapidly deployed within a LMS without hiring experts to make this connection.

More than 100 universities and colleges are actively engaged with LTI, and Western Governor’s University (WGU) is a prime example.  Initially, WGU tried to integrate a variety of learning tools with their LMS, and each tool required separate development.  After standardizing to LTI integration, WGU was able to write a single program to make all of the resources interoperable with their LMS.  The creators of LTI, IMS Global, offer a variety of applications that are certified as being compliant with LTI specifications, including hundreds of tools and 18 platforms.  The applications developed for integration include any tool created to connect to a LMS: library resources, subject-specific tools, authoring tools, etc….

The learning environment becomes more dynamic when learning tools are easily integrated into campus platforms, especially LMS.  Adopting a common approach to interoperability promotes faster integration and lowers the cost.  Ultimately, the LTI approach may allow instructors to build do-it-yourself learning environments that dramatically alter the role of and relationship with IT specialists.  LTI may be the first step toward allowing teachers to create a vibrant and rich ecosystem that is relevant and agile.

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2013, August). 7 things you should know about learning tools interoperability. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7099.pdf

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The following list was primarily derived from EDUCAUSE.  They produce a monthly publication that seeks to identify, compile, and review new technologies that show promise in education.  Below, I describe the emerging technologies that began to gain prominence in 2010.

  • Next-Generation Presentation Tools.  Electronic presentations are evident at all levels of the educational arena, and new presentation tools are emerging that give teachers the ability to customize presentations in a way that more closely resembles new methods of learning and teaching.  Many of these tools use nonlinear sequencing or branching, which allows a teacher to take students’ questions and follow them through to finality without disturbing the sequence of the overall presentation.  Some of these new tools promote collaboration between authors.  These alternative presentation applications could cause educators to revisit the nature of information sharing and presentation (EDUCAUSE, 2010a).
  • Backchannel Communication.  The term backchannel communication refers to a secondary electronic conversation that occurs simultaneous to a lecture, learning activity, or conference session.  This form of communication takes place informally through applications such as Twitter or chat tools, but backchannel communication is formally being cast into the foreground by some educators.  These pioneers encourage students to interact with one another during activities or lectures; this communication occurs without disrupting the speaker (EDUCAUSE, 2010b).
  • E-Readers.  These electronic tools are high-resolution, low-power, and portable.  E-readers are designed to display written material in a digital format, such as newspapers or books.  Some of these devices allow users to access other electronic material (e.g., websites or blogs).  E-readers have the greatest potential to alter traditional approaches to the acquisition of content (i.e., buying a textbook).  These devices could also transform classroom interaction because students would have more real-time access to information through the Internet (EDUCAUSE, 2010c).
  • Analytics.  Analytics applications statistically evaluate data in order to discern patterns.  These tools allow organizations to make informed decisions and recommendations.  Schools can use this technology in order to inform financial decisions, tweak course offerings, and alter recruiting practices.  Analytics can also help colleges align resources with needs.  In addition, these tools could be used in LMS to provide meaningful data (EDUCAUSE, 2010d).
  • Mobile Apps for Learning.  Any educational interaction that takes place via mobile technology can be referred to as mobile learning (m-learning).  A variety of devices are available for m-learning, ranging from mobile phones to the iPad.  However, the most popular medium for m-learning is currently cell phones.  Mobile software applications allow students and teachers to access course content and a number of resources from any location that has the Internet; a large portion of this data can also be uploaded onto a mobile device, which eliminates the need for Internet access (EDUCAUSE, 2010e).
  • Open Educational Resources.  Resources that are available to the public at little or no cost are termed as open educational resources (OER).  A plethora of free educational material can be found on the Internet, including simulations, syllabi, tests, and textbooks.  OER provides access to instructional resources to a much larger group of learners.  Instructors can also choose components from OER to enhance their courses.  Extremists foresee a day when learners will construct their own courses from OER (EDUCAUSE, 2010f).
  • LMS Alternatives.  LMS currently serve as the primary platform for online education by providing a set of tools to deliver content and manage courses.  Emerging Web 2.0 applications now offer a host of applications that rival, if not surpass, the educational tools offered through LMS.  The new applications include social networking sites, document sharing tools, cloud-based media options, timeline tools, and social bookmarking sites.  Many educators are adopting these alternative tools because they teach students real-world skills that will be used in the workplace.  In this scenario, the LMS simply becomes a hub from which other applications can be accessed.  The new Web 2.0 tools also encourage active learning, effective collaboration, and student engagement (EDUCAUSE, 2010g).
  • Online Team-Based Learning.  Online team-based learning takes place when learners work in small groups to accomplish learning outcomes.  This approach shows a great deal of promise in online courses because the forum promotes social interaction in an environment that often lacks this crucial element.  This method often emphasizes the learning process rather than the final outcome, especially as it relates to assessment (EDUCAUSE, 2010h).
  • Online Media Editing.  Anyone with a suitable computer and Internet access can edit graphics, audio, and video using cloud-based media editing tools.  These Web 2.0  applications offer several advantages, including the flexibility to work on any machine or platform; in addition, these tools are usually free or inexpensive.  Open access to these online editing applications helps to promote equal opportunity for all learners to use the same technology tools.  These applications are also user-friendly, so educators can devise a number of ways to incorporate new kinds of activites in almost all disciplines (EDUCAUSE, 2010i).
  • The HyFlex Course Model.  The HyFlex course design model offers the elements of a hybrid class (i.e., a combination of online and traditional) in a flexible manner that allows students the option of participating online, attending class, or choosing both.  In this model, teachers offer course material in a traditional and online format, while students choose their learning preference for each meeting.  However, this model is not self-paced.  Ultimately, the point of the HyFlex approach is to eliminate the barrier between the physical and virtual classroom.  This model promotes a more customized learning environment (EDUCAUSE, 2010j).
  • Android.  Android is an open-source operating system created for use in mobile phones, tablet computers, e-readers, and similar mobile devices.  Android is owned by Google and integrates well with Google applications such as Google Calendar and Gmail.  In addition, Android allows smart phone users to seamlessly access social networking sites.  A large number of free applications exist for the Android.  Android and similar mobile operating systems make mobile learning and teaching practical.  At this point, these tools promote information gathering (e.g., listening to a lecture) better than information creation (e.g., writing a paper).  Interconnectivity between smart phones, the Internet, and personal computers allows individuals to work with others and easily share content (EDUCAUSE, 2010k).

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010a, January). 7 things you should know about next-generation presentation tools. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7056.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010b, February). 7 things you should know about backchannel communication. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7057.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010c, March). 7 things you should know about e-readers. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7058.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010d, April). 7 things you should know about analytics. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7059.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010e, May). 7 things you should know about mobile apps for learning. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7060.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010f, June). 7 things you should know about open educational resources. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7061.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010g, July). 7 things you should know about LMS alternatives. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7062.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010h, August). 7 things you should know about online team-based learning. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7063.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010i, October). 7 things you should know about online media editing. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7065.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010j, November). 7 things you should know about the HyFlex course model. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7066.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2010k, December). 7 things you should know about Android. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7067.pdf

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The following list was primarily derived from EDUCAUSE.  They produce a monthly publication that seeks to identify, compile, and review new technologies that show promise in education.  Below, I describe the emerging technologies that began to gain prominence in 2006.

  • Virtual meetings (aka, Virtual classrooms).  Virtual meetings are synchronous interactions that use the Internet as the medium to communicate through chat tools, application sharing, audio, and video.  In a virtual classroom, learners can encounter interactive discussions and  lectures as well as classmate and teacher interaction.  Virtual classrooms can also be woven into a LMS (EDUCAUSE, 2006a).  One of the most prominent examples of virtual classrooms is Second Life, which is the Web’s biggest “user-created, 3D virtual world community” (Linden Research, 2011, p. 1).  Another option for delivering course content in this manner is virtual conferencing.  In a virtual conference, students can learn from any location in a synchronous format or anywhere, anytime in an asynchronous format  (Beldarrain, 2006).
  • Screencasting.  A screencast allows users to record the actions taking place on a computer screen, and this recording occurs as a video accompanied by audio.  Screencasts allow users to access in-depth course material even when they may not be present in class.  They can distribute this technology as a Vodcast (EDUCAUSE, 2006b).
  • Remote Instrumentation.  Remote instrumentation allows individuals to control scientific equipment from a remote location.  Some examples of this type of equipment include spectrometers, astronomical tools, and other electronic instruments.  Educators can use remote instrumentation to provide authentic experiences to a large audience.  This initiative helps to move students beyond a textbook knowledge and offer real experience (EDUCAUSE, 2006c).
  • Google jockeying.  A Google jockey is a contributor to a class who searches the Internet for Web sites, ideas, resources, or terms that are presented during a given class.  The jockey’s role coincides real-time with the presentation in order to expand learning opportunities and refine the core topics (EDUCAUSE, 2006d).
  • Virtual worlds.  “Residents” of a virtual world immerse themselves in an online environment through avatars, which represent individuals.  Several educational institutions are implementing and experimenting with virtual worlds as a platform in which to conduct class.  This environment is poised to cultivate constructivist learning by positioning students in a learning environment without overt learning objectives (EDUCAUSE, 2006e).
  • Facebook.  Facebook is a major Website for social networking.  This site is a prime example of the challenges associated with information literacy (i.e., one’s ability to deal with the risks and opportunities the Internet age creates).  Facebook gives users the ability to create profiles that represent their individuality and post any materials or links they wish (EDUCAUSE, 2006f).
  • YouTube.  Users of this video-sharing service have the ability to share, upload, and store professional or personal videos.  In addition, users control who may view their videos by allowing anyone to access the content or to form communities.  Viewers can comment and rate videos if they wish (EDUCAUSE, 2006g).
  • Google Earth.  This interactive mapping technology permits consumers to virtually navigate the entire earth by viewing landscapes, mountains, buildings, roads, and similar structures.  Visual literacy can be improved and assessed using this application.  In addition, this tool can aid students’ awareness of cultural differences (EDUCAUSE, 2006h).
  • E-books.  E-books discard the belief that books should always be read from cover to cover.  This tool encourages readers to employ a self-directed and interactive role in how they learn.  E-books support new approaches to interact with the content of books.  Various learning styles can be accomodated by incorporating simulations, movies, or audio files (EDUCAUSE, 2006i).

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139-153. doi:10.1080/01587910600789498

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006a, February). 7 things you should know about virtual meetings. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7011.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006b, March). 7 things you should know about screencasting. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7012.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006c, April). 7 things you should know about remote instrumentation. Retrieved from  http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7013.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006d, May). 7 things you should know about Google jockeying. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7014.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006e, June). 7 things you should know about virtual worlds. Retrieved from  http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7015.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006f, September). 7 things you should know about Facebook. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7017.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006g, September). 7 things you should know about YouTube. Retrieved from  http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7018.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006h, October). 7 things you should know about Google Earth. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7019.pdf

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. (2006i, December). 7 things you should know about e-books. Retrieved from  http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7020.pdf

Linden Research, I. (2011). Second Life Homepage. Retrieved from http://secondlife.com/

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