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Posts Tagged ‘e-learning 2.0’

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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This table of contents chronicles the reflections on various projects and assignments of IT 860, Emerging Technology in Instructional Technology.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I.    Introduction to Blogfolio

II.  Reflection on Assignments

III. Reflection on Readings

IV.  Overall Reflection on IT 860

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Web 2.0 is now a technological juggernaut, and these technologies are revolutionizing the way people communicate, collaborate and accomplish basic tasks. The focus of IT 860, Emerging Technologies in Instructional Technology, was to explore the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools that show promise in education. Dr. Yuen exposed each student to the theoretical basis for each Web 2.0 tool through his book, “Collective Intelligence and E-Learning 2.0: Implications of Web-Based Communities and Networking.” In addition, students were required to use each Web 2.0 tool that was discussed in order to gain knowledge through experiential learning.

The first generation of the Web was developed primarily by experts and aimed at merely sharing knowledge. Web 2.0 differs in that these tools are created and developed by a variety of users with the intent of collaboration and interactivity. This focus on collaboration and interactivity has facilitated a sweeping embrace of social media. For example, if Facebook was a country, then it would be the third largest in the world behind China and India.

The Web 2.0 applications covered in IT 860 can be divided into three categories: tools that connect people, tools that share knowledge and tools that connect people and share knowledge in virtual environments. A large portion of the readings focused on issues involved with connecting people, while the bulk of the Web 2.0 tools that were covered focused on the sharing of knowledge. It should be noted that while I discuss these ideas separately, the whole point of Web 2.0 is to provide environments that both connect people and share knowledge.

Tools that Connect People

The premise of collective intelligence is founded on the power of tools that connect people. A series of readings helped to shed light on the philosophical basis for the use of these connecting Web 2.0 technologies in education. A new paradigm in learning theories was introduced in 2004 with the birth of connectivism, which stems from the traditions of behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism. Our first reading was on connectivism and described the power of collective intelligence. Connectivists hold that learning takes place as networks of individuals share knowledge, and one powerful Web 2.0 tool covered that represents the power of human connection is Twitter.  For example, Twitter boasts 50 million Tweets per day; that is a lot of connecting!

As might be expected, this level of connectivity requires a good organizational infrastructure and can lead to a great number of legal concerns in education. Therefore, our second reading addressed the obstacles to implementing Web 2.0 in educational institutions. Further, educators need to consider the human and social issues involved with the implementation of Web 2.0 in the classroom, which was our third reading.

Synchronous Online Learning Environments (SOLE) represent an excellent example of synchronous online learning that is offered in an ethical and effective way. In SOLE, students have a chance to interact with peers and the teacher in a similar way to a traditional classroom, and multiple channels of media simultaneously connecting with learners enhance this interaction.

Tools that Share Knowledge

The power of Web 2.0 to share knowledge is robust; in fact, the number of tools is overwhelming. Dr. Yuen did an excellent job of weeding through the volumes of applications available and introducing students to the best of these tools. A reading that described the potential of Web-based video (e.g., YouTube) began this quest.

Following this reading, students dove into a myriad of Web 2.0 tools aimed at sharing knowledge. Social bookmarking (Diigo) is a Web 2.0 technology that allows users to bookmark Web sites and place tags on those bookmarks using keywords. Social publishing sites (Scribd) allow users to share and find written documents on the Internet or mobile devices, such as Word, PowerPoint or PDF. Screencasting (Jing or ScreenToaser) occurs when individuals capture a video of what happens on a computer screen over a span of time, and audio (e.g., narrative) is usually part of a screencast as well. File Sharing (Drop.io) is a powerful trend in Web 2.0 that facilitates collaboration, and users can create a “drop” by uploading an image, audio, video, document or other digital content. VoiceThread is a media aggregator that permits users to upload media to a website, and this tool also facilitates collaboration and feedback on such media.

Connecting and Sharing in Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds find their ancestry in video games. Therefore, our first reading on virtual worlds actually focused on a model of Game-Based Learning (VISOLE). Learning through games is gaining more attention from several educators. Perhaps an even more promising environment for learning is seen in virtual worlds. Our final reading focused on taking a Pedagogical Odyssey in Three-Dimensional Virtual Worlds (The SECOND LIFE Model). As a point of application, each student had an opportunity to make a presentation at a conference in Second Life.

Summative Thoughts

All of these tools described above promoted the sharing of knowledge. However, it would be misleading if I failed to highlight the intrinsic ability of each of these tools to also connect learners. A symbiotic relationship exists between connecting people and sharing knowledge in Web 2.0.

Dr. Yuen provided an incredible environment for learning these emerging tools. In fact, he taught the class through a platform (Mixxt) that closely resembled a social networking site (SNS) rather than through learning management software (LMS). Naturally, this approach led to more connectivity among students and facilitated the sharing of knowledge among the group.

This class has been an incredible journey of learning. I now feel confident to use Web 2.0 tools and design instruction around them appropriately.

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VoiceThread is a media aggregator that permits users to upload media to a website, and this tool also facilitates collaboration and feedback on such media. This free Web 2.0 tool has several unique strengths. Users can easily add a voice narrative on top of an uploaded media, and this media can be a video, photos, slide presentation or document. In response, viewers can add feedback to the uploaded media in the form of video, audio or text. The power of aggregation brings all of these elements together, so that the resulting page contains a Flash-based animation with the original media and related comments. Another strength of VoiceThread is that it is user-friendly, especially in posting comments.

Making a VoiceThread

Users need to sign up for a free account in order to start a project. Creating a VoiceThread begins by uploading media. Fortunately, VoiceThread allows subscribers to upload content from a variety of sources. You can upload from a local computer, URL, webcam or media source (Facebook, Flickr, New York Public Library and other VoiceThreads).

After the media artifact is uploaded, users have the option to comment on each slide. Comments can be made by a keyboard (text), audio file upload (audio), phone (audio), microphone (audio) or webcam (video). Each speaker (i.e., commenter) is identified by a small image that is interactive. In other words, a user can click each speaker’s image to retrieve his or her comment. Creators and commentators also have an option to doodle (i.e., lines, arrows, etc…) on the media as part of their comment.

Finally, VoiceThreads can be shared in a variety of ways: email, embedded in a Web page or through a URL link. Under the “Publishing Options,” creators can control how each VoiceThread is shared. You can make it closed to a group of friends or open to the public. You can allow anyone to comment or restrict commenting. You can also allow the VoiceThread to be searchable in search engines by clicking “Show on Browse Page.”

How can this tool be used in education?

VoiceThread allows students to post an artifact. The teachers and peers can then comment on this artifact. Students could also collaborate on projects in order to produce group presentations or oral histories. In addition, VoiceThreads could be used for digital storytelling and for communication. For teachers, this tool seems ideal for starting discussions. For example, a teacher could post an image or video and then ask the class to comment on the respective media.

Are there any disadvantages to VoiceThread?

VoiceThread might pose an accessibility problem for those students with low bandwidth. In addition, viewing the application on a mobile phone can be quirky because it employs Flash to deliver content. Finally, teachers will have to take a creative approach to assessment because this is a nontraditional tool.

Future trends

In essence, VoiceThread makes sharing visual media easy and accessible, much like tools such as SlideShare. Because VoiceThreads are so easy to make and post comments, users might embrace this technology more quickly than complex technologies. VoiceThread comes across as professional. The ease of use and high quality of VoiceThread makes it an ideal tool for collaboration and interactive presentations. Perhaps the greatest potential of VoiceThread is that it allows users to convey their own thoughts through media and contribute to other VoiceThreads.

You can view a recent VoiceThread that I made by clicking the image below. It is a presentation on “The Value of a Network” from the perspective of constructivism. Feel free to leave a comment!

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Colleges and Universities have maintained a great deal of stability and tradition for several centuries. This extended period of permanence has recently been challenged through the emergence of revolutionary technologies. These technological advancements have facilitated changes in the location of where classes are taught (e.g., online), who teaches classes and how classes are taught. Surry and Ensminger (2010) wrote an article that outlined the challenges inherent in some of theses changes and offered solutions.

Many positive changes have been heralded among colleges as a result of new technologies. For example, student information is now easy to track through student information systems. However, the negative impacts of recent changes have not been explored to the extent positives have been highlighted. Some of the negative impacts identified by Surry and Ensminger included commoditization of college, reduced instructional quality, deeper divides in regions and class, impacts on faculty workload, isolation of older and less tech-savvy students, overemphasis on programs that lend themselves to online instruction and loss of cultural and institutional identity.

Background of Issues

The authors offered five areas of discussion that helped to frame these problems. They presented a historical background for each of the five areas:

  1. Technological determinism is a philosophy that credits technology as the driving force in modern society. Proponents of this stance hold that technology is an autonomous force, and it has moved beyond human control. These supporters credit five characteristics of technology as being the impetus for technology becoming autonomous: self-augmentation, linkage to other technologies, automation, technical universalism (homogenizing effect of technology) and monism (connectedness of technology).
  2. The theory of Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) regards all technology as a mere tool that is created, engineered and employed within a social system. As a result, technological tools are viewed as devices that advance the goals of society, which can be used in a positive or negative manner. One advantage of SCOT is that it adopts a non-linear and broad perspective of technology. In addition, proponents of SCOT regard users as active agents that design and shape technology rather than passive recipients.
  3. Co-construction of Technology is an eclectic philosophy that blends the first two philosophies (i.e., determinism and SCOT). These theorists contend that it is one-dimensional to regard technology as either a mere tool of society (i.e., SCOT) or as the driving force behind modern society (i.e., determinism). In this paradigm, society and technology influence one another through a symbiotic relationship.
  4. Implementation of technology is quickly becoming the primary concern of innovative institutions, whereas it was once adoption. The adoption of technology does not ensure that the technology will be used in an effective manner. Theories of implementation specific to higher education list seven key factors that influence the effectiveness of implementation: learning, support, resources, people, policies, infrastructure and evaluation.
  5. Evaluation is perhaps the most crucial factor from this list. If administrators and faculty can identify goals initially, then all stakeholders will have clear direction to meet these agreed-upon goals. Kirkpatrick (1994) developed a framework for this approach through his four-tiered evaluation model: reaction, learning, transfer and impact.

Specific Problems Identified

After providing this historical framework, the authors discussed specific problems resulting from the negative impacts of technology through the lens of these areas (i.e., determinism, SCOT, implementation and evaluation). They prefaced these solutions by identifying the most “compelling” challenge for administrators in this new frontier, which was finding the appropriate balance between human considerations and technological considerations:

  1. The philosophy of determinism could create some barriers. In an attempt to maximize the benefits of technology, core educational philosophies and ethics could be eclipsed. In addition, a host of technologies could become so interconnected and ubiquitous that they are beyond the control or supervision of organizations. Universalism could lead to courses becoming uniform without unique perspectives. As courses move toward this homogenized approach, students might lose their sense of affiliation and identification with any particular college, and this could in turn dramatically effect the personal development of learners, especially traditional students. New technologies will provide greater access to education for the citizenry, but states might not have control of the content and delivery of this curriculum. Therefore, states could react by increasing state control of programs and courses offered through such technology.
  2. According to SCOT, technology is derived as a result of social forces responding to societal needs. Therefore, a small group of high-level officials could make unilateral decisions that do not take into consideration the intricacies and details needed to make a wise decision on technology. These shortsighted decisions could lead to counterproductive, secondary, amoral and unimportant goals. In fact, the possibility exists that some members (e.g., business owner) of such an elite group could have ulterior motives that were not in the best interests of higher education or students.
  3. Issues related to Co-construction of Technology were covered in the discussion above, which focused on determinism and SCOT.
  4. Research has revealed that implementation is frequently regarded as being more difficult and important than adoption. If implementation is not administered correctly, then several consequences could unfold, such as wasted resources and time, inability to monitor or manage the technology, lackluster utilization, heightened faculty frustration and depreciated access for underserved groups. In addition, there are no universal answers for implementation because each organization requires a different approach.
  5. Perhaps the most difficult task for college officials now and in the future is predicting the impact of technology on education. If administrators build decisions on incomplete or inappropriate information, then the impact could be deemed too narrow or broad.

Solutions for Problems

There were a number of solutions offered for this set of negative ramifications. Surry (2008) actually offered six steps to help guide administrators respond to determinism: take individual responsibility, reduce social plasticity, establish formalized oversight, increase awareness, push decisions down the hierarchy and provide for meaningful choice. Decisions should be made after all stakeholders have an opportunity to offer insight. Students should be exposed to constant and meaningful interactions in order to combat social plasticity, such as community service or virtual fraternities or sororities.

School officials can also respond to SCOT in several ways. First, educators need to aim toward meeting the goals and values of society at large. Second, educators need to be aware of the competing motives of various groups contributing to higher education.

Implementation should be regarded as a customized process that will be tedious and long. Administrators need to proactively identify and alter policies that are not compatible with the future of University 2.0. For example, faculty tenure, promotion and retention might need to be altered.

In reference to evaluation, the primary advice offered by the authors is that identifying the impact is the most crucial aspect of evaluation. If the impact cannot be fully anticipated, then officials should put in place the resources that will allow for evaluation to take place.

Future Trends

The great unknown in all plans relating to technology is the expanding and evolving nature of student expectations. In addition, technology is a dynamic force that is progressing at an exponential rate. In light of these two realities, colleges will have to place greater emphasis on training faculty and upgrading technology. However, this emphasis should not overlook those learners that do not embrace University 2.0. In order to balance these concerns, officials will need to become active agents in the change process.  The authors suggest that successful administrators in University 2.0 will decentralize decision-making, embrace participation, anticipate obstacles and thrive in changing environments.

Both higher education and society could be forced to make a decision. Society might have to choose between having colleges that generate imaginative and thoughtful students or highly technical students. Similarly, colleges could be forced to choose between offering settings that are personal and human or environments that are technologically advanced.

Kirkpatrick, D. (1994). Evaluating training programs: The four levels. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Surry, D. (2008). Technology and the future of higher education: An Ellulian perspective. In J. Luca & E. r. Weippl (Eds.), Proceedings of the ED-MEDIA 2008-World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 4901-4906). Chesapeake, VA: Association for Advancement of Computing in Education.

Surry, D. & Ensminger, D. (2010). University 2.0: Human, social, and societal issues. In Yang, H. H., & Yuen, S. C. (Eds.), Collective intelligence and e-learning 2.0: Implications of web-based communities and networking (pp. 94-108). Hershey, Pennsylvania: Information Science Reference. doi: 10.4018/978-1-60566-729-4.ch006

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As mentioned in my brief biography, I am currently working towards a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis in Instructional Technology. I have a learned a great deal from the classes I’ve taken in Instructional Technology, especially concerning Web 2.0 applications. In fact, this blog was initiated in conjunction with my doctoral program.

In the next several post, I will chronicle some of the learning that is taking place in IT 860 (Emerging Technology in Instructional Technology). Each post listed in the IT 860 Table of Contents will serve to outline the major assignments and the learning that takes place. I also hope to reflect on each project and discuss opportunities for application in my current setting. The following description represent a brief outline of the contents to be covered.

The primary focus of IT 860 is on emerging Web 2.0 technologies. And each assignment iss tied to a corresponding chapter from Dr. Yuen’s book, “Collective Intelligence and E-Learning 2.0: Implications of Web-Based Communities and Networking.“ The major readings for this course include Postmodernism in E-Learning 2.0, Embracing E-Learning 2.0, University 2.0, Web-Based Video for E-Learning, Synchronous Online Learning Environments, Game-Based Learning (VISOLE) and A Pedagogical Odyssey in Three-Dimensional Virtual Worlds (The SECOND LIFE Model). These readings will help to introduce several Web 2.0 tools, provide a theoretical background for each tool and demonstrate points of application in education for each tool.

In conjunction with each reading, students are asked to immerse themselves in the technology. This step is important because instructional technologists need to move beyond a surface level understanding of Web 2.0 tools and actually use them. Without interaction with these tools, comments and discussion would merely be speculative or second hand. The Web 2.0 tools that we will experience during this semester include Twitter, Social Bookmarking (Diigo): Reflection on Assignment #2, Social Publishing Sites (Scribd), Screencasting, File Sharing with Drop.io and VoiceThread. These tools represent current tools that are popular and show a great deal of potential in education. I look forward to experiencing each Web 2.0 application!

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