Friday, May 29, 2009

Twitter and Social Networks for Teaching

An example of a social network diagram.Image via Wikipedia

Sharon Gross wrote a great post on teaching with social networks called "Embracing the Twitter Classroom." The article is a good short argument for the connectivist classroom and the work we did here at Tacoma Community College in HIM 101. In that class, we used blogs, wikis, and twitter to create a community of learning.

There is nothing really new about using these tools for teaching and learning. Since the dawn of constructivism, educators have been talking about getting students to share their experiences as it relates to what they are learning and to communicate what they are learning in their own words. Constructivism is a recognition of the social dimension of learning. These technology tools are just other media that enable and facilitate that. Where the real change comes when these tools and networks become so ubiquitous that they begin to shape how we think and communicate (and no news there either since McLuhan).

Just as educators had a responsibility to teach the critical thinking skills needed for the traditional media, we have a responsibility to show students how to apply and use the new. Sharon Gross puts it well when she says "But the point of teaching students to use social media isn't just to embrace a novel trend: it's to help students become literate in our networking-based society."
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Connection Between Interactivity and Retention in Online Courses

Target Interactive BreezewayImage by j.reed via Flickr

Here is some preliminary research/reading into online course retention, completion, success and interactivity. It is a claim I make in our handbook of online course development, I want to make sure our research is up to date. If you have anything to add to this, PLEASE comment with a link. You will be remembered in a later annotated bibliography!

This kind of research is essential for understanding the importance of group projects, social media, and utilizing a wide-variety of networking modes in online courses. It is not enough to have information on the web or in a network. Students and teachers need to engage with this information, interact in a network in particular ways. This becomes a course design strategy. Some of these articles are older because I believe that they hold some keys to how we should be looking at social networks and media - both of which hold a potential for interaction undreamed of in the early 90s.

Aldrich, Clark (2009) A Taxonomy of Interactivity. Clack Aldrich On Serious Games and Simulations.

Anderson, Terry (2003) Getting the Mix Right Again: an updated and theoretical rationale for interaction. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 4, No 2.

Henry, Jim and Meadows, Jeff (2008) An Absolutely Riveting Online Course: Nine principles for excellence in web-based teaching. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology / La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technologie, V34(1) Winter / Hiver, 2008.

Herbert, Michael (2006) Staying the Course: A Study in Online Student Satisfaction and Retention. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume IX, Number IV, Winter 2006. University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center.

"Incorporating Interaction in Your Distance Learning Course." (2005) Academic Technology Center. Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

O'Brien, B. (2002). Online Student Retention: Can It Be Done?. In P. Barker & S. Rebelsky (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2002 (pp. 1479-1483). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Roblyer, M. D. and Ekhaml, Leticia (2000) How Interactive Are Your Distance Courses? A rubric for assessing interaction in distance learning.
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume III, Number II, Spring, 2000. State University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center.

Sims, Rod (2000) An Interactive Conundrum: Constructs of interactivity and learning theory. Australian Journal of Educational Technology. 2000, 16(1), 45-57.

Shedroff, Nathan (1994) Information Interaction Design: A Unified Field Theory of Design.

Thorpe, Mary (2008) "Effective Online Interaction: Mapping course design to bridge from research to practice." Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 57-72.

Thurmond, Veronica and Wambach, Karen (2004) Towards an Understanding of Interactions at a Distance.

What I am reading now:
Journal of Interactive Online Learning
This is a publication of the Virtual Center for Online Learning Research. There are articles here from 2002 to the present.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Future of Learning

I love the opening of this video where he says that we can finally get technology to do what we want, now the real question is what do we want to do."

I like that this video used archival footage and vj clips - both of which are freely available and can be found online at places like A video of this quality is not beyond the reach of anyone at Tacoma Community College. This week (5/15/09), I will be presenting a workshop on the Flip video camera. A little camera that puts film making and editing into the hands of teachers and students at a very low cost. It comes with editing software built into the camera (it installs it on the computer). It also will create a direct link to your YouTube account and upload the finished film. I will post a link to the presentation the and its resources here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Fallen Angel

Angel sold out to Blackboard.
Or Blackboard acquired Angel. Either way it is a real shame. Angel had a lot going for it as a company. It was practically revolutionary in the way it handled customer service. While Bb had service tickets that were years old, angel would send a team of people out to each campus to meet with people. All of the reasons Blackboard claims to have acquired Angel were all of the reasons we left Blackboard - innovation and customer service. I really hope Bb doesn't figure out too soon how to lock down, monetize and password protect all of the great features of Angel. The next year will probably be the greatest argument for open source software since Micro$loth. I seriously think this aquisition should be looked into especially in light of all the litigation around Desire2Learn and Blackboard's attempts to sue them out of existence. Angel's market share was expanding and if they just waited they would certainly have become a dominant force in another year. We really need to take education out of the hands of the corporations. I am not anti-Blackboard - I am anti-big money, bad service, and stifling of innovation. I was pretty angry when I first heard this news because of all of the time, training, energy, and money the State of WA has put into this. We still really don't know what it all means. I will be brushing up on my Moodle skills. One of the more measured responses to this Paradise Lost was from Marc Lentini who said via email:

"We got word about the Blackborg buyout less than an hour before starting our very first Angel Transition Orientation.

Our plan is to continue transitioning to Angel. It's still a better product, it's still going to be maintained as its own entity, it's going to be here for three years (which is all we figure you get out of any system these days), and it'll still allow cross-campus collaboration.

Then I'm going to ram my head into a concrete wall."
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, May 04, 2009

Concept Maps: from pencil to virtual world

Here is a presentation I am giving in Wanatchee, WA on concept maps and problem solving using visual methods. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions: