Collaboration, EC&I831, Learning Community, PLE

Learn to Share(ski)

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would post a little bit of technology love and sharing. Last Fall, Dean Shareski joined Alec Couros#eci831 class to discuss The Power of Sharing.

Photo by excomedia

 

Online movement on the internet is very personal and quite social.  When you share ideas and resources it is possible to initiate new connections and develop your online personal learning environment (PLE). Much of this online, social learning creates collaborations, connections and interactions to enhance an education experience.

 

As web 2.0 and social media continues to develop and thrive online, this leaves users with little reason not to share. Most applications are collaborative and creative in nature, which require users to become active participants in the conversation.

Benefits of online sharing & shared learning:

  • immersion into all things ‘like that’
  • interactive web experience
  • publish first and then filter work
  • online & immediate feedback
  • share knowledge & resources easy
  • connection is another means to learning
  • efficient research
  • modelling from others online
  • development collaboration skills
  • variations on an article, concept or idea
  • pay it forward – share what you know and what you do
  • power of connecting people
  • moving toward search & learn
  • networks CAN replace Google
  • encourages filtering information

More stories of shared online learning:

Just a few tools of the sharing trade:

  • Skype
  • Delicious – great resource sharing & connecting
  • Google Reader – RSS feed for bookmarks & paste into add subscriptions for google reader
  • Google Documents
  • Flickr – creative commons license to share; take an idea of how to compose and generate ideas and learn form them
  • Twitter – just in time & just for me learning; personal and professional mix
  • Wikis
  • YouTube
  • SlideShare

What else are you using to share with your personal learning network? Please share.

“Sharing, and sharing online specifically, is not in additions to the work of being an educator. It is the work.”  Ewan McIntosh

CCK09, EC&I831, Learning Community, Open Education

Is Your Education Open?

The term “open education” means different things to different people. There are many interpretations as to what open education and content means for learning. Often the financial costs, learning environments, accreditation and the role of the faculty are a few key issues that arise when discussed amongst educators.

I thought it was suitable to explore this topic, since I am currently enrolled in 2 open education courses, EC & I 831 & CCK 09 as a non-credit student. My goal in joining these open content courses was to collaborate with other learners, share resources, & establish on-going connections beyond the scope of the course, i.e. stay connected to people in the #edtech field for information-sharing and learning support. My participation in #eci831 & #cck09 has greatly enhanced my knowledge and research for my doctorate work at UNT, and I value the introductions to various topics, presenters, and peers.

Last week, Jon Mott joined #eci831 to discuss his experiences in open education. Here are the slides:

A few key take-away points, resources & quotes include:

  • Great Talk: David Wiley’s recent keynote on Open Education
  • openness allows for connection, personalizing and creation: allowance to share resources, ideas & knowledge
  • ability to move from passive consumption to sharing & collaborating amongst our connections
  • Creative Commons is a valuable entity that allows content to be shared & accessed
  • “Literacy is moving from being knowledgeable to knowledge-able.” ~Jon Mott
  • MIT Open CourseWare project is a solid model that offers free content for approximately 2000 courses
  • Open Courseware Consortium is a great database for other open education content
  • Other examples where education is open = Education Channel of YouTube,  iTunes U, and OER Commons
  • academic institutions vary their stance on content sharing, open education, etc
  • help students and instructors to understand the difference between “open” and “closed” education
  • need to seek sustainable models for open courseware and education
  • debates and questions continue about openness in education, with regards to Learning Management Systems (LMS), credentialing, faculty role, archeticture of courses, etc.
  • open education is more of a social & cultural issue, now that the technology is becoming rapidly available and accessible for learners/educators

The final thoughts prompted questions on how open education will impact our learners & how education will change in the future. More discussion about open education will continue tomorrow evening when Alan Levine joins #cck09 to share some of his thoughts around Openness & Transparency. Join in & share your two cents.

EC&I831, Learning Technologies, Virtual Communities

Gaming in Education

It’s all fun & games… until someone actually learns something.

Educational gaming has become a “hot topic” as accessibility to computers and increased electronic gaming resources have entered the hands of learners. Educators are interested bringing innovative and appealing teaching resources to the evolving learning sphere. Many game designers see the potential for building learning games to capitalize on the video and simulation game market for the classroom. Although I can see potential in gaming for education, I am wary of the disconnect between these two players. Some instructors buy into mass produced “edutainment” games as their response to “adding technology in the classroom.” It would be more effective to connect learners with problem-based, collaborative games that challenge students to critically think and apply the curriculum.

Educators, like Sylvia Martinez, are providing examples for learning professionals who are interested in game-based curriculums. Sylvia is the President of Generation YES (Youth & Educators Succeeding) and she has been engaged in design and implementation of games for education for quite some time.  She is a strong believer that play to supports effective learning and that games can support curriculum needs in the classroom.

Sylvia gives a great introduction to gaming in education in her Kicking It Up A Notch: Games in Education presentation and wiki resources from the K-12 Online Conference 2009.

VideoGamingClub

Picture from the Committee for Melbourne

During last week session in #eci831, Sylvia provided some good and bad examples of how gaming practices have been incorporated in the classroom. It is critical that learners are given the time and purpose for gaming, and support is facilitated through effective reflection and follow up provided by the instructor.

James Paul Gee itemizes “game-like” attributes in his publication Good Video Games and Good Learning:

  • identity

  • interaction

  • production

  • risk-taking

  • customization

  • agency

  • well-ordered problems

  • challenge and consolidation

  • situated meanings

  • pleasantly frustrating

  • just in time and on demand

  • system thinking

  • explore, think laterally, rethink goals

  • smart tools and distributed knowledge

  • cross-functional teams

  • If properly introduced, gaming and project design opportunities compliment & enhance curriculum. Instructors interested utilizing project-based or game-based learning should consider time needs, classroom management, student readiness to collaborate and desired learning outcomes. A few key objectives for gaming implementation is the adaption, correlation, connection assessment and reflection for classroom learning. Sylvia recommends educators look for games that:

  • are programmable & adaptable
  • supports the big ideas for learning
  • offers students multiple ways to “win”
  • plays slow, not twitch play
  • increases ability
  • provides opportunities to collaborate
  • encourages problem-solving & logic strategies
  • suits the curriculum that is taught
  • includes thinking and planning
  • Game on!

    EC&I831, Learning Technologies, Photo Sharing, Social Media

    What’s In A Story?

    Everyone loves a good story. Think of your favourite story. What is it? Why do you like it? Tell me more.

    rm

    Image c/o Scholastic.ca

    When asked this question in #eci831 last week, the first story teller I connected to as a child was  Robert Munsch. I fell in love with almost all his books, especially The Paper Bag Princess, Love You Forever & I Have To Go.  These books are great read aloud and audio books, since most stories were created as an oral tradition in during Robert Munsch’s daycare working days. I was fortunate to meet Munsch during my 2nd year of undergrad when he visited my Children’s Literature class at the University of Guelph. Although the audience was older than his usual reading groups, Robert was still able to keep these “kids” on the edge of their seat.

    Alan Levine shared some interesting & useful resources for using new media for Digital Storytelling. In both his presentation (you may need to download Cooliris to view in Firefox or Safari) and 50 Way Wiki there are numerous tools to explore for effective online storytelling.

    Here are a few examples of digital stories we shared & discussed:

    How do you share your story online? Check out a few tools to support your digital story telling:
    blogs, EC&I831, Learning Community

    Blogging for Learning & Learning to Blog

    I sat back to ponder why I blog, and why I take the time to read other blogs. Here are a few reasons I thought of off, the top of my head:

    • reflection
    • to share knowledge and resources
    • news & information acquisition
    • a research starting point
    • connection to peers in my field of study/work
    • a sounding board for ideas/questions/thoughts
    • to be part of a community

    In thinking about education and reviewing the above list, I can see why blogging is an effective means for contextualizing and mentoring learners. Sue Waters mentors educators on effective blogging and web 2.0 resources on EduBlogs. She delved into the topic of blogging for learning and connection during last week’s #eci831 weekly session on Elluminate.  The concept of blogging in the classroom, leads to a transparent educational process for students. Learners are able to share ideas and be empowered in their digital learning community. Blogging can deeper understanding of knowledge and course content, while challenging students to participate in an open, expressive forum.

    blogging

    Image from the Algebra Learning Networking website 

    It was interesting to learn how other students in the class viewed blogging for learning. Some are unsure about how to include blogs, while others want to ensure engagement and purpose in their learning environments. Here’s the #eci831 class brainstorm for our Thoughts, Challenges or Concerns about blogging:

      • how do educators best define learning outcomes to give purpose?
      • spam
      • how to get students to buy in
      • how to engage students; keep them interested and on task
      • most important aspect in my class
      • assigned topics or more creative original ideas
      • what to write
      • learning in a public forum – putting yourself out there
      • loosing the meaning for the learning objective
      • long term use
      • safety of students and liability
      • privacy concerns for parents
      • how to move teachers towards these ideas
      • non-standard views of students
      • open or closed environments for students?
      • teachers blogging as PD, nervous about putting their ideas out there
      • do all students feel confident in their posts
      • what to have the students blog about
      • how to move teachers away from seeing blogging as a tech ‘add

    Final thoughts from Sue, was actually in the question form:

    What are 3 questions (and why) you would like answered on educational blogging or building personal learning networks?

    So here are my 3:

    1. What are some of the key privacy concerns for educational blogging? And how educators best address these issues? Resources for either Canada or US would be greatly appreciated.
    2. Are there any examples of peer mentor blogging initiatives in education, that you know of, in K-12 or Higher Education learning environments? It would be interesting to learn more about how modelling and mentoring can help learners engage in blogging.
    3. How has your blogging practice altered (or has it?) now that microblogging (Twitter, etc) has been introduced into the blogasphere? Do you engage much in microblogging? How do you see value in it for learning?