Friday, November 16, 2007

Learning: The act or the process

So, who are the new learners? The new learners assume that technology is “a natural part of the environment” (Oblinger, 2003, p. 38). This causes, or should cause reflection on the part of every person involved in teaching. For technology to be natural for the learner, it must be natural for the teacher. Students use technology in every aspect of their life, from information gathering, to entertainment, to networking, to communication and to collaboration (Oblinger, 2003). How do they differ from the traditional learners? The new learners may be called many different names but a key difference, I believe, is technology.

Technology may change the learning experience (Green, 1999), but does it change the learner? The newer technologies like blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts and others have the potential to extend learning (Salomon, Perkins and Globerson, 1991). These new technologies are natural and common place for the new learners (Alexander, 2006). Do these technologies change the learner? More often, it is the learner who is using the new technologies to change learning from an act, to a process.

Alexander, B. (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? EDUCAUSE Review 41(2), 33-44.

Green, K. (1999). When wishes come true. Change 31(2), 10-15.

Oblinger, D. (2003). Boomers, gen-xers and millennials: Understanding new students. EDUCAUSE Review 38(4), 37-47.

Salomon, G., Perkins, D., & Globerson, T. (1991). Partners in cognition: Extending human intelligence with intelligent partners. Educational Researcher 20(3), 2-9.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trends for Teaching and Learning: Reflections and Perspectives

Podcasting and Pedagogical Concerns

Click on the link to listen Podcasting and Pedagogical Concerns

A discussion on podcasting and some pedagogical concerns or issues for using podcasts in teaching and learning. (N.B. Podcasting can be separated into (1) Audio ONLY, (2) Enhanced - audio with images, URL's inserted, and (3) VODCast or video casts, with audio and video)..

What do you need to podcast?

  • Some sort of digital audio recorder. This may be as simple as your computer (for Windows, it's Sound Recorder or Audacity), for your Macintosh, Garage Band.
  • A good quality microphone. Most good USB microphones will work easily.
  • A relatively quiet place to record.
Just record
  • OK. If you really want a professional podcast, script everything out. If you want to create something that's good, an outline. Unless you are extremely skilled at talking "off the cuff" I wouldn't advise recording without a plan.
  • Think of a podcast as a conversation ... granted, it may be just YOU talking, but talk in conversational modes.
The big decision
  • First, a podcast is a file, a music or audio file. Most audio players can play them. While using iTunes makes it really efficient to organize them, you could use any of a host of MP3 players.
  • You record. Now what. If you want people to "subscribe" to your podcast, it needs to be put on a server. Oh, there are many sites that will "host" your podcast.
Now, remember
  • People can download your podcast ... to their portable MP3 player, their computer IF you give them the URL.
Some references to browse
Some books to browse also
  • Cochrane, T. (2005). Podcasting: The do-it-yourself guide. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.
  • Geoghegan, M. (2005). Podcast solutions: The complete guide to podcasting. Berkeley, CA: Apress.
  • King, K. (2007). Podcasting for teachers: Using a new technology to revolutionize teaching and learning. Charlotte, NC: IAP.
  • Mack, S. (2007). Podcasting bible. Indianapolis, IN: Wiley.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Trends, technology, teaching and learning: Reflections and perspectives

Current trends, or future trends that focus on education are wide and varied. Stopping to survey the educational landscape can be daunting.

Trends (or directions)
  • How can all students be engaged in the learning process? It's more than merely "entertaining" them, it's more than keeping them "active" in the process. Is engagement something that can be designed?
  • What role does or should technology have in engaging students? Can technology be used to reduce the "divide"?
  • Given the desire to promote collaboration, is technology a natural vehicle for collaboration?
  • With the "flattening" of skills (see Friedman's "The World is Flat"), and the new shift towards a global marketplace, education must change, but how?
Technology (instructional and/or educational)
  • What technology promotes individual growth? Can technology provide equal opportunities for all learners?
  • What technology promotes social growth? Who determines effective social growth? Is it technology itself that promotes the growth, or the integration and use of technology that assists growth?
  • What technology enhances socialization? Does technology provide for equal growth and opportunity?
Teaching - generally, the act of teaching, the art of teaching
  • How are the pedagogies of engagement impacted by technology? Can technology engage students better? more effectively?
  • How are the pedagogies of inquiry impacted by technology? How should technology promote or enhance inquiry?
  • What are the effective pedagogical uses of technology? If all technology can be used in teaching, are some more "pedagogically sound" than others?
Learning - the act or the process
  • Shift from traditional learners to "new" learners.
How can we refocus on teaching and learning in the new technological age?

(See a slideshow )

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