Friday, May 29, 2009

Evaluating the Impact of Social Technologies on Teaching and Learning

With the range of social technologies, how does one evaluate or assess the impact the technologies have on teaching and learning?
  • Does the technology itself allow students or participants to interact with others? if so, what is the nature of the interaction? how does one determine the effectiveness of the interaction? does the interaction lead to deeper learning?
  • Does the USE of technology engage students? with other learners? with the content? can this be measured in some way? and, if so, is it the technology itself that is being measured? how does one distinguish between the different levels of technological competency and literacy? do more competent students use technology better?
Do we assess the USE of technology either DIRECTLY? or INDIRECTLY? Direct assessment could include such things as proficiency or abilities with the specific technology. This would help determine SKILL levels, and may indicate KNOWLEDGE acquired and applied. Indirect assessment could include student reflection or more qualitative assessment methods. Do we seek QUALITATIVE or QUANTITATIVE assessments?

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Discussion on Collaborative Technologies

Collaborative technologies do not merely provide venues for students to work together, they provide instructors the opportunities to teach from a project-based or problem-based perspective. Curricular work that would normally be completed in a classroom can now be extended beyond the walls of the classroom.

  • Collaborative technologies, such as Google Groups, Google Documents, Google Notebooks and Google Sites, allow students to develop and explore team dynamics.
  • The technologies allow students to learn both in and outside of the traditional class and begin to emulate work teams found in business and industry.
  • Creating a history of contributions, the technologies provide evidence for both instructor and student of the development of the project, individual contributions, and the group process.
  • As students collaborate, their perspective on both their abilities and the abilities of others should increase. They will begin to develop critical thinking skills, evaluating digital information for example.
Characteristics of collaborative technologies:
  • Focus on group, team
  • Provide platform for shared space, creating focused deliverables
  • Provide real world exposure to collaboration, group dynamics, and team dynamics
  • For faculty, provide broader and deeper teaching opportunity
  • For students, provide growth opportunities, exposure to diverse view points
Collaborative technologies, teaching and learning
  • Developing, exploring
  • Pedagogical impact on focus on time on task, meeting high expectations, integration, and diverse ways of learning, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills
  • Outcomes include develop sense of equality, fairness, accomplishment

A Discussion on Networking Technologies

Networking technologies are not only the “physical” network connections, wireless and wired, but are also the resources available for learning. To build a network, in the physical sense, involves wiring connections, and access points. In the virtual sense, networking technologies allow students to connect to resources on an as needed basis, identify and locate others with shared or similar interests. Networking is seen from the business and industry as a necessary element for success. Students likewise must begin to network to resources for learning success, both in and outside of the classroom.
  • Networking technologies, such as Google Reader, Google Books, Google Scholar and Google Groups, allow students to make the connections to others for support, assistance, and exposure or access to resources.
  • Networking technologies allow students to develop a sense of the structure of knowledge, and a sense of a community of experts as their personal networks become more and more extended.
  • As students continue to network, the opportunities for collaboration will increase.
Characteristics of networking technologies:
  • Making connections - connecting or interacting with other students, faculty, experts and others who are connecting with technology.
  • Provide connection to shared interests
  • Provide access to resources
  • Open up more resources
  • For faculty, provide a richer teaching opportunity
  • For students, provide greater access, resources for learning
Networking technologies, teaching and learning
  • Needs based, connections, connecting
  • Pedagogical impact on focus on learning styles, teaching styles, and integration
  • Outcomes include develops larger sense of community, understands larger systems, structure

A Discussion on Social Technologies

Social technologies may provide the greatest opportunity for students to connect with other students, friends, acquaintances, faculty and others. These technologies may at first be dismissed as having little value or impact on student learning. However, these technologies provide the greatest opportunity to explore, develop and maintain many of the ad hoc communities so essential for student engagement. It is the social technologies that allow students (and faculty) to extend the classroom and go beyond the traditional or typical classroom spaces.

  • Social technologies, such as Google Groups and Google Chat, allow students to develop social groups, or communities centered around a variety of interests. It is the development of these social groups that promote continued engagement for students.
  • Social technologies will allow students to belong to a community, a virtual neighborhood, and provide them with a venue for interaction.
  • As students grow in their social communities, the opportunities for networking increase as well as the opportunities for collaboration.
Characteristics of social technologies:
  • Sense of place - allow participants or end users to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of empowerment. The technologies allow this sense of place, whether synchronous or asynchronous.
  • Create, develop, and sustain communities - technologies focus on building community, whether community of opportunity or shared purpose or interest, and sustain the community.
  • Allow faculty to connect with students in and out of class – lifelong learners, community of learners. The connection can extend outside of the classroom, outside of the course, and long after the formal education has ended.
  • Provide students opportunities to feel a part of class
Social technologies, teaching and learning
  • Belonging, identity, status - Students, or members of the social group, have a sense of identity and membership in a larger social gathering. This allows technology to be the means to connect members - whether virtually, synchronously, or asynchronously.
  • Pedagogical impact on focus on engagement, active learning, and interaction - Through the technologies, members feel and can become involved. The members begin to define and refine their roles and the expectations of the social group.
  • Outcomes include develops as citizen, member of community - Through the persistent and deliberate use of technology, members grow as individuals and members of the larger community.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...