Melissa’s Week 4 Reading Reflection

The Hsu et al. chapter identifies different categories of Web 2.0 tools and how they accommodate student learning (specifically table 1). What is your perspective on the classification and application of tools based on your own knowledge and work with various Web 2.0 tools?

While I mostly have experience using the category of journaling or blogs, I did feel that the cognitive processing involved was correctly classified in Table 1 for each Web 2.0 technology type.  It helped to go back over the table after I read the rest of the chapter with examples of the use of each type of technology.   I have some minor experience with group use of Goggle Docs and feel that you could categorize the use of that tool in the “Organization and Integration with Prior Knowledge” cognitive process as well, especially when information needs to be placed in a certain category of a document.  But the authors themselves point out on page 356 that all three applications could promote all of the types of cognitive processes in the table.

What do you see as the most significant insights about application of technology into the classroom based on this chapter?

The tagging scenario on pages 358-359 helped me to think about a future application for my own course.   I am looking into the use of Pinterest as a helpful study aid for my anatomy and physiology students.  I recently attended a short presentation about Pinterest and its use in an undergraduate course.  I took a look at the number of anatomy figures that were already present on Pinterest and feel that maintaining boards on certain categories would allow students to find images to study, and also allow them to pin images that they find.  One of the biggest issues that occurs on anatomy quizzes is that students feel that they knew the information from one image (the figure in the book, for example), but couldn’t identify that part from a 3-dimensional model in lab.  I have found that the more a student studies from various sources, the more they understand the correct anatomy, no matter how it is presented.   Pinterest would allow students to find images and organize those images into the correct category to be used for future study.

I was also interested in the discussion of RSS feeds for staying updated on blog content (page 364).  I have found this to be a particularly helpful feature in our course this summer.  A problem that we face at our college is with our learning management system, students do not have good mobile access to the discussion forum.  They can get email updates, but posting is still best done on a computer, not a mobile device.  While I know that we will eventually be moving to Blackboard (which has better mobile access), in the short term of the next year or two, discussions on a blog would allow my students to interact with each other more often.  Because so many students have a Facebook app on their phones, I do know instructors who have moved their discussion forums out of the learning management system and onto a closed group on Facebook.  This allowed for better interaction between the students and the instructor as it could be used as a ubiquitous mobile tool.  I’d be interested to hear about the pros and cons of Facebook versus blogs based on others’ experiences.  And as with a blog, students can reflect on their learning by reading previous posts and seeing how far they have come since the beginning of a course.  I was excited by the scenario of using a blog as an e-portfolio as this allows the students to save multiple media types including audio, video, pictures, and text.  E-portfolios are now being used by many students to show their skills and experience for job interviews or acceptance into academic programs.

My favorite part of the article was the recommendations for implementation at the end of the article.  With all I have been learning in the past few weeks about these tools, I loved the recommendation to “start small and be realistic” on page 367.  I already have so many ideas to use these tools in my courses, but I need to refine those big plans into small steps to pilot these tools one at a time.

I did also enjoy exploring the different reports on the New Media Consortium website.  It was interesting that over the last few years, many of the same trends were reported such as mobile apps and educational games.  Recently, I was introduced to the area of learning analytics at a workshop, and it seems this could be an important new tool as well.  As an instructor, I already can use data from assessments to see where students are having problems as well as the areas in which they are doing fine, but learning analytics provide more detailed analyses that can help both instructors and administrators.

2 thoughts on “Melissa’s Week 4 Reading Reflection

  1. Cheryl Burris

    Learning analytics is really coming in strong here in NC. There is so much data that required with Common Core.

    Like Melissa, I too loved the recommendation to start small with technology and be realistic. When I was teaching about 5 years ago, I had received a SmartBoard with the training yet to come. As a result, we played with it in class to try to figure it out together. One thing I used to do with my class (it actually made me enjoy Monday mornings) was ask my students to teach me one thing they learned over the weekend about the SmartBoard that they thought was cool. I learned more from them than I ever did from a professional development workshop.

  2. cnb135

    Melissa –
    I completely agree! I loved the recommendation for using Web 2.0 tools at the end of the article too! Start small and be realistic! We can’t all be masters of the tools immediately. And sometimes, we get overzealous on what the students can and can’t handle. And planning – we need to do more and more of that with these web 2.0 tools! If we can start the students small and build upon their participatory technology education, we can finally teach them to be 21st century learners.

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