Daily Archives: June 1, 2013

Week #4: Educational Applications of Web 2.0

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?

My experience with Web 2.0 tools as a math teacher are limited – for now. As I gain more experience as a teacher, however, I plan to devote myself to incorporating these socially, cognitively stimulating resources into my students’ regular learning.

I taught a course in financial literacy last year, and I felt that this class was my opportunity to branch out and try using Web 2.0 in my curriculum. Google Docs were a great way for students to collaboratively engage with the information, whether summarizing it, synthesizing it, or discussing it with one another. For example, students worked in groups to summarize the U.S. government’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (bls.gov). With this collective pool of information, they weighed in on why one aspect of the government’s research was more important to them than others. Another activity involved making a personal budget, and for this task students used a Google Spreadhseet. Again, the seemingly individualistic, one-dimensional nature of the kind of learning that typically might occur for an assignments like this one became a social experience that allowed students to seek the feedback of their peers based on their experiences and knowledge as well as provide feedback of their own. Overall, these Web 2.0 tools took these learning experiences from registering low on the cognitive scale to the level of evaluation ands elf-evaluation. Based on my experience, the classifications of various Web 2.0 tools as shown by Hsu et al. (p. 357) is accurate, and the application examples given at the end of each section stunningly show the broad range of rich learning possible with these tools. I’ve been (desperately) hoping to find specific examples of their use and was thrilled to learn so much from this reading.

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

Tagging, the way it was used in Mrs. Liam’s class (p. 359), was an extraordinary way to foster international collaboration and evaluative reasoning skills. More significant still is a student’s sense of ownership when learning through a Web 2.0 technology (Hsu et al., p. 364). Self-regulatory processes are at the heart of a successful life-long leaner, a goal of mine as a teacher that I mentioned in a previous blog post and a purpose with which others concurred. The affective gains of using technology in the classroom are also noteworthy. As Dickey (2004) mentioned in the example of student teachers blogging about their reflections, I really like how students can express their emotions and concerns and seek the feedback and help they need to be successful (p. 288). Fostering that kind of initiative in a student is beyond anything I ever thought I could accomplish with a chalk and talk lesson.

I comment below on other parts of the readings that I found interesting and thought provoking.

In the executive summary of the HR 2011, the authors state that “the days of isolated desk jobs are disappearing, giving way to models in which teams work actively together to address issues too far-reaching or complex for a single worker to resolve alone” (p. 3). How right they are. Although I like the movie Office Space for its ability to mock the cubical life of the corporate world, those days are almost gone. My friend, who works for a world leader in financial services, belongs to a team of colleagues, and they collaborate daily on the job.

In education, I have two passions: teaching students, and teaching teachers. Due to the latter passion, I am excited to learn that “teacher preparation programs are beginning to include courses related to digital media literacy” (HR 2011, p. 4). Since part of my job is training staff on technology use in the classroom, I take serious note of obstacles facing educators in learning how to leverage technology in their curricula. “The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital technologies morph and change quickly at a rate that generally outpaces curriculum development” (HR 2011, p. 4). Sound familiar? Elsewhere in this class we read about the need to teach our students to be adaptive in an ever-changing world. The same holds for education staff. Pedagogical concepts surrounding Web 2.0 use need to be focused upon. When lesson planning, have a clear idea in mind of how you want to use the technology; e.g., to foster collaboration, or improve students’ self-reflective skills, and so forth.

One of my professional goals is to include game-based learning in my curricula. “Research continues to demonstrate its effectiveness for learning for students… [and] the greatest potential of games for learning lies in their ability to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking” (HR 2011, p. 5). These latter three gains from this type of learning are highly relevant skills for my math students, and I’m desperately in need of more ways to move away from didactic instruction in my classroom while still maintaining the integrity of my teaching, AKA, my students continue to learn the course content at the same or even higher levels.

Beginning Formal Web 2.0 Learning

In reading this week’s chapter, I realized that the most important part of integrating Web 2.0 in formal learning environments is comfort and familiarity with emerging technologies.  It’s a very simple idea, but one that is easy to assume and so to overlook.  I think those of us with more comfort (which we would have to be because most of the class seems to be Ed Tech oriented) can easily forget that for most classroom teachers many of these technologies and the very idea of using them in their classrooms with students is a very foreign and unknown concept.  When talking up these new ideas in professional development situations, it is important to remember that new media Web 2.0 technology literacy might be a completely new term and will probably need to be explicitly defined “as an individual’s ability to understand, evaluate, manage, and use Web 2.0 technologies that enhance constructivist and social-constructivist communication and collaboration to create knowledge and learning products. Note that from this definition, new media Web 2.0 technology literacy in education is critically important for both teachers and students” (Hsu, Ching, & Grabowski, 2010, p. 355).

Tagging, blogging, and collaborating on wikispaces were all given as excellent first steps into use of emerging technologies in formal classroom settings, and I think these three options are able to be used by less experienced educators without being too overwhelming for them.  It is valuable to consider that “teachers’ technical capability was the fundamental predictor for any technology to be integrated in the classroom.  That is, only after much hands-on practice will teachers start to feel confident about and consider adopting high level use of the technology with their students. This means that for a technology that requires complex skills and has a long and steep learning curve, teachers are less likely to develop the confidence they need to adopt it” (Hsu, Ching, & Grabowski, 2010, p. 354).  We don’t want to disadvantage teachers and by extension their students by not providing the support that teachers need to become more fluent with new literacies.  Table 1 on page 357 would be a good method of introducing teachers to new ideas for using emerging technologies in their classrooms, but I feel like the table is perhaps a bit too regimented.  For simplicity’s sake, I can see the point of partitioning off the three technologies in the way that the authors did, but I worry people who are less familiar might come think of the assignments and cognitive applications as proscribed and not just suggestions.  For example, wikis could easily be used to organize prior knowledge while tagging could be used more metacognitively, but the chart doesn’t reflect these uses.

I very much enjoyed the Mobile Tech and Learning course last semester, and it seems to me that using mobile technologies in the classroom could be a good gateway for teachers who aren’t yet fully comfortable with more web-based instruction techniques.  “Mobiles allow very simple tools to be easily integrated into classroom activities with no need for involvement of IT or support staff” (Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine, & Haywood, 2011, p. 13). By using simple apps on technologies that the students would provide (i.e. their own Smartphones), the teacher could ease into new technologies without having to step too far outside their own classrooms into the wider world of the Internet.  Once the teacher was feeling more adventurous, he or she could then think about more intensive uses of mobile technologies in digital literacy instruction, such as augmented reality.  “AR that relies on mobile devices leverages an increasingly ubiquitous tool, not for social interactions but for learning, blurring the boundaries between formal and informal learning, which can in turn contribute to the evolution of a learning ecology that transcends educational institutions. Indeed, the potential for just-in-time learning and exploration, without special goggles or other equipment, is a deeply compelling aspect of this technology” (Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine, & Haywood, 2011, p. 17). 

As a media specialist, I can’t just think about my own technology uses, but also the uses of the classroom teachers who would depend on my however rightly or wrongly assumed expertise in new technologies.  I would hope that by encouraging baby steps like suggested by this week’s authors, I would then be able to help teachers move from apps connected to a chart, map, or textbook into more advanced, yet still accessible means of digital instruction, such as tagging found articles, collaborating on creative wiki projects, or encouraging reflection and publishing through blogs.  I worry about school and district policies getting in the way, and I worry about teachers’ own concerns with privacy and Internet safety in their classrooms stopping them from being innovative.  Many of these teachers will look to me, and I’m thinking that through classes like this one I will be able to make them feel more comfortable in these new educational surroundings.

Week 4 Educational Applications of Web 2.0 (RT)

The Web 2.0 Technologies table in the Hsu et al. chapter is very helpful for viewing the different levels of cognitive processing possible with the classification of Web 2.0 applications. I agree with and find the prescribed classification useful.

Base on my brief knowledge of tagging as a learning / cognitive activity, I think the use of a location-aware learning app can make ‘tagging’ a knowledge construction activity as Hsu et al suggested:
“Students associated newly learned and existing vocabulary with the animals or plants [objects] they logged, thus tying it to prior knowledge. Since they made the associations themselves, the students thought and made decisions that made sense to them. This personal decision making requires higher levels of processing, thereby promoting deeper understanding, as opposed to being told associations to remember. The process of tagging allowed the students to construct a rough structure for their knowledge base about nature. Students also reflected, compared, and contrasted their tagging with those of others, which helped bring on further learning—by reexamining and reconsidering the appropriateness of their tags and the reasoning behind them.”

Users can save and tag geographical location information, data, photos, and videos onto a map that can be shared with others for review and evaluation. A free iOS app, mGeo, is available here http://www.appstore.com/niemgeo

In this class, the use of Diigo and RSS really stood out for me.

This chapter by Hsu et al offers not only clear explanations of key concepts in Web 2.0 technologies and good examples for application in education, but also recommendations for implementation.

  • As instructional designers are required to promote the use of Web 2.0 tools we need to “become familiar with the technologies and research its use” before we make that recommendation. I plan to explore the use of Edmodo for creating a discussion forum to facilitate learning through peer feedback and compare its affordances with the use of Facebook Page. The DF will be an added feature for the self-paced open course titled “The Heart of Teaching: Philosophical Foundations,” that will be launched in Sep’13 via iTunes U.

  • It is so important to “start small and be realistic.” For the first time in my study life, I had to make a very difficult decision (2008) to withdraw from a class when the professor overwhelmed the students with too many new concepts and recommendation of too many new tools I am very thankful for this course where the instructor walks the talk by introducing carefully selected tools for students to dabble with so that we can have more than just a head knowledge of what Web 2.0 is about

  • When introducing anything new, it is necessary to “provide scaffolding in using the tool.” The only example I can give is with regards to learning in iTunes U. This platform can be very loose in structure, hence to guide learning, a course structure is provided and learners are provided with instructions on how to navigate the course.

  • Table 1 (p.357) is a good reference that can help adopters of Web 2.0 technologies “design the lesson that calls for the appropriate and desired cognitive activities.”

  • As instructional designers we support faculty by creating awareness of Web 2.0 technologies and design workshops to facilitate the use, but truly, it is the faculty who has to “make it a big deal” and increase students’ motivation to use Web 2.0 technologies in learning. But honestly speaking as a student, I find it intimidating to have real audiences from outside of class – hence I could not really start a personal blog as I felt I do not have something worth sharing. I think this fear can be diminished as I become more familiar with the subject matter.  

Week 4 post – Web 2.0

Technology simplification and ease of use has made it possible for instructors to go from the passive consumer to the active producer when it comes to web content.
As we are more and more often are asking students to create their own digital artifacts, sometimes even replacing the traditional written paper, it becomes increasingly important to teach the art of storytelling through that medium. Through the Media Commons we have begun to teach a workshop on digital storytelling which teaches students how to put digital media to work for them. Just with written stories the employment of the 3 act story structure is relevant. It is important to take into account, that while the media piece will take less time in some cases to consume, it can sometimes take exponentially longer to create. Instead of just creating the story in your mind you then have to go out and create the visual pieces and put them in some semblance of order. Keeping in mind the importance of capturing the audiences attention and getting your message across.

I think the tips for teachers highlighted in this article were really well thought out and helpful. The one that stood out to me was choosing the “appropriate” technology for the lesson they want to teach. Using a technology because its trendy is like wearing skinny jeans when they just don’t flatter your body. It will just end up making you look silly and you may lose credit with your students when it comes to fashion advice later on. I think one piece that may be missing is to set your students up for success and providing resources for students to get help with the new technology if it falls beyond their level of expertise. From what I’ve experienced, students don’t really care if you aren’t an expert on how to use Google Docs, but they do need to know where to go when they have questions. I have also found that one of the biggest roadblocks for faculty using new technologies in the classroom is the fear that they need to be experts in whatever tool they want to implement. This is just not the case when there is so much information available to students on campus and on the web.

I thought the table shared in this article was interesting and brought a new perspective to several familiar tools. I currently teach tagging to my students mainly as a practical organizational skill and mostly with content that they themselves create. I also find it helpful to use tags as a way to cite the source of media content as students collect digital artifacts from around the web.
Looking at tagging as a way of constructing knowledge may be better left for a class that is prepared to spend time speaking to the art of folksonomy. For me and my students its important to understand what tools are out there and how they can best help them to complete their assignments, not just in my class but all of their classes.
While I appreciate all that Wiki’s can do for us, I’m much more interested in student created spaces that they can develop and use as they wish.

As far as insights go about the application of technology into the classroom, I have a few that really stood out to me. First, the saying that “change is the only thing that remains constant” is definitely true of technology as well. It seems that as many new tools crop up on the web, just as many are discontinued without notice. It is important to keep on the cutting edge and keep a constant eye open for new tools available and more effective ways to engage students with these tools.
Second, its not enough to just implement the tool and hope that it does its job. As instructors we have to engage WITH the students through these tools and we have to develop a curriculum that reinforces the power of the tool.

Week 4: Application of Web 2.0 Tools

After reviewing all of the Web 2.0 tools discussed in the chapter by Hsu et al., I was convinced that all of the tools described could be associated within each category listed in table 1. It is amazing to see specifically how these tools can help to facilitate higher-level thinking within our students. These tools enable students to metacognitively approach their learning. They need to be able to reason and critically define the importance and accuracy of resources they reference through these Web 2.0 tools. For me, it was interesting to see the category of tagging listed in these Web 2.0 tools. I never really thought of tagging as being something of importance in learning. After reading this chapter, I now realize that tagging allows the learner to define and classify the information/resource they are viewing. For me, tagging comes naturally because I strive off of organization. By tagging websites, I am able to organize the information I found of value in a meaningful way that makes it easier to reference again. In my own experience, I LOVE pinning/tagging items on Pinterest. There are so many ways to classify and sort websites for future use. Since this is a natural thing for me, I never really thought about using that in the classroom with my students. Each tool listed in the table, allows students to derive their own meaning/learning either independently or collaboratively. When students to take ownership of their learning, it becomes more meaningful which in turn allows students to push themselves further. These tools, although more difficult to assess, would be ideal to use in the classroom in order to facilitate these cognitive processes.

These tools all play significant roles in the classroom. Students would become higher level learners as they take ownership of their learning. Students would be able to build their knowledge together when collaborating using wikis or blogs. Although I have not used any personally in my classroom, I can see the value of using blogs or even GoogleDocs, where students could collaborate on a given task. Like I have mentioned before, students at my grade level are not given email accounts with our district. In order for me to utilize these tools, I would need to have them work off one shared account. The value that these tools hold academically, cognitively, socially, and motivationally are definitely worth integrating into lessons. I believe that the tips that were listed for educators in the Horizon Report are important to remember. The one that was forefront for me was the idea that we need to start small and work big. We need to take time to use the tools before we teach the tool to our students. Also, we need to teach our students how to properly use the tool before “cutting them loose” on a given assignment. Although it may be harder to first use and harder for teachers to assess, the value that these tools hold cognitively far outweigh those hardships.

Personally, I know that I am going to try utilizing some of these tools this summer at a camp that I work at. I am a head coordinator for a youth aged group at a camp called Rawlinsville Camp. Although we do not have electronics or internet at camp, I thought that one of the tools mentioned in the Horizon article would be neat to try. I really liked the idea of the Polls Everywhere website. I can see utilizing this mobile tool at camp. We could ask students to respond to a given question (multiple choice or open ended) using a text message. Then, we could gather the results later that day (when we run to our homes to shower and finally have internet access) and we could present them at our evening gathering. This would allow students to contribute to the presentations, activities, etc. at camp in a fun way.


Week 3: Learning Philosophy

Learning Philosophy 1.0

(This assignment is a late posting for me due to a medical emergency in the family.)

What constitutes learning for you?

Interestingly, my mind separates what is learning to me for me and what is learning for those that I teach.

For me, learning is gaining, refining, amending, or creating knowledge.  Personally, I like to have useful information and find that I eliminate information that either I do not need (like welding, where I would hire someone to do it for me) or file it away to some recess in my mind only to be called forth later when I infrequently need it (like making biscuits).  Since I am a “practical knowledge consumer”, I tend to like to learn things that involved my hands or some type of action that will yield something.  As illustrated by attendance to culinary school, I want to learn something and then demonstrate it.  I use the theoretical as a springboard for the useful but do not spend a lot of time with the theoretical once I gain the useful direction that I needed.

For those that I teach, I lean on the philosophy that it has to be personal and desired for the other person to learn.  If it is personal, then there is a connection of some sort for the learner that is going to feed their passion and drive their motivation.  If it is desired, then there is fertile soil for the development of knowledge.

How should learning happen?

I think learning should happen in the means that makes the most sense for the learner.  For example, I am not a good auditory learner.  I have to see it, say it, read it, and do it.  Telling me how to do something, I will miss it unless I write it down.  Have me do it once and explain “why” afterwards and I will know it forever.  For anyone, learning should happen in a personally understandable way that is going to anchor the theoretical to the practical and cement the “what could be” to “what is”.  By doing this, the learner finds their voice, constructs the meaning, and connects that new knowledge to prior knowledge to build a connection.

How do you know when learning takes place?  What visible indicators or signs demonstrate that learning has taken place?

For me these two questions seem to fit together as part of one conversation.  For the most part, I want to say when it can be demonstrated but I qualify that statement by saying when it can be taught to someone else.  I have seen students who have mimicked what I have done but unable to explain it to others and teach the subject to them.  However, when a student can teach another student the subject/topic/lesson, then I feel more assured learning has occurred because the concepts have been digested in a way that can be discussed and extended past the rotely memorized quote into a discussion and demonstration.

How would one differentiate between learners and teachers/facilitators in the context of participatory learning and Web 2.0?

I would see Learning 1.0 being one-way in direction, static, and didactic.  Where Learning 2.0 is a collaboration of thoughts, ideas, and knowledge to determine a direction that reaches past the traditional barriers of access, geography, and language.  While teachers may assist in guiding the student and scaffolding information for consumption by the students, the students determine their own direction, interests, and depths of investigation into the topic.

What do you see as your role in 2025? (For example how do you see your role in your professional context adapting to differences in  information/content access, directed vs. self-learning, and the notion of learning as mobilizing networks.)

I see myself teaching, but more as an advising facilitator than a “sage on the stage”.  I want to meet my students where they are but not leave them there.  I want to challenge their thoughts but create a space to for them to determine the direction of their thoughts.  I see myself as the person who assists in sustaining the students’ interests but not determining the requirements of the interests.

BURRIS - Wordle #2

Guest Blogger

Hi everyone!  e_Gehman_0265

My name is Stephanie Gehman and it’s my pleasure to be a guest blogger for your class. I completed this course last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it! I am working on my Master’s of Education in Instructional Systems – Educational Technology.

I am currently a 3rd grade teacher in the Solanco School District. This is my 3rd year teaching. In my classroom, I don’t use any mobile devices, but I do have ActivInspire Clicker devices, which resemble cell phones, but can only be used to answer questions that I send the students. This software also allows me to use an ActivSlate, which is a wireless tablet that I can use anywhere in the classroom with flip charts created with the ActivInspire software. My students love using their “clickers” and I use them most for activating strategies, summarizing strategies, or for reviewing units. This allows me to see which students are getting questions correct, and which may need some extra support with the concept.

I graduated from Millersville University in May 2010 and through my undergrad classes I was able to use many internet technologies as well. Some of these include, googledocs, wikispaces, audacity, and inspiration. I also use googledocs, moodle, and diigo at my elementary school. Googledocs is a great resource that really allows you to be organized, which I love! I am even using multiple googledocs to organize different things for my upcoming wedding!

In the classroom, I believe that using technology allows students to get excited about learning in a different way. Students live in a technology driven world and see technology everywhere they turn. However, the most significant challenge I see technology causing in education is the lack of personal face-to-face interactions. We no longer live in a world where you have travel somewhere to connect with someone. You can text, call, Skype, FaceTime etc. While these are great tools, and while I see this aspect helping the more shy students in a classroom, they also take away from live interactions between people, which is incredibly important, especially at the elementary level. Being “social” and having “social skills” is already hard enough for elementary students. I fear technology will only make it harder. So much time behind a phone or a computer screen, also allows students to do or say things they wouldn’t necessarily do if they were face to face with a peer. This is a worrisome component of technology that I hope this generation and ones to follow don’t allow to happen. I believe we as educators and our students now and in the future can use technology to enhance education and our daily lives!

Week 4: Web 2.OH!

  • 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?

    “The concept marks the transition of the Web from the “Webas-information-source” to the “participatory Web,” encouraging user participation, creation, and sharing, beyond simple retrieval of information (Decrem, 2006; Wikipedia, 2007e).”

Although I am fairly familiar with Web 2.0 tools and use them in the classroom and at home on a regular basis, I hadn’t ever thought of their categorization.  Table 1 in the chapter gives a good basis for someone looking to create these categories for their web 2.0 tools.

The chapter places the first emphasis on folkonomy and the art of “tagging” information. I understand how this can be a collaborative process as it helps with the search of information and the formation of a summary for the text. However, considering this a form of cognitive tool where learning is being created is a bit of a stretch.  Many of my students, because they are required too, tag information; my colleagues do also.  It’s a great way to get back to information later.  However, cognitive development isn’t always at the forefront of these tags. Maybe a form of self-evaluation if the teacher facilitates and gives feedback on the tags?

However, I love wikis.  I love learning from wikis. I love watching my students create wikis. I love evaluating wikis. I love having my students work with wikis. Wikis are a learning experience of collaboration. Students can input information, change information and then start all over again.  My students collaborate on Presidential Campaign Wikis.  They help each other, learn from each other and work with all sorts of web 2.0 tools in the process. And through the social environment, cognition for each student is increased.

“Blogs give voices to the masses.”  This quote epitomizes what is going on with the web right now.  People that would have had to have coding HTML skills can now find a webpage that allows them to share their thoughts openly.  People now, more than ever, can read and analyze the opinions of others around the world.  It allows for reflection, which is one of the basic pieces of learning. So in this case, I completely agree with its place on Table 1 – processing, self regulation and reflection.


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

I really enjoyed the tips for using Web 2.0 tools at the end of the chapter.  As a (fairly) new teacher, I’ve been exposed to many of the web 2.0 tools out there. But I still get nervous changing an entire lesson if it isn’t going to go as planned.  I use wikispaces a lot.  After a three week project, one that I also completed with students for the last two years in a row, on the day students were to go onto my wikispaces and view all of the other political parties created, wikispaces had shut down the ability to openly share webpages without paying a fee.  It’s disheartening to think that a web 2.0 program that I took so many hours of my life to plan and create a lesson for, has changed its ways.  It makes us less likely to use these tools because of how unreliable they can be.

The one tip at the end of the chapter was the best.  Get the students excited!  The more they believe their work will be shown and reviewed and discussed, the more likely they are to get involved and engage in learning.