Tag Archives: Group 3

Week 5 Blogs and Learning (RT)

According to Rebecca Blood (2002), blogs may be classified as journals, notebooks or filters.

  • journals – record daily life 
  • notebooks – write ideas / thoughts focusing on both personal life and the outside world
  • filters – comment on interesting news

This Web 2.0 tool has application in the educational setting. As Hsu et al (2009) indicated,  researchers are exploring “the potential cognitive and metacognitive effects of incorporating blogs in teaching and learning activities that engage and facilitate meaningful learning.”

When blogging is introduced as a metacognitive activity, my first reaction is – not enjoyable, at least for me. Presented that way to someone who is new to blogging, it becomes a chore and a reminder that I need to polish up on my writing skills. Thanks to the learning design for this course and the resources provided, that baggage is slowly being removed.

I looked at a teacher blog of student’s work: Sheridan School Showcase (http://shershowcase.edublogs.org/) and immediately experience blogging in an educational setting as enjoyable. (I believe I felt that way because I am beginning to enjoy the experience of blogging in this course.) It thought it remarkable that elementary school children are exploring Web 2.0 tools such as Animoto, VoiceThread, etc. – kudos to their teacher(s). This must be such a powerful experience for the children when their work is showcased with affirmative comments from their teacher.

In reflection, I think the soft structure put in place for our course blog has enabled me to enter into blogging and experience, as so many in the class have said, the power of this Web 2.0 tool. I cannot help but compare this experience with that of the discussion forum tool in Blackboard. The organization of content in a blog platform is much easier to read (less fragmented) and I feel it also affects how I write (more fully). I spend more time (than I would for a DF) considering what I will write, scribble the key words or phrases on paper and organize my writing, edit and post into the class blog. Now I can see why my boss who is an avid blogger often thumbs down when I thumbs up on the use of DF. I believe there is still a place for DF where writing is less intense.

In Will Richardson’s blog, he filters and writes comments on things that are happening in education. In his response to Michelle Rhee-Weise’s perception on PD for teachers, he offers another perspective on PD. So, about the characteristics of student and teacher blogs, it seems to me that student blog tends to tell the world about themselves and teacher blogs tend to invite a response to their topics / thoughts (it seems).
Blood, R. (2002). What is a weblog. In R. Blood (Ed.) The Weblog Handbook: Practical advice on creating and maintaining your blog (pp. 1-25). Cambridge, MA: Perseus

P/S I am still editing my podcast to take it down from 35 min. to 15 or less……

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.