Overall Reflection on IT780 Seminar in Instructional Technology

Have you found a proper Web 2.0 tool in Instructional Technology?
 As illustrated in Dr. Yuen’s course materials, compared with other courses in this semester, IT780 concerns more about  online Web 2.0 tools for education. I think it could be understanded in this way, Web 2.0 tools for education are quite important, what we need is not only one tool, we need the whole pool; or to say, the more the better. And also, IT780 emphasis more on the interactive instructional activities in Instructional Technology.Here, I have listed IT780’s Objectives agian for recalling what we have covered in this course.According to Dr. Yuen’s syllabus, students in the course will explore the emerging instructional technologies and discuss important issues that have an impact upon the use of technology in various instructional environments. Students who successfully complete this course will gain an understanding of the challenges and obstacles associated with successful technology use and learn how to integrate the emerging technologies into teaching and learning. The following topics will be discussed:.

  • Blogs
  • Mobile learning
  • Designing educational Web sites for the mobile devices
  • Podcasting
  • Portable applications and open Source
  • Online presentation with Slideshare
  • Social bookmarking services
  • Social networking
  • Twitter
  • Web 2.0 tools
  • Wikis
  • Writing for academic journals
(from Dr. Yuen’s IT 780 Syllabus)
Rethinking About What Instructional Technology Is
To answer the quesion at the beginning of this reflection. We should date back to a previous question: what is Instructional Technology? This question has been quested since the beginning of my PhD study in this program.
In education,  instructional technology is “the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning,” according to the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Definitions and Terminology Committee.
(from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructional_technology)
After two semesters’ learning in instructional technology, and in the three monthes study and learning in Dr. Yuen’s IT780 Seminar in Instructional Technology, I have a new understanding of instructional technology. Interaction is the key point in instructional technology.  
Every step is a chance of growing in Instructional Technology for me. I think it is IT780 allowing me to deep into this major, and it is also IT780 increasing my great interests in combination of technology with teaching and learning. The learning of IT780 itself is just a course of the combination of learning and technology! Amazing!
Besides,because IT780 is a hybrid course, it gives us more learning and study platforms, not only combined to classroom. We have Social Network online learning enviroment (Mixxt, the amazing thing is after the study in IT780, I could create my own social networking by Mixxt!); we also have textbook learning procedure, the discussion forum giving us the chance of sharing ideas and opinions after reading chapters in textbook; we also have face-to-face-class weekly. Such hybrid course provides me more opportunities for study, and gives me deeper feeling of what is instructional technology is.
Our social network
IT780 Social Network is a forum for the communication between students and instructor, students and students, created by Dr. Yuen. We were asked to attach each assignment to Social Network to share and grade. The key point in Social Network is “SHARE”. All the students of the same class have to show their artifacts in this network, which provide us the interactive learning enviroment. We could enjoy others’ artifacts, and find to which we could do any improvement for selves’ assignment.
Textbook with different Web 2.0 tools
The textbook recommend by Dr. Yuen is just a further and theoratic study of those Web 2.0 tools learnt in class, which leads me to the road of what I have to do with Web 2.0 tools. I like this book very much! 
 The interaction is not only in course itself, but also a kind of interaction among the relative courses in this same field.
Face-to-face class learning platform
Our class is another studying platform, besides the Social Network created by Dr. Yuen, and the textbooks recommended by Dr. Yuen. All the students in class share their opinions and ideas about our program, about assignments, about those software. I do appreciate their sharing in classroom. With their suggestions and opiniones, I know to what point I could improvement my artifacts. Thanks to you all! Using technology to improve the effects of instruction and learning course must be the direction of modern education.
As a PhD student in Instructional Technology, what I have to do is to know as many software/ hardware as possible, and combine them with education in my teaching career. In each reflection of my artifact in IT780, different from IT644’s reflection in blogfolio, first I list the assignment requirments of each assignment, and then shared the features of software learned in this class according to my own experience of using those tools. I did not include the combination of those Web 2.0 tools to a specific area or topic, what I have reflected in this blogfolio is sincerely a hope that  all the Web 2.0 tools learnt heare could really do great help for education in the future!

Reflection on Presentation – Your selected Web 2.0 tool

Assignment Requirement:

 Students are required to select a Web 2.0 tool related to the focus of this course.

My Web 2.0 tool Presentation on Empressr:

Reflection on Presentation – Your selected Web 2.0 tool:

For this assignment, I choose Empressr among those Web 2.0 tools. Empressr is a flash-based web presentation tool that allows you to create, share and store presentation online.

Maybe some of you have heard or even used Empressr presentation before, while, some of you may not know what Empressr is, what Empressr do to education, and how to create featured presentation by Empressr. As for me, Empressr is absolutely a new presentation tool, surely there are several reasons for my choice at Empressr. Now, I would like to list the main features of Empressr, hope which could attract you to try in Empressr.

a. It is free.

As illustrated in my presentation, Powerpoint is the mainstream presentation software in the past years. With the development of Microsoft Office software, Powerpoint is also keeping its pace to help creating more vivid and professional designed presentation. But the purchase of MS is really very expensive; another presentation tool I mentioned is Prezi. I began to use Prezi since last year, which is a free (but not to all). Compared with Powerpoint, Prezi seems more convenient and beneficial to online presentation. However, you need a school email to sign in, and some functions need money to open.

The first time I found Empressr is just because the searching key word “free presentation tool”. Yes, Empressr is free, and without requirement of university email address. This is convenient for students and teachers.

b. It is easy to use.

If we say money is a factor for people’s choice of presentation tool, I should say, easy operation would be another important factor to be considered. Empressr is a flash-based application, which means that it could insert flash, audio, video, animation, graphics to presentation directly. The amazing thing is that you do not need to understand Flash at all!

In powerpoint or Prezi, you have to use several developer tool to add those animations or videos to presentation, which may frustrate many instructors who do not understand flash~ Prezi does not need developer tool for insert flash, (copy and paste URL of Youtube is much easier than powerpoint). However, Prezi does not allow insert other medias, it only support medias in Youtube or other verified URL media file.  Empressr can upload several multimedia formats files without knowing any knowledge of developing tool, which can make the process of creating presentation much easier and relaxed.

c. It is flexible.

Just by clicking on the TEXT, SHAPE, CHART, TABLE, you can insert the graphics you need, the charts you need, or the table an texts you want to edit. All of these help making the process of making a presentation easy and flexible. You do not need to worry about inserting boring chart or table in your presentation.

Another feature that help the flexibility of creating presentation is RECORD function in Empressr. You can record you photo, audio, and even video directly when creating the presentation, which means that the design and preparing of presentation could be done simoutanously. How convenient the process it is!

Above are the main reason that I recommand Empressr for creating online presentation. Besides, Empressr presentation could be embeded in your Powerpoint file; and vice verse.

If you are interested in Empressr, just start your Empressr presentation now!

Blog Critique

1. Web Tools Applied to Teaching

The rapid development of technology and web technology does offer much more tools for assisting language learning. These new webtools are fun, free, easy to access to, and more interactive. They have widen the whole learning environment to anywhere that has Internet access. Such flexible learning tools and environment provided by web technology should be well-compared and developed. The 20 webtools selected here are best for language teaching and learning, with more emphasis on learning side. Each webtool has its advantage in any of the four aspects of language learning. Being an English teacher before, I understand that for students, combination of the four different aspects of English learning is quite important but not an easy thing to accomplish.

Among the 20 tools, I think GOANIMATE is similar to FUZZWICH. Using simple and easy-operation animation to assist language learning is really amazaing, especially for language beginners. Previous, teaching and learning new words and vocabulary of a language is always the tough start for learners. Bunch of words need to memorize without concrete context helping understanding. However, in our Web 2.0 time, webtool could solve this problem. With cute cartoon and animation learning environment, words and vocabulary have been embedded into real language context, which is quite crucial for helping language adaptation. Students could easily locate their vocabulary in the real usage of language, without worrying that learning and using are separated. The other cool point of combing animation with language learning is the interaction. Creating language context on teachers’ side is responsible for students’ primary understanding of the usage of word or idiom; while at the same time, animation could also be created by students themselves or required by teachers to play a role of checking out what has been mastered and how students apply the knowledge to to real context based on their own understanding.

I like the post, and I like all of these 20 webtools. Although some of them are not adaptable for all language learning situation, they still deserve the important role in language learning. Language learning is a comprehensive process, we cannot separate the four parts, listening, speaking, reading and writing. But during the learning courses, teachers and learners do can emphasize on different parts in different learning phases by applying those webtools.

2. Augmented Reality (AR) in Education

The quite new concept in this post attracts. As for me, AR still a quite strange area, especially for its application in education. As illustrated in this post, Augmented reality (AR) is “an emerging form of experience in which the real world is enhanced by computer-generated content specific to a location and to an activity.” Understanding “experience” and “content specific”are the key of understanding of AR.
Actually, AR emphasizes on a kind of learning experience, which help to “make ubiquitous learning a reality, allowing learners to gain immediate access to a wide range of location-specific information from various sources”.  The videos shared in this post have shown several application of AR in different areas. The experience created through this technology is amazing! I like the video about AR and education. Supposing that sitting in classroom, but through AR, a real 3D world would appear in your textbook, what a surprising education experience learners would obtain! The content specific of AR guarantee its multiple usage in different areas. Once you decide what content to cover through AR, what you need to do with AR is just enjoy the course.

Admittedly, applying AR to education sounds great, but I think I do have several questions, because it is still a very new and untouchable technology for me. Will this application rely on what kind of paper for textbook? Since I have notice that another assistant tool has been used for AR in education. Different from camera, the process of education still need to connect with paper and words, not just view or pictures. If AR could change the learning modes in the future, will education become paperless? Another question is that, AR is content specific, but not all the education could be covered by AR, or to say, not all subjects are fit with AR. From the perspective of learning language, will AR distract learners’ attention when it apply to education?

3. A Day Made of Glass

The future technology is one of my best topics in study of instructional technology. With the development of modern society, great technologies appear day by day. Some of them are the improvement of old ones, some of them are the first-time show. Some of them are changing people’s life, every aspect of life, including education. This video recommend in this post describes a virtual glass day in the future. Everything around us could be a glass for data transmission. If the real future would be in this kind, how convenient our life would be!

It seems that digital life has already been part of human life. Cellphone, computer, camera…So many things are gaining its digital format. In this video, this kind of digital life does not rely a certain instrument, like a heavy computer, or something that you need to carry with. The amazing point is that, just a piece of glass could transmit all the data you need, words, pictures, even the real objects could be transmitted digitally! And in this video, I think another information has also been indicated. In the future, with the development of web 2.0, maybe web 3.0 or higher version, the interaction would be more emphasized. People would set what they are interested, like RSS in web 2.0 now. And this technology would be more personalized.

If this technology could be used to education in the future. Together with AR, which has also attracts me, education could become a real flexible enjoyment. Without books, without pens, without computers, without a fixed study place, you can learn at any time, any place, any information you are interested in. And because of the most interactive advantage, education would be in its real social network.

4. Mobile Year in Review 2010

As illustrated in the video and in this post, 2010 was the year mobile connected the world. All the data compared in the video reflect the trend and tendency from social media to mobile phone. That is really true. From my own experience, I prefer smart-phone to regular phone; twitter and youtube video could be more easily get access to through mobile phone. The mobile devices provide people a higher speed of sending message and sharing information with friends. The rising requirement of social networking is also the reason that pushing the development of mobile devices.

Mobile devices makes the communication and sharing much more convenient and easily to get access to. This is also the trend of education. Actually, 2010 mobile year seems to bring learning to a new era. The mobile learning platform makes learning more flexible and efficient. Besides the learning periods in class or in school, learners could have more time to choose for study. For fixing of school time may not be proper for every students, a mobile study device could enlarger the learning period and provide students a more comfortable learning environment. If education could become a freer issue, many problems in schools now could be solved easily. For example, the misunderstanding of certain knowledge point could be revised after school time, without teacher’s present; students who want to learn more after class could have and control their own study pace. However, here is a question that I am wondering. For higher efficiency education, does mobile learning have any disadvantages? The flexibility provided by mobile device for study could really do great benefits for active learners, but what about inactive learners? Will mobile device give those students an excuse to escape school study time?

As for me, I prefer mobile device for learning language. This is really a very good method for language learning. With such mobility, language learning could start at any time that the learners consider necessary, which provides the chance of bring language to real context. Any other software or technology that could create or intimate real context still cannot be compared with real context. That is the great advantage of mobile device for language learning.

5. Cell Phone Learning Support System (CPLSS)

Cell phone is a typical mobile device. The reason that I like this post is because it adopts the mobile technology for education. Agreed with Dr. Yuen, I also think that mobile learning would be a major extension of e-learning.CPLSS is just one of these. CPLSS is just one of these. The CPLSS is designed to work with many cell phones, smartphones, or PDA phones and will have four major modules: Java book, Web book, audio book, and video book.The Java module is used for displaying textual information, like course syllabus, schedule, lecture notes, assignments, quizzes, or other learning materials.  The Web module displayed in a standard HTML or WAP on a cell phone, just functioning as a website to retrieve course materials online through a special mobile Web site.  The audio module and video module are designed to play recorded lectures, class news, podcasts, digital audio books, interviews with guest experts, or language lessons in MP3/mp4 format.

The CPLSS system will enable professors or trainers to provide the course syllabus, class schedule, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials (in text, audio, and video formats) to students on a cell phone. That is what instructor or developer hoping CPLSS could do for education. In my opinion, cell phone is really a very good method for language learning. With such mobility, language learning could start at any time that the learners consider necessary, which provides the chance of bring language to real context. Any other software or technology that could create or intimate real context still cannot be compared with real context. That is the great advantage of mobile device for language learning. But, there are also several questions we need to consider about when applying cell phone to education. The flexibility provided by mobile device for study could really do great benefits for active learners, but what about inactive learners? Will mobile device give those students an excuse to escape school study time?

And, wish that in the near future. cell phone could become part of our classroom.

6. A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

In this post, it is a video talking about 21st century teachers’ responsibilities and their expects with technology. I like this post for two reasons, the content of this video, and the idea of this video. The ideas in this video express that “It is not technology itself, It’s about unleashing the powers that students bring with them into classroom, about meeting different learning styles, about opening opportunities to connect, communicate and create.” That is just what teachers should understand and struggle in 21st century.

The appearance of new technologies is unavoidable with the development of society, how to deal with those technologies with education, how could teachers combine those technologies with their instructional activities, and how could teachers apply those technologies to enhance learners’ learning? Those questions should all be considered by teachers before they deciding using technology to their class.

All the 18 teachers in this video expressed their willingness to apply technology to education, and at the same time, they showed their understanding of how to maximum technology to education. In 21st century, in my opinion, the role of teachers is under changing, from the early full power in class, to later assisting role in class, to the friendly role in new century, all of those changes embody that being a qualified teacher in new century or in the future, innovation and initiative are very important. Facing new endless technologies in times, teacher should have their sensitive to find those technologies. Because technology is not perfect, teacher should have the ability to select the proper and best technology for their class; and then teacher should decide a proper method to do the combination; with serious decision and careful planning, technology could gain its role in real instructional actives.

7. What Teachers Think About Web 2.0 Technologies in Education?

As illustrated in Dr. Yuen’s presentation about Web 2.0 Technologies in Education, Web 2.0 allows learners to create, contribute, collaborate, connect, share, participate in learning community, which always lying in the pool of higher-levelled interaction.

In the research, most of the participants own cell phone with easy accessment of internet; and most of them thinks that information and communication technology makes their life easier. However, the data from the survey show that there still are quite amount of people they have not use social networking, like blog, Podcast, or other social media, etc. The overall experience of application of Web 2.0 tool is still very less. But, it also shows that over 60% participants who have less experience with Web 2.0 tool express their desire to try Web 2.0 tools and show their interest in learning Web 2.0 tools. And they are very likely to take a course in Web 2.0 tools, which proving people’s realization of the importance of Web 2.0 tools.

This presentation is very important in demonstrating the role of Web 2.0 tools in education, and also help teachers to clarify their responsibility in combing Web 2.0 tool with instructional activities. What teachers think about Web 2.0 in education? Actually, with the experience of teaching English in China, I would like to answer this question from my own perspective. Web 2.0 tools are really very important in language teaching and learning. From teacher’s perspective, Web 2.0 tool could help build up a learning community, which would enhance learning efficiency; from learner’s perspective, Web 2.0 tools in classroom would provide more freedom and flexibility for self-learning. The interaction emphasized by Web 2.0  are beneficial with both teaching and learning. While, I also think that different areas and teachers may have different attitude towards Web 2.0, that is why the survey data cannot be 100%. Finding the right way of using Web 2.0 is just what teacher should think about in their own instructional activities.

8. The Art of Learning Better: 101 Tips to Find and Fit Your Learning Style

Learning style is a thing that should be concerned with in education, while at the same time, it is also a thing that maybe easily omitted. To think about learners’ learning style could help teachers to distinguish different learners’ learning levels, and adjust teaching plans to maximize instructional effects. From my own experience, I do find that students have their own methods to study more efficiently depending on learning contents. That is the issue about learning style.

Three kinds of learners have been summed in this post: visual learner, auditory learner, and kinesthetic learner.  The aim of research in different learning style tips is to help learners with different learning styles improve their learning experience. Visual learners can understand concepts and ideas better when they are presented in pictures, text, drawings, graphs, charts or other visual representations. Auditory learners can understand things through hearing them, meaning they are partial to learning that involves music, talking and other kinds of sounds. Kinesthetic learners work the best when they can get hands on with things. This means interactive learning experiences like labs, demonstrations and computer programs help them to learn the most. Actually, the distinguish of learning styles means to find learners’ learning advantages in study knowledge. With those information, it would be must easier for teachers to decide how to design teaching plan, and how to teach in class. For example, for visual learners, teaching could contain more pictures, drawing, etc to attract learners’ attention and higher learners’ learning process.

Most of learners are in these learning styles. However, I think the most difficulty part for teacher is that in one classroom for the same course, learners may own different learning style. Sometimes, it is not allowed for teachers to design teaching method to fulfill all those different learning styles. The best way is to find the common part of different learning styles. For instance, in language learning class, group work could be applied based on learners’ self-intents.

9. QR Codes in Education

QR codes (quick response codes) is a quite new concept for me. After I know what QR is, I even cannot image how QR codes could be connected with education? Admittedly, I have tried to scan QR codes with a smart phone just when I reading this post, really cool! Although still cannot scan every QR Codes provided here, it does not affect my perspectives of combining the QR codes with education after reading this post and the presentation shared in the post.

According to the presenter, it seems that QR code  is an interdisciplinary field, which could provide many chances for other programs or software. Like orienteering augmented reality game, multiple choice quiz, links to tutorials of online sources could all be fulfilled with QR code; and also, the possibility of creating QR codes by learners themselves create an interactive learning environment, which make study and learning more easier and flexible. (I think flexible is the highest frequency word used for Web 2.0 technology time!) Dr. Yuen has expressed his wish and hope to QR Codes development. As he said, QR technology has a great potential in education because it is low-cost, easy to implement, and easy to use. I think this is the great advantages that QR codes owns compared with other technology for education, and it is also much more convenient and with more information with common bar codes.

While, the application of QR Codes to education is still undergoing. If there is any chance, I would like to try QR Codes in my classroom. Supposing that learning new English words with QR Codes, it is really an interesting process. Just like doing crossword games, the different way of memorizing new words would leave deeper impression to learners!

10. Mobile 2.0 is Here

When Web 2.0 technology gaining its golden time recently, mobile 2.0 shows up. According to Dr. Yuen’s post here, mobile 2.0 provides mobile devices a platform to access to Web 2.0 service via a Mobile Web Browser or applications that represent one aspect or feature of Web 2.0. such as user-generated content, community, collective intelligence, or rich media. The integration of Mobile 2.0 and social Web with the core foundations of mobility – personal, local, always-on and ever-present would form the new trend for mobile learning in the future. I agree with the point that “Mobile 2.0 could be another revolution that will dramatically change the Web and the mobility landscape that we currently know.” Different from Web 2.0, mobile Web will become the dominant access method in the future, with devices that become more hybrid and networks that become more powerful and accessible. The new exciting opportunities for mobile learning created by mobile 2.0 technology would bring completely different experience of teaching and learning for both teachers and learners.

Has been illustrated in the presentation connected in this post, QR Codes has also been mentioned. I have just raised great interest in QR Codes, for its belonging to mobile 2.0 technology. Supposing that learning new English words with mobile 2/0 technology, it is really an interesting process. Just like doing crossword games, the different way of memorizing new words would leave deeper impression to learners! The example I gave for QR Codes is also suitable for other mobile 2.0 technology in learning. I think mobile 2.0 technology upgrade the interaction in education to multi-levels, personal interaction, community interaction, personal-community interaction, etc. Combination mobile 2.0 and social networking just enlarges the ranges of communication and interaction. From the perspective of learning, mobile 2.0 would provide students a wider learning environment and more chances to gain knowledge.

11.Microsoft’s Free Tools in the Classroom

Free tools is the key point for technology of education! Although we all know that money cannot playing the only role in education, but, if there would be several smart tools for classroom, why we not use the free ones? In this post, several free tools of Microsoft have been introduced, Photostory  is  one of which we have learned in class. The format of slideshare with audio and text is really useful for education.

Free is important, but one of the advantages of those tools provided by Microsoft is the interactive feature. As, illustrated by Dr. Yuen in this post, teachers can use these interactive tools to encourage self-directed learning or to create fun, dynamic group projects. As in creating photostory, it is easy for teachers and learners to enjoy the interest brought by interaction. For example, a slideshare without audio or text is hard to leave impression, but audio could help learners better understanding, especially for introducing a period of development or trend.

Also, as shown in the video, those free tools in classroom are encouraging students’ own learning interest and improve their learning ability. Usually, teachers apply those tools to class can increase the interaction in classroom. At the same time, have you think about the interaction after class? Without teacher and instruction, due to the “free” downloadable tools, students themselves gain the chance of using teaching tools at home! From the perspective of learning, the real contact with instructional tools can enhance their sense of teaching activities and knowledge itself.

12.Educational Uses of Second Life

This post drives me to think about the differences between second life and argument reality. Supposing that sitting in classroom, but through AR, a real 3D world would appear in your textbook, what a surprising education experience learners would obtain! The content specific of AR guarantee its multiple usage in different areas. Once you decide what content to cover through AR, what you need to do with AR is just enjoy the course. What about second life? Will it have the same effect or even better influence to education?

Actually, second life software is also creating a real 3D world. Dr. Yuen talked about the potential of using Second Life to provide an online 3-D virtual reality world in education and training. Second life has been applied to create virtual campuses and train facilities, which make campus boundless and enlarge the learning environment. Also, from the perspective of economy, Second life save money for educational organizations, by creating virtual training environment without paying money for renting or buying equipment.

As for me, Second life is still a very new field. I have tried to use Second life the software in lab, the virtual context did attract me a lot. It seems that everything could happen in reality could happen in Second life. If Second life had a great potential in assisting education, I would like to try it in language teaching class. Context is an important factor in language learning, and it is also the emphasis of future language teaching. Second life owns this feature to create a real context to help learner touch the language. From vocabulary to syntax, a real language context would definitely be the number choice for language learning.

13.Adopting Blogfolios in Teacher Education

This post is talking about something that I am familiar with, blogfolio. In last semester of Dr. Yuen’s IT 644 class, I have the chance to create my first professional blogfolio in instructional technology. The experience of learning how to create professional blogfolio is quite interesting, but from teachers’ perspective, how could we adopting blogfolio in education? and what advantages does blogfolio have in teacher education? In this post, Dr. Yuen illustrtuctes several benefits that offered by performance-based portfolios, like fostering self-assessment and reflection, providing personal satisfaction and renewal, providing tools for empowerment, and promoting collaboration, etc. The combination of web and portfolio are really perfect, blogs’ advantages in reflection and interaction could just be supplement to portfolios’ disadvantage, and portfolios’ advantages, as illustrated just now, could be supplement to blog’s disadvantage, which gives blog a better structure and more professional.

I would like to share some of my points in adopting blogfolios in teacher education. Web-based portfolio has the benefit in interaction and sharing information. Traditional portfolio could not be shared easily. With paper-version or later CD-ROM format, it was only combined to a small range. But web provides a wider range for sharing portfolio. By putting your artifacts online, you have gained more chances of spreading your ideas and letting more people know you, and at the same time, you give others more chances to learn. The learning and teaching process is interactive. The more interactive the process is, the more success learners could have.  Another point is that, I think compared with traditional porfolio, web-based portfolio has the advantage in long-term reservation and easily access. Any time and place has Internet, you can get access to your blogfolio, so do others. You do not need to worry about where to keep your porfolio, and how to keep your porfolio. What you need to do, is creating your professional blogfolio, and sharing it with others!

14. Have You Been Paying Attention?

I like this post very much, for the question asked in the title is just what I am trying to find an proper answer. Have you been pay attention in learning process? And how could teacher keep their students paying attention in classroom over the total 45 mins teaching and learning? If we cannot deal with the question about concentration properly, it would even lead to the failure of teaching and learning process. Technology could assist learning process, and could be used by teachers to attract students’ attention, but sometimes it is not long-lasting, even may distract attention! In the attractive and thoughtful video, several questions are so real and critical for education. Being a teacher, are you reaching your students? are you engaging them? The fact that technology has already been involved into people’s daily life, and learners are in their digital time. If education and educator were still staying in the same way before, how could education go on to its future? How could learners learn from school?

One point that I like most of this video is the 3 Ws. As we all know that, www is the door of web world, which brought human being a completely new world and also brought the time of information explosion. WWW could also be the initial letters of Whatever, Whenever, and Wherever, which could be a hint of considering different ways to use Internet in teaching and learning. Large amount of tool based on Internet have been exampled in this video, wiki, blog, blogfolio, online testing, GIS, even cellphones. Data from investigation show that all these technologies have been used by students, what teachers could do with those technologies? Using cellphones to teach, using blog to teach… Imaging that classroom had been removed to a small screen but with higher efficiency, How great it is!

Maybe nowdays, more complains have been found among teachers, it is more and more common to find that students are easily distracted from other things in classroom. Some of them may texting or playing with cellphone, some of them may playing with laptop, some of them may distracted with other electronic products. Supposing that, bringing all these things into classroom in a reasonable way, how could students react? I am expecting.

15.The Future of the Book

Actually, every technology we have discussed now would do their contribution to the future state of books. For example, AR would change the old format of paper book to anything in the air without paper; mobile devices would also take the paper book to a new era, even a kind of revolution to the format of book. But I think what technology do with books is not book itself, but the changing of reading habit. Actually, this post does based on AR technology to talk about the future of book which will not be with physical material and motionless texts any more.

Shown in the video, the future of the book have been discussed through three concepts – Nelson, Coupland, and Alice. I think those three different concepts are three different emphasis on the fields of books, which should depend on what kind of books you have and what purpose you need to do with books. If you need more interaction from the future books, Alice concept would be much proper, ‘cause its social connecting feature; while, if you need more academic data from books, I think Coupland concept would be more beneficial. No matter what kind of concepts of future books is, reading will not be an isolated thing with environment.  With such technology, book could show the whole world in front of reader. Imagining that open a future book, when you want to see river, you can see real river in your book; when you want to figure out a road to go in travel-book, you can get the real routine in your book! How cool it is!

And one more thing about the future book that I want to share is that, IDEO’s vision does provoke and inspire my thoughts about the future of reading. The change is not only the physical appearance of book, but also the reading and learning habit of people. Large amount of information would appear when the future book shows up in this way, do we need to consider learners’ real ability of acceptance?

Discussion5: Web 2.0 Tools – Chapter 4

Chapter4  contributes to a new instructional design (ID) model for designing nonlinear application in Web 2.0 application. It addresses the cognitive demands involved in Web 2.0 learning, promotes learning that focuses on metacognitive thinking and self-regulation, facilitates knowledge integration and construction of schemas-of-the-moment for ill-structured learning, and finally delivers an environment by connecting activities with behavior to form a dynamic learning environment in Web 2.0 application. As we all know that, Web 2.0 provides a new learning platform for online collaboration and sharing among its users. The characteristics of Web 2.0 technology reflects a participatory, collaborative, and dynamic approach with which knowledge is created through the collective efforts of participants. The author agrees that “Knowledge is created collectively by a group of participants who share the same interest in the topic. “ Wang and Hsua (2008) point out that the shared ownership in Web 2.0 application has an instructional significance in that it facilitates collaboration among learners which “can be an ideal forum for social constructivist learning”.

The main part of this chapter is the three types of ID models, non-linear SID models, and e-learning ID models. From the very beginning model to an e-learning ID model, Web 2.0 technology learning has experienced its own history. The early ID models were based on behavioral principles, which at that time were goal oriented, and well-structured learning. While, when it moved on to a linear design process, learning is considered as stereotype with little variation and changes. SID models have experience a changing from linear to non-linear, from behavioral principles to constructivism. Non-linear SID is descriptive and gives instructional designers more latitude in design.

I like the three e-learning models that have been mentioned in this chapter: a) WisCom Design Model. The core of WisCom design model is to create an authentic learning environment in which collective wisdom is created among the community members who initiate reflection in action, social negotiation, and knowledge creation. It encourages learners to become reflective thinkers and to acquire collaborative thinking skills that transcend the single disciplinary context; b) The “T5” Design model provides a framework for effective online instruction, and emphasizes five critical components in online learning: tasks, tools, tutorials, topics, and teamwork; c) Three-Phase Design Model focuses on the creation of functional course delivery components, evaluation and improvement activities, and scaffolding in learning. This model design proceeds from the bottom-up, allowing for global behavior.

Learner centered approach takes into consideration learners’ cognitive and metacognitive abilities, e.g., information processing ability, cognitive skill management, and self-regulation, in the process of learning. Interactive social communication provides a process in which learners initiate the learning process through an open-ended discussion. The social negotiation process guides the initial discussion and leads to a more elaborate, refined discussion with collectively negotiated goals and objectives. An important component in social negotiation is the feedback mechanism, through which the learners critique, correct and transform individual ideas and concepts into socially acceptable norms.

Dynamic learning has also been mentioned, which includes a) evolving activities accompanied by behavior that reflects a changing learning process; b) schemas-of-the-moment for ill-structured learning; and c) collaboration among online learners. The change from lower complex learning to high complex learning is achieved by a concomitant change in behavior, that is, learners’ abilities to socially negotiated with other learners, execute metacognitive thinking skill, and self-regulate in order to adjust to new learning demands. During the entire process of Web 2.0 learning, the emphasis is made on the connection between behavior and activities. As learning evolves from lower level complex learning to higher level complex learning, learners adjust their self-regulation and metacognitive thinking skills to the changing activities in online learning.

Web 2.0 application requires considerable self-regulation and metacognitive monitoring on the part of learners to develop cognitive strategies that handle the irregularity and complexity in learning. The instructional design in Web 2.0 application should thus put individual differences in perspective when designing activities pertinent to creative and constructivist learning in Web 2.0 application. In the author’s opinion Web 2.0 learning should consider the ill-structured, non-liner nature of learning. It allows complex and deep learning to emerge through a social negotiation process. The proposed framework in this chapter is specifically designed to reduce cognitive demands related to cognitive load, selection of appropriate cognitive strategies, and information integration in Web 2.0 learning.

The growth of online resources and the advancement of Web 2.0 technology are changing the information landscape and impacting teaching and learning. With its ill-structured learning and rapid incrementation of information in a non-linear fashion, Web 2.0 learning poses enormous challenges to online instructional designers and teachers. Another point is that the proposed framework in this chapter should not be interpreted as the only design approach for Web 2.- learning. Instead, it provides an alternative view to traditional design models and calls for the need of studying the dynamic relationship between various components in Web 2.0 learning.

Discussion4: Social Networking – Chapters 2 and 16

As for me, Chapter 16 did a very clear and detailed explanation of why we need social networking combined with e-learning and how could we do that. I think that is also the two important questions that have been illustrated in this chapter. Chapter 16 provides us an overview and development of sense of community and social networking; and discusses the potential uses of social networking in education.

Here is a part in this chapter that discussed about the benefits that we could get from social networking sites, which could answer the question that why we need social networking combined with education, with e-learning. The use of social networking sites in education has many potential educational benefits: allowing learners as social participants and active citizens to discuss issues and causes that affect tan interest them; developing a voice and building trust in a community; allowing students to become content creators, managers, and distributors of their work; supporting students to work, think, and act together as collaborators and team players; encouraging discovery learning and helping students develop their interests and find other people who share their interests; becoming independent and building resilience; and developing key and real-world skills.

When we talking about the importance of social networking, there is a concept that is worthy of attention: “a sense of community”. A sense of community is “a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together”. There are four elements of a sense of community: membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of need, and shared emotional connection. Wighting(2006) found that using computers in the classroom positively affected students’ senses of learning in a community; and Rovai(2001) also noted that “community can be examined in virtual learning environments used by distance education programs.” That is to say, blended courses can produce a stronger sense of community among students than either traditional or fully online course. That is the important reason for the rising popularity of social networks in instructional activities. At the same time, the concept of “community” here could also answer the question how could we integrate social networking with e-learning.

Just because this sense of community has a very strong embody in social networks, based on the strength of relationships and trust between the members, social networks allow individuals to construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, articulate other users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. That is the exact explanation of to which point we could integrate social networking sites with e-learning. For e-learning has been experiencing it own developing history, dropped the main disadvantage of traditional e-learning mode, and emphasis the concept of “community” in e-learning procedure, e-learning allows students to “reflect before responding, which to a great extent changing the way of instruction. With this new requirement of e-learning, social networking is on its way of changing the social fabric of colleges and universities.

Social networking has great potentials in education and will likely impact the teaching and learning process. It has the capability to deliver a platform for learning where the student is potentially at the center of activities. In the case study part of this chapter, Ning has been used to create a social networking site. Actually, based on the content of this chapter, it is easier for teachers to think about how to instruct in their own teaching activity. As for me, language teaching is a special teaching course, the integration of social networking with education could do great help for language teaching and learning. To certain extent, it provides a better platform for language practice actively. Students surely have more interests in social networking sites than boring textbook when they learn foreign languages. But a question rising, will those social networking distract students’ attention on study?

After reading the whole chapter, I do have a question about social networking and e-learning. As demonstrated in the case study, age is a factor that may affect e-learning through social networking. When doing assessment for technology plan, a similar question has also been raised. How could we do if learners have just out of the pool of social networking? E-learning won’t be for everybody, but at least, it intends so. What could we do to enhance and push the usage of social networking in education? That is what I am thinking about now.

Discussion3: Podcasting – Chapter 15

Chapter 15 mainly concentrates on Podcasting and Web 2.0 technology. As one of the web 2.0 technologies, podcasting has gained its popularity in higher educational institutions recently. In this discussion about what podcast is and why it can gain its popularity, three aspects of podcasting have been mentioned.

Aspect One is about the dynamic e-learning environment.  The technology change, social change and people’s lifestyle change have all changed the whole e-learning environment.

“E-learning is no longer a simple process of information transfer; e-learners are empowered by Web 2.0 technologies to form strong social bounding to enhance their learning experiences”. Web 2.0 and Podcasting deal with user perception and identity. One of the most obvious areas impacted by technology is its effect on socialization and the manner of time that we spend with one another in person. Users of web 2.0 technology could participate in online communities equally, which changes the interactive relationships of communicating online. Reversely, this change influences our own perceptions of the Web as a viable channel for sharing information. Web 2.0 put the power of the Internet and WWW into the hands of the people; it is not just a static electronic document delivery system any longer.

The mobility and timeshifting of Podcasting are two important factors. Mobility allows the consumption of content without geographical limitation; while timeshifting permits multi-tasking events simultaneously in order to maximize available time. With mobility and timeshifting, students can fully enjoy their  e-learning environment.

People’s lifestyle and technology innovation interact with each other, and in this way changing the e-learning environment. In the process of education, the advent of Internet technology promotes the distance learning and e-learning, which brought convenience and flexibility to learners; but at the same time the face-to-face interaction and classroom atmosphere were lost. People would then to rebuild the traditional learning environment through new technologies. Under such circumanstance, the appeareance of podcasting brings students the experiences similar to face-to-face classroom experiences at a distance without sacrificing the convenience from life.

Aspect Two talks about educational efficacy of podcasting in e-learning. Instructional delivery via podcasting technology provides students a dynamic and flexible e-learning environment. The mobility and timeshifting (which are the two important factors of podcasting) enable learners and instructors to expand the boundaries of the classroom and bring together course content outside the campus. The flexibility of mobile learning can take advantage of the otherwise wasted time that students use to get to classes, regardless of whether they are driving or walking. The dynamic and flexible learning provided by Podcasting technology is the just-in-time e-learning solution to those issues. From the chapter, we can see that the percentage jumped from 23% to 41% for the podcast use in long distance more than 20 miles, which demonstrates the student need for more flexible and convenient access to learning content to cater to their lifestyle.

Actually, Podcasting is not totally new to students, the audio podcasts use the format of MP3 which is the most popular music format that students are familiar with. Generally, Podcast has three different delivery formats, regular podcast (audio only), enhanced podcast (voice over still images), and vodcast (video podcast). These different formats can assist students’ consumption of podcasts with different devices. Podcasting used as an e-learning tool is taking advantage of student existing knowledge and resources, which accounts for the fast growth of podcast technology use in education. It is easy to create by faculty and it is simple to consume by students. That is another reason for the success of podcasts in education. Suppose that if a technology could do great help for education, but quite hard to master by teachers and students, will it get its market?

Podcasting’s three delivery formats suits two learning styles: auditory and visual. More quality video podcasts have been suggested by students to enhance learning. Podcasting technology can help teachers respond to students’ diverse learning styles by creating rich an environment that engages students’ visual and auditory senses. The top reason that students use podcasts is for reviewing class for better understating and retention of knowledge. Student enjoyment of the course is positively related to their learning attitudes and to their perceived value of the course they take. According to the learning principles, students continually check understanding, which results in refinement and revision of that is retained.

Aspect Three concentrates on the design and delivery of Podcast. First, we need needs assessment to the application of podcasts to education, which includes identifying the nature of course content and the portable devices available to students. The assessment of course content will help instructors determine the most appropriate content and device for podcasting delivery, which directly affects the accessibility to the content and overall student learning.
Data indicate that students use different types of devices to access podcasts, like iPods of different models, and MP3 players by various manufactures. We can also deliver the same content on all three types of podcasts and give the choice to students to determine which type of device they prefer.

Then a clear instruction of how to use podcast how to locate and subscribe to your podcasts is very important. Instructor have the responsibility to check with students to see if they have any problems accessing podcasting. Clearly labeling each podcst to synchronize it with the course content materials or lectures is another important aspect that an instructor needs to pay attention to before upload podcasts. Notify students with each new release. Podcast is using RSS feed, which automatically push the newly published podcasts to students after they connect the devices to the computer.

The final step is to deliver your podcasting effectively. Some tips have been given in this material. Good design and presentation of the information can improve the development of long-term memory of the material. By splitting long podcasts to meaningful segments, students can resourcefully use their storage space to download the podcasts based on their needs, and they will also use their time more efficiently to target on the points for effective learning.

In the conclusion part, the authors summarizes the importance of podcast. They conclude that It is educators’ responsibility to use this technology to benefit student learning. Technology has helped share the education process since the beginning of time, and will likely continue at an unprecedented rate. Podcating and technology is a major influence upon the human experience. Podcasting represents a new and useful method for mobility and timeshifing, which allows humans to multitask to maximize efficiency and time. Podcasting can be seen as a lower-cost method of curriculum delivery that is easy to use, and that most young people today have already embraced. With podcasting technology available now, learning will happen whenever and wherever learners are. Education evolves around the students instead of students evolving around the teachers.

And there is one more thing that I would like to mention, that is about the “potential risk of using Podcasting that comes along with such power (Kaye & Medoff, 2001).” These technologies aid in the communication process, help us to reach our students in different ways. And there are many opportunities for this type of technology to help us grow and develop. We are the masters of our own destinies, and that people must come together to decide upon or create standards for living in the online world. That means that, those technologies are great for education, instructors and students should know how to use them actively, not being controlled by those technologies. In our education, there are too many examples that students or even instructors they lost themselves in application of those technologies, and have been distracted from teaching and learning.  Applying Podcasting to the process of education is an extension of learning out of campus, which quality and efficiency should all be considered when designing the course on podcast.

Discussion2: Wikis – Chapters 7 & Chapter 8

These two chapters are concerning about Wiki and wiki products.
Chapter 7 mainly discusses the advantages and challenges of using a Wiki to support the activities of students during group projects. The focus of this chapter is on the collaborative support of Wiki to online study. Besides, the criteria for selecting particular Wiki products for an institution have also been discussed in this chapter.
A wiki is a type of social networking software. It has the potential for being an excellent tool to support the collaboration activities during student group projects in online courses.  It offers a shared online workspace where team members can contribute their individual ideas to a common document. The final created product in the wiki is the collective response of the online team to the assigned task. Wiki could be used to better support collaboration among geographically dispersed students. That is why it gains the population in recent years. Its objective is to enable faculty and administrators to understand how student collaboration can facilitate deep learning into an online course and to decide if and how a wiki can support collaboration among distributed students. In fact, according to the author, in graduate-level education, collaborative activities appear virtually required. They tend to foster deep learning; and collaboration among students online is that the group response to the assignment is usually better than any of the individual student responses; collaborative projects prepare students for the Information Age workplace. To this point, that is what instructors need now. One of the advantages of wiki is that it can be applied to a variety of group activities in online courses to enhance learning, such as student team projects, discussion summary, course FAQ, course glossary, and knowledge repository, all of which are collaborative activities based on wiki that have been illustrated in this chapter.

After talking about what wiki is and what wiki could be used for, the author demonstrates seven critical responsibilities of instructors: set-up wiki software, create framework for wiki pages, develop instructions for students, encourage editing of other students’ entries, plan in advance for dispute resolution, monitor use of wiki during the course, and evaluate collaborative effort.

  • Set-up wiki software includes naming the wiki page, providing a description that will appear next to the name, choosing the options by which it will operate, assigning the particular students to access the wiki pages, and defining  responsibilities students will have. A simple-to-use interactive worksheet would usually be used for setting up the wiki.
  • Create framework for wiki pages is actually the course of preparing an initial welcoming page for students to view when accessing the wiki. Here, it mentions that the importance of templates.
  • Instructions for students should be provided the first time when students are directed to use a wiki in a team project, which could indicate the information like how the wiki will be used in the course, how they can access it, and what kinds of activities they are expected to perform using the wiki.
  • Encourage editing of other students’ entries could be operated in the way of giving incentives such as extra grading point to students for editing each other’s work. All members must recognize that the shared goal is to produce a superior final product using a collaborative effort.
  • Instructors should have the responsibility to plan in advance for dispute resolution. Tips on managing team projects should be offered by instructor and a forum on eliciting student suggestions for preventing and resolving disputes is also preferable.
  • Instructors should regularly monitor each team’s wiki workspace for signs of potential problems. Asking team by email or telephone whether help is requested, then decide to intercede or not. Instructors should pay more attention to intervention into team projects, they have to learn to step back without stepping out of the picture entirely.
  • Evaluate collaboration of the wiki group work is quite important. Grading ought to represent both a) the quality of the product developed jointly by the team as well as b) the degree of participation and quality of contribution by each individual student involved in the group process. The historical index feature of all wiki applications may enable a lower weighting of peer evaluation or possibly its elimination in the assessment of an individuals ‘contribution to the group effort. The faculty member can conveniently determine the quantity and quality of contributions by each team member and rate that performance accordingly.

The criteria of how to choose Wiki software product is a thing that I am interested in.  Because nowadays, over hundreds of software products are available on the market that have the term “wiki” in their names or can serve the functions of a wiki, how do we select from all  of them? Here in this chapter, several criteria have been assigned:
1) Technical performance features and cost. The institution must first decide on the wiki features it deems critical for its application and the available budget for purchasing the software product.
2) Institutional integration issues. The choice of a particular wiki software product may very well involve factors beyond it purchase price and features. The ease of integration of the wiki functionality into the culture and technology infrastructure of the institution ought to be of critical concern in the choice of software. a) Usability for target audience and available support services; b) integration with existing course management system; c) hosting. For some institutions, hosting is a critical criterion in the decision process. Each institution has to consider the cost-benefits of outright purchase of the wiki software versus paying the vendor to host the service.

The development direction of wiki has also been demonstrated. First and foremost, a wiki must become an integral component of each institution’s course management system. A stand-alone wiki capability with a different look and feel than the standard online learning application and separated from administrative functions like the course address book and class assignment utilities is daunting to both students and faculty. A wiki should become the primary collaboration module of the course management system and seem as common to users as the course discussion board. Second, the built-in facilities for editing, commenting on, and viewing previous page versions need to become integrated and make use of a more user-friendly graphical interface. Last, to speed up the collaborative efforts among multiple users, it would be helpful if changes to the common workspace were made immediately available on students’ mobile display devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants so that they could respond quickly if they wish. Actually, by applying wiki to group study and assignment for online courses, students acquire deeper learning of the subject matter, produce a higher quality product that they can be proud of, and are being prepared to work effectively in today’s collaborative-based workplace.  

Chapter 8 introduces wikibook. Being a part of the Web 2.0, a wikibook is a transformative and disruptive technology that is finding increasing use in schools and higher education institutions and can provide a powerful force in changing and improving education. Wikibooks are just one of “many such technologies that can transform educational practices in K-12 school, higher education, and training environments”. The development of modern society shows a great tendency of focusing on transformation, especially for schools and institutions of higher learning. A report data cited in this chapters indicate that today learners arrive on college campuses with more technology abilities and expectations than preceding generations. In response, technologies such as those brought about the Web 2.0 are often seen as transformational in shifting learning situations from passive to more interactive and engaging learning climates. As a result, instructors are repeatedly asked to embed technology in their instructional activities, foster student collaboration and knowledge building , and provide more options, choice for their learners. In a word, they are being asked to transform their teaching practices.

Back to the twenty years’ development, platforms such as Wikibooks not only permit joint editing, they also allow for easy monitoring of progress, expert modeling, and peer critiques. Job aids or supports can be embedded in a wiki environment to support and extend the learning possibilities. Learners interact with other learners whenever they want. In effect, Wikis provided the different learning possibilities. It is the evolving and dynamic nature of a wikibook that links it to sociocultural theory. The more choices and self-directed learning opportunities instructors provide to learners, especially adult learners, the greater the chance for learning-related success. Activities chosen should foster higher self-esteem, internal motivation, and goal driven opportunities, as illustrated in this chapter. In addition, learning should be open, genuine, inviting, respectful, active, collaborative, and student driven. In this way, learning is transformed, and wikibook is on its way. With thoughtfully integrated, wikibooks can be a disruptive force in education. That is the main reason for increasing popularity of wikibooks in education and instructional activities.

The author of this chapter cited three projects of wikibook through the past several years. From the titles of their digital book covers, the trend and development direction of wikibook could be easily judged. “The Practice of Learning Theories” to “The Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies”, the changing of emphasis shows that the third wikibook project was the most ambitious. It involved collaboration across five institutions in four countries. Less structure is given, and students have more choices on what and where to contribute.

Twenty tensions in five categories of concerns have been listed in this chapter about wikibooks: instructional issues; collaboration issues; technology issues; knowledge construction and sense of community issues; wikibook issues. I would like to say more about the instructional issues here. Tensions cannot be avoided, time, range, learning mode, etc. So many elements need to be considered for wikibooks. Wikibooks are a form of disruptive technology in education,; to lessen the potential risk , an instructor who has used wikis in the past might archive prior semester work as examples. Each wikibook situation we have encountered is unique. The research results shows that the larger numbers of participants in a wikibook project might allow for more open-ended structures than when only a few students are involved, which means that the more students, the greater the choice and flexibility the wikibook would gain. Global education projects also require more leadership skills among one or more instructors involved in the project. A final instructional issues relates to motivational rewards. The tensions and obstacles the instructors need to overcome are still very depressive. But as you can here from the analysis of these issues, we should keep our optimists.

As for me, wikibook is a technology that I would like to try for education. Although it has been demonstrated the better level of wikibooks usages, I still think that based on different assignment and targeted population, wikibook deserves its popularity in future education mode.

Previous Older Entries


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.