Thursday, February 16, 2012

Philosophy of Learning with Technology

Online classes were made for a person like me. I love using technology, and I prefer to learn at my own pace. I was never one to trust the ‘sage on the stage’- in face-to-face courses I always silently questioned the stories that came from the lecturer or professor. With technology, my educational experiences have been standardized and I have been left on my own to make my own determinations of what is relevant knowledge and what is fabrication.

Technology must support learning by providing an engaging, intuitive environment. Learners should be able to use this learning environment to evaluate their own needs, make decisions, make connections and network, and authenticate their experiences. Technology should support learning by doing, learning by connection, and learning by reflection.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Hesitant Users- Kellers ARCS model

I work in a traditional university setting where online education is somewhat viewed as a "threat" to traditional ground based, instructor led courses. Online learning is scary to some, and even scarier are electronic textbooks, which our university is piloting. We have seen some major apprehension when trying to implement this new way of using textbooks-the major concern being the student not being able to hold a physical text, write in it, ear mark the pages, and then resell it. In a roundabout way, we have used Keller's ARCS model, by:
  • giving ATTENTION to the faculty members who were most concerned. We set up meetings, let them speak their piece, showed them examples, and heard what they had to say. We validated their concerns.We got their attention by showing them studies, bringing in e-readers, and showing them what e-texts could do for our students.
  • showing the instructors why e-texts were RELEVANT in today's society. 21st century learners welcome the opportunity to use electronic devices, textbooks are quickly becoming a rule, not an exception. We also validated their concerns by showing them multiple options for accessing a text and even getting a print version for those completely opposed to electronic.
  • we provided pre-training to give them CONFIDENCE in the new technologies they were about to use.
  • we surveyed the SATISFACTION of both the students and the faculty and used their feedback to alter our implementation for the e-text roll-out. We heard their voices and rewarded them with an altered plan to suit their needs.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012


How has your network changed the way you learn? My network is very internet based, since I spend the majority of my time on the computer. I have specific websites that I visit for information, whether it be personal or professional. I feel I am a visual learner, but I do prefer to have some reading material when I learn. The best tool for me is a text based description with either a still image or a video supplement. Audio by itself does not do it for me, and I prefer to have information right at my fingertips- if I have to follow a bunch of links to get where I am going I generally give up. As far as learning goes, I need immediate gratification. If I have questions and I am looking up information on the internet, I generally will start at FAQ sections (if applicable), and as a last resort, I will contact the person responsible for the information. I learn best when left to my own research and methods that suit my time and method of learning.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Interacting and Working as a Group

A group in generally considered two or more people working together in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by the other. Rheingold makes a point that our ancestors had to hunt together to take down large prey, which demonstrates the cooperative nature of a human being. It is my belief that basic instinct is for humans to be self sufficient, but collaborate when necessary. It is my experience, with a husband that hunts, that collaboration is necessary when packing, gearing up, finding shelter, and preparing for the hunt, but then the act of hunting is a solitary endeavor. I think it is the same when in an educational environment. In a class, we talk as a group, share ideas, prepare a project and may even present collaboratively, but the act of ‘learning’ a concept is a solitary effort. Effective collaboration also depends on the group dynamics. Some people prefer to work separately, and some people prefer collaboration, and some prefer to be in charge. It is my belief that the learner should be given the choice to collaborate, as it can be a daunting process unless a controlled system is put into place in order to facilitate the cooperative group effort. The Internet has provided the avenue for collaboration online, and now with cloud computing, sharing is easier than before.
The following is a link to an article about online collaboration and the strategies to promote effective online collaboration.
Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. & Walti, C (2009) Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment.

Monday, December 19, 2011


I have a hard time sticking to one school of thought when it comes to learning theory. While I think theories are valuable, I believe that learning theories provide a solid foundation, however multiple theories and procedures should be in place when designing online courses- similar to instructional design processes, learning theory should be adaptable to suit the learner’s needs. We can’t say we are going to design a course based solely on behaviorism or cognitivism, as that would lead to a stagnant environment. Cognition is the process where people are active in acquiring knowledge, and the cognitivism theory relates to how skills are acquired and the goal of instruction is to communicate effectively by breaking down knowledge into smaller tasks that build upon each other. This is an overall great way to design courses so the learner does no get overwhelmed, however should be combined with other types of learning theory in order to create a well rounded learning experience.
I agree with Karl Kapp (2007), when he says “What we need to is take the best from each philosophy and use it wisely to create solid educational experiences for our learners.” The links to two other blogs on cognitivism are found below:

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Learning Theory In Educational Technology

What are your beliefs about how people learn best? What is the purpose of learning theory in educational technology? 

I believe people learn best by being able to choose the delivery method of their learning and by utilizing multiple intelligences to access the material they are trying to understand and apply. In educational technology, it’s important to understand that there are internal processes that the student goes through, and the students have a slight disadvantage because of the lack of face-to-face interaction. Concepts need to be built upon and reinforced, along with being delivered in a way that holds the students interest. In order to effectively deliver an online lesson, there should be opportunity for recognizing a concept, discussion and collaboration, visualization, application and reflection. This can be done with tutorials, drill and practice, discussion boards, case based scenarios, reflection, audio/video and interactivity. Understanding the various learning theories helps a course/content designer construct content that is meaningful for all students, and that promotes critical thinking at all levels within the course. Knowing learning theory as it applies to educational technology sets a stage or purpose fro the construction of digital age material.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Minority Report and Red Queens

I actually had the DVD Minority Report in my dusty collection of Dvd’s I say ‘dusty’ because I really don’t use them anymore, with the exception of viewing Disney Princess movies for my three year old because they are not licensed on Netflix.
The competition between DVD’s and Streaming Video services is an example of the dreaded Red Queen- one technology runs as fast as they can to keep up, but ultimately gets left behind. In this case, the convenience of streaming and on demand video all but shut out the storefront dvd market, as hard as they tried to keep up with marketing conveniences such at RedBox. As much as the brick and mortar store such as Blockbuster have tried to keep up by adding services such as videos by mail, streaming services created by Netflix have surpassed. Even Netflix’s own mail service is suffering due to the convenience of streaming and pricey mail service. Customers in today’s age demand fast service and don’t want to wait for a dvd in the mail. Streaming essentially ‘streamlines’ the customer service process and alleviates the overhead created by a brick and mortar store.
Streaming services will eventually obsolete dvd’s. As televisions and media players such as blu-rays and gaming consoles become more advanced, wifi becomes faster and cheaper, and the laptop smaller and more touch screen friendly, dvd’s will become phased out in lieu of streaming video.