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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Second Life Disruptive Technology

A disruptive technology is a technology or invention that helps create a new market, or removes and existing technology from the market.
I am not a user of Second Life. I have tried it, I have written projects about it’s capabilities, and I believe it the idea of it, however every time I have used it, I have not found that it has created a new niche market, in fact I think it has become somewhat of an outdated technology because of its cumbersome interface and the learning curve when using it. Some universities do use the virtual worlds as areas of collaborative learning and virtual lecture halls for their students, however I have not encountered an online university with a huge Second Life presence. I don’t think that Second life has changed the way we learn, have fun, and do business. I think the idea of virtual worlds may have started to emerge as a disruptive technology, but I don’t see Second Life to be as life changing as, let’s say, Facebook. Facebook is inundated in every aspect of society- from advertising to education, politics to religion. There is a Facebook page for almost everything, not a Second Life virtual world.
Second Life for education has been used to create virtual classrooms, and can be used to offer the space of a virtual community, however this has also been done with social networking sites in a more streamlined and effective manner- one can hop on their IPad and get a classroom update, rather than logging into a virtual worlds which at times can be cumbersome to navigate.
Virtual Worlds have become a higher education phenomenon; however tend to lead more toward simulated activities or proprietary activities geared toward a content are or concept, rather than the Second Life world as a whole.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rhymes of History

One technology that rekindles history is the Wii family gaming console. As a child, I distinctly remember playing board and card games with my family well into the evening hours. As I grew older and technology such as movies and computers progressed, that family time seemed to disintegrate. This could be because my family was no longer ‘engaging’ to me…what could a game of Scrabble do that was better than a Saturday night at the video arcade? Now, however, consoles such as the Wii and the Kinect bring back that family time- with the added bonus of a technologically engaging format. This type of technology is geared toward the multigenerational family and could reasonably bridge the gap between the Silent Generation (1925- 1945) and generations Y and Z. A modern child can play an interactive baseball game with Grandma, and rekindle the aura of times past as Grandma tells the child about the female baseball league during WW1. What a great bonding moment!
Why is the Wii So Popular?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Telephony/VOIP/Communication and Conferencing Progression

Telephony/VOIP/Communication and Conferencing Progression

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone. He conceived a sort of electrical telegraph that mailed signs as musical notices produced by shaking needs. Eventually the landline based telephone morphed into wireless communications.

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks. Millions of systems linked are collectively. Traditional communication media including telephone, music, film, and television are or have been reshaped by the invention of the internet.

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is a technology for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet or an Intranet. VOIP does away with traditional landline and cable based communication procedures.

Internet Protocol television (IPTV) is a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial, satellite signal, and cable television formats.

When you bring all of these communicative pieces together, you get an invention similar to Skype, or VOIP with chat/IM capabilities, multiple person conferencing, video conferencing and multiplatform performance. Skype is a software application that allows user to make voice and video calls over the Internet. Skype has additional features such as instant messaging, video conferencing and file sharing or file transfer. Skype is a peer-to-peer system, not a client-server system.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Simulation in Online Education- Trends

Most people’s ideas of current distance learning include the use of technology. Most online courses today include elements such as audio, video, email, and some level of technological interactivity. Environment can now be customized to suit the specific needs of the student, and include emerging forms of technology such as simulations. While simulated learning has been around for decades, their widespread use in education has not. With the advances in web based or LMS based learning, educators are now realizing that simulations and virtual worlds can assist in reaching all levels of learners, especially those who are visual and kinesthetic learners. The users are able to experience learning and take an active role in the learning process.
Simulated learning can be difficult and expensive to produce. Additionally, there can be an overall lack of support when problems arise in the virtual environment. Certain simulations are user centered (working through a problem on their own) which takes out the social element of learning. Instructors may feel that they can take a backseat when simulated learning is present, but in fact, the learner should experience the instructor as a coach in order to discover the full benefits of experiential learning.
In order to successfully implement a virtual environment for student learning, there needs to be team members involved that are familiar with the technology and are able to troubleshoot, modify and adjust when problems arise. Social elements should be built into the learning environment so students do not feel as though as they are lost in cyberspace. Students and instructors must also realize that certain simulated environments are subject to user bias. The environment relies on human input, and the outcomes of the environment are dependent on that human input. The simulated learning environment may not necessarily be as accurate as what would happen in a real world scenario.
The University of Maryland has been using simulations in education for some time, both online and on ground. Their website is found here.