Archive for the 'Collaboration Tools' Category

Technology is Magic. Stop Thinking in 19th & 20th Century Metaphors Already! #edcmooc

Our relative view of the magic

Arthur C. Clarke’s third law states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Don’t you think someone born 300 years ago would think this is magic?

Screen shot 2013-02-05 at 10.18.32 PM

How about someone alive 30 years ago (including myself). Wouldn’t I think this is magic?

Screen shot 2013-02-05 at 10.18.01 PM

For nerdy little me… it’s this dream come true:

Screen shot 2013-02-09 at 7.09.08 PM

When I watched the films from this week’s resources: A Day Made of Glass & Productivity Vision of the Future, Clarke’s law repeated in my mind. Glass becomes a tool that people use to access information, view entertainment & learn. The other thing that struck me was how incredibly antiseptic & affluent both views of the future were.

As we are fixed in our time and reality, technology that is unfamiliar may seem like magic to us, but because we live in times where things are changing rapidly and imagining the future and it’s technology is a normal part of our culture. Thinking about my relative understanding of technology as magic got me to think about my own education and understanding of how things have developed even in my lifetime. I decided to create a timeline of my own education and compare it to the development of technology in that time. It’s in rainbow colors because I was a child of the 80′s.

My Digital Timeline

Click to view in full size

So just by looking at this timeline that spans over forty years, claims made that technology pundits that technology is developing and advancing at a more rapid speed. The ways and tools that we can use to learn and whom we can learn with has expanded even in my lifetime.

Will Technology Replace Teachers?

Many science fiction depictions of both utopia & dystopia paint a view of the future in which humans have been replaced by technology. Similarly, I’ve seen this question come out of several discussions in the #edcmooc class: Will technology make the teacher obsolete? As is evidenced in numerous forum posts, tweets from students in this class. The act of making order out of the chaos of a learning experience with so many people and so many learning tools has required guidance, the human kind. If not from a facilitator, from the other students. We still need teachers and guides. Every learner is different and how the learn best is unique. Can we assume that technology will devise a mechanism, automaton or script functions like a combination Yoda & “Electric Grandmother.”

I think what’s more likely, is that learners are learning how to adapt to use the tools and technology for learning to their best advantage. We learn to use tools online that help us filter and use content. Here are a few tools, some of which were new to me before I took this course. But here’s the thing… no tool is perfect. Again, it’s all about diving in and finding out what works for you.

Twitter Feed → Tweetchat, TweetDeck, Paper.li

Content Curation (Bookmarks) → Scoop.it, Storify, PearlTrees – pearl trees provides a visual map of what you’re curating or sites your saving online.

Blogs → Quadblogging (to connect and reach your audience) edutopia article on

Stop Using the Classroom Metaphor to Describe the Online Learning Experience!

23368071

I know that metaphors are powerful in explaining and introducing the strange and foreign to the natives. But is it just me or am I the only one who’s tired of hearing this metaphor used to describe online learning. Perhaps my irritation and other’s indicate the obsolete nature of the metaphor. This bothers me just as much as my last boss insisting on using the logo below to indicate a phone contact for an audience of 20 somethings:

rotary_phone_0515-0909-2116-0157_smu

Here’s why we’re not in a classroom anymore:

  1. You might be sitting at a desk but not looking out a window wishing that the teacher would stop droning on and on
  2. You don’t have to have your attention fixed only on the teacher. In fact the other students can provide just as much information and knowledge as the teacher
  3. You’re not learning from a text book that has gum stuck to the cover or doodles from the previous owner anymore; texts and media are available online

I could go on…. but most importantly, when you’re learning online you expect to be able to share, re-mix, create content. Like these kids:

Future Think for Educators

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8]

Great film that helps us envision education and learning in transition. Some things educators, policy makers, parents, teacher, curriculum developers should all be getting excited about…

  • Cloud Computing - In many cases you don’t need to have software installed on your computers.  Content development tools such as Google Docs and many others make it possible to create and share documents, materials, etc. on the web. Students can track changes, add notes or comments and truly author pieces together.
  • Mobile Devices – Mobile devices and smart phones are definitely here to stay. Yesterday I realized that I only use my laptop if I’m working on something complex or lengthy. All other materials for reading or immediate access are funneled through my mobile. Educators can search out or even design learning enhanced by or using Mobile Devices – Why not create or develop learning activities where students can enhance their learning by connecting to materials and resources while they’re learning, or on a field trip? In a previous post I shared a number of different possible learning applications for cellphones. Several are quite ingenious and fun. You can view a detailed mind map of the lecture notes from the presentation where I got those ideas.
  • Leveraging Social Networking and Media Sharing Tools – Students and educators can learn from social networks that have pods or communities built around the topics they are interested in.  I found this great community on Learning Physics Online. You could even find or start communities on Ning or other similar networking site. Students (and or their teachers) can create videos, film projects, and presentations to put up on ‘safe’ sharing sites such as TeacherTube or YouTube. Check out this group of student’s retelling of the Boxer Rebellion. Love how they cleverly used recognizable styles and characterizations from Hong Kong  & martial arts cinema. I shared this some time ago, but I never get tired of watching it.
  • Alternatives to Written Papers – While I still think this skill is absolutely necessary to have. I don’t think the essay is the only way to test someone’s knowledge and grasp of content anymore. Students can put together podcasts. Writing the content and putting together the interview questions for the podcast as well as engaging in the discussion and interviews can help reinforce the content they are learning. Sometimes writing a script for a film, story boarding, and coordinating the filming is way more labor intensive than writing a term paper. Plus you’re actually using far more skills that can transfer to real jobs and life (… outlining, drafting, planning, writing, coordination, directing, … ummmm project management. I actually heard somewhere that film school is the new MBA :))
  • Ethics & Security Education for Parents and Students – yes the web can be a scary place, but so is the street. If we train students  (and parents) to be aware of the dangers and learn guidelines for avoiding them then that’s half the battle. It would also be in our best interests if we teach the younger generation appropriate netiquette.

More resources:

#dl09- Enabling user generated content

Presentation description

Post conference reflection:

This was the best presentation I attended,  i think. Perhaps my perspective is a bit stilted because I love the idea of developing a program that truly engages users to develop and govern content.

Also, it seems that although this project focused on developing a community for creating user generated content, it’s aim was to develop content that was formalized. Tests used for certifications (?).

A lot of work went into identifying and prototyping the process for all phases and identifying SME (Subject Matter Expert) participants.  I believe we can take away the major phases of design and implementation from the model shared with this project and evaluate how we can apply it to our own projects.

————————-

How to scale?
1.Hire the right people (love what they do).
2.Have acess to community of dedicated.
3. Define rules of engagement.
4. Allow water cooler talk.
5. Holy Grail of scale get people to help other people.

Cisco learning network based on wiki

Exam colaboratory
Help incorporation of certification holders

Why?
Create a collaborative environment for item development.
Tap into a larger group of smes
Increase involvement of targ audience
Exam security.

Natnotes@
I heart this presentation@

Phases–
$$$$Zero phase
1. Define icentives
2. Define expectation
3. Define workflow
4. Build wiki interface used for collab
5. Recruit smes
6. Teach smes
7. Use out if the box people to manage dev of architecture. @This is key@

Example of incentives -
altruism (doing to help others)
100 pts for a book
StATus

Sme management:
Recruit and select
Make them feel part of ateam
Qualification test for smes
Virtual onboarding
Virtual orientation meetings

Define workflow (kiss- keep it simple):
Author writes item
Posts item
Peer review
Internal review
Author makes changes
Item is accepted and notified

Natnotes @this is a huge involved project. I love. @

$$$$Phase 1 Pilot:
Define pilot variables.
What did u learn from pilot?
Best practice prove the concept before you scale up.
What resources do u need to scale up?

MEtrics metric metrics
How long did it take to produce item
Review item?
How many revisions did it take?
How much time per reviewer.
Sme attrition rate.
Explain why they dropped.
Sme satisfaction
Smes tracked their time in a worksheet.
Anonymous online survey. Vovice?

Pilot was sucessful.
113 usable items
7certifications

What they learned from pilot
Review honor system no go
Need to set up expectations
Incentivize review process
Attrition rate high
Writing skills vary
Some smes didn’t get it

Incentives best practices.
Provide value.
Tap into intrinsic values too.
Make sure that the focus is not simply into the rewards.
Avoid diluting the value of what your giving away.

Question &&. How do u prevent item duplication????

Exams in English.
Collaborate with other languages Maybe not formal.

<<<>>>

$$$$$Phase 2 expansion operationalize

Phase 3 implement:
Where IT really comes in.
Automation

IP considerations
Determine what you want to protect.
Set up your agreement.
Work with ur legal dept.
See if satndard non disclosure will work.
Make sure orig items are presented.

Questions@ how long did this take?
What changemanagement challenges strategies?

Meaningful Conversations on Twitter

Click toi view original posting

Click to view original posting

This is a very interesting assessment of the exchange that goes on in Social Media like Twitter. I can see the incremental increase in relevance. I’ve been really learning about the value of Twitter over the past few weeks.  The author, Rajesh Setty, notes that exchange on Twitter doesn’t really extend past the third level in this chart. This is engagement with others, not the engagement between oneself and the actual information you may find on Twitter. From this perspective, at least for me, Twitter actually does have a great deal of “Immediate and Future Relevance.”

I’m finding that Twitter not only connects me with more information relevant to my interests and my job, it also is helping me connect and learn about others through their blogs. I get an introduction to these folks via Twitter that I would never get from just a search for a different topic. Also, sometimes people’s skill with what I call the “Twit Wit” actually draws me to learn more about them and their blog. There is a certain “speedy Zen” about Twitter that I”m finding increasingly appealing. Even though Twitter is a bit limited when it comes to sharing and exchange, it’s a great doorway into the worlds of it’s many participants.

Second Life Events for Educators

Bunny Kiwitz at the Sloodle 101 class

If you’re interested in learning more about Second Life or how to use if for educational purposes, I suggest you take a look at this calendar: http://sledevents.blogspot.com/
Many events are listed here and even have slurls (secondlife link locations) that allow you to teleport directly to the site in SL. Remember, you have to have the SL application installed, and you can get that from the Second Life official website.

I was able to attend most of the Sloodle 101 class (that occurs every Wednesday 2x a day). I highly recommend it. Hopefully, I’ll have time in the next few days to blog about my experience in the class.


I finally got a Second Life


Now how the hell do I get down… I’m stuck flying, suspended in the air. (okay… I figured it out… click the Fly/Stop Flying button).

My first avatar in Second Life

My avatar, Bunny Kiwitz, suspended in the air at the “Pier of Culture.”
All I need is an umbrella and a carpet bag.

NMC second life orientation plaza

My avatar, in the Second Life Orientation Plaza with her new ‘outfit.’

Thanks to the TCC conference I was able to get my first taste of Second Life. I’m not fully hooked yet, but intrigued and I see the range of possibilities in here. I can now see what they meant by “steep learning curve” when it comes to learning how to be proficient in S.L. I unknowingly hit the “fly” button and couldn’t figure out how to get down. Also there are so many features and controls to work with that I found it a bit hard to get my bearings. Fortunately, the NMC tutorial ‘plaza’ allowed me to walk through a ‘museum of exhibits’ that showed me how to become familiar with the controls and features in Second Life. I was also able to learn a few things about how to integrate into “Second Life Culture,” such as how to use gestures and how to properly chat with people in a group.

Bunny the avatar learns how to communicate in SL

During the conference I also attended a lecture/debate on the popularity and future of Second Life. One of the arguments in support of Second Life as a learning environment was that today’s students interact with and process information much differently than their predecessors. Second Life give them the opportunity to access it in a virtual space as well as interact with peers from all over the globe. These “Digital Natives” expect instant access to information and rely on social networking to get and build information. They have a ‘digital literacy’ because they’ve been raised with interactive technology that we “Digital Immigrants” need to be aware of.

Second Life allows participants to actively build both simulated and fantasy models and interact with these models. It stimulates creativity and promotes simulated learning of real-life scenarios. It provides students with the ability to engage in “situated learning” and as the one lecturer quoted, “work together to create a shared understanding that none have previously possessed.”

The half of this lecture that countered the support for SL, argued that the learning curve for Second Life is so steep that it’s just too frustrating for some learners. They also made the argument that subscriptions to the virtual world are dwindling and that people enter and experiment but they do not stay or continue to return. Second Life is merely another techie fad that will eventually become obscure and dated in the wake of progress.

Another point that this person brought up was that all the businesses that invested in real estate in Second Life are now pulling out. Personally, I think that the failure is due to the fact that they took a rather two dimensional approach to applying SL. They simply used it as only a virtual store. How boring! They could have developed an interactive storyline or even learning material around their products, and, oh yes, they could have given more free stuff. Free stuff always hooks people even if it’s free ‘virtual’ stuff.

I have this theory about these new virtual/simulated environments… that is when we (or most of us who are not digital protoges) become immersed in them our first instinct is not to create new and innovative things. We build what’s most familiar to us. In all fairness to the corporate businesses, they were in a hurry (as they always are) to get a piece of the Second Life action so they hastily constructed what they thought would work.

I believe that both sides of this debate brought up valid points. Though I’m becoming convinced that Second Life does provide participants with the opportunity to learn in a rich and interactive environment. Perhaps in the future it will become easier to learn and use.

I was going for the one piece tracksuit thing… maybe not my style but, oh well.

Using WetPaint to Create A Course Wiki

I recently developed a wiki for a course that’s being tested right now, and I have to tell you… I’m quite amazed at the possibilities of using wikis for collaborative learning. After developing the course objectives, the SME and I decided to use the wiki as an essential part of the students’ learning experience. The wiki would be available as a companion collaboration area and a sort of explorative playground for the students. As one of the course foci was on teaching using Web 2.0 tools, we wanted to help immerse students in the actual experience of working and collaborating with others online using a wiki.

We decided to use WetPaint as our wiki tool, because of the easy to use WYSIWYG (you know I have to spell this out in my head everytime I type it – arconymitis) features and the fact that it’s so easy to embed video.

Here were some of the applications and activities we included in the wiki:

  • A profile page - where students could share a picture, a few facts about themselves, favorite links (and possibly videos or other media). The idea is to help build community among the particpants and instructor
  • A collaborative link section – that includes the major concepts in the course. As the students did their own research on the web on topics of their choice they would continually add and share the links to (articles, documentation, media, forums, etc.) with their peers
  • A fun video sharing page – I included this because I wanted to introduce students to the idea of sharing video content… and the notion that sharing content online doesn’t just mean text, html pages, or print content
  • An image collage activity - the goal of this activity was to collect images that describe both Boomer and Net Generations. The students work with each other collectively to post their images to the wetpaint collage
  • Assorted graded activities where students collaborated on content
  • Use of the forum threads to discuss content

I took a few approaches to designing the wiki structure and layout of the pages for maxium student participation. Nothing stinks more, than when you build a learning application and no one uses it.

  • Keep everything as simple as possible – don’t put to many things on a page
  • Post instructions – (or links to FAQ)s if you even suspect that people will not understand how to do or use something (.i.e. use “Context Sensitive Help” whenever you can)
  • Model wiki behavior – Always provide examples and suggestions of contributions
  • Lay Easter eggs – in multiple places. I actually started planting interesting links and content in different places. Keep putting new things in different areas to keep the wiki live and growing
  • Make activities fun and light hearted – when necessary. Human beings (even stodgy adults) learn through play

The course seems to be going well. Students are contributing to the wiki so far, and I don’t think anyone has had any troubles with understanding how to use WetPaint (because it’s a fairly well designed tool). If you haven’t checked out WetPaint I seriously suggest that you take a look at it as a tool for collaborative learning.

An image of the “Community Links Page” – students share information on their research and finding on different topics

wetpaint.gif

Amazing: “In My Language”

This made me think a great deal.  This is probably one of the best explanations or accounts of autism I’ve seen, and it’s told from an autistic individual’s point of view. Can you imagine… would this persons story and view of the world be communicated as easily without video-sharing (YouTube) and Web tech? Also, the video comments and feedback is just as though-provoking.
[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnylM1hI2jc]

Teens use of social media on the rise

PEW Report on Teen Use of Social Media: http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/230/report_display.asp

I was catching up on listening to my “Future Tense” podcasts when I ran across a report on one of the latest PEW research studies on Internet use. It looks like girls seem to dominate in use of social media while boys are more likely to post online videos. More, it appears that many girls have taken on the ability to super communicate through various technology.

Some noteworthy statistics from the report:

  • 27% of teens polled maintained a personal webpage
  • 39% of teens shared their own artistic creations online
  • 26% re-mix content online

It makes sense that boys will tend to create videos that feature themselves; adolescent girls tend to be a self-conscious of their own appearance. However, this idea that their children have a presence visible to strangers must be more than unnerving for many parents. This is a given. The media certainly does their part in freaking out people even more by only highlighting what can go wrong when people’s children have a web-presence. I’m not saying that the dangers are not there, I guess I’m just a little weary of people taking the fearful approach to things rather than looking at what’s positive about the situation and then tackling the problematic and unsafe nature of things.

starwars.jpgI’m just incredibly excited that these kids enjoy creating content and putting it online. They are for all intensive purposes, taking in what they see, re-interpreting it and then creating a product from their understanding. I’ve seen countless examples of Anime Music Videos (AMV) online that attest to this. Also, I ran across a wiki created by fans of the Avatar t.v. cartoon. The fans that create the content on this wiki are basically conducting some form of character and plot analysis when they post information. Fans that participate in the wiki content creation, young and old alike, demonstrate how engaged they are in the content. Why else would they be moved to do the work? It reminds me of my own childhood when I collected Star Wars bubblegum cards (geez, I must sound like a geezer). I had to go to the library and newstands to read more about the characters. There were countless comic books and pulp novels. I remember we used to lay the cards down on the floor and arrange them according to how the the characters were related to each other or when they appeared in the plot.  When we played with the cards we used to have discussions about what we thought would happen to Han Solo after being captured by Jabba or whether or not Han and Leia would get together and have kids. Of course, as I write this I realize that I’m probably embarrassing myself.

Still, even though it’s pop culture it still doesn’t mean that it’s beneath us. If we can recognize that we’re interpreting what we see in the pop stuff fluff or not and then scaffold into understanding other literature and art then that can’t be a bad thing can it. Maybe just we old stogies need to open up a little bit and look at how children and teens interpret the world through the media they see with clearer eyes.

Related Stuff:

Avatar Wiki About Page

I am gadget girl?

I don’t really think so. I do love my iTouch (given to me as an 1st year wedding anniversary gift). If you think about it it’s kind of ironic. First year anniversary is “Paper,” and I was given something that helps me eliminate my need for paper.

I love the iTouch because I can use it for a number of handy things:

  • Carrying around visual lists for shopping at places like IKEA (so I can stay on track and not get distracted by putting too many unneeded things in my shopping basket
  • Carrying around knitting and beading patterns for reference
  • Holding visual maps of new cities or places
  • Proving that I’m right about an actor’s identity by doing a quick search on IMBD
  • Searching for another coffee shop when the one I’m in is too noisy
  • And much much more

But now that Josh Bancroft has been showing all the cool little things that you can do with Google’s interface for the iPhone. I’m thinking… ehhhh I really don’t like this old phone of mine. Plus, T-Mobile service and connectivity hasn’t been all that great for me lately.

Oh… I’ll just have to stick it out and wait.

Darn it.


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