Summary Notes from the Distance Learning Conference – Madison, WI

Please note: I was able to add more information to the previous post. I will also link to the actual presentations once they become available on the conference website.

  • Collaboration and Cooperation are KING/QUEEN
  • It’s still always good to approach things with a critical mind. Technology can be good, but never loose your ability to question what you’re getting into
  • E-mail communication is for old people

Not necessarily mentioned at the conference, but I still thought about it:

  • Not everyone has access to the technologies/economic divide is tech divide

More detailed notes on the summary items.

Collaboration and Cooperation are KING/QUEEN:

New social networking and gaming technologies have rendered a generation of more cooperative and collaborative workers who see the corporate workplace as more of a level playing ground rather than a hierarchical dog eat dog structure the way the baby boomers saw it. This new generation isn’t as likely to hoard information like their baby boomer counterparts. Learning must take place in the forms of cooperative endeavors, and as a developer of online learning experiences you MUST help instructors build a sense of community among students. Asynchronous discussion threads and assignments that comprise mainly read and reflect activities are just not going to cut it anymore with the younger generations. People also learn using social bookmarking. Check out this post from Christy at Experiencing E-Learning which includes a video that introduces the concept of social bookmarking.

No more Sage on the Stage!!!!!

Stop turning class time into nap time. Stop lecturing and sharing in front of a virtual or live course using hour + lectures in front of a PowerPoint presentation. Students need to learn using the media they grew up with. Of course, they should still learn how to read, write and reflect, but still allow them to explore, document and share using digital media, video, audio, etc.

If you still believe that the old way is the ONLY way, watch this video. It actually does a decent job of sharing some college student’s feelings about attending school in an “Analog World.”

Digital Students @ in Analog Schools

In addition to being able to express their ideas creatively… these same students need to be able to develop critical thinking skills which allow them to continually question what is being put before them. These skills will make them truly flexible and creative and ready to deal with any changes put before them. Teachers and professors can leverage discussion that occurs naturally within social networking structures to promote or generate discussion among peers that allows them to develop these questioning skills.

It’s still always good to approach things with a critical mind. Technology can be good, but never loose your ability to question what you’re getting into

Don’t just accept technology and changes without thinking about the consequences critically. Think about how it can be used both for right and wrong. Millions of individuals are sharing personal information online (some of it incredibly personal). They are doing this by choice. Even sharing information via a meme on line can be problematic. As you share this information it is now possible to track relationships between individuals. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but perhaps this is not such a good thing now that I think about it. Also, how will learning using new media technologies continue to include development of essential traditional skills such as expository writing? Though honestly, I believe ALL LEVELS of education high and lower are failing students in their efforts to teach them decent writing skills. I believe the answer to this and all other concerns about educating in the new media are out there; however, we as educators need to take the initiative to come up with creative solutions rather than fight changes.

E-mail communication is for old people

Apparently this was the feedback of one prospective college student to a wooing college. She and others didn’t want to get information about the college in a glossy flyer or an e-mail. She wanted to interact with the media online. Others wanted to be able to participate in a live chat with university representatives and a real student who was attending there at the time. The long e-mail thread conversations also irritate younger folks…. use a wiki or discussion board to send out your thoughts. Hopefully there will be an active chat feature that can help you find the one or two original thoughts you wanted to come back to.

Email communication is for old people  -Ars Technica


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