Archive for August, 2007



Professional Jealousy Among Educators

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Sometimes sniping just gets people down

At the conference we were sitting in a lecture. One part of the lecture had us break into groups and analyze four different types of SME. One of the case studies describe an SME/Faculty Member who was highly dedicated to her students. She was extremely prepared, she had her exercises and activities organized and she would often have an activity or lesson plan at her fingertips when the Instructional Designer and the team would say… we need an activity that is like this… When asked to describe the SME one of the the participants in the room described her as “kind of annoying and a show off.”

I thought – what the !@#? I like working with people like that.

Then I thought… she really is revealing how insecure she is by making a comment like that. It actually reminded me of an attitude I’d seen among teachers. There really was this feeling that spread in the faculty lounge that it was not okay to be a “Show Off.” “Show Offs” included people who used new and different teaching styles and approaches or people who “stood out” as teachers. “Show offs” were not to be trusted and often there were political struggles within the school where the “show offs” were involved. In particular, I remember this struggle at one school between teachers who wanted an extra planning period by sending their classes to ‘play educational games’ in the computer lab for one hour vs. the teachers who wanted to break up the lab and actually put the computers in their classrooms and integrate writing, math and science activities using software already installed on the computers. Being the idealistic person I was/am, I assumed that I was just imagining these bad feelings from my peers. Maybe I was channeling June Cleaver, but I really thought I could work around these people and just do things on my own. Honestly, I think this was one of the reasons why I left teaching. The hosing and the sniping could be dealt with if you could find a group of people whom you could identify with and unite with against the snipers, but otherwise it was tiresome to deal with to say the least. I liked the kids and working with kids, I liked their enthusiasm, but even after a while, that wasn’t enough to induce me to remain in the teaching field.

I did some research online and found that were discussion threads and articles and an actual study about professional jealously among educators. It’s been about eight years since I set foot in a public school classroom. I hope things might have changed since then, but I suspect that in a profession where there is no upward mobility there’s no where to snipe, but on the horizontal field of play and your peers are the easiest targets. I’m not saying that all educators are like this, only that in every group, society or culture there will always be people who engage in this kind of behavior. Maybe we should look to Bob Sutton and Slow Leadership to help us figure out how to combat this type of behavior.

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Image from this site: http://studio12punt3.web-log.nl/studio12punt3/illustration_friday/index.html

Discovering Information Literacy

As I mentioned before in my summary of the Distance Learning Conference notes… people who live and work in the world created by the internet and new technologies must learn how to effectively think, organize and be critical of the information that is placed before them.

Thanks to Judy from Hey Jude, I’ve found a great video that helps define the skills needed by this new generation of workers for the emerging creative economy.

Information Literacy Principles:

  • D – Define
  • I – Inquire
  • S – Search
  • C – Collect
  • O – Organize
  • V – Verify
  • E – Express
  • R -Reflect

[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=JWzigkpR7yg]

Here is another video on the subject:

[Youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=yeopJX5jJV8]

Nostaglia Pop Culture Playlist from the 70’s

Every now and then you need a taste from the past. Here’s a look into the music and television shows that I remember from my childhood.

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=32A86294B3C9114B

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The Digital World is a Messy Place

Not the kind of place for people who like well planned activities that don’t miss a heart beat. Things go wrong with technology all the time. Connections are dropped, not everyone has the same operating system or settings.

People mistype words and typed text doesn’t always lend itself to clear interpretations.

So my question is….

How do we deal with this? Or do we back away without trying?

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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
  • Lecture is OUT – NO MORE SAGE ON THE STAGE
  • 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

Distance Learning Conference – My notes

I’m currently attending the Distance Learning Conference in Madison, WI (when I have time I will post the conference stats/details), and will post my notes and general reflections on the lectures that I attend.

Please note – these notes are not complete, I’ll fill out the details to some of these notes more as I go along.

Problem Based Learning for Online

Margaret Drew and Lori Mardis
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Note: clicking on the image above will open up the full concept map.

 

Suggestion: Provide a collaborative lab project.

  • Provide something that’s broken and get people to fix it.
  • Multiple solutions to complex medical prob. (suggestion – use blog).
  • Idea-make people take an active task oriented solution
  • What…about using blogging to facilitate discussion/collaboration on the process.
  • Creation of individual learning scaffolds… learning is meaning full
  • Began with open-ended ill structured problem that initiated discussion.

Building Virtual Communities

Dr. Rena Pallof & Dr. Keith Pratt
Importance of online Community

Now, I’ve always suspected that it’s not okay to just dump and run when it comes to delivering online content, but now it seems that the novelty of this realization is becoming dated. This presentation highlighted the importance of instructors establishing a rapport and building a ‘community’ among the students. Big takeaway for me was the presenter’s suggestion not to openly communicate intent of building community because many learners will protest because they’re just in the class to get credit… and or NOT to make friends.

I believe that it’s important to demonstrate the value in learning from your peers by providing learning experiences that allow the students to do this. Those people who continue to want to be anti-social can do so, but not at the expense of the rest of the students. Also courses an the purveyors of a curriculum who employ this social approach to learning should continue to do studies and investigations to the efficacy of this method of learning and provide education on the importance of virtual communities.

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Note: the “suggestions” are part of my notes to myself not the lecture.

Construction of Online learning community in which instructor is on the same level as students as a contributor… research says.

Intentional work on the development of presence online as well as other means which community can emerge are important… on student learning satisfaction.

Give the instructors and opportunity to communicate with students as a human level.

Suggestion: Encourage Office Hours / Train Instructors on how to do this effective

  • Need to be intentional and create the environment… you have to make the effort.
  • Aspects of learning:
    • Teaching students howt o inquire/construct knowledge
    • Teaching students to become self-direct

Suggestion: I-Search Papers

Competencies of Online Instructors (Martha Davidson):

  • Creating a Learning Community that is Intellectually Exciting and Challeging
  • Pepper collaborative activity throughout the course
  • Encourage learners to perform to the best of their abilities
  • Demonstrate Effective Use of Group Dynamics and Dialogue – need to know when to intervene and when not to intervene
  • Use a variety of methods other than lecture
  • Stress the interrelatedness of the complete curriculum and the value
  • Know workplace trends and perspectives
  • Draw out creativity, innovativeness, and ideas in a collaborative manner
  • Integrate curriculum designed to provide learners with experientially based learning environment
  • Evaluate learning outcomes
  • Continue personal development

Presence

  1. You must be able to connect with the people in the course.
  2. You need to establish a sense of rapport/ and portray yourself as a ‘real’ person in the online environment
    1. Non Example: professor who put his whole CV online
    2. QUESTION: Do you think there’s a level of infomality in creating this presence that some instructors might not be comfortable with? How do you get them comfortable with this?
  3. When there is a high degree of interaction between these participants…

Social Presence Online Correlates with:

  • Increased learner satisfaction
  • Greater depth of learning
  • sense of belonging to a learning community
  • Increased perception of learning
  • Begin the course by focusing on the development of social presence.
  • BUT DON”T TELL THEM THIS…. (They say…I didn’t take this class to make friends… I just want to take the class to get a grade).

Techniques

  • Give minimal guidelines (note to self – don’t make up fussy rules)
  • Let students know -It’s NOT okay to do all your posts on the same day
  • Agree on what’s a substantial post
  • Allow them to disagree

Suggestion: offer modeled examples and many practice opportunities for instructors. For example show them samples of chat discussions (recordings, simulations), have them practice in various online activities

Working as a Team: Collaborative Online Course Development

Emily Hixon, Ph. D

This was the best lecture/activity I’ve attended at the conference so far.

She provided 4 case studies of working with Faculty and SME’s talked about the challenges of working with faculty to develop an online course. She outlined the challenges and provided suggestions for selecting Faculty participants. I’ll post more details later including some interview criteria she listed for selecting good Subject Matter Experts (or Faculty).

One of the biggest takeaways I got from this was… bottom line – you need to find SME’s who are collaborative and can work on a team of folks who also communicate their process and progress along the way. Moreover, you have to find a SME who really believes that teaching online is possible.

FRIDAY’s LECTURES:

Managing Flash Game Development

Jon Aleckson

Another great lecture and probably one of the best here at the conference, that I was able to attend… because the presenter basically confirmed my hunch that creating really great learning activity requires a well-balanced team with the right skills and doing this takes moolah. If you want to be stuck with word documents and handouts then discount the need for these types of people on your team or look to moving into the online publishing business.

Biggest Takaways

  • Good Game Design Requires a Superlative Team including:
    • Instructional Designer/Writer
    • Artistic Illustrator
    • ActionScript Flash Programmer
    • Project Manager
  • DONT SKIMP IN HIRING (Note: I will post my notes on each of these position descriptions later)
  • Using CMMI (CapabilityMaturity Model) – importance of logging time for data collection purposes and learning for future teams and projects. It is important to communicate intent for data collection to employees (positively)
  • Use a Wiki for Knowledge Management/Capture – Saves time builds knowledge
  • Brainstorming tools:
    • Learning objectives and content outline
    • Activity List
    • Benchmarking
    • Include people with different roles!
  • Game or Simulation Continuum (3 dimensions)
    • Roles
    • Goals
    • Interactivity

Using Webcasting technologies

Coco Kishi and Tomoko Traphagan

What students wanted out of player technology

  • Wanted to see what the instructor was doing clearly
  • Synchronized audo, video, slides (clearly see the blackboard or slides
  • Content Searching
  • Playback and Speek Control
  • Flexible Viewing Controls
  • Bookmarking
  • Annotation

MySpace is not YourSpace

View the slides from the link here: http://flynnfoley.typepad.com/alan_foley/presentations/index.html

Christy actually took better notes than I did during this presentation. Check them out.

I really liked the fact that these presenters encouraged us to think about the consequences of technology and also really question whether or not some learning media were truly appropriate for all learning.

Tag-a-Meme

I’ve been tagged for the Random Facts about Me Meme by Christy. Thank you Christy from distracting me from work which was giving me a headache.  I understand if people don’t have the time to post, in any case I still get to share some of the neat blogs I link and connect to on a regular basis.

First, the Rules:

1) Post these rules before you give your facts

2) List 8 random facts about yourself

3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them

4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

And here’s the random facts about me:

1.) I don’t know if I know 8 people I can tag (I’m somewhat of a loner). Does this qualify as two facts? If you’re reading this blog and want to volunteer to be one of the remaining blanks I’ve put below. Please comment here. Watch, no one will leave a comment…. I’ll settle for folks who have already posted their 8 random facts.

2.) I tried my shot at Stand-up Comedy about four years ago. The only laughs I got were at the self-depreciating comments I made about my dating-life. Thank goodness I’m married now.

3.) I don’t like eating the yolks of eggs (fried, poached or hard-boiled).

4.) My favorite flower is pikake (known in the Philippines as sampagita). I had a lei of pikake made for me for my wedding. I’ll post a picture of me in my flowery regalia once I find it.

5.) Over the past year, I’ve learned to cook and bake using a gluten-free diet. Being gluten free in America is like being told that you are allergic to drinking water.

6.) I hate the color grey on anything but a nice tweed or cable wool sweater.

7.) I took Italian for almost four years in college. I once thought of studying romance languages and the literature of these languages. I haven’t practiced though I’m still adept at asking for and understanding street directions in Italian.

8.) I still love playing with Lego. I found this great site on building virtual Lego kits.

People I’ve tagged

  1. Jona Learning Nuggets. (Jona has done some exciting work with wikis in a business environment. She’s a good friend and I do appreciate having had the opportunity to work professionally with such a dynamic and passionate thinker.)
  2. Josh Tiny Screenfuls ( Josh is one of the first people to introduce me to the concept of applying Web 2.0 tech to learning and work. I have to say, my life is only richer with what I’ve learned so far.)
  3. Rory Learn-Learn Learn – (I can’t stop reading Rory’s blog. He’s got a passion of learning and using the web to explore that’s more than just contagious. Plus, he regularly links to fun widgets like the Mii (for the Wii) maker and the Simpsonize Me gadget.)
  4. HazaMr. Haza Does the Blogs – (Haza’s blog has great musings about elearning, books, instructional design and life in Malaysia. The man reads more books in one month than I think I read in my first year of undergraduate. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Haza in the past. His fascination with new technologies in instructional design, on organizational development, as well as his diverse mp3 and movie collection have provided us with lots to talk and laugh about every time we got to meet for business face to faces. )
  5. Rupa Writer’s Gateway (Rupa always posts excellent information and resources on e-learning and instructional design. I’ve enjoyed her recent posts on designing learning materials for the “Gamer Generation.”)
  6. Ronnie Ann -aka. The Work Coach (Ronnie Ann writes about dealing with life in a work environment. She covers those work topics that irrate you at work like a bad polyester tag on an uncomfortable sweater. She also does a great deal of musing on how to make your ‘ideal’ job happen).
  7. KatyThe Whackum Square (Katy has a sense of humor that’s great in writing but even more stellar in person. She not your average Cubicle Chick, maybe that’s why I like her).
  8. Alvin The Thinker blog. (Found Alvin through The Work Coach blog. I love reading his blog because he always provides a lucid account of what he sees and observes about existing in the post-modern… modern (or whatever) work place).

Okay… so I lied there are eight. Oh dear, I sort of feel bad about doing this… if you’ve done this exercise before please feel free to link back in the comments to your original post.

Generations Quiz

Check out this quick quiz (for entertainment and fun) on which tech generation you belong to brought to my attention via Rory’s blog.

Apparently I’m generation Y (over by 2 points) even though by Age I’m really an X. I still think I’m light-years away from those people who get the joint operation to make their thumbs text faster. By the way… I think that’s an urban legend. (I’m too lazy to look it up right now.)


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