22 December 2008

Blog Re-purposing

Since this blog was created from need and requirement and I have now moved on from those two aspects of my life (I made an A in my technology class) I've decided to not waste this digital repository by re-purposing it. I have some ideas on how to reach more students in my freshman mathematics class so I am going to use this space as a venue for fleshing out ideas and for a reflection space on what happened. If anyone out there in cyberspace has comments or ideas to improve or expand the ideas presented here, please feel free to add comments!

04 December 2008

Learning Theory and Educational Technology

This week starts a new class centered around various theories of learning and how technology fits into existing models along with how models are affected by technology. I hope this class proves to be informative and allows me to develop usable applications for my students.

22 November 2008

Entry 12.2 - Skype

Skype has been used extensively for my technology course as a communication tool. I've used it to communicate with classmates for class material and socially. It's been a great communication tool allowing me to better connect with classmates developing relationships outside the realm of basic discussion questions. It's also proved to be an invaluable tool to discuss assignments to ensure understanding of requirements and concepts.

Skype could be a great way for students to communicate concerns, questions, and misunderstandings. Skype would give students a way to access the instructor outside of class time, especially when they are working on their assignments.

Entry 12 - Blogging

Over the past 12 weeks I've been using this blog as a reflection of my course, Computer Technology and Multimedia. This has been a valuable tool to reflect upon the course discussions and as a communication tool.

I see using it in my mathematics class as a venue for reflection and discussion of newly learned concepts. Students not only have a place to reflect upon their learnings but also a vehicle to collaborate on the development and understanding of concepts.

16 November 2008

Entry 11 - Gaming in Education

Alexandra Matthews' 12 April 2008 blog entry, "doof.com - integrating gaming with social networks", provides an overview of this particular social gaming site. Social gaming juxtaposes online gaming with social networking sites providing a more interactive form of gaming.

A recent Pew Internet research study shows that almost all teens (97%) play some sort of game. Only a 24% play games completely in isolation demonstrating the need for education to tie into social gaming.

So how do we tie into social gaming to benefit learners; to provide a more pervasive access to education? I think this is an area that educators everywhere need to tap into.

Yes, most of the games are ever consuming voids inhaling moments of free time, but isn't that want we all want, even in the most minuscule way: a moment away from reality and all of the aspects of life we cannot control; a moment to breath.

Handheld Wireless Data Devices

Here's a 10 minute presentation I created on hand held wireless data devices in the K-12 classroom. Being that this is a vast area with much room for exploration, this video, in order to maintain a reasonable length, introduces these devices, touches on the reasons why educators should be interested in this emerging technology, and provides some information on how they can be used in education.

Reference list available for download here.

09 November 2008

Entry 10 - Learning Objects

Like the term "object" from the concept of "object oriented programming", learning objects are "digital entity intended to further the achievement of a specific learning objective" (Harvey 2005). This means any multimedia item, such as a diagram, video, sound clip, animation, or block of text, could be considered a learning object.

Imagine the impact on education if educators had global access to repositories of "learning objects"; hundreds of thousands of small pieces of information which could be strung together to meet the needs of an individual student at the time of need. Suppose you are studying Binomial Theorem in your foundational algebra class. You could type in the topic and related objects would appear allowing you, as the teacher, to quickly construct multimedia lessons. Objects may include:
  • Pictures of Pascal's Triangle from several of it's cultural iterations
  • Historical notes
  • Presentation slides demonstrating the process of using Pascal's Triangle in order to perform binomial expansion
  • Sample problems including solutions
  • Pre-made hand outs for student notes
  • Animations showing the construction of Pascal's Triangle
  • Worksheets for skill practice
  • Audio files reviewing the process of creating Pascal's Triangle or the process of binomial expansion

Now imagine all of these objects available to anyone, world-wide, at any time, at no cost, and that contributions to expand and improve the available body of knowledge could be made globally. Yes, the gain is pervasive beyond the world of education but the benefit to our students may be. Not only would it increase efficiency in teaching but the information contained has the potential be the one piece which sparks interest in a student to become a life long learner. We as educators are no longer islands contained within the bounds of our classroom walls; we must not only reach out to our students but reach out to each other to support learning at a global level.

Brian Harvey's full article on learning objects can be found at http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/227/310