A key feature of Twitter, in my opinion, is the limited amount of characters allowed for each post. This microblogging strategy provides a convenient way for me to read content which gives me just enough information to determine if I want to pursue more. It saves me valuable time! In an educational context, short content, along with hashtags, streamline research in a more focused method.
Networking and real-time communication are essential in learning communities. Twitter can meet these needs. Teachers and students can communicate and receive critical information while on the go. In fact, I find myself somewhat absorbed in many of the Tweets posted by my peers. My field of learning expands significantly by what my peers are sharing and I have learned much more with this social learning technique. It is beneficial for everyone and I feel encouraged and comfortable to share information that I deem worthy of sharing.
I have found that Twitter also provides a foundation for me to participate in several social learning communities at the same time! For example, when I discover an interesting article, I share the information with my followers with a tweet. If one of my followers retweets the article, then more are able to read the article. It is an easy way to share educational content in an exponential way.
Once again, I am so very thankful for peer reviews, and critical feedback from our TA and Instructor. I decided to submit advanced copies of the documents and website link, all of which are required to complete the components of our final project. My purpose for sending in my drafts was because I felt I needed critical feedback to assure I was meeting the criteria for the project. As a result, I have been able to make necessary revisions that improve my overall project. Tonight we had an optional class session to address our questions and concerns for our projects. Those of us who attended were able to do a test run of presenting our instructional unit website. You know the saying, "practice, practice, practice!" Let's hope I pull this off without any major problems.
As we near the final weeks of the semester, we begin a period of engrossed focus with final projects. Sigh, I am no different and find myself working on 3 different projects with a fretful panic, LOL. Okay, so the good news is, I am definitely acquiring new and relevant knowledge. The bad news...I struggle to keep my anxiety level from pushing me over the edge, haha. Alright, so maybe I am exaggerating a little but producing quality work can be a bit frenzied if I don't manage my time well. Thankfully, I have received great feedback on my 622 project. Now it's time to apply and execute.
Suddenly I feel like having a big bowl of ice cream...
How are the rest of you doing with your final projects?
I mentioned last week how critical peer reviews are beneficial for me. In addition, web-based videoconferencing removes any geographical distance in the process.
While researching for my final project and a group assignment, I came across an article titled, "Synchronous symmetrical support: A naturalistic study of live online peer-to-peer learning via software videoconferencing" which studied the impact of nearly 100 students who participated in several online synchronous study sessions over a six month period. The results revealed a supportive online learning community amongst peers who share knowledge while constructing new knowledge at the same time. Critical peer reviews contributed significantly to the overall learning process. WHEW! Now I can feel validated in my need for social learning! LOL.
Wow! More than half of the semester is gone and we are now focusing on our final project for this course. Last week, a few of us had a virtual brainstorming session in Skype. We spent over 2 hours exchanging ideas, asking questions and giving feedback. At the start of the meeting, we all agreed that we were confused and concerned. At the end of the meeting, we all agreed that we had a better understanding of the project requirements and our project ideas. Once again, collaborative efforts produced a greater sum of knowledge. On our own, we struggled to make sense of things, however, when we came together to brainstorm, great things happened!
Each student had a chance to summarize their ideas in class tonight, while others provided feedback or asked questions. Personally, I find it helpful to verbally share my ideas with others. While thinking about ideas is a good thing, speaking out my ideas helps me sort through the good and bad with better clarity. I especially appreciate questions from others because it challenges me to strengthen my argument or make changes where necessary. Critical peer reviews is one of the best ways to make improvements. Thanks everyone!
Here's a fun video on collaboration, enjoy.
A couple of weeks ago, we worked in groups to create a web page of resources (see my post titled Web Instruction Resources for Online Learning & Teaching). It is amazing how much we can learn from others!! We covered three different topics; synchronous, asynchronous, and web-based content for online instruction. There is no doubt that I will be referring to these websites frequently. Thanks to my fellow virtual classmates, I have new ideas and resources!!
We had great discussions about distributed learning and mobile learning tonight. One of the highlights for me was discussing the concept of flipped classrooms. Mind/Shift
does a great job of defining the flipped classroom
concept. In a nutshell, it reverses the traditional idea of lecturing during the class period and having the students do assignments at home. Instead, students learn the material at home via online multimedia resources and work on the assignments in class. This provides a means for the teacher to assist students in class and help them with the application process. When my sons were young, I often felt longer class periods would be more effective because teachers would have time to teach and have time to do hands on assistance. Immediately reinforcing a concept with applicable activities will result in a higher achievement of learning outcomes.
Emerging technologies can make it possible for flipped classroom models to work. Instructional strategy could include recorded lectures as learning objects for a course curriculum. There are some great resources out there for this purpose. Check out Khan Academy
and Academic Earth
. So much to learn! Thanks for stopping by...stay tuned!
Having a collection of resources is important in any field and is essential where distance education is concerned. Each group had an assigned category. Our team gathered resources on web-based content. This process prompts you to consider how each resource can be effectively utilized in your instructional strategy. An aha moment for me was realizing that each tool, when considered strategically, may actually be used differently in various teaching and learning contexts. The diversity of instructional tools is dependent on creatively meeting the needs of your students. Moreover, emerging technologies challenges us to consider new tools and new strategies on a regular basis. Besides learning about a bunch of great tools, I was also reminded that tools are just that....tools. It is our responsibility to implement them in a way that encourages meaningful learning experiences!Here is the link to my teams website of resources. ETEC 622 Web-Based Content.
Tonight's class was fun! After taking care of a few things on the agenda, we split up into four different groups to critically evaluate www.drawastickman
.com. It is a site which provides a storyline for you to interact with. You start by drawing a stickman and as the story unfolds, you are asked to draw other items to help the story progress. In the end, you can add a few comments of your own and share your animated story, with your drawings, via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. We discussed strengths, weaknesses, and the relevance to our weekly class topics. A key element in our discussion included the e-learning theory and design components that the site includes. The site has interactive, immersive, engaging, creative, and social networking aspects. These are important in any learning environment! LOL, so I decided to draw a flower with grass and a bug instead of a stickman. Okay, okay, I'm a little strange but I was very curious to see how that would work. I couldn't help myself, ha ha. Someone was kind enough to say, "wow, that's great, you're thinking outside the box." In fact, I wasn't the only one who drew a flower, Macy did too! I was pleasantly surprised to see my flower come to life in the story!! Here's a picture...NO laughing. I will be the first to admit my artistic drawing skills needs serious help.
My narrated video assignment is complete, whew! I decided to do a short instructional video on creating a Wiggio
account and starting a group folder. Jing
is an easy to use tool. Immediately after recording my video, I was able to upload to Screencast
for public viewing. I decided to write out a script for the instruction and rehearsed a few times before recording. I used a headset to filter out any background noise and timed myself to make sure I did not go over the three minutes we were allowed. Everything was going well until the Shave Ice truck decided to drive by my house with very loud music, LOL!! The music was so loud and could be heard, faintly, in my recording. Sigh...so I had to run through the recording again. The only problem was, I kept tripping over my tongue and ended up doing several more takes. Next time, I'll shut my windows, just in case! Here is the link to my recording - http://www.screencast.com/t/mD17FlXaD