Sunday, November 29, 2009

Revised Teaching Philosophy.

You know what, I'm not sure yet! I think the impact on my teaching will be much larger than I can even imagine at this moment, mostly because I have been shown a path that I need to take, but one without a destination. Here is one thing I am certain of, and that is I have become a bit more sympathetic to the plight of my online students. During this class I made input errors, misunderstood directions, missed deadlines, just like my own students! I don't like double standards and I will be more understanding of the challenges that an online class presents.
In a larger sense, my educational philosophy is all about writing and critical thinking. I despise rote learning. I believe we do a great disservice to our students when we don't prepare them not only to think with the material, but also to expand their thinking capacity and awareness in general, regardless of the subject. Bells and whistles don't seem to fit well with this philosophy, but this course showed me just how big a mistake that is. It isn't only about flash, but enhanced connection and community. I know this would increase learning. I have already incorporated audio/visual feedback in my classes. A Blog would seem to be a no-brainer for next semester. I will be integrating one of the tools for direct communication, like Skype. I will be moving toward online office hours. This is just the beginning, because before the roadblocks were about complexity, but now I realize it was about philosophy. And mine has been changed.

Final Reflections

This course has been simply fantastic. The commitment and passion of all the instructors was inspiring. The intensity was challenging and I would not have made it without the personal assistance of Todd (and the fact I was pass/fail!) I almost wonder if I should take it again as I know there is much that I was unable to appreciate. This course has shown me a set of tools that I simply would not have found on my own. That is the most exciting part. But there is something more going on here. My whole vision of how to educate has been impacted and I will speak to that more in my Revised Teaching Philosophy post. These tools aren't just bells and whistles but really strike to the heart of enhanced learning and connection. This will require a coomitment from me and a change in thinking that I think I will be able to achieve in light of having struggled with online education now for three years. Old dogs can learn new tricks!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wow - I wish I would have said that....

The article "Who is afraid of the Big Bad copyright?" is right on. I wish I would have written this. The law is not clear and thus the admonition to seek forgiveness rather than permission resonates with me. I also like the suggestion that our librarians cease to be the copyright police. And it is VERY interesting that there is not one reported case involving educators. Despite the seemingly monolithic language of statutes, it is what the courts say they mean that is the key. It would be difficult to imagine an educator losing a fair use case unless they had crossed the line into the commercial speech realm. With all of our focus in this class on social networking and bolgs, etc., the lines could become blurred. But until the first shot is fired, I say "use!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1. What was the target audience for this social networking site?
I choose to look at since it was the first. This was focused on friends and family, just as some of the popular sites are now.
2. How long was the site in existence?
Four years.
3. Why was it popular? What was its demise?
It was popular, I suppose, because it was first. Its demise is blamed on being ahead of its time, but that doesn’t resonate with me. It did not have the functionality of the successive sites, and the founders did not see the future clearly.
4. Is/was there another competitor in the same market that was more popular?
It did not have a more popular competitor to deal with, and again, appears to have failed due to lack of vision.
5. Would you ever consider creating an account and using it? Explain your reason using a personal experience as an example.
Sure. It looks very much like many of the popular sites now, like Facebook, of which I am a member, albeit a deadbeat.

You're such a Twit!

I am a huge Twitter fan. (Check me out at Bodytalkman.) I have been able to make contact with thousands of like-minded people all over the world in a very short time. My focus has been with the work that I do with Energy Medicine Foundation, but I see no reason why this couldn't work just as well in any context, including education. Indeed, the 140 words or less requirement of Twitter could easily spark some very interesting discussions. And it would certainly meet the attention span and tech savvy needs of this new generation. If engagement truly is the key, and in an educational context I define that as passion, it would be very interesting to see if any students continued on after they were no longer required to post. In the educational context I think content would be key, unless there was some mutual interest or "celebrity" factor, such as the preception that one's ideas were changing the world. I honestly don't see any negatives here, since the Discussion Board is already in place in Blackboard. And Twitter would be so much sexier and more interesting. Bottom line, I just might add a Twitter component to my next online class....

"Social" Networking

There are two things that strike me in Hargadon's blog. First, his argumennt that engagement is more important than the content. Doesn't the content drive engagement? Perhaps not in a social networking context. It would in a blog context for sure. But I gather relationship is the real key in this virtal world. The other comment that I found interesting was that the site should be guided. Again, this was somewhat counter-intuitive to me. Which raises the question, at what point do these sites cease to be social networking sites, and become something else all together? If you are working this hard at something, when does it cross the line into a commercial or business context? From an education standpoint, the content would be critical to maintaining engagement, and of course it would need to be guided. I suppose I would see the key as creating passion, either for the content or for relationship. I am reading the latest bio on Einstein and I wonder what it must have been like to be a correspondent of his. Would we all be interested in his blog? What sort of social network would he create today? And would his celebrity trump some of the arguments of Hargadon? I am an avid Twitter fan and I do see the value in this networking tool, although the sheer volume is a great barrier to effective communication. But I have met several people via tweets and have used their services or saved their websites. but this is where these sites seem to be driven by business relationship or commercial context more than social networking. It is this blur on underlying motivation that holds the key to the future of these sites.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wiki Me

I like these two links because they are focused on business issues, which is where I teach:
I also liked this site for its information on a variety of places to create wikis:
I am convinced that I will be developing one of these for one of my classes in the future. The benfits just seem huge to me, now that I am exploring the concept in detail. I am not worried about the negatives of students being able to enter and update entries, and it just seems like a great forum for the interchange of ideas, which is what I think a college class should really be. The key isue is time - not just in developing the wiki lesson plan for a future class, but even answering this very question....