Posts Tagged ‘EDTECH 543’

EDTECH 543 – Course Reflection

When compared to older, more established educational tools, social media is still in its infancy.  Despite this fact, the scope and power of social media and how it can enhance student interaction and engagement of new material simply can not be ignored.  As more of our interaction with others shifts into an online space, the rate (if not the quality) of communication increases a thousand fold.  While sitting in a lecture ten years ago, a student would have been limited to the course text and perhaps their immediate neighbors for additional information or insight on a given topic.  Now through the advance of technology (both hardware and software) and the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wiki’s, etc. students can access information and individuals on a global scale with a few strategic swipes on their phone or tablet device… all while sitting in class.

Of course, what is more social than sharing?  Collaborating with others on projects and assignments in many ways is so much easier than it ever has been.  Gone are the days when groups would be condemned to extended hours huddled in a library, coffee shop, or similar establishment during a mutually agreed upon day and time that the majority of the group had time to occupy the same space together.  Video and online streaming chat services available free of charge through Google Drive, Skype, Google Hangout’s, when combined with elaborate content sharing enable individuals to work together with more flexibility by removing the long standing requirement of occupying the same physical space in order to collaborate on work in progress.  Now two, three, five, ten people can all have the same document open and be discussing, editing, contributing, and flushing out details in tandem from half a dozen different geographic locations around the globe.  All someone needs to access these wonderful tools is an Internet connection (preferably broadband) and a web browser!  It really is amazing to me how far and how fast the digital space has expanded the reach of teaching and learning.

With a background and general love for most things related to technology, I frequently had at least a passing knowledge of most of the tools that we put to use in EDTECH 543 Social Networking.  What this course introduced me to, through course work and interaction with my fellow classmates, was a much deeper understanding of how to put these tools to work in an educational setting.  How to collaborate on Diigo to share project resources found across the vastness of the Interwebs, combining project submission and distribution through Twitter #hashtags that link back to a blog or Facebook post.  As with most things in life, we truly seem to be limited mostly by our imagination and drive to accomplish that which we set out to.  While it seems terribly cliche to say so, frequently all that is required to take a commonly used, pedestrian tool and convert that into a powerful educational tools is a touch of creative thinking… generally outside the box!

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543 Personal Learning Environment Reflection

Creating the Personal Learning Environment was an interesting task to undertake. Firstly, it provided an excellent opportunity to utilize a recently discovered tool (Spicynodes) to map out the various into some semblance of order. As I was working on this project, I discovered that every time I opened the map to make an adjustment I thought of another node that should be added. There really is no shortage of learning environments to satisfy all possible interests thanks to the Internet. One of the limitations that I discovered within Spicynodes that I found particularly frustrating was an inability to control the nodes and their behavior directly. If I were to undertake this assignment again I might select another platform in order to exercise a little more control over the layout and formatting.

As this is the second part of a two part assignment, I found that I diverged fairly dramatically from my classmates in how we approached this task. One of my frequent work environment/networks is LinkedIn due to its extensive user base and smaller, targeted sub-groups in which you can discuss, interact, and learn from professionals from around the world in similar industries. Because I found such an extensive list of sub-networks within the LinkeIn platform covering a variety of business, personal, and education interests it seemed logical to focus and explore that avenue more fully. Based on what I have seen so far, none of my classmates took this approach; instead focusing on a variety of individual, external networks.

In an effort to more fully flush out my PLE I did expand to include other resources and networks that I use on an almost daily basis. It was not surprising that there was a fairly extensive list of sites and services that I found across many of my classmates projects as well as my own. Many of the major sites including Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Flickr were common themes throughout. These networks offer so much information that it’s not surprising that they are popular places to turn for information.  After spending a considerable amount of time lurking, reading posts and content from others without engaging, this assignment provided an outstanding jumping off point to get significantly more active and engaged in one fell swoop.

543 Module 4 Wk1: Assessing Effective Content Curation

This assignment centered around working as a collaborative group to prepare fifteen (or more) criteria to use in the evaluation of curated content. I was vaguely aware of curation prior to this assignment, but had never given much thought to the process, how much it is needed with the constant addition of new information, and how every day tools serve to provide this service to the general public on a daily basis. It never occurred to me that web services like Twitter or Pinterest could be used in this capacity!

Creating the assessment criteria as a group was helpful as it enabled us to each head out in search of criteria that we thought were critical and then come back together and combine our results and discuss, modify, or remove items that didn’t fit the bill. I think that this completed list will indeed prove to be a useful tool in the evaluation of curated content in the next module.

543 Module 2: Non-linguistic Representation of CoP, PLN, & Cognitivism

Finding, creating, or otherwise preparing a representation without the benefit of linguistics sounds like it would be relatively straight forward and simple. In practice however I found this to be a much larger challenge than I had first expected. Through reading and reflection on Communities of Practice, Personal Learning Networks, and Cognitivism I continue to come back to structure and hierarchy. Attached is the image created for this Module 2, week 2 assignment. Below is the list of references in APA format.

(2009). 7 Things you should know about Personal Learning Environments. (PDF Document) Retrieved from http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7049.pdf

Baker, T. (2011, March 30). Connectivism: A Theory of Learning for a Digital Age. Retrieved from http://oupeltglobalblog.com/2011/03/30/connectivism-a-theory-of-learning-for-a-digital-
age/

Bell, F. (2009) Connectivism: a network theory for teaching and learning in a connected world. (PDF Document) Retrieved from http://usir.salford.ac.uk/2569/1/ConnectivismEdDev.pdf

Buchem, L., Attwell, G., & Torres, R. (2011) Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. (MSWord Document) Retrieved from http://journal.webscience.org/658/

Carter, S. What’s a Community of Practice? Retrieved from http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/scarter/cofp.htm

Downes, S. (2007) Learning Networks in Practice. Retrieved from http://nparc.cisti-icist.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/npsi/ctrl?action=rtdoc&an=8913424

Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008) Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? International Review of Research In Open And Distance Learning, volume 9, No 3. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103

Murray, P. Personal Learning Networks; Creating lifelong learning. (PDF Document) Retrieved from http://erhs.ercu1.net/sites/all/files/1/file/startech2012/Personal%20Learning%20Networks%20Keynote(1).pdf

Tarr, P. (2010). Tangled Threads: Mentoring within a community of practice. (PDF Document) McGill Journal of Education, volume 45. Retrieved from http://www.erudit.org/revue/mje/2010/v45/n2/045608ar.pdf

Wegner, E. (2012, June 1). Communities of Practice a brief introduction. (PDF Document) Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/06-Brief-introduction-to-communities-of-practice.pdf