Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Second Life for Educators

The above is a link to a presentation that I put together that discusses Second Life and teaching. As an instructional designer, I am trying to wrap my head around how this fits into the course design process. In all of my work, teaching and course development, I am interested in how interactivity is built into a course. Whenever I look at a course the first thing I think is: how are the students going to interact with the course materials, the instructor, and one another. I am putting together three presentations that focus on the pedagogy of virtual environments. This is the first. I am saving the "how to get cool hair" tutorials for YouTube and working on the boring stuff (teaching situations that do not immediately require a light saber).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Google Generation

Pioneering research shows ‘Google Generation’ is a myth: "Pioneering research shows ‘Google Generation’ is a myth.

* All age groups revealed to share so-called ‘Google Generation' traits
* New study argues that libraries will have to adapt to the digital mindset
* Young people seemingly lacking in information skills; strong message to the government and society at large

"A new study overturns the common assumption that the ‘Google Generation' – youngsters born or brought up in the Internet age – is the most web-literate. The first ever virtual longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team at University College London claims that, although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web."

What fascinates me about these studies is that they never take into account what the students will need to know and what skills they will need after they graduate. The methods and techniques they are being taught with now will teach them how to be an early nineteenth cent. clerk or book-keeper's assistant (think "Bob Crachit"). I am not saying that critical thinking and information literacy are not important, I just seriously doubt they can be taught by people who do not understand the way information and technology is changing the way people think and process information.

Friday, January 11, 2008

elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

elearnspace. Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age: "Behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism are the three broad learning theories most often utilized in the creation of instructional environments. These theories, however, were developed in a time when learning was not impacted through technology. Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn. Learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and processes, should be reflective of underlying social environments."

I just finished reading Seimens' book "Knowing Knowledge" and this article is a good summary and over-view of his ideas. His book clarifies a lot of this, although I am looking forward to asking him about how learning resides in appliances when he presents as the keynote in Spokane. His definition of "learning" must be different than mine. I am thoroughly entrenched in constructivism, but I think this is a necessary evaluation of our new relationship to information.