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Always Learning

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7108 Video for Final Project

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Module 5 (7108)

I got my movie from Amazon Streaming Video. I am actually really surprised by this assignment because it was my impression that the competition between streaming video and dvds was pretty much over. Sorry, dvds. I have a bunch of them gathering dust in my tv console, but I never use them, now that I can watch anything nearly everything on Netflix.
I think the current competition is an example of increasing returns; on-demand or streaming video is becoming more advanced and sophisticated, while dvds are stagnating. Blue-ray technology might have been the next step for dvds- or a competitor- but even that technology is becoming less prevalent.
I think dvds are in the “obsolete” quadrant and on-demand videos are in the “reverses” quadrant, as the next step in the evolution of movie watching.

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Module 4: Second Life

A disruptive technology is one that comes out of nowhere to displace a previously emerging technology. Second Life may become an example of disruptive technology because it can significantly affect the way people learn and interact. Before the emergence of this technology, people could communicate online through email, instant messaging programs or social media, but in all of these options, people communicated as their true and literal selves. With Second Life, people can create new versions of themselves and interact with others’ versions in fantastic worlds more fanciful than the real world.
I am not sure how much longer Second Life has before being displaced itself, the way it displaced traditional communication, but it seems like within a short period of time, maybe a few years, we’ll have even more advanced technology that will allow people to spend time in virtual worlds. Who knows, maybe we’ll all be vacationing on holodecks one day? (Although that certainly seems pretty far!) Maybe even more likely is the future envisioned by Total Recall, in which experiences in alternate worlds are simply downloaded into the brain.
The social benefits of Second Life are many; this kind of program can be a huge boon to the shy or socially awkward, enabling them to find fulfillment in social interactions that might elude them otherwise. It is also intrinsically interesting to those who might be otherwise disengaged in their education, and might provide some additional motivation for learning.

Check out this article for more information: Click here!

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Module 3 (7108)

One kind of technology that I think reflects a rhyme of  history is the television. Story-telling has been an essential part of the human condition for thousands of years, and television brings that experience straight into people’s houses to allow them to hear and view stories at any time. The multitude of programming available to us far exceeds the abilities of even the most dedicated story-tellers of long ago. It is the deep human need for stories that drives the creation and consumption of tv shows, just as it drove minstrels and acting troupes to travel from town to town entertaining the masses.

As I settle down on my couch to start to catch up on the first episodes of the fall season, I realize that not only do I derive personal pleasure from watching my favorite shows, but watching certain shows and discussing those shows with friends, family members, and coworkers in an important part of our shared experience. Television is not just an individual experience, but one of the building blocks of our community.

Now, shh, Revenge is starting! Come to the comments to tell me if you think Victoria Grayson is really dead! (I think she’s not!)

 

Check out this website for more television insights.

 

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Module 2 (7108)

There are so many different kinds of technology that I think could replace the car since we are becoming more and more aware of the problems associated with burning fossil fuels in an internal combustion engine. Some cities use congestion pricing to reduce the use of cars, encouraging people to use mass transit (but not my city, I am sad to say!) and others are improving their mass transit options to make them more palatable (second avenue subway, any day now!)
People will always enjoy traveling on their own though, and there are many green options present now and on the horizon, from bikes to hybrids to electric cars.

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Module 1 (7108)

One technology that has emerged in the last few years- that I am REALLY excited about- is the Smartboard. Many classrooms in my school received them 2 or 3 years ago, and I was skeptical at first, thinking that it would create more work for the teachers. Over time I just grew jealous that other teachers had them and I didn’t. But finally, back in May of the last school year, I got a Smartboard of my very own for my classroom. It is such a pleasure to use. I use the computer to show the class videos, pictures and websites, and project documents using the document camera.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing of course; there are many issues that arise when you are depending on technology for your lessons. Bulbs burn out, remotes stop working, unnoticed wires get unplugged accidentally- any number of things can happen that get in the way of teaching. I find it best to have back-up plans in place to be safe. Another challenge is that very few teachers are trained in using Smartboards to their fullest potential, so many teachers don’t do more than show movies at the end of the year or before a vacation, or project a document just like they would do on an overhead projector. One day last year, a teacher gave a demo lesson, trying to get hired, and literally just taped little pieces of paper to the turned-off Smartboard!

This technology allows us to make learning much more engaging for students. They can actually manipulate information on the big screen, which is really exciting for them. They can all clearly see images that accompany my lessons.

It would be really helpful if more training were provided to teachers not only in using Smartboards in creative ways, but also in their maintenance. I get called out of my classroom often by other teachers who need me to “fix” their Smartboards, when the actual fix is something really small that they could do themselves. I don’t mind helping, of course, but it would be great if all teachers felt confident enough in their technological abilities to try to troubleshoot on their own when necessary.

 

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Module 6: Research-Based Theory on Learning and Instruction

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, technology helps me jump from topic to topic, where ever my curiosity leads me. Sometimes this is helpful, but other times I find that I am less focused than I need to be on a particular assignment. In a face-to-face environment, this issue is less pronounced, since the effect of being surrounded by others helps one stay on task. While I think that all real learning is a result of satisfied curiosity, I am very familiar with the ways that clicking on one link, then another, then another, can take me further and further from my initial inquiry. Of course, depending on the links, they can also be connecting me to more and more sources of information on my topic.

I think that the most critical aspect of teaching and learning is the ability to process and reteach what one has learned. In fact, I would say that until one can restate their new knowledge in their own words, explaining it to others, they have not truly acquired that knowledge, or learned it.

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Module 5: Affective Learning Theory

Two years ago, I took a technology course which taught me how to create and use a classroom blog. My students absolutely loved our blog, and after a year of benefiting from it, I really wanted to share what I had learned about blogging with other teachers. I offered to lead a workshop and the assistant principals were enthusiastic about it, but the principal couldn’t find time to schedule it because of all the other professional development workshops already planned. I spoke to many individual teachers about creating a blog, but while they all admired my blog- or pretended to- none of them were interested in starting their own. Some of them thought it would be too hard for them, and some of them just didn’t like the idea of having any outside-of-school contact with the kids. They thought it would be too much work, and more than a few of them said they thought I was crazy to take on the extra work.

Keller’s ARCS model could be useful if I can ever get the other teachers to talk to me again after I so thoroughly annoyed them the first time. The first step is in getting their attention, which I could do by showing them examples of really interesting personal blogs that share the kind of information they would be interesting in sharing on a social network, like Facebook. If I show them my personal blog, containing pics from my vacation, pics of my new baby nephew, and so on, this would be probably be of interest to them.

In order to convince teachers of the relevance of blogging, I could show them how my students’ homework performance has improved since they were able to access the homework list on the blog each night, and more importantly, their parents could check the official homework list and not just what their child happened to write down in their agenda. Another contributing factor in homework improvement is that it is easy to add worksheets to the homework posts if they came from an online source, so that students who forget their homework folder can still print out or copy the worksheet questions.

To increase confidence, I could simply show they how easy it is to create a blog post, and offer them friendly, non-judgmental support as they create their own blogs. Since I would be talking to teachers whose classrooms are nearest to mine, it would be easy for me to give them all the help they need, not that they will need much after they get started.

Satisfaction will be easily achieved when teachers see how great their blogs look and how readily kids take to them. When they see the improvement in their own classes, they will be encouraged to further utilize blogs and learn how to do more with them.

References

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

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Module 4: Connectivism

 

 

My network connects me to information on many different topics, from many different perspectives. Each of my friends and family members is a resource for information on different topics; when I need to know about entertainment related news, like when a movie is coming out or a tv show is returning, my brother Mike is the one to talk to. For decorating or interior design advice, my friend Jennine always knows that’s best. For help with school work, like APA formatting, my newly Ph.D’d friend Greta is an inexhaustible source of information. Having easy access to all these connections- through the phone, email, Skype- makes it less necessary for me to be an expert on multiple topics. As long as I know where to look for information, or who to talk to, I can still accomplish my goals.

In my personal life, text messaging is the most convenient tool for reaching out to my network, although my parents invariably demand an actual phone call before they will part with information. With classmates, I prefer to communicate over Skype chat, through commenting on a wiki, or by email.

When I have questions, I reach out to the person who knows the most about the topic, if I have a person like that in my life. I also find I get a great deal of information from online and tv sources, as explained in my map. I think it’s really important to be aware of possible biases and inaccuracies from all sources of information, and to compare information from multiple sources for verification.

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