Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Echo360: Live and Learn

Is anyone using Echo360?  What's your opinion?

Here's what they are about:

They live their lives online, in the car, at work and of course, in school. At Echo360, our dream is to see a day when the college experience intersects with the life experience of students. Using lecture capture technology, students gain unbounded access to their educational content and the opportunity to relive their classroom experience for improved comprehension and satisfaction.

Our team includes current and former university administration, staff, teachers, faculty and technologists with deep experience in lecture capture at colleges around the globe. Echo360 was born as a subsidiary of Anystream, the world leader in digital media production and workflow management solutions for major media companies. In 2007, we acquired Lectopia – the lecture capture leader in Australia and New Zealand. We blended our deep experience in video, information technology and higher education to create the EchoSystem platform for campus-wide lecture capture. The result is a repeatable, on-demand educational experience that is easy for institutions to deploy and support while providing students exceptional playback quality and options in line with their mobile lifestyles.

Monday, February 15, 2010

#delt0110: DELT Live Session #3

To all EFL/ESL language educators, join us in our next live session...

DELT Live Session #3

This session is part of an open, distance English language workshop being held here. Feel free to join us in our Moodle as well as enrollment is open.


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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Interview with Daniel Donet, initiator of HaitiReact.org

Check out this interview with Daniel Donet and get involved!  Donate your knowledge and expertise for the recovery effort!  Volunteer meetup going on tomorrow, join us!

HaitiReact
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Why Learning Online is Better Than Offline

This past Sunday I unfortunately missed a webinar titled Why Learning Online is Better Than Offline (Lasse, 2010), but was able to view the recording - which I would recommend.  Lasse begins by making a distinction between online and offline learning in terms of control (i.e., people, context, demands/goals, learning on demand, etc.). At 25 minutes, 29 seconds, the following comment was made:

of course learning happens in all environments, but if we are talking about intentional learning of a topic, a comfortable environment is critical   

In a formal, more traditional classroom, the impression is often that students are learning what we as educators are teaching through intentionalism.  But how often is this really the case?  Take a simple conversation for example.  How frequently do intentional conversations take off on non-intentional directions (this webinar is an example of that, but more on that later).  It's impossible to predict with certainty what implications will result from what we say, whether we are having a simple two-way conversation or one-to-many exchange as we commonly find in the classroom.  This is precisely why formal education will always have a gap between the written and taught curriculum.

The second aspect of this comment deals with the need for a comfortable environment in order to learn.  This notion overlooks one important aspect of learning which is diversity.  Sometimes a difference of opinion makes us feel uneasy, uncertain, uncomfortable, etc., but a counterargument is exactly what is needed in education.  We expect this in academic writing, why not in other aspects of education as well?  I've learned more when I've had to question my own beliefs, thoughts, or understandings which invariably did not include a comfortable environment.  On the contrary, it was the uncomfortable environment that motivated me to reflect on my own understandings or lack thereof.      

As mentioned above, I got the impression that the "intention" of the presentation was to have more of a debate as to whether online or offline learning was better.  Instead, the conversation shifted to educational term definitions, web tool recommendations, and general teaching questions that had little to do with the debate.  Not saying this is a bad thing, only that learning is by-and-large not an intentional act, but rather an implicature (whether correct or not) based on prediction.

And the discussion continues...

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Learning Outcomes and Social Influence on Cognitive Networks

Yesterday I attended a talk on Technology and Soft Skills that included the following slide (at 25 minutes, 50 seconds):


This part of the discussion, and this slide in particular, reminded me of a prior blog entry of mine where I address the limitations of Bloom's taxonomy in how many interpret various cognitive processes as discrete behavioral outcomes.  In my view, too many teachers take an image like this and adhere solely on setting behavioral (i.e., instructional) objectives that result in a limited view of the actual learning process.  Eisner (1969, 1979) sought for a balance "among instructional, problem-solving, and expressive outcomes as curriculum experiences" (as stated in Serviovanni, 1999, p. 109), and discussions of Bloom's taxonomy does little to promote Eisner's view.

Also, the bottom row includes "social knowledge" as a separate, hierarchical objective, but to me, the "social" occurs at every cognitive process listed here.  We must interact to "remember", "understand", etc., - using Bloom's language - and we must connect how we take facts that ultimately lead to how we create things.  The social aspect of learning really is the "backdrop" or context that helps us connect learning objects, people, nodes, etc. in a way that influences (positively or negatively) the cognitive connections that we form (i.e., learning).  The social is necessary in order to learn.  True, we can learn certain things on our own, but what's the use if we don't take that knowledge and interact with someone.  On the other hand, creating a social environment is no guarantee one will learn either.  So we need the social network to learn, but more importantly, we need to consider the social ties we form in order to evaluate the influence it has on the cognitive network.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The premier space for educators: Educators 2.0

I am very happy to assume principalship of Educators 2.0!

In a recent interview, I shared my thoughts on the direction that I'd like to take Educators 2.0.  The basic premise is that we are all teachers and are all learners.  That leadership and the responsibilities it brings should be based on one's will, expertise, and ability and not on authority.  Serviovanni (2005) addresses leadership as entitlement and I couldn't agree more.  Those who have the ability should be put in the forefront of change and not just those leaders who have the authority.

If you have a desire to teach and learn, Educators 2.0 is for you!  Share the benefits of a leadership community that fosters individual growth.

P.S. I have to credit George for the picture in the interview...he's got a wild imagination!