Friday, July 16, 2010

Wikis and Wikieducator

A big shout out to my friends at UVM-Aguascalientes!

There is an open (free) course starting next week (as if you had nothing else to do) that you might be interested in regarding wikis:

You are certainly encouraged to check out wikispaces as well (UVM Aguascalientes wiki started last year)

If anyone is interested in learning more about Wikieducator, reply to this post and will schedule a live session going over the basics in how to get started.  I tend to favor Wikieducator due to the opportunities to collaborate with others as well as to build open educational resources.  If you are already a member of Wikieducator, please sign my guest book located on my user page.

Connectivism and Relational Trust

leadership is about relationship, and nurturing of relationship with others in the networks (Suifaijohnmak's webblog)

I agree to a degree.  It's about making the connection then developing the connection in a way that builds trust.  This is intuitive and would make sense when working with the same individuals over time.

But I also learn by occasional connections I form online.  For example, I might get some information from one source with no strong relational affiliation, then take that information to a more relational-trust network or community and build on the idea.  In fact, there are many possible learning scenarios that do not include connections that are built solely on relational trust.

I still see the relational trust as a community-based perspective whereas the individual and the role the individual plays within a variety of communities as a connectivist perspective.  Again, communities based on social capital and relational trust (Serviovanni, 2005) certainly have merit, but I do not think it's a complete look at how we can learn best - growing connections that are transactional, collaborative, and/or relational, all of which are dependent on the individual and the context.

A video on the importance of relational trust:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Process of WebQuests

I've been participating in a workshop on webquests and recently responded to a post related to the process section of a webquest (slightly adapted)...

I tend to be a bit ambivalent when it comes to the process section of a webquest because of what the webquest is set out to do versus how it is actually being implemented (and this may be the reason why I have only technically applied a webquest once over the last five years).  Webquests are intended to address a real-life problem or is considered to be an authentic task in and of itself.  But most real-life problems are ill-defined and requires a process that results only after a period of interaction, openness, and diversity acceptance - all of which usually are absent when procedures are presented before students begin the task.

I agree that a teacher must be prepared and should anticipate problems that might hinder the educative experience, but I wonder if "frontloading" too much information for a given task can lessen its value.  I feel that a failed project can occur when teachers are not accustomed to taking on a facilitative role that requires special care in guiding the students through an ambiguous situation.  That is, the teacher must understand the ambiguity of the problem so through proper assistance, students can work through levels of uncertainty.  As an EFL teacher educator, even NNS, preservice educators can be a bit uncomfortable about working through an ill-defined problem, but isn't this what we should prepare them for?

I continue to search for balance when it comes to providing information a prior and providing the intervention (i.e., support, didactic instruction, guidance, etc.) needed in order for students to be successful.  This searching is an ongoing learning process for me and one that I enjoy as I seek to improve how I teach and learn.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#CritLit2010 Connectivism Grows

#CritLit2010 Connectivism as the journey continues � Suifaijohnmak's Weblog

"Connectivism = (Network + Stimuli + Interaction) = Trained Reaction"
I view stimuli as a facet of interaction which is a facet of a network. Interaction if the simultaneous processing of input (i.e., stimuli) and output (i.e., behavior). A network is a bunch of nodes interacting one another. Or stated another way, the change of one node causes the change of another node or nodes. According the Downes, a network has the following characteristics: open, diverse, autonomous, and interactive. So, instead of looking at stimuli, interaction, and network separately, I just see each as a subset of the other.
I tend to avoid words like "trained", "learned", "competencies", etc. because they all are dichotomous. If I say,
"I learned the present tense"
"I'm a trained professional"
"I'm technologically competent"
they all insinuate that I either have it or I don't. If we say we have a "trained reaction", then we return to a more behaviorist perspective that implies that certain behavior (i.e., output) will result from specific stimuli (i.e., input).
I would argue that a network is more complex in that it requires the skill of sifting through vast amounts of input and at the same time producing a much quality output as possible. Through reflection, the output thus becomes input as well so through this interaction, the person (i.e., node) moves through the network in ways that best suits the learner. Understandings, learnings, capacities, etc. grow, are cultivated, and flow as if along a continuum. Learners never start at zero percent and end at 100 percent.