Blog analysis

blogging-101

Blogs: open space for reflection/ forum for discussions/ portfolio of completed assignments/ opening up courses to a wider group of participants.

Blogs’major applications: maintaining a learning journal; recording personal life; expressing emotions; communicating with others; assessment and; managing tasks.

Blogosphere: blog interconnections as a. a social network and b. an ecosystem

Blog Benefits in learning environments: reading other blogs; receiving feedback on one’s own blog

Blog and Personal Learning Environment (PLE): use for personal info management; use for social interaction and collaboration; info aggreggation and management

Blog problems: fragmented discussions/ a lack of coordination structures/ weak support for awareness/ danger of over-scripting

 

References

Poldoja, H., Duval, E. & Leinonen, T. (2016). Design and evaluation of an online tool for open learning with blogs, in Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Vol 32, No 2, pp. 61-81.

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The human-technology relationship

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Examining Rejection, Acceptance and Symbiosis

Technology Acceptance Model (TAM): Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA)/ Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Acceptance depends on perceived ease of use and usefulness; the effort, high performance scheme. TAM also depends on contextual factors such as gender, consequence measures such as attitude etc. TAM is useful in understanding the early stages of the human-technology relationship.

Symbiosis:technology, user and context share an equivalent role in forming a relationship. Techs and human co-evolve. The more the technology is perceived as skillfully completing human capacities, the more it leads to symbiosis. To achieve a state of symbiosis an adjustment period is needed during which the humans gain 01. a sense of control, 02. a perception of a benefit of mutual adaptation and 03. a perception of utility and efficiency. The transition to symbiosis happens for two reasons: the growth of a close relationship with technology and the intricate connection of activity and use of the technologies.

 

References

Adelé S., Brangier E., “Evolutions in the human technology relationship: rejection, acceptance and technosymbiosis”, IADIS International Journal on WWW/Internet, Vol. 11, No 3, pp 46-60, ISSN: 1645-7641, available here

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Degreed

degreed

Degreed is a startup that aspires to become a credentials’ bank. It does so by trying to create a standardized assessment for skills no matter where the individuals got them. Only a year ago it was funded with a 21 million investment to fuel the continued growth of lifelong learning and skills’ measurement for companies and professionals. Degreed seeks to create a common language for grading.

In the log in process Degreed asks you to Use the Degreed free online platform to achieve your learning goals, whether your goal is to learn a new skill or polish an existing one. You then choose from a variety of themes the ones that appeal to you more and you begin attending related material offered to you in the platform. Degreed keeps track of any books, articles, videos or even courses you might read about or watch and accumulates the traces of this material to help you prove your competencies.

In this week’s Economist the article: The return of the MOOC: Established education providers v new contenders, introduces Degreed along with Pluralsight as two companies that are trying different ways to answer to the difficult task of assessing one’s capabilities. The author claims that as long any training gets recognized and accredited it is even more likely that more lifelong learners will receive a continuing education through MOOCs or any other form of adult learning.

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42

42

The university’s name “42” is a reference  to a science fiction series called: “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. 42 answers to the question of the meaning of life. 

I was asked lately where my research is heading; whether there is an indication of some kind of what is to become of the subject learner. 42 pretty much sums it up for me. Students of 42 are required to work on their own and produce a software or a game of some kind, using whatever available resources they can come up with online. There is no teacher supervising the process, nor tuition, just the students sharing a classroom on the condition that they work together and peer review one another.

I sincerely think that there can be no discourse on the future of education and the learner without mentioning the endless possibilities of online resources in terms of layout, content, or communication. Unless a major catastrophe breaks out and destroys all traces of digital technology, the online pool of resources will increasingly grow stronger. And with it the subject learners who are making it up and they go with or -just as in the case of 42- without instructors.

42 is only one example in a series of attempts to enhance collaborative learning in the online learning environment. I couldn’t agree more with  in saying that all these models can provide alternatives to diverse types of learners. In fact, the latest developments in education promote exactly this; the possibility of the learners to choose from a wide variety the way they learn and the resources they will benefit from. However extremist all this may sound to the traditional academic voices, it is the various degrees of peer learning and student interactivity that will produce the future landscape of educational possibilities, the future that is now, -a Stan Allen quote that I always like to use-.

 

References

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#GoOpen

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#GoOpen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD, and other nonprofits and companies that aims to create an open education ecosystem that makes learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available without restrictions imposed by copyright laws, access barriers, or exclusive proprietary systems that lack interoperability and limit the free exchange of information.

It is currently addressed to K-12 education with 14 districts committed to contributing to the creation of OERs. South, in his report on the establishment of GoOpen refers to the COW initiative as a point of reference to this endeavour; the initiative taken by three school districts (Ohio, Wisconsin and Vista Unified School District) to create a “standards-aligned, competency-based, inter-district, inter-state, interdisciplinary, collaborative, project-based social studies curriculum.”Their experience led to the belief that there is a high need for the creation of new open educational material in the form of OER as they were unable to retrieve anything ready that could constitute a content base for their course.

What South is wondering is the money and effort needed to implement this project. “The question is”, he says, “how quickly, how thoughtfully, how sustainably, and with how much rigor and support?” Michael Q. McShane, in his “Open Educational Resources” article in Education Next, asks the exact same question; for OERs, he claims, are free to use but not free to produce. What is more, McShane argues, the overwhelming number of emerging OERs might give untrained K-12 teachers a hard time choosing which one to pick, let alone modify this material to produce a new form.

Both McShane’s and South’s questions are completely natural in an ever-changing landscape where textbooks gradually lose their dominance to digital content and the traditional role of the teacher is at stake. But in my opinion, the OER movement is by definition seeking to engage the teachers and students more or -if you’d like- in a different way. It promotes them to active agents; it presupposes that the teacher will collect the material he/she wants to use and that he/she will spend more time designing his/her course. It presupposes that the student will benefit from this shift in the medium and resume a more active role in composing knowledge or connecting information.

So, despite OER production difficulties in funding and/or regulations, at the end of the day, all that remains is the grade of involvement of the teacher on one hand and the time he/she will spend planning a course and the student on the other and the time he/she will spend using these resources. And thus OERs are a key component to the real change in education. The teacher can choose from multiple sources how to address the content to the students. If the teachers accept OERs as a simple digitization of the traditional textbook, the innumerous benefits of open education will be lost.

 

References

  • #GoOpen official page available here
  • Joseph South, Office of Ed Tech, Why #GoOpen? Why now?, article available here
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) information on the project #GoOpen available here
  • Michael Q. McShane, Open Educational Resources”, Education Next, WINTER 2017 / VOL. 17, NO. 1, available here

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Didactic/Reflexive Pedagogies

cope-kalatzis-graph

Cope and Kalatzis use this pair of terms to describe alternative pedagogical systems, and by using their special characteristics they demonstrate how technology in itself cannon produce change in pedagogy, it is pedagogically neutral. In fact, technology features such as flipped classroom and e-textbooks often reproduce didactic pedagogy principles. So,

Didactic Pedagogy:

  • balance of control is with the instructor
  • focus on cognition
  • focus on the individual learner
  • the learners must demonstrate that they can replicate discipline knowledge

Reflexive Pedagogy

  • the learner has considerable scope and responsibility for epistemic action (knowledge is dialogical)
  • focus is on the artifacts and knowledge representations constructed by the learner and the process of their construction
  • focus is on the social sources of knowledge
  • wider range of epistemic processes

In  their forthcoming book “e-Learning ecologies” the two authors present the reader with seven new learning affordances (see image above). They explore the way new media can be used to serve the reflexive model of education. At the moment they run the e-Learning ecologies, MOOC in the Coursera platform.

 

References

Kalatzis, M., Cope, B., 2015, “Learning and New Media“, in The SAGE Handbook of Learning, edited by David Scott and Eleanore Hargreaves, Thousand Oaks CA: Sage, Pp. 373-387

Cope, B.,Kalatzis, M., 2015,”Assessment and Pedagogy in the Era of Machine-Mediated Learning” Pp. 350-374 in Education as Social Construction: Contributions to Theory,
Research, and Practice, edited by T. Dragonas, K. J. Gergen, S. McNamee, and E.
Tseliou. Chagrin Falls OH: Worldshare Books.

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The Georgia Tech Online Masters Degree costs 7000$

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Kevin Carey refers to the paradigm of Georgia Tech. The institution has launched an online master’s in Computer Science in 2014 but decided to keep its prices at a low lever. By charging the students only 500 US dollars for a three-credit course that otherwise, on campus, would cost 10 times as much, the program now hosts nearly 400o students whereas the University is able to host no more than 300.

What is interesting about this  program is a research made by Georgia Tech and Harvard as to how invaluable it was for the students to get in. So, they investigated what happened to those ones who were not admitted in the first year but whose overall scores were high enough. They amazingly found out that they never signed up to other courses except a bare 10%. As the average age for the online program’s students is 35 and 90% of them are employed, the team discovered that it was impossible for them to pursue an on campus program elsewhere, nor pay the high tuition fees necessary to do so for other institutions.

This is a case of a successful appropriation of the medium and at the right price. Because the program follows the principles of the on campus one but is adjusted to the online realities. In addition, it seeks to address a whole other group of students. If these 35 year olds have been identified and registered as a new group of learners then these programs are not competitive to the on campus ones, but focus on a very different audience that has very different needs. Very promising.

Read full article here

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Leveraging Knowledge for 21st Century Teaching and Learning

imagining-canadas-future

Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council has recently published a report on the future of learning as a result of is Imagining Canada’s Future initiative. According to their research, the new trends for learning are training for versatility and contributing to non linear issues. The report argues that:

  1. traditional teaching and learning are challenged in a technology-mediated environment
  2. new techs can increase the access to and flexibility of learning while also bridging the gap bteween knowledge and community
  3. teaching training, tools, flexibility and incentives support educators in these new approaches
  4. applying a diversity lens to teaching is integral to achieving successful learning outcomes
  5. a better understanding is needed on what constitutes “culturally relevant” programming and delivery methods.
  6. more research on experiential learning is needed to develop better pedagogical, curricular and educational policy.

 

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Augmented Urban Reality in the New Yorker magazine

GHOST MAP

Interesting article illustrating how digital technology has reversed the human flows inwards, thus from suburbia back to city centres. “Being hyperconnected in the digital dimension” says Rose,  “appears only to make us want to feel hyperconnected in the physical as well.” I would have expected the author to elaborate more on the social aspect of this phenomenon, instead he turns to the technological one and introduces us to two brand new entries in the New York cityscape:

  • LinkNYC kiosks: sleek metal wedges that stand nine and a half feet tall—will offer not just free Wi-Fi but also device charging, interactive maps, free phone calls, a red-button 911 hotline
  • Flow: a software platform that will integrate smartphone and sensor data with data from Google Maps to help city officials deal with traffic nightmares. it is an engine that will feed real-time traffic information to officials, enable them to reroute vehicles and adjust parking options on the fly.

Data visualization, available through the use of smartphones will help individuals navigate the urban landscape by lifting the barriers set by overpopulation. Just like Dr Snow’s London Ghost map helped estimate the cause for a cholera outbreak back in 1854 that cost the lives of 600 people, extensive digital data visualization freely available to alla is expected to do the same now.

 

Image: London Ghost Map. The data visualization on the map by Dr Snow helped determine a water pump as the source of the outbreak. Details and image available here

mt_EAST

BIRINDELLI_ETH

This was an experiment conducted by Dr Giovanni Birindelli in ETH Zurich during the years 2007-2009. Its results can be seen here.

What is interesting about mt_EAST is that it relies on remote collaboration intended here as a cooperative work over distance between relatively small groups of two to three students from each participating institute. This was achieved through remote collaboration and remote seminars. In the first case students met online for 45 to 60 minutes each week and discussed their project. According to Birindelli:

The personal distance between partners enables students to present professional and constructive criticism, as well as to develop a subject-specific language

The online seminars on the other hand aimed at denoting a new type of educational forum in which “multiple students are able ot receive the support of a docent through the help of an electronic table.”

Despite the noble act to introduce remote collaboration, the high end e-table used and the related software (though Marratech is no longer available) make it difficult for other institutions to follow. Nevertheless, this was an important step in recognizing the need to incorporate technology features in a design studio and making students from different institutions work together online. If you think about it, this was never about the e-table afterall.

 

References

  • Birindelli, G., “Learning in Distances” lecture, available here
  • Birindelli, G., “mt_EAST: e_ teamwork GUIDE”, available here

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available at http://archiv.ethlife.ethz.ch/articles/tages/tdlehre05-nebenprogr.html

2016 EDEN Annual Conference

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Budapest, 14-17 June 2016

Looking forward to going there. An E-learning conference with a long tradition of excellent publications of related research around the globe. This time, we’re gonna be in it too!

Paper title: “Transformachines: transforming City Data to Architectural Design Strategies”, Olga Ioannou, Nelly Marda, George Parmenidis, NTUA