Emerging Technology for Emerging Scholars: Ed Media Conference and Beyond...
| Sunday, June 16, 2013
|Please Note: This blog post is not going to be the most thoughtful or illuminating that I have ever come up with. Hence, if you are a leader in the field of educational technology or e-learning or whatever, I would not recommend reading it. Skip it and save some time. There is not much here to really chew on. I just needed to post something since it has been over a month and I had promised that I would post more during my sabbatical. Apparently, I lied.
Now on to the post...On Thursday afternoon, my very delightful friend, Jim Hensman, at the Coventry University wrote me an email. Jim said that he wanted to pick my brain for a session he is doing in a week or so at Ed Media in Victoria, BC which is June 24-27, 2013. In fact, it is the 25th anniversary of Ed Media. I wish I could go; from 1999 to about 2007, I went every year.
Jim then told that his session was one of those "Emerging Scholar" types of events. He has one hour assigned and wants to "create a discussion about the future of learning and how new researchers can orientate towards this." He wanted perhaps four or five examples of key things happening that are indicators of the future. They could be highly specific developments or "something more generic and could be really way out or down-to-earth."
I thought about it very briefly and sent him the info below. Then I expanded in it a tad.
Some Indicators of the future of learning:
1. Embedded and ubiquitous computing: Wearable devices like smart watches, bracelets, smartphones, Google Glass, etc., from which to access information as well as to communicate with others. Many articles on Google Glass lately, including general ones from the USA Today in April and those that are specifically related to healthcare in March.
2. Massive Open Online Gaming (MOOCs): Hundreds of millions of people will be exposed to K-12 and higher education as a result of MOOCs who have never had access before. And many more will change their jobs or career pursuits as a result. But accreditation, assessment, and attrition remain serious issues.
3. Free and Interactive Mobile Books: I think that free books on mobile devices or on the Web or your watches, etc., are a key part of the next century of learning. Cites like BookRix allow anyone to post mobile books. And Subtext allows for comments and communities to form around books.
5. Wall of Video for Apprenticeship:
I think that expert apprenticeship is on the rise. We have video walls at IU. It is called the IQ-Wall
. I used it when my emerging learning technologies class ended in April We could bring in people from around the planet and have them appear on that wall. We now have another IQ-Wall
in our Herman B. Wells Library. You can also have mini walls on a mobile phone. In each window, you can have a different expert, tutor, mentor, etc., appear. Or a different friend, colleague, family member. Increasingly, instructors will be tapping into experts on the fly in video walls or in Google Hangouts or whatever. (see attached paper #1…just published)
6. Extreme Learning and Life Change:
I think that people will seek out life change online. OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources led to MOOCs. But it is more than MOOCs. It is also adventure learning, social change, global ed, online learning, shared online video, online language learning, etc., which all combine to offer new learning paths and experiences. People learn when at sea or on a boat, in a plane, on a train, in the mountains, etc. We are learning all the time. I am working on papers on life change from such informal learning environments. Here is one paper that I wrote on extreme learning
for an open university conference in Manila, the Philippines last year.
A few hours later, I added the following items:
7. Virtual reality holodecks.
Here, the user(s) can reenact scenes in history. Apparently, we already have the capabilities for audio and video, just not tactile yet. According to a February 2013 report
, some company in Canada, in fact, is designing virtual holodecks. Apparently, Microsoft and the University of South California are also working on such technology. The author of the article, Matt Hartley, states,
"While 360-degree video might be the most obvious component in a holodeck-like structure, according to Ms. Su, technologies such as directional audio — think movie theatre surround sound on steroids — help to situate the user within an artificial world." He goes on to say, "Some of the technologies that would enable users to navigate the a potential holodeck — including touch computing, speech recognition, and motion sensing capabilities — are already being used in consumer technologies today, such as smartphones and video game systems." LeVar Burton, who was interviewed for this article, said that transporter rooms would be a "down-river goal."
8. On Demand Mentoring
. Have a series of mentors
or teachers available on your laptop, mobile device, or other as needed. When you encounter a learning difficulty, a teacher, mentor, tutor, etc., will appear. This already is in place for many years in the corporate world. Companies such as Triple Creek
took the early lead in online mentoring, coaching, collaboration, and related social learning services.
9. Interactive Video Displays of Teachers and Peers. In effect, when you enter a school, there will be a video display or kiosk of some type wherein a young person (or adult) will be able to pick her classmates as well as her instructors from around the planet. Such technology will help personalize the learning process.
10. Science on the Sphere.
Interactive globes that display planetary data such as climate change, ocean temperatures, hurricane movements, etc., around the world. According to one of my students, Michele Kelmer, "it is
a project by NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Assoc). IU has the 97th one in the world." Now what happens when such devices are extended to display anything happening at any place on the planet? Oh, I guess that is what the U.S. government may be already doing.
11. New forms of CVs and Resumes. This is not necessarily a technology tool. However, it will be vital to have a way to place your informal learning experiences and accomplishments in some format. I imagine resumes and CVs will soon divide up education and training into formal educational experiences and certificates at the top; semi-formal next (with badges and still other types of certificates), and then informal learning explorations of OpenCourseWare (OCW), open educational resources (OER), and MOOCs. My research is now looking at learner motivations and goals as well as obstacles and challenges when using such content.
12. Language translation devices:
Already, there are tablets, mobile, and other that will take signage you encounter and translate it. See this video on the World Lens
tool for the iPhone and Android devices. Such technology allows people to function more effectively in diverse settings.
Ok, let's add a 13th--Flexible Display Devices. Imagine reading off of buildings, buses, and bendable screens on your watch or smartphone. Cool. There are many other learning innovations. I was just trying to give Jim a few quick items.
Those were the 12 ideas that I sent to my buddy Jim. Nothing earth-shattering here.
By the way, I do hope to go to Ed Media next year in Tampere, Finland and join up with Jim for one of his sessions. I miss him and the conference. One of the best international conferences in the field that one can attend.
Labels: extreme learning, Gamification of learning, Google Glass, holodeck learning, Interactive video, IQ-Walls, language translation, mentoring, mobile learning, MOOCs, Science on the Sphere
Ten TravelnEdMan Plans for 16 Month Sabbatical: Much to do in the Open World
| Sunday, May 05, 2013
|Grades are posted as of last night. Today is the first full day of my 16 month sabbatical. Yes!
So what are the plans? A little bit here and a little bit there.
Ten Sabbatical Plans:
1. Blogging: I intend to blog more. Also, plan to make the posts shorter and to the point. I have some experiences from the past winter and spring to post yet (from the UK, Austin, U of Florida, Shanghai (via videoconferencing), UW Milwaukee (via Web conferencing), and elsewhere).
2. Book Completion: I need to finish my online motivation and retention book as well as my World is More Open book. Both will be free to the world when done. Too many committees and service work has been slowing me down. Draft chapters are available to those who ask.
3. Travel Plan Outlook: I will likely send one week each month in different parts of the world. Here are some initial travel stops tentatively planned after the coming summer.
a. Tokyo (International Christian University (ICU) in September. My friend, Dr. Insung Jung, is arranging and said that I will stay in a guest house of ICU.
b. Las Vegas for E-Learn in October (I are planning to coordinate a preconference symposium on MOOCs and Open Education with Mimi Lee, Tom Reynolds, and Tom Reeves. This event will take place Monday October 21st with a presession reflection in Red Rock Canyon the day before. The preconference symposium will be like the session on "E-Learning in Asia" that the four of us did 5 years ago at eLearn in Vegas in 2008 that resulted in a special journal issue and print-on-demand book. We hope that many of our friends and colleagues from 2008 will return to help out.).
c. After E-Learn, I will keynote the Health & Safety Institute Conference 2013 in San Antonio, Texas and then head for Anaheim.
d. Anaheim for AECT 2013 in the following week in early November.
e. Taiwan (at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Kaohsiung and most likely Taipei as well) in mid to late November,
f. The UK for BETT and other things in January.
g. University of Hue in Vietnam (Wikipedia) to keynote a conference, "Innovation and Good Practice: Global Perspective" for various Asian university leaders March 15-16, 2014.
h. AERA April 3-7 in Philadelphia in April, 2014.
i. Tampere, Finland for Ed Media in June, 2014 and perhaps Helsinki and other places in Finland.
This is just a starter list of travel destinations for TravelinEdMan. There will be dozens and dozens more requests.
4. Upcoming May Travel Plans. This Month is Jamming. This week Wednesday May 8th I will be speaking at the University of Indianapolis where my daughter, Nicki, goes to graduate school in occupational therapy. Next Monday May 13th, I will be speaking at the Faculty Summer Institute at the University of Illinois (the FSI agenda). On May 15th, I will speak at the 4th Annual Stone Soup Professional Development Conference at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. And on May 21-22, I will be on a discussion panel and then keynote the 2013 UA System Scholars Institute at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
5. Upcoming June Travel Plans: In June, I will speak on MOOCs at our Indiana University 2013 Mini University (full list of speakers). This will be the opening session on June 10th. I will also present some of my research on MOOCs and self-directed open learning at the 25th Annual Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference in Cedarville, Ohio on Friday June 7th.
6. Book Reading: I intend to read more books. I have been listening to many books in my car since 2006-2007 (when I had my last sabbatical).
7. New Book Projects: I have many other book writing plans. Some related to the open learning world and extreme learning and others related to emerging video technology.
8. Running: I plan to run in Bloomington and elsewhere. I get to see the cities which I visit better from a morning run. During my last sabbatical, I started a trend of running every day at least once a day until I got plantar fasciitis. Ouch! Wish it was not raining so hard. I have had my jogging clothes on all day.
9. Reflection: I plan to reflect more. I have a lovely wooded backyard with a creek at the bottom and many birds singing. Placed a bench down there overlooking the creek and park (former farm) below.
10. Rosemary: I plan to see my auntie Rosemary (my father's younger sister) and her 50 year anniversary of being a nun at an even in my hometown of Milwaukee on Saturday July 6th.
Ok, those are some plans. All for now. Remember, that I plan to blog more.
Labels: Ed Media, eLearn Las Vegas, Meredith College, Mini University, MOOCs, open education, sabbatical plans, Travel plans, University of Indianapolis
Bringing Experts Around the World to Your Class: One Interview, Two Videos, and Five+ Lessons Learned
| Friday, March 29, 2013
|Introduction. Back in mid February, some folks at our Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CILT) here at Indiana University (IU) asked me if they could interview me about how I bring in experts into my classes via videoconferencing, Skype, Web conferencing, chat, and so on. I have been doing such activities for nearly two decades now and so they were interested in capturing some ideas from me. The video interview is now posted as a Spotlight report for faculty development purposes here at IU (Bringing Experts Around the World to Your Class). There are two short videos along with a few paragraphs of text from that interview. Below I explain more about my rationale for engaging in such instructional activities.
Thinking back. Way back in 1995, Dr. Ken Hay and I team taught a course on "Interactive Tools for a Learning Community" between IU Bloomington and IUPUI in Indianapolis. In the middle of the semester (see Week 11 of old syllabus from 1995), we had Elliot Soloway from the University of Michigan and David Palumbo from the University of Houston at Clear Lake come into our class via CU-SeeMe. At the time, CU-SeeMe was free while other Web conferencing options at the time were highly expensive. The class was taught each week via videoconferencing using PictureTel technology. With the savvy tech help of Dr. Bob Appelman, we combined to videoconferencing systems together. It was pretty cool at the time. In fact, we published an article about the event in Educational Technology magazine.
Added to that course was a weekly asynchronous discussion using VAX Notes. There were several students in that course who debated and criticized the ideas in the articles we read that particular week from Drs. Soloway and Palumbo. They did not believe that computer programming could impact thinking as they had described (i.e., the expression many researchers used in the 1980s and 1990s was "Logo as Latin"...you learned a computer programming language and your thinking would improve just as it would from learning Latin or so they thought). Anyway, those same students who discarded these ideas and perspectives, were nodding their heads in agreement with everything that Elliot and David said when we brought them in via CU-SeeMe. These students found out that one article did not represent a person and that people's ideas can (and do) change over time.
Lesson Learned #1. Asynchronous activities first. Then try synchronous. It whacks students in the side of the head and kicks them in the seat of the pants. They see new ideas and perspectives. And they rethink on their previous perspectives and biases. Of course there was another factor--Elliot Soloway looked like Santa Claus when projected through low bandwidth on CU-SeeMe. Anyone in the room at the time had to love him. In fact, a professor walking by my classroom stopped by and sat in when he saw what we were up to.
While that was a fascinating experience with Elliot and David back in 1995, I have had dozens and dozens of guests around the planet since that time. In fact, a few years ago, I tried this technique once again (sync then async) with the world famous instructional designer, Dr. David Merrill. Worked fabulously then too.
This week, I had my former student, Dr. Kira King from Orlando come in and chat about her different work-related experiences in instructional design and development since leaving IU 15 years ago. While she is the healthcare field now doing scenario-based learning for interactive simulations, she also have experience working for with museum schools, the World Bank Institute, the military, financial services companies, and the Disney Institute (i.e., a wine tasting course). My class topic was on collaborative technologies and so we planned to discuss our 1998 book, Electronic Collaborators: Learner-Centered Technologies for Literacy, Apprenticeship, and Discourse, but we never got to that since her work experience was so interesting and important to share. It was another fantastic week of intraplanetary sharing.
I must admit that the idea of bringing Kira in dawned on me later than normal. In fact, I called Kira last Sunday night between NCAA basketball games. I needed her presence less than 24 hours later. It was after 9 pm EST and she had gone to bed early that night. I woke her up. Yet, she was gracious and said no problem, "I would be happy to talk to your class tomorrow night." Whew. I am fortunate to have such wonderful friends and former students.
Lesson Learned #2. The world is open. You can alter your class at any moment with new resources, guest experts, activities, and collaborations. There is an endless sea of expertise to tap into. And sometimes you just have to go with the flow and see what happens. Sometimes it works great and sometimes not as great. Just be open and flexible and the good times will vastly outweigh the not so good.
A few years ago, I invited my friend John Traxler at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK to discuss mobile learning with my online students via Adobe Connect. The following year, Paul Kim from Stanford was the guest when that topic came up but this time we used videoconferencing since it was a face-to-face class. Students learned so much from Paul that they are still talking about it. A few weeks before Paul came in, Anya Kamenetz discussed her DIY-U book with my class. That sure was fun! Anya and I just happen to be the keynotes for the UA Systems Scholars Institute in Huntsville, Alabama in a few weeks.
I also like to bring in people from other countries. For instance, George Siemens from Athabasca University in Canada came in to discuss his theory called "Connectivism." His Canadian colleague, Stephen Downes, has appeared via Webcam to present on open and personalized learning environments. Very frank and impressive stuff always from Stephen. A few weeks later, Yayoi Anzai has made an appearance from Tokyo talking about her highly creative use of blogging, podcasting, and wikis for learning English. I was flying home from Saudi Arabia that day and my assistant Seolim Kwon handled it. I arrived for the last few minutes after more than a day of travel. As is clear by now, each of these synchronous events have been highly memorable and rewarding.
While these people were all great, I rarely bring anyone back; at least not for a few semesters or years. In Kira King's case, it had been about 13 or 14 years since she last was a guest in my class.
Lesson Learned #3. Despite the fact that you can connect with anyone at any time and invite him or her to join your class, you really should plan ahead. See the articles, resources, and activities that you have organized. Is there someone whose articles you are reading that are highly complex or complicated? Might there be one on a recently popular topic? Is there someone you know or met recently who would excite your students? If so, contact them.
More recently, Ray Schroeder from the University of Illinois at Springfield discussed massive open online courses (MOOCs) as well as related changed about to impact higher education (that was February 2012). That same month, George Veletsianos from UT Austin was a guest who talked about adventure learning as well as social media.
During the current semester (Week 8), Dr. Rey Junco was our expert guest who presented his research on social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, chat, etc.). Once Rey agreed, I took screen shots from various articles that he had published during the past few years and uploaded them to a PowerPoint deck. During our Adobe Connect meeting, he responded to most of those and just told me to skip on any that he felt were not important to the points he was making. After that, Rey responded to student selected quotes from his various articles (I had asked my students to bring in a few for him to respond to). Rey was highly skilled at performing in such a "hot seat." He is about to move to nearby Purdue University. It was be great to have him in the neighborhood.
In Week 6, we also had Steve Carson from MIT give us a fascinating look at open education and the impact it is having around the globe. Again, I brought in a few screen shots from one of Steve's papers for him to respond to. In Week 3, Peter Young from San Jose State University discussed digital book and mobile projects that he has been involved with.
Lesson Learned #4. You can make it easy on your guests by preparing questions, screen shots, or quotes for the them to comment on or respond to. If it is an open and flexible environment, the guest can skip any item that you bring up. This makes for a more relaxing yet highly focused discussion on the ideas and relevant content produced by that individual.
So many possibilities for global and cross cultural interaction today. What fun times these are! This semester, I am experimenting with the combination of Google Hangouts and Adobe Connect Pro. We use Adobe Connect for PowerPoint presentations and Web explorations, whereas Google Hangouts is used for chats and reflections about such content as well as the weekly readings, videos, and Web resources from the monster syllabus. Keep in mind, however, that the limit is 10 people in a Google Hangout, unless you move up to Google On Air.
I have had many more guests. In fact, last fall, I started my semester with Michael Horn from the Innosight Institute discuss his recent articles on blended learning. The students in the course had not even been introduced to the course syllabus and expected activities. I decided to just jump in first thing with Michael. That was fun. He has the book with Clayton Christensen, "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation will Change the Way the World Learns." We used Adobe Connect with Michael as well as my other weekly guest experts that semester. This attendance was optional, we recorded each week so that students who missed could watch it later. I also posted the link each time we had a guest to my Facebook account and anyone in the world could lurk in. I think we had nearly a dozen guests last fall, including three on one night alone when we got to the topic of digital books. But please don't think I was slacking; in actuality, I also presented most weeks.
Lesson Learned #5. You (i.e., the instructor) are not vital the start or the end or any part of your class. You do not need to start the class with the all-too-boring reading of the syllabus. Try something new. Break it up. Bring in highly inspirational and talented people to excite your students about the content and different topics that you will be reading and learning about.
Takeaway. Why do I bring in guests with Adobe Connect or link to them with videoconferencing or Skype? Simple. I want to expand student minds beyond preset course materials and expectations. I want to build perspective taking and social cognition. Social cognition is the most vital skill that we can try to foster as instructors. I view this activity as part of a cognitive apprenticeship process. Clearly, in this age of information abundance, we (instructors) are concierges (see 2007 blog post on this notion). We challenge and support learners with the resources that we make available. Sure, my 75 page monster syllabus on Emerging Learning Technologies is a bit much. But you can challenge with much less.
One of my doctoral students, Miguel Lara, was aware of my use of guests. After obtaining a fulltime job at the CILT, Miguel asked me to talk about the topic as part of a faculty development effort here at IU. I think he did the later splicing of video snippets. Miguel and his colleagues finished the video (actually 2 parts) and posted it two days ago. They titled the episode or "Spotlight" report, "Bringing Experts Around the World to Your Class. You can read much more on my views on why I bring in guest experts from reading the article that Miguel posted. You will discover several more lessons learned. You will also find two short videos. As per below, these have also been posted to YouTube today.
Part 1: Benefits of Inviting Guest Experts (3:48)
Part 2: Expanding Global Awareness (2:17)
So will you be bringing guests into your class? Perhaps. If so, let me know how it went.
Note: I hope to post to my TravelinEdMan blog a few more times in the coming week. Perhaps one per day for the next few days. Not sure yet.
Labels: Adobe Connect, CU-SeeMe, global awareness, global collaboration, guest experts, perspective taking, PictureTel, sharing, Skype, social cognition, videoconferencing, Web conferencing
Want Some MOOC With Your TV Dinner?
| Sunday, March 03, 2013
|Again, it has been a long time between posts. Apologies. There is much to discuss here in TravelinedEdMan in the coming weeks. There are many press releases, podcasts, and news interviews from the past two or three months that I have not posted.
In addition, I have a trip this coming week to SXSWedu in Austin and one the week after to San Diego for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference 2013 (I am in the ending plenary). Let me start reflecting back first. My next blog post will be about SXSWedu and the Cengage Learning conference within it. My Cengage talk will be streamed free to the world. Unfortunately, my "Cage Match" with Dr. Chuck Severance of the University of Michigan on MOOCs on Thursday morning at 9 am at SXSWedu will not be streamed. See next blog post.
As I said, let me reflect back a few months in order to bring us to a recent publication of mine. Back at the end of October, I was heading to Australia for a 10 day trip to 3 cities, namely, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Sydney. In the final leg of the trip, I was meeting up with my good friend Rick Bennett at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He was arranging a symposium on MOOCs, Rhizomes, and Ruksacs and related trends on a Friday afternoon November 9th in the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at UNSW. It ended up being a most splendid event.
Before I got there, Rick's media department asked me to write a little press release about MOOCs. What I wrote on the plane to Melbourne and titled, "Want Some MOOC with Your TV Dinner," was considered a bit too long and "not opinionated enough" to submit to the Aussie media. Instead, the Aussie media interviewed me when I was there. COFA, by the way, is known for its online programs and resources including Omnium (Rick helped build it and then research Omnium). More recently, Rick and his colleagues have built a cool social media tool for one's courses called Ruksac (ala having course resources in one's backpack). Do check it out when you get a chance.
When I got home from Oz, I revised the article and extended it. I then sent it to one of my contacts at Inside Higher Education. However, my main contact there left a few weeks later to work for the Chronicle of Higher Education and the article sat at Inside Higher Ed for 2 months. I finally got a response from Inside Higher Education that they had too many articles on MOOCs and mine was not unique enough.
Fortunately, I was able to publish it during the past two weeks in The EvoLLLution in 2 parts. The Evolllution is concerned with lifelong and online learning which are the focal points of this article. I thank my friend Amrit Ahluwalia for reviewing it and finding it to be to his liking. Part 1 of the article came out Friday February 1st in HMTL and PDF. Part 2 came out on Friday March 1st in HTML and PDF formats.
The basic premise is that TV and correspondence courses changed the lives of many people during the previous century (including mine); even those of low quality. None of them had the interaction possibilities that we have here in 2013 Today, people debate the quality of MOOCs as if there is a certain threshold that we are aiming for. Sure, we all want more engaging and interactive content; in fact, I am working on a book on online motivation and retention. However, we cannot discount the many lives that are changing from MOOCs that have limited or no interactivity. People can still learn as self-directed online learners. Perhaps such views will evolve and hence why I publish this in the EvoLLLution.
The opening paragraph to Part 1 of the article starts with the following:
"If you grew up in the 1960s and 70s, you likely remember those TV dinner nights when your parents were out or when there was nothing else in the fridge. You just heated it up and you were done. You know the one: you get a slab of meat, some diced-up potatoes, a side tray with an assorted mix of carrots, corn and peas and, perhaps, another tray with rice or gravy. Bland, but still passable as a meal."
Anyone remember those meals? Do you now want some MOOC with your TV dinners?
The opening paragraph to Part 2 of the article starts with the following:
"Given the possibilities presented by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS); instead of simply looking at achievement gains (or losses), we must begin to ask how self-directed local and global teams as well as personal visits from a MOOC instructor are helping to foster important moments of reflection and change. Not every outcome can be determined from test scores, page-hit rates or student retention data. Lives change. People change. Education is a key vehicle for fostering such life transformations. And MOOCs have the potential to change lives on a grander scale than perhaps any previous form of learning delivery."
My life changed from TV and correspondence courses. I am sure many of yours have as well.
See what you think. Part 2 has a link back to Part 1. More soon. I promise.
Labels: Australia, Cengage Learning, correspondence courses, CoSN, massive open online course, MOOCs, SXSWedu, The EvoLLLution, TV courses, TV dinner, University of New South Wales
Expanding the Reach of the "Monster": 74 pages of Emerging Learning Technologies
| Friday, December 28, 2012
|In my last TravelinEdMan post 3 months ago (yes, it has been 3 months), I discussed "The Evolution of a Monster" syllabus for my R685 Emerging Learning Technologies course. Those who remember that post, will realize that my course syllabus had grown from perhaps 10 or so pages back in 1990 when I taught at West Virginia University to over 64 pages here at Indiana University (IU) this past fall. Guess what? It has now expanded to 74 pages for the spring of 2013.
How did it get so much bigger? Well, there is much new information on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In fact, MOOCs accounted for many new pages. I also added new information on famous distance learning experts like Charles Wedemeyer from the University of Wisconsin (he helped found the Open U in the UK and did many other phenomenal things; see his Wikipedia page). Of course, new resources were incorporated like those on oral history tools and projects. Most course topics were updated with new articles, resources, and tidbits that I had discovered during the fall semester. I also inserted pictures to act as section breaks between weekly topics as well as to introduce the new topic themes. Hence, the 74 pages.
You might check it out. With all the new pictures and content, perhaps it is becoming a more beautiful monster. Keep in mind, however, that my assistant, Seth White, and I are still checking over and replacing some of the dead limbs (or links) listed in the monster, but it is basically done. I plan to create a second smaller version of the monster syllabus (i.e., the little monster) without the most of Web resources and tidbits. But that will not happen for a few days.
If you explore the spring syllabus, you will find several free online books as well as hundreds of open access articles. You will also stumble upon dozens of shared online videos, many free Web 2.0 tools, and hundreds of online portals to explore. On page one, you will discover a unique open access multimedia glossary that one of my students, Ozgur Ozdemir, created this past fall for the course. Splendid work from Ozgur--a plethora of videos, books, news, terms, etc., in his glossary. Glancing through the 74 course syllabus pages, you will also find examples of student products including podcast shows, video blogs, prezi presentations, databases, e-books, wikibook chapters, YouTube video summaries of the course, animations, etc.
I should point out that we will have synchronous sessions every week on Adobe Connect Pro, most likely on Monday nights at 7 or 8 pm EST (anyone is welcome any time...the World is Open, don't ya know?). Last semester, these weekly sessions were at 7 pm. We had perhaps 8-10 invited guests from around the world. In the past, my guests have come from the UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere. I am not sure how many we will have this time around or where in the world that they will come from. But, we will have at least a few.
What do you want to learn about? Digital book research or companies? Look in the monster syllabus, there are many to explore. How about open educational ressources or OpenCourseWare projects? That is in the monster too. Oral history projects? There. Online language learning resources? There too. Adventure learning, extreme learning, mobile learning, virtual learning, e-learning, blended learning...yes, it is all in there as well. Massive gaming? Indeed. It has taken a couple of decades to build this monster. Much has been included.
And there is more...there is always more. Collaborative technologies? Sure, this topic used to the crux for the entire course. Wikis, podcasts, blogs, etc.? Yes, why not! The course, which initially was embedded in cognitive and social constructivist theory when designed back in 1990, today addresses learning theory such as participatory learning, connectivism, constructivism, the psychological underpinnings of social networking, and the development of personalized learning environments. I am an educational psychologist by training, so why not?
I should also point out that this is likely the final time that the "monster" syllabus will exist. Why? No, we have not reached the limit of the monster lifespan. However, I will go on sabbatical in early May 2013. I do not return until the end of August in 2014. Much will happen in the field of emerging learning technologies during those intervening 16 months. Suffice to say, there is really no way that I can update the monster syllabus again in any sane way. I would go "Bonkers" trying. Hence, it will be slashed and burned, but not to a crisp. Instead, come September 2014, I hope to get it under 20 or 25 pages (the real goal is about 15 pages). I will eliminate all the tidbits and perhaps most of the resources as well. Perhaps a couple of the books that I will work on during my sabbatical will have some of those resources listed in them or, at least, I hope so. But most will be purged.
Well, there you have it. Another semester of the monster. A 74 page monster. I hope some of you can use it or refer to it. But please do not step on the monster by mistake or he might bite you back and I have no insurance to cover the damages. Oh ya, I forget to mention--the next time I teach this course it will no longer be a seminar (R685) course, but, instead, it will be a real course and listed as "R678 Emerging Learning Technologies." Yes, a real monster. No more of those fake ones. That is, assuming that I teach it again in Instructional Systems Technology (IST) here at IU and am not reassigned to some other school or unit. It also assumes that I do not shave my head and move to Thailand to become a Buddhist Monk (or Buddhist Bonk) and that some monster does not chop off my hands or my head in the meantime. :-)
Labels: Charles Wedemeyer, emerging learning technologies, massive open online courses, monster, MOOCs, open education, R685 Emerging Learning Technology, TravelinEdMan
The Evolution of a Monster: 22+ Years of an Emerging Learning Technologies Course
| Wednesday, September 26, 2012
|The Evolution of Emerging Learning Technologies (and my "monster" syllabus):
Perhaps, like me, you like history. I have been teaching a version of my emerging learning technologies course for more than two decades now. Back then, it was called something like "Interactive Technologies for Learning and Collaboration." The first version was first co-taught at West Virginia University by Dr. W. Michael Reed and myself back in the fall of 1990. Mike passed away a few years ago (July 30, 2009
) and that made me reflect on the evolution of the course that he and I first created. First of all, Mike was a fantastic friend and confidant and I miss him. In fact, I blogged on it at the time and many of his friends commented and sent me pictures to include in my blog post (if interested, see: In Memory of W. Michael Reed, Professor and Highest Quality Friend
Mike Reed understood the theory behind my dissertation on computer prompts and keystroke mapping in writing as well as the potential impact. He met me for lunch and a chat the day I arrived in Morgantown, WV (a place I have only been back to twice in the past 20 years but I may be going through tomorrow night on my way to DC in helping move my son Alex who just got an internship at Global Zero
). That was August 1989 and the pub we met at was Gibbies. I departed three years later in August 1992 for Indiana University. During my three years at West (by God) Virginia University (WVU), Mike and I had many a fine discussion about new directions for learning technology. We hit it off immediately and so we did a special issue of a journal on computers and writing (i.e., Reed, W. M., & Bonk, C. J. (1992). Computers and writing research: Extending agendas across ages. Computers in Human Behavior
(1), 1-7.) that later became a book (i.e., Reed, W. Michael, & Bonk, Curtis J. (Eds.)
(1992). Computer Use in the Improvement of Writing
. New York: Pergamon Press). When working on that project, Mike and I decided to create a course related to all the new learning technologies emerging in the late 1980s and early 1990s. To prepare for that course, we attended a special institute in San Diego on new technologies and educational aspects of artificial intelligence sponsored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA
). Yes, AERA actually sponsored a technology-intensive institute. Amazing! That institute was co-run by the famed Chris Dede
(now at Harvard).
Since that time, this course has evolved into many formats. Below are links to more than a dozen syllabi from the course including the present one--which is what I am referring to as the "Monster Syllabus
"--all 64 pages of it. In this post, I am helping people track the evolution of this monster. Everything in the current version of the course is a Weblink. There is nothing for my students to buy. Feel free to use it however you want.
While I am, of course, biased, I think that it is interesting to pan through the various versions of this course and reflect on all the learning technology changes of the past 2-3 decades. Open education back in the 1980s and 1990s was limited to things like audiotapes, television-based programming, sharing floppy disks, and correspondence courses. I know since I am a product of television and correspondence courses. Such learning outlets helped qualify me for graduate school and break me out of my quite boring life as an accountant/CPA and corporate controller.
Memories of such syllabi are wonderful moments of reflection on the students, co-instructors, friends, guest experts, etc., that I had the pleasure to interact with along the way as well as the articles, resources, and tasks used. Unfortunately, I have yet to locate the original version of the course. By reflecting back, I can now ask my students to track the history of this course over time. For instance, they might explore the topics, people, concepts, etc., that were popular in the 1990s, 2000s, and today. They might talk to their colleagues and friends about what they discovered or just do a personal reflection. I think you will see that social networking, MOOCs, virtual worlds, e-books, collaborative technologies like Ning, adventure learning, Webinars and videoconferencing, etc., are not just ideas and technologies that emerged in the past few years.
There are other reasons to post these old (or ancient as some might say in techie years) and newer syllabi. For instance, those who are ambitious might have a correspondence with scholars and researchers about about their articles from previous versions of the course. Others might interview learning technology scholars about their perceptions of changes in the field over time. I am hoping that some of my students do that this semester and into the future version of this monster course. Perhaps some of them will gather oral histories or accounts from experts as well as former students about how the field has changed.
I am telling my students that many questions can be asked. Among them, are there any topics that remain popular over the past two decades? How did the focus of this course change over time? Is this course more or less important today than it was back in the 1990s? Are the total number of pages any indicator of how the field has changed? If so, in what ways? I want them to compare the tasks from 1995 to those in 2001 or 2002 as well as 2010 or 2012. I sure wish I could find that syllabus from 1990. And I want them to look at the books, journals, new sources, online resources, etc. that now comprise this course and note how they have changed over time. Most of my students only want to read about technology research and news from the past year or two. Nevertheless, perhaps some of them might find intriguing articles from the 1990s that remain important today and should be added back to the current syllabus. Many were definitely hard to delete or let go of. Perhaps they will ask me questions about the tasks, activities, and articles that they found interesting and want to know more about. Finally, I am certain that, despite the 64 page monster syllabus, there will still be topics and technology tools that remains missing. Humm, what might they be?
Ok, time to explore those syllabi. I am not including all of them; especially when I have offered it twice in one year. I tried to select one sample syllabus from each year in which I taught the course. Enjoy. And feel free to send me notes on your observations and insights into the field of Emerging Learning Technologies or Interactive Technologies for Learning and Collaboration or this Open Educational World or whatever you want to call it. But be careful not to be sucked into this monster.
Sample Prior Syllabi for "Monster" Course (note: Soon this course will get an official designition as R678 Emerging Learning Technologies and stop being listed as a topical seminar for graduate students. Note also that I might teach this course as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the spring of 2013 or some later date...note sure yet. If so, this monster will evolve some more.):
- Fall 2012, IU: R685 Emerging Learning Technologies (64 pages)
- Spring 2012, IU: R685 The World is Open With Web Technology (54 pages)
- Fall 2011, IU: R685 The World is Open With Web Technology (52 pages)
- Fall 2010, IU: R685 The World is Open With Web Technology (43 pages)
- Fall 2009, IU: R685 The Web 2.0 and Participatory E-Learning (30 pages)
- Fall 2008, IU: R685 The Web 2.0 and Participatory E-Learning (30 pages)
- Fall 2007, IU: R685 The Web 2.0 and Participatory E-Learning (27 pages)
- Fall 2005, IU & IUPUI: P600/R685 Online Learning Pedagogy and Evaluation (18 pages)
- Fall 2004, IU & IUPUI: P600/R685 Online Learning Pedagogy and Evaluation (15 pages) (with Dr. Seung-hee Lee)
- Fall 2003, IU: P600/R685 Online Learning Pedagogy and Evaluation (12 pages)
- Fall 2002, IU: P600/R685 Interactive Tools for Learning and Collaboration (12 pages)
- Fall 2001, IU: P600/R685 Interactive Tools for Learning and Collaboration (13 pages)
- Fall 1999, IU: P600 Interactive Tools for Learning and Collaboration (10 pages)
- Fall 1997, IU: P600 Interactive Tools for Learning and Collaboration (16 pages)
- Spring 1995, IU & IUPUI: P600/R680 Interactive Tools for a Learning Community (14 pages) (with Dr. Ken Hay)
- Fall 1990, WVU: Ed.P. 391 New Technologies in Education: From a Cognitive Perspective (with W. Michael Reed) (no syllabus available; but I found some notes that indicate that students read and discussed hypertext media for biology and English, problem solving software for at-risk youth, artificially intelligent math tutoring systems, interactive video for teaching classroom management principles, idea generators and collaborative tools for writing, ERIC on CD Rom, the use of the video camera as a research tool, computer programming for enhancing problem solving, Lego Logo, distance learning and communication, future trends, etc. This course was taught at West Virginia University in Allen Hall, Room 802B from 4-7 pm on Tuesday nights. I was in my second year of academic teaching. I am now in year 23 and still teaching that course. Of course, the title has changed and the content has evolved.)
More Fun: Here are nearly 60 technologies that we discussed and experimented with back in the fall of 1990 class. You might ponder the purpose of each one. Just what did they offer in terms of human cognition and learning? Do any still exist? And what were the research opportunities?
Fall 1990 New Technologies, Programs, and Activities
4. Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)
5. Kids writing at home and schools
6. Writing to kids at alternate locations and distance learning
7. Computers as part of magnet schools
9. Writing with text marked for changes to accept or not and comments
10. Spanish grammar tutors
14. Word Perfect, Word Finder, Definitions Plus, Associated Press' Stylebook
16. Computer Prompts for writing
18. Microworlds and Artificial Realities
19. Games after schools for San Diego students
20. Lego Logo and Wierd Creatures
21. Logo and music composition
23. Hypertext on Hypertext
24. Intermedia lab at Brown University: From Linking to Learning
25. Fractals and graphics explorations
26. Digital Video Interactive (DVI) technology
27. Interactive Video in chemistry
28. Interactive Video in life and death moral dilemma
29. The Alternate Reality Kit for physics (today)
30. The Envisioning Machine for physics (today)
31. Apple Multimedia presentation
32. CD's and music analysis and composition
33. Interactive video and medical training
34. Interactive video and bird anatomy
35. Hypercard and bird anatomy
38. Therapy Writing Programs
39. The Rand Algebra Tutor
40. ACT* geometry and programming tutor from Anderson at CMU
41. Multimedia (Learning Constellations and children's theory building)
42. New Video Media: Video, computer games, and music TV
43. Designing Electronic Books
44. Handy: Making a scene
45. POSIT: Process Oriented Subtraction-Interface for Children
47. Video camera for collecting, analyzing, and documenting data
49. MicroProust and MicroSearch
51. Instructional Software Design Project (ISDP Project)
52. Divergent and convergent computer software applications
53. Database Management Skills
54. Learning Tool (Kozma)
55. Raiders of the Lost Arc and Young Sherlock Holmes for macrocontexts
56. Smithtown (microeconomics)
57. Workstations and Classrooms of the Future
58. Construct a World, Hint and Hunt, Syllasearch (Resnick article)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Is there a (course) monster growing under your bed too?
Labels: Chris Dede, collaborative technologies, e-learning, e-learning pedagogy, emerging learning technologies, Global Zero, interactive technologies, learning technologies, participatory learning, W. Michael Reed
16 Rapid Report Reactions: "Digital Faculty: Professors and Technology, 2012"
| Friday, August 24, 2012
|Steve Kolowich from Inside Higher Education asked for my comments on the second of two reports from surveys conducted by Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group. The first one was on college faculty perspectives related to online education ("Conflicted: Faculty and Higher Education, 2012"). The second one is titled "Digital Faculty: Professors and Technology, 2012." The new report relies on a survey of more than 4,500 college faculty members across the United States and 591 administrators who are responsible for academic technology on their respective campuses. You can access both an HTML and a PDF version of this report. You can also sign up for free and find both reports.
Steve's review of the second survey report came out in Inside Higher Education this morning (August 24, 2012) with the same title as the new report, Digital Faculty: Professors and Technology, 2012 (Steve's overview and expert reactions). It is an excellent review with many insights into the findings, connections to recent technology trends (e.g., flipping the classroom), and reactions from experts. Unfortunately, he was unable to include my comments in this report. Hence, I offer them below after checking with Steve that it was ok to blog them. I do not comment on every aspect of the report, but perhaps reading Steve's summary as well as my blog post below, you can quickly grasp some of the key findings detailed in the report before or after reading it. My comments should also indicate some possibilities for future research in this area. Read on....
16 Rapid Report Reactions: "Digital Faculty: Professors and Technology, 2012"
1. E-Textbooks (page 5-6 of report): With the emergence
of thousands of open access journals and resources, many faculty members are
creating online article compilations instead of requiring textbooks; thereby
saving students money and potentially expanding the class resources 10 or 20
times beyond what they might have received from a publisher of a single
textbook (Steve: see my 64 page emerging learning technology syllabus that I
just posted today as a case in point;
everything is a hot link...no books to buy). Hence, the question
e-textbooks (while it is clear) can have many interpretations. For instance, some might view an “e-textbook” option for students as when the professor or department compiles online or digital articles to replace a textbook.
2. E-Textbooks (pages 5-6): Another aspect to
point #1 above is that while over one-third of faculty members regularly assign
books that have e-textbook and traditional formats, I bet that a significant
percentage of additional faculty members are using free and open online
articles, reports, news, referenceware, books, and other resources to
substantially supplement their books and perhaps replace them as I have done. I
hate to venture a guess about the percentage but it is likely quite huge.
However, it will depend on what is available online in each discipline.
3. E-Textbooks (pages 5-6): While the percent
of faculty members who assigned books that were only in e-textbook format was
quite low at 12.1 percent, this is 12 percent that was not doing so a decade
ago. And another 16 percent is occasionally doing so. So, stated another way,
more than 1 in 4 college professors have replaced printed books at least
sometimes with digital ones. That is a sign that the trend toward digital books
in higher education has more than reached a tipping point. There is no going
back. With such numbers, the publishers and other content providers can
creatively experiment with such books and place greater financial resources
behind their attempts to e-purpose textbooks.
4. Digital Materials such as Videos and Simulations (pages 7-8): Digital materials such as simulations and shared online video content are being used regularly or occasionally by most higher education instructors. Such a finding reveals that faculty have come to rely on resources shared and found on the Web to support their instruction. As a result, during the past two decades, we have moved from using traditional media centers to support instruction with their stockpile of videotapes that had to be requested, reviewed, and returned, to an age when millions of free videos are available at one’s fingertips. Such videos, of course, can be watched at any moment and easily replaced when they are no longer available. Importantly, research in psychology has shown that such video content helps learners store information visually, thereby providing another retrieval track. These are exciting times indeed.
5. Digital Materials such as Videos and Simulations (pages 7-8): The problem with
this question, however, is that I see far greater use of videos in higher
education than the use of simulations. Naturally, the use of share online video
as well as simulations varies by discipline. In field like medicine,
engineering, and business, more research and development money exists to create
rich simulations that can be shared and reused compared to areas like history,
religious studies, or education. In addition, there are other contents
available online today that the Digital Faculty report did not ask about,
including animations, podcasts, interactive timelines and maps, online
referenceware (e.g., discipline-based multimedia glossaries), etc. Such
contents are exploding in use on the Web, especially interactive maps and
timelines. Consequently, while this particular survey item is highly
intriguing, there is much follow-up research that might be conducted.
6. Digital Materials used in FTF, Blended, and Fully Online Courses (pages 7-8): Naturally, faculty
members who teach in blended and fully online formats use such pedagogical
supplements more often that those teaching in traditional classrooms. One
plausible reason is that faculty members with such technology interests and
leanings may self-select into online environments. A second reason is that
their students will expect them to take at least a little bit of risk and
experiment with new simulation tools and digital books. Many other reasons
7. Faculty Creation of Digital Materials (page 8): More than 4 in 10 faculty members are creating content regularly or occasionally to use within their classes. This finding can be interpreted in at least a couple of ways. First, college instructors (and teachers in any setting) always create content. However, what is unique here is that the content produced now is digital—podcasts, blogs, portals, simulations, e-books, online lectures, etc. While, as revealed in this study, a fairly small percent of faculty members are creating open educational resources in the form of lecture capture, it is difficult to create content with all the different media formats and technologies available today. Lectures, while vital in many content areas, are not the only type of open educational resource that can benefit students. It may be vital to explore the different types of content creation activities that college faculty partake in today. It might also be useful to try to understand why 90 percent of college faculty are not using lecture capture on a regular basis.
8. Faculty Used Lecture Capture to Record or Stream-In Instruction (pages 9-10): The fact that those teaching fully online are doing lecture capture makes sense. Today, synchronous conferencing systems like Elluminate (now Blackboard Collaborate) and Adobe Connect Pro have tools to record synchronous sessions and make them available for students who missed them for whatever reason. Weekly guest expert presentations as well as instructor lectures can be saved not only for current students but also for those who will take the course in the coming semesters. In effect, faculty may not go into an online course with the explicit intention of capturing lectures; it just might be a by-product of teaching online. Hence, the data highlighted in the “Digital Faculty” report about lecture capture is not too surprising. In addition, some faculty members who are teaching online might be nervous about it or might want to make sure that online students have the same lecture materials that face-to-face ones have. Hence, they will record a set of lecture videos before the class starts or as it is ongoing.
9. Fairness of Reward Structures for Digital Pedagogy (pages 10-11): Another straightforward and expected finding relates to the data in this report on reward structures for digital pedagogy. Some institutions are perceived to be making a concerted effort to reward faculty and some are not. The statistics are split. Still, the data revealed in this report are much more positive than surveys of 10-12 years ago. And sure, when there are vast institutional differences and perhaps competitive systems of rewards in places that do have rewards, the administrators who are funding such programs are going to be more positive about the fairness of such systems than the individual instructors who receive (or don’t receive) the rewards.
10. Training and Support for Lecture Capture (page 34): The data reported on training and support
for digital tools in the classroom is also quite a bit better than was witnessed
a decade ago. Still nearly a quarter of faculty members surveyed believe that
such training needs improvement. Clearly, higher education institutions still
have a ways to go in terms of supporting faculty teaching with technology.
11. Faculty Perspectives and Rewards Related to Digital Publishing (pages 12-16): It is unfortunate that college faculty do not see rewards from publishing their research in a digital format. Perhaps, like perceptions of online learning, this will change as we all become more familiar with digital outlets for our research. The low percentage of regular digital scholarship is particularly disappointing given all the avenues for such scholarship to be displayed today. Digital scholarship is not just seen in online papers. I have seen it displayed in wiki compilations of various publications from a research team; blog reflections on the progress of one’s research and links to online research articles; video interviews and podcasts of one’s research that get posted with the open access publications; publishing research in free open access articles; wikibooks of research on a topic from a set of researchers in a particular institution or across research sites; online interviews about one’s research; digital books; etc. All of these avenues for dissemination make it difficult for promotion and tenure committees as well as external reviewers of faculty dossiers to make decisions about tenure. Decision making was much less complicated when the outlets where fewer in number. Many of the traditional outlets still exist, and so the easiest way to award tenure is to place perceptual blinders on the other ones for now. Such practices will undoubtedly change in most disciplines during the coming decade or two. Such a case can be made from the data in this report given that faculty believe that the online quality of contents has been getting stronger lately.
12. Use of Social Media for Interacting with Students and Colleagues (pages 17-18): It is not surprising that faculty use
social media to interact with other their colleagues and not students. College
instructors only have so much time and personal resources available. If
hundreds or thousands of students had their Skype contacts and were friends
with them in Facebook, it would be difficult to get day-to-day tasks completed.
13. Digital Communication Technology and Media Impact on Productivity, Creativity, and Scholarly Collaboration (pages 18-23) and Stress (pages 28-29). The data on enhanced communication,
productivity, creativity, collaboration, and connections with others in your
scholarly community is perhaps the most important finding of this study. And
the fact that female instructors have experienced such enhanced creativity,
productivity, and collaboration from digital technology is certainly worth
discussing further and following up with additional research. Sure, this
constant connection to others and to rich veins of data with this technology
can be daunting and quite stressful. Without a doubt, we are getting requests
to respond to others via email from the time we wake up to the time we go to
bed. Case in point, I had 157 emails in my in-basket to read during the day
today (Wednesday) that were not spam. In addition, I had 139 emails that I
composed and sent out to others. Despite these email stressors and constant contact
from others, the survey data shown here signals that we are more creative
creatures who are making contributions today in global venues that would have
been impossible just a decade or two ago without such technology.
14. Daily Email and Responsiveness (pages 24-27): Teaching online and blended brings with it
more email. Sure, students want to connect. They want a sense of social
presence. Email and synchronous class sessions can provide that sense of
instructor caring and feedback.
15. Use of LMS (pages 30-32): Interesting that the main features of a learning management system (LMS) is to share a syllabus and communicate with students. These two tasks can be accomplished today without an LMS. Also interesting to see the gap between administrators and faculty in terms of tracking student attendance. Administrators are sold on these LMSs since they can track attendance, participation, grades, etc. They manage learning. From my perspective, most faculty members could really care less about such computer log data. College instructors and students are more concerned with the pedagogical and motivational side of learning with digital technology than simple counts of butts in seats—they want rich interaction, engagement, meaningful learning, goal-driven pursuits, feedback, collaboration, etc. In effect, they want powerful and transformative learning. Faculty live in the moment of the course. Administrators fly over the top of the course and rely on sometimes computer log data to determine the course or system effectiveness. Hence, the survey reveals different perceptions of importance on these digital learning technologies.
16. Excitement or Fears About the Future (pages 35-36): The fact that free content, digital
resources, blended learning opportunities, and additional data on teaching are
all deemed positive and exciting, while for profit and online education is less
exciting and even stressful makes sense. The latter are major structural
changes in higher education. The former are enhancements to the present system.
I hope the above comments on the Digital Faculty: Professors and Technology, 2012 report are helpful (HTML, PDF). More information on both reports is here: Babson/Inside Higher Education reports). Steve's overview of this report today in Inside Higher Education is here.
Anyone not yet drowning in data, can read dozens of other similar reports from the past couple of years as listed in my 64 page "monster" R685 syllabus on Emerging Learning Technologies. Class started this past Monday. it is an online class. Many guest speakers (typically Monday nights at 7 pm EST). We had Michael Horn from the Innosight Institute this past Monday. He was fantastic. Anyone is welcome to attend (see syllabus for details). Wish me well in managing the monster. More on this in my next blog post in a couple of days.
Labels: Babson survey research, blended learning, digital faculty, digital media, e-textbooks, Inside Higher Education, lecture capture, online learning, professor perspectives on technology
Unabridged Interview: "Extreme Learning, Matrix-Style" in Big Think
| Friday, August 03, 2012
|Some people are wondering when I will post to TravelinEdMan again. How about tonight? Perhaps.
Why have I not been blogging you ask? Well, after finishing my Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Blackboard back in May (see blog post with archive), I have been working on a book on online motivation and retention using my TEC-VARIETY model which I hope to give away free as a PDF and sell cheaply in Amazon CreateSpace as well as Kindle. One chapter left to write--on goal setting and yielding products. Each chapter takes about a week to write up. Hope to be done after I get back from the 28th Annual Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning Conference next week. Will I take a break from writing and hang out in Madison, Wisconsin next week and jog along Lake Monona and Mendota in early August? Yes! But I will try to finish the book before I leave or right after I get back. Then, it will take a few months of editing (and cutting) and copyediting before it I get the book done. I wrote too much....as per usual.
In the meantime, below is my unabridged interview by David Berning from Big Think which took place a few weeks ago and was posted yesterday. Some of you might want to read the article that appeared in Big Think, Extreme Learning, Matrix-Style. It was, in fact, the lead article in a set titled: "Today's big idea: Disrupting Education" (see list of these article).
First, I think I must explain how this interview came about. My
team and I have been tracking Big Think as part of our extreme learning research and
contacted them to help us collect survey data on informal and extreme learning (you can take the survey, in fact). A couple of wonderful people at Big Think replied that they wanted to
talk to me about the research we were doing. Since only part of my reply is in that article in Big Think, I thought I would post the full response here in my TravelinEdMan blog.
is Big Think you ask? Some might check out their Wikipedia page or their YouTube Channel. Bascially, Big Think includes short video interviews, multimedia presentations, panel discusions, and blog posts of hundreds of intellectuals around the planet. If you browse through it, you might find information on topics like stem cell research, happiness,
global warming, technologies or foods of the future, etc. See the About. I heard that some of the founders have experience with producing the Charlie Rose show on PBS. It shows. Suffice to say, this Website is top notch. I remember some of their early interviews when I first explored it around 2007 were with folks like Richard Branson from Virgin
Airlines and Deepak Chopra. People now listed in their expert list include John Seely Brown, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Larry King, Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom (IU Professor, recently deceased), Ken Burns, James Gleick (author of "The Information"), Salman Khan from the Khan Academy, Dana Boyd, Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem, and many other artists, novelists, neuroscientists, filmmakers, politicians, and economists. Way cool.
This is the age of the open education world. Websites like Big Think are playing a huge role in that openness. It now focuses on topics like the future where my interview appeared as well as history; life and death; love, sex, and happiness; science and
technology; the environment; beliefs; media and the internet; identity;
politics and policy; etc., among the experts of the world. I definitely plan to use this resource in my emerging learning technologies class as well as my class on learning theories.
For those interested in shared online video sites, see my portal listing of nearly 80 such sites.
Ok, now, on to that full interview with David Berning from Big Think (and remember, you too, can take our informal and extreme learning survey).
interview of Curt Bonk, Instructional Sytems Technology Department, Indiana University, by David Berning, Big Think.
(Please Note: Resulting article in Big Think can be found here: Extreme Learning, Matrix-Style, Posted August 2, 2012.)
David (Big Think) Q#1. What is, in
your opinion, the main purpose of education? Is this purpose being fulfilled
today? How can the integration of technology better serve this purpose?
Curt Responds: Among the chief goals of education is to help the human
species deal with unique problems, issues, or situations as they arise.
Education offers possibilities for reflection on the credibility, appropriateness,
relevance, and reliability of information sources. The education person knows
when she knows, what she knows, and how to obtain information and new skills
and competencies which she presently lacks. And that is where technology often plays
a significant role. Learning technology, when thoughtfully integrated, can
assist in efforts to seek, find, and filter knowledge that is appropriate and
timely. It can share the cognitive load with the learner by offering cognitive
maps of key concepts, interactive timelines and notecards, images and graphs,
assorted referenceware, and sequenced data upon demand. Technology supplements
and augments what the learner already knows.
Today, much of the dialogue about education is about
catching up to those deemed ahead on various standardized test scores.
Unfortunately, most highly used tests measure the basics and not much beyond.
Web-based technologies, however, can give us all the information we need within
milliseconds. When we can have the equivalent of the Library of Alexandria in
our pockets on an inexpensive flash drive, we must begin to question exactly what
should be taught and ultimately what knowledge is. As the forms of such
knowledge-based technology multiply and reduce in price, a new dialogue needs to
open up about the benefits and intensions of education.
The purpose of education has swiftly pivoted from knowing
what something is to knowing how to find out about that thing. The basic tools
of knowledge discovery are now Wikipedia and other wiki-like tools, YouTube, Facebook,
Twitter, TED talks, online news services, digital books, and a vast array of online
learning courses and modules.
David (Big Think) Q#2. Your study
focuses on understanding the motivating force technology can have on the
learning/teaching process and the capabilities it has on sharing knowledge and
information. What exactly do you wish to do with the results of your study?
We hope to create a space for sharing stories of how
technology has impacted one’s life in a significant or life empowering way.
Such cases and stories can be used to inspire others. We want people to imagine
new careers and discover how learning opportunities on the Web can lead them
there. We plan to put these s
tories, with proper permission,
of course, into a book or report that is indexed across ages, cultures, and
learning situations. Whether one is a young person or more experienced adult,
we hope to build an assembly of stories that anyone can use to find role
models, new learning vistas, and innovative ideas about education. We intend to
help open up the educational world to people who have had it closed for far too
long. Open educational resources, opencourseware, open content, open source software,
open access journals, and so on, bring immense possibilities for change. The
world is now open for learning as I discuss in my book, “The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing
I also want to document aspects of human development during
the lifespan that heretofore have been hidden from view. This particular goal
will admittedly take much more time. However, we are living longer and there
are myriad more ways to learn today than just a few years back. It is likely
that there are not only human learning gains from the expansion of learning technology
and open content on the Web but also wholly new forms of human development that
need to be revealed, mapped, and understand.
David (Big Think) Q#3. You distinguish
between two separate types of 'informal teaching/learning methods' in your
study: simple self-study and "extreme" learning. Can you briefly
elaborate on distinction of these terms?
We are attempting to distinguish between everyday
informal activities such as looking up travel or health information in a
Wikipedia page or finding an article in a learning portal on Shakespeare, Hemmingway,
or Jane Austin, from something that is much more novel and unique which we are
calling extreme learning. An example of extreme learning happened to me this
past May when over 4,000 people enrolled in a course I was teaching for
Blackboard using their free course management system in CourseSites. The course,
“Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success,” was focused on
how to teach online and people who completed it got a badge (registration
remains open; in addition, a recap of the course can be found in my blog
You might think that 4,000 is a lot of students. So did
I. However, there is a course on social networking this summer at Stanford with
over 400,000 students. And last fall, a professor at Stanford taught an online
course on artificial intelligence to over 160,000 students. Not too
surprisingly, the success and potential of such massive open online courses or
MOOCs has fostered a number of new ventures including Coursera, Udacity, and
Udemy. Those wishing to stick to branded universities are in luck as MIT and
Harvard recently formed a new partnership to offer such courses through edX.
Other forms of extreme learning include teenagers
navigating the globe as solo sailors and keeping up with their high school
studies using Skype, satellite phones, and other technologies. Another example would
be when researchers in the Amazon provide educational resources and blog posts
for kids in schools to read, analyze, and respond to. Still other forms of
extreme learning are evident when a researcher listens to a podcast of a chemistry
or physics course while involved in a scientific project on polar ice. Perhaps
you have heard about people who bike ride through the Americas and blog about their
adventures. Or maybe you have been one of the millions of people around the
world signing up to take or teach a language in Livemocha, Babbel, or The
Mixxer. These, too, are examples of extreme learning.
David (Big Think) Q#4. Surely, it
could be argued, that the internet exposes its users to a more distracting
environment than what is experienced in a classroom setting. Is this a problem
you have witnessed first-hand with your students? Does this argument at all
hinder the appeal of online learning and its overall efficiency?
Curt Responds: Sure. There are times that I have to ask my students to
turn off their screen or power down their devices. However, one might also
think about how to enlist their services with the technology that they bring
into the classroom. For instance, you might assign someone the role of “Google
Jockey.” The person in that position might find and display Web resources and
tools as you mention them in a lecture or as a small group is presenting their
project or ideas. In effect, instead of banning various technology that
learners bring with them, you are endorsing it. With such a policy, the learning
resources of the course dramatically expand.
Another Internet problem is being distracted by
inappropriate content. There are trillions of pages of content on the Web. If
just one percent could be used in education, there would be more content than
anyone could ever hope to use. What each instructor and every department should
be doing is finding and agreeing upon 20 or 30 of the highest quality Web tools
and resources (e.g., The Encyclopedia of Life, the Khan Academy, The British
Library “Turning the Pages” Website, TED Ed, LinkTV, Big Think, The New York
Public Library, Sophia, MIT OpenCourseWare, Open Educational Resources Commons,
Impossible2Possible, Polar Husky, Earthducation, iCivics, MedTube, Livemocha,
BBC Learning English, etc.). Once selected, they should design innovative and
pedagogically engaging curriculum activities around these resources and
My research team and I have been finding and rating
hundreds informal and extreme learning Websites during the past couple of
years. We are looking at the learning potential, scalability, novelty of the
technology used, content richness, functionality of the technology, uniqueness
of the learning environment, extent of technology integration, and potential
for life changing experiences. If successful, we think we can alter and perhaps
elevate the discussion about online learning quality.
David (Big Think) Q#5. What are
critics' primary concerns about the integration of technology and education? In
your opinion, are these concerns valid?
Curt Responds: There are many issues that have been repeatedly raised
for decades. Among them is the cost. Once you purchase laptops, iPhones, or Smartboards
for a particular learning purpose or need, at some point, they will need to be
upgraded or replaced. This is an expensive undertaking, especially in these
tough monetary times. However, if technology can help to blend the learning
environment, thereby reducing the time for face-to-face instruction, it can offer
significant monetary benefits.
Second, is the concern about technology replacing
teachers or the entire school or university. Some charter and innovative school
programs, for instance, are experimenting with different types of blended
learning. With blended learning, students might learn online as well as in
physical buildings wherein lab assistants handle student questions and concerns
instead of higher priced teachers. Naturally, there are debates about the
quality of such instruction and the role of traditional teachers. Despite the
debates and concerns, I expect that this trend will accelerate in the coming
years. The role of the teacher will dramatically shift as basic skills are
handled with computer technology. Teachers will play a more vital role in higher
order tasks. For instance, such instructors will orchestrate online collaboration
activities with students and classrooms around the world. I predict that
increasingly, teachers will be concierges, tour guides, and expedition leaders
who find content and make it available for learners to explore, instead of
force feeding them with precanned lectures and prepackaged content.
A third concern related to technology in education is the
continued digital divide. Many students lack technology access at home and
hence are often behind their peers in both technology-related confidence and
skills. As a partial solution, stimulus monies in many communities (including
my own) were used to get an iPad or laptop for all children enrolled in lower
SES schools. But such initiatives are only going to have a modest impact
without proper teacher training.
A fourth concern relates to the types of technology tools
that should be integrated. The arguments made between using technology for
basic and higher-order thinking skills began decades ago with Skinner machines,
were extended in the 1980s with the emergence of hypermedia and multimedia, and
persist today with in the world of the Web 2.0 and beyond. Fortunately, the
tools for collaboration, interaction, engagement, and authentic learning have proliferated
in recent years. Still, many educators and politicians view learning technology
strictly from what it can do to help boost standardized test scores.
David (Big Think) Q#6. Where can
readers go to learn more about you and your study?
They can explore our extreme learning research project
Once there, they can read our recent conference papers, explore extreme
learning Web resources, tools, and projects, and scan through the interests and biographies
of those involved in the project, including my own
They can also read some of the life changing stories that have been shared to
Labels: Big Think, e-learning, extreme learning, Informal Learning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), motivation and retention, research, TEC-VARIETY, the Matrix, Wisconsin Distance Teaching and Learning Conference