More and More Web 2.0 Opportunities, Announcements, and Articles: Less is NOT More...
| Wednesday, July 11, 2007
|You know for more than a decade, I have been telling my students and colleagues that "more is more." My ultra liberal education colleagues keep feeding students the crap that "less is more." And this rumor of less is more has spread beyond psychology and education departments to other disciplines and down to K-12 education and up to corporate and military training. Sure, they can cite cognitive psychology studies on cognitive load theory, working memory, long-term memory deficits, and so on to get people to actually believe that less is more. I read many of those reports when studying educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin. Good work but to be sure, but people have extended it much too far. It becomes a copout or an excuse (much like the phrase "I am too busy" but that is another blog post for later). No wonder we have an academic crisis on our hands (and in our brains)! Using this "less is more" mantra, we lower standards and expect less from students and ourselves. And if students lack time, why then, just offer less. Less and less and less.
Did anyone ever think that those who want us to believe that less is more perhaps have tinier brains? Has anyone done a study of this before simply believing it? Hey, before you trash my ideas and call me a hoser, let me have some semi-tongue in cheek fun here. The educational world of opportunities is exploding in front of our eyes and yet many cling to a less is more philosophy. With Web 2.0, and the Web of Learning in general, a grand awakening is beginning.
Ok, I got news for you. Less is never more! I am a former CPA and corporate controller, I can count; i.e., unlike some of my liberal educational colleagues (just for the record, I am fairly socially liberal too, and economically conservative just like Clinton and Gore--you know, the one's who balanced the budget while increasing spending on technology as well as education and creating millions of new jobs in the process--but that is another story). More is more. Always was and always will be.
Why do we allow ourselves to be fooled? Now I am not just talking more facts and information. I think students (and all of us as well) need more critical thinking skills, creativity, evaluation, problem finding opportunities, analysis and synthesis to survive in the 21st century. Hence, my instructional design model starts with that (i.e., the accumulation of facts, concepts, and ideas) and moves to product-, project-, process- and problem-based learning. The more portable "P's" of learning. Yes, to do something like a Wikibook, or a podcast or a blog post for a real audience, not just another silly teacher- or curriculum-centered assignment. I believe in both--knowledge and hands-on, authentic learning. Hec, the faster students learn the facts, the more knowledge building, constructivistic, problem-based activities that can happen. Hence, why some are posting podcasts or Webcasts of lectures so that students can learn those and then come to class for more interactive mentoring experiences. You see, the Web of Learning enables that--learn the facts around the edges of "the course" so that face-to-face time can be more intensely interactive, engaging, reflective, collaborative, and process-based. See my R2D2 model--Read, Reflect, Display, and Do which is 2 posts below. The book will be out in 5-6 months--it addresses diverse learners by providing 100+ activities to engage them. Not 1, not 10, not 20, but 100+ (actually over 200), since more is more.
We need more of everything. We need to push learners until at least one of them has a wet eye and then pull back a bit. My colleague and I used to do this in our teacher professional development project for technology integration. Once we found someone crying because he or she did not think he could complete all that we required while maintaining a fulltime job, we would work with them and show them doable projects and ideas of students from the past. That is a power of the Web of Learning--to share what students have accomplished previously. And if you post up the best stuff, it raises the bar instead of lowering it. We need to challenge them and then support them in those challenges. That is what good teachers do--assist in the learning process of their students.
Give them lots of opportunities and choices to pick from and they set high and authentic goals. Gently nudge in a positive direction. And if they are doctoral graduate students, get them to be passionate in their dissertation research. I am tired of reading blah-blah dissertation endings. I think the next time I attend another blah-blah presentation of stuff I knew a decade ago, I will work on something else while the student presents. Let's push ahead, not fall back. Tell me why your research matters. Why should I read it? Why should anyone read it? Perhaps it is the pragmatic accountant in me that wants to know the impact or potential impact. To do research for the sake of research is silly. We do not need more of that. In that case (i.e., of boring and meaningless research which will be discarded in a year if not less), ok, less is more. See blog post below for more on that or skip that post if you believe that less is more.
Choice and variety are key components of a more is more world. With Web 2.0 technologies such as podcasts, wikis, and blogs, we are going to continue to have more learning and educational opportunities dance our way. Wikis are participatory--look at the amazing growth of Wikipedia. What 1.8 million articles there in English alone? Did anyone tell Jimmy Wales to stop adding to it? I doubt if anyone said to him "less is more Jimbo, less is more, so please just stop adding to Wikipedia right now." I think Jimmy Wales knows that less is not more. So much opportunity to learn lies in front of us each day. I like to give my students 5-6 articles to read each week and have them pick 3-4. And add in interesting tidbits (see link to syllabus below). And yes, reflections, discussions, debates, and conversations about those pieces are key to learning. We learn from our social interactions. And sure, from time-to-time these must be highly focused ones. And other times exploratory ones. We need both, not one or the other.
Ok, what started me on this more is more kick tonight? Well, the past week or so, I ran into the term Web 2.0 more this week than ever before. I know it came out a while back but for some reason this week was the week. Perhaps it is because I am writing a section of my WE-ALL-LEARN book on it. It is like when you buy a car and all of a sudden every car on the road is the same one you just bought or perhaps passed up buying. I put in a few examples for you below.
I. First of all, during the past week, I read the following articles (I have read Stephen's many times before--thanks Stephen--this is a fantastic article.):
1. Downes, Stephen (2005, October). E-learning 2.0. E-Learn Magazine. Retrieved October 26, 2006, from http://elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=articles&article=29-1
2. Alexander, Bryan (2006, March/April). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning? Educause Review, 41(2), 32-44. Retrieved July 9, 2007, from http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm06/erm0621.asp
2. See Table: Brown, Malcolm (2007, March/April). Mashing up the once and future CMS. Educause Review, 42(2), 8-9. Retrieved July 9, 2007, from http://www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm07/erm0725.asp
4. Thompson, John (2007, April/May). Is education 1.0 ready for Web 2.0 students? Innovate Journal of Online Education, 3(4), Retrieved July 4, 2007, from http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=393
I also keep seeing references to ideas, videos, conferences, and articles from George Siemens related to Connectivism.
Siemens, George (2006, November 12). Connectivism: Learning theory of pastime for the self-amused? Retrieved July 11, 2007, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism_self-amused.htm
Connectivism, Retrieved July 11, 2007, from http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html
George Siemens, The Changing Nature of Knowledge (4 short videos): http://www.homozappiens.nl/node/77/play
II. Second, today, I see a call for papers on on Web 2.0-Based E-Learning:
Mark Lee from Charles Sturt University, Australia and my friend, Catherine McLoughlin from Australian Catholic University are the editors. They note that the book will be divided as follows:
"The book will be divided into three parts, each consisting of between 5 and 7 chapters, for a total of approximately 20 chapters.
Part 1: Pedagogy 2.0? Emerging paradigms and innovative theories in web-based tertiary teaching and learning (6-7 chapters)
Part 2: Towards best practice: Case studies and exemplars of Web 2.0-based tertiary teaching and learning (8-9 chapters)
Part 3: Web 2.0 and beyond: Current implications and future directions for web-based tertiary teaching and learning (5-6 chapters) "
Looks interesting. Check out the Call for Chapter Proposals at the Website which I list again for you here. Proposals due October 5th so you have time.
III. Thirdly, I will be doing a course on Web 2.0 and Participatory e-Learning in the fall. See announcement and links below. All articles from the syllabus link (http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2007.htm) are free and open.
Fall 2007: R685 Topical Seminar
"The Web 2.0 and Participatory e-Learning"
School of Education: Room 2275
(3 Cr), Mondays 7:00‑9:45
Instructor: Curt Bonk, Professor, Instructional Systems Technology
IUB Section 28289 (R685)
See HTML of course syllabus: http://php.indiana.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2007.htm
Or download a Word version: http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/Syllabus_R685_Fall_of_2007.doc
Curtis J. Bonk, Professor
Office: 2238 W. W. Wright Education Bldg.
Phone: 856-8353 (W)
Office Hours: Thursdays 2:30-3:30 & as arranged
Nari Kim, Instructional Assistant
IST Doctoral Candidate
Course Description and Rationale:
When it comes to perspectives on teaching and learning, the Web 2.0 has changed everything! Don’t believe it? Back in December, Time Magazine named “you” as the person of the year. The Web 2.0 (also called the Read-Write Web) empowers learners to generate ideas and comments online, rather than simply read or browse someone else’s. In effect, instead of passive consumption-based learning, we are living in a participatory age where learners have a voice and potentially some degree of ownership over their own learning. Here at the start of the twenty-first century, emerging technologies – such as online photo albums, blogs, wikis, podcasts, ebooks, YouTube videos, massive multiplayer online games, simulations, virtual worlds, and wireless and mobile computing – are generating waves of new opportunities in higher education, K-12 schools, corporate training, and other learning environments.
And today’s millennial learner, immersed in an increasingly digital world is seeking richer and more engaging learning experiences. Amid this rising tide of expectations, instructors across educational sectors are exploring and sharing innovative ways to use technology to foster interaction, collaboration, and increased excitement for learning. Unfortunately, as any high school student will tell you, this is far less common than most would hope. In response, it is time to take advantage of the new participatory learning culture where learners build, tinker with, explore, share, and collaborate with others online. It is also time exploit free and open educational resources, opencourseware, learning portals, and open source software across educational sectors and income levels. This course, therefore, will be a journey into the learning technologies (i.e., nature), pedagogical opportunities (i.e., nurture), and the people, societies, and cultures where this is happening now! We will create and publish a cross-cultural Wikibook on Web 2.0 technology. We will explore the motivational and educational value of YouTube and other online videos and create a few of our own. Of course, we will also blog on our experiences. And we might even create a few class podcasts or vodcasts.
In an age when eyeball-to-eyeball learning is no longer necessary, effective online instructors do not simply teach but moderate, coach, and assist in the learning process. As proof, dozens of pedagogical strategies utilizing Web 2.0 and other emerging learning technologies will be demonstrated, evaluated, tested, and discussed. As part of this, Bonk will present his “WE-ALL-LEARN,” “R2D2,” and “TEC-VARIETY” frameworks. Importantly, strategies discussed and modeled will address learning in all formats—K-12, higher education, corporate, university, military settings, etc. You-Too can participate.
Required Texts: None (all readings free online).
50 pts A. Weekly Attendance, YouTube, and Being Energetic (WAYTaBe) (Due: Each Week)
90 pts B. Blogging and Movie Making (Blogging-M&Ms) (Dec.3rd)
50 pts C. Midterm Assignment Reality Check (MARC) (Due: Oct 15th)
70 pts D. Wikibook Online Work (WOW) (Due: Dec. 3rd)
260 Total Points (Task mnemonic: Blogging M&Ms? Wow, Way-ta-be, Marc!)
Projected Seminar Weekly Topics:
Week 1. (August 28th) Explosion of Online Programs, Universities, Courses, and Reports
Week 2. (Sept. 3rd) The Emergence of Blended Learning
Week 3 (Sept 10th) Online Instructor Roles, Training, Incentives, and Supports
Week 4. (Sept. 17th) New Learner Roles: Expectations, Issues, Dilemmas, and Resolutions
Week 5. (Sept 24th) Neo Millennial and Web 2.0 Learners
Week 6. (Oct. 1st) Free and Open Source Software
Week 7. (Oct. 8th) Open Educational Resources
Week 8. (Oct. 15th) Course Management 1.0 in a Web 2.0 and Participatory e-Learning World
Week 9. (Oct. 22nd) Online Interactivity, Engagement, and Social Presence
Week 10. (Oct. 29th) Electronic Motivation, Collaboration, and Communities of Learning/Inquiry
Week 11. (Nov 5th) Computer-Mediated Discussion and Blogging
Week 12. (Nov 12th) Podcasting, Coursecasting, and Online Language Learning
Week 13. (Nov. 19th) Wikis, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, and Collaborative Writing
Week 14. (Nov 26th) Alternate Reality Learning: Massive Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Simulations
Week 15. (Dec 3rd) Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Learning
For more course details, write to Curt Bonk at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his homepage at http://mypage.iu.edu/~cjbonk/.
IV. Fourth, there are now clever (and very simple) YouTube videos explaining different Web 2.0 technologies in plain English from CommonCraft. Yes, these have been out for a few weeks:
RSS in plain English: http://youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU
Wikis in plain English: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-dnL00TdmLY
V. Fifth, Educuase has nice short summary articles on things you should know about things like YouTube, Podcasts, Facebook, Virtual Worlds, Creative Commons, etc.
As they say: "The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative's (ELI's) 7 Things You Should Know About... series provides concise information on emerging learning technologies and related practices. Each brief focuses on a single technology or practice and describes. What it is; How it works; Where it is going; Why it matters to teaching and learning"
Seven Things You Should Know About (Wikipedia, Podcasts, Facebook, etc.) (from Educause): http://www.educause.edu/content.asp?page_id=7495&bhcp=1
VI. Sixth, Educause also announced an overview article on Podcasting research this week (which is great since there is not much out there that I could find):
Deal, Ashley (2007, June). Podcasting. A Teaching With Technology White Paper. Educause. Retrieved July 5, 2007, from http://connect.educause.edu/files/CMU_Podcasting_Jun07.pdf
VII. Many Web 2.0 start-ups. I was sent notices on the following 4 the past few days from my friend, Dr. Grace Lin at the University of Houston (thanks Grace):
Some Sample Web 2.0 tools and companies that came my way this week.
1. VoiceThread: http://voicethread.com/ (add audio to pics--I tried it and it worked great)
2. SnapGenie: http://www.snapgenie.com/ (tell stories behind pics; looks fun and easy but I did not try yet.)
3. Chinswing: http://www.chinswing.com/ (constructive communication is the goal of this tool; converse with other people about different topics)
4. Scrapblog: http://scrapblog.com (create a scrapbook of pics.)
5. Dotsub: http://www.dotsub.com/ (to create subtitling text in online videos and films).
Sorry I got carried away above. I was just going to post a link to my new syllabus and the call for book chapters. Ok, so more is more. And my brain is mushing with the Web 2.0 right now. Oh please I beg myself to stop and finally admit to the world that less is more. No, I cannot do that. More is more I tell myself. Now shut-up.
To prove I believe that more is more, please send me more links and ideas on Web 2.0 as you see them. Remember that more is more! So the more I get, the more I will assign (I mean make available) to my students in the fall. I cannot wait for the fall semester to begin and this sabbatical to be over so I can see my ultra liberal (i.e., "less is more") colleagues. Not! Now back to book writing. I need to write more, of course, since...
Less stress? Less work? Less words? Less distractions? Less ugly?
Less can sometimes be more.
Small is beautiful.
Thanks Alan. Ok, I will take the less stress and less distractions and you can have the rest. Smile.
The phrase 'less is more' of course is shorthand for the description of an inverse relationship. For example, 'less friction is more speed'.
Nobody is saying 'more of this is less of this'. They are saying 'more of this is less of that'. And the trick is to figure out, what is this, and what is that?
Ah, Stephen, good pt. Yes, the trick is also to figure out when and where to go for more (i.e., deeper), and when and where to shop for less (i.e., browse). I wonder if we need a search engine called "deep engine" and another called "skim commander" and still a third that helps with both called "deep skimmer" or "deep browser."
Yes, Web 2.0 is talked about everywhere and I think it reflects how the learners are different from our time, which is deeply rooted in how the society has changed in values and communication.
Yes, Lori, we are in the midst of a major shift in values, especially in terms of education, communication, and how we spend our "free" time. Some value each educational moment or opportunity and there are myriad ways for new learning to happen. If you believe tht the Web is really a Web of Learning as I do, then yes, the Web 2.0 is a key part of that. And the direction of such learning is being turned on its head from teacher to student and maybe back (unidirectionality) to multidirectionality.