PIDP 3240 Discussion on media and the teaching learning process

Postings I made in the Discussion on media and the teaching learning process forum for my PIDP 3240 class.

Re: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach – Tuesday, 22 April 2014, 2:03 PM

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century is a PBS Frontline show that documents some innovative programs being used in the US to engage primary and secondary students using digital media. Here we see students using new media learn a variety of subjects including math, science and geography.

The program also illustrates how digital media projects can also put the student into the position of teacher to reenforce their learning by actually having them teach their classmates how to use the technology.

In one class students learn how to make video games, this promotes learning by having students incorporate the elements of what makes a good video game into their own game design.

It was mentioned in the program how are present day education system is modelled on a factory system of work and production. This is a model that is rapidly evolving and changing and schools will have to do the same in order to produce students that will be able to thrive in the new world that they will be growing up in.

Re: #Hashtags?!? – Thursday, 24 April 2014, 1:07 PM

One of the key points I have learned in this course is that there is a vast amount of content available to be learned on any subject you might want to teach. As an instructor I see one of the functions that I must perform is that of content curation, finding good sources of content that my students can use. This maybe material shared by my Facebook friends, people I follow on Twitter or material found using a search engine.

On Twitter I find if I search using a hashtag to define subject matter then I will only find tweets pertaining to that subject. This saves me a lot of time in that I don’t have to search through all my tweets to find the tweets on a subject I am interested in.

Hashtags, key words and other methods to make searching easier are greatly appreciated and I plan to use them more in my postings.

Re: The Virtual Classroom – Skype – Thursday, 17 April 2014, 10:17 AM

I have attended panel discussions where one of the panelists participated via Skype and was able to present their point of view and engage in the discussion just as effectively as the panelists who were physically present. They were able to field questions from the audience and give them their answers in return just like the other panelists.

Another area where Skype is being effectively used is in television newscasts. Distant commentators during a crisis can present their report and be interviewed without having to go to a television studio or having to arrange an expensive satellite feed, which depending on the crisis might be physically impossible.

Teleconferencing is another way that Skype can be used to facilitate discussion and interaction without the expense of travel.

This reminds me of the video phones that science fiction promised us during my childhood. The world is definitely shrinking and becoming more interconnected.

Why scholars don’t trust social media? – Thursday, 17 April 2014, 10:00 AM

Here is an article on a new study on the use of social media by university scholars.

“Greenhow surveyed 1,600 researchers and surprisingly found that only 15 percent use Twitter, 28 percent use YouTube and 39 percent use Facebook for professional purposes.”

I found this rather surprising especially as taking this course has exposed me to the amount of online tools and resources available for educators and scholars to use for disseminating their findings. I think in this day and age when many governments are suppressing scientific findings that they find inconvenient it is important for researchers to educate the public and publicize their findings. Also by using social media they can connect with the younger generations who are actively engaged in the world of social media and thus encourage them to take more of an interest in the sciences and scientific research.

Re: Opposite opinions on Bowen’s “Teaching naked” – Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 10:22 AM

Great find Kevin and thank you for posting this. I think back to my own days in school where the big innovation was the use of film. We would sit there in a darkened classroom, watching the flickering images on screen as the projector clattered away in the background, if we were lucky there was enough time for a short discussion. For most of us students this was almost like a free class or a spare. Schools, seeing the impact that television was having on society, thought that replicating this experience by using a medium that combined sound and images would have a big impact in the classroom. i don’t think it did.

Instructors can no longer look at themselves as content providers as there is so much content available online that students can discover for themselves. What instructors can do though is inspire students to search for this content, guide them to the best online sources of information, teach them how to question the validity of the information they find, and help them integrate this information into their learning.

I once took a Saturday seminar where it was all PowerPoint and we followed along with the printout we were given of the slide show. It was a fairly boring process. I use PowerPoint just to show pictures of things that I can’t really include in my lecture to dramatize the subject that I am speaking on. What do you consider an effective use of PowerPoint?

I do agree with Bowen that universities must change if they hope to remain competitive in today’s economy. They just can’t keep passing on their costs to students via tuition increases. Also they have to shift their focus from the arts and humanities to more technical fields of study. To address this issue here in BC the government has upgraded a number of former community colleges to degree granting universities that are competing with the major universities for new students. Here is an article that questions the high cost of investing in a university diploma.

Inspiring Curiosity – Wednesday, 16 April 2014, 10:43 AM

Here is a Ted talk by Ramsey Musallam a chemistry teacher on his philosophy of teaching. I like what he says about how our teaching should inspire curiosity amongst our students. The example of the curiosity of his four year old daughter is representative of all children. It almost seems that rather than building on that natural curiosity that all children have, the educational system seems to channel and choke it off as students learn the prescribed curriculum and complete the required tests in order to see if they learned the information that they were taught.

As instructors I believe that by urging our students to search through the boundless amount of information available on the internet on any given subject that we might want to teach them we can reawaken their natural curiosity and inspire them to become true life long learners.

We should encourage them to go off on tangents and share what they have learned with their classmates. Trail and error is the mother of invention in my opinion.

By inspiring students to use their curiosity we can help them come up with innovative solutions to the problems that we present them and help them become better problem solvers and trouble shooters.

Re: Social Media – Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 12:41 PM

Watching this video I enjoyed how the speaker looked at the historical context of social media. We tend to forget the vast social changes that media inspires. As the video shows up until now media has mirrored the top down organizational model of civilized society. As Joe Liebling wrote, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” (The New Yorker, May 14, 1960). Today anyone with a blog or a computer can become a citizen journalist and express their opinions or report on events. Anyone with a digital camera or cell phone can take pictures or video of what is happening around them and broadcast them to a global audience. As instructors I feel we should encourage our students to be creators of content rather than mere consumers of it as I feel we will be seeing a change in our social organizations in the future.

Here is an interesting paper on how Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are exposing corruption and leading to greater transparency. An example of this is the number of incidents of police brutality that are captured on camera and shared on the internet such as the tasering of Robert Dziekański at the Vancouver airport many years ago.

Re: Is the Internet Rotting our Brain? – Friday, 11 April 2014, 9:41 AM

I remember the same question being asked when I was a child in the dawn of the television age about television viewing. As educators we have to look at the profound effect that media has on society so that we can use it wisely.

Up until the invention of the printing press information was passed down orally. The few books that existed were reproduced by hand, usually by monks or other religiously educated people. This allowed the Church tremendous power over information and the interpretation of that information. The printing press allowed people to read and interpret the Bible for themselves and led to Martin Luther and the Reformation movement. The printing press also led to the Age of Reason and the challenge to the divine right of the crown and the rise of modern. democratic, nation states.

Television has also had a tremendous impact on how we interpret information. Television images became more important than the words or content that the accompanied those images. As I mentioned in an earlier post most radio listeners thought Richard Nixon won the 1960 presidential debate, whereas television viewers gave the victory and ultimately the presidency to Kennedy. This gave an immense amount of power to those that controlled and programmed the airwaves.

Now we have the internet that allows individuals much more power over the creation and distribution of content. Anyone with a digital camera can make a video or take a picture and upload it to the internet for the world to see. Anyone can write a blog, a twitter feed, or Facebook posting. We can believe in any concept no matter how outrageous and usually find corroboration online for our beliefs.

Just as the the evolution of media over the centuries caused upheaval and change so will the internet. We will need to encourage new skills and ways of thinking in order to deal with these changes. In closing I would like to put out there that it is not only the internet that is rotting our brain but all screen based activities. What do you think of the conclusion of the 2010 study “Television-and screen-based activity and mental well-being in adults” that concludes, “Sedentary behavior in leisure time is independently associated with poorer mental health scores in a representative population sample.”? Something we should be considering as we teach.

Hamer, M., Stamatakis, E., & Mishra, G. D. (2010). Television-and screen-based activity and mental well-being in adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 38(4), 375-380.

Re: Managing a Flipped Classroom – Monday, 31 March 2014, 12:21 PM

Here is an interesting article I found in Faculty Focus on what does the flipped classroom mean to an online class. I like the idea that the flipped classroom involves not using technology to separate in-class activities and out-of class activities but flipping the focus from the teacher to the student. This allows for greater student engagement and for them to take a more active role in their education.

For further information the authors have formed a consulting company Flip It Consulting with many more resources that you can access

Writing and Technology – Wednesday, 2 April 2014, 11:21 AM

As a member of the baby boomer generation I think of my generation as a transitional generation when it comes to media and technology. Our parent’s generation grew up on the printed word, books, newspapers and magazines, sometimes read while listening to the radio. Then along came television which combined audio sound with video images and had an incredible impact on how we viewed the world. An example of this was the 1960 televised debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Computer technology rapidly developed over time. My school got its first computer when I was in Grade 11 and it took up a classroom and you inputted data by typing on punch cards. With the advent of the personal computer in the ’70s and 80’s and the rise of the internet in the ’90s digital technology began to dominate our society. This technology allowed us to view a maasive amount of content and to create and distribute our own content to a world wide audience. Yet many teachers today still ask students to write essays, the same process I used in school so many years ago.

In this article Heather Edick builds on Anna Silva’s use of technology to build up writing skills in her class. What I liked about this article was how they technology to get students to create content rather than just consume it. It reminds us of the importance of assessing and planning our teaching around where students are at rather than where we want them to be. Writing is a very important skill as it allows us to organize and communicate our thoughts and to express ourselves. The internet now allows students to share their thoughts with a world wide audience.

In our rush to embrace technology I hope that we don’t lose focus of the fact that we want students to be able to learn new ideas and to be able to understand and communicate them and that good writing skills are necessary in order to do this. I like the idea of using the technology that students are already using in order to get them to improve their writing skills.

Re: The Networked Student – Monday, 24 March 2014, 1:11 PM

 This seems to be the way that future learning is going.  The big advantage of the internet over earlier forms of media such as print, radio and television is that it allows its users to also be participants and create their own content.  Here is an article about a high school class in Hawaii that is using connected learning.

In fact there seems to be a growing body of resources that are appearing as connected and networked learning becomes more popular.  It was here that I found this report of the Connected Learning Research Network that uses case studies in their research into design principles for connected learning.

When we realize that high students spend 9 hours a week engaging in social networking as opposed to the 55% who spend less than an hour a week on reading and writing for school.  The challenge then becomes how can we get students to engage with the internet in order to enhance their learning.

Re: Information Literacy – Tuesday, 18 March 2014, 12:27 PM

The University of Idaho defines information literacy as: “Information Literacy is the ability to identify what information is needed, understand how the information is organized, identify the best sources of information for a given need, locate those sources, evaluate the sources critically, and share that information. It is the knowledge of commonly used research techniques.”

  In the past before the rise of the internet students would do most of their research using the libraries available in their communities to find sources of information.  The amount of information was manageable and students could be assured that they had fully researched their topic using the information available to them.  Also using library sources the students could be secure in the knowledge that the information that they were using was from credible sources.

 Today with the internet the amount of information available to students is unlimited.   In their 2010 report Project Information Literacy found that for 84% of the students the most difficult step was getting started.  Students lacked the ability to frame an inquiry that would narrow down the information into the most relevant and latest available material on the topic that they had defined and were researching.

 What teachers are finding is that even though students may be adept at using computer technology and have grown up with the internet they still need help in framing research topics and questions and evaluating the research sources that they uncover.  Teachers should assess their students abilities and address any deficiencies they find by teaching strategies and directing the students to resources they might use to enhanced their research skills.

 Head, A. J., & Eisenberg, M. B. (2010). Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age. Project Information Literacy Progress Report. Project Information Literacy.

Re: Social Learning Theory – Sunday, 16 March 2014, 4:06 PM

 I first heard about Albert Bandura when I was taking the PIDP 3100 course as I was drawn to his social-cognitive theory of learning.  This was due to the fact that when I was learning my steel fabricating trade there was limited opportunity for trade school and all my learning was done on the job watching and listening to the older, experienced journeymen I worked with.

 I was interested to learn that Bandura worked in construction on the Alaska Highway northern Canada for a season.  His biographers mention that he was profoundly affected by this experience.  I can see that social learning theory owes much to the way that apprentices learn on the job by modelling the behaviour of older workers that they find to be successful.  One of the greatest thrills that a journeyperson has is when an apprentice masters a new skill and is anxious to move on and learn more.

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