Category Archives: Uncategorized

Insights from Course Blogs and Transformation of Learning for Positive Change

Technological Insights 

As a technological “geek”, I enjoyed reading my classmates’ blogs this semester as they discussed various technologies and how they would incorporate them into their own teaching and learning. The ideas of bringing mobile device pedagogy into a classroom and using technology to flip a classroom have really piqued my interest. What I learned from my classmates is that mobile devices can be used in a number of ways from employing smartphones as clickers, to having an entire class using I-pads. As one of my classmates struggled with getting the technology (hardware and software) to work while using I-pads in the classroom, I learned that it takes a community of learners (instructor, IT, and students) to not only support the technology, but also to have patience during the learning process. What I gained from my classmates about flipping the classroom, is that it is not an easy task, and that the process should begin slowly so that all stakeholders have time to adapt to the change in pedagogy. Creating power points and using rich multi-media to engage students requires the instructor to be well versed in pedagogical and technological skills.

Andragogical Insights 

Given the fact that everyone in our course is earning a doctoral degree in teaching and learning through an online methodology, I would surmise that we are the epitome of Knowles theory of andragogy. We are self-directed learners that come to the course with a desire to learn and with a myriad of experiences in the teaching field that we enjoy sharing with our fellow colleagues. As evidenced from our blogs and discussion boards, we have gone above and beyond the course requirements for our postings because we like to harvest new ideas that we can bring to our students.

Transformation of Learning for Positive Change 

Keeping up with new technological changes in the educational world is not an easy task. Using a blog to collaborate with other instructors who embrace new ways to use technology provides a great forum for an exchange of ideas and exposure to methodologies that could be incorporated into my own teaching and learning. Utilizing mobile technologies to foster engagement in my face-to-face classes is something I will surely incorporate into my teaching practices. My institution has been discussing running a pilot study using tablets—something I may now be interested in pursuing after learning more about it during this class. Using mobile devices along with a variety of other software programs may just provide a nice segue to flipping a class.

~ Sharon

Mod 7: Teaching With Technology: Glogster – An Interactive Poster

What is Glogster? 

Glogster is an online software program that allows users to create interactive posters using a variety of multimedia.  One benefit of the program is that posters can easily be accessed and shared with others through a variety of electronic devices.  According to Bedrule-Grigoruta and Rusu (2014) there are over 2.8 million glogs on the Web.  Digital posters allow users to transform ideas into dynamic interactive learning experiences. A higher education instructor can purchase a license ($95 cost) that will allow access for up to 25 students; the institution can also purchase a license ($400 cost) for 10 faculty and up to 250 students (Glogster Edu, 2015).

Using Glogster in Online Learning

Interactive posters can bring active learning, student engagement, critical thinking skills, and collaboration into the online teaching and learning environment (Bedrule-Grigoruta & Rusu (2014).  Instructors can create interactive posters to keep students engaged and provide a collaborative and fun way to promote a new way to learn course content.  Students can also design interactive posters in a creative and fun way to demonstrate their learning.

Ethical Considerations 

As Bates (2013) suggests, once information goes out to the Web, it is considered public information and no longer private.  Any interactive poster created through Glogster should be considered public and faculty and students should be advised on policies set forth by their institution.    

Glogster Used for Positive Social Change

With new technologies being developed every day, it is important for educational institutions, as well as businesses, to stay abreast of these advancements in order to remain competitive in a highly technological world (Bedrule-Grigoruta & Rusu, 2014).  Glogster helps students to develop competencies in area such as cutting edge technology, communication, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving—all skills needed for today’s workforce.

~ Sharon

References

Bates, A. (2013) Sustainability and ethical considerations [Video file]. Laureate Education (Producer). Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Bedrule-Grigoruţă, M. V., & Rusu, M. L. (2014). Considerations about e-learning tools for adult education. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 142, 749-754. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.07.610

Glogster Edu (2015).  Retrieved from http://edu.glogster.com/?ref=com

Mod 6: Teaching With Technology: Cloud Computing – Microsoft Office 365 (Power Point and Word)

What is Cloud Computing? 

Cloud computing, according to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a service (rather than a product) that provides on-demand network access of IT amenities through the Internet (as cited in Serrano, Gallardo & Hernantes, 2015). The concept has been around for about 50 years, and has been referred to as an “application service provider” and “software as a service”. Mobile cloud computing has been steadily growing and it is predicted that, not only will the market exceed $68 billion by 2017, it will be the dominant way in which people access computer applications (Rahimi, Ren, Liu, Vasilakos & Venkatasubramanian, 2014). Two applications that are cloud based include Microsoft Word and Power Point which are part of the Microsoft Office 365 Suite.

Benefits of Students Using Office 365

Having all students at an institution use the same software eliminates compatibility issues. Standardizing the software that instructors and students use for academic administrative purposes provides a uniformity or consistency in the process. Faculty can create Word and Power Point documents that all students can access and vice versa. Having everyone use the same platform allows for standardized training and ongoing assistance with the software. Since the software is in the cloud, students do not need to download the programs to their device; they just access the program and save the created documents in the cloud. Institutions that use Office Exchange (e-mail) have the ability to offer cloud-based Office 365 on a no cost basis to students. 

Fostering student learning through engagement and assessment 

            Microsoft Word: There are numerous benefits to using Word for classroom teaching and learning. Not only can using Word help faculty and students create professional looking documents for course assignments, its editing and format features help users produce academically correct assignments (i.e., APA, manuscripts, scientific notations, etc.). Engagement can occur between students-peers and students-instructor easily through the review and sound features in Word. In other words, assessment can be automated to allow for extensive comments and feedback embedded in the Word document.

          PowerPoint: Presentations, if effectively designed, can aid in student learning and instructor teaching. Weimer (2012) found that most instructors today use PowerPoint when teaching; and ,students generally report that such presentations assist them with their learning. Using PowerPoint in the cloud allows students to create presentations individually or within groups that can be shared with the class. Instructor or peer reviews can be performed to provide feedback and assessment of the presentation.

Conclusion

Cloud computing allows users to access software through a variety of mobile devices and create documents for use in the classroom. It provides users to use a standardized way to create documents so that compatibility issues are minimized. The future of technology is turning evermore towards efficiency and anytime, anywhere access. I believe that “software as a service” will continue to grow as new products are developed and easy access to use improves. 

~ Sharon

References

Microsoft (2015). Office 365: Office when and where you need it. Retrieved from https://products.office.com/en-us/business/explore-office-365-for-business

Rahimi, M., Ren, J., Liu, C., Vasilakos, A., & Venkatasubramanian, N. (2014). Mobile cloud computing: A survey, state of art and future directions. Mobile Networks & Applications19(2), 133-143. doi:10.1007/s11036-013-0477-4

Serrano, N., Gallardo, G., & Hernantes, J. (2015). Infrastructure as a service and cloud technologies. IEEE Software32(2), 30-36. doi:10.1109/MS.2015.43 

Weimer, M. (2012). Does powepoint help or hinder learning? Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/does-powerpoint-help-or-hinder-learning/

Mod 5: Teaching with Technology: VoiceThreads

Creating Student Interaction and a Sense of Community in and Online Class 

Many students have expressed feelings of isolation or disengagement in their online courses; and these feelings have been linked to high attrition rates in online courses (Kidd, 2013). Studies have shown that online courses that support a high level of student engagement lead to improved student satisfaction and academic success (Kidd, 2013; Howland, 2014). Instructors who create online courses with strong student-student, student-instructor, and student-content interactions tend to achieve greater student outcomes.

The Use and Benefits of VoiceThread to Promote Student Engagement

VoiceThread is an asynchronous collaborative tool that enables users to create engaging multimedia online discussions that foster a sense of community (Kidd, 2013; Howland, 2014). As a pedagogical tool, instructors can use VoiceThread to create online lessons that allow students to actively participate and partake in understanding online content. For example, an instructor can create a VoiceThread that contains an image and then ask students questions that require a voice response. After a student records their response, another student can then listen and formulate a voice or text answer. What occurs is an interactive asynchronous voice dialog. In her study, Kidd found that both graduate and undergraduate students felt not only a strong connection with the instructor and classmates when using VoiceThreads, but also experienced a feeling of greater involvement and a better understanding of course content (2013).

VoiceThreads can also be used to provide student feedback. Howland (2014) made a suggestion that a VoiceThread could be used to provide oral and written feedback within student assignments. By using voice and on screen notes, students experience the sense that a “real” person is providing the feedback (Howland, 2014).

Other Uses for VoiceThread include turning a power point presentation into an interactive lesson in an online course. An instructor can ask questions on particular slides and have students respond, critique, and debate each other. The interaction among students using their voices brings a sense of personalization and connectedness to the online course (Kidd, 2013).

VoiceThread is one tool that can be used to increase social presence and student interaction in an online course—a needed pedagogy to increase student satisfaction and retention in online education.

~ Sharon

References

Howland, J. (2014). Let’s talk VoiceThread! Supporting communication in online courses. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, pp. 856-861.

Kidd, J., (2013). Evaluating VoiceThread for online content delivery and student interaction: Effects on classroom community. Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 1 pp. 2158–2162.

Mod 4: Video Conferencing and Reflections on Blogging

Creating Online Learning Communities Using Video Conferencing

Two apps that work well for creating online learning communities are Skype and OoVoo. Both apps are free and specialize in the ability to video chat, send instant messages, exchange files, and create conference calls. In addition they can both be used on a variety of devices and work with both Microsoft and Apple products. One advantage of Skype over OoVoo is its ability to chat with up to twenty-five people at one time. Although OoVoo only allows twelve people at one time, it has an additional feature that allows users to watch YouTube videos together.

Video conferencing can be used within online courses to generate a greater sense of community by creating a synchronous gathering. Synchronous technologies can create a sense of connectedness or social presence as students meet online to interact and discuss course content and assignments (Abe & Jordan, 2013; Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2014; Yuan & Kim, 2014). One way to foster the idea of an online learning community is to have students use web conferencing for online group projects. As Rockinson-Szapkiw (2014) indicates, students generally have a negative view of online group work because of the challenge it poses when conducted asynchronously.   Using technology that allows students to video chat in real-time allows for improved communication and promotes not only student-to-student engagement, but can also provide better student-instructor engagement as well (Yuan & Kim, 2014).

Challenges usually ensue with the use of technology. Students need to be guided in the use of web conferencing before it is required in the online classroom. As Abe and Jordan (2013) state, even though most students are digital natives, they are not familiar with all types of technology used in education. And, let’s not dismiss the time factor vis-à-vis faculty planning a lesson around the use of web conferencing. As online education continues to expand and technologies continue to be developed, designing ways to increase social interactions and to create a feeling a community in the online classroom will be important for student learning.

References

Abe, P., & Jordan, N. A. (2013). Integrating Social Media into the Classroom Curriculum. About Campus,18(1), 16-20.

Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. (2014) Technologies that assist in online group work: A comparison of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration technologies on students’ learning community. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2014 1, 672–677. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Yuan, J., & Kim, C. (2014). Guidelines for facilitating the development of learning communities in online courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(3), 220-232.

Links for free web conferencing:

OoVoo Link: http://www.oovoo.com/

Skype Link: http://www.skype.com/en/

Reflections on Blogging:

The blog that I have created for this class is my first real blog. I created one about five years ago just to try out blogging; however, I abandoned it because at the time, I did not see its practical value. My interest has been renewed; and, I can now recognize the advantages that blogging can offer in the areas of teaching and learning. As Dowling (2013) indicates, blogs are learner-generated content that students create to not only share, but also to interact with others in a public forum. The educational blog motivates students to carefully craft the content so that it can become a valuable resource for others. According to Sullivan and Longnecker (2014) blogs offer several benefits to students, including learning more about a specific subject, fostering a sense of community as bloggers interact with each other, and increasing writing and critical thinking skills.

The main challenge that I have found in maintaining an individual blog as a classroom assignment is the time commitment involved in posting, reading classmates posts, and consistently commenting to others. Another challenge to blogging has been to learn the nuances of the different types of blogs, i.e. WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger. Despite the challenges, blogs give students the opportunity to deeply learn about a subject from multiple perspectives and a diverse audience.

References

Dowling, S. (2013). Using blogs to share learner-generated content. The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 17(2), 22pp. http://www.eric.ed.gov/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=EJ1017787

Sullivan, M., & Longnecker, N. (2014). Class blogs as a teaching tool to promote writing and student interaction. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 30(4).

Mod 3: Teaching in the Online Environment

Teaching in The Online Environment

The incorporation of any technology-based instructional tool in the classroom requires careful planning and execution. Most importantly, it should be remembered that technology should be utilized as a means to achieve a goal and to help students learn (Schmid, Bernard, Borokhovski, Tamim, Abrami, Surkes, Wade & Woods, 2014). The literature tells us that technology, when used effectively, can promote student engagement, foster a student-centered atmosphere, and bring enjoyment to the classroom (Revere & Kovach, 2011). Online classes can benefit from the use of a variety of technologies in the same fashion as a traditional face-to-face class. In this blog, I will discuss a few instructional technologies that can used in the college online classroom, which ones I embrace to enhance the learning of my online students, how additional technology-based learning strategies would benefit me, as well as how I can increase my knowledge in online technologies.

A Few Technology Resources

  1. Blackboard™ (Learning Management System – LMS)
  2. Discussion Boards
  3. Journals, Blogs, and Wiki’s
  4. Voiced-over or video converted power point presentations
  5. Group Learning

Embraced Technologies

I actually have used all of the technology resources listed above in both my online classes and in my face-to-face classes, as well as trained other faculty in the use of these resources. Blackboard is one technology that is extensively utilized at my institution for all types of classes, including face-to-face, online, and hybrid. The Blackboard program allows instructors and students to readily communicate knowledge online using built-in technologies including discussion boards, journals, blogs, wikis, group learning, etc. Each of these built-in features encourages students to actively participate and engage with content, fellow classmates, and the instructor. The group feature in Blackboard is an excellent way to divide a large online class and to foster team work. Within groups, students can also create blogs and wikis as well as collaborate using a group discussion board and document sharing area. Lastly, I have used voiced over power points to bring a humanizing element into online class lectures. By adding voice and notes to a power point presentation, multiple student learning styles—verbal, visual, auditory, and intrapersonal–can be included in the instruction. 

A Little More Training Needed

Although I am comfortable using the above mentioned technologies, it would be helpful to learn different ways in which to incorporate the technologies into the online classroom to engage my students and a offer a variety of instructional techniques. 

Professional Development Opportunities and Solutions The following upcoming conferences would assist me in learning more about online technologies:

In addition to conferences, participating in webinars, such as Magna’s Online Seminars (2015), will provide me with new ideas for the use of technology in the online classroom. In house mentoring would be another avenue to learn what other faculty members have found to be successful when brining technology into their  online classrooms.

References

Revere, L., & Kovach, J. V. (2011). Online technologies for engaged learning: A meaningful synthesis for educators. Quarterly Review of Distance Education12(2), 113-124.

Schmid, R. F., Bernard, R. M., Borokhovski E., Tamim, R. M., Abrami, P.C., Surkes, M. A., Wade, C. A., Woods, J. (2014). The effects of technology use in postsecondary education: A meta-analysis of classroom applications, 72, 271-291. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.11.002

Mod 2: Teaching with Technology

Teaching with Technology

Educators today should not ignore the call to incorporate the use of technology in their classrooms. Every day a new technology is developed; and every day the use of technology becomes more commonplace, especially as mobile technologies, such as the smart phone, evolve. People can obtain information with just a swipe of their finger on a device that is connected to the Internet. Educational institutions that encourage faculty to incorporate technology in the classroom will bring teaching and learning to the 21st century and help students to be successful in today’s high-tech society. In this blog, I will discuss a few technologies used in the college classroom, those which ones I embrace to enhance my student’s learning, those which require further training on my part, as well as ways to foster further technological and pedagogical professional development.

A Few Technology Resources

  1. Blackboard (Learning Management System – LMS)
  2. Smart Boards
  3. Classroom Networked Computers with Overhead Projectors
  4. WebEx and GoTo Meeting (Live conferencing software)
  5. Office 365, Office Online and Free Office Download

Embraced Technologies

I embrace all of the above mentioned technologies to enhance my classroom teaching. A LMS not only allows students easy access to instructional materials, it serves as a great, all-in-one communication and collaboration tool that can be used for online teaching as well as facilitating a face-to-face class. Technologies in the classroom, such as networked computers, overhead projectors, and smart boards, assist the instructor to bring active learning into the classroom. A college-wide E-mail system along with free software programs that enable students to create electronic documents that can be shared by everyone, creates a standard protocol for communication. Finally, being able to conduct live web conferences with students, especially those only enrolled in online courses, creates an atmosphere of collaboration, student engagement, and a sense of community in a cyberspace environment.

A Challenged Technology

The only technology listed above that I am uncomfortable using is the smart board. After participating in a half-day training session led by our smart board vendor, I admit that I have not spent any additional time learning how to effectively use it in my classroom. As Brigham (2013) states, it is easy to underutilize a smart board because effective training takes time. As a result, many faculty use it improperly (Brigham, 2013). Although smart boards are more commonly used in K-12 classrooms, they are more widely used in education-type college programs (pre-service K-12 teachers) (Brigham, 2013, p. 196). My only experience, thus far, has been to use the smart board to display my power points. The time required to learn this technology has been my enemy.

Professional Development (Smart Board)

Additional training on how to incorporate the features of the smart board into my classroom would need to be self-motivated. For example, I could visit the vendor’s website to learn how to use the smart board features. Instructional videos and scholarship of teaching and learning articles could be accessed through the Web; or, I could ask for assistance from a colleague who is proficient in using the smart board. Learning to effectively use the features of the smart board would enable me to bring more dynamic and active learning activities into my classroom.

Continued Assistance with Technology

Improving technological and pedagogical support should be the goal of any college, especially with technology constantly changing and evolving. According to Clemmons (2015), it literally takes a village to effectively get faculty on board with using technology in the classroom. Faculty assistance should come in the form of support from a college IT department, academic departments, colleagues, as well as professional development opportunities. In order to ensure that faculty effectively utilize technology in the classroom, they must be knowledgeable not only in their discipline, but also in how to integrate the technology and adapt their pedagogy (Matherson, Wilson, & Wright, 2014).

References

Clemmons, R. (2015). It takes a village: Boosting faculty instructional technology use. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/events/educause-connect-san-diego/2015/it-takes-village-boosting-faculty-instructional-technology-use

Matherson, L. H., Wilson, E. K., & Wright, V. H. (2014). Need TPACK? Embrace sustained professional development. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin81(1), 45-52.

Tara J. Brigham (2013) Smart Boards: A reemerging technology. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 32(2), 194-202, doi: 10.1080/02763869.2013.776903