If there was only
that I could introduce to my colleagues
and my students
from all of the Web 2.0 tools
that I have come to learn about
over the past five weeks
of my exploration into all things Web 2.0
You may notice that I have not yet blogged about this tool and it is not in my list of blog topics that I shared in an earlier post, where I listed my upcoming blogs assignments and the anticipated delivery dates. That is because we were not required to create a blog about this tool but rather, we were introduced to this tool through a practical learning situation set up by our Prof Jenn. Thanks Jenn! Since I work in cooperative education which is based on the perspective that experiential learning has merit, I believe this is one tool that I can easily introduce to my colleagues and that they can easily see the potential.
When Jenn introduced us to the full potential of this medium by arranging one online live class for our course. when she invited Mack Male, to join our class in an online discussion, in the University of Alberta’s eClass live tool, Elluminate.
eClass Live! is a web collaboration system and real-time virtual environment. It can be inplemented stand-alone or to add live discussion and dynamic interaction to your exsiting asynchronous learning environments such as eClass. The system allows instructors and students to text chat, talk over the Internet, deliver PowerPoint presentations, and share software applications and whiteboards. It is powered by the Elluminate.”
With just one live online class I am sold on the benefits and potential of online web conferencing! When you can be passionate about a tool I believe it is easier to interest peers and colleagues about considering the tool. With the change in any work policy, procedure, or process or with the adoption of any new technology it takes a passionate advocate to share the potential outcomes that can come from change. With ever changing technologies and the time it can take to learn, understand, implement and then get to utilizing new technologies it can be understandably, intimidating to think about jumping on board.
I believe that online web conferencing is a technology that is going to catch online like wild fire. Given that the technology is becoming easier to use and with the increasing financial constraints that many educators are facing it becomes even more enticing when we realize it can be done at a very low, to no cost. It is sure to be given more consideration in the future. I believe it is “what’s next.”
This web 2.0 tool has come to my attention at a most opportune time for my colleagues to be situated in an experiential learning situation, similar to the one that just happened to me! My colleagues and I are members of the Cooperative Association for Cooperative Education (CAFCE) and at the upcoming annual general meeting and professional development event that is being held in November we will be able to participate in sharing our voice and opinion about the direction of our association. My colleagues and I have been invited to attend virtually, if we cannot attend in person, and since it is unlikely that we have the budget for us all to go, we can likely participate and connect with our peers right from the comfort of our office.
When it is time for professional development or time to implement new technologies, will you have the time? What’s Next?
As educators we have a responsibility to our students, our institutions and in our case, also to employers, to ensure we uphold a commitment to deliver a quality program. This is the case for educators across all disciplines and settings. There is one critical issue that I need to address further and that is the issues around professional development and the necessary fact to rememeber is that it takes time. The Learning Point Associates website has an article on this very topic titled, Critical Issue: Finding time for professional development that provides a summary of this issue:
School improvement efforts over the last few decades require teachers not only to study, implement, and assess learner outcomes outlined in local, state, and national educational standards but also to provide meaningful, engaged learning (cognitively, socially, and culturally) for a very diverse student population.”
It is apparent from the article that it is not just my program that is seeking to achieve accountability and improvement measures but that we have many a kindred spirit in our same postion out there in cyberspace. We cna learn from their experiences. The learning and understanding of best practices is only a first step in the process of managing our program development and delivery and as I hope is becoming apparent, we are all well aware that is also necessary.
I believe that we cannot implement every great new technology or best practice, with only so much time to plan, develop, and implement new tools into our program. However, we can continue to look to innovators in our fields and will know where to turn for ideas for each tool that we do get the chance to consider and implement over time. By keeping knowledgeable about the technologies that are emerging for education we will can continue to advance the learning of our students and will also learn lots ourselves, along the way. One place I will be turning to keep apace of emerging technologies and practices is Educause Learning Initiative.
Learning technology alone does not necessarily advance learning; well-integrated learning technologies and practices often do. With learning principles and practices in mind, technology is being used in service of learning. New technologies may advance learning; even traditional technologies, when implemented with pedagogically sound practices, can result in significant learning gains.
Questions the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) explores include:
- What are the emerging learning technologies and practices, and how can we use them?
- How do we accommodate emerging practices associated with new learning technologies within our institutions?
- How do we evaluate the potential impact new technologies and practices may have on advancing learning?
- What do our students think about these technologies and higher education’s perspective on them?
- How can we understand what is happening on our campuses? Can surveys help us develop strategies that align student and faculty expectations for the use of learning technologies?”
Jane’s e-learning pick of the day blog and Jane’s social media blog are two other places where I will return to see what is new with technology and learning. Jane’s blogs have been added to my RSS feed. I just discovered Jane’s blogs this morning when I was visiting my classmate, Carol’s blog, where a link to one of Jane’s sites was sitting in Carol’s sidebar with an interesting post titled, MobilEdu – now part of Blackboard – thanks Carol, this is how we can share best practices! The post caught my eye because in the U of A School of Business, Blackboard is our online course delivery platform that is known by our staff and students as uLearn. This is where my colleagues and I might be able to set up an online live class for our students.
Currently, the Introduction to Cooperative Education course that my colleagues and I teach in fall and winter semesters, utilizes several features in uLearn to keep in touch with our students about our seminars and workshops. I can see exploring uLearn’s capacities in much greater detail now that I have seen how well live online course conferences can work and I will be encourage my colleagues to explore this platforms potential with me in the coming months.
We are always funnelling the feedback we receive about our program content and delivery so that we can learn and develop our program. I can see that we can make some positive transformations to our program by utilizing more aspects of uLearn. For example, students have shared that they would like to feel more connected with their peers and our program when they are away from campus, completing their work experience terms.
With the fresh awareness of the potential for creating a collaborative “class” environment with a live online class, I think we need to explore this tool further – it could be a great way to connect students workplace learning with their university learning and they could learn from each other’s experiences. I recommend we try to have one online class per each four month term, meaning 3 times per year we put on a one or two hour online class for students to join in an online reflection period, where they can share with each other and us about what they are learning on their jobs.
What’s next? What else is emerging?
Technology is rapidly changing, as I mentioned above, and it is hard to keep up with what is currently in use and what is on the horizon. Jane’s blogs mentioned above, are a good place to start but if you haven’t found what you are looking for in my blog or the links that I have shared and are looking for resources on the topic of education and training check out blogcatalog where you can find great blogs that may lead you to your next great web 2.0 tool that you can consider bringing into your education, here are just a few examples, to get you started:
- Successful Teaching
Ideas and strategies for new and struggling teachers on all levels.
- Education For All
Free Education Resources and Information
- iLearn Technology
iLearn technology is an edublog dedicated to giving teachers practical tips for integrating technology into the classroom. All of the resources are free to use and simple to implement.
If you want a lighter look at What’s Next check out this video
And now a final inspiration
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle
This 21st Century Classroom slideshow presents core themes about the importance for creative and innovative teaching and learning and includes thinking on the skills and knowledge needed to master 21st century life and career skills.
Thanks for checking in on me!
~:) Heather Kennedy-Plant’s second to last, required, assigned, EDES 501 course blog
Time flies when you are having fun!
- Wiki Pedagogy: Changing The Education Landscape (slideshare.net)
- Web Meetings and Internet Conferencing (stepbysteptips.com)
- Instead of Traveling, Hold an Online Meeting (adamzaius.net)
- Dimdim Upgrades Its Alternative Web Conferencing System (xconomy.com)