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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cloud Computing

Here is my final project for my most recent course, Diffusion and Integration of Technology on cloud computing.  The project required us to create a presentation to convince the board to integrate any technology that we wanted into their daily business.

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tech NO to Tech YES!

Teaching in a state where laptops are in the hands of all 7th and 8th grade students results in a variety of technology comfort with the teachers.  Since the integration of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative many models of technology education have been used to create teachers who are comfortable with regular technology integration in their classrooms. 

The model of technology education that I have found the most beneficial with teachers follows Keller's ARCS model.  Although I did not know about the ARCS model when implementing it, upon reflection it fits.  In the early 80's John Keller developed a four step model to increase motivation.
A - attention
R - relevance
C - confidence
S - satisfaction

The successful technology education model that I have found with teachers starts with a small group of teachers who want to improve their technoloogy integration.  I then sit around with them in an informal and comfortable setting and ask them what types of technology they would like to learn more about.  This is the attention stage.

Once we have decided on a few topics that they want to learn more about I start be doing a simple introduction to the topic.  During this initial introductions I try to relate how the technology can be used in both their classroom as well as their personal life.  Through this connection to both aspects of their lives I am showing the relevance stage.  This shows the teacher that the technology can not only enhance their classroom but also their own life.  By getting the teachers comfortable with technology outside of the classroom, I have found that they are more comfortable with integrating it into their own classroom.

Once they know a few basics about the technology skill we then brainstorm was that it can be used both in their classroom and their personal life.  Once we have brainstormed a few each teacher, or small group picks a project that they want to work on.  They then have several work sessions where I help them develop their ideas into a tool that they can use either in their classroom or in their personal life.  through this process they are working on the third step, confidence.  Once they know that they can successfully work the technology in our sessions they are ready to apply it either in their classroom or personal life.

The final stage, satisfaction through further meetings.  I try to check back in with the teacher in a few days or weeks to see how the integration of their new technology skills has gone.  At this point it is expected that they are trying the technology independently.  At this point I can answer further questions if necessary.

Through this model, inadvertently designed after Keller's ARCS motivational model I have fond that teachers get more comfortable with new technology skills.  They go from Tech NO, to Tech YES teachers!

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Diigo To Blog In One Click!

Diigo has a simple feature that allows you to blog about any website that you come across without needing to copy and paste links.  If you are a user of Diigo and you like to blog this is a must use feature.  Below is a link to the directions in how to set up your blog with Diigo.  Once configured (all you need to do is enter your blog address), you can blog about any website by simply clicking send to blog in your Diigo toolbar.  This is just yet another priceless feature of Diigo. 


This second link is in case you want Diigo to automatically blog for you.  


How do you think that you could utilize this feature in your classroom or personal life?

Enjoy ~SJ

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cool Cat Tech Tips!

Cool Cat Teacher Vicki Davis just posted the most insightful list of twelve healthy online habits.  If you are a fellow Walden student you might recognize Vicki from a few mentions in weekly vodcasts from EDUC 8847: Instructional Design & Multimedia.

Here are her 12 tips:
1) Share
2) Respond
3) Comment
4) Link Generously
5) Read (or Listen) Prolifically
6) Distribute Yourself
7) Beware of Flattery
8) Live Life Online AND Off-Line
9) Latch Key Your Legacy
10) Laugh (a lot)
11) Take Every Presentation Seriously
12) Expect Criticism  

Please click through and read her detailed explanation for each of these twelve tips!

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Living In A Material (Digital) World

In 1985 Madonna was right in her song Material Girl, it was a material world.  If she were to release that song today the lyrics would be that we are "living in a digital world".  To be an active learner in the digital age you learn through a variety of channels.  In the new learning learning theory called connectivism, networks and connections are critical to learners ability to learn.  Wikiversity defines connectivism as "a learning theory advocated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes, among others, which emphasizes the importance and role of networks and connections between people (and things?) as prominent (central) to the learning process".  Below is a mind map some of the many of the networks that I learn through. (You can click on the image to view it larger)


There are a plethora of digital tools available for learning, and I try to utilize as many of them as I can.  The number one digital tool in my 21st century toolbox is my MacBook Pro.  Without my laptop I would not be able to connect as easily to many of my other digital tools.  I have been reading and writing blogs for several years now.  I write two blogs, one professional (this one), as well as a personal blog.  I also read over 50 blogs, many of which are technology or education related.  Another digital tool that I utilize for learning is magazine websites.  Edutopia is one magazine website that allows you to connect with the material on more interactive level.  Through the groups, blogs, videos, and community section I haven't found an educational topic not covered.  The countless peer reviewed journal articles also add depth to my digital learning network.

My digital network has only enhanced the ways that I can learn.  The instant discoveries of new information only a fingertip way allows for constant learning.  I am almost always on my computer looking and reading about any given variety of topics.

When there is a new topic that I want to learn about I always start with Google.  If I am looking for more academic focused results and Google doesn't give me the answers that I want I then check Google Scholar.  If I am looking for less academic results then Wikipedia, an online public editing encyclopedia,  YouTube, a collection of public submitted videos, or Google Reader, a blog search engine can be helpful.  My newest discovery for answering burning questions is Wikiversity, which like Wikipedia allows users to collectively edit encyclopedia entries, but all of the topics are focused on education.   

This is how I am "living in a digital world", how do you live?

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

And The Winner Is.... Basic Human Instincts!

Global teamwork is critical to the further development of new ideas.  In an abstract on total quality management Schonberger (1994) stated the following about teamsmanship versus leadership:

Total quality management sharply modifies management itself. As teams and teamwork take root, leadership idolatry fades in importance.Teamsmanship requires breaking vertical and horizontal barriers that stand in the way of quick, high-quality customer service. Management tools helpful in barrier-busting include team-building, cross-training,job rotation, cross-careering, project teams, and re-engineering. While these tools are in wide use, companies often misapply or weakly apply them. Examples are given of how some companies use these tools in ways that effectively enhance teamsmanship. Teamsmanship also feeds on information, which must be widely shared. In most Western cultures,however, people tend jealously to guard their own knowledge and personally acquired information. Organizations must employ systematic devices that promote information sharing. Among the better known such devices are benchmarking and quality function deployment. Also useful,but less familiar, are common files and the "star system". As applied by a small number of organizations, these techniques can become effective tools of teamsmanship.  

Rheingold discussed humans instinct to work as a group to accomplish a common goal.  This basic human instinct is what will lead to greater accomplishments in the future.  Through the collaboration of a team larger scale projects can be accomplished.   The critical difference between leadership and teamwork is that in a teamwork setting each person on the team brings a different set of skills to the table.  With the increasing amount of knowledge in the world to know it is no longer possible to know how to do everything well.  Through a team collaboration setting each person does not need to be an expert in all of the fields necessary to complete the project.  

Take the project Wikipedia.  It is a vast amount of knowledge continuously updated and growing on almost any topic imaginable.  It would be impossible for one person to be updating this database, managing the technical end, and staying abreast of new knowledge.  Through the teamwork model no one person has to be an expert in everything, but rather a group of people come together to accomplish a common goal.  
The growth of technology has even further enhanced humans ability to work as a team on a common goal.  Through Skype, Google Docs, Webspiration,  and countless other collaborative web 2.0 tools people are able to come together seamlessly to work on the common goal.  As technology grows more in the future, this ability to collaborate will grow even more. 

Through the use of teamwork unimaginable goals can be accomplished.   

Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How Do You Rank?

This is a quiz that I came across published by Edutopia. In case you don't read Edutopia it is from the George Lucas Educational Foundation and is the fountain of youth when it comes to educational innovations.

QUIZ: Tech Savvy Teaching: How Do You Rank? | Edutopia

Share your results when you are finished!

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mayer's Triarchic Model of Cognitive Load

I created this mind web using Webspiration, an online mind mapping software, as an assignment for my Multimedia course.  Webspiration is a web based version of Inspiration.  It was a very user friendly tool, where your final product can be exported into several formats including Google Docs.

Enjoy ~SJ

Not Everything Is A One Size Fits All

The debate between the two educational learning theories cognitivism and behaviorism educational learning theories is an age old discussion in the educational realm. The challenge of these two learning theories is that neither of them fit into the one size fits all model.  Two blog posts debate the differences between these two theories.  The blog posts include comments from three important thinkers of today: Kerr, Downes, and Kapp. Kapp supports both theories and prescribes to the idea that a melding of these two ideas creates a well-balanced learning environment.  Through an in depth understanding of both of these schools of thought, an educator can develop an optimal learning environment.

The Encyclopedia of Educational and Leardership Administration lists the following characterisitcs essential to cognitivism:
  • "People and animals may not learn in the same ways. People possess abilities unique to the species.
  • Mental events are central to studying learning.
  • The study of learning should be objective, and learning theories should be based on evidence. However, inferences can be drawn about the nature of internal mental events that produce observed responses.
  • Individuals are actively involved in the learning process and control their own learning.
  • Learning involves the formation of mental associations not necessarily reflected in overt behavior changes.
  • Knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions are all associated and connected, that is, organized.
  • Learning involves relating new information to previously learned information".
Piaget, Vygotsky, and the Gestalt psychologists are all educational theorists who can be categorized as cognitivists.  

Behaviorism embodies the concept that people learn through the environment around them.  The Encyclopedia of Educational and Leardership Administration characterizes behaviorism as "the result of environmental stimuli that “condition” behavior responses. Behaviorists assume that human beings and animals learn in the same way, so principles derived from research with animals are applied to human learning. Learning is studied by observing and measuring an organism's responses to environmental stimuli".  Skinner, Pavlov, and Hull are three educational theorists who fit the behaviorists model. 

In our every diversifying society it is become more challenging to develop one idea and have it fit all situations.  Learning environments is one such place where this phenomena proves challenging.  In order to best reach our learners it is critical to be well read in a large variety of theorists and then be able to apply their theories in the appropriate setting.  One size does not fit all, but there is the right t-shirt, or theory, out there for all situations.

Enjoy ~SJ 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Good Is Your Plumbing?

Does learning take place inside a brick building with students sitting in neat lines of desk?  Does learning take place by a stream bed classifying organisms?  Does learning take place in a public library reading room?  Does learning take place in the car on a trip across country?  Does learning take place on a Internet website?  The answer to all of these questions could be yes!

Siemens (2004) stated "the pipe is more important than the content within the pipe".  The pipe that he was referring to is a persons ability to learn, and the content of the pipe is knowledge.  Siemens was predicting that future learning theory needs to take into account that with a rapidly changing world with exponentially growing amounts of knowledge, a person needs to know how to find the information that they need more often then have the information memorized.  Shift Happens is a group that has been producing short videos on the rapidly changing world that we live in, and the career and educational challenges that our students face.

From the Ebbinghaus, to Thorndike, to Pavlov, and Gestalt the way that humans learn how been theorized and hypothesized.  The difficulty with these learning theorists is that they did not create their learning theories with the 21st century challenges in mind.  Siemens (2004) even suggests that with the current technology trends the way that humans learn could be changing.  In today's 21st century with schools quickly adapting a larger variety of educational technology it is critical to look towards the suggested skills listed for the 21st century.  21st Century Schools is a website that clearly outlines what these skills are, and the differences between today's traditional schools and those that encompass 21st century skills.  

People learn best once they have spent time learning in a variety of ways.  Gardner, and other psychologists, have outlined in his multiple intelligences theory people all learning through their own unique combination of effective means.  Once a person has spent time learning through a variety of styles they are able to determine which style is best for them.  If a person is only exposed to a limited variety of ways to learn, then they may not have the chance to find their best learning style.

Learning theory is critical to education.  Through learning theory controlled scientific experiments have proven a variety of elements crucial to providing the best learning environment for learners.  Learning theory and educational technology are important with the rapidly changing world that we need to prepare our students for.  Through the 21st century skills and what we already know about learning theory from Gardner, Thorndike, Pavlov, and Gestalt we can create a learning environment where the needs of the students and their learning needs meet.  In this environment both the students pipe and plumbing will be fostered. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Educational Tecnhology Time Line & Podcast

Walden University Educ 8840Evolution of Technology in Society, Education, and WorkplaceTime Line Assignment

Part 1 of this project can be found here, and Part 2 here

Part 1. Create a time line from 1900 to the present, and select three decades that fascinate you the most since 1950 for your analytical paper or podcast.

Develop the time line using technology using time line software, a multimedia presentation, a word processing document, or another technological presentation of your time line. Color‐code or use some identifying element for each strand of the time line.

Strand 1: Toffler’s three waves and the next wave, if you believe we have entered one
Strand 2.: Key technological advances and innovations for each decade
Strand 3: The nature of work: Business and corporate philosophies
Strand 4: Educational theories of learning and instruction
Strand 5: Nature of society and culture: What key events determined the thinking of the decade?
Strand 6: Any strand of your choosing, I chose Trends and Fads

The planning templates organizing the information be strand can be downloaded by clicking on each of the above strands.

Part 2. Once the time line is completed, write a paper or create a podcast explaining the interrelationships of the events selected for each of three decades. In many cases technology has an influence on other factions in society, and in return, they have an influence on the ways that technological innovations are developed. Select any three decades from 1950 to the present for the analysis.

A New Blog

This blog will house blog post requirements for my coursework at Walden University in Educational technology. I have several wiki pages, a ning, and a twitter account dedicated to just educational technology (they are linked at the side). You can still find my personal blog at http://sjbeat.blogspot.com/

Enjoy ~SJ