Improve Learning: The Socio-Material Dynamic versus Structure

 Connectivism, ICTs, MOOC  Comments Off on Improve Learning: The Socio-Material Dynamic versus Structure
Sep 302011
 

My response to The Virtuous Middle Way

The efficiency of the learning process speaks nothing of the effectiveness of it. Might we say, “the machinery of education is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the learning process”? I doubt that many educators would argue against this as an espoused theory, but as a theory in use, perhaps it is a different story (as Jeremy eludes to). Comparing MOOCs to educational institutions (if I must), I find that some MOOCs are actually more structured than some institutional courses I’ve been involved with – at least in terms of laying out a content timeline and delivery. Regardless, to understand the effectiveness and efficiency of any learning process, one needs to analyze how the socio-material dynamic (i.e., how over time people interact with each other together with the necessary artifacts that allow such interaction to take place) emerges within a given structure.

Offering guidance in any structure could be seen as being helpful or a hindrance. What constitutes guidance? A newsletter? Syllabus? Freedom of choosing an ICT? Personal explanation/feedback? Graded exam? Lecture? These all could be seen in both a positive and negative light depending on the circumstances. But it’s precisely the circumstances that we need to understand in order to have a better idea about the effectiveness and efficiency of the learning process at hand.

 Posted by at 3:48 pm

Teaching and Learning with ICTs

 ICTs, TESOL, Wikieducator  Comments Off on Teaching and Learning with ICTs
Aug 062011
 

school-of-fishWell, Monday starts a new semester.  As I reflect on how I might create opportunities for my students to be more engaged in the learning experience, both in and outside of class, my current inclination is to use ICTs but in a slightly different way.

This semester I’ll be teaching Microteaching I (third semester), Academic Writing (seventh semester), and Applied Linguistics (seventh semester) to pre-service English language teachers (i.e., eight-semester bachelor’s degree program in English language teaching).  The primary ICTs that I’ll use for these blended classes will be wikis and Moodle.

Student-teachers (STs) taking Microteaching I meet four hours a week, teaching in 15-minute blocks with their classmates (i.e., “students”).  At the time of this post, the wiki was still under development, but will be further developed in the coming days.  The wiki will home STs’ reflective wiki pages that will remain open for all to see and will also be integrated (i.e., embeded) to Moodle.  Since this is my first time teaching this class, there will certainly be tweaks and turns as the class unfolds ultimately driving which ICTs to use and how they will be used to best engage students.

I’ve taught Academic Writing in the past using primarily Wikieducator, but this year I wanted to do something different.  This year I will be using(Doku) wiki along with Moodle as I plan to do with Microteaching I.  The main reason for using Dokuwiki over Wikieducator is that (a) Dokuwiki is more user-friendly and (b) it integrates well to my website hosting service (Fatcow).  The wiki/Moodle integration will look something like the following:

Wikis are a great tool for academic writing as it makes the writing process more transparent.

The course in Applied Linguistics will also integrate a wiki with Moodle…are you seeing a pattern here? :) Students will apply their understanding of linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis to their own teaching practice through an action research project.

The objective this semester is to make the learning process of each course as open as possible so that students see the value in transparent learning.  As their facilitator, making course designs open will provide other educators with ideas as well as opportunities to collaborate and cooperate in areas of curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

How will you use ICTs this semester or year?

 Posted by at 3:51 pm

ICT Challenge (#edumooc)

 ICTs  Comments Off on ICT Challenge (#edumooc)
Jul 152011
 

There was some talk this week during a recent Google+ hangout about how others were using technology to understand all the content related to edumooc 2011. I decided to share some ICTs that I’m currently using and thought I’d invite others to do the same. Perhaps this might help those who are still trying to find their way around the vast amount of information that’s out there.

 Posted by at 3:54 pm