Welcome to Bootcamp
Many hours and many pages!
July 11, 2009 6:00PM
Karen’s Final Reflective Summary for the e-Learning Survival Guide
Project Goal: To create a somewhat self-directed resource for college faculty to learn and experience technology in education. To try to hook those who may not be using technology. To create a fun easy-to-use guide that engages the reader/participant.
Target Group: Faculty members at George Brown College, but also any one interested in learning and experiencing technology in education.
Intended Use: Could be as a self-directed experience with other members of a group. Or could be in a blended format where some of concepts are talked about just online and others in class. For example, it would be helpful to have in class experience making audio and visual podcasts and some other topics. Blended format helps the group get to know each other in two different ways
When to implement: Several people have the link so I might be getting feedback anytime. Ideally I’d like to try to get some faculty to use it this fall.
When I started my e-learning survival guide, I wanted to create a document that would cover the key areas of e-learning in a friendly fun engaging way for interested faculty at my college. I had a lot of ideas in mind so I gathered them together and tried to focus on the three areas that Stephen Downes talks about – Usability, Interaction and Relevance. I used those three things to guide my pages. I also tried to include the concepts we’ve been talking about in our course- being a guide more than a teacher, and presenting interesting materials that would encourage the viewer to interact and produce.
Another overarching concept I kept in mind was the concept of social networks and sharing which are key to Web 2.0 and the millennial generation. As well as the content that involved the applications that facilitate social networks, I tried to illustrate social interaction through participation in discussions in the Webbaddendum Ning group created. and
Another way I tried to show the concept of sharing was through the music/video break idea. I used the videos from the Playing for Change Movement - the movement to bring peace through music around the world. The videos include musicians from around the world coming together in their own location to create a world-view of the songs. I used these as a metaphor for sharing and working together in education.
(What I learned by constructing the project)/Good Resources
I realized that there was a lot of work on each page, so I wanted to let a person take a break or work and listen at the same time. What I learned from doing this was that working on those pages and playing the videos while I worked was good for me too.
I had a lot of good resources, but I found a lot more. One of the best things I learned was how to harness the power of Delicious. I work on more than one computer, so really using it while collecting resources helped me organize things. It also led me to connect with my other geeky colleagues leading to some excellent resources. As far as specific resources, there are too many to mention, but I focused on the key players in the field of education and emerging technology.
What I didn’t do well while I was doing the project was format each of my references in APA as I went along. Next time, I’m promising myself to format each reference as I collect them and have them in a nice page so it’s just a matter of moving them around rather that spending hours and hours putting pieces together. Or I need to find the killer app that does an immediate page reference for APA. I’m not convinced it isn’t out there. And Tony has now told us about Zotero, so I'm checking that out.
I learned some upsides to Mahara and some downsides. Usually I create pages in Dreamweaver, so there where times that I felt constricted by the boxes and settings in Mahara. Cut and paste HTML doesn’t always work correctly in Mahara.
In Dreamweaver you can do global changes to pages and create templates. With Mahara each change had to be individual, so I swear I revised my table of contents millions of times with all the page views I have.
I learned enough about Mahara to be confident that I’m going to be able to sell the idea of using it at our college. It's something that I think might be able to cause a conversion in the anti-tech crew. Being involved in the activities of the course also helped in the development of the project. The concepts we talked about kept the ideas fresh so as I worked those ideas guided me. There were some ways of doing things that were instinctual to me. I now have names for those ways of doing things, and feel reassured that there is more solid evidence that these concepts have validity.
My difficulties mostly were self-inflicted. Taking on a bigger than asked for project was difficult especially keeping up with all the activities. I think the over doing it paid off in the end. The feedback from the group was helpful especially when a little humour was interjected into things. I’d say mostly we kept each other sane. Only one virtual snowman was maimed in the process, but I think he got put back together again and is now watching TV, playing pool or listening to tunes on the cool sound system in the CTER metaverse.
With technology there will always be things that a user will possibly need help with. For example, in our course some struggled with Audacity and the lame file. That's why it would be preferable to have some in class sessions. There's a lot of content, so it might be good to set up some kind of reasonable timetable. You really don't want to turn off those who you are attempting to turn on! So maybe introducing in small chunks might be the way to go. The biggest challenge with technology will be trying to get the unbeliever to try something. Some people have an unnatural fondness for chalk. I'd like to try to convert a few even if it's only a partial conversion.
What I would like to work on?
I’d like to add some different kinds of interactivity. I created a couple of interactive quizzes and had lots of interactivity with discussions. Ideally, I’ll create some games that have matching of concepts, and some other types of games, maybe something where the users could compete or work together on something. I'd also like to create a pdf to download that would give the table of contents and activities in a suggested path. There's a lot of information on some pages and some of it could get missed. I’d like to do some trial tests to see how people work through the site, get some feedback for improvement before I really use it. It would be good to get some in depth feedback from some of my GBC colleagues to really look it over more thoroughly for suggestions and improvements. Hearing "that's great" and "wonderful" is nice but it doesn't really offer suggestion for improvement.
What still needs to be done?
Because of the nature of technology, a project like this should never be done. Everyday something new comes out and something becomes old. I’d like to keep this fresh and evolving. My blog updating will aid that and the other feeds I’ve chosen will help. But that’s not enough. In my mind it will require exchange of materials and resources as important issues arise. So it is a work in progress.
Thanks to Tony Hursh and the class!