After discussing with the Director of Project Holodeck, Nathan Burba (@NathanBurba), his goal of completing one new programming tutorial a day, I decided to create a similar learning goal. With the Technology Challenge.
I believe this is a good challenge for me because I have only finished my MBA Degree for under a month and I am already getting antsy about what to do with my free time. Don’t get me wrong, I am gainfully and happily employed. But I love learning! And I feel a piece of me missing when I don’t have a new challenge or project. With that said, by posting this Technology Challenge on my blog, I am making myself accountable for pursuing the stated goals—I don’t want to let you down!
I also realized that my resume may be good, but my portfolio could better showcase my Instructional Design skills and adeptness of exploring new Educational Technologies. Enter the Technology Challenge!
What? The Technology Challenge–
1) Research a new (or not so new) technology tool
2) Learn that new technology tool
3) Create an instructional deliverable with that new technology, applying adult learning theory, ADDIE, and Instructional Design Principles
3) Build a Portfolio
4) Demonstrate my EdTech and Instructional Design Skills
2) Create a deliverable
3) Blog a post on each piece that summarizes the tool, demonstrate an application of the tool, and results in a portfolio piece
The tools (in no particular order, and will be added to)?
2) Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
4) WordPress / Blog / Edublogs
5) PollEverywhere or TurningPoint
16) Big Blue Button
21) Learning Management Systems (Sakai, Moodle, TWEN, BlackBoard)
24) Web Conferencing Systems (Wimba, BlackBoard Collaborate, ATT Connect, Panopto)
Feel free to leave suggestions for tools I should challenge here as a comment or Tweet @julietausend!
Engaging Faculty in the Use of Technology Without Using the “T” Word
I’ve added “Wind” to the “Windy City” this week. I co-presented at CALIcon13: Conference for Law School Computing in Chicago.
My topic can be useful for any EdTech Professional. It covers how to communicate and reach your Faculty about technology without evoking fear, stress, anxiety and dissonance. These feelings typically hinder innovation and adoption of Educational Technology.
You can view the content slides with notes in PDF Format or watch the hour-long recording starring yours truly (and co-starring the man that signs her paychecks):
Key Points include:
- Advocate for the person who uses the tool, not just the tool
- Support people, who in turn, support the Educational Mission
- Don’t find a problem for the tool, find a tool for the problem
- Craft your message and language specific to your audience
- When communicating, be Simple (concise), Specific (give every detail necessary, but only the necessary details), and Visual.
- Know what you are saying
- Know who you are saying it to
- Build relationships to build trust to build collaboration
Although my current position doesn’t afford me the opportunity to work in online education, I have had many years of experience in online education. As an Instructional Designer, I assisted faculty in adjusting their traditional classroom pedagogy for online instruction. I have also taken over 60 credits of online courses in my pursuit of an MBA in Technology Management. And lastly, I have designed curriculum for an online course that I instruct. Stating these credentials is essential for the point I am to discuss because it illustrates that I have different perspectives of online learning as an instructional designer, student, and instructor:
Online learning needs to be more dynamic.
I don’t mean that online learning needs to have synchronous course sections (which it should and oftentimes does), but there needs to be synergy between the delivery of the content and the contribution of students.
Take for instance a basic online course structure in a learning management system such as BlackBoard, Moodle, or Sakai. Students locate the required reading materials and lectures in a designated folder structure. They then move off that page to a discussion forum or assignment submission page and contribute to the class discussion.
If multiple readings are discussed within a given course lesson, it can cause confusion to the students because their discussion is not being effectively curated as it would in a traditional class or synchronous web conferencing session.
In addition, students may repeat the same general comments as their classmates (after probably reading their peers’ comments), therefore, not effectively contributing to the discussion. This results in students not being able to command the subject or demonstrate their understanding.
What I believe online learning should strive for is a re-design of the online classroom structure.
Students should be able to comment on and discuss the content right on the content page. For example, a student viewing a video should be able to add relevant and important contributions to the video at the timestamp that is being referenced. A tool that I believe does this is Vialogues (I hope to research this further). Students should also be able to contribute to a reading in an in-text fashion, similar to Microsoft Word’s Comment feature, pinpointing exactly where the student’s insight is referencing. These tools exist, but how we can apply them to online courses must be championed and designed by Educational Technologists and Instructional Designers.
Online learning has advanced so much in the last 15 years: the stigma of online learning has abated, tools make it possible for students and instructors to connect in real-time, group work is possible with collaboration tools, and secure exam taking is possible without proctors.
However, we, as Educational Technologists and Instructional Designers, should keep online education advancing.
We must innovate and stimulate change for a more dynamic learning experience.
The advice that is most often given is Don’t Use Technology for Technology’s Sake.
What this means is that an Instructional Designer should not build instruction around the tool, but the tool should have a meaningful impact on the learning objectives. A tool should only be used if it will aid in the instruction and not hinder it. Technology will hinder instruction if 1) An instructor or learner does not know how to effectively use it and as a result, spends too much of instructional time trying to learn the tool, not the content and/or 2) The technology is so cool it’s a distraction.
In both cases the learner may lose out on the true purpose of the instruction because the focus is on the technology.
An Instructional Designer, therefore, must design the instruction with first, the learning objectives in mind, then design the instruction for the mode of communication (aka technology), whether it be Face-to-Face Instructor Led, eLearning, Mobile Learning, or self-paced study.
However, let’s play devil’s advocate. What if we have an instructor that is so fearful (or afraid of looking incompetent) of technology that it dis-services its learners. An instructor that does not use technology to aid an instruction may be promoting an image of stagnation and as a result may drive away potential learners that were seeking “state of the art” education. Applying my business background here, it’s as simple as putting the right product with the right person at the right place. If the learners want technology-supported instruction, what’s stopping them from pursuing their goals at a competing institution that is giving them their needs?
As an Instructional Designer, is it best to force the technology, that is, build it into a classroom and instruction in the mere hope that the instructor will follow? Showing what technology can actually do in the real-life instructional environment may encourage the use of that technology. Or at least more so than a verbal description of the technology. In this way, showing how the technology can be applied to the instruction is a great way to stimulate the use. And the only way to show the technology is to have it.
And hence, taking from A Field of Dreams, If you build IT (Informational Technology), they will come. I hope.
At EduSoCal 2013 I was able to collaborate and speak with other EdTech and Instructional Design professionals. EduSoCal (@EduSoCal), is “the premier face-to-face conference in California where you Meet/Share/Learn/Play with your local peers and colleagues working in the fields of Information and Educational technology.”
The Keynote Address by Michael Wesch (@mwesch) was not only informational, but affirming as well. Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture and his speech gave some valuable insight on Transformative Learning Theory and new media.
Wesch stated, “asking questions is the most amazing thing humans do; questions are the beginning point of deep learning.” Therefore, his basic theme involved helping students “Learn to Learn”.
In designing his courses, he doesn’t design them for the sake of instruction, but for Transformative Learning. As stated in an earlier post, this learning theory focuses on how the learner will revise and interpret learning to change their point of view. Transformative Learning is the process of changing one’s frame of reference.
Michael Wesch discussed how in education we need to embrace Transformative Learning by enabling students to become adaptive experts rather than passive absorbers of information. His focus is on stimulating wonder. He stimulates wonder by allowing his students to A) pick a project and B) pick new media. By allowing the students to pick their projects and media it helps the students accomplish a goal without the want for a grade.
An example of one such project is when students decided to research the accessibility of a city by bicycle. They used a free source Internet Map (similar to GoogleMaps) to map out dangerous areas for bikes. The result was visible evidence of how poorly the city was designed for bikes. Even more significant, the project caught the eye of city council and brought on change to the infrastructure.
When asked, which three instructional tools/techniques he’d bring to a deserted Island (while ignoring the logical problems of this scenario) to teach. He described a three step process:
1) Make sure that the Project is Real and Relevant. Real meaning that the instructor does not know the answer. And Relevant means that students will work on it even if a grade is not associated with the project.
2) The project must Build Community (like the biking community).
3) The project must Leverage Technology (like the bike map).
What is also important is that the core assumption for IT people should be that of connecting people. Don’t use technology for technology’s sake. Use technology to connect or build community. My goal of this blog is not just to use a blog, but to gain a following of like-minded people or people also interested in EdTech and Instructional Design.
Finally, a poignant statement made by Wesch is that “technology is a Trojan horse for changing education, but it needs an army inside the horse.” What he meant by this is that technology is a great way to change education, however, you still need a slew of people or EdTech professionals (the army) to conquer (change) education.
Now, I’ll leave you with one last thought (and please comment below or tweet @julietausend): How do you convince administration and other colleagues to not only support but design a Transformative Learning experience with the appropriate technologies?
This week’s blog is going to be a short introduction to several different Learning Theories commonly used by Instructional Designers and Educational Technologists in designing and building curriculum.
Learning Theories are frameworks that describe how content or information is absorbed, processed, and retained during learning. Four of the well-known learning theories focus on Educational Psychology. They are Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, and Transformative learning theory.
Behaviorism– Learning means acquiring a new behavior through conditioning. Two ways that a learner is conditioned is by classical conditioning or operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is where the behavior becomes a reflex in response to stimulus. Operant conditioning occurs when a learner is rewarded or punished for their behavior.
Cognitivism– This Learning Theory states that learners generate knowledge through sequences of mental processes. The mental processes include recognition, recalling, analyzing, reflecting, application, creating and evaluating. Cognitive Learning defers from Behaviorism in that it looks beyond behavior and focuses on how human memory impacts learning.
Constructivism– The Constructivism Learning Theory is when learners have an active involvement in their education. The theory states that a learner does best when they are able to build new ideas or concepts based upon current knowledge and experiences. Instructional Designers must, therefore, understand what the learners already know in order to develop effective instruction.
CONSTRUCT UPON CURRENT KNOWLEDGE
Transformative Learning Theory– This learning theory focuses on how the learner will revise and interpret learning to change their point of view. Transformative learning is the process of changing one’s frame of reference. An important part of transformative learning is for learners to change their frames of reference by critically reflecting on their assumptions and beliefs. It is also important that learners consciously make and implement plans that bring about new ways of defining their worlds. This can be done through reflection, feedback, debating with those of different viewpoints, and critically examining evidence.
TRANSFORMS ONES VIEWPOINT
I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the genesis of Project Holodeck and its subsequent development phases.
Project Holodeck is a Virtual Reality gaming platform created by students of the University of Southern California’s Games program. Project Director, Nathan Burba, along with Producer, James Iliff led a group of programmers and artists from USC, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, and Otis College of Art and Design in the creation of the platform and its two video games: Wild Skies and Zombies OTH.
“The current hardware design of the Holodeck system uses the Oculus Rift for head mounted video feedback, the Playstation Move optical system for head tracking, and the Razer Hydra magnetic system for limited body tracking. When combined, these systems allow us to create a realistic 3D space that the user can freely move around in and interact with.” -Project Holodeck.
Simply put, players strap on the console, a helmet, and face goggles (the Oculus Rift). A positioning camera tracks the player’s movement within their living room. The player than views the game and their movements within the head mounted display, which is essentially a personal video screen. The player uses the hydra controls to activate weapons and steer vehicles.
You can view the demonstration of the gaming system at Youtube.
Currently, the Holodeck is being designed for consumer gaming. However, as an Educational Technologists, I’m constantly looking for how new technologies can be beneficial to the education world.
I imagine the Holodeck being used to give people experiences they normally would not be able to have in everyday life. Virtual Reality can help students and learners see the very small (microbiology), the very large (astronomical), and the very far away (ancient ruins). In writing this statement, I’m having childhood flashbacks of watching and reading “The Magic School Bus” series, being very jealous that Ms. Frizzle’s class could enter the human body or travel to the rain forest. We may be one step closer to being a part of Ms. Frizzle’s class with the opportunities Project Holodeck and Virtual Reality could potentially afford us.
Imagine an Observatory giving students the opportunity to explore the moon and the galaxy. Imagine University Admissions counselors providing a Virtual tour of their campuses to students abroad or unable to visit campus. Medical students can practice surgeries without risk or the expense of using cadavers. Geography, World History, Art History, and Archaeology, students can visit long-gone cultures and lands, getting a more interactive learning experience than their traditional classroom experiences can currently provide.
Although I can’t wait to kill some Zombies and defend my ship in Wild Skies, I’m more interested in the future applications Project Holodeck’s Virtual Reality platform has on improving curriculum and how learners see the world.
Tausend Talks has covered several topics relating to Instructional Design and the practice of using design methods to create important and effective instruction. In the next several posts, I will discuss different Learning Theories that are popular in the design of curriculum.
The first learning theory to be discussed is Gagné’s Theory of Instruction, which includes the well-known “Nine Events of Instruction”.
Robert Gagné was one of the first to coin the term “instructional design” as he began research and developed training materials for the military in the 1960s. His instructional design models laid the foundation for other theorists, such as Dick, Carey and Carey (The Dick and Carey Systems Approach Model), and Jerold Kemp (Instructional Design Model).
The Theory of Instruction has three components:
1.) A Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes
2.) Conditions of Learning
3.) Nine Events of Instruction
A Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes defines how learning might be demonstrated and is broken down into three sub-components- Cognitive Domain, Affective Domain, and Psycho-motor Domain.
The Cognitive Domain has multilevel steps that students can use to demonstrate their learning. They are-
- Stating Verbal Information
- Label or Classify Concepts to demonstrate intellectual skills
- Apply Rule and Principles to demonstrate intellectual skills
- Problem solve and generate solutions to demonstrate intellectual skills
- Use Cognitive Strategies for learning
The Affective Domain shows a learning outcome in which learners address their attitudes by demonstrating preferred options.
And the final sub-component of Gagné’s Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes, Psycho-motor Domain shows a learning outcome in which learners show motor skills through physical performance.
The second component of Gagné’s Theory of Instruction are the Conditions of Learning.The Conditions of Learning are the required states needed of the learner to acquire new skills. They can be internal states or personal requirements of the learner, such as self-motivation. They are also the external conditions learning such as environmental stimuli that support the internal learning process, such as a quiet, well-lit classroom setting or having the necessary tools available.
The third and final component of Gagné’s Theory of Instruction is the Nine Events of Instruction.
Gagné believe that learning occurs in a series of events. The learning events must be organized in a hierarchy of complexity and must correspond with deliberate instruction. The significance of the hierarchy is to identify prerequisites that need to be completed at each level. Each learning objective must be accomplished before effective learning of the next outcome can begin. Essentially- you must learn how to speak before you can sing.
The Nine Events of Instruction, in order of Gagné’s hierarchical structure:
- Gaining attention: Before the learners can start to process any new information, the instructor must gain the attention of the learners.
- Informing learners of objectives: The instructor tells the learner what they will be able to accomplish because of the instruction.
- Stimulating recall of prior learning: A recall of existing relevant knowledge.
- Presenting the stimulus: The content is presented.
- Providing learning guidance: Understanding and encoding begins because the instructor presents the content with an emphasis on organization and relevance.
- Eliciting performance: Learners are asked to demonstrate learning.
- Providing feedback: The instructor gives informative feedback on the learners’ performance.
- Assessing performance: Additional learner performance is required and feedback is given again to reinforce learning.
- Enhancing retention and transfer: The learner applies the instruction to practical applications to show capabilities.
As an instructor and instructional designer, it’s important to understand how instruction and learning objectives can be deliberately designed for effective learning. It is evident that the Theory of Instruction provides relevant and useful information for doing just that. Stay tuned for a discussion on other Learning Theorists and their models.
As promised in my post “Instructional Design Defined”, I’ll be discussing what Educational Technology means.
So what is Educational Technology? At a quick glance, the phrase can be daunting. However, take a step back, break the phrase down and what do you have?
Educational = Education = Learning
Technology = Tools
Simply put, Educational Technology are learning tools. And therefore, an Educational Technology professional is one that encourages the practical application of technology tools in the classroom with the end goal of positively impacting the learning experience of the student.
The field, Educational Technology (also known as EdTech), is the study and practice of facilitating technological processes for effectively improving learning and performance. Educational Technology is commonly found in the education and higher education industries. However, the skills of Educational Technology professionals can be beneficial to corporations as well, specifically in training and human resource departments responsible for the successful on-boarding of its employees.
Many Educational Technology professionals, such as myself, have a background in Instructional Theory (Instructional Design) and Learning Theory (don’t forget I promised you a blog on Learning Theories!).
Educational technology includes software, hardware, Internet applications and interventions or activities. Essentially, any tool that may prove helpful in advancing student learning can be categorized as an Educational Technology. I plan on writing a series of blogs detailing how specific educational technologies can be beneficial to the learner and the implications it has for the educator.
|Software||PowerPoint, Keynote, Learning Management Systems, Games, Videos|
|Hardware||Classroom Projector, Smart Phone, Tablets, Document Camera, Computer, Calculator|
|Internet Applications||Learning Management Systems, Google Drive, YouTube, iTunes U, Podcasts|
|Interventions/ Activities||Online quiz for harassment training, Simulations|
Educational Technology must be used to enhance the learning objectives, not just “technology used for technology’s sake”. Educational Technology must serve as a complement to the overall educational goals, not be a distraction.
Therefore, it is important to plan and deliberately decide, which technology will be used and how it will be used when FIRST designing learning interventions.