Considering the Laggards

•February 9, 2011 • 2 Comments

New Technologies

Mod 5: While it may be safe to assume that people have positive attitudes toward experimenting with new technologies in the workplace, it may be equally safe to assume that you will encounter people in the workplace who have low self-efficacy in experimenting with new technologies. Briefly describe a situation in which you have encouraged people to use a new technology and have been met with resistance or disappointing results. What attitudes did these people exhibit? What behaviors did they demonstrate? Using Keller’s ARCS model, describe how you could change the motivation of these people, or learners, to encourage success.

As a Technology-based Curriculum Designer working via a Title III Grant, I was charged with bringing new technologies to the campus as per the grant’s stipulation. In this case it was implementing a Learning and Assessment e-Portfolio campus-wide.

Though I was new to campus, the faculty and staff that I was working with were not new to initiatives, and they were somewhat reluctant to participate in developing e-Portfolios for students. Conversations with a number of them indicated that many technologies had been initiated, particularly with Content Management Systems only to be learned and then discarded by the university system -everyone presumed based on money. No matter what the reason, the system had changed the CMS 5 times in the last 5 years with all of the work via content that had been uploaded being lost. The e-Portfolio initiative represented a similar technology attempt.

After researching 20 or so third party e-Portfolios applications, I recommended one that was adaptable and actually already in use by one department on campus, only to have that recommendation disregarded for a an unproven product.

After signing on with the company, it became apparent that the promised deliverables were not going to be forthcoming because they were still in development -this continued throughout the time were were trying to rollout this product. Due in part to the failure of this company, all efforts eventually failed because the product was simply not designed for the use we had intended and their work toward tailoring it to our needs was not adequate. Additionally, using this particular product required a learning curve and training which we did on both a group level, and a personalized level with many forms of supplemental materials and people always available to assist faculty and students.

In the end we went with something completely familiar to faculty and students and developed a learning e-Portfolio based around Microsoft Word, providing them with a tailored template, and training students over multiple periods, providing peer trainers, demos by students with their own work as examples, giving them homework to link materials and insert pictures, and following up to be sure the students were comfortable in their skill, and the faculty happy with the results. The faculty then followed up with requiring a portfolio at the end of the semester, and we followed up with yearly Assessment Institutes where the faculty shared their successes and discussed failures, and brought in speakers to strengthen their knowledge and direct the process.

In this case, we used a humanistic approach of the use of technology and implemented a strategy that was bottom up, with the faculty being involved from the near beginning. Looking at the PSI, I would say that the approach used followed Fred Keller’s PSI model, as well as John Keller’s ARCS model.

In the case of the faculty they were motivated by a need to effectively assess project-based work, as well as address the universities AQUIP requirements for continuous improvement. Relevance and attention was assisted by the university’s need, but also by providing speakers that had positive things to say about using e-Portfolios in the universities. Confidence was built in part by the change to an application they understood (this showed we were LISTENING), and satisfaction came through follow-up conversations, sharing with others…and through students who used the e-Portfolios and acquired internships and jobs by doing so.

Connectivism – Learning Networks

•January 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Haefner's Learning Network

Thoughts on Connectivism

•January 26, 2011 • 4 Comments

Mod 4: How has your network changed the way you learn?

With the advent of Social Networks and all things Web, Web 2.0Web 3.0 I rely much more on anything other than books to convey information to me. The information has become a sort of cloud with loose connections and sometimes vague associations. Being causal has also caused me to be more lax about the reference to the source of the information, and I would say the learning is more immediate and just-in-time. With that though, it may be more fleeting and almost less important at times. As I think about it, I am concerned that it is more a “folk Knowledge”  (not to be confused with FOLKSONOMY)than academic, which to me is less formulated.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

Despite all the information flying about, the ability to read at length is still important, though I have moved from paper/print-based text to electronic text. Audio-based information provided another way to learn that I appreciate. I would rather LISTEN to a podcast than SEE a vodcast, primarily because the vodcast had not moved beyond the talking head phase. If it were interactive, it might hold more appeal for me. Other tools into play as part of preparation. In other words, I learn when I teach.

I would also add that Blogs serve to connect and (for those who post regularly) provide current information and/or thoughts on particular topics. George Seimens and Stephen Downes have recently begun a blog on Connectivism, which they talk about through Athabasca University and contains some associated words and thoughts which you can view in the Excerpt provided.

  • Synchronization: nodes/concepts aligning themselves to other agents/concepts (fireflies is a common example).
  • Information diffusion: how does information flow through a network? Which nodes slow down information flow? Which test the accuracy or trust-ability of information?

Another blog that addressed Connectivism is Michael Hanley’s blog about e-learning.

Another, though less current blog comment  by Konrad Glogowski is still relevent.

How do you learn new knowledge when you have questions?

Though this conflicts with what I have said above, I will read How To Manuals and also view vodcasts when I am learning applications. When I have questions, I Google the question and the end up on listservs/bbs/blogs/wikis where they have answered the exact or nearly exact question or problem that I have.

Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

•January 15, 2011 • 1 Comment

Mod 2: Response to the following blog posts:
Bill Kerr isms-as-filter-not-blinker

karlkapp out-and-about-discussion-on-educational

This from Bill Kerr’s blog post ” Kapp writes, “For mission critical items, we cannot write an objective like: The nuclear technician, upon encountering a meltdown of the primary reactor will use a discovery method to explore possible options for stopping the meltdown… We really need something like: The nuclear technician, upon encountering a meltdown of the primary reactor will follow a defined set of steps to stop the meltdown.” But this is not true, and the proof is this: if it were true, then the human performance could be replaced by a machine. If you are working simply on stimulus-response, then you are working on programmable behaviour. But we use humans in nuclear reactors (and elsewhere) just because we understand that ‘knowing’ involves a set of cognitive processes – like recognition, inference, association – between stimulus and response. The difficulty is, of course, convincing politicians, customers, and (apparently) instructional designers of this
Design: Behaviourism has its place

Of all that I have read regarding Behaviorism, this is one of the lamest arguments ever, purely based on the mechanics of what he thinks he’s using as a metaphor for the discussion. Obviously until machines can do fine, detailed work there won’t be machines doing it.  Aside from that, behaviorism works for me to a certain extent in that it accounts for the human response to it’s environment, and Skinners Operant Conditioning Mechanisms make sense in the real world, but in 2011, I find the experimentation reprehensible.

Perhaps what I agree with most from Mr. Kerr is this: “It seems to me that each _ism is offering something useful without any of them being complete or stand alone in their own right”

Rheingold’s Collective Action

•January 1, 2011 • 1 Comment

Mod 2: Answering these questions:
Do you believe that humans have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group
How can technology facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles?

Reflecting on Howard Rheingold’s video, I do not believe humans in general have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group,” as Rheingold states it, though he makes a good case for it. I think people act out of their own self interests and sometimes the interests of a larger group, such as a political group, or a country, but at the heart of it there is a motivation that satisfies them personally.[See Group Dynamics as an aside]

I believe if there are reasons to work together, for monetary gain, as part of a family, or a common interest, that people will work together, but the key is that they share a common reason to work together. I think biologically, we may be wired to recognize “the other” in people different from us, but as intelligent humans, we are capable of over coming such programming.

With that said, technology has gone a long way to blur the lines of difference and draw people together toward a common goal as Rheingold proposed Wikipedia did and continues to do as everyone contributes to the whole of the information on the site.

I have personally seen a similar occurrence with online games or (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) with people from Asia, Korea, the US, UK and other countries playing together online. I have also personally experienced this in the Virtual World Second Life, and have interacted with others from around the world (though it often makes for late nights with such varied Time Zones =).

Purpose of Learning Theory in Educational technology

•December 15, 2010 • 1 Comment

Mod 1: What are your beliefs about how people learn best? What is the purpose of learning theory in educational technology?

I think people learn in a variety of ways and they learn best according to their learning style (Here’s a quiz from Edutopia). Understanding that people learn in different ways is important to know and utilize as an education technologist (There’s an office in government on that.) when developing content for presentation to the students with the idea that one should try to address as many learning styles as possible to reach as many students as possible. Underlying that basic knowledge there should be a thorough understanding of the various learning theories >>check out Lesson Plan Central<< as they play a major part in the construction and analysis of content.

I would also add that as scholars, testing the validity and showing the support or opposition to a theory is also appropriate.

Moving Toward Dusk

•January 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Moving Toward Dusk

Moving Toward Dusk

When is cold too cold?

•January 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment
A cold day in January

A cold day in January.

Happy New Year!

•January 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

thoughts on thinking

•August 14, 2009 • 2 Comments

What is it that keeps people and organizations from taking the next step? How often have you had a solution, but been powerless to implement it? Why are the signs of failure too often drive by, rather than a road-map to action items? What has happened to critical thinking? Are American schools creating passive thinkers who would rather be told what to do and how to do it instead of discovering solutions for themselves? Some of this might apply: Beyond Theory Z