Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Engagement Theory.

The basic idea surrounding engagement theory is that students must be meaningfully engaged in learning activities through interaction with others and worthwhile tasks.
Such engagement could take place without the use of technology, however, we believe that technology can enhance engagement in ways which are difficult to achieve otherwise.
So engagement theory is intended to be a conceptual framework for technology-based learning and teaching (Kearsley & Shneiderman).

Activities that involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation are considered engaged learning. In addition, students are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the real life nature of the learning environment and tasks.

Engagement theory is based upon the idea of creating successful collaborative teams that work on ambitious projects that are meaningful to someone outside the classroom.
These three components, summarized by Relate-Create-Donate, (Shneiderman, B. 1988), imply that learning activities: occur in a group context (i.e., collaborative teams), are project-based and have an outside (authentic) focus.

Shneiderman, B. (1988). Relate-Create-Donate: An educational philosophy for the cyber-generation. Computers and Education, in press. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm

Digital Natives.

I agree with Marc Pranskey (2001) when he said, "Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. Today’s students – K through college – represent the first generations to grow up with this new technology. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, videogames, digital music players, video cams, cell phones, and all the other toys and tools of the digital age. Today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives."
Digital native is the label given to these new students of today. Our students today are all “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. So what does that make the rest of us, like me? Those of us who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives, become fascinated by it are known as Digital Immigrants.
References Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved July 27, 2009, from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Learning Styles.

According to Felder and Soloman, I am an Active and Sensing learner with extremely high scores of 11 for both categories. Visual and Sequential scores were 7 and 3, respectively. I thoroughly agree with the experts.

They go into say, Active learners tend to retain and understand information best by doing something active with it--discussing or applying it or explaining it to others. "Let's try it out and see how it works" is an active learner's phrase. Active learners tend to like group work more. Sitting through lectures without getting to do anything physical but take notes is particularly hard for active learners.

Sensing learners tend to like learning facts. Sensors often like solving problems by well-established methods and dislike complications and surprises. Sensors are more likely to resent being tested on material that has not been explicitly covered in class. Sensors tend to be patient with details and good at memorizing facts; doing hands-on work; rather than grasping new concepts and surrounding abstractions and mathematical formulations. Sensors tend to be more practical and careful and less innovative. Sensors don't like courses that have no apparent connection to the real world.

Visual learners remember best what they see--pictures, diagrams, flow charts, time lines, films, and demonstrations. In most college classes very little visual information is presented: students mainly listen to lectures and read material written on chalkboards and in textbooks and handouts. Unfortunately, most people are visual learners, which mean that most students do not get nearly as much as they would if more visual presentation were used in class. Good learners are capable of processing information presented either visually or verbally.

Sequential learners tend to gain understanding in linear steps, with each step following logically from the previous one. Sequential learners tend to follow logical stepwise paths in finding solutions.

Barbara A. Soloman & Richard M. Felder. Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire. Retrieved on July 23, 2009, from http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

Multiple Intelligences.

Birmingham Grid For Learning-Multiple Intelligences Test. My Results.

Kinaesthetic - Body Smart 15/25
You may be body smart. You will enjoy sports and are good at swimming, athletics, gymnastics and other sports. This is sometimes called being Kinaesthetic smart.

Linguistic - Word Smart 20/25
You may be word smart. You will enjoy reading, writing and talking about things. This is sometimes called being Linguistic smart.

Logical - Number Smart 16/25
You may be number smart. You will be good at mathematics and other number activities; you are also good at solving problems. This is sometimes called being Logical smart.

Interpersonal - People Smart 23/25

You may be people smart. You will like to mix with other people and you will belong to lots of clubs. You like team games and are good at sharing. This is sometimes called being Interpersonal smart.

Intrapersonal - Myself Smart 11/25

You may be myself smart. You will know about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. You will probably keep a diary. This is sometimes called being Intrapersonal smart.

Musical - Music Smart 17/25
You may be music smart. You will enjoy music and can recognise sounds, and timbre, or the quality of a tone. This is sometimes called being Musical smart.

Visual/Spatial - Picture Smart 19/25
You may be picture smart. You will be good at art and also good at other activities where you look at pictures like map reading, finding your way out of mazes and graphs. This is sometimes called being Visual/Spatial smart.

Naturalistic - Nature Smart 14/25
You may be nature smart. You will like the world of plants and animals and enjoy learning about them. This is sometimes called being Naturalistic smart.

Birmingham Grid for Learning. 2009. Multiple Intelligences Test. Retrieved July 23, 2009 from,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reflective Synopsis.

By creating my Professional Blog, I have discovered that computer literacy is a key requirement to be a successful learner in the 21st century. Therefore, I was willing to take the risk by stepping out of my technological comfort zone, to discover new technology and extend my current Information Communication Technologies (ICT). I was indeed open to understanding the importance of managing continuing learning with interactive technologies and creating e-learning experiences where learners actively use technology to research, interpret, analyse and communicate knowledge as well as to develop students` higher order skills and creativity.
Technology should be seen as a toolbox. It should increase students` engagement and not increase teacher workload. By combining real-life learning experiences and ICTs, students and
teachers working together, will achieve planned learning outcomes.

So what is e-learning? In my opinion, e-learning is to classroom learning as mobile phones are to public phones. For example, as I discovered, e-learning allows you to learn anywhere and usually at any time, as long as you have a computer and, or a mobile phone. E-learning can be CD-ROM-based, Network-based, Intranet-based or Internet-based. It can include text, video, audio, animation and virtual environments. It can be a very rich learning experience that can even surpass the level of learning you may experience in a classroom. It's self-paced, hands-on learning. The quality of the electronic-based learning, as in every form of learning, is in its content and its delivery. E-learning can suffer from many of the same pitfalls as classroom learning, such as boring slides, monotonous speech, and little opportunity for interaction. The beauty of e-learning, however, is that new software allows the creation of very effective learning environments that can engulf you into the material.

After completing the set activities for assessment task 1 for this course, I have been able to identify definite advantages of e-learning over traditional classrooms. For example:

It's self-paced

It moves faster

It provides a consistent message

It can work from any location and any time

It can be updated easily and quickly

It can be easily managed for large groups of students

There are many advantages to e-learning, and even the potential disadvantages (i.e. boring text-based courses, technophobia, loneliness) can be alleviated with properly designed learning experiences. E-learning can incorporate many elements that make learning new material or a new process more fun. Making learning more fun or interesting, in my opinion, is what makes it more engaging and therefore more effective. Obviously, every type of learning can't be turned into e-learning (eg Physical Activity), but many can with excellent results. The keys to successful e-learning that I would include in my planning would be: to vary the types of content I use such as images, sounds and text working together ; creating interaction that engages the attention like games; providing immediate feedback to students by using ClassMarker and encouraging interaction with other e-learners by setting up chat rooms, discussion forums, instant messaging and e-mail.

I have had an enriching journey taking risks and experimenting with unfamiliar e-learning tools. By profiling my future learners, discovering their learning styles and designing pedalogical strategies to achieve learning outcomes, my future as a learning manager will definitely include many of these e-learning tools that I have discovered.