Week 3: ICTs for Learning Design

Looks like I’m going to be away in coming weeks and the first assignment is due soon, so time to get a little ahead. So the following documents/reflects week 3 of work for the ICTs for Learning Design course.

Overview

Looks like we begin examining some technologies. For the purposes of the course their titled “Group 1 tools”. Essentially content dissemination sites with a particular focus on blogs, wikis and static websites. One of which we have to nominate as most use in a teaching context, I’m guessing it will almost certainly be blogs for me.

An aspect of this is how to integrate the tools into learning design. There’s a claim if ICTs are integrated well, students will be more engage, less disruptive and achieve superior results. Well, sorry, I think that just applies for all good learning design, with ICTs or not.

Suggests there are two main categories of ICT use a teacher must be proficient in

  1. Using ICTs to teach, and
  2. Providing opportunities for student use of ICTs.

Actually, I’d add “Using ICTs to learn” as perhaps more important and perhaps preceding the other two.

Vignettes

A couple of vignettes are used to illustrate good usages of ICTs in two separate school settings. They are good examples. However, they do remain somewhat silent on the question of ability with the technologies. There’s a little bit there, but the experience in the course so far is that a few students (future teachers) are having some significant troubles with their Blogger blogs. It would be interesting to hear the reactions of those students to these vignettes.

Another response I had was, “Ohh I wouldn’t do that”, in reaction to how they used technology. There are much better ways of doing some of what was talked about, ways that use the technology to really scaffold the learning.

Read write web

We’re onto blogs and wikis. There is a distinction made between blogs/wikis and a website. Which is, strictly speaking, utterly false. As blogs and wikis are generally implemented as websites.

It’s also claimed that blogs and wikis are owned by students. Well, so far in this course we’ve been using a Moodle based wiki. We don’t own that wiki. The institution does. The institution can shut that down/restrict our access whenever they want, and they probably will do at the end of term. And further down we find that Education Queensland have blocked the use of blogs in schools, but they do provide the equivalent on the Learning Place, not a great solution.

Rather than the paragraph of text describing blogs and wikis, I wonder if pointing to the “In plain English” videos would be a better introduction.

Blogs for learning

Interesting that we’ve been using blogs in the course for 2 weeks and now the material is giving a basic introduction to blogs.

Pointers to resources about using blogs in education: PDF flier about “Blogger in the classroom”, a EDUCAUSE Review article (2004) by Stephen Downes, A list of strategies for blogs, some basics of blogs.

An activity is to have a look at the Beyond School website and look at the interesting ideas for using blogs. This post was interesting in terms of modelling the idea of using/knowing the technology before getting students to use it and the subsequent plus of becoming a daily writer. The Teaching Gallery is full of good ideas.

Looking at this site did make me wonder how many of my fellow students might use pointers to folk like this as an excuse to grow their PLN. I’ve chosen to follow Clay on Twitter. Seems like and interesting and useful way to find out more. Interestingly, now that I am following him, I discover that many of the folk in my Twitter network already follow/are followed by him.

Wikis for collaborative learning

Don’t think I agree with the distinction between wikis (collaborative) and blogs (not). Especially given the last paragraph in the blogs section mentioned group blogs. Nice list of Wiki principles. Pretty light on with resources, not many activities.

That seems to be it for the week.

Activities

Ahh, separate set of activities. Essentially, create a blog, a wiki and a website (using Weebly). Not sure I’d call Weebly a website, looks more like a nice content management system, perhaps crossed with a web editor (on steroids).

I’m not going to implement these activities given my background, but will do the reflections, which might involve a little more work.

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