2010年11月15日 星期一

W12 educational blogging

What a memorable class tonight! We went through the educational blogging. Surprisely, this topic originally wasn’t interesting to me so much, as it is too common now to pique my interest. However, the speech Professor gave us tonight reminded me of the way I prefer to learn English or things.

We checked in everyone’s blog tonight together, while someone has developed a cool blog. This personal space enable people to share things, connect with friends, and improve writing etc. And, now I still remember Elliot’s practice of British accent, Shuya’s deep understanding of Connectivism, and above all Jason’s long paragraph. Thus, blog is not just used as a tool to share personal issues, but also a tool to enable people to recall the specific information embedded in your friends’ place. Similarly, I always like to practice my English listening by watching movies without subtitles. Therefore, I am not only able to recall the vocabulary I have learnt from movies, but also use it in similar movie settings. 

 Furthermore, I as a teacher have to introduce an article on how people are using Twitter during Conference. The twitter is a useful tool for micro-exchange of information and communication (Reinhardt, Ebner, Beham & Costa, 2009). Since I am a heavy Facebook user, it’s not hard for me to figure out the use of twitter, which I have never used before. The microblogging like Plurk, Jaiku, is providing extremely useful for fast exchanges of idea and information sharing. Take myself as an example, I always like to share the cool things I heard with friends via Facebook.
An interesting aspect of microblogging is that users are able to hashtag one’s mirco-post, or tweets. What is hashtag? Hashtags are a simple way of grouping messages with a “#” sign followed a name or a special code with form a unique tag for a special purpose. And, such hasgtags are especially meaningful when used during a particular period of time, because it not only allows people to generate a resource based on that special thematic, while using the hashtag, but also bridge knowledge, and knowing, across networks of interest (Reinhardt, et al., 2009).
Six purposes for use of hashtags are as follows. (See http://twitter.pbworks.com/w/page/1779812/Hashtags)

•Events or conferences, e.g.: "Tara's presentation on communities was great! #barcampblock"
•Disasters: "#sandiegofire A shelter has opened up downtown for fire refugees."
•Memes: "My #themeword for 2008 is conduct."
•Context: "I can't believe anyone would design software like this! #microsoftoffice"
•Recall: "Buy some toilet paper. #todo"
•Quote: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

What does hashtag look like in authentic ways? 

Then, how to create group on twitter?
Check it out on third party site, hashtag.org, to know how many users use a certain hashtag on Twitter. (I’d like to check in “Thanksgiving” since it one week left.)

The result shows me how often is the Thanksgiving being used and the latest one used.

Another example “Bloomington” is not as hot as the Thanksgiving, for sure.

Moreover, twitter can be used at different stages of a conference. Take Facebook, a tool similar with twitter as an example. I joined a conference in Singapore this year (the conference, the night scene with Casino imagine that!, sentosa). The conference organization provided attendees with detailed information on place, time, agenda, and so on via Facebook. During the conference, Facebook was often used to take notes, post reflections, and above all share pictures with everyone. And, after the conference, Facebook was used as means to give a huge thank to all participants as well as the conference organization, and also celebrate the success.
Further, twitter is view as a tool to discuss, spread and share information as well as build “tie of soft communities”, as it allows people to be a part of community by tracking the hashtags as well as enables networking and knowledge building.     

Wolfgang Reinhardt, Martin Ebner, Günter Beham, & Cristina Costa (2009, March). How People are using Twitter during Conferences.

Week 9 shared online video


There is no denying that the use of shared online video content on YouTube, Facebook, or Google videos ect. has become popular for years. Take myself as an example, I love to watch the films that my friends posted or shared on Facebook, especially music videos. And, we could have a conversation about the concept that film tried to convey. It seems to me that we no longer need to download the mp3 or mp4 to follow the fashion music, because we are able to find any songs on YouTube at no cost. That is extremely exciting. 

  Not surprisingly, younger adults are more likely to watch comedy or humorous videos (Purcell, 2010). People like to share and watch a variety of interesting films online. I, too, shared my project film the small red pedestrian last year on YouTube:

 But it still begs a question: How to make the connection between the use of video online shared and educational purposes? First, watching a video is not the same as just reading a piece of paper. We could use the video as a means to teach students knowledge so that students would be able to recall the knowledge through both verbal and visual channels. More importantly, the animation or action in the video makes the information alive in such a way that students could be more engaged and immerse themselves in visual learning environment.

Moreover, as we know, the importance of dual coding theory plays an important role in visual learning. Dr. Bonk (2008), for instance, chose a series of quite fascinating videos on Daniel Tammet who is a savant from the United Kingdom with rare mathematical and language abilities in order to introduce cognitive theory and the limits of each stages of human information processing. That is, interesting shared online videos are used as a means to attract students’ attention.

Further, I just recall prior learning experience. Then, I found out that reading papers and being taught in a boring lecture are the only way to build my basic understanding of learning theories. Frequently, it takes times to figure out the abstract concept of learning theory. If we as teachers just use shared online videos and mesh-up videos to introduce the abstract concept of learning theory to students, it would be much more useful for students to make sense, as it allows them to better understand the content in more decent and delicious ways.

Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
Purcell, K. (2010, June 3). The State of Online Video. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Pew Internet & American Life Project.  

2010年11月7日 星期日

Week 10 Interactive and Collaborative Learning

As we know, the teamwork palys a dominant role in online courses so that learners need to use interactive technoloies to communicate with peers. The use of interactive technologies in online courses will affect the virtual teams’s process and performance.

In my opinion,  it is more convenient for learners to take online courses more easily and efficiently. For example, they could not only distribute information and resource to peers more efficiently, but also have the online community for extended discussion. Nevertheless, online courses still have some drawbacks, including the lack of nonverbal cues, potenial misinterpretation from text-based communication, and above all low effectiveness of teamwork etc.

The crucial points I have learnt from week 10’s readings with reflections are as follows:

“Successful online teaching and learning require thorough instructional planning and knowledge on appropriate usage of advanced technologies.” (Lee, Magjuka, Liu & Bonk, 2006).

We could classify three different modes of interactive technologies, including communication, cooperation, and collaboration. And, each of tehm has its weakness and strengths. Instructors should effectively integrate the technology into instruction based on the need of online course.

“Asynchronous features of discussion forums boast the potential to foster reflective discourse among virtual team members by allowing them enough time to think about and elaborate their ideas before participating in discussions.” (Lee et al., 2006).

Although some online discussion messages seem to fall on deaf ears (Clark, 2003), asynchronous features of discussion forums allows learners to have enough time to think about the idea more deeply.

Also, as far as I am concerned, learners may need time to come up with a valuable idea or feedback in online course community. Compared with face-to-face courses, learner are required to reply immediately due to the limited time, but those replys usually are not deep and coomprehensive enough to make the interaction more meaningful. 

“The nature of team tasks should be taken into consideration when instructors select particular technologies.” (Lee et al., 2006).

Because of the attributes of each level of technologies, they have different advantages and disadvantages. Thus, instructors should find out what’s the need based on effective technology integration so as to select the appropraite technology for learners to use. Also, adopting the newest technology doesn’t necessarily mean that learners would be more active and engaged in teamwork. Sometimes, Complex technology would confuse learners somehow.  

“Older distance learners were much less likely to participate in active and collaborative learning and had fewer enriching experiences and less contact with faculty than younger distance learners.” (Chen, Gonyea & Kuh, 2008, p.3).

Older distance learners were more familiar with online learning then younger distance learners.  Not surprisingly, older distance learners don’t need to contact with faculty for the basic questions on  However, old distance learners were less likely to engage in collaborative learning, which begs the question: Are these older distance learners less likely to participate in active and collaborative learning in face-to-face courses TOO?

Interestingly, these older distance learners were more engaged in deep learning activities and have greater gains in practical competence than learners of traditional age. And, it reminds me that when I take the online course this semester for my first time, I find out that some of older distance learners are not inclined to communicate with peers, mainly because they don’t have enough time for discussion.    

"It seems that the online environment provides students more opportunities to be involved in active learning as individuals, but limits students’ ability to collaborate with each other." (Chen et al., 2008, p.3).


Chen, P., Gonyea, R., & Kuh, G. (2008). Learning at a distance: Engaged or not?. Innovate, 4(3).
Clark, T. (2003). Disadvantages of Collaborative Online Discussion and the Advantages of Sociability, Fun and Cliques for Online Learning. Proceedings of the 3.1 and 3.3 working groups conference on International federation for information processing: ICT and the teacher of the future. Melbourne, Australia.
Lee, S. H., Magjuka, R. J., Liu, X., Bonk, C. J. (2006, June). Interactive technologies for effective collaborative learning. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning.