Week 2 Reflection

This past week I have learned so much. First off, before the week began I didn’t know what open source learning was. I obviously have been introduced to the concept through taking these online PLN courses, but I didn’t know that it was called open source learning. After doing some initial research for my own blog post, I felt like had a pretty good understanding of what open source learning is and what some off its benefits are. This understanding was demonstrated in my week two blog post.

The next step in my learning process this week was reading all the other blog posts. Some of the posts I read helped expand and widen my understanding, while other reinforced my own thoughts. One other blog post even used the same video as a resource as I did. I love seeing my peers and I share the same resources/information coincidentally because it helps me feel confident that I am doing the right thing! Another blog post even mentioned something that I had been wondering that was concerning about open source learning, but I wasn’t sure if my thought was silly or not, but then after reading another person voicing the same thoughts I had, I figured my thoughts must have some validity.

Unfortunately, (or not so unfortunately maybe 😉 ), I was at a resort here in the Dominican Republic that did not have Wi-Fi during the first twitter chat, so I was unable to attend, but I did go and look back over the conversation that everyone had and it seemed like a really successful event and I look forward to being able to participate next week!=-qw

Week 2 Blog

What do you see as the promise of open learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

I think that open source learning has a lot of potential benefits for students and teachers.  One of the most important benefits open source learning can have for teachers is through the use of MOOCs as a professional development and sharing tool (Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C., 2014 ).  Some sharing resources for teachers already exist.  Sites like super-teacher and teachers-pay-teachers are places where teachers can get ideas from one another and share knowledge and work.  However, one of the biggest drawbacks of these already existing sites is that they are not free, and there is no way to revise or edit the work of another teacher and share it with others.  If a MOOC can be created and made accessible to teachers all across the world, the opportunities to share, grow and improve our practice would be incredible.

Open source learning asks teachers to no longer be experts in the content they are teaching, however just to be expert facilitators in managing the learning process of their students (Engard, 2015).  Of course it is still important that teacher have some knowledge of the topics that their students are learning, but they no longer need to have the answer to every single question a student might ask.  In this setting, students ask and answer questions to one another as well as other resources in the open source learning environment.

When learning is done this way, each student is able to personalize their education, and tailor it to fit themselves and their needs best (Baraniuk, 2006).  Teachers will no longer be overwhelmed with meeting the needs of all of her different students, and trying to balance different levels of instruction, because the she will no longer be the only resource for learning.  All members of the open source learning community now supplement the information that the teacher contains.

Open source learning will also benefit students in another way.  The exchange and sharing of knowledge will be much less costly.  As a college students, I am supremely aware of the high cost of college textbooks.  Most textbooks, when purchased new, cost around $100, and every few years publishers release new editions of older textbooks, forcing students to purchase new books that are required rather than reusing older versions that can be purchased for cheaper.  In the TED Talk video by Richard Baraniuk that I posted below, he gives the example of an engineering textbook that would normally have cost $100, only cost $22 because it was created and revised using open source learning resources, rather than by a few individuals revising it in a painstakingly slow and expensive process through a publishing company.

These kinds of changes and adaptions can, and hopefully will have huge impacts on the lives of educators and students.  Cheaper textbooks, more sharing of information and individualized learning for students are all things that will help revive and improve the educational community.

TED Talk Video by Richard Baraniuk: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_baraniuk_on_open_source_learning?language=en#t-696272

Engard, N. (2015, April 27). What is open source? Licensing, history, and more. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from https://opensource.com/education/15/4/how-teach-others-about-open-source

Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C. (2014). Open learning in K-12 online and blended learning environments. In HandBook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. ETC Press.

Reflection Week 1

I have truly done a lot of learning in relation to this course this week. Academically, I have learned about what emerging technology is, how it applies to education and what some challenges emerging technologies face are. While all of this learning has been great, I am finding myself still a little confused about the way this course is presented. I thought I would be a step ahead because I took a class last semester that used blogs and twitter, but it seems like this course has quite a few different expectations from my previous course. So it is taking my mind a while to adjust to this new setting.

Additionally, I am currently in the Dominican Republic right now, and being in a country with unreliable Internet connectivity is really affecting my ability to fully immerse myself in this course and do my best work. I feel like I am falling behind and struggling because I am not able to access the Internet in the way that is needed for this course right now. I tried to plan my vacation early in the summer to avoid having to do class while I was traveling, but the dates of this course were never posted on the registrar, so I kind of just had to guess, I guessed wrong though! I will be back in a week and a half though, so I know soon enough I will be able to catch up, or fix anything that I need to.

Lastly, the connectivity issues that I have been dealing with while traveling this week, along with the Internet issues I always faced while teaching in rural Alaska, makes me wonder how practical is emerging technology for use in all classrooms. In many rural villages the Internet is unreliable, and when it works it can be slow and a time waster. Is the time and effort that is used to implement technologies in places with unreliable Internet worth the struggle? I am not to current on technology myself, and though I learn more each year, I am not one to try new technology things in my classroom due to the challenges it presents. What do other teachers who enjoy using technology in their classroom think, do you have the same challenges I have emotion? How do you come to terms with these issues?

Are there any places in the world/US where the Internet is completely reliable? If so, tell me so I can move there!!

Week 1 Blog Post

How do we define emerging technologies?

Before this course began I pretty much had no idea what emerging technologies are besides what I could glean from schema knowledge that I have from the words emerging and technology.  I assumed that emerging technologies were technologies that are new and up-and-coming.  After reading the suggested articles and doing some research I now understand that the term has a pretty different, and specific meaning.

So, emerging technology refers to a type of technology that is be applied to educational settings.  It does not necessarily have to be new type of technology, it can be somethings that has been around for a while, but it is being refined or adapted for educational use (Veletsianos, 2008).  The article “A definition of emerging technologies for education” used Twitter as an example (Veletsianos, 2008).  Twitter has existed for quite a while, but the program has been adapted and changed in many ways over the years.  Facebook too could be another example because Facebook has existed for about a decade now, but the interface we use today would be completely unrecognizable to a user from 2004.

I like the Twitter example in particular because it applies to what we are doing in this class and what I did in a class last semester too.  Though Twitter has been around for years, I never took a particular interest in it, but in my class last semester my teacher told us we had to have an account because we would be sharing our work with other through twitter and we had Twitter chats in that class, as we will in this one.  So, even though Twitter had existed for a while, it was now becoming extremely applicable and functional for an education setting, even though it was not an original function in the initial design of the program.

Types of technologies that are being utilized by educators, like Twitter and WordPress are even more convenient because they can be used through another type of emerging technology, mobile computing.  I can remember a few times where I had other commitments or was traveling, but I was able to submit work on time through mobile computing and apps.  When it comes to students, I actually prefer mobile computing.  Students are often slowed down by using full on computers, with having to type, navigate all the keys and icons.  Types of mobile computing are becoming increasingly popular schools because of their facility to use (Davidson, 2013).

Emerging technologies are also types of technologies that are not fully understood and are often not fully utilized by educators.  They are also susceptible to hype by others.  For example, every classroom in the district I previously worked for has a SMART Board.  About the time I was graduating from high school, in 2008 SMART Boards seemed to be the new cool thing for classrooms, but very few had them yet.  By the time I started teaching, many classrooms had them, but few teachers actually were able to fully access the benefits of the SMART Board due to either lack of training, interest, or other issues such as internet connectivity (Frye, 2011).  So in the district I worked for, they were definitely victims of the SMART Board hype.

Resources:

Davidson, D. (2013, July 28). Mobile Computing In Education – COMMANDmobile. Retrieved May 25, 2015, from http://commandmobile.com/mobile-computing-in-education/

Frye, L. (2011, June 19). Do Smart Boards live up to the hype? | Intermission. Retrieved May 25, 2015, from http://intermissiononline.com/2011/06/19/do-smart-boards-live-up-to-the-hype/

Veletsianos, G. (2008, November 18). A definition of emerging technologies for education | George Veletsianos. Retrieved May 25, 2015, from http://www.veletsianos.com/2008/11/18/a-definition-of-emerging-technologies-for-education/