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Archive for October, 2007

Edusim



I found an interesting 3D application for the interactive whiteboard. The Edusim is a 3D interactive virtual educational environment built on open source Croquet. The Edusim provides a powerful way to engage students by bringing a 3D immersive environment that allows the direct manipulation of the 3D virtual learning objects directly from the whiteboard. I think Edusim is fun, engaging, and highly interactive. The Edusim site offers five different applications (Intro World, Water World, Mars World, Forest World, and Math World) free for download for both Windows and Mac platforms. However, the user must have an interactive whiteboard in order to run these applications. Also, the site provides four Greenbush Resource Packs that can be integrated into the classroom.

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I just made a presentation at the AECT/SICET International Conference in Anaheim, California. The presentation entitled “Publish or Perish: Publishing Scholarly Articles in Educational Technology.” I thought the presentation went very well. The presentation was prepared to assist university faculty members and graduate students in preparing and submitting manuscripts for publication in academic journals in educational technology. The intent is to facilitate publication, research and other creative activities in the field of educational technology.

The presentation was based on the result of a survey study from the editors of various journals. I conducted the online journal survey in April 2007. Seventy editors from various journals worldwide related to educational technology were identified and invited to participate in the survey. After 6 weeks and several follow-ups, 42 editors completed the survey online with a usable return rate of 60 percent.

The survey had 27 items and provided useful publication information which included journal title, name of editor, email address, frequency of issue, publication format, circulation, audience, acceptance rate, refereed/non refereed journal, number of readings, desired length of articles, preferred style, submission and review process, and publishing fee if any.

The results indicate that most of educational technology journals publish 4 issues per year. Sixty-three percent of the educational technology journals are published in printed format. The acceptance rate varies and ranges from 9% to 80%. The average acceptance rate is about 32%. Ninety-three percent of the journals surveyed are refereed and only 7% are non-refereed. The number of readings required by the editorial review board ranges from 1 to 8 times with an average of 2.7 times. On the average, it takes about 12 weeks for receiving editorial decision and another 20 weeks for getting an article to publish. All educational technology journals participated in the survey have open submission policy and 95% of these journals have author’s guidelines available online. Most educational technology journals prefer APA style (74%) and allow an electronic submission (95%). Seventy-nine percent of these journals provide editorial assistance to help authors revise their manuscripts. Ninety-five percent pay no honorarium to authors. However, 69% of the journals provide complimentary issue to authors.

There are several types of educational technology journals that publish varying types of articles for a variety of audiences. Authors should determine the audience, types of articles published in the journal, types of journal, acceptance rate, time for editorial decision, and desired length of article prior to preparing and submitting a manuscript. I think my survey provides these helpful information to those who want to publish their papers in the field of educational technology, especially to graduate students and junior faculty who are pursuing tenure and promotion. The complete information on all participated editors and their journals is available online at http://dragon.ep.usm.edu/~yuen/journal/search.php Authors can use the search tools provided on this Web page to find the journal information before deciding on the target journal.

Finally, if you are an editor and want to include your journal in my database, please feel free to email me. I will be glad to provide you a URL for submitting your journal information online.

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Today, podcasting has taken the online world by storm, with teachers adopting digital course content broadcasting distribution technologies with huge enthusiasm. Many leading institutions have begun to use podcasting for instructional delivery. In spring 2007, Dr. Sharon Rouse and I collaborated with the Learning Enhancement Center (LEC) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) and launched a podcasting initiative to improve student learning opportunities through the use of innovative technologies. As the first part of the podcasting initiative, we conducted a survey to learn about USM students’ knowledge and attitudes of podcasting use in teaching and learning. Students in face-to-face and online classes of all levels were encouraged to participate in the survey by their professors.

The questionnaire consisted of four parts with a total of 37 items that included questions regarding the students’ demographics, their knowledge and use of podcasting, their personal use and ownership of an iPod or MP3 player, and their learning styles. To encourage students to participate in the survey, students who completed the online survey were entered for the drawing of five ipods given away by LEC. As a result, we had 965 students responded to the questionnaire on Vovici, an online surveyor. The data was collected and analyzed in SPSS.

The 965 responses yielded that 47.5% of the students completing the survey were between 20-25 years of age and that 71.7% of them were females. A great majority of students (84%) had a high speed or LAN connection to the Internet. Among the participants, over 37% of them took a fully online course or hybrid/blended class. Over 40% of students lived more than 16 miles away from campus. About 43% of students’ typical commute time was over 20 minutes. Over 20% of them spent over 60 minutes on the road to campus.

The results show that about 62% of participants own either iPod or MP3 player. More than 40% of them spend 10-20 hours a week using their iPod or MP3 player. Almost 45% of students use their iPod or MP3 player while walking or jogging. Sixty-five percent of them have knowledge about Podcasting, but only 41% have ever listened to a podcast. The majority of these students (74%) have been using a computer for 8 or more years, while 35.9% do not know whether they prefer using an iPod or MP3 player to using a computer. Nor do the students (41%) know whether they learn better from the face-to-face classroom experience.

Nearly 90% of students are interested in accessing instructional materials with their iPod or MP3 player, but only 39% of the students know how to access instructional/learning materials for their iPod or MP3 player. However, almost 55% of the students indicate that a class that is being podcast makes them more likely to take it.

The survey provides interesting information for us while we are in the process of implementing podcasting technology in teaching and learning at USM. The data is being used to design and develop instructional podcasts that will help instructors and students in the learning process, foster students engagement and reflection, and to enhance overall user experience for students in their learning environment.

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Digital Natives


 

Today’s college students are known as “digital natives” and are also known as members of the “Y Generation,” millennials, or boomlets. In general, they are born after 1980 and are racially and ethically diverse. The digital natives are experienced multitaskers, accustomed to using text messaging, PDAs, cell phones, and email while search the Web and watching television. They are highly connected, increasing mobile, and technological savvy; and they see technology as an essential part of their lives. Digital native students are also more comfortable expressing themselves digitally and have become creators as well as consumers of digital content. Digital native students are more active learners who want to create their own content. They tend toward independence and autonomy in their learning styles. They learn in a different way than their predecessors did, but they values education and they want to learn. Digital native want challenging, meaningful, and interactive instructional/learning activities. Unfortunately, increasing number of students in the college become less satisfied with their instructors’ use of technology because most of their instructors are digital immigrants who do not use the tools they are most familiar with.

Below is a short YouTube video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today – how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.

Teaching digital native students presents a challenge, both for their instructors and their institutions. Digital native students are fundamentally different in their use of technology than the “digital immigrants” who teach them. New technologies require that instructors rethink much of what they do, from their role in the classroom to the way they deliver instructional content and assess their students. I think we should consider technology tools that digital natives use and integrate these tools in teaching and learning. Thus, learning will become more interactive for their students. In addition, curriculum should provide more flexibility and engagement by integrating Web 2.0 tools, rich digital media, online collaborations, and virtual learning communities. These could result in a more open-ended authentic type of learning.

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