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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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Web 2.0 in Education



Web 1.0 applications typically consist of browsing and searching on the Internet, essentially a reading operation. In contrast, Web 2.0 applications, such as wikis and weblogs, allow users to read and also to write to the Web. Building on the read/write applications that have emerged in rich, interactive, user-friendly application platform, Web 2.0 has essentially transformed the Web from a Web page publishing venue to a global network community where every user is invited to create content. The Web’s shift from a tool of reference to one of collaboration, from passive to active, from consumer- to participant-oriented, allows teachers to use these tools to empower students and create exciting new learning opportunities.

The Web 2.0 applications hold profound potentials in education because of their open nature, ease of use and support for effective collaboration and communication. They change the traditional view of human knowledge and open up more opportunities in teaching and learning. Teachers can use Web 2.0 tools attract students’ attention and enhance their learning experiences. Today, over several hundreds of the Web 2.0 applications are available and have potentials in teaching and learning. Some of these tools include: podcasts (i.e., iTunes), Weblogs (i.e., Blogger), wikis (i.e., Mediawiki, PBWiki), social bookmarking tools (i.e., del.icio.us) , social networking tools (i.e., EduSpace, Facebook, MySpace), social media sharing tools (i.e., Flickr, SlideShare, YouTube), collaborative writing tools (i.e., Google docs, Zoho), virtual 3D community (i.e., Second Life), social library tools (i.e, LibraryThing), and Customized portals (i.e, Pageflakes, Protopage).

The “digital native” students have already found social networking tools integral to daily life. Marc Prensky pointed out from his article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” I think we should consider moving teaching and learning away from conventional methods by which students are told what to learn, when, where, and how. Instead, knowledge should be actively constructed and students should be made responsible for their own learning. The opportunity for instant and global publication of information, thoughts, opinions, and ideas is something our “digital native” students take for granted as normal and commonplace. Perhaps, we should also consider some of the social networking tools and integrate these tools in teaching and learning.

 

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Teaching in Second Life



Second Life, an online 3-D virtual reality world, is currently gaining in popularity around the world. Second Life allows users or “residents” to come together to interact, play, learn, do business, conduct classes, do research, and hold conferences in an online environment which is entirely built and owned by its residents. Residents can engage in rich, sensory experiences, authentic contexts, activities, and opportunities for reflection that form an exciting new domain for a wide range of educational applications including distance education and corporate training. This unique and cutting-edge technology enables teachers to build virtual learning communities for students with the goal of helping students solve real-world problems in an experiential setting. Colleges around the world are opening virtual campuses in Second Life. Today, more than 150 colleges in the U.S. and 13 other countries have built island campuses in Second Life to experiment with virtual learning. Some of these institutions include: Columbia University, Duke University, Indiana University, Ball State University, University of Texas-Austin, and MIT. They open their virtual campuses to attract students who are taking online courses, but miss the “presence” and the sense of community found in a regular classroom.

In order to help teachers bring their classes to Second Life, Linden Lab recently announced “Campus: Second Life,” a program to allow college level classes to use the powerful tools and realistic environment of Second Life as a venue for learning. The “Campus: Second Life” program will give teachers the use of 1 acre of land in Second Life completely free for the duration of the class. This allows teachers to try out Second Life with their classes for the first time at no cost.

Although some teachers are skeptical of the value of the 3-D digital world, the number of virtual campuses keeps growing. I think we should not under-estimate the potential of 3-D Web. This could be a technology with a future for higher education. The Gartner Research Group predicated that 80% of regular Internet users will have a 3-D Web presence by 2011. Perhaps, we should explore the potential of 3-D digital world in teaching and learning. Second Life could be a valuable educational tool for teaching the Net Generation. Second Life provides opportunity to use simulation in a safe environment to enhance experiential learning, allowing students to practice skills, try new ideas, and learn from their mistakes.

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Social Networking for Education



Today’s college students are known as “digital natives” and are also known as members of the Millennial Generation. The digital natives are highly connected, increasing mobile, and technological savvy; and they see technology as an essential part of their lives. Results of a 2007 national study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project show that 55 percent all online American youths between the ages of 12 and 17 use social networking sites for communication. A recent study, Creating and Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social- and Educational-Networking conducted by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and Grunwald Associate, indicates that American kids are spending almost as much time using social networking services and Web sites as they spend watching television. The report is based on online surveys of about 1,300 American kids from 9 to 17 years and over 1,000 parents, and telephone interviews with more than 250 school district officials. The findings of the study indicate that 96 percent of students with internet access engage in social networking. Almost sixty percent of students say they use the social networking tools to discuss classes, learning outside school, and planning for college. Students also report using chatting, text messaging, blogging, and online communities such as Facebook and MySpace for educational activities, including collaboration on school projects.

Based on these studies as well as many similar research studies, the opportunity for instant and global publication of information, thoughts, opinions, and ideas is something our “digital native” students take for granted as normal and commonplace. The “digital native” students have already found social networking tools integral to daily life. As Marc Prensky pointed out from his article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.” I think we should consider moving teaching and learning away from conventional methods by which students are told what to learn, when, where, and how. Instead, knowledge should be actively constructed and students should be made responsible for their own learning. We should also consider some of the social networking tools and integrate these tools in teaching and learning.

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