Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Keep Connected

I didn't realize how easy it is to get lost on your own computer! I have spent hours just browsing around those sites.  I think I have bookmarked most of them - I just hope I remember where I put them in my folders!  I don't trust the Private Note site!  Right - the note "blows up" like something out of MI?  It is retrievable somehow - so never write anything you don't want others to read!  That's what I tell my kids when they are texting!

I thought it was ironic that the Yuguma site was making a case for their collaboration model.  There is so much competition out there that these site are having to get a "commercial" in somehow in order for the consumer to switch users.  Interesting how the "market" takes on TV-like model of advertising although the consumer is the one who has to choose the site to view.  We are no longer sitting back and subject to whatever the programmers want us to watch.  We are in control of what sites we visit online.  I do see the advertisements on my Yahoo, etc. but I really don't pay much attention to them and I am only on that page for a few seconds.  I wonder what the marketing analysts are predicting for the future?  

I never considered collaboration as being structured or fluid.  It makes sense.  Structured collaboration is found in education all the time.  We are not used to giving students the control or relying on spontaneous interactions to occur.  In thinking about our 2025 classroom, I am inclined to believe that the learning we engage in will be more discovery, spontaneous, and developed over time (as Yuguma points out).  Just the few hours I have spent "surfing" the site in our assignment has caused me to think creatively, expand my knowledge and start to link resources for future use.  I can't imagine what you could do with a collection of "students" in a particular area!

I also liked the idea of collaboration on Yuguma as following our natural working pattern.  Not interrupting the flow of work or ideas.  I think that works for some, but not for others.  Not everyone is comfortable being on their own to explore, learn and grow.  There are people who prefer the structure, direction, and list of requirements to check off!  There is nothing wrong with that thinking, it's just different than mine!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simulation & Gaming

This section of reading and exploring just blows my mind.  I feel like I could spend all day exploring online and never really get a handle on how much information is available.  My first instinct is to try and organize all this information.  For example, where should I store the website mathway.com for math help for my teenagers?  How can I use earthalbum.com in my Psychology class next term? My mind just keep thinking of all the possibilities, yet, I don't even know all the possibilities.  How can I keep myself in a learning environment where I will be exposed to technology continuously?  My brain hurts! :)

I also am concerned about our college graduates.  They are, for the most part, being educated by professors who prefer lecture and test-taking to exploring and simulation!  Will these new educational leaders develop the same practices in their students?  How can we change the educational system to imbed technology into the core without leaving our humanity behind?  I believe that's the essence of this class and our Educational Leadership degree?  My perspective is changing and I have more questions then I have answers.  But, I also have more hope and motivation to keep exploring the answers to my questions and making changes in my circle of influence.

My other concern is for the development of our children.  They are growing up as "screen manipulators" and not merely "screen watchers" (as I grew up).  This brings so many questions in regards to development; socially, mentally, culturally, and even physically.  Will we be prepared in education to meet this type of student whom we can't even identify yet?  I am inclined to believe that we will evolve slowly as in the past and most likely miss some opportunities along the way?  

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Trends" to Where?

Virtual worlds, wireless everything, personal handheld computers +, and more user-created content then ever!  Our world is truly changing right before our eyes.  What I find interesting is that there are still people I know who don't even have a connection to the internet at their home, they are not "blogging," not on MySpace, and don't even have an email!  They have a computer which allows them to type school work and play a few games, but that's about it!  And this is a home with a college-age and high school-age children, able to afford internet, educated, hardworking parents, etc.....  What is the deal?  When we read about "trends" and are exposed to this new world of tech options, it is almost impossible for me to imagine that not everyone would choose to "plug in."  Yes, a choice, not to use internet in daily life!  I wonder why not and what will those students choose in the future.  They obviously have to go to the library, etc. for some school information, so they know it's out there!

I also agreed completely with the 32 trends affecting distance education.  The trend to emphasize "competency instead of just completion."  In my opinion, this will take more time for teachers and professors to develop learner-centered teaching opportunities.  And, not everyone is on board for this kind of shift.  There are a healthy number of educators who like things just the way they are.  They have their class outlines done, their test masters completed, and their lecture notes all organized.  I don't think this type of educator is going to want to re-create their class with project-based learning, learner-centered activities, or engage students more frequently!  Until these type of educators are out of the system, we can expect small shifts at best.  

Life-long learning is another "trend" that was highlighted.  I said this in the previous blog, but I do think it's kind of funny that this term is so popular.  We act like it is a new phenomenon!  Sure, my generation wasn't molded into the assembly line.  We have had plenty of encouragement to be whatever we want to dream to be.  Learning is life-long.  I guess the difference now is that the learning needs to be focused for career longevity, functionality in the world, and communicating socially.  I still believe there will be many people who will continue to mail their payments, dial their house phone, and go to the library to check out a book.  Society doesn't change that quickly.

The other sections on computer ethics brings up so many unanswered questions.  We will "learn by doing" as we go along.  We cannot possibly calculate all the possible ways technology will foster crime, ownership issues, privacy issues, fair distribution, or human values.  What is a little unsettling about this is the speed in which technology is changing.  Will we be blind-sided by ethical issues because there was no time to react to the problem before it became a problem - a global problem!   

Monday, November 3, 2008


After looking at the reading topics for this past week on databases, spreadsheets, presentation software, etc., I realized that my automatic homepage "Apple.com" was my constant source of technology details and developments.  I have not changed my homepage since purchasing my MacBook, so Apple.com is daily before me as I start up my computer and begin my day.  I browse the latest Apple news, products, and comments even before I open my email or check the daily news events!  I am obsessed with iproducts!  I can't wait to switch to the iphone (when my current contract is up), and iwork, ilife, "i" anything is making daily life, learning, planning, and organizing second nature!  It is a little unsettling to think that my daily life is so depending on the "i" and without access to the internet sometimes (due to my home wireless limitations), I feel completely disconnected from my world (educationaly, professionally, and personally).  This sense of "plugged in" dependence concerns me...

On another note, I completely agree with the integration of applications, authentic experiences, and relevant context.  Doesn't this just make sense that we would use these tools to facilitate learning and support individualized exploration?  I sometimes feel like these kinds of ideas are held as innovative and "out of the box," when they should be common, everyday experiences.  We KNOW that every person learns differently.  We KNOW that prior experiences and knowledge play a foundational role in assimilating new information.  We KNOW that "one size doesn't fit all."  I feel like it just takes too much time, effort, and money to facilitate individualized learning and experiences, therefore, we settle for the mass format, streamlined learning and assessment, and running our population through the cattle-shoot of a P-16 system.

Technology will change the way we "educate" our society, just as the industrial revolution changed education in the past.  Pereiman said it well, "Our future is drastically different from our past, or anyone else's past."  I believe that throughout history, human beings have been challenged by many events that force change in the way we life life - whether it was a historical event, a natural disaster, a human tragedy, an industrial revolution, or a world-wide conflict.  Ongoing, life-long learning is really the reality of life.  Some choose to embrace it, pursue it, and develop it - some do not. 

I was especially struck by Dr. Faverty's idea of the future and personal education vouchers.  He points out that the future would value education as client-centered and market-driven.  Also, education would facilitate communication skills, employment desires, possible career changes as well as personal recreational skill development.  Wow!  What a concept!  Shouldn't education be doing that NOW???  Shouldn't we be "student-driven?"  Shouldn't we be facilitating a system of access to all successful school models???