Monthly Archives: February 2009

Week 3

Activity 2- In this activity we were asked to read “On two metaphors for learning ” Sfard http://learn.open.ac.uk/file.php/4473/block1/H800_Week3b_OnTwoMetaphorsforLearning_Sfard.pdf

Sfard describes the acquisition metaphor of learning as knowladge being something which is aquired and then fills the mind. She describes the participation metaphor as learning being a constant activity which occours as part of a community.

Activity 3

In this activity we were asked to read Deceit, desire and control: the identities of learners and teachers in cyberspace by Siân Bayne from her book Education in Cyberspace (Land and Bayne, 2005). This passage revies the role of personal identity in an online environment and relates it to the myth of the metamorphosis of Arachne. The passage includes quotes from students who see the acquastion of multiple, un-real online personalities as dangerous and dishonst “I think I could get too much into a character which is not yourself, and you kind of lose the division between the character and yourself.” Although there is a danger in extreme cases of false online identies, such as peadophiles grooming children, I find the arguments against multiple online indenties a weak knee jerk reaction to the unknown. Most people have slighty different personalities depending on their environment and who they are with. Multiple online personalities is a natural extention of this. I am also curous about what they classify as identities whach are not “a direct representation of the single, embodied identity presented in the face to face classroom.” Does this mean that someone who had an obvious physical disability should go out of their way to ensure any online representation has the same disability, or someone who is unhappy with some part of their apperance should include it in an avatar, or someone with a speach imparement should make sure everone knows about it? What about a transgender individual, are they allowed to choose the sex of their avatar? Does it only refer to characteristics which can be seen or heard when meeting face to face? what about charateristics which may be less obvious such as sexualty, religion, previous life experiences? One part of the passage which i did find valid was the discussion about how the perceprion of the tutor changes between online and face to face environments. Having been a tutor and student in this envirinment I can see how the tutors self perception within an online environment can be one of being a “stuffy old prig”, when i was an online tutor i felt i didn’t have confidence and control of the environment and felt I had compensated by being over controling, however feedback from students within the group said they thought I did fine and natuarlly moved the session along.

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Wk 2 A10- reflecting on the differences

Define Distance Learning
Distance learning refers to a learning process in which the teacher and student are seperated either geographicly or by time or by a combination of the two.
‘The considered opinion of many leaders of distance education in Brazil is that the new law treats distance learning “as a shadow of conventional learning”’ (p.681).

Why, in your experience, do some critics have this opinion? How can criticisms of distance education be answered, in your own context?

As an elearning advisior I have come across many objections to elearning which could be applied to distance learning:

“I don’t like it, therefore it is a waste of time”
I am supprised by how many times i hear variations on this argument. Many of those who work in the education sector have succeded by working their way throughg the traditional educational system.  For the majority of these people traditional education may work better, however there are many learners who do denefit from distance learning, either because of their personal situaltion, their prefferences or learning styles.

“Distance Learning can’t replicate what happens in a classroom”

Although there are a number of distance courses that do try to replicate what goes on in a classroom, I think distance/elearning courses work best when they take advantage of what can’t be replicated in a classroom for example, encourageing discussions with a wider diversity of students than you would get in a classroom based course, or making use of electronic resources and simulations which would be difficult to replicate in a classroom

Wk 2 A9: Identifying the factors underpinning the practices

Based on the brazillian quality bechmarks for elearning: http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=188811&section=3
and the ficticious vignette: The academic life of Maria Teresa: an undergraduate Brazilian student

In the context of the vignette, how do these practices compare with more conventional face-to-face learning?

The practicies appear to be technology enhanved versions of traditional face to face systems.. Video lectures in stead of face to face lectures, face to face interactions with other students supplimented by discussion forums.

Which quality benchmarks embedded in their course design and teaching approach can you identify?

How does the Pitágoras University vignette illustrate the benchmarks applied in practice?

Communication systems
The facilitator moderates the students’ questions, which are sent by email via the university’s virtual learning environment,
she logs on to the internet and participates in the discussion forum.
Course material
“The students receive printed materials for each course and are requested to read the content of the lecture prior to the live broadcast.”
Assessment
She also discusses with her colleagues the feedback she had from the tutor on her assignments.
Multidisciplinary course team
In the studio, there are three people: the tutor, a facilitator and a production technician.
Support infrastructure
Maria Teresa enjoys the face-to-face gatherings at the regional centre. She thinks it is an opportunity to interact with her colleagues and to ask questions of the tutor
Financial sustainability
She borrows books from the library and uses the university’s printing facilities, which are available at more affordable prices than in the printing shops in the high street.

wk 2 A8 Bringing the audio case studies together

Now that you have had the opportunity to consider the two case studies, what have you learned about why and how audio has been used for educational purposes?
Although one was a comercal venture and one was government funded they both met needs of learners and teachers.

Do you think that it is possible to generalise your findings to other educational developments or innovations involving the use of technologies?
In both cases the evolution of programes came about because they at least patially solved an existing problem.  the technology itsel was not the driving force.  As the projects evolved pedagogical and interactivity issues became more important.

To what extent were there similarities between the advantages or benefits that you noted for each case study?
To what extent were there similarities between the disadvantages or limitations that you noted for each case study?
The benefifts were about reaching large numbers in a reletively low tech way.
The limitations were based around the inherently non interactive nature of ther format although a number of inovotive solutions to this issue evolved

What do you think were the primary reasons for using audio in the two cases?
Audio has been used as a reletively cheap and low tech way of reaching large numbers.

wk2 A 6&7

Questions based on “the first wave : the beginnings of radio in Canadian distance education” http://learn.open.ac.uk/file.php/4473/block1/H800_Week2c_TheFirstWave_Buck.pdf

What was the rationale for using audio in each of the case studies?
initially as a marketing tool, and encouraged by listener feedback


What educational purpose(s) was audio intended to serve? Did these change over time?

social and commercial benefits

What audiences were served by projects?
initially for young children then adults then “learner disabled” including partially deaf and blind learners.

Was the experience for learners synchronous or asynchronous? And was it individual or group-based?
Broadcasts were live so in that seance they were synchronous, however communication was carried out via post which made it asynchronous.

How would you characterise the roles of teachers and learners in the programmes described?
distant from each other

What model(s) of learning was/were primarily involved?
Didactic, although learners had to remember facts to answer quizzes as part of “Radio Train”

How active or passive were learners expected to be?

Despite attempts at interaction via post or by including broadcasts in lessons, they were fairly passive

How was the use of audio ‘interactive’? Did this change over time?
Interactivity was basic, starting with students posting comments/answers in.  interactivity was encouraged by getting listeners write in and suggest talent or offer their services to the broadcasts.

What educational limitations of audio were identified?
Limited interactivity, cost of receivers, issues about advertising, difficulties in matching content to a range of curriculum ac cross the country and for different time zones

How did the projects described in the case studies relate to formal education provision within their respective countries?
Broadcasts supported teachers who often had limited knowledge of the curriculum

Questions based on “Using interactive radio to enhance classroom learning and reach schools, classrooms teachers and learners”
http://learn.open.ac.uk/file.php/4473/block1/H800_Week2c_UsingInteractiveRadio_Potter_etal.pdf

What was the rationale for using audio in each of the case studies?
Reach large Numbers of learners and support teachers

What educational purpose(s) was audio intended to serve? Did these change over time?

initially basic skills,

What audiences were served by projects?
The South Africa radio learning programme focused on primary school learners

Was the experience for learners synchronous or asynchronous? And was it individual or group-based?
lessons were recorded so it was asynchronous

How would you characterise the roles of teachers and learners in the programmes described?
Teacher has the role of facilitating learning

What model(s) of learning was/were primarily involved?
Initailly behaviourist moving towards constructivist

How active or passive were learners expected to be?

Learners had to actively participate in activities

How was the use of audio ‘interactive’? Did this change over time?
The broadcasts were supplemented with classroom materials including activities, so it was interactive

What educational limitations of audio were identified?
Teachers lacked required expertise in second language teaching,

How did the projects described in the case studies relate to formal education provision within their respective countries?
Worked closely with and to support the department of education

Wk 2 Act 3 pedagogy in countries with low resources

I have found a blog by a teacher, teaching in Tanzania.
http://educationforafrica.org.uk/intanzania/blog/may2008.html

In this blog he points out that students are not being challenged and not used to intereactive teaching.  He wants to use technology but is limited by the cost of running a desil generator, although he wants to install solar panels.  He wants to encourage student focused learning via a VLE for a number of reasons including…. “there being teachers each term is not guaranteed. Teachers are badly paid and always want to do something else. Most I’ve spoken to want to be lawyers and want to leave Tanzania.”

Wk 2 A1: We participate therefore we are?

Notes on webcast by John Seely Brown, Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for Edge Innovation. about the value of group work
http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=1063&s=31

Your work so far on H800 includes some individual reading and viewing/listening. Does Brown’s argument imply that this is less valuable than your group work?
As I understand it, individual reading is neccercary to provide nther knowladge, however the discussion that follows develops understanding

What are the implications of his argument for your own use of technology – in your own learning and teaching?

I have developed a number of short self directed VLE modules about useing technology fo teaching.  Because these are courses which can be dipped in and out of at any time, it would be difficult to make use of synchronous discussion however I may now look at making more use of asynchronous discussions.

Part of my job involves delivering staff devlopment about various types of technology.  I have moved away from just showing a large number of resources in a short time, to showing fewer and then getting the groups to discuss how these technologies can be used.