Can Inspiration Drive Technology use for Student Learning?

The introduction to several technologies for teaching in higher education has inspired me to think about those technologies for student learning. Of the many technologies discussed on course blogs, Google Drive, VideoNotes remains my number one choice for delivering learning materials. Google Drive, VideoNotes as an external resource have implications for delivering learning materials in a video format that allows students more control over the learning process. Google Drive, VideoNotes interactive functionality potential for usability in asynchronous or synchronous interaction, could serve as a discussion board, separate from the institutional learning management system. I would implement the use of Google Drive, VideoNotes for presenting learning materials where students could explore the concepts.

Although much of the attitude in higher education ascribe to using one technology over another for teaching and student engagement, I would use YouTube in conjunction with Whiteboards and Prezi for multifunctional applications in the learning space. I like the idea of incorporating different resources into learning interactions where students would have a choice of how they want to learn. That approach harkens back to ideas about today’s’ student’s use of multitasking to incorporate various concepts into their learning experiences. Scholars agree that late adolescence, early adulthood individuals have increased capacity for understanding concepts that are more complex. The idea of using Google Earth to mediate mlearning for adults is inspiring. Using Google Earth to help learners explore concepts about different countries and cultures could influence how students make meaning of learning. Google Earth technology also inspires me as a tool that could help students develop more complex ideas within the learning setting.

I strongly feel that the focus in higher education on the right technology for learning engagements and alignment of technology use with pedagogy reflects a restricted viewpoint that tends to place teaching in cubicles of thought. I would use the technology for a concept-driven approach in the teaching practice. For example, I would use the learning objectives to identify the important concepts, then align the concepts the technology that would allow students to fully maximize the learning experience. To accomplish the objective, presenting the material in short segments would allow for student interaction with the learning material. If students show hesitation with grasping the concepts, then I would use a different technology during the next lesson to present learning materials. That approach would require paying close attention to how much students respond during the segment break.

 

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Ethical Considerations when Integrating Online Content Delivery with Facebook.

Teachers may seldom think about ethics when developing courses and learning materials for delivery in the virtual learning space. When choosing Facebook as the learning setting, teachers should be aware of privacy concerns that could cross ethical boundaries between student privacy, public access and copy written material. Facebook is unique in some respects as a social networking site. For one, students have almost unlimited access to different types of information posted on the user’s page. Another feature of FB, users can restrict who, and, what type of information others can have access to. Teachers can use Facebook to post group discussion topics and encourage student active learning interactions. Students can view and respond to the teacher or other students using a variety of devices like cell phones, PDAs, laptops, notepads and desktop computers. Lastly, Facebook through its massager application accommodates both asynchronous and synchronous interactions in the virtual space.

Facebook can be useful for teaching a course in African-American history. Teachers can post topic discussions that students can reply to directly, or choose to respond by using the FB messenger application, which gives the student some control over how s/he chooses to interact with the learning environment. Teachers can post links to learning materials found on the internet or the course website. FB also accommodates webinars, YouTube videos, and other visual or audio formats. I find that audio and visual learning material is fantastic for teaching a course on the History of American Music. I tutored a student where the instructor used audio and video snippets to introduce students to different American music forms, and the important people who influenced the development of different American music genres. Teachers can use FB in a similar way to introduce students to different ideas and important events in the history of African American people as they sought to understand and define their place in an often hostile, American society.

When implementing FB technology with learning materials for the virtual classroom, teachers should be aware of ethical considerations that could present legal problems. Wang and Heffernan (2010) discuss the ethical issues borne out in the literature related to the e-learning classroom that overwhelmingly focuses on learners’ online privacy. Cain and Fink (2010) note the introduction of new legal and ethical complexities in the higher education environment surrounding the use of social media applications like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Mitchell (2009) suggests that teachers must be aware of copyright infringement when adapting learning materials for online applications. Copyright law for face-to-face presentation or online distribution differs regarding the type of permission needed for use in the classroom. Mitchell (2009) insist that teachers can mitigate problems associated with copyright law by checking fair use guidelines that were established in 1976 and used throughout the 1990s.

In light of copyright law, and using technology to bring about positive social change through user interaction, teachers can post topics related to the learning material that can encourage students to discuss issues and offer solutions for change that could become ongoing discussions outside the education environment. Inside the academy, Kenney, Banerjee, and Newcombe (2010) view sustainable positive social change as influenced by an organizational focus on helping faculty increase their proficiency and use of technology in their courses to improve student learning. Kenny et al. (2010) suggest that the e-Teaching and e-Learning Initiative (ETLI) model is robust for sustaining ongoing teacher technology development related to helping teachers use technology for future classroom teaching. By helping teachers understand how to use technology more effectively for in classroom teaching, the residual effects of ETLI could resonate in increased student learning in the future.

References

Cain, J., & Fink, J. L., III. (2010). Legal and ethical issues regarding social media and pharmacy education. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 74(10), 1–8. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/.

Kenney, J. L., Banerjee, P., & Newcombe, E. (2010). Developing and sustaining positive change in faculty technology skills: Lessons learned from an innovative faculty development initiative. International Journal of Technology in Teaching & Learning, 6(2), 89–103.

Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

Mitchell, R. G. (2009). Ethics in an online environment. New Directions for Community Colleges2009(148), 63-70. doi:10.1002/cc.387

Wang, S., & Heffernan, N. (2010). Ethical issues in computer-assisted language learning: Perceptions of teachers and learners. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(5), 796–813. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00983.x

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Learning through the feel of Technology in Student Engagement

Learning through the feel of Technology in Student Engagement

When you think about technology use in fostering student learning, engaging students in the learning space, and assessing student learning, one question comes to mind, how can teachers effectively use the different technology to achieve rewarding results for both teacher and student. With that in mind, I will discuss interactive whiteboards (IWBs) and Pearltrees technologies use for teacher/student interactions in the higher education (HE) learning setting.

Interactive White Board

For those who may still be unfamiliar with one technology under discussion here, Marzano (2013) inform us that interactive whiteboards are a large display screen that connects to a computer and a projector. As an internet communication technology (ICT) tool used in the educational setting, IWBs Bidaki and Mobasheri (2013) point out, includes a set of special whiteboard screens that connects to a computer and a data projector.

Tomei (2013) identified IWBs as one of the top 10 technologies for classroom teaching and student learning in the 21st century. As one technology chosen by teachers for student interaction in the learning setting, Tomei (2013) point out that IWBs have been shown to foster student learning concerning content delivery in the learning environment; Tomei (2013) attribute to allowing learners to absorb information more easily. IWBs foster participation in group discussions by freeing students (and teachers) from note taking, enabling learners to work collaboratively around a shared task/work area (Tomei, 2013).

Pearltrees Technology

Pearltrees is an online application where students can collect and store information online in one location. Because Pearltrees are web based, both students and teachers can look for, and draw resources directly from the web, then store and organize store content in one place. However, sparse research exists about Pearltees technology usefulness in the educational teaching and learning space. In the area of modern technology, Albaiz (2016) found in a study to locate the effects of Pearltees on learning in the digital space; Pearltrees have been found to boost the learning process by eliminating factors that could inhibit empowering students. Albaiz (2016) also recognize the usefulness of Pearltrees for supporting shared knowledge, peer assessment, scaffolding, and active student participation.

Fostering Student Learning

Studies tend to show a very mixed picture about the effect of IWBs to foster student learning. However, Bidaki and Mobasheri (2013) report that IWBs significantly enhances both teaching and learning in various ways. Bidaki and Mobasheri (2013) also report, research indicate the effectiveness of IWBs to facilitate better display, which aid in providing more visual representation, supporting presenting difficult concepts by providing modelling, motivating students more effectively, and assisting in increasing the student’s attention span and focus. Tsung-Ho, Yueh-Min, and Chin-Chung (2012) found IWBs fosters student learning in other ways. When students engage in interactive learning related to active student participation, according to Tung-Ho et al. (2012), IWBs encourage students to participate actively in learning and be more focused on the tasks, e.g., actively questioning or adding to the teacher’s or classmates’ comments. Because IWBs allow students to connect with learning concepts in a physical sense by having the ability to move and connect concepts, students can see and explore in depth relationships between concepts.

Pearltrees foster student learning in different ways from IWBs. In a study conducted by Albaiz, analysis has shown that the Pearltrees site enhances the students’ learning skills by creating a platform for them to share their knowledge and information with each other (2016). Learning goes beyond knowledge and information sharing; students can build different centers of knowledge based on similar themes, concepts, and informational, organizational structure. Pearltrees allow students to integrate web content with PC or laptop functionality, then displays the information in a context that shows how the student structure ideas and the order of those ideas.

Engaging Student Learning

Teachers can think of engaging student learning in many ways; I prefer to think of the activity as a process of reciprocity for both teacher and student. The interactive capability of IWBs allows teachers to present content and ideas in the learning space, where students can show how they develop relationships with content that express understanding of the learning material. Because the IWB environment is fluid and not static, students can reposition ideas in different ways that invite active individual and group learning. Xu and Moloney (2011) hinted that IWBs visual presentation capabilities as well as interactive tasks and activities helps to shorten the acquisition period, and enable effective student retention and review

When we think about how to engage student learning using both IWBs and Pearltrees technology conjunctively to create information overlap in one learning space; IWBs allows teachers and students to share information in one space. In a sense, the teacher is using a pedagogical approach that utilizes the best of each technology to enhance the usability of the other. Teachers should not be afraid to try new approaches to technology that could achieve unexpected results that benefit students.

Assessing Student Learning

As a technological tool that supports the formative assessment of student comprehension regarding course content, Tomei (2013) notes, when used to test student understanding of concepts presented in learning materials, whiteboards can provide learner feedback rapidly and efficiently. Xu and Moloney (2011) noted in their study; students became engaged with the role of feedback itself in teacher and student reflective practice. Xu and Moloney remind us that teachers have used IWBs in the process of reflective practice to improve teaching and student learning outcomes. Pearltrees technology has usefulness as a website for student ePortfolio, where they can store a body of work that demonstrates meeting learning outcomes. Because Pearltrees can be used as the means for students and their teachers to enhance the learning process and encourage self-directed learning (Albaiz, 2016), teachers can use Pearltrees to located indicators of where improvements in their teaching practices related to student comprehension need to be made.

 

References

Albaiz, T. (2016). The pearl side of online portfolios: A descriptive study on the rich experience of       using pearltrees by master students of teaching english as a foreign language. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology15(1). Retrieved from http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com/

Bidaki, M. Z., & Mobasheri, N. (2013). Teachers’ views of the effects of the interactive white board (IWB) on teaching. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences83(2nd World Conference on Educational Technology Research), 140-144. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.027

Marzano, R. J. (2009). The art and science of teaching/teaching with interactive whiteboards. Educational Leadership, 67(3), 80-82. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/

Tomei, L. A. (2013). Top 10 Technologies for Designing 21st Century Instruction. International          Journal of Information & Communication Technology Education9(3), 80-93.          doi:10.4018/jicte.2013070106

Tsung-Ho, L., Yueh-Min, H., & Chin-Chung, T. (2012). An investigation of teaching and learning          interaction factors for the use of the interactive whiteboard technology. Journal of          Educational Technology & Society, (4). 356. Retrieved from          http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com/

Xu, H. L., & Moloney, R. (2011). ‘It makes the whole learning experience better’: student feedback     on the use of the interactive whiteboard in learning Chinese at tertiary level. Asian Social Science, (11), 20. Retrieved from http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com/

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Reddit Technology in Online Distance Teaching and Learning

Using Reddit Technology to Enhance Student Learning

Reddit social networking site is the chosen technology that has implications for teaching with technology in a distance learning (DL) environment. Like many social networking sites, Reddit offers a space where ideas can be exchanged or individuals, teachers included, can initiate discussions on a variety of topics for classroom teaching and learning. Before proceeding with this discussion, I must alert readers that I was unfamiliar with Reddit technology. Additionally, how Reddit technology could be used and integrated with an adult teaching and learning setting for content delivery, and enhanced student learning environment. The implication of Reddit as a teaching and learning resource Ohanian (2016) claims, Reddit is a community where anyone has the chance to speak one-on-one with individuals on various topics every day where folks could learn directly from the source what it feels like to be them. (Haralabopoulos, Anagnostopoulos, and Zeadally (2015) viewpoint is not as specific; they insist Reddit is a social news and entertainment site powered by user generated content (Haralabopoulos et al., 2015).

Benefits and Challenges of using Reddit Social Networking Site in Teaching

Before deciding on the advantages of using Reddit for teaching purposes, I decided to examine some of the content, the accessibility of, and ease of navigation of the Reddit environment for teaching and content presentation. One apparent benefit is usability of Reddit outside institutional LMS. Koretzky (2015) report, Reddit is a direct line to readers where hundreds of millions of people interact with media and content and have the ability to respond to posting about it. However, a teacher only needs to be concerned about the students in their course. Another benefit related to using Reddit Haralabopoulos; Anagnostopoulos and Zeadally (2015) suggest a deeper influence of Reddit as a social networking site on teaching and learning and content delivery. Online Social Networks (OSNs) and their adoption in our everyday lives have led to the development of new information-sharing schemes where users can easily disseminate information quite fast (Haralabopoulos et al., 2015).

Teachers could face challenges related to using Reddit. In their study on information flow of SNS, Haralabopoulos et al. (2015) found that entertaining content and positive content is shared more frequently by SNS users than anything else. Haralabopoulos et al. finding could suggest that students interacting with this type of distance teaching environment (DTE) engage more with content if they perceive that information has entertainment value and is positive. Haralabopoulos et al. (2015) also found that the highest student percentage (41. 38%) responded favorably to visual stimulation in online social networks (OSNs). The implication for teaching suggests that students respond more positively to information presented in a visual format to introduce concepts. Teachers could be hard-pressed to design and present material that overwhelming contains ideas presented visually. Regarding content delivery, technology such as PowerPoint or Prezi integrated into the LMS would become the primary presentation method for delivering content.

Uses for Teaching and Learning

 Despite findings of positive reactions by students to the visual presentation of content (Haralabopoulos et al., 2015), teachers could use PowerPoint or Prezi to present concepts in an orderly sequence that would allow students to make connections between different concepts in the teaching and learning sequence. That approach to teaching and learning termed graphic organizers (GOs) by Erasmus (2013); enables teachers and learners to present information in a graphic format (Erasmus, 2013).

Fostering Student Engagement

Presented earlier here is Erasmus’s concept mapping (CM) concept used as GO, where knowledge is constructed and reconstructed plays a role in enhancing student engagement in the OLE. Erasmus (2013) believe that CM facilitates active learning; encourages student-discovery while learning; and reflects students’ experiences, beliefs, and biases in addition to an understanding of a topic. By using CM conjunctively with GOs such as PowerPoint or Prezi to present concepts in a visual format, students are encouraged to make connections with learning in the format most recognizable to how they interact in the DL environment.

Implementation Strategy for Sustaining Reddit Technology

 Strategies for implementing Reddit into the teaching practice that fosters student engagement include:

  1. Providing students with a link in the course syllabus where learning materials, including videos, wikis, Microsoft Word documents and external material outside of the LMS could be found.
  2. Because learning is conceptualized in Reddit as learning community interaction, Reddit online social networking site (OSNS) provides students the opportunity to participate in discussion groups as a community member. Again, students would be provided with the location of group discussion topics.
  3. Each week when new objectives and reading materials, videos or external documents are provided for learning, a link would be uploaded into the LMS for students to locate all resources
  4. Reddit would be used for encouraging online student interaction in discussion groups. However, notices would be sent to students informing them where assignments could be submitted in LMS environment.

References

Erasmus, C. J. (2013). Concept mapping as a strategy to enhance learning and engage students in the classroom. Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences Education31(1), 27-35. Retrieved from  http://www.natefacs.org/

Haralabopoulos, G., Anagnostopoulos, I., & Zeadally, S. (2015). Lifespan and propagation of information in on-line social networks: A case study based on reddit. Journal of Network & Computer Applications5688-100. doi:10.1016/j.jnca.2015.06.006.

Koretzky, M. (2015). Reporting on reddit. The Quill, (4), 28. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

Ohanian, A. (2016, January 5). Ask me anything: Volume one. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.redditblog.com/

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Concept Integration using Prezi

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Concept Integration using Prezi

Concept Integration using Prezi Technology

Storytelling through Technology

In all honesty, before deciding to choose a technology for this discussion, I looked at all the available information communication technology (ICT) choices listed in the PDF file. After considering how each technology could be used to enhance the student learning experience, I chose Prezi. I would describe Prezi as a canvas, a tool that accommodates concept building using organized information where the teacher narrates a story. Unlike like Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote, which are based on presenting information in a linear slide format (Settle, Abrams, & Baker, 2011); Prezi presentations exist on a canvas (Settle et al., 2011); teachers can navigate the presentation by zooming in and out of different points on the canvas in a linear and nonlinear fashion (Settle et al., 2011).

I believe that teaching is as much storytelling, as it is for communicating ideas and concepts within a learning space. More importantly, teaching should provide both the teacher and student with opportunities to experience shared knowledge, to discover the world together through common experiences. Prezi technology helps teachers to use their experiences, their expertise in a space that accommodates direct student interaction with content. Settle et al. (2011) acknowledge the importance of teachers creating a space where students are encouraged to engage in actively constructing knowledge.

Prezi for Teaching and Learning within Disciplines

Not currently working in the higher education environment affords an outsider’s view of approaches to teaching, and using technology for teacher-student interaction within a learning space. Based on volumes of information about effective in-classroom teaching, Prezi technology accommodates using ICT for student-centered learning; Bates and Poole (2003) found important for knowledge construction. To accommodate that knowledge building, Prezi would be used as an interactive medium to connect learning concepts to student ideas generated during course material presentation by the teacher. When instructors consider knowledge construction related to course content and creating an enhanced learning environment; Limbu, Mukherjee, and Gurung (2013) suggest, teachers can use Prezi to create an enhanced learning environment for student engagement that encourages students to be actively involved and motivated in their learning activities.

Prezi Functionality

Prezi have functions built into the software that accommodates different student learning interactions in an enhanced learning environment. What are Prezi features? Prezi has pre-designed templates, as well as an extensive library file; therefore, teachers do not have to create original images; instructors can copy the image into a pre-designed template. Pre-designed searchable templates make it easier for teachers to design lessons. Media importation capabilities allow teachers to integrate audio and visual files into the presentation, which supports and enhances concept development. That feature is important for students who are more auditory or visual learners. Because Prezi is internet based, teachers can present information across different platforms and devices. Thus, allowing face-to-face, asynchronous or synchronous content delivery. Prezi also has webinars and training that support teacher development, which is an important consideration for instructors who could have limited technology support from their institution.

Benefits Related to Engaging Students

Students need to demonstrate that they are engaged with the material. Settle et al. (2011) suggest that students have the ability to be collaborators in Prezi by engaging in active learning. Prezi helps students build competency in learning by allowing interaction with the concepts presented by the teacher. Because Prezi technology is interactive, teachers can quickly integrate new content into the presentation during the learning session, which will accommodate new ideas that emerged from the learning encounter. Brock and Brodahl (2013) supports the functionality of Prezi for accommodating less linear presentation of information as opposed to PowerPoint. Prezi allow grouping of elements in the presentation that is beneficial for constructing a pathway between different concept groups (Brock & Brodahl, 2013). Users can move back and forth to display the separate elements and reflect how they fit into a larger context Brock & Brodahl, 2013).

Students can easily edit downloaded content; Brock and Brodahl (2013) allege, is useful for changing the relationship between concepts. Settle et al. (2011) contend, by changing the sizes and positions of objects, teachers and students can visually illustrate the relationship between concepts in the presentation that aid student understanding of the pieces as well as the whole. Students could find that downloading the content, they can control how they interact with the course material, which is beneficial to new knowledge construction and understanding relationships between concepts.

Challenges Related to Engaging Students.

On the opposite side of the coin, Settle (2011) recognize that many of the negative of using Prezi stem from poor planning and understanding of how to use it effectively. Settle et al. (2011) suggest that teachers avoid using Prezi for text-heavy presentations. Because students can change how the information is presented, could affect content continuity relating to the teacher’s learning outcomes. Additionally, students could overlook import concepts that are beneficial for knowledge construction. One important challenge related to learning, which is outside of Prezi; the student could not have fully developed cognition, which is critical for understanding complex ideas. Brock and Brodahl (2013) found the greatest challenge to engaging students; teachers need to move away from linear thinking associated with using PowerPoint to a more holistic thinking when designing presentations in Prezi.

Reflections on Blog Writing Experience

Benefits

One benefit of blogging is that the writer establishes an internet presence, where you can weigh in on the discussion about technology use in college teaching and learning for the 21st century. Teachers need to have a sense of how technology will affect their careers; influence their pedagogical beliefs about teaching; provide teachers with a forum that helps them understand how to meet student’s learning needs, and design engaging lessons that will create enhanced learning environments.

Another benefit, blogging helps writers become more comfortable with information communication technology (ICT), and the many ways, teachers can expand teaching and learning beyond the face-to-face traditional learning modes. Higher education institutions (HEIs) are rapidly integrating technology more and more into every facet of teaching. Thus, teachers must become acclimated to using technology in course design and content delivery to meet the growing need for technology-savvy students.

Challenges

It may sound cliché, but the biggest challenge was learning how to put up a blog. Although some sites for creating a blog was recommended, having a site and knowing how to use is are two entirely different animals. Although I have used the internet for a variety of purposes since the middle 1980s, I have not used the internet to become a voice in the narrative on teaching with technology at the college level. Therefore, I felt overwhelmed by the thought of contributing to the discussion.

Another significant challenge was learning how the blog site functions regarding responding to RSS feeds from course mates. Essentially, I had to learn, how to navigate my blog site to respond to classmates’ posts. As a teacher, instructors will be required to keep abreast of the latest technology; learn how to use the technology to engage students, and enhance the student classroom learning experience. That means; I would need to step outside my comfort zone. Experiencing discomfort could well be the biggest challenge.

References

Bates, A.W., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Brock, S., & Brodahl, C. (2013). A tale of two cultures: Cross cultural comparison in learning the prezi presentation software tool in the US and norway. Journal of Information Technology Education,1295-119. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

Limbu, Y. B., Mukherjee, A., & Gurung, B. (2013). Student engagement techniques and teaching quality ratings in marketing education. AMA Winter Educator’s Conference Proceedings, 24, 283–290. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

Settle, Q., Abrams, K. M., & Baker, L. M. (2011). Using prezi in the classroom. NACTA Journal,      (4), 105. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

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Online Learning Resources and Professional Development

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Online Learning Resources and Professional Development

Online Learning Technologies

Kinash, Brand, and Mathew (2012) state, “In the introduction to their article, Dyson, Litchfield Lawrence, Raban, and Leijdekkers (2009) wrote a paragraph about the necessary alignment of teaching tools with the technologies used by current students (p. 639). The discussion calls attention to the importance of technology tools used to accommodate student-learning needs in the 21st-century distance classroom. Like many other higher education institutions (HEIs) across the postsecondary landscape, Walden University uses Blackboard learning management system (LMS), media which include (video), webinars and YouTube, in conjunction with e-mail, podcasts, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint technologies to deliver content.

Technology Resources Familiarity/Unfamiliarity

Of the previously named technologies, used for teaching, Blackboard, e-mail, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint resonate as three methods for delivery, I have the most familiarity with using; therefore, my technology literacy skills regarding confidence level is high. However, on the other side of the technology coin, proficiency in generating content using webinars and YouTube videos, in addition to producing audio and visual material in a podcast format, is limited to nonexistent.

Online Technologies Explained

Many faculty and student users have ranked Blackboard number one across higher education; Mathews and LaTronica-Herb (2013) attributes the positioning to Blackboard’s utility in providing both subjective and objective assessment information when coupled with active-learning pedagogies. Recognized as the leading LMS seller (Kinash et al., 2012); Blackboard offers connectivity across multiple platforms and devices. In a structured asynchronous learning setting, LMSs such a Blackboard remain a dominate technology; Mathews and LaTronica-Herb (2013) acknowledge that Blackboard has been shown to promote safe student-to-student e-mail communication, the ability for groups to facilitate semiprivate communication, and discussion boards in which students can post and otherwise remain involved. Other technology such a PowerPoint, when integrated into Blackboard’s LMS provides excellent opportunities for student engagement. Wanner (2015) describes the innovative approach of Blackboard as encouraging student engagement and active learning coupled with the use of PowerPoint. Moreover, Wanner (2015) notes that student realize the benefits of PowerPoint for content comprehension and exam preparation.

Internal Development Opportunities and Supplemental Resources

In the previous blog post, I indicated that Walden University provides links to professional development opportunities and supplemental resources through webinars, YouTube videos, and GoToMeeting (Mayes, 2016). Walden University also uses it e-mail system to send links to information relating skill development and resources. Walden University has taken steps to provide faculty with assessment tools that help bridge the gap between student learning and teacher development. Tools used internally for faculty assessment, Weschke and Canipe (2010) state, “Walden University uses the Total Quality Management (TQM) precepts to guide assessment functions in the Masters in Education (MSEd) program” (p. 45). Weschke and Canipe (2010)  point out that Walden faculty and administration rank performance and improvements of performance highly. That position has led to a partnership with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) to collect student input (Weschke & Canipe, 2010). As internal mechanisms, the TQM and OIRA assist teachers in identifying specific areas in their teaching that need further development.

External Development Opportunities and Supplemental Resources

Laferrière, Lamon, and Chan (2006) suggest a teacher-networked community is an important approach for teacher development that results in immeasurable benefit to both career and student engagement. Addressing current teaching and student learning issues for 21st century related to professional faculty development is a key focus for the National Academy for Academic Leadership (NAAL). An urgent need exists for high-quality faculty professional development for every teacher related to institutions’ capacity to compete for students in the years ahead and to survive and thrive (National Academy for Academic Leadership, 2000). The Professional and Organizational Development Network (POD) is a professional association positioned to offer support for administrators, faculty members, faculty-development professionals and others who are involved in faculty professional development in higher education (NAAL, 2000). George Mason University offers a list of national professional development organizations.

Analyzes of Resources for Improving Professional Practice

The previously noted resources provide access to information and networking with professionals in higher education (HE) that can help teachers improve their practice and teaching methods in blended or fully online classes. The rapidly advancing pace of technological improvements demands that teachers must find ways to integrate those changes into their practice. One way to accomplish this objective is the utilization of professional development resources to improve teaching methods; discover new ways to present content; network with other professionals to collaborate on methods that have been proven to achieve results in the classroom. Utilization of resources connects teachers to new developments in pedagogy that helps teachers continually reassess their teaching methods and alignment with new research on pedagogy. Resources such as NAAL and POD provide access to some professional networks and teaching and learning aids that assist with teacher assessment of curriculum and content delivery. With links to different professional organizations, the George Mason University website provides opportunities to strengthen teacher practices by collaborating with other professionals across many disciplines.

Methods for Improving Support of Online Learning Technologies 

Chen, Sivo, Seilhamer, Sugar, and Mao (2013) suggest that exploratory research has shown, properly designed mobile learning can improve student engagement and cognitive skills, and conceptual understanding of content. For teachers to realize improved student performance, they must have support systems that accommodate internet communication technologies (ICTs). One method for improving technologies for online teaching and content delivery is to research and test any new technology. Teachers need to understand how the technology will work in the learning environment to be effective. Teachers must acquire a basic understanding of limitations and usability of the technology; that means testing the technology across different devices and platforms. Another approach in to understand how the technology will accommodate pedagogy and teaching method; will the technology allow the teacher to present content and concepts clearly so that the student will understand the information? Another method is to talk to institutional technology support personnel; will the technology work with the current delivery system; furthermore, can the teacher easily integrate the technology with the current institution’s system? Finally, faculty must consider if students can interact with the technology on their devices or computers.

References

Chen, B., Sivo, S., Seilhamer, R., Sugar, A., & Mao, J. (2013). User acceptance of mobile technology: A campus-wide implementation of blackboard’s mobile learn application. Journal of Educational Computing Research49(3), 327-343. doi:10.2190/EC.49.3.c

Dyson, L. E., Litchfield, A., Lawrence, E., Raban, R. & Leijdekkers, P. (2009). Advancing the mlearning research agenda for active, experiential learning: Four case studies. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25(2), 250-267. Retrieved from https://opus.lib.uts.edu.au/

Kinash, S., Brand, J., & Mathew, T. (2012). Challenging mobile learning discourse through research: Student perceptions of blackboard mobile learn and iPads. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology28(4), 639-655. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

Laferrière, T., Lamon, M., & Chan, C. K. (2006). Emerging e‐trends and models in teacher   education and professional development. Teaching Education17(1), 75-90. doi:10.1080/10476210500528087.

Mathews, A. L., & LaTronica-Herb, A. (2013). Using blackboard to increase student learning and assessment outcomes in a congressional simulation. Journal of Political Science Education9(2), 168-183. doi:10.1080/15512169.2013.770986

Mayes, R. (2016, January 17). Teaching with technology blog—classroom technology resources and professional development. [Blog message]. Retrieved from https://ritchiemayes.wordpress.com/

National Academy for Academic Leadership. (2000). Faculty development in higher education. Retrieved from http://www.thenationalacademy.org/readings/facdev.html

Wanner, T. (2015). Enhancing student engagement and active learning through just-in-time teaching and the use of powerpoint. International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education27(1), 154-163. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

Weschke, B., & Canipe, S. (2010). The faculty evaluation process: The first step in fostering professional development in an online university. Journal of College Teaching and Learning7(1), 45. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218919420.

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Classroom Technology Resources

Blackboard, media (video), webinars, YouTube, e-mail, podcasts, Word, and PowerPoint, are a few of technologies in use at Walden University to enhance student learning. Of the previously indicated technologies, Blackboard, Word and PowerPoint represent the three, I am most comfortable using in a teaching and learning setting. Blackboard is a learning management system (LMS), Bates and Poole (2003) acknowledge, allows collecting lecture notes, readings, and assignment questions that all link to one website. Teachers can populate the LMS with their own unique resource materials and links to external website, all in one place that will enhance student learning. Research by Manochehri and Sharif (2010) showed the flexibility to control and manage the speed and scope of learning through technology was seen to have a conducive and positive impact on learner attitude. Teachers can use PowerPoint to build ideas and concepts about learning that is easily distributable across different platforms. Additionally, PowerPoint is compatible with Blackboard and Cisco WebEx platforms. Media (video), webinars, YouTube, and podcasts represent technology I need skill development in before using in a teaching setting. Findings of research on using podcasting to facilitate student learning conducted by (Ng’ambi & Lombe, 2012), suggest that student use of podcasts in the learning environment led to learners control and flexibility, reflection and self-paced learning.

Walden University provides links to professional development opportunities through webinars and YouTube videos. Students and faculty can view Webinars presented synchronously using GoToMeeting technology. For people unable to attend live broadcast sessions, each session, is recorded and posted on the University website for viewing later. Walden will also send an e-mail that includes a link to the resource. Walden University also produces YouTube videos that provide instruction on using Word or PowerPoint. Walden provides links to those resources on it Writing Center website portal.

If you want to learn how to use webinars for instructional purposes, WebEx.com is an external resource that provides free access and usability. You can upload text and audio files. The software accommodates PowerPoint presentations, or you can record classroom lessons for distribution across the Internet. However, the effectiveness of the presented material is dependent on user’s skill with using word to develop content, and familiarity with audio software, and proficiency at developing PowerPoint presentations. Google + hangouts at https://plus.google.com offer live stream video calling/chat to computers and digital devices such as cell phones and tablets. However, the application limits connection to only ten users in a session. For podcasting, I recommend Audacity found at http://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/. Like many other technologies, skill relating to proficiency could improve through use. The software download also comes with a user’s manual that helps you understand features of the software, and how to use them.

Blackboard, WebEx, and Audacity could be used to improve professional practice by utilizing different technologies, where the content and learning materials presented does not change. Content offered in one type of technology is transferable to another. Therefore, the learning for students is consistent. They will be learning the same ideas, but at different times, which gives them control over how and when they want to interact with learning. One recommendation for improving support for technology is to produce a video that demonstrates using WebEx and Audacity technologies. Although some courses do provide links to the software, those links represent external resources that could be integrated with learning objectives.

References

Bates, A.W., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Manochehri, N., & Sharif, K. (2010). A model-based investigation of learner attitude towards recently introduced classroom technology. Journal of Information Technology Education931-52. Retrieved from http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com/

Ng’ambi, D., & Lombe, A. (2012). Using podcasting to facilitate student learning: A constructivist perspective. Journal of Educational Technology & Society15(4), 181-192. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/

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