2011年4月27日 星期三

Networks of Personalized Learning

Social networking has been around for a while, but it has been generally ignored within academia for two reasons: all of the sites were hosted, and the well-known sites were not recognized for their academic discussions. (Bryant, 2006) The product positioning can affect people very much. Take “Games” for example. Its product positioning is for entertainment. Therefore, when we try to use educational games to motivate or interest students in learning, some teachers and parents may have negative perspective because of its product positioning.

Another example is the mobile device – iPhone. The product positioning of this kind smartphone is set for entertainment. You can see the download ranking of iPhone and iPad in this websites. You can see the following link, the first two pages are occupied by games and very few other applications (but all of them are not for education) http://www.topappcharts.com/search.php?show=category&category=Top+Apps&start=20&price=free&platform=iphone

No matter how we strive for using this kind of technology in education, I doubt that how many people would use them to learn outside the class.

Todd Bryant. “Social Software in Academia,” EDUCAUSE Quarterly 29, no. 2 (2006), http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/SocialSoftwareinAcademia/39976

Podcasting, Webcasting, and Coursecasting

that too much of the excitement surrounding podcasting is excitement about technology itself, not about demonstrated improvements in student learning. (Deal, 2007) According to my personal observation, the reason that some people buy a popular 3C product is not because they really need it. It is because they don’t want other people to laugh at that they are low-tech and just want to follow the trend. Most of them are females. (It’s not gender discrimination; it’s just what I have seen)

Take one of my friends for example. She always says that e-books, e-journal, or e-articles cannot replace hard-copy books, because she says all screens hurt reader’s eyes. They make people’s eyes uncomfortable. However, when we talk about iPad, although she has never used iPad, she can list a lot of advantages. Such as people can read articles anytime and anywhere or people don’t need to carry a heavy laptop or hard-copy books. However, iPad still uses LCD. Its displaying technology is the same as most laptops’. Also, she wants to buy one, because she says she doesn’t need to carry the laptop.

In some cases or most cases, private companies create some kinds of needs. They sell a product to people who really don’t need it. However, they make some kind of image that if you buy their products, you are a high-tech person or you are upper class people in the society. Unfortunately, a lot of people buy in.

When we apply technology to education, we should think about whether it is necessary. I disagree that we create demand for education. We should apply technology, not be operated by technology.

Deal, Ashley (2007, June). Podcasting. A Teaching With Technology White Paper. Educause. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://connect.educause.edu/files/CMU_Podcasting_Jun07.pdf

2011年4月26日 星期二


The blog can be to be a communication channel among students, teachers, and parents. There are a lot of other benefits to build a blog in education. However, I read an article, which is written by Chinese http://mrpm.cc/?p=220. It says that blog ma by replaced by Facebook.

The blog user says that after he created his Facebook Fans Page, his followers in the Facebook are 8 times more than RSS subscribers on his blog. Also, his blog visitors have a dramatically increasing because some of his followers link to his blog through his Facebook Fans Page.

I think there two major reasons can explain this situation.
1.          Facebook provides users a convenient function to interact with the page owner. Sometimes, people may don’t know what they can say to the owner but still want to build some kind of relationship. In this case, they can just simply click “Like.”
2.          Facebook’s Wall function makes users write shorter message. Thus, users don’t need to spend a lot of time to write a long article to make the page look plentiful.

Actually, I don’t have too many thoughts about blog. For me, it’s just like a digital a notepad or diary.


Fozdar and Kumar said that India has more than 100 million mobile phone subscribers and the m-learning has a lot of advantages. They take the India for example. It is a better way for this kind of country to learning through mobile device. However, according to information I found on the Internet, I think the m-learning is not an option for developing country.

I think this research paper may take the situation too optimistic. The cell phone doesn’t represent the smartphone or 3G cell phone. If people want to access the Internet without lagging, 3 G cell phone is the basic mobile device. However, it can just do very basic operation on the Internet. In terms of the smartphones, they are still too expensive for most people who live in a developing country. Besides, the rent policy of internet service in India is a little different from America. Many plans limit usage of accessing internet. Users can just download several GB data (I am not sure whether it includes uploading data) and then they have to pay extra fee for additional usage. Please check the detail on the following links. (http://www.mtsindia.in/andhra-pradesh/netonthego.html) (http://www.rcom.co.in/Rcom/personal/internet/wireless_internet.html).

On the basis of the above two reasons, I think m-learning is not a good learning option for the developing country, at least for India.

Fozdar, Bharat Inder & Kumar, Lalita S. 2007, June). Mobile learning and student retention. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. 8(1). (Note: article apparently was moved from IRRODL to ERIC: http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ800952.pdf)

Alternate Reality Learning

Last semester I took a game design course. I design an educational game for teaching players the relationship among price, supply, and demand. I found two things. The first is that to create an interesting educational game, which has simple rules, to teach higher knowledge is difficult for me. My first idea was creating a game for teaching ADDIE model. However, I can find an appropriately and simply interactive pattern. The second thing is that players may not be aware of that they are learning while playing. What I had conducted three playtests shows that if you just asked what they learn from the game, in most cases, they couldn’t be aware of what they learned. However, if you asked them to explain the relationship among price, supply, and demand, they could tell the correct answer. Thus, I think after players play an educational game, we should provide them a test, questions, or other evaluation methods that is related to what we want to tell them. The reason that I don’t suggest us to adding this kind of evaluation in games or before playing is when learners are aware of they are learning, some of them may just take the game as another assignment.

Click Here to download the rules and analysis document of my game. It’s a card game. There is no copyright but cannot be used in any commercial purpose or any kinds of publications without my permission.

Interactive and Collaborative Learning

In the article, Learning at a Distance: Engaged or Not?, it shoes that distance students are as (or more) engaged as face-to-face students. The result really surprises me. I always thought that learners don’t take online course seriously (I am one of them). The reason is that the pressure from the instructor in a face-to-face class is different from in the online class. Learners don’t need to “face” it in person. I think it may be the culture difference. We are accustomed to being push and forced to doing work. Some of students (maybe most of them) take going to class as a pressure. It is not news that K12-students commit suicide or self-harm because of pressure from course work. Once we have chance to get credits without attending class, we may nit take it seriously.

In the forum, we discussed the group work. Although the article, Group work does not necessarily equal collaborative learning: evidence from observations and self-reports, says that some learners cannot learn new knowledge in group work, I think it is still a good way to achieving collaborative learning. Sometimes learners cannot have good performance or learn more in group than in individual. The reason may be some problems in evaluation criteria provided by the instructor. In my country, a lot of teachers care about how much learners contribute in a group project. The may forget the most important is how much they learn. I think how much a learner contributes doesn’t represent how much he/she learn. If evaluation criteria are designed based on how much learners contribute, students may just divide up the project and each member just does what they are assigned without learning and sharing together.

Last, I want to talk about my country’s education situation. I think it is very common in American education system. However, I am not familiar with it. I mean I know what it is but I didn’t have much experience about it. Almost every citizen just care about the grade. We think that students’ grade can reflect their ability and competence. Most tests for students have only one correct answer. Collaborative learning seems no to be suitable for this kind of closed-ended task.

Chen, P., R. Gonyea, and G. Kuh (2008). Learning at a distance: Engaged or not?. Innovate 4 (3). Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://www.innovateonline.info/pdf/vol4_issue3/Learning_at_a_Distance-__Engaged_or_Not_.pdf

2011年3月30日 星期三

Online Video

Video is a very good learning material for audio-visual learners. It cannot just transfer a traditional lecture to the digital version, but also be supported by different sound and visual effects. Take the following video for example. The instructor is a giraffe. Its motion and intonation are so much fun that most teachers may not be able to do like this.

So, how can we use the video in class? Like Dr. Bonk said, the video can be used as an opening of discussion. However, it should not dominate the class. As an audio-visual learner, I prefer watching a video with a lot of cool effects. The worst clip that I don’t want to watch is the black and white video. I remember I took a course where the instructor played a black and white movie for more than one hour. My soul was out of my body after 5 minutes the movie starting.

I think there is something that we should notice if we use the video in class.
1.          The video should not last too long. Dr. Bonk said people prefer a video less than 5 minutes.
2.          The content should motivate learners to engage in class.
3.          The content should relate to the course content.
4.          Learners should be able to easily access the video anytime and anywhere. If a video requires users to get special or additional equipment, it’s not appropriate to be played in class.
5.          The instructor should always check the video carefully before playing it in class.

Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY. http://www.publicationshare.com/SFX7EED.pdf

2011年3月15日 星期二


        Wiki is a very useful tool for me. It’s organized well and most topics just provide important, relevant, and concise information. It helps me save time to get what I want. However, it seems to have the credibility issue. Although editing or modifying process in Wiki is more complicated than before, there are no criteria for editors. Still, everyone can go to wiki editing or modifying every topic. Therefore, some of them may not be correct.

        “Students used Wikipedia for a variety of reasons. More than any other reason, 8 in 10 survey respondents (82 percent) reported that they went to Wikipedia to obtain background information or a summary about a topic.” (Head and Eisenberg, 2010) They also mention that Wiki is valuable for students to previews topics. In addition, according to their survey, “most respondents (70 percent) reported using Wikipedia at the beginning of the research process (see Figure 3). Very few used Wikipedia near or at the end (two percent).” (Head and Eisenberg, 2010) It means the Wiki is a convenient tool for students to have an initial understanding about a topic. Before teachers doubt its credibility, they should figure out why they use Wiki, what parts they refer to Wiki, and what topics they read on Wiki, and then check the credibility of those topics they read on Wiki. Finally, teachers should tell them the whole process about how and why they deal with it. By doing so, if the content of the topic students read is correct, they will know how to evaluate the credibility of content on Wiki; if the content of the topic they read is incorrect, they will not only know how to evaluate it but also have chance to go back to the right track.

Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg (2010, March). How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia for Course-related Research, First Monday, Volume 15, Number 3 - 1.  http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2830/2476


For my understanding of the online article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Carr thinks that the numerous, unorganized, and scrappy articles in the Internet decreased reading and thinking abilities. However, I have a different (maybe wired) thought about it.

        I don’t think Google makes people stupid. Even, I think “improving the reading ability” undermine our learning performance. First, language is used to communicate. I think the invention of words is to make human has a consensus about language. Thus, the text is a tool used to support learning. Once the text is taken as the primary teaching materials, students lose a lot of opportunity to contact the world. Second, the text cannot tell you anything if you haven’t experienced (seeing, feeling, hearing, or touching etc.) it before. It means if you take text as the primary teaching materials, students have to spend double time to know what they are learning. Finally, compared to images, text may not exactly explain knowledge or skills. However, Google not just provide us text but also images and sounds. Although a lot of online articles are unorganized and scrappy, most of them provide the key part. They get rid of tedious part (beautiful words, intricate sentence ……) usually written in a book.

        “As a result of the increased access to codified ideas in the form of text, the learning process transitioned from the previous dialogue or vocal base (Socrates, Plato, religious leaders) to the emphasis of text. Textual representations of knowledge provide a false sense of certainty and ascribe static attributes typically not inherent in knowledge from oral traditions.” (Siemens, 2006) For connectivists, the interaction with world is important for this generation to acquire knowledge and skills. Although the images and sounds cannot provide too much interaction with learners, compared to text, they can show the process of interaction more exact.

Nicholas Carr (2008, July/August). Is Google Making Us Stupid? Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved on March 2, 2011, from http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google
George Siemens (2006, November 12). Connectivism: Learning theory of pastime for the self-amused? Retrieved on March 2, 2011, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism_self-amused.htm