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

Open Educational Resources

        In my country, Taiwan, we have a website (http://www.myoops.org/twocw/mit/index.htm) for translating the MIT OpenCourseWare. All of the MIT programs are translated by volunteers. However, compared to America, there are fewer open educational resources for learners in Taiwan. Also, it seems to parents and teacher that the open educational resources are inferior to those paid educational materials. Some of them use “price” and “reputation” to judge the quality. I think that’s why the OER is not popular in my country.
The open educational resources are cool. For me, it means I can access knowledge or skills anytime anywhere once I have computer and network connection. I took a few courses through MIT OpenCourseWare. I thought it was cool that I can take the same courses as those geniuses take when I was an undergraduate student. However, after taking IST program at IU, I have deeper thought about open educational resources.
        The educational content is distributed to the public through internet for free. However, the essence seems not to be changed a lot. It seems just to convert a traditional class into a digital version. Tapscott told about that the profession, world, and technology etc. have been changed, but the model of pedagogy is basically unchanged. I think the portion of online learning will be increased day by day. Students will learn half knowledge or skills from internet and half from school after several years later. After that, knowledge or skills they learn from internet will dominate what they learn from the classroom. In the end, the physical classroom maybe disappears. However, there is a critical point for this transition. It is the new pedagogy pattern that we need to keep working on.

ASCD Express. (2010). Tapscott on Teaching the Net Generation. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ascd-express/vol5/518-video.aspx. (2011, February 18)

Open Source Software

I took a course about Linux when I was an undergraduate student. The version we learned is the Redhat. Although its interface was friendlier than Unix’s and all students’ major were MIS In the course, only three of us could use the system well (two of them were asked to be familiar with it because they were lab managers). We were also asked to use Openoffice in that course. I have to say I don’ have any memory about using it. The only memory I have about it is junk. Some of open source software I used before is not user friendly. I don’t know why they make it so difficult. One senior student told me that people use these kind of software have a sense of superiority. They think they are smarter than others; they think they are modern; they think they are different.

“Open source software is not free, however, when properly viewed from a total cost of ownership (TCO) perspective. Like all other systems, it requires investments for hardware, user support staff, training, integration with other systems, and so forth.” (Wheeler, 2004) For me, the training costs the most time and money, because there are always new users involving in. A user friendly product can solve this problem easily. Therefore, I think that the developers should take this cost seriously. For my understanding, some developers are against “user friendly.” They think their products are not for selling. They don’t need to please users.

The open source software will not be the trend. It is not because their effectiveness is lower than commercial software. The most important reason is that no one wants to conceal or improve the critical flaw – the unfriendly interface. MS uses the fancy graphic interface to cover the unstable operating system. Mac uses fancy appearance design to cover the closed structure. 

Wheeler, B. (2004). Open source 2007: How did this happen? EDUCAUSE Review, 39(4), 12-27. Retrieved on February 14, 2011, from http://www.educause.edu/pub/er/erm04/erm0440.asp