I have a goal of reducing the 37-years of accumulated office clutter by pulling together all the institutional research have done the past 37 years (thank you former research assistants) and combining it with present data collection processes. however, I am amused and annoyed to discover how technology sometimes makes data acquisition more difficult.
Right now two of my student research assistants are helping me pull together a blog piece dedicated to the Carroll alumni I have known as students across the past 37 years. Take a peak at a work in progress.
Let me know if you’d like a picture of you from year’s gone by. I’ll trade you for one of me OR of you today.
The writings of Alec Couros through his informative Becoming a Networked Learner and Curtis J. Bonk have impacted how I teach, how I learn, and how I “reach out” to others via social media. The challenge continues how to find balance between tool use and being controlled or constrained rather than enabled by the tool.
I see that Jane Hart has opened nominations for her 8th annual Top-Tools-for-Learning List. I think I’ll withhold my vote until early this fall so that I have more time to better answer the following critical questions:
Which of these tools will enhance my research and my communication capabilities?
Which of these tools do I want all my students to know how to use? (Which, on the other hand, are better suited for my advanced research assistants?)
Which of these tools will be around in four years?
Though I won’t have time until this summer to deeply explore the 2014 Horizon Report which I alluded to in an earlier post, I wanted to share some initial reactions here:
I concur with the Report’s assertion of the growing ubiquity of social media. The challenge for me is to find the right balance between the kinds of deep thinking which I believe “more traditional teaching methods” correctly implemented can foster and an ability to capitalize on the enabling capabilities of social media for producing, communicating,creating, and collaborating. I don’t find that my present institution has the appropriate classroom infra-structure for leveraging these social media tools within the physical classroom and traditional class-room meeting time.
I agree with the Report’s suggestion that that it is inevitable that higher education must allow and facilitate an integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning.
Though I have always been interested in “adaptive” learning and personalizing the learning environment, I find the promises of “an emerging science of learning analytics” overblown, premature, and creepy in terms of degrees of invasion of privacy.
I applaud and embrace the identified trend of students as creators rather than merely as consumers though I would urge that one not lose sight of the importance of quality control of their products.
I concur that the time is ripe for university programs to support aggressively “agile, lean startup models” that promote a culture of innovation in a more wide-spread, cost-effective way as long as there are built in assessment procedures which validly document the weaknesses and strengths of these (maybe) new approaches. Too often I have seen institutions chase after the latest educational fad and fail to benefit from organizational memory of prior, similar failed ventures.
For me, online learning is a useful complement rather than a viable alternative to most forms of face-to-face learning. As I’ve written earlier, I regularly and increasingly use “nontraditional” learning tools to supplement my personal professional development and my digital literacy. I am still sorting out, however, how to embed and assess that literacy among my students. In what venues I should foster those kinds of skills and intrude them to top learning tools. I am increasing wary of a “digital divide” that ironically exists between K-12 and higher education instructors with the latter—and their students—being the more deficient!
What do you think? I’m also interested in readers’ suggestions about what I should write:
In response to my soliciting suggestions for improving my Experimental Social Psychology class last semester, one of my students suggested that …”if the class were to have many online assignments, I believe it would be extremely beneficially to teach students how to install software that temporarily restrains them from surfing distracting websites while studying. There are several free programs which can be easily set up in order to increase focus and productivity while completing online homework.” This got me reflecting on how the Internet has challenged my own ability to focus as I sit down tonight to read a book in preparation for reviewing it. Here’s where my distractions led me before setting down! Thanks for the suggestion AW!
I’ve been talking a lot to my computer lately since I installed on my Mac the Mavericks Operating system. I have been quite impressed by the dictation accuracy of Nuance’s Dragon Dictate and the degree to which I can use voice commands to control the machine. Over the past 40 some years I have followed with interest developments in “communication” between humans and computers. In the 60’s I interacted with Eliza, the Rogerian therapist and in the 70’s the Talking Moose resided on my early Macs—useful toys. But the capabilities of software to “read” text, translate simple conversations, and follow voice commands has dramatically improved since then and become useful in my work. What was once fiction (e.g. The Circle, 2312, Lexicon) is much closer to (dystopian) reality. The challenge remains how to let technology be a tool controlled by (rather than controlling) me. It is easy to be seduced by the WOW factor.