Report on educational technologies Okanagan College


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This report provides a ‘snapshot’ of trends and thinking on new educational technologies, assesses the most promising technologies available, and offers an action plan with specific recommendations for how Political Science might incorporate these. The purpose is to enhance teaching and learning, inform educators about new or emerging developments, and heighten the profile of the department both within and beyond the College community. The Report includes 3 main sections: an introductory overview of the major trends, issues, challenges, and controversies in the field (including a discussion of how these developments are affecting higher education); a discussion of three main educational ‘functions’ (delivering course content, enhancing student engagement, and encouraging critical thinking) and examples of technologies that can enhance these functions; and finally, conclusions and recommendations that focus on specific ways that educational technologies can be used to enhance teaching and learning in Political Science.

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Report on educational technologies Okanagan College

  1. 1. Page 1 of 33 New Horizons in Educational Technology Enhancing Teaching and Learning in Political Science at Okanagan College Dr. Rosalind Warner Political Science Okanagan College
  2. 2. Page 2 of 33 Contents Acknowledgements.......................................................................................................................................3 Summary.......................................................................................................................................................3 Purposes........................................................................................................................................................4 What This Report Does Not Do.................................................................................................................4 Trends in Educational Technology................................................................................................................5 Criticisms of Educational (and non-‘Educational’) Technology ................................................................6 Student-Led and Instructor-Led Learning Models....................................................................................7 Blended Learning ......................................................................................................................................8 Characteristics of Learners........................................................................................................................8 3 Functions: Applications of Educational Technologies................................................................................9 Table of Educational Functions and Technologies..................................................................................10 Technologies for Delivering Course Content ......................................................................................10 Technologies for Improving Student Engagement .............................................................................12 Technologies for Encouraging Critical and ‘Deep’ Thinking................................................................15 Conclusions: New Horizons in Educational Technology .............................................................................17 Recommendations......................................................................................................................................18 Appendix 1: Glossary ..................................................................................................................................20 Appendix 2: Resources................................................................................................................................23 Appendix 3: Works Cited ............................................................................................................................26 Appendix 4: Consultations..........................................................................................................................27
  3. 3. Page 3 of 33 Acknowledgements This Report was prepared at the request of the Arts and Foundational Programs, Okanagan College by Rosalind Warner. I would like to acknowledge the generous assistance and advice of: Craig McLuckie, Associate Dean, Arts and Foundational Programs; Ayla Kilic, Professor, Department of Political Science, Okanagan College; Mike Minions, Educational Technology specialist; Glen Coulthard, Professor in Business Administation, Okanagan College; Janine Hirtz, Instructional Support Specialist, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Phil Balcaen, Education, University of British Columbia Okanagan; Charlotte Jones, Professor in Modern Languages, Okanagan College; Gilbert Bede, Okanagan College Librarian, Carl Doige, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Okanagan College; and Chris Schneider, Assistant Professor Sociology, University of British Columbia Okanagan. The author is fully responsible for any errors and omissions. Summary This report provides a ‘snapshot’ of trends and thinking on new educational technologies, assesses the most promising technologies available, and offers an action plan with specific recommendations for how Political Science might incorporate these. The purpose is to enhance teaching and learning, inform educators about new or emerging developments, and heighten the profile of the department both within and beyond the College community. The Report includes 3 main sections: an introductory overview of the major trends, issues, challenges, and controversies in the field (including a discussion of how these developments are affecting higher education); a discussion of three main educational ‘functions’ (delivering course content, enhancing student engagement, and encouraging critical thinking) and examples of technologies that can enhance these functions; and finally, conclusions and recommendations that focus on specific ways that educational technologies can be used to enhance teaching and learning in Political Science.
  4. 4. Page 4 of 33 Purposes There are many resources available to guide educators and learners with respect to new and emerging educational technology. Websites like Educause1 provide ongoing real-time information about new technologies, programs, debates, and developments in the world of educational technology. Some of these also provide analysis of the social and educational implications of educational technologies for particular disciplines, levels of instruction, and institutions. Nonprofit organizations, governments, media organizations, and businesses publish reports, surveys, and analyses that provide a wealth of information about the rapidly-changing world of educational technologies. While there is a huge variety of information available on specific technologies, informed analyses that evaluate educational technologies in terms of their pedagogical benefits and drawbacks are less frequent. Outside of scholarly journals, research on educational technologies that surveys their advantages and disadvantages in light of the particular needs and concerns of college educators and learners is even rarer. Consequently, one of the aims of this report is to fill a gap in information by providing an overview ‘snapshot’ of educational technologies that are presently available or emerging in the near future. In the process, it is hoped that this Report will provide some guidance for Political Science, for college educators, and, indeed, anyone who is interested in applying technologies to their educational practice. While information on such technologies is widely available, very little of this information brings together the educational and pedagogical concerns of the College community with specific and actionable ideas about how these technologies might apply. To this end, then, this Report has a fourfold purpose: 1. To introduce new educational technologies to educators and learners who may be considering how to apply these effectively—specifically to provide representative examples and additional information on promising technologies that may prove to have an especially important impact on teaching and learning; 2. To assess the most promising technologies available to enhance teaching and learning in light of 3 common educational ‘functions’; 3. To assess existing Okanagan College facilities and opportunities for enhancing the use of educational technology; 4. To offer an action plan with specific recommendations for applying new educational technologies in Political Science in the College environment. What This Report Does Not Do It is not one of the purposes of this report to assess various philosophies or disciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. However, an important preparatory stage to adopting or using new technologies is to consider the pedagogical goals to be accomplished in a course or discipline of study. New technologies should be applied in a way that integrates these into the existing course and session goals, rather than as ‘add-on’ expressly for attracting student interest in the material. 1 According to their site, Educause is: “A nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology”. See Resources section for more.
  5. 5. Page 5 of 33 Second, this report is not designed to provide a comprehensive and detailed list of educational technologies available at Okanagan College. Specifically, this report does not explain or discuss Okanagan College’s Learning Management System (Blackboard), email systems, websites, or library resources. Information about these resources can be obtained from the Office of Educational Technologies, or from the Librarians responsible. The Recommendations at the conclusion of this Report do take into account of some of the technical challenges involved in adopting new educational technologies, but the author is not an expert in information technologies, and so readers should refer to these offices for technical advice and assistance. Third, because this is an exploratory report, this work will not provide a comprehensive survey of the scholarly research available on technology in the classroom. The research on the effectiveness of various technologies of teaching and learning is voluminous, and much depends on the pedagogical goals of instruction, the individual characteristics of the learner, and the specific goals of a discipline. Consequently, scholarly research findings on the effectiveness of different technologies are best viewed in light of the instructional goals of the individual teacher. Nevertheless, there are some scholarly publications and journals which specialize in evaluating the effectiveness of various educational technologies. A selected list of relevant journals and other publications obtainable from Okanagan College’s library is included in the Resources section in Appendix 3 of this report. Finally, it is not one of the purposes of this report to provide a cost-benefit analysis or economic analysis of technologies for learning. Economic pressures and competition are pushing educational institutions in sometimes conflicting directions and are important considerations. Nevertheless, the focus of this Report is on the pedagogical value of e-learning and educational technology, rather than on its economic impact or cost. Nevertheless, the examples chosen for inclusion, apart from those made available by publishers or those already available at Okanagan College, are largely free of charge and generally do not require extensive additional software, hardware or specialized expertise. Trends in Educational Technology Emerging trends in educational technology include: rapid growth in information access and connectivity, growing use of multimedia, increasingly varied sources of information, and increasing mobility. Information and communication technologies permeate social, professional, and educational environments throughout Canadian and global society. A familiarity with and ability to use ICT (information and communication technologies) is increasingly a prerequisite for a wide variety of professional and vocational occupations. Despite its importance, the standards for digital literacy are not universal and the technology changes at a rapid rate, making it difficult to establish minimal norms or standards (Johnson, Willis and Haywood, 2011:3). ICT is also changing the way educational institutions approach teaching and learning. The challenge of keeping up with new developments and interpreting the impact of rapidly-changing technologies is almost overwhelming. There is a growing need for information filtering, methodologies for “finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us” (Johnson, Willis and Haywood, 2011: 4). Students are at home in an environment with immediate (‘just-in-time’) information and connectivity, particularly from smaller, more portable devices like tablets and smart phones (Goral). In course delivery, in addition to the web, course materials are becoming more customized and focused for the student and educator. Online learning tools, e-texts, mobile computing, multimedia, and open source data are becoming increasingly important components of course delivery. Material is now available
  6. 6. Page 6 of 33 from a wide variety of sources including professional publishers, libraries, and academic content providers, in a form which is more and more flexible and customizable to the individual learning goals of instructors and students. For example, a recent US survey of students and faculty indicated that online libraries and databases would likely have the greatest impact on student engagement and learning in the future, even greater than e-textbooks and the web (Library Journal). Improvements in network infrastructure enable webcams to bring resource personnel into the classroom that would not be otherwise available, and may enable students to attend class remotely (Young). E-texts, often available as a lease with online access, are significantly less expensive for students than traditional texts. At the same time, the very ubiquity of ICT creates challenges for educators, already struggling with distracted students. As well, there is the possibility that technology may displace tried and true methods for university instruction, by reducing the incentive to attend class or by creating superfluous distractions for students. In addition, technologies have a high cost, may be inconvenient, and require time to learn and integrate effectively. The premature introduction of tablet computers in 2003 is indicative of some of the problems. Tablet computers, once touted as a revolutionizing technology, failed to be widely adopted due to high cost, bulkiness, and a lack of usable interfaces (Goral). Despite the challenges, educators must be ready to address the social trends that are affecting the learning environment. In sum, trends in technology are moving educational institutions toward the technology choices of the next generation, and colleges must be ready to incorporate students who will have greater familiarity with technology as a result. Educause’s Horizon Report for 2011, based on extensive surveys of the literature and the expert opinion of the Board, identifies four main important trends: 1. Students’ easy access to internet information challenges educators to consider their roles as coaches, sense-makers, and facilitators of learning 2. People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever and wherever they want 3. The world of work is increasingly collaborative, giving rise to reflection about the way student projects are structured 4. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized (2011:3-4). Criticisms of Educational (and non-‘Educational’) Technology The rapidly-changing technological environment has also prompted backlash, some of which is supported by cognitive science research. Recent books, like The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future by Mark Bauerlein (Penguin, 2008), and comments by noted neuroscientist Susan Greenfield of Oxford University have stoked criticisms. Professor Greenfield, for example, has noted that social networking sites and games may be undermining social awareness and thinking skills and could even be linked with autism (Derbyshire, 2009). In very general terms, the arguments with respect to learning can be summarized in three main points: 1. Technology-based learning (especially reading online, Google searching, and texting) is superficial, reduces attention spans, and discourages ‘deeper’, sustained reading or critical thinking 2. Technologies are changing power relations from a vertical to a horizontal model, away from ‘authorities’ and toward ‘peer-to-peer’ exchanges
  7. 7. Page 7 of 33 3. Technologies are affecting moral development (people are more self-centred, less socialized, and more narcissistic). The first sets of criticisms are discussed at some length in the Report that follows, especially in the section on critical thinking. In short, patterns of superficial learning are not unique to educational technologies, but rather point to the necessity of focusing on learning objectives themselves, and applying technologies in the most effective ways to achieve deeper and more sustained reflective learning. Cognitive science and learning analytics continue to research the impact of technologies on learning. Indeed, there has been an explosion of research into the science of teaching and learning that constitutes an important resource for educators considering the role of educational technologies. An important priority for anyone considering these questions, therefore, is to continue to monitor and learn from these ongoing research inquiries. With respect to the second criticism, it is undoubtedly true that technologies such as Wikipedia are producing information in new ways, making ‘information validation’ of research produced by many, rather than a small pool of experts, an increasingly important skill for learning. At the same time, as Siemens and Tittenberger point out, there is as yet no erosion of the institutionalized accreditation of expertise in favour of ‘community-validated’ experts (2009: 3). With respect to the third criticism (that technologies may be affecting moral development) the implications of this for teaching and learning may be significant, particularly with respect to academic integrity. However, further research and inquiry is needed to determine exactly how this may come into play in the educational environment. Student-Led and Instructor-Led Learning Models One of the most commonly-heard arguments in support of online learning and other new forms of educational technology is that they facilitate student-led learning. Student-led learning is undoubtedly an important component of any learner-centred educational approach, such as that encouraged at Okanagan College. Some of the benefits of student-led learning are that it:  enables participation and appeal to a wide variety of learning styles and needs  fosters self-directed skills and autonomous educational development  changes the role of the instructor from a ‘provider’ to a ‘facilitator’ of learning  is less ‘bundled’, allows students to create their own learning Technologies can encourage student-led learning in ways that in-class or traditional models of learning may be less able to do. For example, online learning can enable ‘learning anywhere’ in a highly mobile and fluid learning environment. Increasingly, technologies enable students to customize their information, to build portfolios with specific resources and libraries, and develop their own study guides and learning goals. On the other hand, at the extreme end of the student-led learning curve, completely student-led learning can be problematic. For example, Dale Stephens, a 19-year old college freshman at Hendrix College, plans to drop out to form what he terms an ‘Uncollege’, a social-network based service that offers self-directed learning partnered with online mentors. Students post their projects and self- evaluations for employers to form an ‘experience transcript’. As he states:
  8. 8. Page 8 of 33 “We no longer need to have personal contact with educators to absorb much of the material, and you can rest assured universities have taken notice," he wrote. "There is definitely a broader array of options available to students who wish to forgo the commute to class altogether in exchange for online classes that essentially provide the same content that professors regurgitate to students in lecture” (Young, 2011:A14). The findings by the National Survey of Student Engagement, an annual study based at Indiana University at Bloomington, suggest that students have consistently rated experiences outside of the traditional classroom as being among the most valuable. Four of the eight "high-impact" learning activities identified by survey participants required no classroom time at all: internships, study-abroad programs, senior thesis or other "capstone" projects, or the mundane-sounding "undergraduate research," meaning working with faculty members on original research, much as graduate students do (Young, 2011). Online technology can also provide a portal to resources available on the web, and the ubiquity of information is a challenge. On the other hand, learners know that they can easily and quickly access information on the topics they are learning about and are increasingly comfortable with the tools, especially mobile tools. The immediacy of this access can be deceiving, leading one to believe that information is interchangeable and authorities are less significant. Blended Learning New information and communication technologies do not so much eliminate the distance between the student and their learning goals; as they create new mediated environments in which student encounter their learning. Seen in this way, technology does not so much displace the teacher as reinforce their importance as guides whose expertise and experience are necessary to interpret learning experiences. The availability of resources outside the classroom and the ability to use technology to access it does not recreate the rich educational experience of the classroom. Notwithstanding Dale Stephens, students say that they want these kinds of enriching educational experiences, as they indicate in the student engagement survey described above. Given this highly complex and rapidly changing situation, what is the recommendation? One of the key conclusions of this Report is that technology is best introduced using a blended learning approach, in order to maximize the benefits and advantages that technology can provide, while emphasizing that blended learning must still be guided by the unique pedagogical goals and strategies already in use or that are proven. Even ‘immediate’ access to information remains ‘mediated’, and organizing, contextualizing, interpreting, and recognizing relevant information will be an increasingly important skill set for learners and educators alike. While educational technologies are leading the educational experience to be more student-led, and the instructor’s role is changing, the instructor’s role remains vital to ensuring that learners have the guidance to be able to learn from the information revolution. Characteristics of Learners Generational differences are sometimes overstated, and the college’s non-traditional target student population may represent a group with notable differences from ‘Generation Y’ (the ‘Millennials’) (defined as those born between 1981 and 2001). Nevertheless, students arriving at college as a group display some notable characteristics that significantly impact their teaching and learning styles and needs. As a group, Generation Y are ‘digital natives’ (a term coined by Mark Prensky in 2005/2006) who,
  9. 9. Page 9 of 33 “multitask and prefer visuals to graphics, and text….are intricately connected or networked via cell phone, blog, Facebook, and YouTube, thriving on instant gratification and preferring games to work.” (Frand, 2006 quoted in Black). In terms of their learning styles, such ‘digital natives’ may learn in ways that are nonlinear, exploratory, inductive, and visual rather than textual (Black, 99). Research on learning styles suggests that such differences may be indicative of ‘preferring’ to learn in a particular style, and this raises an issue: should instructors cater to different learning styles, or encourage students to be more flexible and to operate in the ‘real world’, where learning is unlikely to be always be available in their preferred style? In addition, there appears to be little scientific evidence to date that ‘personalized learning’ is more effective, because the goals are so varied (Davis). On the other hand, knowing and being able to deal with their particular learning style, including strengths and weaknesses, will undoubtedly also prepare them to deal with the real world (Nilson, 2003: 79). In addition, Okanagan College’s Mission Statement emphasizes that one of the goals is to encourage students to become ‘lifelong learners’, and to respect ‘the diverse ways in which our students and employees learn ‘. Equity and accessibility are also important components of the College’s Mission Statement, and so equal access to learning for those of different genders, races, ethnicities and abilities is an integral component of fairness. One of the ways in which technology can aid in achieving wider access, in keeping with a learner-centred approach, is to enable students to develop customized and customizable material. In other words, this is material that allows students to follow their own individualized learning path, tailored to their skill and knowledge level and strengths and difficulties. ‘Personalization’ does not mean pandering to every student’s individual whim, but rather creating lessons that are sensitive to the specific needs and interests of learners. Customized materials can be made available in the classroom, however, the time, energy and resources required to produce individually customized materials is daunting. Technology can facilitate this by easing the time and energy required to produce personalized materials and learning paths. For example, Scitable is a free science library and personal learning tool provided by Nature Publishing Group. It offers individualized and customizable learning paths, coupled with topic overviews, communities of experts, and opportunities for discussion and even publication of scientific findings. 3 Functions: Applications of Educational Technologies Developing a ‘blended learning’ approach that accomplishes the tasks described above is a difficult and daunting task. It is daunting to balance traditional with newer styles, blend student-led with instructor- led approaches, and remain alert and sensitive to potential problems. Nevertheless, tackling these challenges would benefit from a collective effort, one that recognizes the particular learning goals and strategies used by different disciplines, but also takes into account the general problems and potentialities that educational technologies pose for the common tasks of teaching and learning in a College institution. In different disciplines, instructors may focus on some functions more than others. In Political Science, for example, discussion and debate are often central to the effort to encourage critical and creative thinking about political problems. Remaining current and relating in-class learning with real-world developments is also often a priority for the study of Politics, as is encouraging encounter with unfamiliar cultures and ideological beliefs. For the sake of brevity and clarity, the complexity and variety of tasks that teaching and learning incorporates in different disciplines has been simplified here into three general ‘functions’: delivering course content, improving student
  10. 10. Page 10 of 33 engagement, and encouraging critical or ‘deep’ thinking. Specific disciplines and areas of study will undoubtedly emphasize different types of learning, different tasks and activities, and different learning goals. Nevertheless, it is hoped that these three categories tackle the general kinds of functions and activities that educators and learners alike expect to encounter. Nevertheless, simplification has undoubtedly resulted in the omission of important learning tasks and functions, and so this is not exhaustive, only indicative. The examples described below are also selective, meaning that they have been incorporated because of their potential for a positive impact on teaching and learning, although, again, this is not exhaustive and there may indeed be many other alternatives out there to accomplish similar functions. The three learning functions and associated technologies described in this section are summarized in the following table: Table of Educational Functions and Technologies Functions Delivering course Content Improving Student Engagement Encouraging Critical Thinking Technology/ Organization videocasting Camtasia, Articulate Engage, Flickr, Audacity, Prezi, SlideShare, Google Docs, Khan Academy, Google Reader, Wikipedia through Cooliris’ Discover app for iPad, CBC Digital Archives, iTunes U, Youtube, Academic Earth, Vimeo Clickers, Blogs, Wikis, - Collaborize Classroom, Surveymonkey, Skype, Second Life, Voicethread, Elluminate, CBC Compass poll, Facebook, Twitter, SOL*R, Gapminder World, Physics Education Technology (PhET) project Collaborize Classroom, The Critical Thinking Consortium, Soliya Connect, Convince Me, New York Times “You Fix the Budget”, WISC online learning objects, MindMeister Technologies for Delivering Course Content At present, Okanagan College’s Learning Management System, Blackboard, is used primarily as a means of delivering course content: uploading lecture PowerPoint, making announcements, and delivering the syllabus to students. This use (although not necessarily the technology itself) is characteristic of the ‘industrial’ model of learning, in which course content is delivered primarily in one direction: from the instructor to the student. Of Okanagan College’s approximately 6000 users of Blackboard in a given semester, most use Blackboard for course delivery, rather than utilizing discussions, student presentations and other features (Minions). Okanagan College is presently in the process of assessing Learning Management Systems. The purpose here is not to assess the effectiveness of Blackboard or other LMS that might be used at the College, but rather to introduce and assess other options that may be available for delivering course content in a blended environment. Keeping in mind that instructors may have various learning goals in terms of delivering course content, this survey of new technologies is meant to illustrate some examples of educational technologies for viewing, downloading, listening,
  11. 11. Page 11 of 33 distributing, and broadcasting course materials. Pedagogical research supports the idea that offering materials in a wide variety of formats enables the instructor to reach a wider variety of learning styles, and to ‘hit’ everyone’s learning model at the same time’ (Schneider). One ‘traditional’ method of delivering course content is the face-to-face lecture, which includes variations, like ‘chalk and talk’, reading texts, using PowerPoint slides, illustrations, demonstrations, and even question and answer pauses. Lectures can (although often don’t) appeal to a wide variety of sensory-based learning styles, although heavily focused on auditory learners, lectures can also include visual, digital and even kinesthetic forms of learning. There is an extensive scholarly literature on the effectiveness of lectures. In a nutshell, lecturing is an inefficient form of course delivery due to student inattentiveness, the passivity of sitting and listening, and the poor level of material recall achieved (a ‘forgetting curve’ for the average student is 62 percent immediate recall of material, which then declines to 45 percent three to four days later, and falls to only 24 percent eight weeks later) (Nilson, 2003: 95). There are various ways of overcoming these deficiencies, including frequent pauses, student-active breaks, and including a test at the conclusion of a lecture (Nilson, 2003: 97-99). Of the variety of lecturing styles, ‘chalk and talk’ can actually be one of the most effective, since it is easily adapted based on student input ‘on the fly’. One other advantage of ‘chalk and talk’ is that, at least potentially, it allows the learner to halt the action and proceed at their own self-determined pace. Self-paced video can also provide a means by which the learner can obtain information at the own pace, pause, and even rewind portions that appear difficult or confusing. Podcasting, or videocasting can be an effective tool for delivering course material in this way. As an example, the Khan Academy, a nonprofit organization that provides free educational materials on the web, utilizes the ‘chalk and talk’ model to create video recordings of lessons. The lessons are self-paced, provide dynamic help, and enable learners to monitor their progress. Camtasia, Articulate Engage , and Audacity are tools that can also be used to record audio and video for broadcast online or in the class.2 Instructors can also provide their own customized materials that can be distributed online, including photos, bibliographical lists, diagrams, graphics, charts, statistical analyses, presentations, Wikis, documents, and Powerpoint slides. Some of the leading ones: Prezi, SlideShare and Google Docs. In addition, the way in which online materials are accessed is changing rapidly. Mobile uses of the internet are on the rise, and desktop uses are declining. Mobile use is one of the six most important trends in learning technology identified in Educause’s Annual Report in 2011. In their words: Mobiles enable ubiquitous access to information, social networks, tools for learning and productivity, and much more. Mobile devices continue to evolve, but it is the increased access to affordable and reliable networks that is driving this technology now. Mobiles are capable computing devices in their own right — and they are increasingly a user’s first choice for internet access (Johnson et. al. 2011:5). One important trend, at least partly driven by the rise of mobile computing, is messaging. Messaging through Twitter, Facebook, smartphones, and other tools for notification like newsreaders like Google Reader feeds, are changing research by enabling learners to customize their searches, and as software is increasingly able to ‘learn’ the searching preferences and histories of users, searching for information will become more focused, individualized, and customized (Siemens and Tittenberger, 2009:2). Learners are increasingly using ‘push’ notifications to help them keep track of information, rather than ‘pull’ technologies like search engines. At Okanagan College, there are a wide variety of opportunities for 2 See Mike Minions BASALT wiki page for information on these educational technologies (in Resources).
  12. 12. Page 12 of 33 utilizing ‘push’ notifications. Learners could make use of online personal academic calendars, announcements, course journals, and blogs, all of which could be set up this way. A good example of how information searching can be directed and customized is the Okanagan College library’s Research Resource pages. Okanagan College Library’s Research Resources pages include course- specific and discipline-specific resources, for example, to aid with research and writing. Research guides are available by course and subject, and include resources on online learning and collaboration. However, a further step would be to provide learners with online research journals so that they can upload, store and access all of their research and writing online, from emails to web search histories. Another looming, and almost revolutionary, change is in the area of e-texts provided by publishers. Publishers are recognizing that learners are demanding more mobility, more flexible textbooks, and more affordable and varied course options. E-texts can offer learning experiences that a traditional text cannot match, and even transform the way that people read. One commentator has even stated that e- texts and other materials can provide: “self-directed, interactive experiences; easy exploration; collaborative work; multi-modal, immersive activities; and other deeply engaging approaches to learning.” Social interaction around e-books in support of group study and focused teacher-student interaction is possible at any point in the text (Johnson et. al. 2011:9). Highlighting, annotation, and sharing make e-texts a very promising technology for learning. One example is Cooliris’ Discover app for iPad. This app allows the user to explore information through an innovative magazine-style interface on Wikipedia. It utilizes ‘flow’ navigation, easy and smart searches, enable changing live content from the website, and keep a record or history of searches. It also integrates video, audio, multimedia and reading easily (Johnson et. al. 2011:10). In Political Science, historical and current events are an important component of learning and teaching, and one of the most valuable resources for such information is CBC’s online audio and video archives. One of its greatest strengths is the ability to search thematically, by event, or by person. Short media clips help to enhance a lecture by providing linkages with real-world political issues and problems. A search of ‘politics’ reveals 83 topics, 544 radio clips, and 919 television clips (CBC Digital Archive). iTunes U also has a wealth of online lectures and videos that can be used to explore specific topics in class or online. For example, the University of Pennsylvania offers ’60 second lectures’ on various topics, including one on “Is America Rome? Why Do You Ask?” Yale University offers a free online course from Robert Shapiro titled “The Moral Foundations of Politics” with video and audio lectures. Other contributing Universities include Harvard and Oxford. These are easily viewable or downloadable from iTunes, or sometimes directly from the University websites themselves. Finally, producing and sharing video is becoming much easier as network technology improves. Videos on Youtube or Vimeo can help explain a particularly difficult problem, provide hints to problems or assignments, or answer student questions. This can be particularly effective because learners can access at any time, use at their own speed, and access multiple times. Technologies for Improving Student Engagement Improving student engagement will inevitably involve attention to how technological change may be impacting the way that students think and learn. For example, recently the Canadian Broadcast Corporation launched Compass, an interactive online tool to help voters “examine where they might lie on the political spectrum and to discover where the parties stand on key issues” (CBC). Compass was developed by a team of 15 political science and election researchers, and as of April 28th , 2011, some
  13. 13. Page 13 of 33 1,744,583 people had participated in the survey (CBC). Surveys, multiple choice questions, opinion polling, ratings systems, and even interactive graphics are all integrating technology into personal and political decision making. Utilizing such interactive tools offers an engaging way of broaching political topics such as ideologies, parties, elections, decision making, and political issues. The above discussion around e-texts is pointing toward a growing congruence of previously-solitary activities, like reading and writing, toward social and shared activities. Peer-to-peer and horizontal forms of learning relationships are implicated in the wider use of technologies that enable interaction and exchanges of all kinds. One of the fastest-growing concerns in social media is the expansion of networks and network-style relationships. Networks add efficiency gains to all collaborative activities. This has been described as the Metcalf Principle, which states that: ‘the value of a network grows as the square of the number of its users’ (Newton and Besley, 2006: 75). From the perspective of educators, networks are important and growing dimensions of the work world, they help to inculcate important skills and values like teamwork and leadership, and they offer opportunities for engagement that promote student satisfaction with the collaborative process. Social networking is now second-nature to the digital natives, and at the same time, peer-to-peer discussion has been long recognized as an aid to learning and to engagement, and indeed, can even be understood as one of the key learning strengths of colleges as institutions. Improving student engagement will require some attention to the characteristics of learners in teams and groups and how this impacts learners’ expectations of the college experience. However, some trends in technology may present challenges to learning. For example, while social networks can encourage collaboration and team work, they can also create superficial relationships and shallow forms of interaction. Searching for multiple streams of information and frequent opportunities for interaction can be enriching, but it can also impinge upon sustained and deeper knowledge development. As it states in the College’s draft Long Term Education Plan, enhancing learner engagement in the classroom should address technological change as one of the components of active learning. At present, Okanagan College’s Learning Management System (Blackboard) is capable of offering online discussions, group-based presentations, and other means of collaborating, however, these are underused. Security concerns, privacy, and comfort in an online environment may be some of the issues holding users back from more fully embracing these tools. According to the draft Long Term Education Plan, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement suggests among its preliminary findings that learning is enhanced when students have frequent feedback and assessment and that students know where they stand. In addition, knowing exactly what students have understood and what remains to be learned is central to a learner-centred teaching approach, and arguably essential to good teaching practice. Technology can aid in gathering the information needed to ensure that students have continual feedback and that feedback is targeted most efficiently to what they, individually, are learning and need to know. Face-to-face learning in small seminar groups remains one of the most effective ways to garner active participation. Nevertheless, seminar discussions remain only a part of the classroom experience, and incorporate only personalistic or highly impressionable images of student understanding and achievement. Feedback on individual knowledge and achievement may be impressionistic and qualitative. Supplementing seminar discussion with alternative forms of student interaction can provide important information to the learner and to the teacher about how much a student has understood, what is not clear, and what is still necessary to know. In addition, assessment can provide the opportunity for students to compare their own learning with the expectations of the teacher and with the learning of peers. On-demand and self-paced content that incorporates continual assessment and feedback is one dimension of learning that can be enhanced through technology, both on-line and in the classroom. As suggested above, self-paced and
  14. 14. Page 14 of 33 online applications that generate problems and offer feedback on solutions specific to the needs of the learner are possible with newer technologies and can be an effective means of generating engagement. Taking a test immediately following learning material has been proven to be one of the most effective methods for retaining and even constructing new knowledge. In a recent study published in the journal Science, researchers found that ‘retrieval practice’ allowed students to retain learning much longer than repeated study, concept mapping, or review. However, one of the interesting findings noted was that retrieval, which is sometimes considered to be a ‘lower’ level of learning (than, for example, evaluation or analysis of a set of ideas) is actually an active process of reconstruction of knowledge, and involves recognizing and organizing knowledge in specific ways that are individual to the learner (Belluck, 2011). One of the effective means available at present for incorporating active learning and assessment is Team-Based Learning (TBL). Team Based Learning is a specific form of collaborative learning which involves individual and team testing, followed by application exercises in which learners share their ideas to solve problems and learn from each other. TBL can be offered both face to face and online, and some functions, like peer evaluation, can easily be done online. Team Based Learning is a variation of Problem-Based Learning, in which learners formulate research questions, find information necessary to solve problems, and develop solutions. Online surveys and collaborative tools that create instant, accessible, and shareable feedback offer easy and effective way for learners to form new networks and communities. Here are some of the most commonly-used tools available: - Blogs - Wikis (Wikispaces) -Collaborize Classroom -Surveymonkey - Skype or other voice over internet(VOI) tools - Second Life or virtual world interactions - Voicethread – multiple perspective dialogue centred on an artefact - Integrated suites or classrooms (Elluminate) - Discussion forums - Image-based discussions (Flickr) - Social networking tools: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Another example of a course module delivered online is “The Art of Synthesis” available as a Shareable Online Learning Resource (SOLR) from BC Campus. This tutorial walks learners through the basics of avoiding plagiarism using interactive modules on doing citations, copyright, paraphrasing and patchwriting. The Shareable Online Learning Resources Repository also includes similar learning objects that cover evaluating information, reading, analyzing, and planning research.3 Another example of an interesting use of an interactive resource for student engagement is the popular Gapminder website. Gapminder World allows learners to find, explore and compare statistical information on life expectancy, income per person, environment, population, work, and many other 3 SOLR resources are available under two types of licenses: Creative Commons and BC Commons. The latter resources require that subscribers be educators at validated BC post-secondary institutions, while the former license is freely and public available. Okanagan College is a validated institution (see for more).
  15. 15. Page 15 of 33 indicators that users can choose. It utilizes graphical and animated tools to allow users to track changes among countries over time, and to develop their own research questions based on the data displayed. MindMeister allows users to create ‘mindmaps’ that brainstorm connections between concepts and ideas. Maps can be developed online and collaboratively, and can be used as planning and review tools. Tablets like the iPad have fostered a revolution in networking and these may prove to have great benefits for enhancing teamwork both in class and online. At the University of British Columbia Okanagan, Dr. Patricia Lasserre is researching “whether student use of an embedded device can reduce the limitations of group communication during team-based learning exercises” (University of British Columbia Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning). In particular, the ability to quickly and easily move objects and information around on a single screen, share information in real-time, and access online resources are features of tablets that make them unique and distinctly promising technologies for teaching and learning. Technologies for Encouraging Critical and ‘Deep’ Thinking One of the trends noted above and by many other observers and commentators on technology and learning is the ‘fragmentation’ of information. As Siemens and Tittenberger put it: “The fragmentation of information has resulted in an emphasis on individuals creating personal frameworks of coherence to understand sources of information. Control over personal coherence making has significant implications for higher education” (2009:1). If indeed, information is becoming ‘fragmented’; then critical thinking abilities are a necessary and even vital component of a college education, because these enable learners to make sense of information. Okanagan College’s Mission Statement states that one of the key goals is to encourage “the development and application of critical thinking skills”. This includes, as well, developing ‘global citizenship in our community of informed learners’. The question of what constitutes critical thinking is a subject of decades of scholarly inquiry; nevertheless, some of the attributes that might be associated with a critical thinker are, for example:  logical thinking  cultural awareness  open mindedness  fair mindedness  independent mindedness  respect for individual views  inquiring attitude  degree of background knowledge  critical thinking vocabulary  explicit criteria for judgement4 Bloom’s taxonomy is commonly used to describe a series of levels of cognitive understanding: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Renner, 2005:7). What 4 This list is adapted from the University of British Columbia’s Critical Thinking Community of Practice’s meetings and discussion from 2008-2010. More information on ‘habits of mind’ and other criteria for critical thinking is available from The Critical Thinking Consortium
  16. 16. Page 16 of 33 kinds of activities might be most effective for exercising these abilities is a question for educators to determine, based on the particular needs and objectives of their discipline. Nevertheless, one can reasonably infer that developing critical thinking abilities may be advanced by activities that involve, for example, problem-posing, problem-solving, designing to specifications, making predictions, making inferences, interpreting messages, analyzing evidence, rating the appropriateness or effectiveness of various options, making conclusions, and making connections between individual and social behaviour. Part of thinking critically involves the ability to think using a variety of different perspectives. This is especially, although not exclusively true for disciplines that involve interpreting current events like Political Science. A focus on critical thinking abilities is also closely aligned with the College’s Long-Term Education Plan. The April 4th consultation draft states that one of the chief goals of ‘internationalization’ is to “provide a global experience to learners”. One of the primary obstacles to achieving this is the expense and complexity of organizing study-abroad programs, which remain accessible primarily to only a very small minority of students. Online cross-cultural exchanges, while not necessarily a substitute for the travel experience, can bring some of the benefits of such exchanges to the College’s “diverse, multi- generational and non-traditional student population” (LTEP consultation draft). One of the unique powers of the internet is the ability to form communities of learners outside the geographical limits of the classroom. For example, Collaborize Classroom offers a platform for bringing together groups of learners from different institutions, or resource people and experts on various topics, who are studying and discussing the same subject. Collaborize Classroom offers the ability to utilize multimedia, publish discussions results so students can see the outcomes of their contributions, encourage student participation through surveys, online focus groups, and debates, and assign problem- based and case-based activities. One of the benefits of this option is that it enables sustained interaction, rather than fleeting or superficial discussions. Web conferencing is also allowing greater access to leading experts in a variety of fields. Governments, nonprofits, and media organizations are also increasingly organizing online surveys, Webinars, scrums, and conferences as a means of generating interaction with their audiences. As another example, in the online cross cultural exchange program Connect, developed by the U.S. educational nonprofit Soliya, students from Western and Arab countries interact through videoconferencing. Connect exposes college students to multiple perspectives on subjects including terrorism, social customs, and current events. The program emphasizes a multiplicity of views rather than just a two-way dialogue, it is inexpensive, and allows students to encounter the views of ordinary people from different cultural experiences. Thinking critically also involves using logic and argumentative strategies effectively. WISC Online has an interactive learning object for educating users about barriers to critical thinking. Users view, use and apply definitions in an online course, matching definitions with relevant examples and discerning differences between critical thinking concepts. Another example is an online site for generating debates. Convince Me and similar sites post discussions on specific questions posed by users. Users debate sides of an issue, vote on winners, battle head-to-head, and add links and evidence to boost their case. Debates can be open or closed, competitive or not. Critical thinking challenges can also be developed online with customizable content by instructors, and used either in the classroom or online. For example, as one of BC Campus’s SOL*R Resources, instructors can access a learning module titled Image Challenger. Image Challenger is a simple tool for creating customized critical thinking challenges for assessing explanations, deciphering impressions,
  17. 17. Page 17 of 33 describing thoughts and impressions, exploring worldviews, drawing conclusions, and identifying key features of images (Jamison, et. al. 2010). Finally, another interesting application that advances critical thinking in Political Science is an online tool recently developed by the New York Times in response to ongoing budget battles in the Congress. Titled “You Fix the Budget” the interactive online feature allows users to choose from a series of options for reducing the US federal deficit, and then aggregates the results. This offers an eye-opening view into the difficulties and trade-offs involved in tackling complex public policy decisions. Conclusions: New Horizons in Educational Technology In the universe of educational technologies, there are a multitude of possibilities for creating blended learning, balancing instructor-led with student-led learning, delivering course materials in innovative ways, fostering student engagement, and advancing critical thinking abilities. In spite of the challenges, educational technology has the potential, when incorporated thoughtfully, carefully, and in accordance with supported pedagogical goals developed by educators and learners, to create learning that is dynamic, flexible, efficient, and engaging. In contrast to bundled textbooks, e-texts offer materials that can be customized to the learning objectives of a course or even an individual learner. The classroom can be enriched by integrating podcasts, web conferencing, online research, messaging, surveys, and case- and problem-based activities that integrate real-world issues. The challenges of blended learning remain significant; however, the choices are not necessarily stark. Blended learning means ensuring that educational technology is used in ways that are commensurate with the specific and unique learning objectives determined by the educator and the learner. This Report is meant to offer an overview, or ‘snapshot’ of educational technologies that are presently available or emerging in the near future. Some representative examples are included to demonstrate how these might be used to further three educational functions: delivering course material, fostering engagement, and encouraging critical thinking. The Resources section included in Appendix 2 of this Report provides further information on all of the educational technologies discussed. While there is some overlap, the organization of the various technologies into these three general categories enables comparison and consideration of the different ways in which educational technology might be utilized to advance specific pedagogical goals. This means that those technologies are highlighted because of their potential to have an especially important impact on those particular functions of teaching and learning. While the opportunities are numerous, support is necessary to overcome technical barriers and difficulties. New technologies are accompanied by a learning curve for educators and learners alike, and so constitute a significant investment of time and energy. In general, technology should be adopted in a structured and methodological way in accordance with the specified learning and teaching goals of the instructor, the needs of the learner, and the expectations of the discipline. Technology should not be a panacea for gaps in teaching and learning, nor can it replace the classroom experience. It may offer advantages in flexibility, exposure, and opportunities for student engagement, but these will vary from one technology to the next, and from one learner to the next. While the research on the effects of technology on learning remains mired in the ‘no significant difference’ conclusion (Siemens and Tittenberger, 2009: 3); most studies do not yet effectively incorporate measures of effectiveness based on pedagogical practices. Measures that improve student satisfaction with learning and with their Okanagan College experience will benefit learners and educators alike. As Joy and Garcia argue, the
  18. 18. Page 18 of 33 question ought to be: “'What combination of instructional strategies and delivery media will best produce the desired learning outcome for the intended audience?” (Joy and Garcia, quoted in Siemens and Tittenberger, 2009: 51) Recommendations For Political Science, the Department could extend existing technological tools to include the following suggestions. The first lists those that could be implemented with existing technology with minimal cost within the next 12 months. The second list includes those that may require a longer time frame or additional technologies. Recommendations are listed in order: from easiest to more difficult or time consuming. 1. Facebook page or Twitter page for Political Science department or specific courses in Political Science: These are easy to set up, familiar and accessible to students, and engage with existing student social platforms. Attention would have to be paid to privacy, degrees of interactivity, and professionalism online. Page would have to be monitored over time (around .5 hours per week). 2. Academic and Community Opportunities Resources site: Political Science students and others (as determined by the Site owner) would be able to subscribe to a site with information about local, regional, and global opportunities. The site would include study abroad opportunities, scholarships, events, competitions, opportunities for publication, mentorship opportunities, internships, and online interactive political and current events resources. Students could subscribe to the site for real-time updates about new opportunities sent to email, Twitter, Facebook or mobile accounts. This blog-style site would be administered by the Political Science department and would not accept submissions directly but rather solicit submissions and post selectively (around 2-3 hours to set up and .5 hours per week to maintain). 3. Political Science Collaborative: Political Science students and instructors could use Collaborize Classroom to post and share online surveys, case studies, or discussions specific to the class or topic, and results could be shared either with the class or with all subscribers. Students could also post presentations, links, posters, or other class work to subscribers, to the College community, or to the public at large (1 hour per week). 4. Debating Club: Educational technologies could be used to enhance the activities of a debating club, either by enabling access to resources, publicizing events, or by facilitating debate simulations and coaching online. 5. Online Student Publication: Student essays, presentations, or other research could be assembled into an online journal or newsletter ‘showcase’ style publication. Student works could be recommended or solicited through calls from the editor (1.5 hours per week). The following recommendations include some ideas that may require additional technology or may take more than 12 months to prepare. These options are within the longer range since some services require considerable time to set up, may require additional technological capabilities to be determined in consultation with Educational Technology, and/or may require a significant and ongoing time commitment to maintain. The scope and purposes of these would need to be clarified, the role of administrators would have to be well-defined, and the scope of memberships would also require clear definition and explanation (easiest and quickest recommendations are listed first).
  19. 19. Page 19 of 33 1. 5-minute Lectures: Several US institutions, including Political Science and Government departments at major universities, use 5-minute lectures to publicize their departments and course offerings. 5-minute lectures are video overviews of a particularly interesting political science topic, figure, or issue, editorials on current events, or summaries of current research that faculty are preparing. Videos can be posted to the Political Science website, linked on Youtube, or even, potentially offered on iTunes as free podcasts. Videos can be downloadable for viewing or listening on a mobile device (the Okanagan College website capabilities for this are at present unknown and require further research). The website authoring capabilities available for Political Science are limited, but this may be doable with IT support (10-15 hours to set up) . 2. Political Science listserve: through Email, subscribers could receive notices about Political Science issues and events, and begin online discussions through their own submissions. Using a blog-style website or community listserve would have the advantage of enabling any subscriber (for example, the Okanagan College Student Environment Club) to submit notices. Notices could be vetted by the List administrator and attributed to the submitter. Developing a listserve could also be done in conjunction with other Departments or offices, which may lower the time and costs involved (1 hour per week). 3. Cross-Collaborative Coursework: Students enrolled in Political Science courses could form collaborations with courses at other institutions using online platforms. Collaborize Classroom or another platform would be open to subscribers from students in, for example, Canadian government, at Okanagan College and at another institution. Online discussions, surveys, and even case studies can be done by students in both combined classes, with online contributions forming part of the students’ participation in their respective classes (1.5 hours per week). 4. Online Research Journal Tool: Political Science students would utilize an Online Research Journal for preparing essays for multiple political science courses. Their journals would include online management of sources, links, citations, notes, a timeline and calendar, documents, including research paper topics, and real-time online consultations with instructors in ‘virtual office hours’. Journals could be private or shared with peers or with the instructor. The tool could link with the Political Science Research Resource page, and would be accessed either from there or from the Political Science website using subscription and sign-in. Instructors could monitor the journals, and make recommendations and give feedback at different points throughout the process, including adding links and resources specific to the research project. TurnitIn could also be incorporated as a self-check service for students to ensure that their work meets academic integrity standards. Developing this would likely involve a significant investment in time and would require collaboration with the Library and measures to ensure that this is in accordance with the Library’s objectives and services. Please see Mike Minions’ comments in Appendix 4. All of the above recommendations would raise the profile of Political Science and Okanagan College, helping to attract new students and excite interest for existing students. While the examples and recommendations listed in this Report are focused on Political Science, due to the wider applicability of the findings here, these recommendations might also be considered by the Arts faculty. Taking these actions would enhance teaching and learning by enabling more interactive, engaging, and enriching educational experiences for learners at Okanagan College.
  20. 20. Page 20 of 33 Appendix 1: Glossary Some of these definitions are selected from the Utah Education Network Ed Tech Glossary of Terms, available at: Blog (web log) web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author. Broadcast To simultaneously send the same message to multiple recipients. Broadcasting is a useful feature in e-mail systems. Content Information captured digitally and imparted to learners. Formats for e-learning content include text, audio, video, animation, simulation, and more. Clicker An audience response system that allows students to instantly provide feedback and answer questions posed by their instructors ( Discussion boards Forums on the Internet or an intranet where users can post messages for others to read. E-learning (electronic learning) E-learning refers to technology enhanced learning, including the use of mobile technologies, web-based teaching materials, multimedia, collaborative social software tools, and course management software such as WebCT Vista. (University of British Columbia Okanagan, 2008) Information architecture A description or design specification for how information should be treated and organized. In web design, the term describes the organization of online content into categories and the creation of an interface for displaying those categories. Infrastructure The underlying mechanism or framework of a system. In e-learning, the infrastructure includes the means by which voice, video, and data can be transferred from one site to another and be processed. Interactive media Allows for a two-way interaction or exchange of information. Internet An international network first used to connect education and research networks, begun by the US government. The Internet now provides communication and application services to an international base of businesses, consumers, educational institutions, governments, and research organizations. IT (Information Technology) The industry or discipline involving the collection, dissemination, and management of data, typically through the use of computers. Just-in-time (JIT) Characteristic of e-learning in which learners are able to access the information they need exactly when they need it. Learning object A reusable, media-independent collection of information used as a modular building block for e-learning content.
  21. 21. Page 21 of 33 Learning platforms Internal or external sites often organized around tightly focused topics, which contain technologies (ranging from chat rooms to groupware) that enable users to submit and retrieve information. Learning portal Any web site that offers learners or organizations consolidated access to learning and training resources from multiple sources. Operators of learning portals are also called content aggregators, distributors, or hosts. Learning solution Any combination of technology and methodology that delivers learning. Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs (from First International Conference on Learning Analytics at ListServe A listserv, or list server, is a small program that automatically sends messages to multiple e- mail addresses on a mailing list. Multimedia Encompasses interactive text, images, sound, and color. Multimedia can be anything from a simple PowerPoint slide slow to a complex interactive simulation. Navigation Finding your way from page to page on the World Wide Web. Netiquette Online manners; the rules of conduct for online or internet users. Network Two or more computers that are connected so users can share files and devices (for example, printers, servers, and storage devices). Objectives (Learning) The desired outcomes for the training event (what the training should accomplish in terms of performance the learners should exhibit in the learning environment in order to be considered competent); consist of three components (the performance, criterion and standard); are congruent with the tasks and testing strategies. (Objectives can also be established for on-the-job performance, business or impact performance, or ROI). Online The state in which a computer is connected to another computer or server via a network. A computer communicating with another computer. Online community A meeting place on the Internet for people who share common interests and needs. Online communities can be open to all or be limited to membership only and may or may not be moderated. Online learning Learning delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. See web-based training and internet-based training. Peer-to-peer network (P2P) A communication network that enables users to connect their computers and share files directly with other users without having to go through a centralized server. Groove is an example of an application that runs on a peer-to-peer network. Podcasting Podcasting is online audio content that is delivered on demand of the user.
  22. 22. Page 22 of 33 Pull technology In reference to the Internet or other online services, the technology whereby people use software such as a web browser to locate and "pull down" information for themselves. Push technology In reference to the Internet or other online services, the technology whereby information is sent directly to a user's computer. Real-time communication Communication in which information is received at (or nearly at) the instant it's sent. Real-time communication is a characteristic of synchronous learning. Streaming media (streaming audio or video) Audio or video files played as they are being downloaded over the Internet instead of users having to wait for the entire file to download first. Requires a media player program. Synchronous learning A real-time, instructor-led online learning event in which all participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other. In this virtual classroom setting, the instructor maintains control of the class, with the ability to "call on" participants. In most platforms, students and educators can use a whiteboard to see work in progress and share knowledge. Interaction may also occur via audio- or videoconferencing, internet telephony, or two-way live broadcasts. Teleconferencing Two or more people who are geographically distant having a meeting across a telecommunications link. Includes audio conferencing, video conferencing, and/or data conferencing. Upload To copy data from your computer to another computer over a computer network, the opposite of download. Videoconferencing Conducting a conference between two or more participants at different sites by using to transmit audio and video. For example, a point-to-point (two-person) video conferencing works much like a video telephone. Using video and audio signals to link participants at different and remote locations. Virtual In the context of computing, not concrete or physical. For instance, a completely virtual university does not have actual buildings but instead holds classes over the Internet. Virtual classroom The online learning space where students and instructors interact. Virtual reality (VR) An artificial computer-generated environment that is experienced through sensory stimuli and in which special equipment allows the user to interact with the simulation. Wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users (Wikipedia ). World Wide Web (WWW) A graphical hypertext-based internet tool that provides access to homepages created by individuals, businesses, and other organizations.
  23. 23. Page 23 of 33 Appendix 2: Resources Books and Videos AlphaPlus Centre. Guide To Blended Learning. Toronto: AlphaPlus Centre, 2004. Dunn, Dana. Best Practices for Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning: Connecting To Psychology and the Social Sciences. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Greenall, David and Stelios Loizides. Aboriginal Digital Opportunities: Addressing Aboriginal Learning Needs Through The Use Of Learning Technologies Ottawa: Conference Board of Canada, 2001. Michaelsen, Larry K., Arletta Bauman Knight, and L. Dee Fink. Team-based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Eds. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. 2004. Roblyer, M. D. and Richard Schwier. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching Toronto: Prentice Hall, + 1 CD-ROM. Title on CD-ROM label: Integrating technology across the curriculum: a data base of strategies and lesson ideas /complied by M.D. Roblyer; with contributions by Jeri A. Carroll. 2003. Rosen, Larry D. Rewired: Understanding The Igeneration And The Way They Learn New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Utilizing Web 2.0 Apps to Enhance Teaching & Learning Visual Material Starlink, 2010. Scholarly Journals Educational Technology Research & Development Springer Science & Business Media B.V. ISSN: 1042- 1629 px?direct=true&db=tfh&jid=ETR&login.asp&site=ehost-live British Journal of Educational Technology Wiley-Blackwell ISSN: 0007-1013 px?direct=true&db=tfh&jid=58I&login.asp&site=ehost-live Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society Sage Publications Inc. ISSN: 0270-4676 px?direct=true&db=tfh&jid=3EH&login.asp&site=ehost-live Learning, Media & Technology Routledge ISSN: 1743-9884Online ISSN: 1743-9892 Internet A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods http://www.visual- A dynamic graphic with examples of data, information, concept, strategy, metaphor and compound visualizations. Academic Earth also offers free online videos of lectures on a wide variety of topics
  24. 24. Page 24 of 33 BC Campus Shareable Online Learning Resources*R is a repository service provided by BCCampus that allows BC public post-secondary educators to license, contribute, and access FREE online learning resources. It facilitates sharing, discovery, reuse, and remixing of a growing collection of content. SOL*R includes learning resources from a wide variety of disciplines and subject areas. Resources range from individual learning activities and tools, all the way to full programs. Here you can find “Image Challenger” by Joe Jamison, Phil Balcaen, TC2, Jeff Epp, and Thomas Berger. You can also find “The Art of Synthesis” by Joyce Leung, Anna Swanson, Sara Davidson, and Carolyn Soltau. Collaborize classroom Collaborize is an online decision making application that helps your group identify, refine and respond to important questions and ideas. Convince Me Site for generating and voting on debates. Critical Thinking Consortium an internationally renowned, non-profit association of education professionals who are committed to promoting critical thinking from primary to post-secondary education through professional development, publications and research. Customizable Learning Paths E-Learning Glossary of Terms Flickr online photo management and sharing. Free Learning Here you will find free to use learning resources that you can use to supplement your own course materials or learning. Some of these are from BC-based projects while others are from Open Educational Resource projects from around the world. Gapminder World graphical and video displays of statistical information on health, population, economic development, and many other topics and indicators that learners can interact with. Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IFAT) forms These are testing tools to enhance the benefits of team tests. Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., The 2011 Horizon Report on New Educational Technologies (2011). Texas: The New Media Consortium. Khan Academy Library of 2000 lesson videos focused primarily on Math, Algebra, and some Arts and Sciences freely available to anyone on the internet. Magna Online Professional Development Seminars Provides subscriber- based print and electronic newsletters, white papers, online seminars & courses, and in-person conferences providing information to higher education professionals. Merlot Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching Materials in Political Science 87&newsearchbutton0.x=12&newsearchbutton0.y=2&newsearchbutton0=Search
  25. 25. Page 25 of 33 MindMeister Collaborative online cognitive mapping. New York Times “You Fix the Budget” Interactive tool Okanagan College Educational Technology list of software tools list here: Okanagan College Educational Technology list of tools for online collaboration here: Prezi Create online presentations Second Life user-created 3d online world. Skype Make voice or video calls over the internet SlideShare enables users to share Powerpoint presentations. Soliya Connect program An online program for cross- cultural education and exchange. SurveyMonkey Design surveys for the web. Team-Based Learning Collaborative Boasts a great listserve with lots of answers, resources for further reading, information about webinars, etc. Top 100 Tools for Learning Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies Turn-it-In Udutu online course authoring tools. Utah Education Network Glossary of Edtech Terms: With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. Wikispaces Free Wikis that can be used by schools, businesses, individuals, groups. WISC Online “Barriers to Critical Thinking: Use of Language” http://www.wisc- The digital library of objects has been developed primarily by faculty from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and produced by multimedia technicians who create the learning objects.
  26. 26. Page 26 of 33 Appendix 3: Works Cited "Online Program Connects Students Across Cultural and National Borders." Chronicle of Higher Education 57.16 (2010): A27. Bauerlein, Mark The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future (2009) Penguin Books Belluck, Pam “To Really Learn, Quit Studying and Take a Test” The New York Times January 20, 2011 Black, Alison. "Gen Y: Who They Are and How They Learn." Educational Horizons 88.2 (2010): 92-101. CBC Digital Archives. “Politics” accessed May 8th 2011. CBC. “Vote Compass uncovers your political stripe: Survey pinpoints party closest to your stand on major issues”. March 26th , 2011 compass.html# Derbyshire, David. “Social websites harm children's brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist” Mail Online 24th February 2009. Davis, Michelle R. "Moving Beyond One-Size-Fits-All." Education Week 30.25 (2011): 10-11. Frand, J. “The Information Mindset: Changes in Students and Implications for Higher Education ” EDUCAUSE Review 41 March/April (2006): 14–16. George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger. Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning (March, 2009) University of Manitoba. Goral, Tim."TAKE II TABLETS."University Business 14.1 (2011): 46-49. Jamison, Joe, Phil Balcaen, TC2, Jeff Epp, and Thomas Berger “Image Challenger”BC Campus Shareable Online Learning Resources Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K.,The 2011 Horizon Report on New Educational Technologies (2011). Texas: The New Media Consortium. Joy II, E. H.,and F.E. Garcia. “Measuring learning effectiveness: A new look at No-Significant-Difference findings”. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. (2000) 4.1. Khan, Salman."YouTube U. Beats YouSnooze U."Chronicle of Higher Education 57.11 (2010): B36-B38. Leung, Joynce, Anna Swanson, Sara Davidson, and Carolyn Soltau. “The Art of Synthesis”. BC Campus SOLR resource Library Journal “Survey: Online Libraries have ‘Greatest Impact’." 136.5 (2011): 20. LTEP Consultation Draft Okanagan College April 4th , 2011
  27. 27. Page 27 of 33 Michaelsen, Larry K., Arletta Bauman Knight, and L. Dee Fink. Team-based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Eds. (2004) Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. Minions, Mike. BASALT Wiki Newton, Keith and John Besley. ‘Developing Sustainability in the Knowledge-Based Economy.’ In Sustainable Production: Building Canadian Capacity. (2006) edited by Glen Toner, Vancouver: UBC Press: 67-82. Nilson, Linda B. Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. (2003) 2nd edition, San Francisco: Anker. Okanagan College. Long Term Education Plan Consultation Draf.t April 4th 2011 Renner, Peter. The Art of Teaching Adults: How to Become an Exceptional Instructor and Facilitator (2005) Vancouver, BC: Training Associates. Schneider, Chris. Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia Okanagan Kelowna, BC telephone interview April 20th 2011. Truitt, Marc. "Editorial: The Air is Full of People." Information Technology & Libraries Mar. 2011. University of British Columbia Okanagan Centre for Teaching and Learning. “Teaching Awards and Grants” University of British Columbia Okanagan Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation Curricular Innovation Award 2010 University of British Columbia Okanagan. Teaching and Learning at UBC Okanagan: A Guide for Instructors (2008) Wikipedia “Wiki” Young, Jeffrey R. "Absent Students Want to Attend Traditional Classes via Webcam." Chronicle of Higher Education 57.22 (2011): A11. Young, Jeffrey R. "Actually Going to Class, for a Specific Course? How 20th-Century."Chronicle of Higher Education 57.26 (2011): A14. Appendix 4: Consultations Consultations included telephone and in-person interviews with Chris Schneider, Assistant Professor of Sociology, UBCO; Janine Hirtz, Instructional Support Specialist, University of British Columbia Okanagan; Mike Minions, Educational Technology specialist, Okanagan College; Glen Coulthard, Professor in Business Administration, Okanagan College; Carl Doige, Professor Department of Chemistry, Okanagan College, Gilbert Bede, Okanagan College Library, and Charlotte Jones, Professor in Modern Languages, Okanagan College.
  28. 28. Page 28 of 33 Report Schneider, Christopher [] Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2011 10:03 AM To: Rosalind Warner Rosalind, I have finished reading through your very good and informative report. I think that the report clearly outlines what it will address (and not address). The hybrid model (or what you call “blended learning”) is excellent, you may even wish to stress the importance (i.e. value - in terms of student learning and economic value especially in these economic times) a bit more. The trick now becomes convincing others (e.g. faculty, administrators) that technologies can be incorporated "thoughtfully" as you note and outlining more specifically what this might look like, i.e. in terms of implementation, etc. A tough task indeed... Thanks for sharing your report. I very much enjoyed reading it. Let me know if I can help in any other way. Best, Chris Dr. Christopher J. Schneider Assistant Professor of Sociology Irving K. Barber School Unit 6 University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus 3333 University Way Kelowna, B.C., Canada V1V 1V7 Tel: 250 807 8094 RE: educational technology report Carl Doige Sent: Saturday, May 07, 2011 5:44 PM To: Rosalind Warner Hi Rosalind, Thank you for sharing this - interesting read - nice over view to an voluminous and diverse topic. I noticed a few formatting problems (i.e words stuck together) but no doubt you will find these yourself. Here are a few comments which I hope you find somewhat helpful.
  29. 29. Page 29 of 33 Trivial point - perhaps best to use "Okanagan College" throughout (instead of OC) Student led vs instructor led - page 7 Not sure how you arrive at conclusion that tech is best introduced as blended approach. I saw discussion about how some advocate for a classroom less experience - that high impact learning activities required no classroom time. I also saw discussion that new tech offers tremendous access to information but may not lead to an enriched educational experience - how does this lead to your conclusion? Technologies for delivering courses - page 9 e-texts - Thus far I am not aware of any OC science faculty who has successfully used an e-text for course delivery - students don't seem to like it. Perhaps this will depend on the degree to which tablet tech is developed. Online homework - many textbooks, however are providing (selling) this a homework feature. This includes tutorials and assessment questions with rich feedback and prompting. Technologies for improving student engagement - page 11 Clickers - I know that you can only discuss a limited number of applications - but I do think that you should mention the use of personal response systems - in particular in the context of improving student engagement (page 12) in science classrooms (formative assessment and peer to peer discussions). This approach is well document by Eric Mazur's group and Carl Wieman's group Resources - page 20 Important resources in the sciences involve animations and simulations. One of the best examples is: Physics Education Technology (PhET) project: Best regards, Carl RE: educational technology report Mike Minions Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 6:38 AM To: Rosalind Warner Rosalind, Sorry it took me a while to get back to you - I was away at MoodleMoot all last week. Excellent and though-provoking report - here are my notes:
  30. 30. Page 30 of 33 New horizons in educational technology Overview snapshot 1. introduce new ed tech relevant to teaching and learning 2. assess in terms of 3 educational functions 3. action plan with specific recommendations student-led learning NSSE – outside of classroom activities seen as most valuable Mediated environments do not displace teachers but reinforce their role as expert guides Recording leads to perception of lecture as one-way rather than interactive Recommendation (p.7) for blended learning still guided by proven goals and strategies Preferred learning style vs. available learning style Personalization / customization of learning materials – use of available online resources 3 functions: delivering content, improving engagement, encouraging critical thinking Bb as industrial model of learning – one direction Lecture – chalk and talk – khanacademy screencasting Mobile access - messaging Recommendation (p.11) push notifications Recommendation (p.11) provide learners with ‘online research journals’ to upload, store, access their research and writing – Are there examples of this? Is it Google docs, g-mail and Diigo? Is this something the institution should provide, or should students just cobble together their own tools from the cloud? I read this first as access to already-published online journals – but what you propose is a personal cloud space for storing work and work in progress (more than just a finished-product e-portfolio) Cooliris Discover app – how can we make this kind of tool available for everyone in a course using the same textbook? Do all students need an iPad? Do we build/find a web-based version of the same thing? Do we look for publishers who have this as part of their e-book offering? p. 12 tool to track what has been learned and what is still to learn for each student – learning analytics – more granular and continual feedback available to students. what is required in terms of course re-design in order to make learning analytics capabilities useful to students? “knowing exactly what students have understood and what remains to be learned” may be more difficult to measure and report than simply counting the number of logins, or discussion posts How can technology assist in providing continual assessment – isn’t there still a teacher workload aspect to creating meaningful feedback? I like the idea of “self-paced and online applications that generate problems and offer feedback on solutions specific to the needs of the learner” – sounds like significantly more instructional development work than we currently have resources for in a typical course. p. 15 collaborize classroom, webconferencing, videoconferencing Image Challenger (SOLR) Do we need a list or matrix that matches intended learning outcomes with readily available tools (provided by the institution or in the cloud) to meet those outcomes? How can instructors find out about suitable tools for their specific needs at the appropriate time in the course development process? Conclusions
  31. 31. Page 31 of 33 Support is necessary – specific to the needs of the discipline Was looking for the action plan with specific recommendations at the end. What are 3 things we should do right now? 1. Hire 5 instructional designers and assign one to each portfolio. 2. develop an extensive matrix of learning outcomes and tools that support those outcomes 3. develop and implement mobile access push notification technologies for certain types of data 4. research, develop and implement a learning analytics system to provide continual feedback to learners about their progress within each of their courses 5. provide each learner with an online ‘research journal’ type space where they can keep their work in progress, finished work, web links etc. Mike Minions Educational Technology Coordinator Okanagan College ph: 250-762-5445 x4755 cell: 250-863-5207 office: E214 KLO Campus Hi Ros I really enjoyed reading the report and I have attached with just a few comments. I like how it is structured and organized and that you address the 3 functions - applications for educational technology. I made a comment about listing them in the Purposes on P. 3. I know they are in the table of contents - but I didn't examine the table of contents and so I was a bit confused and looking for where I 'missed' the 3 common educational 'functions'. I will be checking out some of the technologies you featured! :) It was great to see you at the conference and hopefully we'll see you around this summer. j Sincerely, Janine Hirtz, eLearning Instructional Support Specialist UBC Okanagan 250-807-9133 l Re: ed tech report plans Glen Coulthard [] Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 10:40 PM To: Rosalind Warner
  32. 32. Page 32 of 33 Hi Rosalind! Thanks for sharing your plans for the EdTech report. Here are some of my initial comments: 1. Library Guide (Fall, 2010) Personally, I feel that our Library Guide websites are one of the most underutilized/hidden gems at OC. The software used in constructing these sites is quite robust and you can produce some excellent results with minimal effort. Another bonus is that the "content remains king," rather than you having to focus too much time on design and presentation style. A good start! 2. Emerging EdTech Report (Winter, 2011) This should be an interesting report! Rather than re-creating the wheel, I can suggest several similar reports (and websites) for you to peruse. Actually, Mike Minions has shared some of these resources already -- accessible from his Basalt web page. A key question that I have is: "Will you be limiting your report to only those technologies supported by IT and our OC EdTech department?" If so, the list is quite small for the types of technologies that we can deploy and support. However, if you are able to propose some more innovative solutions, then there are some very interesting opportunities. For example, I believe that VIU in Nanaimo is using a SecondLife virtual world to teach students about policy and economic development. I suspect that it would be a wonderful venue for teaching PoliSci. Also, I would stress the importance of "interactivity" in your evaluation of technologies. Engagement means different things to different people, but the word "interactivity" seems to be a common theme. Some technologies provide greater opportunities for learner engagement than others -- e.g., in-class polling or content/story creation. Rather than teacher- driven technologies, like presentation software or podcasting, you can brainstorm student-driven technologies, like group-oriented mind mapping/concept mapping or student-created wikis of relevant course content. Hope that helps a bit! Good luck with the project, Glen _________________________________________________________________ RE: educational technology report Gilbert Bede Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 4:22 PM
  33. 33. Page 33 of 33 To: Rosalind Warner Hi Rosalind, You may find this an interesting read Also for the Political Science folks you may want to read these papers from a 1-day conference that I attended in Vancouver on April 4, they deal with a very perplexing issue that can impact the use of social media based educational technology with regard to existing FIPPA legislation in BC “Privacy Guide for Faculty Using 3rd Party Web Technology (Social Media) in Public Post-- Secondary Courses.” and “Privacy and Cloud-‐Based Educational Technology in British Columbia: A background paper“ Gilbert RE: feedback Charlotte Jones Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 2:30 PM To: Rosalind Warner Hi Rosalind: Yes, that is okay, but I would like to add another point to what I have said if I may: Many instructors who are not familiar with using technology may feel uncomfortable with the pressures to become more competent. I believe that it is essential to provide support and encouragement and promote the pedagogical value rather than attempt to impose practices on our colleagues. Best and talk to you soon, Charlotte--------------------------------------------------------- Charlotte Jones College ProfessorModern Languages Department, SpanishOkanagan College1000 KLO Road Kelowna, BC CanadaV1Y 4X8 (250) 762-5445, ext.4518cgjones@okanagan.bc.caOffice: B109