This emerging technologies course has given me lots of material to consider and contemplate. I look forward to exploring many of the concepts presented. For our mid course assignment I chose to explore blogs. I would like to start by explaining what a blog is. I will describe my current professional environment so that you can understand the context in which I am working. I will then discuss the affordances associate with blogs. We will discuss some of the potential uses of blogs for both educators and learners. With any change one can anticipate some barriers. I will present those that I can anticipate. From there I will describe how I anticipate both my colleagues as well as myself will move forward towards the use of blogs. You will find the resources that I used to create this presentation at the end of my presentation.
There was great consensus among the sources that I reviewed and all described a blog as a webpage with dated entries presented in reverse chronological order. Blog entries can contain text, images, links, and photos. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of you had already created and made good use of your own blog prior to starting this course. Blogs are relatively easy to create and use. I found it so as I created my first blog for this course. Anyone who wishes can easily use an online services such as Blogger, Typepad, or Wordpress to create and host their own blog. Blogs provide a personal writing space that is easy to use. They have been referred to as the “novice’s web authoring tool”. Readers can also post comments after reading a blog providing the writer with some feedback.
Currently I am working with a group of educators that focus on the continual learning needs of nurses and support staff at a large tertiary care hospital. Most of our activity involves traditional styles of instruction usually in a face to face format. We are an active group of educators that create a lot of learning materials and resources. As a group we have set the goal of exploring the use of emerging technologies in terms of educational activities. Our interests have been fueled by a combination of factors. Our newcomers to the profession are looking for a different type of learning experience. Also we are feeling dissatisfied with the results of our current strategies. We are a large group that are seen as experts in each of our unique specialties and feel that we as well as our colleagues in other parts of Manitoba and Canada may benefit from a collaborative type of community with shared interests and goals. We are fortunate to have a director that supports our educational activities who is prepared at the doctoral level in the use of ET.
Our resources listed the affordances associated with blogs as presence, creation, and interaction. Presence as an affordance allows one to declare that they are available or near by. Creation as an affordance allows us to create new content and resources. Interaction as an affordance allows us to interact with others. We have learned from this course that it is important to consider the affordances associated with each tool to truly understand what can be gained through its use. From this one can see that there is great potential associated with the use of blogs.
Blogs have great potential and can be used successfully and strategically by both educators and learners.
As an educator I am quite excited by all the different possible uses of blogs. Our readings described a number of ways blogs could be used. They could be used from an organizational point of view to post course materials, activities, schedules, and messages. They provide an opportunity to be creative and reflective when writing and responding to posts. I am naturally very reflective in my thinking and processing and feel that I have experienced significant professional growth as a result of this practice. I feel there is considerable merit associated with the reflective process as I feel that it enhances the development of critical thinking. Critical thinking is seen and valued as a higher order thinking and I feel is directly linked with higher degrees of success. Blogs also provide opportunities to participate with others that have a similar interest and there can be a sharing of expertise and collaborative work toward common interests and goals.
Our readings also described some valuable uses associated with learners. Students could post their course work such as papers, projects, and well as reflections to their own blogs. Students could spend some time reviewing each others blogs and posting reflective comments to each other. Teachers could visit the students blogs and offer feedback to direct further exploration and growth. This collection of posts on each student blogs could then act as a portfolio of their work. It is easy to see that blogs are a tool that offers great diversity as well as potential impact.
I think that we might all agree that there are usually barriers associated with any project that represents a change. I am sure that many of you have experienced one or more of the barriers listed. I don’t think that my work environment is too different in this regard. I feel that it is key to identify and understand any barriers that may present an issue. I know that some of my co-workers will feel uncomfortable with the exploration of ET based on their level of comfort or discomfort regarding the use of technology. We are a multigenerational group and there is considerable variability in this comfort level. As a group I don’t feel that we understand the technological options available to us or their potential impact. This is what led the group towards setting a team goal of exploring with the intent to implement the use of some new technologies. This course has gone a long way in terms of me developing a novice level of understanding in order to participate in this exploration. I know that privacy issues will also be a concern as I have heard individuals comment on this both formally and informally. Some fear change alone as it feels uncomfortable to them. They may also be afraid to fail. Also one can not underestimate the impact that existing workloads may also have on implementation.
Despite these barriers I feel that we as a group will succeed in moving forward on this group project. The We are Media resource gave some suggestions for overcoming resistance. They suggested to explore options as a group and that the group strategy needs to reflect their overall objectives. A suggestion to start was to pick a project that was small and that won’t take too much time. The group needs to monitor results, both successes and challenges as the group moves forward. Also you need to know and respect that the fact that it will take time to move through the incorporation of ET into your work places.
I hope that you can see that I am intrigued by the idea of using blogs. I have described what a blog is, its associated affordances, and discussed some possible uses for both educators as well as learners. I feel that I could successfully utilize blogs to meet both my professional responsibilities and my personal learning goals. Blogs are a tool that offers a great deal of versatility. I hope that my success with using blogs would serve as an example to my colleagues and stir interest in having one’s own blog. I would also wish for the example of successful blogging to encourage further exploration and implementation of ET. It would be my hope that this may generate some momentum and overcome some of the barriers listed so that we can proceed towards further implementation of ET. I hope that you have enjoyed this presentation. Thank you for listening. I look forward to your feedback.
Mid Course Assignment For IETS2010
MID COURSE ASSIGNMENT FOR IETS2010 BLOGS TRACY BRYSON
INTRODUCTION <ul><li>What is a blog? </li></ul><ul><li>My current professional environment </li></ul><ul><li>Affordances associated with blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Potential uses </li></ul><ul><li>Potential barriers </li></ul><ul><li>Moving Forward </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul>
What is a blog? <ul><li>Webpage with dated entries </li></ul><ul><li>Entries are in reverse chronological order </li></ul><ul><li>Entries can contain text, images, links, and photos </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to create and use </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a personal writing space </li></ul><ul><li>Readers can write comments </li></ul>
My Current Professional Environment <ul><li>Group of educators </li></ul><ul><li>Focus is on the continual learning needs of nurses </li></ul><ul><li>Use mostly traditional methods in face to face environments </li></ul><ul><li>As a group we have identified a need to explore emerging technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Have a director prepared at the doctoral level in the use of emerging technologies </li></ul>
Affordances Associated with Blogs <ul><li>Presence – potential to declare that you are available or near by </li></ul><ul><li>Creation – potential to create and share new content and resources </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction – potential to interact with others on topics of interest </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
Potential Uses of Blogs <ul><li>Educators </li></ul><ul><li>Learners </li></ul>
Potential Uses for Educators <ul><li>Post course materials, activities, schedules, and messages of encouragement </li></ul><ul><li>Be creative and reflective when writing and responding to posts </li></ul><ul><li>Share reflections regarding teaching and researching efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Participate with others that share a purpose or interest </li></ul><ul><li>Share expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Create a collaborative community with shared interests and goals </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
Potential Uses for Learners <ul><li>Post course content or projects to own blog </li></ul><ul><li>Post course reflections to own blog </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers can visit students blogs and offer comments to direct growth </li></ul><ul><li>Acts a portfolio of their course work/learning </li></ul><ul><li>Read others blogs and post comments </li></ul>
Potential Barriers <ul><li>Discomfort with the use of technology </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy concerns </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of change </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of failure </li></ul><ul><li>Existing work loads and time constraints </li></ul>
Moving Forward As a Group <ul><li>Explore options as a group </li></ul><ul><li>Group strategy needs to support overall objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Pick projects that won’t take too much time </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor successes and challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge that it will take time </li></ul>
Moving Forward as an Individual <ul><li>Intrigued by blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of uses and benefits both professionally and personally </li></ul><ul><li>Feel that I could be successful in blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Serve as an example to other colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Generate interest and gain momentum towards further implemetation of ET </li></ul>
Resources <ul><li>Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning </li></ul><ul><li>The use of Blogs, Wikis, and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>We are Media Project </li></ul><ul><li>Wikiversity – Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>You Tube Video – Blogs in Plain English </li></ul>