Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies


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This book is about how to select and use Information and Communication Technologies for Teaching (ICTE); it uses a categorization of ICTE called PLACE, an acronym that stands for five major uses of digital technologies in education. The book categorizes and comments on more than 1000 technologies; its final chapter deals with how to use ICTE to improve teaching.

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Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies

  1. 1. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies ÁLVARO H. GALVIS, ED.D. Winston-Salem, NC, August 2009
  2. 2. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies By Alvaro H Galvis, Ed.D. © 2009 Alvaro H Galvis 250 Lake Dale CT Clemmons, NC, 27012 978.467.5729 All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Cover Design by Shira Hedgepeth Translation from Spanish by Michael Brookshaw, Ph.D Copy edited by Joanne Chesley, Ed.D Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies Alvaro H Galvis p, cm Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 1. Educational technology. 2. Computer-assisted instruction. 3. Teaching—Aids and devices. 4. Teaching—Computer network resources. 5. Computer conferencing in education. 6. Instructional systems—Design. I. Galvis, Alvaro H [1950- LB1028.3 G358 2009 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page ii 
  3. 3. T able of Contents Table of Contents iii  ICTE –Information and Communication Technologies for Education 1  PLACE: an acronym for understanding Information & Communication Technologies for Education 3  P for Productivity 5  TOOLS SUPPORTING TEXT-BASED COMMUNICATION 5  Tools for Improving Written Communication 5  Typing Tools 6  Scheduling and Bibliographical Tools 6  TOOLS TO SUPPORT DATA PROCESSING 7  Online surveys and descriptive statistics 8  Statistical Data Analysis Tools 8  TOOLS THAT SUPPORT GRAPHIC EXPRESSION 9  Graphic Processing Tools 9  Tools for Making Multimedia Presentations 10  Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page iii 
  4. 4. TOOLS FOR MULTIMEDIA DATA PROCESSING 10  Tools for Processing Video and Digital Sound 10  Tools for Sharing digital products on Internet 11  Tools for threading voice comments on digital objects 13  Tools for Building web pages 13  TOOLS FOR TIME AND ACTIVITY MANAGEMENT 14  L  for Learning Environments 15  CONSTRUCTION OF CONCEPTUAL AND MIND MAPS 15  CONSTRUCTION OF CAUSE-EFFECT MAPS 17  MATHEMATIC MODELS: CONSTRUCTION AND EXPLORATION 17  SIMULATIONS AND GAMES: CONSTRUCTION AND EXPLORATION 18  LECTURE NOTES AND FLASH CARDS: BUILDING AND USE 18  CREATION OF DIGITAL PORTFOLIOS 19  CREATION AND USE OF RUBRICS 19  A  for Access to cultural, and intellectual capital 21  SEARCH ENGINES AND DIGITAL TAGGING 22  ELECTRONIC ENCYCLOPEDIAS 23  SUBSCRIPTION TO ELECTRONIC INFORMATION SERVICES 24  List Serves 24  RSS Channels 25  DICTIONARIES, TRANSLATORS AND THESAURUSES 25  EDUCATIONAL PORTALS 26  DIGITAL TOURS THROUGH MUSEUMS AND COLLECTIONS 28  C  for Communication 31  TOOLS FOR INTERACTING ASYNCHRONOUSLY 31  Email (electronic mail) 32  Text messaging and chat rooms 33  Social messaging via Twitter 33  Social/virtual networking in education 34  Digital Diaries, also called, Blogs 35  The Wiki and collaborative knowledge building 36  Collaborative productivity tools 38  Network Forums 38  Video lecture capturing 39  TOOLS FOR SYNCHRONOUS INTERACTION 40  Chat rooms 41  Multimedia Instant Messaging Systems 41  Video Conferencing Systems 42  Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page iv 
  5. 5. TOOLS FOR HYBRID SYNCHRONOUS / ASYNCHRONOUS INTERACTION43  Course delivery systems 44  Community management systems 44  E  for Exploration of learning objects 47  DIGITAL MANIPULATIVES THAT SUPPORT CONJECTURAL EXPLORATION 48  Some Resources for Manipulating Scientific Digital Objects 48  Some Resources for Digitally Manipulating Mathematical Objects 50  LEARNING THROUGH EXPLORATION AND CONJECTURE 51  Web Explorations 51  Digital Exploration of Our Planet 52  Using ICTE to improve teaching 55  PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WITH ICTE 55  Personal growth with ICTE 56  Career advancement with ICTE 58  COURSE ENHANCEMENT WITH ICTE 59  ICTEs embedded in course requirements 60  ICTEs to enhance teaching strategies 61  About the author 65  Acknowledgements 67  Glossary 69  Works Cited 73  Reference List for ICTE in footnotes 76    Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page v 
  6. 6. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page vi 
  7. 7. ICTE –Information and Communication Technologies for Education Information and communication technologies—ICT—have changed the way we relate to others and revolutionized many fields of human endeavor. Physical presence is no longer a prerequisite for being in contact with people or suppliers of information relevant to personal or professional activities. By using ICT the interaction that is required to perform individual and group initiatives can be achieved at reasonable prices and with increasing effectiveness. Moreover, businesses are not the same since computers and digital networks are now used to add value to products and services. Hence, information systems and technologies can create a difference in customer service and resource management of an organization (Galvis, 1997). Like all sectors of human activity, education has at its disposal multiple technological opportunities to support the achievement of its mission. Information and Communication Technologies for Education—ICTE— have permeated the management of educational institutions. Information systems—accounting, finance, library and student registration—are increasingly more effective and provide better administrative service to the recipients. In spite of the growing investments made by ministries and secretaries of education and parental associations to provide equipment to educational institutions at all levels and in all sectors, ICTE have had a smaller impact on the activities
  8. 8. inherent to student development and the establishment and consolidation of learning communities. At this juncture, the following comment, from Seymour Papert (1996), resonates: It is easy to understand how someone from this era might be in a classroom of our time and appear to feel very comfortable since the teaching environment has remained the same—centered on the professor and using the blackboard. By contrast, if one were to face a different environment—for example a hospital—one would not recognize it because technology has radically changed the processes In education there are many opportunities to reengineer educational processes with technology support. Nevertheless, when we integrate ICTE just to mediate processes (e.g., use of LMS—Learning Management Systems—to distribute and collect course related digital information) we will most likely continue doing more of the same; there may be increases in efficiency but not necessarily in efficacy. When we rethink what we are doing and use ICTE to make viable some of our educational dreams (e.g., fostering active learning via interaction, exploration, collaboration) we will most likely add value to education at costs that merit the investment. With ICTE we can do business as usual with new tools, or we can choose to rethink what is to be done and how we will do it, given the array of digital resources available. (Galvis, 1998a, 1998b). Just having computer equipment and communication networks in educational institutions will not make a difference in learning outcomes; it is what is done with them and how it is done that matters. The use of ICTE in fundamental processes adds value to the mission of each institution. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 2 
  9. 9. PLACE: an acronym for understanding Information & Communication Technologies for Education There are many ways to benefit from Information and Communication Technologies for Education (ICTE). Of course equipment and communication are essential; without them, digital processing and technology-mediated interaction is not possible. Nevertheless, without qualified educators and directives that support innovation and foster the redesign of educational processes, it would be difficult to accomplish anything of educational value. Even though children and youth of today are “digital natives,” that is, were born and grew up in a digital culture, we cannot think that giving them access to digital equipment in an educational institution will necessarily imply that educational improvement will take place. While a myriad of technological initiatives have been introduced to close the digital divide in education, we cannot be deceived into thinking that the tools themselves are sufficient. There are thousands of pieces of equipment in educational institutions that have not made a difference with regard to student learning or teaching innovation. Fortunately, there is an increasing number of cases that also indicate improvements in student retention and advancement, the development of positive Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 3 
  10. 10. attitudes toward learning, and an increase in competence for competing in the 21st century (Galvis, 1998a, 1998b). The acronym, PLACE is a way to understand the opportunities that ICTE can provide to educators and students. Information and communication technologies embrace all of those artifacts that are of value in processing, storing, or disseminating information in a digital format. They also include all those artifacts that allow human interaction by using digital devices. This book offers different paths and strategies that educators may use to reengineer educational processes when they integrate ICTE. Keeping this in mind, we wish to invite the reader to understand ICTE by analyzing the following five dimensions which we will mnemonically refer to as PLACE; with each letter illustrating a way of using ICTE. P ICTE that improve individual Productivity, simplifying activities and increasing personal capacity. L ICTE that support the creation of technology-enhanced Learning environments. A ICTE that foster Access to cultural and intellectual wealth. C ICTE that support individual or group Communications, synchronously or asynchronously. E ICTE that aid the Exploration of learning objects which support knowledge construction. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 4 
  11. 11. P for Productivity What has made ICTE famous in the dominions of human activity is their capacity to simplify routine tasks, and at the same time, extend the potential of those who carry them out. This is done with informational productivity tools which act as computational systems that benefit many areas of human activity. The following sections include a review of distinctive productivity tools that have not been created for education, but are potentially useful in educational activities. Tools Supporting Text-based Communication One of the greatest necessities that educators and students have is being able to properly express themselves in writing and make references to the documentary sources that are required for footnotes and references. This group of tools can support such functions. Tools for Improving Written Communication One of the basic activities in a large number of domains is written communication. Word processors and other tools like spell checkers, and reference and bibliography organizers allow writers to concentrate on what they want to say. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 5 
  12. 12. Writers can concentrate on the quality of the message when word processing tools are used such as WORD from Microsoft Office [1] or WRITER from the free Open Office [2] from Sun Microsystems. Typing Tools Typing systems merit special attention. Knowing how to use ten fingers to type well without looking at the keyboard makes a big difference in category P every time we try to correlate what we think with what we type. There are tools on the Internet that help to improve typing. For example, LEARN 2 TYPE [3] is a free program designed for adult users to simultaneously exercise while handling the keyboard and the mouse. On the other hand, NAIL IT NOW [4] offers a free solution for children. Scheduling and Bibliographical Tools The development of footnotes and references is a time-consuming task that can be largely eliminated when a data base of sources has been created. This type of system allows the presentation of footnotes and bibliographic references in the format that is required (e.g. APA, ACM). Moreover, bibliographic data bases are generated which may be converted into shareable resources among members of the educational community. Bibliographic reference management software like ENDNOTE [5] becomes a wonderful ally that permits researchers and authors to capture, to publish and to find references and include them in documents in the appropriate format. Your scholarly references and articles can be organized and shared with CiteULike [6], a free service from Springer. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 6 
  13. 13. The most current version of MS-WORD [2] includes features for managing citations and references as part of the word processor utilities. Tools to Support Data Processing Knowing how to organize, store, recover and process numerical data using a statistical analysis package is another challenge for educators. This group of tools designed to alleviate these problems is best categorized as follows: Calculation and Analysis tools The calculation and analysis of numerical data is another common activity in many fields. Thanks to spreadsheets, the processing of numerical data is focused on organizing the data and defining the operations that the spreadsheet should do. Once the data is captured, the program makes processing, grouping, ordering and visual representation possible in many different ways. The great gain here is linked to the possibility of supporting the analysis of data matched with variables. It is like asking “What happens if…?” while visually and numerically analyzing the data. Let’s think for a moment about what a teacher can do when using a spreadsheet to calculate his students’ grades or to group and order other information. This tool allows him to utilize various criteria and depict graphic results in one way or another. The possibilities increase even more with considerations of diverse views on assessment or varying the weight of certain components, when student results are calculated. We should consider as well, what students can do when they are analyzing the results that they obtain following a certain course of study without limiting themselves to mere tabulation, but acquiring knowledge derived from digital data. Consequently, the calculation process is simplified and knowledge is increased. Applications like Microsoft’s EXCEL [1] or CALC from Sun Microsystem’s Open Office [2] simplify the calculation and analysis of numerical data Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 7 
  14. 14. Data-Base Management Tools Data processing available in organized digital repositories (databases) makes it possible to generate aggregate information with distinct “views” (content and level of detail) defined according to the needs of the user. The functions of these tools allow data to be accessed via comprehensive searches of available registries or just segments of the database. It does not simply store, organize and search for information in an efficient manner, but these tools also permit the generation of new knowledge (cross listing and aggregate views) that without technology would be very difficult to obtain. Tools like Microsoft Office’s ACCESS [1] and BASE [2] from Sun Microsystem’s Open Office are user friendly and very powerful, permitting competent users to manage, design, administer and to take advantage of collections of organized digital information. Online surveys and descriptive statistics Collecting data and feedback from customers is an important task for educators and researchers. Many LMS (Learning Management Systems) include their own survey creation and management tools, but in many cases this function needs to be accomplished independently. SURVEYMONKEY [7] is self-defined as the simple way to create, apply, and get results from surveys. It has a single purpose: to enable anyone to create professional online surveys quickly and easily. The free version allows 100 answers per survey. Statistical Data Analysis Tools Usually databases contain very valuable information. Nevertheless, beyond the data, at times, it is necessary to find commonalities, or to test hypotheses about cause and effect issues allotting for diverse criteria. Statistical data processing packages, for example SPSS [8] Statistical Package for the Social Sciences or SAS [9] Statistical Analysis System, 7 8 9 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 8 
  15. 15. make this type of analysis possible giving control of the types of aggregations, cross-listings, statistical tests, etc. to whomever manages the tool. They also resolve quantitative questions that guide research. Tools that Support Graphic Expression Oral and written communication is largely supported by the visualization of what we mean. This group of tools can improve our productivity in creating and editing images as well as presentations that utilize a variety of techniques. Graphic Processing Tools Graphic expression is another activity where productivity software tools can add a lot of value to various fields. The creation, capture and editing of images can help to express what we say and feel. This task is relatively easy when one knows how to use the appropriate graphic software. It is said that an image is worth a thousand words. Those who have chosen to use graphics to support their work surely feel compelled to work on “rough drafts” whenever they process an image, then publish it to give it “the touch” that it merits without major effort. This function is not the only benefit of using graphic processing tools. These technology tools make it possible to go beyond conventional graphics design limits. Not only are artistic options increased, but the opportunities to share and critique are made more available to the creator of the work. This reality gives new possibilities to the artist. Applications like Microsoft’s PAINT [10] as well as FIREWORKS [11] developed by Macromedia, now owned by Adobe are praised for their ability to enhance their users’ graphic expression as well as offering the possibility of doing the graphic processing of digital images. As far as tools for children, it is possible to emphasize KIDPIX [12] an intuitive and powerful application developed by Broderbund Software and sold by The Learning Company. 10 11 12 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 9 
  16. 16. Tools for Making Multimedia Presentations The creation of multimedia presentations is also enhanced by the use of productivity tools that allow easy manufacture and presentation of digital materials. The new presentation softwares when used optimally, render a finished product that is effective in conveying both content and appeal. Tools like Microsoft Office’s PowerPoint [1] and Sun Microsystem’s Open Office IMPRESS [2] have made multimedia presentations very simple. Tools for Multimedia Data processing We often have film registries of video and sound recordings of audio that we want to use in our educational activity. This group of tools can efficiently support this process. Tools for Processing Video and Digital Sound Sound and video editing has stopped being the domain of audiovisual specialists. Nowadays it is possible to become a fan of these arts and do digital, audio and video processing including texts, special effects, sound and visual credits, subtitles, multiple audio tracks (by language or with the original sound and commentary). Digital audio editing is doable with AUDACITY [13], an open access multiplatform tool that allows basic to professional treatment of digital sound; it imports and produces files in a variety of audio wave forms. Tools like LAS VEGAS MOVIE STUDIO [14] by Sony or QUICKTIME PROFESSIONAL [15] by Apple make it possible for educators and students to edit digital audio and video. CAMTASIA STUDIO [16] by TechSmith allows the creation of screen videos from the computer and the editing of videos you have already created. All of these tools make it possible to create archives in 13 14 15 16 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 10 
  17. 17. more than one format. CAMSTUDIO OPEN SOURCE is a free version of Camtasia Studio 6 [17]. JING [18] by TechSmith and GOVIEW [19] by Citrix Online are open access software that allow users to screen capture and screen video recording with audio. Both applications upload captured information to the Web, FTP, computer or clipboard. A URL is automatically created and can be shared with others to view or access the uploaded file. There is no video or picture editing with JING or GOVIEW. You can add titles with GOVIEW. ScreenR [20] allows instant screencasting for Twitter and it is free. This web-based tool works both in Mac or PC. It generates MP4 files that can be played everywhere on the web. Tools for Sharing digital products on Internet The Internet is a good way to share what we create as educators and to benefit from what others have published. Depending on what you want to share, there are very interesting tools and web services at your disposition. The following is not an exhaustive list. Your favorite URLs (Internet addresses) with the corresponding tags can be organized and shared with DELICIOUS [21], a free service from Yahoo. Your pictures and albums can be shared with PICASA [22] from Google or FLICKR [23] from Yahoo. Images can be uploaded and organized in groups. Their free services permit a limited number of groups. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 11 
  18. 18. If you want to publish slides or digital documents in different type of formats you can consider using SLIDESHARE [24]. It is a free publishing service. If you have created digital video and want to make it available in video episodes no longer that 10 minutes each, YOUTUBE [25] from Google is appropriate; it is one of the best known digital video free publishing services. If you want your digital video to be part of an educational collection, then SCHOOLTUBE [26] may be of interest to you. It is an online community of educators that want to share videos produced by students or educators, all of them approved by a certified educator and organized in categories. If you want your digital video or audio to be watched or listened to on mobile devices as well as Internet browsers, then ITUNES U [27] is a good partner. This is a free service from Apple; it allows sharing content produced by universities, museums, or world leaders and thinkers. Each one of the pieces becomes a track that can be played with iTunes. Using TEACHERTUBE [28] or eSNIPS [29] you can share video, audio, documents, or pictures, organized by channels or topics of interest. While TeacherTube is a community of educators, eSnips is an open community. All of the aforementioned services include tagging, which allows members to surf through each collection of digital objects by using tags created by non experts, instead of classifications that follow well defined rules. According to Wikipedia this practice of collaboratively tagging, social classification or social indexing, is called “folksonomy”. Some web sites include tag clouds as a way to visualize tags in a folksonomy. 24 25 26 27 28 29 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 12 
  19. 19. Tools for threading voice comments on digital objects Digital objects (images, videos, documents, presentations) especially those which are more complex, often require feedback that goes beyond the written comment. Imagine being able to comment on your students’ proposals using voice-based remarks. Imagine online collaboration around media where you and your colleagues can asynchronously share ideas on digital objects by using voice, text, and hand written drawings, all on one page. VOICETHREAD [30] is a tool for having group oral interactions around images, documents, videos or presentations or a combination of them. A VoiceThread can securely capture and hold an entirely group discussion on one simple page. ` Tools for Building web pages Many people have their own web sites that they use as information servers. This particular use of the internet builds on web authoring languages such as HTML—Hyper Text Markup Language. There are hypertext authoring systems that let the creator express himself through integration of texts, graphics, links, and videos. These systems also permit you to generate the corresponding HTML codes. Hypertext authoring systems such as Macromedia-Adobe’s DREAM- WEAVER [31] or Microsoft’s FRONTPAGE [32] minimize the effort to create hypertexts. Many Learning Management Systems—LMS—and Content Management Systems—CMS—provide online course creators the opportunity to use a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) human-computer interface that generates editable HTML code. This type of WYSIWYG interface is also behind many of the so-called “Social networking” tools that include blogs, wikis, and community- building systems. We will comment on them under the C type ICTE. 30 31 32 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 13 
  20. 20. Tools for time and activity management Effective collaboration with others is not an easy task as long as it requires a lot of coordination and time management. Beyond this, project management, which involves coordinating goals, activities, resources, and reporting, is even more challenging. Fortunately there are open access tools that can alleviate these processes. Some are referenced below. DOODLE [33] is a free on-the-web event scheduler and poll manager. It allows users to create, edit, apply, and analyze poll results. PROJECT2MANAGE [34] is a free hosted project management solution. It assigns multiple levels of permission to different clients & users, manages projects from anywhere, posts messages to keep everyone up to date, manage tasks with to-do lists, creates milestones to stay on task. 33 34 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 14 
  21. 21. L for Learning Environments Instructors willing to give their students the opportunity to actively participate in knowledge building may decide to use digital tools that allow creation or manipulation of learning environments. When these goods have been created by the students it is possible they may have internalized the rules that underlie the product; when they have been created by the teachers, the goods become learning objects. Tools that allow teachers or students create learning environments, and that were created with an educational purpose, are included under L-Type category. Construction of Conceptual and Mind Maps Conceptual and mind maps are a way of visually expressing relationships that underlie a study object. They are especially useful when the student creates the map as long as he appropriates a method for expressing his understanding of what has been studied. Concept and mind maps can also be used by the teacher to create visual navigation systems through concepts and their relationships which can be used as support for the learning process. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 15 
  22. 22. CMAP TOOLS [35] are free tools that allow the construction, navigation, sharing, and critiquing of learning models expressed as conceptual maps. They can be used by teachers and students at any level and content area, by themselves or as members of a community that constructs knowledge collaboratively. Once the tool is installed, the user can embark on discovering its functionality through trial and error, or can go through the tutorial [36] to resolve doubts about distinct functions and possibilities offered by the system. This tutorial is controlled by a contextual menu that guides the user step by step in resolving any questions and showing specific images that illustrate the references. The aforementioned tool allows for local creation and the global sharing of concept maps. It enhances the ability to exceed the mental expression modes of each author. Also, it allows the creation of learning communities supported by concept maps. These communities share information, discuss distinct perspectives concerning the study object and integrate knowledge. MIND42 [37]—Mind for two—is a collaborative browser-based online mind mapping tool. It allows you to manage all your ideas, whether alone, as a twosome or working with the whole world. As Mind42 runs inside the browser, installing mind mapping tools is no longer needed for a hassle-free mindmapping experience. Just open the browser and launch the application when needed. It behaves like a classical desktop application! Mind42 is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) mind map editor supporting keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop, zooming and much more. No forms and lists which are generally used in web applications are needed. WISE MAPPING [38] is the web mind mapping tool that leverages the power of Mind Maps, mixing new technologies like vectorial languages (SVG and VML) and the power of the whole Web 2.0 concept. No pluggins are required. A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, and decision making. A mind map is similar to a semantic network or cognitive map but there are no formal restrictions on the kinds of links used. 35 36 37 38 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 16 
  23. 23. Construction of Cause-Effect Maps Cause and effect maps help students to understand information that is combined to solve a problem. Factors associated with a problem can be organized and understood as they interact in a cause and effect relationship. This software supports cycles of investigation that give order to what students know; the knowledge is organized in a map. A review by Eduteka (2002) related to visual tools that support learning says that SEEING REASON [39], a program developed by Intel and distributed for free, is designed to create cause and effect maps. SEEING REASON generates a work area in the Internet browser that can be utilized by the student for investigating and understanding complex systems. It is not necessary to download any software or install anything in the computer. In the area “Teacher Workspace” the instructor registers, creates a folder for each project and creates one or more groups of students to whom he assigns a key. Each group registers in the “Student Login” area and gives the names of the project and the group. A white work area appears where the groups can create project components such as cause and effect relationships that exist. Mathematic Models: Construction and Exploration Physical phenomenon can be expressed in multiple forms like equations, tables, graphics and animations that respond to underlying logic. With this idea in mind, applications have been constructed that allow students and secondary and university teachers to utilize mathematics to create or to explore interactive models. MODELLUS [40] is a tool that allows making multiple representations (tables, equations, graphics, animations) of studied phenomenon, with manipulation of variables in concrete or abstract forms. It is distributed almost for free (it costs $5 to receive the book and CD in the mail). It is supported in several languages through which examples can be analyzed and information can be gathered concerning the function of the system. Modellus can be learned experientially and through inquiry; online help is also available. One can join the community of virtual Modellus users in Yahoo Groups in 39 40 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 17 
  24. 24. order to share experiences and to search for solutions to problems that surface when using the system. Simulations and Games: Construction and Exploration Games and simulators can be powerful environments for exploration. Their construction, however, can become a challenge that demands a very good understanding of the environments that are being modeled, the rules that govern their function, the intervening variables and the results. Creating games and simulators from scratch can be overwhelming, but with the right tools it is an enjoyable activity for those with such an interest. AGENTSHEETS [41] is a multiplatform authoring tool for computational models that simulate the diverse natural systems (physics, social, etc.). Agentsheets uses visual object behavioral programming (agents) which simplifies the work of modeling, testing, adjusting and utilizing existing simulators. It has been tested successfully in the construction of social and natural science simulations at all educational levels. It is possible to install a test version for ten days and educate yourself in its use by utilizing any of the online help systems from the web site (manuals, video tutorials, frequently asked questions, simulation books). Lecture notes and flash cards: Building and Use Students are not always good at taking notes, learning vocabulary and concepts. As educators we can support this process with technology, either by giving them access to existing resources, and/or creating the means for collaborative creation. Tool such as QUIZLET [42] allow students to create their own flash cards, share them with classmates or with open groups, to practice via different type of exercises, to get feedback based on performance and answer speed. There is a huge collection of flash cards available, organized by topics and number of flash cards. Quizlet use is free. 41 42 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 18 
  25. 25. A similar free tool is STUDYBLUE [43]. In addition to create and share flash cards it allows the learner to collaboratively take notes using wiki tools. StudyBlue automatically derives flash cards from notes. There is also a large collection of resources organized by topics and educational levels. Creation of Digital Portfolios The development of digital portfolios allows the documentation of processes and associated outcomes as evidence of personal or professional growth. The following set of resources effectively supports the construction of multimedia-based digital portfolios. Open access applications such as EFOLIO [44], EPORTFOLIO [45] or ZPORTFOLIO [46] make it possible for students and teachers to digitally record and present evidence in an integrated form of the processes and products that comprise their work in learning and teaching. Sometimes is worth creating multimedia documents that include reflections and textual annotations about video episodes. This can be done with free tools such as VIDEO PAPER BUILDER 3 [47]. This software has a dual format in PC and OS; it is a valuable aid to those who desire to make videocases (cases that focus on the analysis of video episodes) or videopapers (writings that reflect on video episodes). Creation and use of rubrics Open ended assignments (e.g., projects) as well as authentic (performance-based) assessments (Wiggins, 1990) need well defined criteria for the student to be able to self-assess processes and products and for faculty to be able to give feedback with the same lenses to all students. Rubrics serve this purpose. 43 44 45 46 47 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 19 
  26. 26. There are many rubric development sites available. RUBRICS FOR ASSESSMENT [48], RUBRICS FOR TEACHER [49] include collections of rubrics in different domains that may help educators understand the logic of building rubrics and select and use those that fit their needs. There are also free tools available, such as RUBISTAR [50], a tool to help teachers create quality rubrics and IRUBRIC [51] from RCampus, which supports creation of rubrics and hosts them online. Rubrics created with iRubrics can be used as a stand- alone or as part of RCampus interactive learning resources, where results from applying the rubric are kept in a grading system. 48 49 50 51 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 20 
  27. 27. A for Access to cultural, and intellectual capital Digital tools in this category allow the instructor to learn from life experiences through available electronic resources that permit access to the wealth of humanity. These resources can be global, organizational or local. People generally think of the Internet as a great collection of multimedia information distributed worldwide in different repositories with different degrees of privacy. The Internet is also associated with web searches of different sites where there is electronic information and the opportunity to share network materials. The same situation exists with Intranets (internal or closed network for private information and communication; available only to authorized users) and with local networks (groups of interconnected computers tied to an electronic resource server). Within these three categories, global, organizational and local, it is possible to share and to enhance cultural, scientific and technological value by using ICTE. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 21 
  28. 28. Search Engines and Digital Tagging The challenge of surfing the Internet goes beyond using a search engine that works for you. It is intimately related to effectively finding the information that you need. This requires, first of all, that you know what you want to find and that you know the search engine that is convenient for you to use. Beyond knowing when to use a particular search engine, it is necessary to know how to define the search and refine results. Refining a network search is a fundamental skill for educators and students to have. It demands clarity about what is desired, the ability to express multiple ways of finding it, and perseverance needed for searching diverse sites and book marking those that appear to be interesting. It also requires the individual to determine if what is found adds value to what is known as opposed to diverting interest away from the subject at hand. General searches can be made with generic tools such as AOL search [52], GOOGLE search [53], Microsoft’s LIFE SEARCH [54], YAHOO search [55], or KARTOO [56], a next generation meta search engine that displays results in a visual interface. When you need to explore certain collections, it is better to utilize specialized search tools such as GOOGLE SCHOLAR [57] which searches documents or sites that have academic value usually produced by research or educational professionals. If what you are looking for are photographs or images, it is preferable to use FLICKR [22] a system provided by YAHOO, or GOOGLE’s IMAGES [58] which investigates descriptive graphic information. If digital presentations are desired, SLIDESHARE [23] can be utilized. DIGG [59] is another valuable source; it is announced as a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. Additionally, newspaper archives can be used as another key source of information, but there may be limited access available in this category. 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 22 
  29. 29. Another way of looking for information on the web is by using tags like the ones offered by DELICIOUS [20] or CITEULIKE [6]. These tags may be global or formed by each one of the web sites that the users create. Each tag shows the names that are used in a given collection. Each tag cloud shows the bookmarks used in that particular collection as well as frequencies, information which is reflected in the size and color intensity of each tag. Navigating the cloud (clicking on some of the tag elements) opens the possibility of new relationships that underlie the elements that they have as reference points. Electronic Encyclopedias Electronic encyclopedias are perhaps the most consulted type of application by students and teachers when they are trying to investigate a theme of interest or trying to ascertain a quick answer to a question of historic, scientific, or social value. Encyclopedias provide access to an organized body of information by means of key words, descriptors, sort keys, and expressions. The man-machine interface of encyclopedias is usually intuitive. The results can utilize manifold registries with textual, graphic, sound, multimedia information as well as connections to documents, web sites and other programs. The following list illustrates the type of digital repositories and encyclopedias that could help students or faculty keep abreast of topics of interest. APOD—Astronomy Picture of the Day—[60] is a free site that daily presents a distinct image of the universe with explanatory comments and links to other sites where further information can be found about what is being observed. It includes links to all daily photographs from June 16, 1995. There are websites that reproduce this collection in distinct languages. EET - The Encyclopedia of Educational Technology [61] includes a multimedia collection of short articles on instructional design, education and entertainment. It is free. ENCICLONET [62] provides free access to articles about distinct branches of knowledge. It requires registration. 60 61 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 23 
  30. 30. MEDLINE [63] includes articles about illnesses, examinations, symptoms, lesions and surgical procedures. It contains an extensive collection of medical photographs and illustrations. MSN ENCARTA [64] has information articles, atlases and games. It requires a paid subscription. WEBOPEDIA [65] is a dictionary and search engine specializing in concepts related to computers and the Internet. It is free. WIKIPEDIA [66] is a free encyclopedia that is constructed collaboratively and allows content editing by any user with a web browser. It is interesting to note that some encyclopedias receive contributions (biographies, research summaries, other) which means that they are more than repositories and providers of reference information—they are also receivers. Subscription to Electronic Information Services Another way to stay abreast of certain subjects is to subscribe to electronic information services that provide content on demand. List Serves Many web sites have periodic bulletins to which individuals may subscribe using their email addresses so that when there is news the subscriber will receive emails containing a link to the website where the information is located. The subscriber can respond to the list serve to register an opinion. This is a good way to remain current on events, publications or news of interest. The disadvantage of subscribing to a list serve is that your electronic mailbox can overflow with more information than you desire. 62 63 64 65 66 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 24 
  31. 31. RSS Channels Another possibility is the subscription to active systems of information (channels) that use the RSS format (in English Really Simple Syndication), a format based on the XML language for distributing content. RSS channels can be accessed by making use of system feeds (readers of RSS sources) that allow the reader to receive news without having to surf the web or receiving list serve notifications. BLOGLINES [67] is a free service that allows you to stay current with your blogs and favorite news channels. FEEDREADER [68] is free software under General Publication License (GPL) that allows you to subscribe and to classify RSS channels. The advantage is that it is not necessary to look for news, the RSS channel brings it. The disadvantage is that the user can become saturated with information when you have subscribed to channels that frequently update (for example public news) or collect information from many sources (like the services for open news). Dictionaries, Translators and Thesauruses Dictionaries, translators and thesauruses comprise another group of ICTE in this type A category. These resources have significant import for educators and students who benefit from the specialized groups who open their knowledge databases to the public. The following websites are a small sampling. BABEL FISH TRANSLATION [69] is a free service from Altavista that allows the translation of web pages from many languages. The translation is very literal but can be used in an emergency. Likewise, REVERSO [70] can be used. It offers the same online translation services. 67 68 69 70 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 25 
  32. 32. WORDREFERENCE.COM [71] offers free online dictionaries to translate from English into Spanish, French or Portuguese, as well as synonyms/antonyms. VISUAL THESAURUS [72] is a different concept of online help for those who need to visualize specific meanings of terms in English or other languages. It has a demo and you can buy individual or group licenses for local or web use. Educational Portals The ICTE within type A, also include corporate portals that address the discipline of education. They are websites that support different educational sectors by providing access to relevant information and tools to each group served. Instructors can find valuable educational resources to develop their teaching, and by using these portals, they enhance student-centered learning. The nature of the organization that is being supported determines the set up for each portal as the following examples will illustrate. BIBLIOTECAS VIRTUALES [73]. This is part of the CIVILA network portals. It is free and offers a reading room, a selection of full-text novels, short stories, drama, biographies, essays, articles, fables, poetry legends and literary texts especially from Iberic America. It also has a room for interaction where virtual communities of writers and readers can meet. EDUC.AR [74]. This is the Argentinean educational portal. It is organized by five desks: institutional, educational resources, teaching innovation, electronic literacy and services. The educational resources are structured by content area and level and include links to electronic resources for instructors and students. Information services disseminate opportunities in distinct domains for subscribers, individuals who need to navigate the site, subscribers to newsletters or RSS feeds. It also includes tools for email, chat and blogs. Innovation spaces hosts forums for interest groups for debating relevant topics for educators and are moderated by topic facilitators. 71 72 73 74 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 26 
  33. 33. EDUTEKA [75]. This is a free educational portal that offers hundreds of personal resources and numerous links to other valuable sites for elementary and middle school educators. The majority of the content is based on the mission of Eduteka: theoretical and practical resources that help to enrich education with the use of ICTE. In order to facilitate the search for specific content and in addition to the graphic design, Eduteka offers four mechanisms; 1) a directory with more than 13 thematic categories and 150 subcategories; 2) an internal search engine with Google technology that is included on all of the pages directly under the heading of Eduteka; 3) a classified historical archive, and 4) a Tour through Eduteka. MERLOT [76] Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching is an American portal where educators can find online teaching and learning materials that have been evaluated by colleagues. It includes collections for the teaching of art, business, education, humanities, mathematics, statistics, science, technology and social sciences. PCA. Portal Colombia Aprende [77]. This website was created by the Colombian Ministry of National Education in order to support directives, instructors, students, families and a community of individuals from distinct educational sectors. Each user group has its own electronic posting platform where relevant resources are organized. Subscribers can also use communication tools (email, forums, chat) and private virtual space (electronic hard drive) that stores digital resources. PEC Portal Educar Chile [78]. This is the website of the Chilean System of Education. It is organized by writers according to the type of user (instructor, manager, student, family, researcher); it depends on a variety of resources organized by desks, categories or search engines. Individuals who register to use the portal have access to the hard disk and free personal email. They can create web sites that will be hosted by the portal and participate en forums and chats. The majority of portals mentioned provide navigation assistance. It is generally possible to return to the beginning page with a click on the 75 76 77 78 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 27 
  34. 34. portal icon or the start button. A map of the web site explains its structure and navigates to distinct places. Internal search engines allow you to find exactly what you are searching for. Digital Tours through Museums and Collections Another interesting option that extend cultural heritage are the tours of innumerable sites of the great museums, or the site of NASA which allows the virtual exploration of space. In places like these one can have a "scavenger hunt” in which the participant explores a series of virtual sites where questions can be resolved and whose solution demand that you pay attention to details in visited sites and to use important concepts. Listed below are some of our favorite museums and collections. GOLD MUSEUM, Bogota [79]. The richness of its masterpieces and their organization into the different salons and regions of Colombia as well as the international expositions show the beauty and richness of Colombian heritage as well as the physical and historical context where these gold pieces originated. LOUVRE MUSEUM, Paris [80]. One of the most spectacular museums in the world, with a unique web site. It is worthwhile to visit more than once in order to explore the distinct collections. NASA [81]. A portal with multiple possibilities for exploring and knowing about our galaxy, the tools for conquering it, science and technology that support the space missions and related studies. It includes a section with access to multiple resources that can motivate future scientists and engineers to participate in cyber- excursions and diverse research about advanced technologies and mysterious phenomena. 79 80 81 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 28 
  35. 35. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC [82]. This site will take you to amazing vistas of animals, environment, music, people maps, and so much more. It utilizes videos, photos, reports and activities to expose you to the exciting and varied themes. There is a special page for children [83] that engages them in fun activities that encourage learning. PRADO MUSEUM, Madrid [84]. This museum is known for its masterpiece exhibits and the stunning narratives that accompany them. Here, children are invited to paint, assemble puzzles, and practice cognitive skills. The site also alerts the viewer to educational and research activities sponsored by the museum. SMITHSONIAN MUSEUMS, Washington [85]. This is the largest complex of museums and research centers in the world. It is composed of 19 museums and nine research centers and the National Zoo. Visiting them on the web and exploring the collections of each one aids in understanding why this series of museums represents for many the opportunity of knowing the treasures of our past, the vibrant art of the present and the scientific promise of the future. 82 83 84 85 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 29 
  36. 36. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 30 
  37. 37. C for Communication Type-C information and communication technologies almost do not require presentation here, since a great majority of people, young and older people are currently using these tools with proficiency on a daily basis. The common denominator is “people interaction mediated by digital systems.” The differences between the types of C tools have to do with whether (1) the interaction happens asynchronously (data streaming in one direction at a time) or synchronously(data streaming in both directions at the same time); (2) communication uses textual, oral or multiple media; (3) the dialogue is moderated or not. Tools for Interacting Asynchronously Asynchronous interactions have helped to overcome space and time communication barriers in order to achieve dynamic dialogues. There is a growing number of tools to support asynchronous interaction. In the following paragraphs we will discuss the educational uses for some of these. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 31 
  38. 38. Email (electronic mail) Electronic mail systems allow receiving, sending and storing digital messages in electronic mailboxes. Digital messages can include different types of content via texts, images, photos, sounds, videos, or website links. A digital mailbox also associates an identifier to be shared with others and a password that only the proprietor knows. In addition to email for private communication with others, email also makes possible deferred electronic interaction between members of an educational community. Nevertheless, it can be very wasteful and ineffective when it is used to support the educational processes of groups. Interacting in this individual way with many people requires hours of reading and answering messages. Imagine receiving 40 messages from students and trying to correspond with each one of them. In this case, other approaches would be more effective (for example forums or list serves) that address common shared interests leaving personal issues to be discussed in private chat rooms or by email. In order to take advantage of email it is necessary to develop:  The habit of downloading and reading the mail periodically  The capacity to process legible written messages.  The ability to identify legitimate messages (many are junk mail) and create user lists (to simplify interactions).  The criteria for opening or discarding attached files (many viruses arrive this way).  The strategy for organizing information that has been sent or received (otherwise email would be unmanageable).  The ability to respond to one or several users (streamlining the effort). Many Internet Service Providers (ISP) offer free email with abundant storage capacity (about 6 gigabytes), virus protection, text or hypertext messaging. For example, Google’s GMAIL [86], Yahoo’s YAHOOMAIL [87], and Microsoft’s HOTMAIL [88]. 86 87 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 32 
  39. 39. Text messaging and chat rooms The idea of digital communication via text has been expanded to the world of cell phones and chat rooms. While text messaging via cell phones can be considered asynchronous communication—sender and receiver do not need to interact at the same time—conversations using text-based chat rooms are typically a synchronous process—participants need to be in the same chat room at the same time. There are those who are fully against the use of text messaging via cell phones in educational environments because they believe that dialogues are imminently social and that texting does not favor the use of good language. However, these systems reach audiences in a very effective way. This can be considered an alternative way to reach students who do not read email, informing them about events, requirements and important opportunities. At the same time, this type of use can be disturbing when students do not follow rules of engagement for the use of these devices in educational settings. Text-based chat rooms are now used less frequently because multimedia- based group instant messaging systems are easier to use. When bandwidth is limited, this type of synchronous text messaging can be very useful. It can also be utilized as a complement to voice or video-based messaging systems since text chat rooms allow documenting important ideas that emerge from oral conversation via voice-on-Internet. Social messaging via Twitter Twitter [89] is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real time through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?. Twitter limits you to 140 characters and spaces per post (or per "tweet"). You can follow others Twitter uses on your home page. Doug Belshaw's blog says “I think Twitter could be ideal for reminding students about homework, trips and such things, especially as they can enter their mobile phone number to be 88 89 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 33 
  40. 40. alerted when one of their ‘friends’ updates their account. The advantage is that you don’t need to know the phone numbers of students to get messages onto their device: they are the ones who authorize their mobile phone from the website and they subscribe to your Twitter feed” (cited in education.html Available the 20th of June, 2009). Social/virtual networking in education There is no doubt that social networking is a powerful way to get and keep in touch with friends, colleagues, and people who share a common cause or interest. Many of us have re-initiated relationships with friends by using social/viral networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn. All of them have the ability to put together people who have an affinity (family, hobbies, work, school, etc.) and who decide to get in touch as virtual friends. This role lets you share, from your profile, information resources such as messages, pictures, videos, and other virtual components. Your contacts (virtual friends) share their contacts, which fortifies the network. However it is not so clear how social networking can be used in support of academic initiatives. An Inside Higher Ed blog available Jun 30th, 2009 at mentions that “As colleges have worked over the years to solidify their Web 2.0 presence and reach out to students where they're most likely to congregate online, there's often a glaring omission from their overall Internet strategies: social networks. That's not so much an oversight as a hesitation, with many institutions still debating whether to adopt social networking capabilities of their own or grit their teeth and take the plunge into Facebook, with all the messiness and potential privacy concerns that would imply”. FACEBOOK [90] is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. (Facebook Corporate page, available at http://campus- on June 30, 2009). 90 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 34 
  41. 41. LINKEDIN [91] is a social networking website geared towards companies and industry professionals looking to make new business contacts or keep in touch with previous co-workers, affiliates, and clients. (Definition available June 30, 2009, at Glossary/LinkedIn.htm) MYSPACE [92] is an online community that allows friends to keep in touch and meet new people as well. Anyone who is at least 14 years old can sign up for a MySpace account at no cost. Once you sign up, you can customize your profile by adding information about yourself, listing your interests, hobbies, and educational background, and uploading photos of yourself and your friends. You can also create your own blog for others to read. (Definition available June 30, 2009, at Digital Diaries, also called, Blogs Physically, the closest thing to a blog (Binary Logs, also called Web Logs) is a web page; that is, an Internet space where information is published and shared using hypertext that allows the use of colors, different sizes and types of fonts as well as links, graphics, sounds and animations that may or may not be controlled by the user. The big difference with a web page is that the blogs are time-sensitive organized contributions. Another important difference concerning blogs is that they allow for feedback which gives readers the opportunity to comment in public (post). Many blogs have tagging systems that allow labels “to follow” the contributions being posted. This is accomplished by surfing the descriptors on the tags. Some contentions exist, regarding truth, privacy and security vs respect for the first amendment. Every time a blog is used the creators and those who are making the commentary can say what they want without the scrutiny of editors or those responsible for the website. Students are exposed to many points of view, or commentary, which are not always desirable for a formative scholarly process. So while there are temporary solutions such as requiring students not to use complete names, or not to include photos in public blogs in order to protect their identity, there is 91 92 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 35 
  42. 42. still the issue of intellectual property rights that support one’s sharing ideas or feelings in public. There are also those who think that the solution is having an educational intranet that will have blog systems that can only be consulted by authorized users, or having limited domains defined by a certain type of user subject to restricted access based on their profile (blogs for students, teachers, director, etc.). The most known open access blog system is BLOGGER [93]. This is a free service that is a part of the resources offered by Google to its users. It allows the user to create a blog account in the language that s/he prefers and to share authorship with friends. WORDPRESS [94] is one of the best known tools for integrating blog services, that is, placing contributions of distinct blogs together. It is an open source content management system distributed under GPL (General Public License); it uses a friendly WYSIWYG interface (What you see is what you get). The Wiki and collaborative knowledge building Wikipedia (2007) says a wiki is a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone with access to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. Wikis are used in business to provide intranet and knowledge management systems. At first glance, a wiki is very much like a blog which allows the individual user to create, not just browse or read. Nevertheless, blogs and wikis are very distinct interactive tools.  A big difference is that every page of a blog is individually authored, while each wiki page is collectively authored. In a blog it is easy to identify who wrote what and when because each contribution has author identification, date and time of the last modification. In a wiki, the history keeps record of who contributed what and when, but the final version is a collective 93 94 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 36 
  43. 43. product and the end user does not keep abreast of the ideas presented by each contributor.  Wikis’ history preserves the contributions to each page making it possible to find previous versions, using them as the actual page if necessary. Blogs do not preserve previous versions of a page; the author can edit them whenever he desires; however, when they are saved, the page is changed forever.  Blogs publish pages in chronological order, while a wiki publishes pages as they are being constructed, always presenting the current version. According to Pearce (2005) the wiki is gaining traction in education, as an ideal tool for the increasing amount of collaborative work done by both students and teachers. Students might use a wiki to collaborate on a group report, compile data or share the results of their research, while faculty might use the wiki to collaboratively author the structure and curriculum of a course, and the wiki can then serve as part of each person's course web site. A report on Wikis from Educause Learning Initiative (2005) highlights pros and cons about wikis in education: Wikis allow faculty and students to engage in collaborative activities that might not be possible in a classroom. Their flexibility will encourage broader adoption [of wikis]—by both students and faculty. A wiki’s versioning capability can show the evolution of thought processes as students interact with the site and its content and allows for teachers to assess an ongoing project in ways not previously possible. Because users can modify the content of a wiki (add to, edit, delete materials), allowing such manipulation of the site’s information carries some risks. Thus, wikis are often monitored to ensure that inappropriate language, spam, and incorrect or inappropriate content are not allowed. This can be both time- consuming and personnel-intensive. As a result, many wikis require authorization so only group members can modify content. In order to diminish the risk of using open access wiki tools for collaborative knowledge construction, wiki spaces ought to have Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 37 
  44. 44. membership and accepted rules. In this way, what is published is supported by a known author, and vandalism (e.g., leaving undesired footprints) is minimized. Some of the most famous wiki engines are found at MEDIAHAWK [95], WIKIDOT [96], WIKISPACES [97], WETPAINT [98], all of them open access wiki systems that control who contributes through membership. It is possible to create web pages for each one of the tasks to be done, or for each group of collaborators. Collaborative productivity tools The wiki philosophy has been implemented with productivity tools (see P based ICTE), both for open access and commercial tools. GOOGLE DOCS [99] is an open access application that supports the wiki philosophy in regard to word processing, spreadsheet or presentations building. It allows the collaborative work of creating, editing, and publishing text documents and/or doing digital spreadsheets on the web. The final work can be exported to different formats. People who want to collaboratively create and professionally edit documents may consider using OFFICE LIFE workspace [100] from Microsoft, provided that all collaborators make use of Microsoft’s Office. It is announced [ibid] that in a few steps you can organize, manage and share documents, notes, spreadsheets, presentations, contacts, to-do lists, and more. You can add one or more documents including Microsoft Office Excel worksheets, Office Word documents, and Office PowerPoint presentations. Network Forums Network forums are systems which allow discussions in virtual spaces. Topics are debated using digital tools that allow one to take an active part in the collective analysis and construction of knowledge. A network 95 96 97 98 99 100 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 38 
  45. 45. forum has one or more discussion seeds, planted by the forum facilitator. Participants can respond to single postings by replying to them, or can thread ideas by using illation strategies that lead to creation of collective knowledge. The scope of the forums is bound to the communities that they serve; this is to say, the forums are conducted among people who belong to a certain group or virtual community, people who share certain interests or objectives and who feel comfortable exchanging ideas with other participants (Collison, Elbaum, Haavind, & Tinker, 2000). Management Systems for Group of Interests like those offered by YAHOO GROUPS [101] or GOOGLE GROUPS [102] have made it possible for many educators and students to participate in web communities united by common interests. In order to belong to a group it is necessary to enroll by invitation or by application (some communities are restricted, others have free enrollment; some have one moderator or several moderators who control the information and others do not have any). In order to participate, it is necessary to register using a key and to follow web etiquette. To track the activity of the group or virtual community, email can be used to update any developments and report frequency of use and other issues. Systems for administering interest groups not only offer the possibility of doing forums, but allow information to be shared directly (organized files in folders) or by links to web sites where the information is available. Video lecture capturing There are different occasions in which faculty need to present content using digital video. Depending on the need, various tools are available. Short video episodes capturing the presenter and materials that s/he is using, can be prepared with Tools for processing video and digital sound and shared on the internet using Tools for sharing digital products on Internet., both discussed in this book, under the topic, Productivity However, when it is convenient to upload a lecture longer than 10 minutes, the above solution might not work because of the restricted size of videos that can be uploaded to free servers. At this point, access to streaming video 101 102 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 39 
  46. 46. servers (also called digital repositories) where large size videos can be uploaded and accessed if needed. Regardless of the lecture size, there may be a need to give students direct access to content embedded in video lectures. This may be the case of remedial course units where students need to review concepts as they use them; that is, without having to review all the tapes; only those episodes where each concept is mentioned. Students may also not have good learning skills and may need to refine concepts by reviewing explanations or segments of a video that deal with hard-to-learn topics. Video lecture capturing systems help solve this problem. Commercial systems such as TEGRITY CAMPUS 2.0 [103] and open access systems such as PANOPTO [104] allow faculty to record their presentations and to share them online via streaming video. In addition, they allow viewers to search for keywords through metadata embedded in power point presentations, and to surf through the thumbnails of the slides. These features have positioned these products as resources that can help students selectively review explanations about topics hard to understand without listening to the whole tape. Faculty can create collections of video recordings that are available to complement classroom sessions and that they can link from online course shells at the learning management system in use. Also, faculty can follow students’ activity online and do research on learning and teaching supported with multiple media. Tools for Synchronous Interaction Synchronous interactions on the web that permit live dialog (chat) using text, voice or video through the Internet are becoming increasingly important to individuals who must agree on a single digital space. 103 104 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 40 
  47. 47. Chat rooms Chat rooms were mentioned before as allowing synchronous text conferencing between people that agree to meet at a given time in a given virtual space to talk about something of shared interest. Their great virtue is that there is practically no limit to the number of participants who can simultaneously follow or actively participate in the conversation; this may be, at the same time, their major weakness, since depending on the number of postings per minute, the complexity and speed of the interaction can become an issue. Another issue in these rooms is the type of conversations that can emerge. There is social dialogue and then there is pragmatic dialogue. Moderators typically promote social dialogue in private text interactions among participants, while pragmatic dialogue is fostered via interventions that either help focus or deepen the dialogue. Since chat rooms can remain open during long periods of time and their content can be saved as long as needed, the scope of text-based chat rooms is wide and asynchronous interaction may happen. Multimedia Instant Messaging Systems Multimedia instant messaging systems are well known synchronous interaction devices. They permit sending and receiving messages between users who have previously agreed to establish communication using voice or video on the Internet, with the possibility of chatting via text and of sharing digital files as needed. These systems are deployed in a virtual space that the instant messaging system creates for each group. Multimedia Instant Messaging Systems such as SKYPE [105], MSN Messenger [106], AIM [107] and ICQ [108] are very popular not just for being free but also for allowing effective multimedia online interaction with others; they are easily available, expansive and very powerful. These systems allow a user to know which of his contacts are online and their level of readiness (available, busy, out -to- 105 106 107 108 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 41 
  48. 48. lunch). They also allow for the blocking or enabling of individuals on the contact list, the saving of textual conversations, knowing if your partner is typing a message in the dialog window, and expressing feelings and sensations through icons or animations. On the other hand, it is possible to dialog with groups, each with its own identifier (photo, drawing, font), and one or more parallel conversations using digital cameras, microphones and speakers. A variant of these systems is Internet Telephony. This feature is available in SKYPE and other voice-on-internet providers, where in addition to providing a system of voice and text interaction on Internet, it is possible to rent phone lines that are handled by the network at a reduced price. Educationally, multimedia instant messaging has garnered a lot of strength among the members of learning communities. Free tools like PRONTO [109] that run on multiple LMS platforms make it possible for members of each virtual classroom to interact by voice or text so that the members of the educational community may be active. Personal experiences using this system in faculty development and graduate courses show that it is an effective way to contact students (who often do not read their email) when you make the tool available to them. It also builds community with and among them by holding voice dialogs and text chatting. Video Conferencing Systems Video Conferencing (VC) is becoming an increasingly important way to engage in educational or organizational activities that require direct multimedia interaction among participants who are physically distributed. Each of them needs to have access to an internet connection with high bandwidth, use of a headset to be able to listen and talk without echo, and install those tools required by the VC System that make multimedia interaction viable. The number of participants, the need to record the interaction or not, and the security policies and licenses available all impact the selection of best VC systems to use. Some instant messaging systems—such as SKYPE and MSN—offer users the possibility of videoconferencing between two people; each member should have a web cam and headset, and be connected to 109 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 42 
  49. 49. a high band width Internet service. Extensions of these systems— like FESTOON [110]—allow the grouping of up to six users limited by the communication channel that is available (the frequency of images can limit and reduce the sound when there is narrow bandwidth). Integrated platforms for videoconferencing also exist for large numbers of users such as iLINC [111], WIMBA [112] and ELLUMINATE [113], from the commercial side. DIM DIM [114] and WizIQ [115] have won good reputation as reliable and expandable open access systems. In these platforms there are virtual classrooms in which the instructors have privileges and can deploy electronic presentations, present websites, share resources with participants, like managing oral dialog with icons that ask for the floor, applaud, ask a question, etc. The participants must have headsets and microphones, but when the quality of the Internet communication is unknown the telephone may also be used. It is always possible to use text and voice chat. For those who do not attend the session, it can be taped and posted on the Internet as a streaming video. It is also possible to use ICTE that allow video and high quality sound, that use sufficient bandwidth and that demand investment in equipment and communication services at each communication point. This is the case of videoconference rooms with POLYCOM [116] equipment which makes dialogs possible among groups in different places who can see and hear one another. Tools for hybrid synchronous / asynchronous interaction Learning communities such as courses and study groups usually need to combine different types of resources and interaction spaces. In support of this there are course/learning management systems and community management systems that let faculty and students benefit from a variety of opportunities. 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 43 
  50. 50. Course delivery systems Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Content Management Systems (CMS) are used to support course activities (e.g., instruction delivery, students’ interaction, knowledge building, testing) and to simplify administrative tasks such as grade management. Each of these systems include forum management utilities. Discussions are conducted in global forums (involving all community members) or group forums (involving only select members from the community of learners). Some of these forums are moderated (a facilitator helps to maintain the focus and deepen the discussion) and others are open, un- moderated (e.g., social or technical ) forums. Most of LMS and CMS also allow blogs and wikis to be included to support reflection on learning objects with blogs and/or collaborative creation of knowledge with wikis. MOODLE [117], acronym for “Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment”, is an open source solution that has garnered wide popularity within the community of users who utilize, maintain and improve it. The same situation exists with SAKAI [118], an open source environment used to foster collaboration and learning in education. Commercial LMS, such as BLACKBOARD [119] and WEBCT [120] are strongly supported due to their high quality applications and support services. Recently, these two companies merged in order to make their LMS capabilities even stronger. Community management systems Professional development does not always occur in terms of courses but through voluntary participation in learning communities, in particular, communities of practice. Social networking can be a solution particularly when it is driven by the participants; that is, when they have the opportunity to co-lead the effort by having full control of technologies in use. 117 118 119 120 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 44 
  51. 51. Open access solutions such as NING [121] can be useful. The creator defines what resources s/he wants to encourage participants to use (e.g., forums, blogs, pictures, videos), and invites initial members. Each person can invite other people and the network grows as the voice of its relevance is spread. SECOND LIFE [122] is a free online virtual world imagined and created by its Residents. It is Internet’s largest user-created, 3D virtual world community. From the moment you enter Second Life, you'll discover a fast-growing digital world filled with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. 121 122 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 45 
  52. 52. Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 46 
  53. 53. E for Exploration of learning objects Students must acquire large amounts of cultural, scientific and technological knowledge in an effort to master the prescribed curriculum. In many cases though, they do not have the opportunity to experience the kinds of phenomena which can enrich their knowledge. Good explanations and complete textual and audiovisual documentation are often useful in presenting a mental model ---at least from the eyes of the facilitator (the teacher). However, this type of expository activity may not be sufficient for achieving full conceptual understanding. Science laboratories equipped with state of the art equipment help to carry out direct practice with a distinct degree of realism and precision. The apprentices can then formulate their own theses and conclusions as a basis for discussions with others and to build knowledge. These resources, however, are expensive and therefore are often not available to students. Field work and scale models also replicate direct experiences which help to obtain evidence that permits the construction of knowledge; but Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 47 
  54. 54. everyone cannot go to places to explore the objects under study, nor can scale models capture the functionality that they possess. Consequently, it is not always viable to have a direct experience with real objects, at times because of their size (micro or macro), the limited availability (phenomena of very low regularity) or simply because of costs. Reasons such as the ones cited above have justified the great efforts of educational research groups in the fields of mathematics, science, technology and engineering to make available to students and teachers technological devices that expand abilities, capture information and permit individuals to discriminate and analyze data. Digital Manipulatives that Support Conjectural Exploration The following group of objects can be digitally manipulated and controlled by the user. This control means that the user can alter the status of the variables that affect the behavior of the object under study and this may act organically; that is to say, like a live organism which responds to the manipulation of said variables. Some Resources for Manipulating Scientific Digital Objects The following list does not exhaust the possibilities that exist to obtain digital manipulatives that support scientific learning centered on the student through research, experimentation and collaboration. Nonetheless, they are a good initial collection. NSDL—National Science Digital Library [123] is a US electronic library created to support education and research in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. It offers free access to electronic materials for elementary education instructors, university professors, biotechnologists, the scientific community and newcomers to the discipline. MOLO, Molecular Logic Project [124] is a project that searches for students who want to understand fundamental biological phenomenon in terms of atom and molecule interaction. Among 123 124 Establishing a PLACE for teaching technologies  Page 48