Archive for May, 2010
I got a chance to utilize a web 2.0 tool VoiceThread. To view the presentation click here. In order to complete my project it required syncing my flickr photo set to VoiceThread. Not too bad out of all the things that could go wrong. I was really impressed with how easy it was to upload and attach both written and audio comments. Also I was able to trouble shoot my Mac’s web cam so the video would work although I haven’t had a chance to use it yet as there was subtle frustration in its not working as I was putting the project together. If you have already viewed the presentation and this read is a follow up make sure to check back through the presentation for some video posts.
Today I had an opportunity to share with my sixth grade class the video about Sixth Sense Technology. I was so pumped about their reactions I had to go and see if there had been any updates since I last posted about the emerging technology. Here is what I found.
Today I was able to take some time and play around with a new web 2.0 tool Jing. Jing is a program that allows a user to capture screen shots. The framing of the Jing guidlines for the screen shot is really user friendly. However, it did take me one run through before I was able to achieve the screen diemensions to capture the image with little modification to the box. Although I do like how the window pops up and allows you to name and then share right from the pop up window. I like the placement of the Jing sun (top middle on my pc and top right hand corner on my mac) as it allows really easy screen shot access and organization. I think Jing is an excellent companion to clipmarks as this program allows users to capture text up to 1000 words and store it in the same manner as the Jing screen captures. Clipmarks has helped me capture important paragraphs and quotes, many of which I later posted as content of blog entries and even posted right from clipmarks to this blog (scroll down a bit and you’ll see). I see the same potential for Jing. I am going to work screen captures into blog entries and use them in sections of “how to instructionals” when introducing new tools and assignments to students. I do see potential classroom applications for this particularly when students are working at gathering information and moving them away from the cut and paste they are so used to. Below is my first trial using Jing. I captured a shot from Slightly Shumay, our class social network blog section. After Earth day we had a lot of great blog discussions about being more envronmetally friendly and how we could all effect change.
I have added a new site to the Slightly Shumay series of websites geared towards furthering the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom. The Slightly Shumay Wiki will be a home for web quests and other web based activiteis. Students will be able to explore and add content to the site. The site has just begun so there is only an intoduction as of now. Keep checking for updates.
Web quests are designed to be an inquiry based activity geared towards generating a context for the information student s are exposed to. Most often the design of the web quest places the student at the fore front of their experience. As a part of the design, information breadcrumbs and multiple pathways of concept attainment can be achieved through careful planning and web quest design. Web quests help to reduce student search time by aggregating sites and content for student exploration. I believe web quests can provide authentic student exploration and learning. Upon researching the different learning theories it appears several theories overlap and work in support of one another in web quest design. I see a lot of Connectivism learning theory underlying the web quest concept. Connectivism, is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, complexity and self-organization. In Connectivism learning is a process that happens within an ever-changing environment of shifting contexts. Connectivism is based on the concept that students knowledge attainment is evolving from an ever-changing source of knowledge and developing the skill sets to recognize variations as information changes and its subsequent impact on the current knowledge structure is essential. (http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/461BD5DB-517C-48D7-B6B1-5932B7451930/) As much as Connectivism plays a role in web quest design so too does Constructivism. Constructivism states learning as an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate (tabula rasa) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation. (http://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html) This is quite evident in web quests as one of the main design functions is to place students into roles that allow them to take on personas of experts in particular fields. Each student will bring with them prior knowledge and a goal for knowledge attainment, although students may not be as aware of the latter. While reading Brenda Mergel’s paper “Learning Theories & Instructional Design” the section about meaningful effects caught my attention. “Meaningful information is easier to learn and remember. (Cofer, 1971, in Good and Brophy, 1990) If a learner links relatively meaningless information with prior schema it will be easier to retain. (Wittrock, Marks, & Doctorow, 1975, in Good and Brophy, 1990).” The meaning and connections within knowledge generated by students is a deigning factor of web quests and works to combine Cognitive theory and Connectivism as key elements of the web quest design in student concept attainment. Without the interplay of these two theories we would not be able to see the lager construct of the instructional design. As stated at the beginning, I believe web quests are a way to provide authentic concept delivery as their nature of inquiry based learning with the foundations of Connectivism, Cognitive, and Constructivism (only to name a few) provide a means by which to engage various aspect of knowledge interaction as well as associations to prior knowledge. Knowledge is built within an every changing stream of updated concepts and new discoveries. I believe web quests can be an instructional tool utilized in the classroom helping students to engage in meaningful and authentic discourse on various topics as they take on the role of researcher and expert. Just as educators can layer the content of the web quest so too are the learning theories interconnected strengthening the web quest value in the classroom.