Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

Should Professors Use Facebook to Communicate with Students?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Nearly 85% of faculty have a Facebook account, two-thirds are on LinkedIn, and 50% are on Twitter according to research from Faculty Focus. But, professors’ use of social media shows we are behind the relationship curve when it comes to connecting with students. Only 32% have friended undergrad students and about half (55%) connect with some students after graduation.

Some faculty may be hesitant to friend students on Facebook. To do so on an isolated basis can send the wrong signals, and I know some faculty prefer to keep a clear line between the role of teacher and student. So, why might instructors want to connect with current students on Facebook?

First, it’s where students are. With the help of the students in our upper level marketing courses, we recently surveyed over 500 students regarding their social media use. Over two-thirds (69.8%) are on Facebook every day. In case you’re wondering, 63% also have Twitter accounts and half (49.8%) check them daily. As teachers, our job is to communicate with students. Sure, we can communicate with them in other ways. But, if you want to speak to your audience in the way they prefer and in the way they communicate with each other, you’ll connect through social media. That’s what I do and I learn a lot from my students that way as they often post industry-related articles on Twitter or Facebook to my attention.

Second, anyone who studies marketing knows that social influence is a primary factor in consumer decision making. If you want to influence others in any meaningful way, you must provide value within their social circles. Granted, the kind of value faculty may offer students via social media is questionable. Even if we think we are cool, odds are pretty high we are not. But, students don’t expect us to be cool. They know we are their instructors, not their peers. That means their expectations are pretty low. That said, what makes a good friend is often just being there. If you’re not there and not aware of what’s going on in their lives, you will have a harder time relating to them.

Third, you can overcome sending the wrong signals to students by inviting all students in your classes to friend you on Facebook. They are smart enough to know they can do so and still screen who sees what on their posts. So, no need to worry that they will be afraid you’ll get too close to them. By the same token, you can designate students into specific friends lists that you can choose when you want to post to them or not. If you don’t know how, just ask a student.

by Kirk Wakefield.

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Marital issues among problems caused by smartphone addiction

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

PETALING JAYA: Five youngsters sit around a table, having a drink. But none is talking to another. Instead, all have their eyes glued to their handphone, either texting or surfing.

These are smartphone addicts. And the addiction has rung in a whole host of problems.

Parents complain of how the gadget has come in between the family, with children “talking” more to their phones than to their parents.

Spouses, meanwhile, complain of straying partners, who get into affairs after a phone-relationship.

MCA Public Services and Com­plaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said he had received reports of many cases of marriages hitting the rocks because of over usage of smartphones.

“Women have come to me to seek advice on action that could be taken against the third party.

“Most of these women discovered the affairs after seeing their spouses spending a lot of time on the phone, and on checking found SMSes and e-mail to other women,” he said.

There are other problems, too. Many children hooked on smartphones, texting and online chatting may be unable to handle real life. And there are health issues, too.

According to a report from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, as at September 30, 2010, there were 33,250,177 handphone subscriptions to a population of 28,326,500.

The report also stated that while the majority of handphone users are content with having just one handphone (71.5%), there are users who hold two (23.9%) or even more than two phones (4.6%) of the total mobile phone subscribers.

Clinical psychologist Serena Sinniah said over-dependence on the smartphone could cause a strain in a relationship when the users were “hooked” to the gadget while with friends and loved ones.

“Being preoccupied with your smartphone when you are with other people can send the message that they are not all that important,” she said. “It also stops you from responding to non-verbal signals and this could lead to a communication breakdown.”

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Multimedia Lectures: Tools for Improving Accessibility and Learning

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

College course work is meant to be challenging. The content and the vocabulary used are often unfamiliar to many students. For at-risk learners, the challenges are even greater. In some cases, these students have physical or learning disabilities that create accessibility issues, other times the challenges may be the result of the fact that they’re an international student, have anxiety issues, or a strong learning style preference that runs counter to the instructor’s style.

For all of these reasons and more, today’s student body is a highly diverse group with many different learning challenges, often manifesting in problems with notetaking and listening comprehension. All of this creates what Keith Bain calls an “accessibility imperative.” And although there are many legal obligations that institutions must satisfy with regards to accessibility, Bain says recording and transcribing lectures can improve retention and success for all types of students.

In the recent online seminar Tools and Techniques for Improving Course Accessibility, Bain, the international manager of the Liberated Learning Consortium and an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s University, explained the value of digitizing, captioning, and transcribing course material, why you should do it and how.

At the most basic level, Bain said, an instructor could record a presentation with little more than a good lavalier mic or headset and a digital recorder. A more intermediate approach could include using audio recording software like Audacity, PowerPoint narration, or tools such as mp3DirectCut or Power Sound Editor. If the institution has invested in lecture capture systems such as Camtasia Relay, Mediasite, Tegrity Campus, Echo 360 or Panopto, there are even more options and much less work since the recording and synchronization are all automated.

by Mary Bart.

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Facebook addicts should get out and socialise more

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

WITH every new level of technology comes a corresponding wave of casualties.

From theft victims careless with their bank ATM cards to gullible folk cheated in online scams, the story is familiar enough.

So today we see the rise of Facebook addicts. The fact that this involves victims without criminal perpetrators does not make it any less serious.

Facebook addiction has been known to affect the psychological and physical health of its victims.

It also affects the personal relationships that victims had, or might have had, with others around them.

It is therefore a personal, domestic and social problem. The affliction is universally acknowledged by health professionals who have dubbed it Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD).

It is compulsive, invasive of one’s personal life, distorts priorities, damages one’s capacity to relate to others around them and disorientates one to reality.

There are withdrawal symptoms, pangs of “cold turkey” and it is all downright senseless and wasteful.

How can it then be addressed effectively?

Relying on addicts to stop their addiction is not going to work. Neither will legislation, since Facebook can all too easily be accessed through computers or smartphones.

The Star Says…

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Importance of Technology in the Classroom

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012
Importance of Technology in the Classroom

Technology is either a boon or bane, depends how and for what purpose it’s being used. If technology is used to cure diseases in people, to help people communicate with each other across geographical boundaries, to reduce human effort by making things simple, easy and accessible, it indeed is a boon. However, if science and technology is used to prepare nuclear bombs or other weapons of war, it is harmful. As pros and cons of technology have always been debated, with some people arguing that its the best thing to have happened to human race and some totally against it, it is often wondered should the children, the future of mankind, be introduced to technology at a young age in schools? What is the importance of technology in classrooms? Let’s find out the answers…

Importance of Technology in the Classroom

Active Participation
When students are learning through technology, they are themselves looking for information on the Internet. They make their own decisions regarding the information i.e. whether it is relevant or irrelevant. They have control over how to use or present this information. Thus, one of the main benefits of using technology for classrooms is that unlike a teacher-led classroom, where students passively receive whatever information the teacher is providing, in tech savvy classrooms, students are active participants.

In-depth Knowledge
Jon Stewart once commented, “The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.” By using the Internet technology, obtaining information on all kinds of subjects has become very easy. A student sitting in his classroom can learn how people in a small village in Africa live life. Thus, Internet is a kind of library which is at the disposal of a student with just a click. A student can acquire in-depth knowledge on any subject using this vast resource.

Real-life Work Experience
The importance of technology in the classroom can be gauged from the fact that it offers an experience to students similar to the working environment that one sees in offices. In technology savvy classrooms, a teacher acts as a facilitator who sets project goals for the students and provides them with the necessary resources and guidelines to reach those goals. The student himself makes decisions with regards to the design choices, the information he wants to use and display, the resources that he will use. You may read more on the importance of science and technology. Moreover, these days, students themselves are very tech savvy and may sometimes even know more than the teacher himself. So, there is a constant exchange of information between the students and the teachers. Such an environment prepares a student to work in business organizations in the future.

Increased Motivation
Researches have shown that there is great importance of integrating technology in the classroom. When students are taught through slide shows or by showing films, it makes the lessons very easy and interesting for them. It helps in their learning, at the same time motivates them to attend school everyday. Thus, another importance of technology in schools is that it brings down the drop-out rates.

Technical Skills
Using computers on a daily basis, helps the students in developing an understanding of the various computer tools and softwares. This kind of education prepares the students and makes it easier for them to learn about the various software applications in future. You may read more on why is technology so important today. This very well defines the importance of computers in the classroom.

by Aastha Dogra.

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People share too much info online: Study

Friday, January 13th, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: The rise of social networking has caused a huge shift in the nature of what people believe is private, with 75% global respondents in a recent study agreed that people “share far too much information online these days.”

The study, released by McCann Truth Central, the global thought leadership unit of McCann, also found that with the advent of social media outlets, “peoples’ walls have come down in the context of personal information.”

“One in three people have Googled people they hardly know, and one in four have read a partner or friend’s text messages,” it said in the study, “12 Truths About Social in 2012,” released in Las Vegas.

The study was conducted across 19 countries and involved more than 30 focus groups and over 12,000 online studies.

Other findings include consumers around the world admitting to multiple online personalities and that the growing and complex ecosystem of friends connecting to a broader network of friends has replaced the singular need to “belong” to a tight-knit group of friends.

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Head in the Clouds? Ten Free Web 2.0 Tools to Support Faculty Research

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Twenty-first Century research is increasingly becoming reliant on information and communication technologies to address systemic and distinct educational problems through greater communication, interaction, and inquiry. Research is an interactive inquiry process. In many instances this involves interaction with people. We also interact with technology and through technology to improve our educational practice. Practitioner research seeks to understand the underlying causes enabling personal and organizational change (Reason & Bradbury, 2001).

Increasingly more researchers are integrating Web 2.0 technologies with research methods (data driven instruction) as they examine barriers and potential solutions for systemic issues in their individual educational practice. However, while there are a multitude of tools, which tools are appropriate?

Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of web development and design that facilitates communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. A central characteristic of Web 2.0 or “Cloud Computing” is the ability of the users to own and exercise control over the data on the web (Page & Ali, 2009). Web 2.0 tools are enabling people from the distant corners of the globe to effectively communicate and construct knowledge, troubleshoot common enigmas, and collaborate in ways that give their previously unheard voice more than a mere echo or some false illusion of truth on the horizon.

Practical examples of researchers integrating Web 2.0 technologies include music educators who combined action research methods and technology to describe the experiences of students and teachers, Welch, Howard, Himonides, and Brereton (2005). Meanwhile, Strong-Wilson (2008) used action research methods to explore how the role of new media technologies and innovative pedagogical approaches in professional development. These teachers were promoting a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and were encouraged to share their thoughts on the adoption and resistance of technology.

by G. Andrew Page, PhD.

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Virtual Classrooms: A Combination of Technology, Fun and Enhanced Learning

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

There have been innovative concepts introduced in the field of education so that learning becomes all the more fun and the learner has a sense of achievement. With the increased pace of World Wide Web, education is no more limited to a small classroom. The whole concept of education has observed a change of how learning was imparted. The confines of a classroom no more exists, education is now a global phenomenon wherein a person sitting in any part of the world can have access to educational institutes or colleges situated thousands of miles apart. The advent of Internet has surely revolutionized education and learning in a big way.

Are You Aware About Virtual Classroom/Virtual Education?

Education imparted through the means of Internet can be broadly referred to as virtual education. The characteristic feature of virtual education is that the teachers as well as the learners are separated by geographical constraints and lessons are imparted online or in a virtual classroom. In a virtual classroom, traditional classroom education is combined with technological advancements to give a product called e-learning or online learning.

Features of Virtual Classroom:

Virtual classrooms have certain important underlying features which makes it all the more unique. They are as follows:

  • Established on a virtual environment, World Wide Web, therefore rightly adjudged as ‘virtual’.
  • Education is not confined to the area of a classroom.
  • Omnipresence, as far as the Internet can reach.
  • Ease of learning.
  • Reach out to high number of people.
  • Blend of technology and traditional classroom.

In a virtual classroom the lecturer / teacher can deliver the lectures, conduct exams enter into an interactive question and answer session with the students undergoing a particular course. So, virtual classroom acts as a platform that brings together, teachers as well as students from different locations. So the learner has the benefit in a virtual classroom that he could choose the best teachers for a particular online course.

The virtual classrooms are conducted in the same manner as the traditional classrooms are carried out. In a virtual classroom, the student has the freedom to interact simultaneously to many students unlike the traditional classroom. So virtual classes are more interactive than their traditional counterparts. The graphics, animations of the lectures in the virtual classroom make it interesting and high on fun quotient. As a result of this, the effectiveness of the online education is more. It makes the complex topics very easy to comprehend and remember.

Real time learning is the keyword of virtual classrooms, although students can submit the routine tasks or assignments by mailing them to the concerned teacher. Virtual classrooms make usage of discussion forums, chat groups, social media and various blogs to enhance interaction between students and teachers. Virtual classrooms are best for those people who do not have the time to go and attend the regular courses or are working but have the intent to study further.

Virtual classrooms are beneficial for the students as well as the teachers in the sense that, all the lessons imparted, tests, discussions and course related documents are all recorded and stored. So it becomes easy for a student to refer to what was discussed or taught on a particular day. So accessing information becomes easy. Also, the student can refer to any course material any number of times. Virtual classrooms can include both synchronous learning and asynchronous learning.

Synchronous learning is when the teacher and the student are present real-time. Live lectures, online chat come under synchronous learning. While in asynchronous learning, interaction is not real-time but rather it is through e-mails.

Education through virtual classrooms has its own advantages. A student can at any point of time and anywhere have access to the course and content. In case of absenteeism, a student can refer to what was taught in the classroom session as all the sessions are recorded. Through a virtual classroom a teacher finds it easier to monitor the progress of the learner, so as to understand whether more training is required or not on a particular topic. Assignment submission has become all the easier with the advent of online learning.

by Ian Bell.

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How Technology Can Improve Learner-Centered Teaching

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

For faculty looking to create a more learner-centered environment there are always a few bumps in the road. First they need to get used to no longer being the “sage on the stage” and then there’s the adjustment period for students who aren’t used to being active participants in their learning.

In many ways, technology can help pave the way for both faculty and students, but only if the instructor “is adept at creating a course that capitalizes on the pedagogical benefits that technology facilitates in helping students meet the desired learning outcomes for the course,” said Ike Shibley, associate professor of chemistry at Penn State – Berks. In other words, technology for the sake of technology is never good.

In the recent online seminar Learner-Centered Technology: Aligning Tools with Learning Goals, Shibley provided a roadmap for matching technological tools to course learning outcomes. Grounded in the five core principles of learner-centered teaching, Shibley explained specific ways technology can be used to get students to interact with course content in an engaging and productive fashion.

Here are some of the ways technology can help satisfy the goals of a learner-centered classroom:

1. Shift the balance of power toward the learner: Interactive online assignments can help facilitate the transfer of power and give students opportunities to practice mastering the material at their own pace. The technologies that support these activities could include wikis, online quizzes, blogs and discussion boards.

2. Use content to organize activities: Students appreciate a structured, logical flow to their courses, and how you organize your assignments and activities can go a long way in minimizing confusion. The technologies that support how you organize and communicate course materials and expectations could include an online syllabus, the learning management system, and email notifications of important due dates.

3. Think of teaching as facilitating learning: Teaching with technology enables the instructor to create learning experiences that complement each other whether the students are working on an assignment online or meeting in a face-to-face environment. The technologies that support this goal include online homework, clickers and surveys.

4. Responsibility for learning rests with the learner: Learner-centered teaching means creating assignments that allow students to practice building connections with the material, and evaluate their learning. The technologies that can be used to help students take ownership of their learning include blogs, wikis, online quizzes, and VoiceThread.

5. Evaluation provides a way to foster learning:

by Mary Bart.

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New online supplement from Maxis

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

MAXIS Bhd and the Education Ministry recently embarked on a smart partnership to provide secondary schools with free access to Maxis’ education service.

The service, which utilises available school ICT infrastructure, is a supplementary online learning service which encourages different learning styles. Its content is based on the official education curriculum.

The partnership was initiated at an inaugural three-day workshop in Kuala Lumpur recently, which was attended by 120 principals and teachers from 30 schools.

During the workshop, teachers and principals experienced and explored Maxis’ learning solution and were shown ways to integrate it into their day-to-day teaching.

To create more excitement around the service, Maxis also introduced a challenge for participants, divided into two categories: the school challenge and student challenge.

The challenge, scheduled to end on March 1 next year, will see winning schools presented with prizes worth up to RM10,000 per school and RM1,000 per student.

The programme will initially be implemented at 100 schools, with plans to extend the service to 2,300 schools nationwide.

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