Approaching e-learning I was apprehensively, inquisitive to say the least, I find I really want to become savvy with forms of technology offered, both in my professional, and day to day life, but feel frustrated obtaining knowledge toward them . Working through Moodle , in conjunction with the Managing e-Learning course has been very engaging and creating my blog was an easy step. From that point on, deciphering the learning tools requested was my new mission.
"It is fair to say that there are very few elearning experts and this is due to the continually, rapidly changing nature of technology’s and the new pedagogical approaches towards them being pursued across the world "(Aldred, 2009).
This quote humbled me as I read throughout the initial required fields of the Managing e-Learning course, as did the term “Digital immigrant”, having a background of a hands on professional (Chef), I desired to be, but felt very far from, a “Digital native”. Working through the task has broadened my ideas towards digital learning considerably. In fact, it’s a case of wanting to run before I can walk. Learning to use these tools to incorporate them with other strategies, to process, extend and refine knowledge will only promote greater learning outcomes and environments for me and students. The challenge is for educators to be able to implement these types of skills in real time, engaging them in team working, cognitive development, and critical thinking.
The use of ICT tools can encourage, assist, and move learning for students past the classroom walls, to connect with their peers around the world, as well as with experts in the fields they are studying. Access to these tools gives students an opportunity to experience learning in multiple ways, develop a public voice, and compare their own ideas with those of their peers (Stansbury, 2009). They cater to a wide learning style range and can encourage participation through engagement and interaction, knowledge and chance. Prensky (2005) explains in his article, “Engage Me or Enrage Me”, that’s student interactions with technology is extremely engaging outside of school, Students certainly don’t have short attention spans for their games, movies, music, or Internet surfing. More and more, they just don’t tolerate the old ways. There is no where to hide from this progress and at any rate it seems, one will never be on top of learning these technologies, rather it is better to keep up to date with their learning possibilities.
Siemens (2005) states "Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing."
Working through the list of tools, I kept in mind which ones were being used or were available in my current learning environment. Apart from video, and access to the web for wikipedia and downloads, none of the technologies are being embraced. It seems technology may have jumped a generation (partly) in its rapid progression. Siemens (2005), states in his article on connectivism, that the “shrinking half life of knowledge” is causing such an influx of new knowledge that previous skills, or tools of knowledge, may be obsolete for today’s learners. One of the largest hurdles i can see, is integrating these applications into the learning environment, more often then not, department heads or seasoned professionals, haven’t any formal ICT training to begin with. Being a first year placement student learning these new instructional designs, I had to ask myself, where does all of this fit in?
Choosing tools that I could integrate into my learning plans became a challenge to me, especially with the limited on hand resources. Through the course, I have set up a blog with students, used as a reflective point for their practical classes. Siemens (2005) believes “the starting point of connectivism is the individual”. Using this tool I can incorporate, podcast's in line with the topic for examples of recipes and methods as well as video, using youtube to show other demonstrations for examples. I have imbedded powerpoint's on the blog with my own audio to talk through task topics with pictures to provide reference and encourage cognitive thinking with related quizzes. The theory of Constructivism implies that, learners create knowledge as they attempt to understand their experiences (Driscoll, 2000).
These are basic steps, but still more then was being incorporated into their previous learning environment. Having the knowledge to use these tools will enable me to create an environment where learners are intrigued to learn, using anything from simple web-based tools for individual tasks, collaborative learning environments, and social-networking for partaking in virtual worlds.
In conclusion, the time that I spent engaging information on some of these tools really reflected my knowledge towards e-learning. Perhaps in future if there were fewer tasks with more emphasis on pertinent knowledge within learning environments, students would be able to engage more of these tools in hands on situations, for greater learning possibilities. In saying that, I have taken a lot away from engaging in task one, I learnt a lot through my peers and their approach to topics, and applaud the scaffolding structure that is collaborative reflective blogging. In the future l endeavor to place myself in an environment that supports ICT learning. I will continue to use this blog for referencing these tools, but also to share ideas and possibilities in conjunction with elearning.
Karen Stephenson states: “Experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge. Since we cannot experience everything, other people’s experiences, and hence other people, become the surrogate for knowledge. ‘I store my knowledge in my friends’ is an axiom for collecting knowledge through collecting people” (Siemens, 2005).
Thanks for reading,
Aldred, S. (2009) Course Introduction and Overview, Managing eLearning, Viewed at, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/mod/resource/view.php?id=579, Retrieved, on 18th August, 2009.
Driscoll, M. (2000). Psychology of Learning for Instruction. Needham Heights, MA, Allyn & Bacon, Retrieved, August 4th, 2009, from, http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.
Managing e-Learning course, Viewed at, http://moodle.cqu.edu.au/course/view.php?id=134, on 10th August, 2009.
Moodle, Viewed at, http://docs.moodle.org/en/About_Moodle, on 10th August, 2009.
Podcast, Viewed at, http://podcast.com/, on 10th August, 2009.
Prensky, M. (2005). Engage Me or Enrage Me - What today's learners demand. Retrieved 2nd August 2009, from, http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0553.pdf
Siemens, G. (2005), A Learning theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 3rd, 2009, from, http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.
Stansbury, M., (2009), as sighted at, http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=57910&page=1 , Retrieved on, 10th August, 2009.
Stevens, K., as sighted In, Siemens, G. (2005), A Learning theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 3rd, 2009, from, http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm.
Wikipedia, Viewed at, http://www.wikipedia.org/, on 10th August, 2009.
Youtube, Viewed at, http://www.youtube.com/edu, on 10th August, 2009.