Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections

 

There are a number of digital tools used to make social connections, all with different purposes.  danah boyd’s recent book, “It’s Complicated, The Social Lives of Networked Teens” shares her as-always profound understanding of how networked spaces work.  In this article from DML Central, Nicole Mirra shares a review of one of danah and Harold Jenkins’ recent book talks and suggests ways in which some of the points made in the discussion geared for parents can also be used as catalysts for meaningful conversations between educators and their students.

1. “Tools that can connect us don’t do so automatically — online spaces are often just as segregated as other social spaces.”boyd and Jenkins explained that while it may appear that digital tools automatically inspire connection across boundaries, the reality of how people use them often produces increased isolation socioeconomically and ideologically……”

via Digital Tools Can’t Magically Create Connections | DMLcentral.

2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies

1/3 of faculty have taught an online class in the past year, and 62% of those faculty say that online learning will lead to pedagogical breakthroughs, according to a new study done by Educause.  Educause, a higher ed technology organization, is likely sharing information from its own member base who are all technology users – which is a subset of the total faculty population – but it is still very interesting.  Shared by Daniel Christian, here are some key findings.

 

“Faculty recognize that online learning opportunities can promote access to higher education but are more reserved in their expectations for online courses to improve outcomes.

Faculty interest in early-alert systems and intervention notifications is strong.

The majority of faculty are using basic features and functions of LMSs but recognize that these systems have much more potential to enhance teaching and learning.

Faculty think they could be more effective instructors if they were better skilled at integrating various kinds of technology into their courses.

Faculty recognize that mobile devices have the potential to enhance learning.”

via 2014 Student and Faculty Technology Research Studies [Educause/ECAR].

These are the trends and challenges shaping online learning

 

 

It is interesting to see where online programs “live” in a school.  Sometimes each school within a University makes its own decisions and has its own faculty readiness program and expectations, but increasingly the decision making is being moved to one centralized location.  This infographic from Education Dive shares the results of a survey of 675 administrators, and depicts the online program roll out strategy that they found was most common.

 

These are the trends and challenges shaping online learning [Infographic] | Education Dive.

12 Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment or Hybrid Class

I’m often asked about new technology to offer faculty for use in their classes.  The first answer is number 3 below – best to use tools with which we are already familiar.   If the technology isn’t transparent, then it becomes the focus instead of the pedagogy or the content.  In this article from Jesse Stommel via Hybrid Pedagogy about Creating a Digital Assignment, he offers many great ideas (as always.)  But on a fundamental level, we often can’t get past the concept of anything minimally digital if the trepidation of a new tool gets in the way.

 

“Questions I ask myself when creating a digital assignment or hybrid course:

1. What is my primary goal for students with this course / assignment?

2. What is my digital pedagogy? How does my goal for this assignment intersect with my broader teaching philosophy?

3. What tools that I already use analog or digital could help me achieve these goals? It is often best to use the tools with which we are already familiar, rather than turning to the shiny and newfangled.

4. In order for this activity / class to work, what gaps do I need to fill with other tools / strategies?

5. Is my idea simple enough? What can I do to streamline the activity?

6. What is my goal beyond this assignment / course? How will the activity and my pedagogy evolve? In other words, don’t feel like you have to meet all your goals during the first attempt — think of the process, from the start, as iterative. Think also about how you can bring students their feedback and the fruits of their work during the first iteration into the continuing evolution of the activity / course.

7. Go back to step 1 and work through these steps and likely several times.”

via 12 Steps for Creating a Digital Assignment or Hybrid Class | Digital Pedagogy | Jesse Stommel  .

College on the Cover: Doom and Gloom Through the Decades

 

Higher Education’s disruption – whether or not a college education is worth the investment – what jobs, if any, are available for graduates – these issues seem timely.  In reality the same themes have emerged repeatedly over the years, albeit with different twists.  Magazine covers over the past few decades remind us.  From The Chronicle.  “Bold commentary on the state of a college education more often, on its shortcomings has a long history on American newsstands.”

via College on the Cover: Doom and Gloom Through the Decades – The Ticker – Blogs – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Sense-making and sharing

Personal knowledge mastery is about much more than watching relevant feeds on RSS, networked learning, or keeping up with new developments in your field.  Meaning-making, or what Harold Jarche refers to as Sense-making, is necessary to use that knowledge properly.  Sometimes we find things we want everyone on our team to know.  Are they receptive?  How do we know who to share new knowledge with?  It is one of the most difficult parts of being a networked, lifelong learner in a workplace.  People have other things to do, urgent things to take care of.  Harold refers to “too much noise” – how do we avoid becoming noise as opposed to a signal?   “If you only seek new information and knowledge for yourself, without spending time to make it personal, you will not advance your own growth bottom left. If you keep your knowledge to yourself, you will not be viewed as a contributor to any knowledge networks, and will miss out on learning with and from others, especially professional colleagues bottom right. However, if you share indiscriminately, you will be creating too much noise, and others will ignore you top left. The journey to personal knowledge mastery is finding the right balance between seeking, sense-making, and sharing top right. There are many possible practices in this quadrant, but each person must find his or her own way.”

via Sense-making and sharing.

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