Tag You’re It Tuesday, Feb 8 2011 

The two major pluses I see with tagging/social bookmarking are

1.  the ability to access them from any computer versus one specific computer and

2.  the ability to share with others on the web

Similar to the use of blogs it allows for more immediacy, you have the assistance of others doing the same type of work you’re doing.  Instead of just the sites you find in your web searching, you can see websites that others have found that could be of great value.  Given modern times where our pacing is at warp speed, this can be an amazing asset when you need to have some bit of information yesterday. 

http://www.commoncraft.com/bookmarking-plain-english was an excellent how to guide for getting started with tagging/bookmarking and explaining its benefits. 

Jon Udell’s blog about the use of tagging was right on the mark for me.  http://blog.jonudell.net/2007/12/12/discovering-versus-teaching-principles-of-social-information-management/ I think the vast change that has occurred in internet programs Facebook, blogs, tagging, etc.  is definitely going to require some changes in what kids learn in primary and secondary schools as well as educational professionals at all levels.  I remember when I was in high school I decided to go ahead and take a typing class because teachers were beginning to require papers to be typed when submitted and I didn’t want to have to spend twice as long working on a paper because of not knowing how to type.  I am very glad I sacrificed an elective for one year to take that course as opposed to friends of mine who chose to continue with their normal elective choices and still “hunt and peck” in a computer driven world.  Kids of today and the future are going to have to go a step beyond basic typing skills and learn about the different platforms available to assist in their educational experience and every day life…learn about blogging, tagging, social bookmarking, etc. so they’re prepared to be efficient “knowledge finders.”

Technology & Teaching Wednesday, Feb 2 2011 

One of the key things that came up in our group discussion was the use of blogs for academic publishing and the issue of intellectual property.  It can be difficult to find a good balance between sharing some of your ideas related to your research interests to get feedback from colleagues and potential links to others with the same interest, but at the same time there is the fear that someone might take your concept and run with it themselves and potentially publish it before you’re able to do so.  There doesn’t seem to yet be any real rules or guidelines for blogs and intellectual property at this time.  At least one classmate stated he wouldn’t discuss his research ideas on a blog to prevent the problem, but it seems you would potentially missing out on the opportunity to improve your research effort by not posting at all about research interests. 

I believe that all of Chickering and Gamson’s principles are still applicable and if anything are easier to practice given the technology available today. Using technology in the classroom has its ups and downs as all techniques do.  It allows students who may be to shy to participate in class and in the instance of blogs it provides an opportunity for more discussion than would be possible in the classroom.  This is demonstrated in an article and video about Dr. Linneman a sociology professor at The College of William and Mary http://www.wm.edu/news/stories/2011/linneman.php.  A downside of technology in the classroom is that unmotivated students may be even more distracted with open access to technology.  An article in The Chronicle also discusses the use of technology in the classroom, specifically skype/webcams for guest lectures or students who are unable to make it to class.  http://chronicle.com/article/New-Question-for-Professors-/126073/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Blogging Thursday, Jan 27 2011 

Learning about the history of blogging via Stephen Downs’ article “Educational Blogging” was interesting.  I was not aware that 9/11 was the impetus for blogging taking off as a means of communication.  Many pluses were discussed in regards to blogs and education.  Movable type was mentioned as allowing teachers to create blogs only accessible by an individual student and the teacher, providing an outlet for private feedback so a student doesn’t have to be called out in the classroom and the student can ask questions without fearing the reaction of classmates. 

Educators also benefit from the use of blogs.  It allows knowledge to be shared in a more immediate manner, without searching.  As described on page six of “New Media Technologies and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” from the January 2009 issue of The Academic Commons Magazine, “It’s like continuously working with thousands of research associates around the world.”  In addition, blogs were mentioned to place academics in a more proactive role with media versus reacting or responding to their questions.

Below are the links for Stephen Downs’ article as well as Henry Jenkins’ blog about blogging in academia. 

http://henryjenkins.org/2008/04/why_academics_should_blog.html

http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume39/EducationalBlogging/157920

Online Education Thursday, Jan 27 2011 

After reading “Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning and Engagement by Dave Cormier and George Siemens as well as “New Media Technologies and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” from the January 2009 issue of The Academic Commons Magazine many thoughts came to mind.

The creation of open courses on the web and other forms of online education are bringing about many questions into the education arena.  How will this impact higher education?  Is online better than traditional courses or vice versa?  There are certainly many considerations to be made as society enters a digital era.  How does online impact educators, students, society as a whole?  For students there are ups and downs…some students might be more inclined to participate in and impersonal electronic design where others might not participate as much given the option of not reading all of the posts.  Online allows for students to pace themselves as they need versus in a classroom setting where all of the students must wait until everyone understands the subject matter.  On the other hand, students lose the interpersonal experience with online classes.  A broader question being is this the beginning of a transition to a society that only interacts with others virtually instead of face to face?  What would that mean?  It might be a plus for the environment, but what happens to psychosocial development and the economy.  With open courses many professors could become unemployed as far fewer professors would be needed for instruction.  In addition, secondary teachers could find themselves out of work if more parents chose home schooling over public or private education with the availability of instruction from the best of every area of study online.