Monthly Archives: October 2014

An Example of Screencasting in a Live Class Setting

As I shifted through the article choices returned after a filtered search through our library site, I was surprised to see that even some of the most recent articles were already somewhat out of date.  One such article for example, Screencasting for an Audience of One by M. Jacobsen, referenced tools such as Screenjelly-an application that has since become obsolete.  So, with acknowledgment to the ever-changing world of technology, I decided to try to find something that would show what using a screencast could look like as opposed to a list of possible application tools.

Enter yet one more article, but this time one focusing on the use of screencasts in a social studies classroom;  Cast from the Past: Using Screencasting in the Social Studies Classroom, written by researchers Catherine Snydera, Lawrence M. Paskabc & David Besozzid.  The action research study follows a social studies educator as he uses screencasts in three ninth-grade World History classrooms.  His goal was to increase student-centered learning while meeting the needs of as many learners as possible.  What he found however, was an increase in student engagement, instruction in career and college technological skills, and facilitation of special education students’ needs. A feat that many find difficult, at best, due to the high demand placed on childhood education classrooms indicated by standardized testing requirements.  But, the research did also note the identification of a few drawbacks as well….

The tool was used to present various information and students’ were then able to take notes at their own pace.  They could pause, rewind, re-review later-it was like having the professor/teacher in their pocket when they needed him. Class time would be used to ask and discuss any questions as well as spend time on learning activities devoted to the topic.  Many noted their appreciation for more activity in class, some realizing the greater learning that took place, and others just noting that it was more “fun”.  A few still mentioned that they were not as excited about the extra homework they had as a result of the screencast integration, others even mentioned that they could have trouble accessing it while a few noted that they thought the screencasts were boring/non-interactive.  But then, one has to wonder, what would their academic results have looked like in a traditional style classroom vs. this method?  Do they simply learn better when in a traditional style classroom?  OR, is this just new and different and the realization of how much more they ended up taking away from the class not really hit them yet?  Hmmm….perhaps a point for further study….

I am inspired by what I found in this study and, while the example is in a high school vs. a higher learning environment, I would be remiss not to note that many childhood education programs are identifying ways to focus teaching on the student and their learning, vs. a the traditional behavioral methodology.  So in this action learning (adult learning), flipped classroom/student-centered (adult learning), integrated classroom example I challenge anyone not to look at the methodologies and the insight that was used in this study and tell me how they can’t fit it to their own educational world.  Give it a shot and be inspired by what technology might do for your classroom-as long as it is up-to-date 🙂

Hmmm….what have we learned as I give Screencasting a shot!


Pedagogy in a New Light

I remember the first time I heard the term pedagogy.  I was in my first semester of study for my Masters, living in a whirlwind of new words and theories encompassed by the label Adlt 601.  Pedagogy was, for me, a word to finally articulate what it meant when I saw someone teach and watched as someone learned.  There is, in fact, a difference I think. I invite criticism as I propel forward with these thoughts…but I feel as though I may be thinking somewhat in parallel to Sean Michael Morris in his post regarding Digital Pedagogy.  Helping someone to understand, to grasp, to learn something so that they can continue to build on that basis of knowledge, even after they leave you and the classroom far behind, is truly an art.   For it is sometimes the variety of ways, the collaboration of their own experiences along with others around them (including the one at the ‘front’ of the classroom) that paints the new lens that they leave with.   And each time it’s different, each individual is different, each andragogical opportunity (in our world of adult learning:) is different.  So why not tap into that?  For it is also the methods chosen that can make the experiences, for all involved, powerful or simply palatable.  So why then, do we not look more often to the WWW?

As Morris continues in his post, the world of the LMS began (and still in some ways remains) in a ‘teaching’ world.  The purpose, at least from my perspective when thinking of the business world and its need for an LMS for employees, is to more or less present the material and then check the box ‘complete’.  It is seldom that true awareness has been created, or that real learning has occurred.  This, in a sense, is my separation of teaching and learning.

But it is the pairing of words, digital and pedagogy, that has sent my mind headed in another direction in thinking about methods that we use for our learners.  The endless possibilities that we have to collaborate, reflect, construct, and connect.  In a class of many we can learn from the instructor as well as one another…and perhaps even from our own selves.  We can utilize tools that allow this to happen in class, outside of class and perhaps even beyond class.  Perhaps the reason behind the idea of a hybrid style of learning?  A self-run PowerPoint with voice over isn’t enough to provide a building of schema, we must provide the learner with opportunities to take those bullets on the slide and do something.  Have them think about it, apply it, discuss it, align it with their own ideas and experiences and decide what it means to them.  Don’t just ask them to listen to your ramblings, especially if they are ‘listening’ as they continue to work on something else or, better yet, with the sound off until it’s over.  Give them tools, perhaps digital tools or some sort of combination, and start a discussion(s) that helps them learn it.

“Digital pedagogy demands that we rethink power relations between students and teachers — demands we create more collaborative and less hierarchical institutions for learning” (Jesse Stommel, Decoding Digital Pedagogy)

So go on.  Build yourself a PLN.  Go explore the web and all of its free resources.  Then, go teach something.  Or better yet, help someone collaboratively learn something new that creates an awareness that leaves them motivated to know more.


Connectivism, a Professional Toolkit, and a Side of Self-Awareness

As a result of our challenge this week, to find a relevant article with a fairly new date, I stumbled upon the most fascinating read regarding connectivism and what it could look like when applied to a curriculum (and it was dated 2014!).

I was hooked as soon as I saw the statement, “connectivism addressess many of the challenges identified in organizational learning and knowledge management as well as specifically focusing on the role of technology in learning.” (p. 81)  For this was an idea that brought me back to where we are in our discussions in Adult 641 and yet really caused some further reflection as to how it may tie into what I’ve learned over the past few years.  The idea of using technology to “facilitate networking, knowledge sharing, critical consumption of information, and continuous learning.” (p. 81) is one that is becoming more and more prevalent in the realm of adult learning in general.  Technology, after all, is noted by Siemens (2005) as what is beginning to define and shape our thinking.   An idea that we have discussed over the past few months in class.  But perhaps it was the statement found a few pages later, on pg. 83, that truly brought me back to how effective the two can be when paired together.  “Learners’ content, networks, and tools can be used to create Personal Learning Environments (PLE), which allow learners to control and manage their learning and set their own goals, to manage content and what is done with content, and to communicate with others as part of their learning.” (p.83)

The article went on in its justification by describing an undergraduate degree that has been created at an Australian based university.  The program uses connectivist principles to tie together courses in the realm of HR and OD, while utilizing technology and its various uses to increase the learning of the individuals that participate. There is a professional toolkit that they are provided with in the beginning, inclusive of a variety of different web-based tools and instructions on each one.  The goal is to encourage the students to then use the tools, discovering what works best for them to assist in building their own PLNs.  “The use of e-learning tools within the degree has also been informed by current practice in the field, whereby organizational learning practitioners should be using Web 2.0 applications such as social bookmarks, news feeds, podcasts, blogs, wikis, and discussion forums as well as social and professional networking publications such as LinkedIn or Plaxo as part of their personal learning network.” (p. 85)

All in all, this article made me realize that I really wish I had taken this class a bit earlier on in my studies.  In reflection, our professors have been forward thinking enough to also incorporate the resources touted in this article that should be part of a connectivist style of learning:

  • Online publishing tools (e.g. wikis and blogs)
  • Resource sharing tools (e.g. Google drive)
  • Communication tools (e.g. Google Hangout)
  • Tools for organizing information (e.g. Concept Mapping, Prezi)

But I’m also left to wonder what else may be out there that is still waiting to be discovered.  What tools, had I have known about them before, could have increased my own learning during my time at VCU?  And yet, while my introduction to the ideas and possibilities that the web can bring to learning was not a formal one, I would be remiss not to say that I am pleased to find that I have come across each one with thanks to my professors and classmates during my studies.  While the theory of connectivism may not be a fully accepted theory when discussing adult learning principles, I have become a believer and appreciate what it has added to my own learning journey.  So here’s to the WWW and I’m off now to work on my own PLN.

***Interested in reading the full article?  Check it out: diigo.com/05deyf