I am now posting to my WordPress blog directly from Google Glass. It’s simple. Very easy.
The start of my second graduate degree has commenced and I am cautiously trying to decide when it is appropriate to regret my choice. Let me explain. There is no potential regret for choosing to start another graduate program, but there is potential for regretting which university and program I chose. After much research, I originally narrowed my options to three programs: Pepperdine University’s
Master of Arts in Learning Technologies, Michigan State University’s Educational Technology Master of Arts, and Purdue University’s Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology. All of these allowed me the option of studying via distance and, on paper, seemed to match my educational goals. Pepperdine’s program was too expensive and required me to be on-site in California for two summers, which I was unable to commit because of prior commitments to summer volunteering and service. After choosing Purdue’s Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology, I am wondering if it was the correct choice.
In choosing to study further about educational technology, I was hoping that program would utilize the newest of tools and professors who modeled both global learning and cutting-edge instructional practices.
Though much too early to make a decision, here are my first observations after several weeks of classes:
1. I cannot find professors from the program using social media
I haven’t been able to find even one of them active on Twitter. Actually, I have yet to find any professors from Purdue active on Twitter. I certainly expected that professors from the Learning Design and Technology program actively sharing and engaged with others around the world through Twitter or other social media platforms.
2. Digital Services
The learning (course) management system that is used by Purdue is Blackboard. Had I known just how antiquated and inefficient this learning management system is, it would have influenced my decision to choose another program. Currently I am spending way too much time fumbling through terribly organized discussions on Blackboard. There is almost no social aspect to it and I really do not want to spend the next two years of my life trying to communicate with people via poorly designed discussion boards.
Further, Purdue’s Mymail system feels like, as did Blackboard, stepping back in time. Truly, I do not understand why schools do not get on board with Gmail. Even Yahoo, Hotmail, and others have figured out that they have to improve their email services.
3. Lack of Response
Throughout the admissions process I had a great experience with my admissions counselor. Truly, I felt like he helped walk me through the process and actually cared about my application. Then, once an enrolled student, I received the “mass” email from the Director of Recruitment welcoming me to the program. There main thrust of the email was a specific request to respond to him answering five questions. I answered them, thoroughly and thoughtfully, providing positives and negatives concerning my experience. I never heard back from him. That was three weeks ago.
I am trying my best to wait and choose whether to regret my decision at a later time. I realize it is far too early to tell, but so far the signs have me worried.
I have been watching the Youtube Teacher’s Channel since it launched recently and am thrilled at the content and resources available to teachers. Whether or not you are in support of students viewing content on Youtube, every teacher can use this new channel as a resource for their own discovery process.
On October 31st I will be presenting on 21st Century Learning Environments with Mr. Darren Price. This is the second year the symposium has been held and is sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in conjunction with Hanyang University. It is always interesting to walk into a presentation situation not knowing how many participants will be there and the background of the target audience. In any case, I am looking forward to it. More details are in the brochure, here.
Yesterday I gave a presentation to about 40 educational leaders in Korea representing all the various provinces and other organizations. The topic focused on English education and mobile devices. One thing that I pointed out was that responsive artificial intelligence has finally arrived in a form that can be used by anyone and that the impact could be helpful for English language learners. Dragon Dictation has been well-received and very helpful on Apple’s iOS platform (and others), but it doesn’t respond to you intelligently. It only dictates what you speak. Now, with Siri… there’s a response.
I can imagine that in the future that artificial intelligence will be applied in many different ways. Imagine reading a digital book where you can have a conversation with the main characters and even give input to what actions they take.
It has been a personal and professional goal for some time to become an Apple Distinguished Educator. This opportunity became available this year as our school has transitioned from a Microsoft 1:1 environment to a Mac 1:1 environment. The transition is logical. “Going Apple” matches our educational philosophy, especially in light of 21st century learning.
This morning I received an acceptance email to the 2010 ADE Asia Institute. In March I’ll be traveling to Singapore to meet with approximately 70 educators in the region to attend this exciting event. I am thrilled to receive this opportunity and hope to make every effort to learn, create, and collaborate.
Here is the self-introduction video that I made to accompany my application:
Here is a snapshot of a sample “shell” ePortfolio that is being considered for use in the middle school:
The last several weeks have been filled with interesting conversations about our ePortfolios and their relationship(s) and effects on student digital literacy, online safety, and digital responsibility. There are many opinions within our learning community and the issues we face will not be solved quickly or easily. Some of the issues are embedded in these questions:
- Should the ePortfolios be open or closed?
- Who owns the information and ideas in the ePortfolio?
- Who is responsible for the ePortfolio (student or school)?
- What is appropriate ePortfolio information for the online community?
- Can middle school students be responsible for their digital watermark and online presence where school related work/information is involved?
Thinking through some of these questions has caused me to reconsider and revisit the purpose and rationale of ePortfolios. And, whereas revisiting the purpose/rationale is a simple process, prioritizing the reasons supporting and detracting from the use of ePortfolios is not as simple. In any case, here are some of the rationales that I believe are central to determine if and how ePortfolios should be used:
- Metacognitive growth
- Learning style identification
- Digital citizenship and Responsibility
Even though there may be varying opinions regarding the uses of ePortfolios and how they are implemented in a k-12 learning environment, the points of rationale are certainly worthy of moving ahead cautiously.
This weekend I am attending my first International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program (DP) workshop. It is great to be back in Thailand and this is my first experience really spending time in Bangkok. Flying Asiana Airlines from Korea was nice even though we did not have personal entertainment systems.
Why are you attending a DP workshop?
Last year and a half I spent considerable time developing a good understanding of the IB Middle Years Program (MYP). However, the more I explore the development of the MYP in grades 9 and 10, I realize that it is important to have a solid understanding of the intricacies of the DP program (grades 11,12). Because of the “high-stakes” nature of the IB DP exams, it is very important to align the two programs so that students completing the MYP (grade 10) are fully prepared to enter the DP (grade 11). Whereas we are making some progress in accomplishing this, I am ill-equipped because of my limited understanding of the DP. Therefore, I am spending some portion of my professional energies learning more about the Diploma Program, the requirements, and especially the assessment system during the 2009-2010 school year.
Therefore, I am currently sitting in a DP English A1 workshop here in Thailand that is being hosted by New International School of Thailand. There are some striking differences between the MYP workshops that I’ve attended and this DP workshop. I suppose that it is largely because of the workshop leader, but I have yet to determine if it is limited to only this workshop leader.
First, there is a lot of lecture. The workshop leader has spent considerable time sitting behind a table with her laptop, lecturing (with a semi-soft voice) to the workshop attendees. The Powerpoint presentation that she is using is filled with excessive text. There have been little to no graphics or visuals. Immediately following lunch the workshop leader started a lecture… there was some major CARB SLUMPING going on throughout the room. People were completely disengaged, almost asleep.
Other things that I’ve noticed:
- Little patience to answer questions and engage in discussion that is not on the agenda
- Focus on dissemination of information
- Teacher-centered with great expectation that participants do things the way the workshop leader requires
- Little attempt to identify or build background understanding and to help people build on what they already know
On another note, there are some fascinating people here. Overall there are approximately 450 faculty from various countries in the world attending a variety of both MYP and DP workshops. It is great to see some people that I met over last year and to hear their stories about implementing or growing their programs. Building a professional learning network in this context is quite exciting.
When I walked into the multi-purpose room this morning to attend the large group “welcome”, all of the other faculty from my school were already there, seated together, and working. Of all the faculty in the room, every GSIS faculty attendee had their laptop out, were online, and were engaged online. It was quite funny to see…