Teachers Who Are Trying!

January 10, 2010

EDUC8842 Blog site

Filed under: Uncategorized — by cordelia @ 11:16 pm

Module 3: Video storyboard:

Hey all, here is the storyboard for my video. Looking forward to your comments!

click here! CourduffVideoStoryboard

1/2/10 – Nice post Jennifer. Shakespeare can indeed be viewed as a distance educator in the sense that his works have endured and been disseminated over the distance of time. Siemens is somewhat more current in his emphasis on the “growing acceptance of distance education.” He suggests that “distance education will be impacted by new communication technologies.” You did a good job in referring to this former in your exposition of Harley et al.

In particular, I have always mused about the possibilities of texting technology in K-12, an area where Dr. Simonson is less optimistic in terms of the diffusion of distance education. Regardless of the case, texting presents as an effortless assessment as it freely exposes an individual’s written communications skills. Although there are some that argue that texting styles are an affront to traditional written language, I sense opportunities for teaching/learning. What do you think?

Thank you….you have validated my thoughts. Texting has amazing potential for support in learning. I really understand the concern about the language of texting…but think of it this way: it’s street vs. academic language. As educators, this is not new to us. We are in the business of translation. Why is text language perceived as being so entirely different? We have survived street language, gang language, ebonics…..so why is texting so awful? Just my raw and unfiltered thoughts….

Module 2 Post

Elements of Distance Education Diffusion

Prompt: George Siemens discussed the growing acceptance of distance education in today’s corporate and educational spheres, including three possible elements of distance education that are creating more effective learning experiences and giving distance education an identity of its own distinct from F2F courses: (a) global diversity, (b) communication, and (c) collaborative interaction. Do you agree or disagree with his view?

My response: I agree with Siemens’ view. Distance education courses have the potential of providing rich conversation and unique learning opportunities with people all over the world. This is not possible in the brick and mortar setting. Having said that, a highly collaborative, interactive online environment requires a great deal of creative planning and commitment by course developers, instructors, and students. I agree with Simonson that the best online environment is a hybrid model because it includes opportunities for human interaction and community building. This is critical to learning environments that include higher level thinking to occur.
I read the following letter by a high school English teacher to the editor of Edutopia magazine, published and supported by the George Lucas Foundation for Technology in Education (2009). I found it serendipidiously relevant to the subject of human knowing when viewed through a wide lens.
I keep in mind William Shakespeare and his three audiences. Because the Bard had to keep three levels of audience enthralled and coming back for more, he employed sword fights and gore for the groundlings, romance and intrigue for the gallery, and deep philosophy with dazzling word-play for the higher-ups. I leave it up to the reader’s imagination how to engage this formula in a typical high school English class. In a nutshell: Motion and emotion go hand in hand, and there are always at least three ways of saying anything.
Upon reflection, I found that this teacher’s ideas align well with Siemens’ theories. As the theory how humans come to know has emerged through 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, the state of being human remains the same.

The research of Harley et al. (2007) discovered that university students define and purposefully use synchronous and asynchronous communications for personal, work, and school related tasks. There have been several studies on university use of technology tools to socialize first year students and decrease dropout rates (Hartley et al., 2007; Holley & Dobson, 2008). The studies found that using mobile phones for texting and voice calls keep help students feel connected to university resources and family support lines. In fact, texting and voice calls are the preferred by students when communicating to peers and family.
Holley & Dobson (2008) also found that first year university students of all ages use texting as the primary mode of communication during and outside of class. Their research suggested that there are emerging roles assigned to different communication devices, and the choice of medium is dependent on the nature of the relationship and goal of communication. Four communcation mediums were discussed in their study. These include voice calls, texting, email, and virtual learning environments.
Text messaging was the primary medium of communication for students who participated in the studies. Students consider text messaging as integral to everyday life. It is used in asynchronous communication to provide time to reflect before responding to someone or as an emotional buffer. It is also used as social support for maintaining contact with family, organizing family scheduling, maintaining a feeling of presence. It is used as academic support for clarifying questions because it advocates interdependent learning by offering a level of support for students who new to the academic and administrative system. Text messages were perceived as personalized, community-building, shared activity between the students and the university. Interestingly, the research suggested that urgent messages were more clearly communicated through text messaging than through use of a virtual learning environment.

Texting was by far the dominant mode of communication in the study. Other mediums included voice calls, email, and virtual learning environments. Voice calls were the second most commonly used medium. Voice calls were used primarily when the student needed emotional support or a feeling of closeness to another human. Voice calls were made through landlines, cell phones, and Skype. For formal communication between university staff, peers, or other necessary parties, students used email. Surprisingly, the virtual learning environment (VLE) was the least used medium. This finding contradicts the common assumption of educational institutions that students will gravitate to the VLE because it is available and convenient. The truth is that the static, linear nature of the VLE rendered it non-friendly to students and did not aid in student feeling supported or connected to the university at all (Holley & Dobson, 2008).

In a thesis paper on the generational differences between Baby Boomers and Echo Boomers in the workplace, a college student referenced the following significant observation, “Interpersonal communication is inescapable, irreversible, complicated, and contextual” (http://www.pstcc.edu/facstaff/dking/interpr.htm). Communication is inescapable. It is part of the fabric of human existence. It is irreversible. The reality is that once the spoken or written word is out there, it cannot be taken back. It is complicated. Within any given exchange resides a combination of perspectives, innuendo, auditory and visual cues that lead to clear understanding or disaster. It is contextual. It resides within relationships, environment, situation, emotion, and culture. In addition to these four traits, emerging technology resources have created a world where communication is perpetual.
Katz & Aakhus (2002) proposed that new technologies such as texting, instant messaging, MySpace, Facebook, and Skype offer the possibility for perpetual contact. This is a perpetually connected generation. It is possible to remain in constant communication with other humans 24 hours a day if one can stay awake that long. Additionally, humans are able to maintain individual conversations with several people synchrously. It is not uncommon to see someone texting, talking on the phone, posting to a chat conversation, and posting to a discussion thread simultaneously. Handheld technologies offer multiple means of real time, perpetual contact. Although these technologies are being used outside of learning environments, they are sadly underutilized in education (Scornavacca, Huff, & Marshall, 2009). Research suggests that intentionally integrating the use of mobile phones and handhelds into knowledge sharing communities will allow students to learn in the same type of world they live in – one that is perpetually connected.

Two blogs by educators:

  1. Geoff Sheehy’s blog has a great deal of information and reflective conversation: It’s called, “A Teacher Writes” http://ateacherswrites.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/the-wiki-as-knowledge-repository-using-a-wiki-in-a-community-of-practice-to-strengthen-k-12-education/
  1. The Horizon Report is another great resources for online collaborative environments: http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/

12/27/09 – Jesus’ response to Mod 1 blog – Nice blog Jennifer. Simonson made a reference to Everett Rogers’ Diffusion Theory. Have you taken the Diffusion of Innovations course? If you have, what is your sense of Simonson’s reference?
12.29.09 – Hi Jesus, thank you. I am taking 8841 right now. Love it. In light of both courses, I agree with Simonson. I think he has a very pragmatic and realistic view regarding technology integration. A complete overhaul of the educational system, while sounding nice, is not feasible. It simply won’t happen – especially in the k-8 world. Jen

Module 1 Post:
The Next Generation of Distance Education

Below is a table outlining overarching similarities and differences between Simonson and Moller, Huett, & Coleman. Specific details of researchers are listed in outline form for clarity and brevity.
I agree with both schools of thought. Most education structures will follow the suggestions of Simonson because it does not require a complete overhaul of the system. However, new institutions could realistically begin under a complete paradigm shift in the learning environment. For this reason, there is a likelihood that both incorporation into current systems and complete new structures will emerge in the 21st century.
Moller, Huett, & Coleman
Incorporate distance learning into existing structure rather than supplant the structure
A new instructional design for distance learning must be developed in order for effective distance education to be implemented
Need for revised course design
Need for learning outcomes
Need for training
Based on needs assessment
Evaluated through performance-based assessments
Must be individualized to unique student learning needs
Incorporate distance learning into existing structure
Create new structure
Focus on integrating existing resources
Focus on training and instructional design
1. Moller, Huett, & Coleman
a. Instructional design
i. Based on needs assessment/return on investment/learning outcomes
ii. Must have training/peer influence/performance report/knowledge management
iii. Need for improved instructional systems design
iv. Total revision of learning models
v. Key element is to focus on client outcomes two generations down. “The most effective strategy is the one learners actually use” (p. 74).
b. Institutes of higher education (IHE)
i. Traditional format should not be transferred to online format. This requires complete overhaul of courses using a collaborative model, training in online teaching and learning.
ii. Faculty concerns are different in the online environment and include
1. Training
2. Pay
3. Workload
4. Promotion opportunities
5. Need for clear framework outlining course goals, delivery, and structure of e-learning program including benchmarks
iii. E-learning model must include
1. Knowledge management tools
2. Problem-based learning opportunities
3. Flexibility based on unique needs of individual learners
4. Flexibility in degrees of interaction and feedback
5. Performance-based assessment
c. K-12 Online learning models
i. Benefits
1. Provide learning space in times of pandemic outbreak, teacher shortage, program improvement schools
2. Teachers have greater contact with students not able to attend face-to-face models
3. Parents have increased access to assignments and resources
4. Administrators are able to ensure course content is aligned with state standards, and is accessible to high risk students
ii. Challenges
1. Can this model reach all student populations effectively?
2. Is there adequate research to substantiate the move to online learning environments?
3. How can we accommodate for the lack of trained professionals to facilitate learning online?
4. Systemically, can education handle this paradigm shift?
2. Simonson suggests that distance education must be incorporated into traditional educational structure rather than supplanting it.
a. Distance education is by definition an institutionally based system where the learning group (teachers, students, resources) is separated by geography and time.
b. Both synchronous and asynchronous models must address differences in time and distance.
c. Simonson suggests four steps to imcorporation of distance education into traditional system
i. Step one: Assess available instructional technologies
1. Determine appropriate levels of abstraction in media
2. Identify lowest common technologies
3. Recognize tension between efficiency (abstract experience) and effectiveness (realistic experience)
ii. Step two: Determine learning outcomes
iii. Stet three: Identify learning experience and match them to appropriate available technology resources
iv. Step four: Prepare the learning experiences for online delivery using four strategies
1. Linear
2. Branched
3. Hyper programmed
4. Student programmed


Huett, J., Moller, L., Foshay, W. & Coleman, C. (2008, September/October). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the Web (Part 3: K12). TechTrends, 52(5), 63–67.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). Distance education: The next generation featuring Dr. Michael Simonson [Video program].


  1. Nicely organized PowerPoint Jennifer. Your bar graph was very telling of the extent to which our youth is active in gaming and virtual realities, areas that I’m very interested in. I’m glad you finally set up a real blog space. I really appreciate being on the same team with you. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Jesus Berrios — January 12, 2010 @ 5:47 am |Reply

  2. Thanks Jesus!
    I appreciate your consistent work also.

    Comment by cordelia — January 17, 2010 @ 12:51 am |Reply

  3. Jennifer,
    I really liked the lay out for your video. I can see where it is going to have a lot of depth to it, and I loved the graph about the different modalities along with the segment breakdowns. Where did that information come from, or did I miss something?

    Comment by Bryan "Keith" Brown — January 17, 2010 @ 2:36 am |Reply

  4. Hi Keith,
    I need to add the references…thanks for the reminder!

    Comment by Jennifer — January 18, 2010 @ 3:50 am |Reply

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