Tag Archives: Online Classroom

Taking the Tech Out of Technology

it20students20lab20classI LOVED this article!!  I posted it on our PIDP 3240 discussion forum and it generated a lot of commentary.  Peers were intrigued, interested and totally engaged in discussing this article.  In the article, the author states that instructors who were involved in the Virtual College at his school were actually not interested in technology at all….they wanted to learn ways they could increase social interaction.  Likewise, students wanted instructor contact.  Although we get very excited about new technology and great new tools, we still need to maintain the human connection.  The author sums it up well: “A blend of teaching practices, technology, and basic human contact just might be the recipe needed” (Buemi, 2015).

I tend to agree very much so with Buemi.  Although I like the options that technology gives us, I still like the human connection, between students and instructor.  Linking back to the hybrid course delivery model, this is a great way to achieve exactly the perfect recipe that Buemi describes.  Does anyone else see the risk of technology interfering with human connection in the classroom?

“Our excitement over the latest technology has started focusing on the wrong thing. It ought to reside in the praxis of teaching, not the tool.”

Source: Taking the Tech Out of Technology

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Online learning -> brain damage???

computer-evolutionThe damaging effects that screen time has on individuals has been thoroughly researched and well documented.  However, when studies recommend to limit screen time, they are generally referring to recreational screen time.  So where does necessary (work/school-related) screen time fit into the equation?

Surely our bodies suffer the same health issues whether or not we are logged in for pleasure or business.  So it is interesting to me that with the explosion of online education, no one really speaks about the health concerns associated with this kind of screen time.  I recognize that online courses are more involved than matching various candies in a row, however, our bodies are surely suffering the same health effects.  Sedentary lifestyle, increased risk of obesity, heart attack, stroke, decreased vision, poor concentration, brain atrophy, and the list goes on…  (As I sit in front of the computer typing this, I can feel my pulse rate rising with unease).

Universities need to keep up with the times and offer online learning, I get it.  Learners want convenience, flexibility, and online courses offer all this and more.  Online learning also saves the learner and the school money (no room booking fees, resources available online, etc.).  But has anyone really considered the costs… the ones we cannot put a monetary value on…?

To read about the damaging effects of screen time on the brain, click here.

white_matter_changes_internet_addiction_lin202012
“Taken together, [studies show] internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control.”  –research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction”

(Lin & Zhou et al, 2012)

 

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Free Info!

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Faculty Focus is a free email newsletter that provides subscribers with various articles and information about aspects of teaching in higher education. (Link to their webpage from my blog!).

If you’re interested in the use of technology in the classroom, they have created a special report entitled Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning.  In their report, they include articles on 13 different topics that contain practical information and links to useful resources.  For those who are wanting some guidance on how to use technology in the classroom (be it online or face-to-face), this may be a useful report (and it’s free)!

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Thoughts About The Online Classroom


“Persevering at online learning is also affected by computer and information literacy, time management […] and online communication skills […] self-esteem, feelings of belongingness in the online program, and the ability to develop interpersonal skills with peers […]” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 199)

Research is showing that online learning is proving to be a very effective form of instruction for a wide range of content and types of learners. With the self-direction that is required to be successful with online learning, this is especially an appropriate option for adult learners.

With the frustrations that come so often from using computers and new technologies, it is no surprise to me that online learner retention is a challenge. Because of a disconnect with the physical learning environment, online learners may feel less ‘attached’ to their instructor and their course, and perceive there to be no consequences in withdrawing from an online course. They are not subjected to providing explanations to instructors, or making excuses to online colleagues. To prevent this, it is vital that instructors make an effort to ensure all learners feel personally welcomed, and part of a larger learning experience. Instructors should be available to the learners, both online and physically, should they need extra support or guidance.

If in the future I have the opportunity to provide classroom teaching, I might consider using blended instruction (online and face-to-face). In doing this, I would be indicating to the learners that as an instructor, I am respectful of their time by limiting time spent in the classroom, and also that I recognize them to be adult learners who are capable of being self-directed. I would ensure that I provided one-on-one feedback and coaching, and also plan learning activities that would promote reflection, action, and self-monitoring.

Reference
Merriam, S. B., & Bierema, L.L. (2014). Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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