Friday, February 27, 2009

I’m IT. Now, you’re IT.

5 Changes to Education Meme ...A Retrospective

You are tagged! I’ve always loved playing tag as a child. Here is a 21st century adult Web 2.0 (call it what you want or not) version.

First, TJ Shay wrote this and tagged Pat Hensley; then Pat Hensley, wrote this and tagged SkipZ, SkipZ wrote this and tagged elizabethkoh who wrote this and tagged me. I had no intention of writing this; but, being tagged by Elizabeth provided me with the opportunity to reflect more on the connections of the why, what, who, when, where and how I got to be where I am today. This sounds like a chain letter; but, be that as it may, it's fine by me given the importance of the subject matter and the opportunity for all of us to continue to learn from each other.

TJ Shay’s rules were: “List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system. Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students…tag the following people…from a variety of perspectives. If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.”

A recent blog post, entitled From PLN to P-L-A-N for Moving our School Forward by Melanie Holtsman, brought back a memory of familiar/similar experiences. In fact, I recently blogged, interestingly on the same day as Melanie, about my "PLN P-L-A-N" journey entitled, 21st Century Teaching-Learning: Why, What, Who, When, Where & How to go about IT. As both a scientist and educator, I cherish my 10 years of Jesuit education. I always try to maintain a Socratic approach to teaching-learning and follow a path of discovery though experimentation. If you ask me a question, I’ll ask you another and another and another etc. We need to think pedagogically about six questions when considering Information/Instructional Technology (IT).

This post represents an ongoing reflection of how I continue to go about teaching-learning activities in my quest for life-long learning, consulting activities and now, most importantly, with my grandchildren. Oh, by the way, did I mention that I experienced 'teaching and IT burn out' in early 2002 after 35 years of teaching and 25 years of teaching-learning with technology. To keep active subsequently, I went to work in a pharmacy part-time for several years and didn't touch a computer very much except for e-mail and entering prescription information. It was just about three years ago that my daughter, who was then a senior in high school and involved in selecting and applying to colleges, mentioned Facebook; then, one of my son's (G4 out of G5) mentioned Twitter. Well, that's all it took. I began to explore and discover and got hooked on social media. My learning became exponential the more and more I gained friends and became involved with my 'learning circle of friends'.

My teaching-learning with technology journey began in 1982. The first computer I owned was an Apple IIe which I quickly enhanced and later graduated to an 'original' Mac. At work I crossed over to the PC world in 1984 when I and a colleague developed a SUNY 'living-learning experience' program called In Vitro Cell Biology & Biotechnology. Essentially students, 25-30 from public and private colleges/universities around the world, were in residence at an institute 25 miles removed from campus along with all its inherrent distractions. There was only one full-time instructor, me; the rest of the faculty (15) were guest 'experts' drawn from other colleges/universities, government and industry. Students asked, designed, experimented, analyzed and discovered 24x7 for one semester. There were no such things as 3-hour labs since there were no time constraints to learning by doing. We did what we had to do in whatever time it took. However, there was one major drawback. We were removed physically from easy access to various campus learning resources, library resources and face-to-face gatherings of people from campus.

To get around this shortcoming in 1982 was difficult since desktop computer systems and their applications were limited and inflexible. But, still we began to explore the use of technology to solve the 'distance and access' problem. We went through many teaching-learning with technology iterations from 1982-1999. These included early cryptic e-mail applications, VAX Notes conferencing, Gopher, Lynx, etc. which were all text-based, unless you used ASCII drawings. Then in late 1993 and early 1994, along came the early Web using Mosaic; hence, the began the journey to online multimedia classrooms which gave impetus to the birth of CMS/LMS applications like Blackboard (CourseInfo), TopClass (WEST), WebCT and early web conference applications. In 1999, I left SUNY to work for a LMS company based in Boston, MA and Dublin, IE which gave me an opportunity to gain a global perspective about teaching-learning ith technology in business, education and government. Wow, what a journey! I was exhausted and I took a break from IT.

I am happy to say that the current 21st century teaching-learning pedagogy and social media have revitalized me once again, primarily due to my personal and professional learning environment (PLN/PLE) friends who I would have never met and learned from if it were not for the new Web 2.0 tools. I anxiously and cautiously look forward to what lies beyond the current iteration of the Web as well. It's an exciting time to be involved and sharing/contributing once again. In the article, I outline a baker's dozen of the transition steps I took in order to be where I am today. I hope it is useful to anyone who stops by to read it because I just LOVE (Learning, Open, Visual, Experience) to LEARN (Look, Engage, Analyze, Reflect, New).

As a result of all that I have experienced, here are my FIVE changes which I would like to see in our 21st century K through Grey educational system; it’s A FACT.

1) Adoption - of both formal and informal learning and the required means to achieve true learning with a focus on high standards of performance rather than bits of knowledge

2) Focus - more emphasis on collaboration in problem solving projects and experiences with less emphasis on standardized content and tests

3) Accountability - performance reward using technology in teaching-learning with a PLAN which has a demonstrated outcome(s)

4) Connectivity - more involvement of both internal and external retired pool of ‘experts’

5) Technology - equity of access, less filtering and chance for success at using IT for all those who are seeking to realize their full potential

To continue this thread, I now respectfully tag the following friends/colleagues:

@bknittle - Beth Knittle: K12 Technology Integration Specialist

@cliotech - Jennifer Dorman: Educational Consultant/Contract Trainer for Discovery Education, STAR Discovery Educator, Google Certified Teacher, Keystone Technology Integrator

@courosa - Alec Coursa: Educational Technology Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Regina

@Downes - Stephen Downes: Senior Researcher, NRC of Canada, Affiliated with LCTechnologies Group, Institute for IT, specializes in online learning, new media, pedagogy and philosophy

@georgesiemens - George Siemens: Founder and President of Complexive Systems Inc., Associate Director, R&D with Learning Technologies Centre at University of Manitoba

@jclarey - Janet Clarey: Analyst/Researcher @ Brandon Hall Research, Instructional Design Ph.D. student @ SU

@hjarche - Harold Jarche: CEO/Founder/Principal, Jarche Consulting, performance consultant

@KarinB – Karin Beil: Teacher, retired after 34 years, Technology Trainer

@mivanova / @malinkaiva - Malinka Ivanova: Blogger, Lecturer, Technical University - Sofia, Bulgaria

@sharon_elin – Sharon Elin: NCBI, Technology Integrator, Trains/models Edtech in 14 Middle Schools

@tonykarrer – Tony Karrer: CEO TechEmpower & Producer eLearning Learning

Here’s my honorary (repeat) mention because I’ve benefited quite a bit from him as well.

@rmbyrne - Robert Byrne: Teacher and Producer of Free Technology for Teachers

My sincere apologies to all my PLN/PLE friends that I didn't tag. I mean no disrespect or hold you in any less value than the above since you also also contribute to my as well as others' daily learning. If you, or any web passers by for that matter, just happen to come across this post, please feel free to leave your "5 Changes to Education Meme" as a comment or start your own. I would love to read your meme.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

21st Century Teaching-Learning: Why, What, Who, When, Where & How to go about IT

This represents my journey into 21st Century Teaching-Learning which is both formal and informal. e-Learning means Connectivity, Communication, Collaboration, and Content (4Cs) and connects people to people and people to information and involves the 3Rs; namely, getting the Right content to the Right people at the Right time. Participants use various combinations of face-to-face, the Web, LMS/LCMS and/or real-time collaboration solutions integrated with Web 2.0 technologies, e.g., blogs, micro-blogs, RSS, wikis, social networking tools, audio and video podcasts, screencasts, photo sharing tools, mapping tools, gaming, social bookmarking/tagging, etc. for a PLE, as well as site-based classroom instruction to collaboratively create content by networking with instructor(s), guest speaker(s) and other learners around the world.

Consequently, content materials may include various combinations of text, images, animations, games, simulations, audio, video, websites and other supplements. Participants can work at locations and times that are convenient for them and best of all the content can be customized to the knowledge and experience of the learner. All this adds up to participants getting personalized, on-demand and rapid (e)learning. It's a different and more effective way of teaching the ABCs.

Do you like to teach-learn both formally and informally? I do. Then, take TIME to EXPLORE, DISCOVER, find PURPOSE and develop a PLAN for your teaching-learning in the 21st Century. You can decide (or not) to follow one or more of the following suggestions to be more connected (Connectivism) and better at communicating and contibuting (Constructivism). This is how I got started and grew as a result of learning from others. To manage the massive amount of information and not get overwhelmed, I recommend that you have a PURPOSE and PLAN for what you decide to do. On the other hand, you just might want to experiment until you do find a purpose and plan that suits you, your time and interest. Perhaps you won't and that's OK. The point is to explore, try and learn. So, CONNECT and CONTRIBUTE using any one or more of these baker's dozen suggestions as appropriate to your teaching-learning.

  • Do a search on a topic of interest using Google; select a topic of interest to you professionally, e.g., education. Look at the first 10 results and see if you think they represent your topic well. With Google you can rearrange the items in a priority that suits you and your specific interests. See if your work or work you are interested in is well-represented there. If not, get STARTED by exploring the following:

    • Connect with a person using e-Mail and/or text message (IM) a friend/colleague about what you are doing, something you've read or what you are thinking about. AIM, Skype and/or WIM are easy to use "presence" software for this purpose.

    • Start using social bookmarking and tagging with Delicious or Diigo to keep track and share material you find relevant.

    • Look into using a RSS reader such as Google Reader to track and read material you find relevant. But, first take a tour to see what it is all about.

    • Learn how information spreads by posting an article you like or wrote to digg, reddit, StumbleUpon, etc. You can use or HelloTxt to manage/update your status simultaneously on your social networks.

    • View or post a picture to Flickr or a video to YouTube. If you aren’t ready to post, then participate by commenting on or voting on some.

    • Get involved with social networks and develop your own personal and professional learning network environment (PLN/PLE), e.g., LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, MySpace, etc. Create a profile, including a picture and invite some colleagues. If you search, you’ll find many of them already there. You can connect to me by searching wgraziadei.

    • Participate in microblogging by joining Plurk, Twitter, Seesmic, Utterli and/or Yammer. Explore text-, audio-, and/or video-based micro-blogging to determine if it fits your style of connectivity and communication. Find some colleagues who are already there and ask them to be friends. If they are not there invite them. Try following me at wgraziadei.

    • Read and explore a few blogs to get a sense of what they are about and how involved they can be. Then try your hand at creating a blog if you have the desire and can commit to the time involved. I recommend that you investigate using Blogspot or Wordpress or Edublogs.

    • Join and/or create a social community using Ning and set up an online community that revolves around your interests or activities, e.g., Education, Learning Town, Classroom 2.0, T-L Community, Pedagogy, Library and/or online conferences/unconferences such as Trends in Learning/Work Literacy/Spaces. First search to see what else is there. If you find some, check to see how many members they have and the date of the latest site activity.

    • Use a Wiki to collaborate: Try Wikipedia Wikipedia, pbWiki, WikiSpaces, etc. Search, read, join and enhance it. If there isn’t one there, create it. See who else is on it.

    • Join, create, share and learn in an asynchronous classroom using commercial and open source LMS/LCMS such as edu20, Edmodo, Studeous, Moodle, etc.

    • Join create, share and learn in a synchronous virtual classroom, office, or conference. Share and learn LIVE in Elluminate, WiZiQ, ooVoo Video Conference Room, Ustream and/or Mogulus.

    • eLCS - TLT Mogulus Broadcast TV

      Click to join eLCS - TLT Broadcast TV.

      Teaching-Learning & Technology Broadcast TV Web2.0 Talk

What word(s) would you add to the above Wordle representing 21st Century Teaching-Learning environments?

GO and DISRUPT your LEARNING and traditional. EDUCATION!

CAUTION! If you don't like acronyms, skip this paragraph. I just LOVE (Learning, Open, Visual, Experience) to LEARN (Look, Engage, Analyze, Reflect, New - OK your turn... can you come up with a better one for this?). Acronyms help me to remember and reflect on key points in my thinking as I teach-learn. The key to e-learning becoming learning can be represented by a discovery pathway I follow in my continuous (now grey) learning journey; I call it Q-RADAR; namely, Query, Research, Analyze, Develop, Assess, Reflect. The operative word (yes, just one more) is QUERY - Question, Understand, Evaluate, Respond, Yearn! I know that many of you are not a fan of acronyms; but, the point is that it works for me and my framework. Enough is enough; I'll stop with the acronyms. Please don't throw any tomatoes.

To understand where I am coming from in my teaching-learning with technology, think about Connectivism and Constructivism in education as explained in this video piece.

To close, we might ask, "Is there room in the 21st century student network for a teacher and teaching anymore?" Will the teacher become a technician? I say NO! The role of a teacher is important in not teaching WHAT we know but HOW we came to know WHAT we know and WHY through listening, guiding and discovery. Today, I strongly believe that learning is an informal global and social e-process in addition to the formal face-to-face (F2F) classroom, seminar and conference experiences. The exciting part is that these informal and formal empowers all of us to move rapidly from a knowledgeable to knowledge-able state of mind and presence. A good teacher knows how to ask the right question and not just give the right anwser. Indeed, there is a right time and right place for everything. Listening and collaborating are key. A teacher today needs to be a practitioner, resource, guide, coach, mentor, role model, innovator and pioneer who is able and comfortable to say, be that F2F or digital, "I don't know; but, let's go discover and learn together."

A great big GRAZIA to all my PLE/PLN friends who have CONNECTED and helped me CONSTRUCT these teaching-learning with technology thoughts. I can categorically state that I didn't learn any of this from scratch. I always try to relate my experiences and ideas to what I learn from others in order to construct a teaching-learning framework that works for me. Everyday YOU help me embed my ideas in your ideas. For this, I am deeply indebted to the e-world spirit of socialism!

Consequently, I can't close without asking, "What are your thoughts, opinions and/or suggestions about any or all of this?"


Please see a follow-up to this post, I'm IT. Now, you're IT. - 5 Changes in Education Meme ...A Retrospective.
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.