IT 780 Blogfolio




This semester has been a tough, yet rewarding one. I feel like I have successfully juggled the role of a graduate student, while maintaining my sanity as a first-year teacher. This may not sound like much for someone who doesn’t really know me (and the overachiever I am… or claim to be!). All in all, I toned down my school work a little to focus on my “first” job, and I think it all worked out alright. What a semester it has been!

Through this class, I have acquired a ton of new information regarding social media and Web 2.0 tools for education. I had previous knowledge of blogs in education, but I’ve rekindled my interest in using them in my classroom. The Blackboard account associated with my classes has a great blog tool with many different features. I plan to explore this tool in more detail this summer so I am able to begin using it with my students this fall.

My senior year in college, I did a presentation on Don Tapscott’s book Wikipedia, so I did have previous knowledge of wikis. In another undergraduate class, I was trained on the use of Wikis in our classroom. However, this semester, I was able to really see the uses and benefits of wikis in all areas of education—from elementary Language Arts classes to high school World History classes. The uses of wikis in education are practically endless. Similar to the blog tool incorporated into Blackboard, there is also a wiki tool that I plan to begin using in my classes next year. I feel that this is a really great tool that, with a little thought, can help produce wonderful learning experiences for my students.

Slidecasting was a relatively new tool for me. I really enjoyed our slidecasting assignment and found the audio syncing tool to be especially easier than I’d originally thought it would be. Although it may be indirectly related, the use of Slideshare has helped me “re-think” some of the ways I teach material. Since then, I have started using Camtasia, the screencast tool, to help teach some projects and lessons in Photoshop. While I feel that Slideshare is an excellent way to capture audio and PowerPoints, I do believe that using software such as Camtasia is a little simpler and doesn’t rely on an Internet connection. After completing this project, I can definitely see both positive and negative aspects of using this tool.

Social networking in the classroom—Now that’s something you don’t hear every day! Undoubtedly, this was my favorite and most interesting tools that we studied this semester. I really enjoyed the way that Dr. Yuen made each tool practical and meaningful for us. By being students, or participants, in our social network through Ning, each of us learned the effect that social networking can have on a hybrid-formatted class. Alternatively, each of us was required to design and launch our very own Ning network, based upon whatever “class” we like. I decided to create a network for my Computer Graphics I students and incorporated a classroom calendar, pictures, syllabus, groups, discussion boards and assignments. In my opinion, the idea of social networking takes a learning management system (such as Moodle or Blackboard) one step further—It adds that special touch of “personal” information that learners feel gives them more control and capability than a standalone LMS. I am excited about the prospect of implementing my own social networking site into my classroom. I think my students would be very intrigued, interested, and enthusiastic about using it.

Prior to this class, I didn’t have a very thorough background of podcasting. I knew what it was, and often thought it would be pretty simple to create. In the end, it ended up working out well, but the steps were indeed a little more complicated than I’d anticipated. With the help of a friend, I was able to get my iTunes channel of podcasts up-and-running! While I had a positive experience with podcasting, I don’t think I’ll use it much in my class. There is a possibility, however, I may used enhance podcasting (with visuals). I think this type of podcasting would be more relative for my students—I have a lot of visual and kinesthetic learners.

I didn’t have the greatest time creating my mobile Website. As mentioned in a previous reflection, I got a late start on this project and perceived it to be “easy.” From now on, I mustn’t confuse “easy” and “fast.” Projects of this sort seem to take a bit longer than I usually expect. Unfortunately, my mobile Website didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. It was, indeed, a fun project and I think the concept of educational mobile Websites in the future have the potential to be really great.

Overall, I really enjoyed IT 780. This was the first course I’ve had under Dr. Yuen, and I really enjoyed his hybrid method of teaching, especially using our social network, Ning. I particularly enjoyed that this is a “current trends” course. I am looking forward to using the Web 2.0 tools and other revolutionary technology tools in my classroom in the near future, particularly a blogs, slidecasting, and social networks!

Description/summary of main ideas in the chapter.

The author begins the chapter by discussing some characteristics of Web 2.0 applications. The “old school” Web method has been described as “one-to-many,” and not really user-centered.  WebPages in the past have merely been information depositories, not interactive and helpful. An important characteristic of a Web 2.0 tool is its shared ownership. The tools are being shared in many ways, thus creating a sense of community and sharing among the tool’s code, features, suggestions users may have, etc. In addition the tools have created networking groups where multiple intelligences are combined for the common effort of utilizing and improving an application. Another important characteristic of Web 2.0 tools is the “instant gratification” factor. All of these tools have the ability to show instant results and feedback, whether it is a design application or quizzing tool. This is a critical characteristic of Web 2.0.

The authors continue by discussing instructional design trends and the framework by which that is done. “The framework is characterized by (a) learner-centered approach, (b) interactive social communication, (c) and dynamic learning. The implementation of this framework is of equal importance—the guidelines given in Chapter 4 are helpful to determine that steps one should take for implementation (activity vs. behavior, initiating an open-ended learning environment, and prompting self-regulation and meta-cognitive thinking).

Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the chapter.

A definite strength of this chapter, in my opinion, would be its organization and thoroughness of the topic covered. It presented new information in that I had not yet read, and presented several design models (WisCom, T5, 3PD) of which I had no previous knowledge of.

As some of the other students have mentioned, I found this chapter slightly difficult to follow, as it mentioned some terms that I had to “brush up” on—ones I’d not discussed in a while. Otherwise, I found this chapter to be a pretty effective read.

How could teachers/educators use the material/information addressed in the chapter to help improve their instruction or professional development?

While I do believe teachers could read and learn from the chapter at hand, I do believe it would be a slightly difficult read for implementation of Web 2.0 tools. by teachers alone. Rather, I believe the implementation steps and guidelines would be more beneficial to an instructional designer or technology facilitator. While I believe, ultimately, this information would prove to be helpful or beneficial to teachers that are eager to implement Web 2.0 technologies into their classroom, it seems that the cognitive level of this chapter focuses more on a subject body that studies it more closely, such as an instructional technologist.

What future trends do you see coming from the topics dealt with in the chapter? In other words, do you think the material/information discussed in the chapter has any relevancy to the future or is it just a passing fad?

A future trend I hope to see is more implementation of Web 2.0 technologies across the education board. While sometimes  it seems as if many of the Web 2.0 tools can be geared towards more higher education students, there are a wealth of them that are perfect for K-12 students. It is my hopes that I am able to begin implementing more of these tools into my classroom routine and practices with my students, as well as share relevant tools to fellow teachers that may be looking to implement more Web 2.0 technologies into their classroom. I definitely feel that Web 2.0 is here to stay and will continue to “wow” us as tools with more and more controls are developed and shared throughout the education sector.

What you learned from reading this chapter?

For me, there was a lot of new knowledge presented in this chapter. Specifically, the instructional design models in e-learning were new and interesting theories I’ve learned. Previously acquired knowledge relevant to this chapter would include the instructional design model of ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate). This design model has been studied and examined practically and extensively in Dr. Hartsell’s IT 601 course.

Did you feel the chapter helped in your understanding of the use of technology in education?

As mentioned earlier, I found the chapter a little difficult to read because of some of the academic terminology that I have not used/studied in awhile. Overall, I enjoyed reading this chapter—I know this textbook will prove to be a great resource for library!

Description/summary of main ideas in the chapter.
Chapter 16 begins by an explanation of social networking sites, commonly used SNSs, and the characteristics of school-aged students interacting with this perfect combination of Web 2.0 applications that forms such an intriguing network of connections. Past research conducted on what is accepted as a “community” was particularly of interest to me. A provided example of this sense of community was given—that of a sports team. According to the text, this sense of community can be used in an educational social networking situation. SNSs sites are used for “people to communicate on a local and global scale, advertise their products and services, network other business and industry professionals, to highlight individual physicians and institutions in the medical field,” and help people connect and share experiences from similar illnesses, diseases, or life situations. So why not try it in education?

The chapter continues by describing digital natives (Gen Y) and their relationship with and uses for social networking. The amount of time people this age spend online is rapidly catching up with the amount of time they watch TV (9 hours vs. 10 hours, respectively). Websites like RateMyProfessor (I formerly based my schedule around this Website, where I was able! ) and interactive grading platforms where students can check their grades have also been increasingly popular among children of this generation. The chapter continues by its discussion on a research study performed using Ning, the social networking site used in this course. The results from that study are very favorable toward social networking and its effectiveness in a hybrid course.

Chapter 2 discusses such issues as implications for the socially responsible use of social networking tools. There are many ethical issues surrounding these popular Web 2.0 tools. College students seem to change overnight from a “student” to a “young professional,” oftentimes searching for his/her first “real” job. There is a great importance for understanding the social footprint one leaves behind on the Internet. The chapter also discusses the future of social networking in education. Although legal implications exist in K-12 education for teachers and students communication via social networking or texting, this great potential educational tool will continue to grow in accessibility and control, and will lead to the eventual integration of these types of tools for educational purposes.

Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the chapter
I especially enjoyed reading the case study performed in Chapter 16. It helped me to understand the feelings and perceptions of social networks among students in a class very similar to that of ours. The simple explanation of the research study helped me to make connections and understand many of the benefits and implications that social networking has (or may have) on K-12 and post-secondary learning. I feel that this chapter effectively met the aim of its purpose—to explain the use of social networking to enhance a sense of community in online courses; therefore, there are no noted weaknesses.

Chapter 2, in my opinion, wasn’t as simple to read as the other chapter. Perhaps it was my level of interest in the chapter—I read Chapter 16 first because it seemed more interesting.  Honestly, when I sat down to read the chapter, I was pretty much mentally drained and found it pretty difficult to concentrate.

How could teachers/educators use the material/information addressed in the chapter to help improve their instruction or professional development?
As I mentioned in our previous discussion of wikis, I believe social networking could have a positive effect on educational networks for professional development. The ability to create these networks free of charge (or for a small fee), can lead to networks containing a wealth of knowledge and experience from its users and contributors. From subject area-created networks, to veteran or new teacher networks, I do think the possibility for effective professional development using these social networking tools is there.

I believe there is also potential use for social networking in the K-12 sector, while I do believe these tools must be flexible and posses the ability to have monitoring rights by the instructor to control content. Although this would need to be a much more structured atmosphere in a high school setting (versus a college setting), in my opinion, I believe the potential for a larger sense of community is there. In addition, a social network may be beneficial for those students who are part of MS Virtual High School courses. Rather than the use of more static tools like course management systems (WebCT or Blackboard), these social networks could be implemented to create more of a sense of community for students of this kind that will likely never meet the instructor or other students face-to-face.

What future trends do you see coming from the topics dealt with in the chapter? In other words, do you think the material/information discussed in the chapter has any relevancy to the future or is it just a passing fad?
While I do believe there may be more implications and associated “kinks” related to implementing a social network such as Ning into a K-12 classroom, I believe social networking sites will continue to grow in popularity and effectiveness in creating a more relaxed, sociable, and friendly, close-knit educational atmosphere. I do believe some of the 2.0 technologies we have discussed throughout the semester may be better suited to college students; however, I still think there are great possibilities for tools such as social networking, especially on the high school level. I do, although, believe this must be regulated and pretty consistently monitored for a high school class, something I’m sure the more educational-driven sites are capable of doing.

What you learned from reading this chapter? If the article did not reveal any new information, explain what you already know about the topic and how you gained that knowledge (e.g., experience, word-of-mouth, research).
As I mentioned above, I especially liked reading the process and results of the research study performed in a class where the set-up is very similar to ours. It was interesting to see how other students evaluated the effectiveness of a social networking creating a sense of community. I was able to reflect on the semester and agree or disagree with the responses from the other students. The majority of questionnaire responses were closely related to the way I would have responded. Other than participating in the social network this semester, I had no prior knowledge or use with a social network.

Did you feel this chapter helped in your understanding of the use of technology in education? Explain why or why not. Did anything confuse you? Did the chapter leave more questions for you?
Chapter 16 especially helped explain the impacts that a sense of community can bring to a class, secondary or post-secondary. I would be interested to discuss with a teacher who is currently using Ning and the effectiveness of it (or other social networks) used in a high school class setting. Allowing the students to become more independent and the ability for them to customize a profile, post to discussion boards, display pictures, upload recordings, etc, helps the students have a larger degree of control and interactivity associated with a class, and giving them the option to interact more with students online than they would’ve normally participated in a face-to-face class with no use of social network.

Summary of chapter
The first section of this chapter, “Taxonomies and Folksonomies,” describe the pedagogical use and approaches concerning scholarly research or discovery. According to the chapter, the difference between the two are “tied to the level of professionals that produce them and the level of control in their production and dissemination.” This reminds me of using WordPress to disseminate our posts into separate tags for other people to find. This would be classified as folksonomies, which could easily be used with social bookmarking in a number of ways. An example of taxonomies, as the text describes, would be something as complex as the Library of Congress Subject Headings. In the sub-sections to follow, the chapter provides examples of social bookmarking at a number of student learning levels.

The first learning level is the lowest—lower-level undergraduate challenges. The
main concern with this group of students is their lack of scholarly research skills.
As the text infers, “inexperienced students too easily equate ‘search’ with ‘research.’” Therefore, the ability to discern the appropriateness of resources for academic purposes is a key learning objective.” Typically, this group of students is accustomed to read required research a particular discipline, describe the contents of these materials, and “formulate their own arguments based on their findings.” The purpose of social bookmarking in this facet of education is to help this level of students to improve and organize their research skills—helping them making the transition from the typical high school student “search,” to the more scholarly, thoughtful “research” of a college student.

The next learning level, upper-level undergraduate students, are generally expected to have already mastered a certain discipline’s vocabulary. Further, a specific learning objective when using social bookmarking with this group of students is for them to have a full disciplinary taxonomy and to use it accurately in search to give students a “structured way of visualizing the different” parts of their specific discipline. The individual research project (a more complex stretch of the lower-level college students) suggests having students to find a sub-topic in a particular discipline in which one may be interested. By reading and researching supplemental texts and arguments, students can read, review, and assemble the information into an annotated bibliography, which will help them to gain structure through the organized data and summary of research.

In the final learning level, categorized simply as graduate students, learners are expected “to have mastered their disciplinary taxonomies and be adept to applying them to research projects large and small.” A further extended example of the individual research project mentioned above is basically that of a thesis (or even dissertation topic). The student is to choose and articulate a particular field of knowledge and formulate a new argument in that context. An important aspect of this level of project is for the student to possibly have a prior collection of their own disciplinary bookmarks. This will assist the student when developing the research problem or issue at hand. The use of social bookmarking tools in this educational context level may possibly be the best and most used to organize your findings into scholarly categories and assigning tags for easy retrieval.

Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the chapter
The authors of this text provided a simple, easy-to-read overview of the use of social bookmarking in post-secondary education. I found it especially useful in the way the chapter was structurally divided into different classifications of learners, noting that all students (or groups of students) will be on different learning levels. By dividing the chapter into these sub-sections, I believe it was easy to understand and to see the scaffolding that is taking place. It also help support the fact that this Web 2.0 technology has the ability to reach a host of learners of all levels. An apparent weakness of the chapter, in my opinion, would be the lack of catering to secondary students. I can think of some potential uses for the use of research in middle or high school because, like the other groups of learners mentioned, these groups of students would certainly have a lower thinking level and amount of research and reasoning skills. However, it would have been a bit more helpful to me had a possibly had an example for learners that are one level down from an “inexperienced” undergraduate student. Overall, I enjoyed the “cognitive” layout of this chapter and the way in which it is divided.

How could teachers/educators use the material/information addressed in the chapter to help improve their instruction or professional development?
In a professional development setting, current teachers or administrators could employ the use of social bookmarking to help him/her stay abreast current research in his/her field. With the use and importance of tagging the bookmarks, this is a simple and readily-available, easy-to-use tool to help organize research topics, publication Websites, and professional organizations that keep up with current research issues in a particular field.

What future trends do you see coming from the topics dealt with in the chapter? In other words, do you think the material/information discussed in the chapter has any relevancy to the future or is it just a passing fad?
If I were to rate the probability for my use of social bookmarking among the other Web 2.0 collaboration tools mentioned this semester, social bookmarking would definitely come in last. While I see the potential value and use in higher education settings, I am having a difficult time visualizing the actual benefits I could see coming from this tool in a high school classroom, other than having students bookmark and organize a host of sites into different categories and tagging. Maybe the concept of this tool will evolve into something else as technology and cognitive tools continue to evolve, but for now, I believe social bookmarking, unfortunately, may just be a passing fad. However, I have recently created a Delicious account and am open to the use of this tool—We’ll see how it goes!  I am hoping to discover a purposeful use of this technology in my classroom.

Did you feel this chapter helped in your understanding of the use of technology in education? Explain why or why not. Did anything confuse you? Did the chapter leave more questions for you?
I am curious to perform a little mini-research on the use and ways of using social bookmarking in high school settings. While I felt the chapter was extremely helpful in describing possible assignments and projects for different levels of post-secondary learners, I was left somewhat confused on more possible learning experiences that social bookmarking can have with high school students.

What you learned from reading this chapter? If the article did not reveal any new information, explain what you already know about the topic and how you gained that knowledge (e.g., experience, word-of-mouth, research).
Prior to the readings of this text, I had attended a conference workshop on social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, and their uses. However, the demonstration and primary use of this technology was really just for personal use. The new information that was revealed to me through this chapter helped me to understand the potential organization and sharing tool that social bookmarking can provide.

Description/summary of main ideas in the chapters.
Chapter 7
The first section of Chapter 7, “Use of Wikis to Support Collaboration among Online Students.” provided a well-rounded background of the need and past success for collaboration in the classroom. One of the most important aspects of collaborative learning, in my opinion, is the fostering of deep learning that comes from collaborative efforts. Collaboration in general encourages students to learn from each other and to be involved with the project at hand. Another benefit mentioned in this section comes from the theory that “two heads are better than one.” Students, as individuals, can vastly differ in terms of cultural backgrounds, at-home responsibilities, professional occupations, and general life experiences. Because of this, each person of a group has a unique view and opinion to bring to the table. This helps cultivates a deeper understanding and vision of the project, task, or problem at hand, by raising the possibility of another viewpoint or opinion being addressed. The section then introduced the Wiki application, a collaborative Webpage whereby students from all over the building, city, state, or country are able to log-in and edit, manage, or create information on a page. Wikis can be especially useful in a distance learning scenario, making it much easier to collaboratively work on a project simultaneously, or whenever it’s convenient for the group members.

The next section of Chapter 7 discusses the actual implementation of a wiki into a classroom. I found this section especially useful and interesting. The section suggests a number of ways wikis can enhance collaborative learning assignments. For example, a teacher can divide students into groups of 2-4 and each group will alternate being responsible for that week’s chapter summary, depending on what is being taught in class. Wikis may also be used as brainstorming guides for groups that are beginning a project. Brainstorming may include topic ideas, resources, or methods of presentation deliveries, just for example. The section continues by discussing seven “critical responsibilities” of a teacher that is facilitating the use of wikis in his/her classroom. These include the following: Setting up the wiki software; Creating a framework for the wiki pages; Developing instructions for students; Encouraging student editing of each other’s entries; Planning in advance for dispute resolutions, should conflicts arise; Monitor the use of the wiki during the duration of the course; and Evaluate the collaborative effort made by each contributing group member.

The third section of Chapter 7 focuses on the criteria one should use to evaluate the wiki software product being chosen. Based on technical performance features and cost, a wide array of functional wikis are available. Some more advanced and expensive wiki software will include features such as hyperlinking, multimedia (audio/video capability), attachments, email notifications, access controls, and commenting. The section also raises the possibility of integrating a wiki into a presently-running course management system, such as Blackboard.

The final section of Chapter 7 discusses possible future trends using the educational technology tool of wikis. Suggestions made by the author that are pertinent, in my opinion, include making a wiki the primary collaboration tool in an online (or face-to-face) teaching environment. Stand-alone wiki applications should more or less be altogether depleted because of their awkwardness and confusion they may bring to teachers and students alike, especially those that are mastering the navigation and tools of a separate course management system, such as Blackboard or Moodle. Finally, the most interesting suggestion given by the authors, in my opinion, is that capability of mobile notifications once a wiki has been created, modified, or finalized. I, too, believe these wiki functions will be available within the next few years.

Chapter 8
This chapter, “Wikibook Transformations and Disruptions,” addressed the issue of the rising cost of textbooks and the convenience and accessibility that the possibility of wikibooks bring. Wikibooks allow for joint editing of large amounts of content. The chapter discussed several class projects conducted whereby students were participants in the editing of a wikibook. Wikibooks have the power to allow students to take control of their own learning by literally putting it into their own hands. The amount of scaffolding and reflection needed to collaborate in a project such as this induces the learner into an experience that may not have been met otherwise.

Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the chapter.
I really enjoyed reading chapter and felt as if it gave me a wealth of new information, knowledge, insight, and ideas in which I had not previously considered involving the use of wikis in education. The chapters, like the previously assigned, were simple to read and easy to follow. I especially found useful the section in Chapter 7 that discusses the responsibilities of a teacher that are critical to the success of wikis in a classroom. This information will be valuable to me as I begin implementing Web 2.0 tools like this into my classroom.

Other than a few minor grammatically incorrect sentences in Chapter 7, I did not note any other weaknesses in the chapters. All in all, both provided great insight to the implementation of these tools and the uses they have (and potentially have) in education.

How could teachers/educators use the material/information addressed in the chapter to help improve their instruction or professional development?
In terms of professional development, I believe a content-driven wiki could be useful for teachers of the same subject matter. For example, teaching a computer graphics class, I could collaborate with other teachers in the state and share activities, projects, tips, and fundraising ideas that have been successful during my teaching. Professional development of this kind could benefit instructors of types—young, old, new, or veteran. Like Chapter 7 mentions, there is wisdom found in crowds. In this particular case, everyone could offer something unique to the wiki. Perhaps younger, new teachers could provide links or attachments of tutorials for newly-released software, or step-by-step instructions for an innovative project that really catches the student’s attention. The older, more experience veteran teacher may contribute an especially effective tool that helps students understand the use of typography, color theory, evolution of graphic design, or another static topic that has more or less remained “the same” for years. Both chapters have given me new ideas for professional development through the use of wikis.

What future trends do you see coming from the topics dealt with in the chapter? In other words, do you think the material/information discussed in the chapter has any relevancy to the future or is it just a passing fad?
I believe the up-and-coming uses of wikibooks in education are here to stay. With educational budget crises, the cost of textbooks for secondary institutions, as well as post-secondary students, will continue to rise. The use of wikibooks has the potential to cut costs and provide students with more opportunity to expand upon the skills or knowledge they have recently acquired. More specifically, I especially liked the idea of creating a digital portfolio using the concept of a wikibook as a means for alternative assessment.

What you learned from reading this chapter? If the article did not reveal any new information, explain what you already know about the topic and how you gained that knowledge (e.g., experience, word-of-mouth, research).
I had a sound understanding of exactly what a wiki was prior to this class. During my undergraduate college years, I participated in a wiki project. Although I understood what it was and how it worked, I had trouble seeing the instructional gain that a student may potentially have from wikis of all sorts. However, after reading through these two chapters, I feel more confident that I can facilitate a wiki project with my classes and encourage the collaborative learning I believe they need. The section in Chapter 7 that discusses the step-by-step actions that a teacher should take prior and during a wiki facilitation was especially helpful for me. I plan to use the new information I have gained in an upcoming project with my students.

Did you feel this chapter helped in your understanding of the use of technology in education? Explain why or why not. Did anything confuse you? Did the chapter leave more questions for you?
Both of the chapters definitely helped me realized the technology of wikis in education. Not only in face-to-face or distance education, but the use of wikis in professional development has also been brought to my attention. In a money crunch, districts could virtually facilitate professional development sessions whereby wikis could be used as collaborative efforts for a number of topics. In particular, I am currently in a new teacher mentoring program with my school district. In lieu of being removed from the classroom for bi-monthly meetings, we could collaboratively create a wiki that discusses the same topics we have face-to-face. This would cut down on the loss of instructional time due to my absence, as well as the added convenience of accessing the wiki and participating with feedback as I am able. The chapter did not leave any confusing questions for me.

Description/summary of main ideas in the chapter.
The first section of Chapter 15 discusses the dynamic e-learning environment that Web 2.0 tools such as podcasting can provide. Web 2.0, when compared with Web 1.0, provides users and e-learners much more flexibility and control over their use of the Internet—whether it’s being used for work, play, or learning. The Net generation of students that I teach are constantly sharing, creating, and collaborating with other users of these Web 2.0 technologies. Social change due to the “enhanced” version that Web 2.0 allows are discussed in the first section. A major influencer that comes to mind when thinking about social applications of today’s Web is the rapidly increasing use of Facebook. The students I teach rely on this tool to help them connect with friends that have moved to other parts of the country, share pictures and videos with their cousin a couple counties over, and socialize with their friend down the street. As the section infers, this sudden “boom” in social applications such as Facebook or Myspace has impacted the socialization that technology impacts, such as the “manner of time that we spend with one another in person, or ‘real time.’” The section continues by discussing the increasing use and power of MMDs (Mobile Media Devices). In my classroom, the increasing popularity of the iTouch has given e-learners the ability to download a wealth of apps that allow them to share information, play games, and learn. Finally, the first section of Chapter 15 raises the issue of lifestyle change. This allows me to question how technology affects today’s secondary learners in comparison with the way it affected me when I was once their age. I am merely five years older than my oldest students, and it is amazing how much technology has shifted learning and socialization over the past 5-7 years. When I was in high school, the extent of Web 2.0 technologies that were popular was the use of instant messaging. Once I entered junior college, the “Facebook craze” began. While cell phones were popular and widely used when I was a high school student, the creation of these social networking sites would have definitely changed our lifestyles and the way we communicated and socialized.

The next section of Chapter 15 discusses the educational efficacy of podcasting in e-learning. A study at the University of Houston showed that the further a college student commuted to class, the more likely he/she was to use a technology such as podcasting. Podcasting allows these students the opportunity for more “flexible and convenient access to learning” in order to “cater to their learning style.” Technical issues that were addressed include the student’s access to a device capable of playing a podcast. This would be the major disadvantage in using podcasting in my classroom. While I believe I could effectively reach some of the students and have faith that they were accessing the podcast outside of regular class time, I could never assume that 100% of my students had access to this type of technology. Podcasting has the potential to reach students that prefer learning through auditory and visual means. While the majority of the students surveyed in the textbook preferred “hands-on” learning, a lot of the time a visual demonstration has to suffice. For example, in a Biology classroom, it would be nearly impossible to affordably allow the students the experience of an actual “hands on” molecular division. While a creative Biology teacher may come up with a way to do this with “everyday” materials, it is likely that a video demonstration or re-enactment would show students how the process works. Podcasting has the capability to do such tasks.

The final section of this chapter, Podcast Best Practice in E-Learning Design & Delivery, focuses on how teachers should conduct a needs assessment of their students in order to discover the most appropriate method of podcast delivery. The textbook suggests that podcasts should be relatively brief, with an audio podcast being “under 30 minutes,” an “enhanced” podcast being under 20 minutes, and a Vodcast around 15 minutes or less. Podcasts can be used reviews of the lessons, chapters, or before a major test.

Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the chapter
The chapter provided an in-depth explanation of Web 2.0 technologies, specifically podcasting. The text was organized into sections and subsections, making it easy to understand and simple to follow. There were a number of typographical errors in the text, causing me to have to re-read several sentences to make sure I understood. Also, Figure 1 on page 273 was difficult for me to decipher because of the how close the color shades are. Perhaps replacing some of the gray shades with patterns (stripes or dots) would make the figure easier to read. Finally, a brief tutorial of podcasting explaining “how to” would have been beneficial for those reading the chapter that are eager to learn, but not sure of the steps to take in order to create their own podcast.

How could teachers/educators use the material/information addressed in the chapter to help improve their instruction or professional development?
I believe podcasting has endless possibilities outside of the classroom for college students. However, I feel as if it would be difficult for myself, as a high school teacher, to get my students to use podcasting outside of the classroom. I cannot guarantee my student’s access to computers, MMDs, or other devices that would allow them to view and listen to a podcast. While podcasting is highly effective, in my opinion, for a college student, I am not sure the same success would be efficient in a secondary classroom. In-class assignments where podcasts are created for students when a teacher is absent, for example, may render more success. For instance, if I am away for two days attending a conference, I could leave a podcast for my students to view individually and reflect on, rather than losing instructional time since I am not there. There are definite benefits of podcasting in the classroom; however, I believe they must be used in an effective manner and to the benefit of the student, not just to take up instructional time or as a “time filler.”

What future trends do you see coming from the topics dealt with in the chapter? In other words, do you think the material/information discussed in the chapter has any relevancy to the future or is it just a passing fad?
I believe podcasting will become a “stepping stone” to some of the future instructional technologies. I do believe that original podcasting (audio only) may become just a fad. However, I believe the concept and use of podcasting is pertinent for the future uses and technology improvements that it will encourage. I am eager to discover where original podcasting will lead.

What you learned from reading this chapter? If the article did not reveal any new information, explain what you already know about the topic and how you gained that knowledge (e.g., experience, word-of-mouth, research).
Since I am getting a late start on these discussions due to textbook publishing issues, the chapter did not reveal much new information to me. Most of the information that I have learned about podcasting, however, has come during our hands-on assignment we completed several weeks ago. I have to admit, though, I was somewhat disappointed when I realized that podcasting was, indeed, all I previously assumed it was—an audio file. While there are enhanced ways to use podcasting, such as adding video or images with voiceovers, I believe the most widely and easily used podcasting are found in simple audio files. Because of this, I feel like podcasting can be pretty limited when in terms of reaching learners of all styles.

Did you feel this chapter helped in your understanding of the use of technology in education? Explain why or why not. Did anything confuse you? Did the chapter leave more questions for you?
I enjoyed reading this chapter. It was well organized and was easy to understand. It helped me realize the use of podcasting in technology in higher education, as well as possibilities in K-12 education. As previously mentioned, I believe that podcasting can be more easily utilized in higher education because of student’s access to technological devices outside of the classroom. However, I believe that podcasting may have some possibilities in the secondary classroom, as long as it is being utilized in class. I am curious to know the number of secondary teachers that use podcasting in their classrooms, as well as the different uses they may find for podcasting. The chapter was easy to read, leaving me confused in no way, other than the minor typographical errors. I am eager to try some of the podcasting technology in my classroom to leave assignments for students when I am away. I feel that the greatest use of podcasting in secondary education (in my situation, at least) can come from maximizing instructional time when the teacher is absent for professional/personal reasons—time that would have been otherwise lost due to the ever-popular “lazy” days when a substitute teacher is present.

In this assignment, we were to choose a Web 2.0 application to present. While searching for a tool in which I was interested, I decided I should choose a tool that could be relevant for my classroom. I stumped upon Kerpoof, which is a creative design suite for K-12 students. I had a lot of fun researching and testing the applications found on this Website. I was excited to share this creative tool, and I’m also anxious to begin using the application in my classroom (particularly the movie making tool).

Below is a link to my presentation:

In this assignment, we were to choose a topic to create a Ning (social networking site). I chose to make a social network for my first-year course, Computer Graphics I.

In this social network, students could access the calendar, assignments, PowerPoints, discussion forums, uploaded videos, class photos, and participate in group events such as Student of the Month poster team, or newsletter committee.

I’ve enjoyed using Ning in our class this semester. It really has encouraged a “community” feel and gathered us to share more than just the assigned topic for the week. Having Dr. Yuen as an active participant using Ning was also a positive contribution for our social network. He was there to moderate, clarify, and contribute when necessary.

Here is the link of my social network for 10th-12th grade students in Computer Graphics Technology.