The Great Media Debate continues…

By Gail Yee and Luis Rodriguez

For this activity, we were tasked with investigating the Great Media Debate in the Ed Tech field where Clark and Kozma expressed opposing viewpoints.  Simply stated, Clark (1994) believes that media does not influence learning and compares media to a “vehicle” which delivers instruction whereas Kozma (1994) believes that new technologies offer opportunities to change things and how it has the potential to impact how teaching and learning occur.  We chose these 2 articles to demonstrate the relevance of the media debate by applying Clark & Kozma’s points of view to critique and question the articles’ claims.  

Quizlet teams up with TikTok for interactive learning.

In January 2021, it was announced that educators using TikTok for teaching would be able to reach their students in a new way by integrating Quizlet interactive flashcards directly into their short-form videos.  This integration would shift TikTok’s platform into the education world and support their Creative Learning Fund.  This fund aims to address the COVID-19 pandemic challenges to remote and hybrid learning by bringing educational programs created by educators and other subject matter experts to the platform.  

The director of growth at Quizlet, Phil Carter (2021) states, “this integration between TikTok and Quizlet is a unique opportunity to bring together the fastest-growing mobile entertainment platform, and the largest AI-powered learning platform to reach students where they are” (para. 3).  The presumption is that educators can enhance their TikTok videos with Quizlet’s links thereby allowing students to engage and learn in a more interactive way on the popular platform.  TikTok’s head of product, Sean Kim (2021) states, “the integration with Quizlet is an important step in our commitment to assist creators in the production of learning content, provide resources for learners and introduce emerging teachers to the TikTok platform” (para. 6).

Clark would argue that this new integration of video and flashcards would not influence student learning based on his initial claim that media are “mere vehicles that deliver instruction” and that TikTok combined with Quizlet are just a different delivery “vehicle”.  Sean Kim (2021) states the integration “can help build human connection, promote creating learning content and inspire enriching ideas” and although Clark would agree that there is strong evidence that different media attributes accomplish the same learning goal.  He would maintain that it is not the media that influences the learning and instead it is the method.  

Kozma’s position on this new media partnership would ask the question:  how does this integration affect learning?  He would dispute that technology is a “vehicle” and stress that this media partnership possesses certain characteristics which make it more suitable to achieve particular learning tasks (1994).  Kozma (1994) would argue that learning with media is a complementary process where the learner and the media (TikTok and Quizlet) interact to expand and refine the learner’s mental model of a particular phenomenon.   

Incorporating popular media into social studies learning.

Darcy White has over 20 years of experience teaching secondary social sciences and is currently a Social Studies Curriculum Developer in California. In this article, she describes how students spend a lot of their time in front of their phones and other devices. She also points out how easy it is nowadays for students to create and share content to a large audience. As a teacher, instead of competing with the multiple devices and trending technologies she decided to embrace the popular culture and incorporate it in her lectures. White believes that using a variety of media such as movies, TV sitcoms and TikTok videos among others can be an effective learning tool for students. White (2021) states,  “the trick is to give students the opportunity to relate to the topic” (para. 9).

Clark would be intrigued to learn how White has implemented the new media and technology to her lectures. However, he would still argue that White’s methods “do not influence student achievement” and that her use of media in her classes are simply a different way of delivering instruction and does not influence learning under any circumstances.  

In contrast, Kozma (1994) would argue that the use of various new media with their own distinct capabilities would complement those of the learners producing an improved learning experience. Kozma would concur with White in her use of various media for her lectures since he perceives learning as an “active, constructive, cognitive and social process”. Kozma would align with White’s beliefs arguing that by forging a relationship between media and learning, the process itself can also contribute to the creation of new methods of instruction delivery. 

References:

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29.

EdScoop Staff (2021, January 28). Quizlet teams up with TikTok for interactive learning. Higher Education.

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19.

White, D. (2021, Sept. 7). Incorporating popular media into social studies learning. SmartBrief. Industry news.

People in the field | Dr. George Siemens

I did not know anything about Dr. George Siemens until I read Weller’s 25 years of Ed Tech. I saw his name popping-up a few times in different chapters and that is why I chose him. When I started looking for information about him, I unintentionally found out that he was born in Mexico, my motherland. Because of this, I felt a connection and became more interested on finding out about his background and his work.

George’s great grandparents were German Mennonites who actually settled in Canada back in the 1900. Because the Canadian government wanted to send their children to public schools his family decided to relocate again, this time to a Mennonite village in Mexico. George was born in 1964 in a rural farming community of Mexico where he lived until he was 6 years old. During that time, he and his family did not have access to electricity or paved roads so they moved around by horse and buggy. Farm life in a small rural community provided him with a deep understanding of how information and knowledge work under limited circumstances. He and his family moved back to the province of Manitoba in Canada. He is now an internationally known author, researcher and theorist in the field of learning, knowledge management, and technology (CSU, 2015).

“George Siemens is an educator and researcher on learning, networks, analytics and visualization, openness, and organizational effectiveness in digital environments” (EDUCAUSE, 2021). He is considered a pioneer in the concept of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. Through his work in technology, online learning and sense-making ,he proposed Connectivism as a theoretical framework that understands learning in a digital age and suggests that technology plays an important role in the learning process.

 A great interview with Dr. George Siemens can be found here where he talks about the evolution of MOOCs and his prediction of where they are headed.

“Education is not about building better Googlers” (Siemens, 2010)
Learn more about this on the video below.

Ed Tech 2002 – 2011 | Applying context

In Weller’s Ed Tech book each chapter has a wealth of information. I have found it quite interesting how he describes the evolution of technology and its impact in Education. In chapter 12 Weller talks about the origins of YouTube and how, along with the use of the internet, video sharing became relevant to education. I find the use of video of huge relevance in the Automotive Industry which is the sector where I currently work. Marketing research shows that car buyers prefer to watch a video demonstration or a video ad before they even consider taking an actual look at the vehicle they are thinking of buying. Furthermore, some car buyers go as far as watching video reviews online to fact-check what car manufacturers and dealers advertise. Video is a powerful tool that allows shoppers to discover, compare and contrast their different available options, all of this accessible at their fingertips. My employer and the Auto Industry in general, have realized how potential buyers are exploring, engaging and making decisions based on their video experience. Understanding that videos are helpful in the decision process when car-shopping, vehicle manufacturers and car dealerships continue to invest their marketing dollars in good quality videos of their inventory with the expectation to increase sales. Weller argued that “what accompanied and reinforced the online video sharing revolution was a drastic reduction in the cost of production. It has become possible to produce a good quality video using mobile phones” (p.88). This is so true today, not only sales seem to be going up with the use of video but also costs went down by implementing the use of new digital technologies such as online video advertising instead of traditional paper and radio ads. To reaffirm Weller’s statement, some of our Sales Team members are currently able to record a quick video of a newly arrived vehicle using their cell phones and share it on social media or other means within minutes.

On a different note, Weller refers to WordPress as a “blogging tool”(p.73). While I understand his perception of it due to his professional background and use of WP in Education, I find that term to be quite subjective and not necessarily contradicting but contrasting with what I have learned through my work experience. I have used WordPress for website creation and website management. I find the platform fascinating and easy to use. It is user friendly, free, open-source, and easy to integrate with third-party platforms. Yes, it has a built-in blog feature and it was originally created for online blogging and similar online publications. However, I think of it as a very complete platform with endless possibilities currently being used worldwide to create responsive websites. Although I  never used WordPress for blog purposes before joining the MALAT program, I can certainly see the benefits of using it for blogging and its practicality in academic environments.

References:

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from: https://www.aupress.ca/books/120290-25-years-of-ed-tech/

Weller’s Ed Tech 1994 – 2001

Martin Weller

Photo by Martin Weller from 25 Years of Ed Tech

After reading the first third of Weller’s book, I found it to be a very interesting and engaging read for all of us who are interested in learning about the evolution of technology. Even better, for all of us who have experienced first-hand many of the changes mentioned in the book, either as students, instructors or both.

I could not help but to travel back in time when I was probably in Grade 5 or 6 and the first computers became available in my school. There was only one computer lab for the entire school, at the time those big boxes on the tables represented the latest and most amazing technology there was. I am pretty sure nobody in my classroom knew at the time what a transforming world was ahead of us. I remember clearly how amazed I was while walking into the computer lab for the first time. Those floppy disks were super cool, MS-DOS was the software of the future and that dial-up tone, while very annoying, was the sound that transported me to an alternate world, the internet.

To me, one of the most compelling arguments in Weller’s book is the development of Wikipedia. He described it as something that was seemed as “an unworkable idea” (p. 41). I share the same sentiment because I remember clearly how time-consuming and work-intensive it was to go to a public library and do a research project. When Wikipedia became available it seemed too good to be true. It didn’t make things easier, simply made them more available to those who could afford a computer and internet at home. Things that seemed impossible started to become readily usable. We knew so little that with the passage of time Wikipedia, while still a useful and practical tool, would not be considered a reliable source anymore.

References:

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from: https://www.aupress.ca/books/120290-25-years-of-ed-tech/

Expert Opinion

I find very rewarding any time that I have the opportunity to ask an expert about the work he or she does. Regardless of the field of work, to learn about the do’s and don’ts, the sharing of recommendations, and taking the time to answer someone’s questions, to me, it is priceless. Also, listening to the point of view of someone that has already “done the job” is enlightening, enriching, and in many cases encouraging; and even if it is not, for better or worse, it becomes a contribution to our learning experience. As we reach the end of LRNT 522, as a cohort, we had the great chance to ask a few questions to Dr. George Veletsianos who is a foremost expert in digital education, professor at Royal Roads University, Canada’s Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology, and the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Flexible Learning.

After listening to his answers, there were a couple of things that stood out to me. The first one was his response about his prediction on the next major trend or innovation in the educational technology field; he didn’t quite provide a concrete answer, however, he pointed out that some predictions about the future often lack accountability, and because of it, these predictions end up not holding any truth. One of the points he makes answering the same question is that he tries to avoid making predictions of the future and focuses on current situations that may need to be changed now in order to make a positive impact in the future. I am with him on this since I see the present as the most important time for us to change our future. – “be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

The second point that got my attention is his passion to expanding access to education. While (to some degree) I do not necessarily agree with the belief that the cost of education in Canada is what prevents people from receiving higher education, I do agree that there are many other reasons that prevent people from being able to access it, and as challenges they need to be acknowledged, addressed, analyzed, and hopefully overcome. I think that challenges give us the opportunity to grow, to learn and to become wiser and stronger.

I look forward to continue learning with and from my MALAT peers, I am pretty sure that the road ahead of us will continue to be a challenging and overwhelming ride, but I am also confident that it will also continue to be as interesting, engaging, and exciting as it has been to date.

Reference

Veletsianos, G. (2021, August 11). Personal interview [Personal interview].

Theoretical Frameworks

by Amber Donahue, Gail Yee, Myrna Pokiak and Luis Rodríguez

This presentation focuses on three theoretical frameworks: diffusion of innovation theory, socio-cultural theory, and universal design in learning theory, and identifies how researchers have applied these frameworks to research within the field of learning and technology. Diffusion of innovation (DoI) theory explores how ideas and innovations are adopted and diffused throughout communities. Socio-cultural theory examines the importance of social interaction in the development of cognition. Universal design in learning (UDL) theory outlines principles for designing learning that is accessible for all learners.

Research guided by these three theoretical frameworks demonstrates that technology offers opportunities for accessibility, interaction, and diversity at various levels of learning and thus is a powerful tool to provide experiences that meet the various needs of learners. For example, the DoI theory may be used to examine how learners adopt an innovation by determining if it aligns with their beliefs and values. Socio-cultural theory may be used to explore how technology, by taking on the role of the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO), can move learners into the zone of proximal development. Universal design in learning (UDL) theory may be used to illustrate the potential of technology to adapt to the needs of learners by providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression. These three theoretical frameworks will continue to be relevant and useful for researchers studying the growing field of learning and technology.

What makes a good research question?

As we move forward in this course, we have been tasked to answer a question that while simple in nature it is complex in essence. What makes a good research question? …Through the readings provided in this course I have come to conclude that a good research question is:

Clear and focused. The research question should have an appropriate scope that is neither too broad nor too narrow to investigate.  

Researchable. Whether the researcher chooses a Qualitative, Quantitative or a Mixed Method approach, a good research question should allow the researcher to have access to a fair amount of good quality research materials.

Arguable. It shouldn’t be answered with a Yes or No, and it should allow the opportunity to discuss the findings of different sources in an argumentative way in order to provide an answer.

Formulating a good research question is a key element and a fundamental first step of the complex Research Process.


References

Creswell, J. 2009. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Retrieved from https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/22782_Chapter_7.pdf

Johnson, R.B., Christensen, L. 2014. Introduction to educational research. In Educational research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches (pp.2-28). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Retrieved from http://uk.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/38122_Chapter1.pdf

Royal Roads University Writing Centre. (N.D.). Thesis Statements/Research Questions/Problem Statements. Retrieved from https://library.royalroads.ca/writing-centre/writing/structure/thesis-statements

Unit 5 | Digital Presence reflection and Activity 1

As we approach the conclusion of LRNT 521 as the first course of the MALAT program it is time to reflect on the learning outcomes and the effectiveness of my original Digital Presence Plan.

I originally recognized that I do not participate enough in Social Media environments and committed to increase and improve my Digital Presence for which I created a LinkedIn account, I have added a few personal contacts and some of my MALAT colleagues; while I don’t see myself being an active contributor I see the benefit of being part of such platform. Some personal friends from overseas have mentioned that many headhunters have contacted them via LinkedIn and they have closed good contracts or have found better job opportunities, I find them both positive and encouraging . I also acknowledged my lack of interest to cultivate a personal and/or professional online identity (Schryver, 2013).

I still have a hard time thinking of a personal online presence as an addition to my lifestyle, however, for professional purposes I think that after taking this course I understand better the potential benefits and impacts of creating and preserving a professional digital identity, being part of it is just the beginning of endless opportunities.

Lastly, I also committed to keep an open mind that sees beyond the technical side of things when it comes down to technology  and I definitely learned a lot, the course has provided plenty of resources with great information relevant to current events and learning environments that I feel I have now a much better understanding of them. In addition to my original plan, I have had the opportunity to work with great peers, people who are leaders on their fields of work, amazing professionals that for the last nine weeks have also contributed to my learning experience. I am excited to move forward and can’t wait to see what else the MALAT program has to offer!

Digital Presence and Identity Plan Update


References

Schryver, K. (2013). Who are you online? Considering issues of web identity. The New York Times blogs. https://bit.ly/3e3rFNQ

Access to Education for Students with Disabilities.

By Karen McMurray, Paula Insell and Luis Rodriguez.

A key finding in our research is that digital learning environments support information delivery in multiple formats supporting accessibility for students with disabilities. Incorporating multiple means of representation is one of the three principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

To see how multiple means of expression can be applied in a learning environment check out Karen’s and Paula’s blogs to see how information can be shared through offering alternatives.

*Click the bottom-right corner of the image to watch it in Full Screen.

Visual Network Map and Reflection

Kumu was an easy-to-use tool that I used to create my Virtual Map. Placing myself as the main nod and see how far the ramifications of my networks can get was quite interesting. I went back to David White’s Visitor-Resident Map video to use as a reference and to help me build this map too. I identified three main networks: Personal, Work and Academic. I found myself again to be a Visitor in most of the networks I use and I realized that I contribute very little or nothing at all in most of them. One of the goals of my Digital Presence Plan is to widen my Digital presence and have a more active participation in the current networks I use and the new ones I will join. By becoming a graduate student of this program my networks have already grown and I have already made new connections.  I can’t wait to see how much “bigger and messier” my networks will become as we move forward in this program.


References

White, D. (2013, Sep 13). Just the Mapping [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK1Iw1XtwQ