The Great Media Debate

Co-Authored by Jessica Sirois and Giulia Di Giovanni

Article 1: Virtual Reality Can Support And Enhance Environmental Education

Summary

In their article, Jerowsky and Borda explain how the effective use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can support and improve environmental education. Due to the distance, safety issues, financial constraints, and physical limitations, many locations that students are learning about are inaccessible. The authors claim that VR offers the opportunity to access places such as coral reefs and wetlands, allowing students to experience and study these ecologically sensitive areas. They explore multiple scenarios where VR or AR positively influences learning. Through their secondary research, Jerowsky and Borda conclude that VR and AR can empower students to contribute to solving the world’s complex environmental problems now and in the future.

 

Clark

Clark (1994) made many different claims regarding media and its influence on learning. His primary claim was that media are mediums that deliver instruction but that they do not influence learning. In Jerowsky and Borda’s article, the opportunity that VR and AR provide is evident. Students’ being able to study inaccessible ecosystems is revolutionary and avoids any harm to these ecologically sensitive areas. The one point Clark would make is the affordability argument. Clark (1994) states, “we must always choose the less expensive way to achieve a learning goal” (pp. 3).

Kozma

Kozma (1994), on the other hand, believed that “if there is no relationship between media and learning it may be because we have not yet made one” (p. 7). This appears to have evolved based on the successes of VR and AR studied in Jerowsky and Borda’s article. The results of the studies in their article show numerous positive outcomes, including increased knowledge retained by students, high levels of engagement, and significant improvements in problem-solving. Kozma (1994) claimed, “the task of the designer is to use the capabilities of the medium to create objects that generate interesting and effective conversations—-ones that influence learning” (p. 17). Jerowsky and Borda (1994) proved this to be true through their analysis of VR and AR in environmental education. 

 

Summary

EdTech magazine recently published an article on Google’s Adaptive Learning Technology, which leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver robust learning designs to the classroom. According to the authors, the average U.S high school class has 30 students that require practice and personalized feedback in the classroom, which can be a burden to educators. The author claims that integrating Google’s Adaptive Learning Technology in the classroom might transform future education into a personalized learning experience. Using artificial intelligence in the classroom could assist educators in improving instruction, reducing administrative responsibilities, and providing meaningful feedback to their students, all while learners enhance their understanding of instructional ideas by obtaining immediate feedback and real-time support.

 

Clark

Clark (1994) might say that using artificial intelligence in the classroom would not provide the same learning outcome for all students. However, in Burrough’s article, she states that practice and immediate feedback have consistently been shown to be effective in modern classrooms. Adopting AI practice sets provides students with fast, personal feedback, which keeps them engaged and helps build confidence. If a student fails, they can receive immediate feedback to help verify they comprehend the topic before moving forward in a lesson. Clark (1994) might also claim that AI could not serve as a “unique cognitive effect for some learning task, then the attributes must be proxies for some other variables that are instrumental in learning gains” (pp. 2). According to Burrough’s article, using AI technology in the classroom can significantly improve a student’s feedback loop by allowing students to monitor their progress and accuracy when working on an assignment and providing them with additional beneficial content to help them learn. This statement implies that AI technology can have a cognitive effect on learners, which contradicts Clarks’ (1994) argument.

 

Kozma

Kozma (1994) might state that AI technology’s key benefit is enabling students’ cognitive processes through symbolic and processing capacities. Kozma (1994) defines symbol systems as a means of communicating information about a field of reference that includes written texts, photographs, maps, graphs, and so on (p.10). According to Burrough’s article, Google’s Adaptative Learning Technology provides students with visual explainers and videos. Furthermore, Kozma (1994) defines processing capabilities as a medium’s ability to work on available symbol systems in a particular fashion, allowing information to be received, organized, shown, saved, organized, and evaluated, among other processes (p.10). Burroughs (2022) highlighted this in her article by stating that practice sets use AI to distinguish identical responses, identify when students go off course, and discover other trends to better assist educators in seeing patterns and making corrections to enhance the students’ learning experience.

References

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299088

Burroughs, A. (2022). Google’s Adaptive Learning Technologies Help Amplify Educators’ Instruction. Technology Solutions That Drive Education. https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2022/08/googles-adaptive-learning-technologies-help-amplify-educators-instruction

Jerowsky, M., & Borda, A. (2022). Virtual reality can support and enhance environmental education. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/virtual-reality-can-support-and-enhance-outdoor-environmental-education-183579

Kozma, R. B. (1994). Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299087

 

People in the field

I enjoy history and psychology, and while researching for this assignment, I came across a name that I was familiar with, B.F. Skinner. I knew that B.F. Skinner significantly impacted psychology with his operant conditioning and behaviourism theories. Still, I didn’t understand why his name kept coming up in Audrey Watter’s Hack Education and how he may be relevant in education and technology.

Watters (2018) noted that after visiting his daughter’s classroom in 1953, Skinner had an ingenious idea to build a teaching machine. The idea was formed after observing that all students were learning at the same rate and that students did not receive fast feedback on exams and assignments. This contradicts one of the main principles of operant conditioning, which assumes that positive reward is used to modify behaviours. He designed his teaching machine with pre-programmed quiz questions that students could answer at their own pace and promptly receive feedback on whether they responded correctly or wrongly. Today, we have all utilized a variation of Skinner’s teaching machine without realizing it, including taking a quiz online and receiving immediate feedback and grades.

I would argue, in total seriousness, that one of the places that Skinnerism thrives today is in computing technologies, particularly in “social” technologies.”
(Watters, 2018, p. 5) 

Skinner’s work on behaviourism is still prominent in today’s instructional design. According to Ertmer and Newbie (2013), behaviourism is still utilized to build audio-visual materials and teach pedagogies that use preprogrammed texts (p. 49). Furthermore, behaviourism is used in computer-assisted education and mastery learning, including observable and quantifiable outcomes, learner analysis, instructional presentation sequencing, tangible rewards and informative feedback, simple and complex sequencing, and the use of prompts (Ertmer & Newby, 2013, p. 49). Skinner’s work on behaviourism began nearly 69 years ago, and it is remarkable how much of an impact he has had on today’s education and technology.

The Teaching Machine

B.F. Skinner explains his teaching machine and methodology in the video below. If you have the time, I recommend watching the video.

(B.F Skinner. Teaching Machine and Programmed Learning,” 2011)

References

B.F Skinner. Teaching machine and programmed learning. (2011). [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTH3ob1IRFo

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43–71. https://doi.org/10.1002/piq.21143

Watters, A. (2018, October 18). B. F. Skinner: The Most Important Theorist of the 21st Century. Hack Education. http://hackeducation.com/2018/10/18/skinner

Reflecting on 25 Years of Ed Tech (1994-2001)

I thoroughly enjoyed the first eight chapters of Weller’s (2020) book 25 Years of Ed Tech. I had never considered the origins of educational technology, despite having grown up with the internet and taking online classes in university. Reading about how long education technology has existed and developed over time was fascinating. Although the first eight chapters provided a wealth of valuable information, chapter 6 caught my attention since I believe some of this mindset is still prevalent today.

In 1999, Weller was a part of the initial team to create the Open University’s first online graduate course and investigated the feasibility of delivering a fully online course. The course was a success, resulting in an entirely new paradigm shift in the possibilities of e-learning.  As a result of this success, conversations began on E-Learning costs. Noam (1995) believed that curriculums could be created once and offered electronically to not only one hundred students but thousands worldwide without fully understanding the fixed and variable costs of creating E-Learning courses.  In essence, the concept was that while E-Learning may have a high initial cost, it may be relatively inexpensive to replicate, implying that prices would not increase as student numbers increased. However, this does not consider the variable costs of increased student numbers, such as tutors or moderators.

At the end of this chapter, Weller (2020) did note that the low cost of e-learning myth keeps reoccurring, however, and was a motivation for much of the investment in MOOC.” (p.47). However, I would challenge this statement because I do not believe it is necessarily true. Some industries, such as higher education, understand that E-Learning is not necessarily low in cost to produce, as they require more resources than previously assumed. However, most industries have little experience with E-Learning and believe it is simple and inexpensive to generate. As we move into a “post-covid” era where many businesses opt to transition to online learning, it will be necessary to properly educate some of these organizations to comprehend education technology better to properly allocate their resources effectively. Perhaps this is where we, as MALAT students, come in.

Resources

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01 

George Veletsianos’ Audiocasts on Research

I found George’s response to our cohort’s questions to be fascinating.  There was one specific key takeaway that stood out for me as it is something that I am very passionate about. 

It is inspiring to hear that one of the emerging trends in EdTech pertains to online learning and mental health.  I believe there is a vast opportunity to explore the relationship between digital learning environments and mental health. I genuinely think there can be many great things to come from it.  It will be interesting to see how we will use online learning to better provide mental health services to those in need and to know whether it is an effective method to help treat mental health and to what capacity.

I look forward to keeping an eye out on this trend – and hope to be a part of it! 

 

 

Unit 4 Activity 1

For Unit 4 Activity 1, our team discussed the Impact of Digital Learning on Inclusion. Click here to access the interactive infographic for more information.

Group Members: Jessica Sirois, Giulia Di Giovanni and Michal Gerov

References

Bates, T. (2019). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. (2nd ed.). Contact North. https://teachonline.ca/teaching-in-a-digital-age/teaching-in-a-digital-age-second-edition

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. Athabasca University Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

Foley, A., & Ferri, B. A. (2012). Technology for people, not disabilities: Ensuring access and inclusion. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(4), 192–200. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-3802.2011.01230.x

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. (n.d.). Inclusion. In Oxford Learner’s Dictionary. Retrieved May 26, 2022, from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/inclusion

Ryberg, T., & Georgsen, M. (2010) Enabling Digital Literacy. Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 2(5). https://doi.org/10.18261/ISSN1891-943X-2010-02-02

From Visitor to Resident

Prior to enrolling in the MALAT program, I had never given much thought to who I was online or what kind of digital presence I had. Up until this moment, I had made a choice to live in my visitor bubble trying to leave no digital footprint. In the journal Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement there was one statement that truly felt like it described how I interact with the web and it states: “Clearly, some people may operate entirely as Visitors, visiting specific Web places for specific purposes, entirely on their own and never leaving a footprint behind”(White & Alison Le Cornu, 2011).

As a millennial, I grew up with AOL, ICQ (remember that?), MSN, Myspace, and eventually, Facebook when I started high school. I was able to talk with my friends after school, login in and out of MSN to attract my crush’s attention, and exchange images on Facebook using these platforms. Sounds pretty harmless right? Sure, until you start to see the unpleasant aspects of social media, such as children being cruel to one another or having images shared without consent. I think that it was from seeing this firsthand that I never really wanted to be googleable or to put any effort into my digital identity.

But, in the spirit of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, my goal is to see whether I can adjust to being more of a resident in the digital space. When creating my DIDP, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to write a long list of goals in order to give the impression that I wanted a large digital presence when, in reality, I’m not sure this is something that I want. It will be interesting to see how my views evolve in the next two years. So without further ado… here is my short (but authentic) DIDP.

The common theme running across these two objectives is to strengthen my digital identity inside the MALAT program so that I can fully engage with and learn from my peers.

Goals

  1. Post my own opinions or ideas on LinkedIn and Twitter (with confidence)
  2. Use online channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and WordPress to have meaningful conversations.

Approach

  1. Keep a running list of topics that I find interesting or passionate about
  2. Use more of a critical lens when writing my posts
  3. Asking my peers for advice and/or feedback

Learning Gaps

  1. I need to strengthen my critical thinking skills and writing skills
  2. On a personal level, I must work on getting over this imposter syndrome and gain a bit more confidence to try to not get caught up in worrying about what other people will think of the content I publish

Strategies and Approaches

  1. Carve out some time to practice my critical thinking and writing skills by utilizing the RRU writing centre
  2. Post more content on LinkedIn and Twitter without any fear or hesitation
  3. Imposter Syndrome/Confidence: I will probably need therapy… Just kidding (but not kidding)

Measures of Success

  1. Seeing my writing style and critical lens change as I work through and get better at these skills
  2. Getting more comfortable posting online and seeing the number of these posts increase
  3. When posting online, seeing an increase in engagements from other individuals on my posts

 

References:

White, D. S., & Alison Le Cornu. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). https://firstmonday.org/article/view/3171/3049

My Technology Use Map

Initially, when I started to build my map of technology, I had originally thought my activities would have fallen more towards the personal-resident spectrum. As it turns out, most of my personal activities online fall in the visitor spectrum. Prior to the pandemic, when I wasn’t working from home, a lot of my technology use was more resident/personal; however, now that I’ve been working from home for two years and have to live, work, sleep, and now be a student all within the same walls, I’ve had to set strict boundaries with how much time I allow myself to use digital technology to avoid burnout. It will be fascinating to see how my technology map evolves over the coming years.

In the toggles below, you’ll find a breakdown of my technology usage, organized by where I fall on the spectrum.

Visitor/Personal

Facebook: I only have connections to my friends and family on Facebook. I generally use Facebook to look at things on Facebook Market Place (but never actually buy anything).

Tik Tok: I don’t follow any of my friends or family. I use this app to anonymously scroll and watch videos (admittedly, a lot of dog and cat videos – the algorithm knows me so well)

Netflix: I don’t think I need to explain this one!

Email (Personal): I use my personal email to interact with friends and family, as well as to spend countless hours unsubscribing from mailing lists.

Apple Music: This is the app that I use the most during the day. Music has a significant impact on my ability to concentrate.

Visitor/Personal and Institutional

Google Searches: Searching engine for both personal and institutional uses.

Visitor/Institutional

PowerBi: I utilize this tool to extract data from our Point-of-Sale System (Booker), which creates key performance indicator data that I use to assess various aspects of the company.

Email (Work): This email is just for work-related purposes.

Booker (POS): Booker is our Point-of-Sale system, which is essentially the software that is used to book and process all appointments for the companies.

SharePoint: I use it to look up company information and documents.

Resident/Personal

Instagram: My Instagram page is open to the public, and it has followers who are my friends, family, and complete strangers. I use Instagram for the social engagement element.

Resident/Institutional

WordPress Blog (RRU): Only used for the MALAT program to engage and contribute to the community via WordPress.

Slack: Strictly used to communicate with the members of this cohort.

Moodle: Moodle is only used to engage and collaborate amongst this cohort.

MS Teams: This is one of the most common business communication methods. This is usually where our team communicates with one another (a lot of times just sending each other GIFs)

Zoom: I mainly use Zoom for team meetings and/or class sessions for the MALAT program.

Resident/ Institutional and Personal

LinkedIn: I use LinkedIn to participate in many groups and discussions, as well as to create and share my own personal posts.

A MALAT Virtual Symposium Reflection

Last week’s virtual symposium was informative. This was a fantastic opportunity to sit back and absorb all the useful information from industry experts. As someone who is relatively new to the field, this has been a life-changing week and I have learned so much already (and it’s only the first week!). I could write pages about this past week’s symposia but, there were a few sessions that I found particularly interesting.

SOARing into Educational Change with Appreciative Inquiry.

The session “SOARing into Education Change with Appreciative Inquiry”, drastically changed my viewpoint on how I evaluate key learning gaps among my franchisees in my current role. I found the appreciative inquiry framework to be rather eye-opening. Dr. Waddington goes on to explain that appreciative inquiry was developed in the 1980s by Dr. David Cooper, who wondered how things could change if we looked at what was working rather than what was broken (Royal Roads University, 2022).  This statement alone provided an “a-ha” moment for me. I’ve always approached my franchisees with a S.W.O.T analysis. Providing a S.W.O.T analysis to a franchisee, in my opinion, has always resulted in a negative outcome. If I shift my lens to an appreciative inquiry using the S.O.A.R technique, I believe there will be a significant shift within the franchise network. Though I have not had the opportunity to put this to the test, I believe that the S.O.A.R approach would provide a wealth of insight and collaboration within the network by focusing on what is going well in their business and how to capitalize on those strengths to better our approach on how we revamp our online learning.

What is Online Learning Post-Pandemic?                                                    

This is an issue I’ve been thinking about a lot lately at work, as our company is re-evaluating our franchisee training. The difficulty I’m up against is a lack of knowledge and awareness about how training should be given within my organization. Most people in my company, for example, believe that the best way to transition to online learning is to transform our lengthy manuals into PowerPoint presentations and hope that our learners will utilize this as a self-guided learning path. As a result of this viewpoint, I’ve found myself at odds with superiors on occasion, even though I know this strategy is ineffective. Dr. Labonte goes on to say that it’s critical to concentrate on the course’s quality and instructional design (Royal Roads University, 2022). I am convinced that the quality and design of online learning contribute significantly to learner engagement. This is one of the reasons I chose to enrol in this programme with the hopes of being able to implement these changes at work.

Final Thoughts

I’ll admit that at the start of this program, I experienced a little bit of imposter syndrome. After finishing my first week and participating in the virtual symposium, my perspective has completely transformed. This week has proven that I am in the right place. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me.

References:

Gedak, L., & Waddington, L. (2022, April 14). SOARing into Educational Change with Appreciative Inquiry [Video]. Zoom. https://bit.ly/LWLGMALATVS2022

Royal Roads University. (2022, April 3). What is Online Learning Post-Pandemic? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxazQ6a-WwQ