Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bryan Alexander's Talk on Wireless

"wireless and mobile computing"

Bryan Alexander
co-director, center for educational technology, middlebury college

The combination of wireless technology and mobile computing is resulting in escalating transformations of the educational world. The question is, how are the wireless, mobile technologies affecting the learning environment, pedagogy, and campus life? To answer this question, we must assess the current state of affairs, surveying cyberculture globally and historically. We must consider the United States only peripherally, since it lags behind other parts of the world in several key trends. And we must carefully examine the wireless, mobile learning experience as it rapidly develops, doing our best to grasp emergent trends.

Bryan's presentation is an interesting and fascinating approach to the wireless world. See his blogged presentation notes at

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Afternoon Faculty Presentations Session

"iPods and Intercollegiate Debate: Coaching on the Go!"
Tim O'Donnell, Director of Debate, University of mary washington

Tim was

"looking for feedback on preliminary plans to rollout a systematic iPod program for intercollegiate debaters in Fall 2005. This is very much a work-in-progress. This presentation will sketch a preliminary vision for managing and coaching the debate program through the iPod."

Tim is comtemplating using iPods to:
1) organize briefing references in centralized location
2) convey information to the
3) Podcast Tim's coaching advice on particular teams and particular judges
4) Record all debates for the season
5) Students can record their own arguments to share with teammates

1) Security of podcasts
2) Microphone issues

Brian Lang's Been Digital So Long It Feels Like Print to Me

"Been Digital so long it looks like print to me: text technologies, authorship, and orality"

Brian Lamb
Project Coordinator, Office of Learning Technology, University of British Columbia

Brian will raise questions about particular qualities of digital and paper-based text; redefined notions of authorship and authority online; how the different media direct attention and affect cognition; information overload; and impacts on higher education (teaching, institutional and epistemic authority). He'll then open the floor for plenty of discussion!

Material information at

Brian's approach endorses the massive movement to blogs and wikis. But he also acknowledges that the approach to personal publishing raises some difficult questions about authorship, ownership, filtering. Yet those difficult questions also represent opportunities for new work.

Brian points to this useful piece: Jill Walker, ["Weblogs: Learning to Write in the Network"] -- an interesting piece on the use of the blogs and teaching students network literacy.

Brian also points to the idea of a "remix" culture that is a major part of the digital world. [Texts, music, images]

He notes that at heart blogging is about the "power of positive narcissism."

Great talk!

Diana Oblinger at UMW Faculty Academy

This is part of an ongoing series of summaries of, and reactions to, academic technology conferences.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Diana Oblinger, Vice-President of EDUCAUSE and Director of the EDUCAUSE National Learning Infrastructure Initiative.

She centers this talk on the students/learners and the implications of teaching and learning technologies. She uses idea of Net Generation students/learners (digital, connected, experiential, immediate, social).

Their learning preferences include:
Teams (not always group work, but they are social)
Peer-to-peer (learn from each other as readily, if not more readily, than from teachers)
Engagement and experience, visual and kinesthetic learners (much less experience with text, much more tuned into movement and visuals)
Things that matter (need to make material relevant to them)

Students want some technology, but not exclusively technologically focused (i.e., online).

Personal Response Units (clickers) allow concept inventories, engagement assessment, and student involvement in class.

Simulations, online laboratories, working with real world data allows engagement with experiential material, relevant material.

Some experiments look at the use of technology, space and learning. For example, Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs ( includes small group work in physics classes.

This generation also has hypertext minds which is a problem at times: Short attention spans, failure to reflect, problems with text literacy, problems with assessing source quality.

Libraries vs. Google as world of information.
[Help to include library resources within CMS like Blackboard.]

What can we do?
--Make learning experiential and interactive
--Consider Peer-to-peer approaches
-- Acknowledge significant percentage of non-traditional/adult learners and their need for greater programatic flexibility

Young students were least satisfied with exclusively online courses than compared to Matures (most happy) and Boomers (2nd) and Gen Xs (3rd in happiest).

Next generations (current high schools):
--Cradle to grave e-portfolios
--Not expert users, laptops are tools
--Informal learners
--Prefer internet research to online learning

Teen's web use
--100% use the web for information
--IM key communication (email too)
--Want new & exciting information from the internet
--Use internet to learn more, communicate, community
--Multitasking is common (web, phone, TV, Radio)

This matters because of neuroplasticity -- the brain does reshuffle and rewire based on information and the ways that that information is received.
--Increasing use of visual communication means we need to access some of those approaches.

Remember that these patterns change every 3-4 years.
-- Don't assume that they come from the same environment
-- Don't assume that they understand technology just because they can use it.

Where do we go from here?
Start with: What has changed about our students? [Makeup? Learning preferences?]
What are the options? [New teaching/learning options?]
What should we do?
What is the right balance? [Action vs reflection, Visual vs text, Social vs individual, etc.]
What must we do to be successful? [Remember that this is a group effort -- Combine Vision/Leadership, Service Delivery (student, faculty, admin support), Infrastructure (technology and financial), Organization, Process]

"The goal is an organization that is constantly making its future rather than defending its past."

See also --