Monday, October 29, 2012

Distributed Learning

The chart on the short synopses of Vygotsky's ideas shows easily that Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) is what we can do with help. The ZPD emphasizes not only the role of a teacher but also the role of peers in development and values social learning. The first synopsis says, “full development of the ZPD depends upon full social interaction. The range of skill that can be developed with adult guidance or peer collaboration exceeds what can be attained alone.”

 This reminds me of the online learning environment that I have explored in ETEC622. With the guidance from Dr. Kimura, Eddie, and Ross, I have learned a lot by doing the assignments. I also learned more from collaboration with other peers and from their feedback on my work. The online learning environment and tools enable us to interact more than the traditional classroom. Students get more engaged in learning than in a traditional class.

It is important to note that technology expanded the learning environment from school/home to everywhere. We carry mobile devices, get help from people and search information on web sites. We can also reach students at a remote place.

One thing to think about is how we can persuade students who believe that they can only learn from teachers. Some students do not take collaborative learning seriously because they think they do not learn from peers. It is challenging to make them engaged in collaborative work. What shall we as teacher do?


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Resource Pages

For my group's resource page, I volunteered to create a web page on my personal space at UH. I am an amateur web developer, but I don't have my personal web site. My busy life makes me postpone the project for my personal web page. Week 7's assignment inspired me to create not only the group page but also my own page. I usually create web pages from scratch. This time, I decided to try free templates. I was amazed by the number of free web templates available. I appreciate people who created and shared their templates with others. For my personal page, I just chose a template but did not post any content yet; for the group page, I could fill the template with useful information thanks to my group members, Susan and Eileen. Without the content, templates are useless.

We found a lot of great tools that teachers can use for educational purposes. Many of them could be used for free. I was wondering how the companies make profit. It seems to be very important to train teachers to use those useful tools for their teaching. I knew a lot about technology in education before.  However, I have not updated my knowledge for a while. Now, I am excited to learn all the new things. I look forward to implementing what I have learned in ETEC622 to my teaching.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Internet Communications Technologies (ICT)

The Skype and Google Hangout trial with my group was very interesting and inspiring. I only used Skype for work-related purposes before, such as a job interview, consultation, etc. It was fun to talk while watching the videos of my group members. I found that the sound quality of Skype is great.
I did not know about Google Hangout at all before. I was surprised that Google+ provide a number of good tools for free. While the hangout, my group shared a Google Doc, which worked better than Blackboard's white board. However, Blackboard seems to be more appropriate for a large online class, because it can control who can speak and create participants into small groups.

Each tool has its strenths and weaknesses. However, we may run into technical problems anytime using them. It is important to expect technical difficulties and provide technical support.