Monday, September 06, 2010

New Media in Education Fiesta (20100906, Day 1)

organised by Innova Junior College

Was quite excited over this event as it gives me the opportunity to 'wonder' in SecondLife. Haha... it was as if I don't already have one! (Indeed, I think I spend more time online than talking, in any day... unless I have no internet access! Oops! Yes, one could say, I'm addicted to the Internet... as I hop in not just for work, also for my leisure).
3 of us (Aurelius, Aidil & me) attended the same event.

Keynote 1: Learning in the Digital Age (by Erin Reilly)

Synposis from
This talk will examine students’ daily practices situated within their learning ecologies and hence are dynamically interrelated to their existing conditions, infrastructures of place, and technologies. Although the classroom and interaction among teachers and learners is at the core of this ecology, research has shown that adults’ and kids’ worlds are co-constituted, suggesting that school, after-school, home, and online places are all organic parts of the ecosystem. There will be discussion on how the focus of literacy has changed from individual expression to community involvement where creative manifestation and active participation are the hallmark.

Some key points gathered from the talk:

(A) A framework was presented:

It describes the 3 stages that one would go through when given ubiquitous access to others (via the internet, when they are soically connected). The way they interact has changed. The purpose would evolved. It's like progressing from a novice stage to an amateur stage.

(B) Next is something we heard over and over again in the recent years, the change in the way 'routines' are carried out...

  • Reading a Book VS Reading a Trans-Media

  • Writing Alone VS Networked Writing

  • Memorising Formula VS Gaming as Problem Solving

Indeed, this is very true.

  • Take reading as an example. "Books" are no longer just limited to text and images when technology comes into the picture. Take the Channel NewsAsia website that I like to go to. There are videoclips (snippets from the TV news), there is polling features when sometimes they wanted to get feedback from the reader. There is also distribution feature where the reader could further broadcast selected articles to the others via other platforms like Facebook or Twitter. So, the entire 'reading' experience has changed. The reader is no longer passive, but could also play an active role to respond according to his/her own opinion.

  • Writing activities have certainly evolved from "self proprietory" to "shared and collaboration". Writing on a piece of paper has allowed one to "own" the full ownership - the creation. However, often it's one-perspective usually. With technology, I guess, the first stage of evolution took place was the introduction of "comments" features with the word processor. The first step to make it interactive, when someone could respond to the writer - to correct or to comment. The next turning point, I think is the idea of collaborative writing was made possibly through wiki! There, the collaboration, the building-on each others' thinking takes place in a borderless manner. Multiple readers, multiple-respondents (writers). One no longer in full control of the writing, the direction of the writing could just change because of the different perspectives and background, experiences that each writer brings to the 'table'. Nowadays, it's no longer just 'wiki', but many Web 2.0 tools that could facilitate networked writing in various look-and-feel.
(C) Project New Media Literacies (NML):

The project was introduced to the participants. Its key focus is on the 4Cs. Connect. Communicate. Create. Collaborate.

(D) Question: "Conservative with Content" VS "Radical" in approach

A photo of the entrance to the school computer lab/ library with a notice pasted on the door was shown to the participants. It read:

"Social Networking Sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook) is no longer available on this Friday"

Haha... does that sound familiar?

  • So, is there anything wrong with this message?
  • What was the motivation behind this action?
  • What's the impact going to be like?
  • What's the reaction(s) from the students?
  • Does this really 'solve' the 'problem'

Lots of questions crossed our minds, isn't it? It goes back to... Social Networking is here to stay... So, how do we 'live in peace' with it and leverage on what it could bring to our everyday life.

Indeed, we recently 'blocked' Facebook because students were indulged in it... and have been 'dropping' by to play games. But this is only to buy time to educate the users. In fact, if we continue to 'block' everything, we are always in the firefighting end and it's bound to be a losing battle. No worth spending the time and effort in this.

(F) Participatory Learning Characteristics

The following diagram shows the 5 elements essential for participatory learning:

Indeed, if we look at it... it's commonsensical... for today's learning, we recognise that "Partcipatory learning" makes up the major mode of learning.

  • Authenticity: This has been something we emphasize alot in the school's approach - the connectedness - not just linking to real world (i.e. the environment), but also linking to oneself. This connection bridges the meaning of learning to what's intended for the learner.

  • Creativity: I forget who Erin Reilly spoke about "Creativity"... I think, creativity comes from both teacher and the learner. The teacher no longer can hold on to the old toolkit - the same 'strategies' used to deliver a lesson does not necessary bring out the desired (expected) impact/ effect that he/she would see in a conventional classroom. Indeed, if we look at cooperative learning strategies - it could be seen as a 'bridge' (of teaching strategies) of the old way (downloading mode) to today's preferred mode (interaction and collaboration). However, that set of strategies have to be modified in order to leverage on the environment. The same 'old' Cooperative Strategies have to change in order to fit into the technologically-pervasive environment. Hence, it calls for the teachers' creativity to create a new learner experience. Apart from this, because of the new environment and approach, learners are given more space and more stimulas to be even more creative :)

  • Co-configured Expertise: Teachers are no longer the sole knowledge provider. No... and I think there's no point for us to retain much of the theories we learnt in our head. These knowledge now are so easily available out there. So, what's the role of the teacher? Yes, that's why in recent years, the role of teachers has slowly (though not fully successful) to become facilitators - the one who show the learners the direction, provide the scaffold for them to seek the knowledge and construct knowledge. Well, expect the learners to be even smarter than who we are... so, what we could bring to this entire experience is our experience and foresightedness.

  • Motivation & Engagement - putting the right pieces together - the attitudes, the capabilities and setting the right context, that pitch at the right level. That motivates and engages. Imagine, when we talk about statistics and trends, use everyday examples that they are FAMILIAR with so that they could make connection and participate... Stocks and Insurance matters are not in their radar screen yet.

  • Learning Ecosystem - I guess it's really about putting everything together to create the environment - physical and affective aspects, with the necessary support structure - that is conducive to bring about the processes, to cultivate the kind of culture.

(G) Are you a ... MEDIA MASTER?

Check out our "Global Kids"...

  • Remixer?
  • Gamer?
  • Blogger?
  • Social Networker?
  • Cell Phone Addict?

The skills needed in classroom vs the skills needed in the workplace. How aligned they are?

"Teaching of Skill does not matter. but the disposition"

Side note:
About the Experience - Well, this is the first SecondLife Talk that I attended... Though it is life, it's kind of funny to watch an avatar talking to the crowd. We could only 'feel' the presence of the speaker via the voice... there isn't much we could gather from the facial expression, the eye contact... these important elements are missing.


Keynote 2: Learning in New Media Blended Environments (by Dr Tan Beng Kiang)

Synposis: Learning does not just happen in classrooms in a teaching-centered paradigm. As educators, we know the importance of other modes of learning such as experiential learning, peer learning, collaborative leanring and the importantce of learning out of classroomswith field trips to different spatial context. With technological advancement of new media,

  • How do we leverage on it to enrich learning?
  • How do we "blend" new media to our physical space?
  • Is there a need for balance between learning in brick-and-mortar space and total virtual environment?
  • Is there a need for balance between high tech and high touch?

From the keynote:

1. Learning from passive to active (trends):

  • Collaborative learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Participatory/ Collective Learning

Spatial Context: different stimulas. With new media advancement:

  • 2D & 3D platforms
  • more affordable
  • more pervasive

  • 2D refers to platforms like blogs and facebook while 3D refers to platforms like WOW, SecondLife (social networking, commerce), Google Earth 3D (info)
  • Single user immersive virtual reality environment - Heritage
  • Multi-user online virtual world - Educational & Heritage (e.g. Forbidden City, Lourve Museum)

Some examples of collaborative learning:

1. Experiential Learning:

  • Sungei Buloh Wireless Trail
  • UNPC and barcode
  • Dr Tan commented that it has the right concept but encounters hardware issue; and therefore it was not natural. Indeed, technology distracts learning.

2. Experiential Engagement

3. Experimental Learning (Scenario)

  • Physical environment as live teaching materials
  • Imagine you can place 'invisible ost" of text, pictures or videos on real world buildings and objects

4. D-touch Visual Markers

  • The importance of being able to put down all points at the same time and organise ideas
  • participatory and collective
  • Connecting Physical and virtual space
  • Mirrored Message Wall: Social media to connect people at different geographical locations, a space for sharing collected thoughts

4. 3D AmiLab with GermaniumWeb

Last but not least...

  • Know WHAT to teach
  • Know HOW you teach
  • Know WHY you teach (goal)

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