Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Policy and Student Expectations - Diverging Realities

A review of a couple of research papers which cover the role of Web 2.0 in education from very different perspectives: one looks at school administration and policies, the other at student / youth behaviour and activities. It's quite surprising how the two are still so far apart - how educators are trying to fit Web 2.0 into traditional teaching and learning models, when it's quite apparent that it's becoming a question of us building models and paradigms to accomodate what is not simply a new technology-based expereince, but a new society.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Online Education Report - Some Key Findings by Ed.gov

The US Department of Education recently released Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, the title is dry but the findings are quite surprising.

The report is based on a very thorough literature review of online learning studies from 1996 to July 2008. One of the key findings states the following:
Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction...
What a finding, even though many of us actively push the integration of information and digital technologies into the learning process, this must still come as a surprise. The study also highlights the fact that when teaching / instruction combines online and face-to-face elements (blended learning) the advantages to the students are even higher.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Box.net - A Collaborative Tool for Professional Networks

The cloud / desktop relationship and the desired "seamless" bridging of content between the two is still a bumpy one, that is why any foray into cloud computing and online collaboration by a professional community requires a communications understanding and agreement by all participants for the selected collaborative tool to work. Many of us will use Google Apps or Zoho for one thing and then turn to our MS Office apps like Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint for the more "traditonal" office activities. The ability to seriously, and sincerely, integrate Web 2.0 tools into ones workflow is of course hampered by working relationships, networks, and the networks and expectations of others - not everyone you meet in your working circle is going to agree to change their work habits simply to join a collaborative application you use.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Free Collaborative Platforms for Teachers Part 5 - Glide Engage and OS Microblogging and Online Collaboration

Glide Engage is an ambitious service which attempts to capture and serve two of today's most popular online 'application' activities: microblogging and online collaboration. Surprisingly, it doesn't disappoint.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Student Generated e-Content and Records Management

On the last day of the school year, most elementary, middle and high school students will cleanup their desks and take with them all their workbooks. Some may leave their workbooks behind but most teachers don't want to deal with the clean-up and ensure that students leave an empty desk. But how do you deal with student generated digital data at the end of the school year? If you've pursued a number of web-based projects, maintained a classroom site / wiki, or used accounts created by you or your school on any number of Web 2.0 tools, how do you manage the transfer of the digital data they created? How will they carry their e-content home at the end of the year?