As you review the emerging tools from our list, keep in mind which tools might be most useful for you given your specific circumstances and the student population you serve. As you’re reading and evaluating, remember these points:
- Fahy’s article asserts “…media research confirms that what the learner does with media is more important than what the teacher does.”
- Recall the information from the Fink text regarding active versus passive learning.
- Remember the Community of Inquiry model introduced in the orientation to this course.
How many of the proposed tools are contextualized primarily for teacher presentation (passive learning)? Which have potential for active learning or afford students opportunity to display a product of their learning? Which of the tools have potential for developing or enhancing the community of learners? Which features most actively support learner engagement in a community? Post your preliminary conclusions in this discussion for your weekly writing.
As I look through the tool list, I immediately wanted to brainstorm ideas on how to use the tools for unintended purposes! I’m going to say that almost of the tools have potential uses for both instructors and students. Even the online rubrik creator. Why not have students creating their own rubrics for assignments? Kahoot – students could create their own quizzes based on classroom readings and lectures and share with their classmates.
There are several tools on the list that can not be used in isolation. They are social tools that are meant for a cohort to share. Tools like Remind, Slack, Feedly, Yammer or PBworks. Without that cohort they are ineffective. The power in these tools is that require collaboration from a group, otherwise, they are just reporting tools. These tools are the ones that you would use to engage students.
There are also tools that can be used by both teachers and students to create passive activities. Things like Powtoons, screencasting, mindmapping. If a teacher uses these, I would hope that they would be used in conjunction with some kind of discussion or reflection. You would certainly want to break up the presentation with some thought provoking questions that student might think about while they are watching as supported by some of the research we read earlier in the semester. For students, these tools can be used to provide evidence to the instructor that they have an understanding of the topic and that they can demonstrate that they understand your learning objectives.
Those tools that provide both a passive and active engagement are most interesting to me — those that allow you to create something but also allow for some peer feedback. Storify and Voicethread would be examples that I can immediately identify. Thinking back to our PLE exercise. Those tools are where we can connect, collect, reflect, and share all at the same time–most efficient!
As I look through the list and look at the tools that I added that I feel might have relevance to my own class, I tried to consider what part I will play in the adaptation of the tool. Will I set it up and invite the students to participant in my instance of the tool or will I ask students to create their own webspace and invite the rest of us to join. In the first example, I will be controlling the organization and I will maintain control over all of the images that get added. From an efficiency standpoint that would be the easiest for me when I go to see what everyone is doing throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, I may choose to cancel my account and those artifacts will go away. Or is it a better learning experience for individual students if they maintain their own instance of the tool and invite everyone to join them?
If I have ten students in the class, that means I’ll have to go to ten different sites to check in on everyone. As well, the students will have to manage going to these individual sites as well. In the long run, is having students maintaining their own webspace an important learning outcome? Are students better served by my taking control? These are all consideration I’ll have to make if I decide to adopt one of the tools and all supported by what Fahy talks about when it comes to student’s use of the tools as opposed to the teacher. I’m reminded of Gardner Campbell and Jim Groom’s argument (Links to an external site.)that every student should have a domain of their own, one that the individual student controls completely to represent who they are as a person and as a student. Am I doing a disservice to the student by making things more convenient for me?