Cathy Anderson

How do we harness the energy of information? Through Education!!

Unedited totally random notes!

Written By: Cathy - Mar• 31•11
I feel the need to post something as this month is about to end and I see I have not been able to post anything since January..this is unlike me but life has been incredibly busy for me.  There has been so much going on so I will share a bit of the personal and make some observations about education that I have noted over the last several months.

What has really gotten in the way of my keeping up my blog is that I recently purchased a house and moved! Who likes to move?  It is so much more work than I ever imagined.  Having lived in the same house for almost 15 years I had not realized how entrenched and entangled I had become there that has made this move so difficult. I love my new house but letting go of the old one has proved difficult.  I chose to complicate things even more by doing some remodel work on my new house that slowed the move out of the old house.  It will be great in the end I a sure ..I will have the house I want!

The remodel work has been complicated by a plumber who seemed to be jinxed by this project…it seems we now have things on track! (After ripping out the basement and plumbing more than twice. I think we are on the right path..finally.)

I have another project in real life that is both fun and complex..I am taking a trip to China, leaving on April 3 returning to the US on the 14th. This is remarkable I have always dreamed of traveling like this just never imagined that this would be something I would get to do! I always get a little apprehensive when I fly ..so I expect to be breaking out in hives or some nerve related ailment at any moment..I can tell the nerves are starting build as my hands are freezing.

Here are some notes on distance education I have taken:

Rheingold’s five interconnected literacies of Social Media:

1.  Attention:  The places to know where and when to place one’s attention when navigating various types of social media and when navigating between social media and real world moments.
We must be trained in how to decide what deserves our attention.

2.  Participation:  This is a question of being a “good participant” of knowing how and when to post a comment on a blog. Participation  is defined as “the ability to communicate our opinions and knowledge with others in a productive manner.”  If you are into Social Media as I am you tweet, blog, and post on facebook your opinions, your causes your interests or what has move you that day..in order to influence others.

3.  Collaboration: Social media can be used to create online communities of diverse and dispersed people to work on and communicate about mutual interests and projects.

4.  Network awareness:  having an awareness of how a social media network operates.  Understanding of the global applications of networks and how it brings diverse groups of people together.

5.  Critical consumption:  put simply this is merely have the skill and ability to determine what is and what is not crap in online information.



Howard Rheingold on Crap Detection

Author William Gibson has been known to coin many terms including cyberspace….he also coined the following term:
Consensual hallucination:   The experience of the digital in a simulated space.   A space that is not physical, a space that is supported by the Internet, that is global and functions as a World Wide Web but that does not have a well defined “locus” of existence.

To quote Gibson, “Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding… ”
William Gibson (Neuromancer)

In an attempt to define how one could develop a Learning Management System Integrated with Social Networking I was seeking a definition of exactly what a social network is..here are my notes:

Social networking:  an association of people drawn together by family work or hobbies.  First coined by JA Barnes.  Now on the web social network sites

A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network

Social network: Web-based social networking occurs through a variety of websites that allow users to share content, interact and develop communities around similar interests. Examples include websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Would integrating social networking features into an LMS make a difference for learners?  Are distance learning students those independent learners who prefer working independently and have a conceptual learning style, …These students are the .. one-third of children who learn whole concepts all at once, rather than being sequential. These conceptual or holistic learners miss details as they focus instead on the bigger picture.

Should online learning emulate the traditional classroom learning experience or should it develop it’s own unique learning environment that would be drastically different from classroom based learning.

I have also be reading about Vygotsky’s constructivist learning theory which places strong emphasis on he social aspect of learning as an interactive process of problem solving, reasoning, action and reflecting the use of knowledge, critical thinking and self regulation.

Blended learning environments fulfilled the social desire for interactivity.

Cooperative learning embodies the spirit of collaboration and social learning as  compared to competition an isolated learning.

Socrates theory of education:

Theory of value:  what knowledge and skills are worthwhile learning..what are the goals of education.

Theory of knowledge:  How is different from believing?

Theory of human nature:  what is ha human and how

Theory of learning:  What is learning, how skills and knowledge are acquired

Theory of transmission:  Who is to teach, by what method and what will the curriculum be?

Theory of Society:  What is society,l what instruction is involved in the educational process

Theory of opportunity:  who is to be educated, who is to be schooled.

Why do people disagree, how is consensus achieved, whose opinion takes precedence.

What drives change in pedagogy?  What differs in virtual worlds over traditional and traditional online instruction.

What constitutes a virtual world?   Virtual learning?  How do we define it?  Why use a virtual learning environment that mimic the real world? …such as Second Life..to emulate the college campus?  Virtual reference libraries?

How does a virtual learning environment such as second life contribute to learning:  it allows for content creation, experiential creativity and information creation and collection and delivery.

Virtual learning environments are smart or can be made to be smart….(scripting, interaction social networking)..

In virtual learning environments participants may experience the same emotions, communication, crisis, disaster, as they do in a real world environment are safe from physical harm.

Physical world connections,   active learning

Accept that in Second Life one learns and one teaches it is a give and take type of environment.. open to self reflection and reflection with others.

Identify formations …social interactions  text messages and instant messages can be recorded and reviewed for further discussion

Deep learning..how is that different?  What is the context .. we learn through experiences that contribute to our growth

Setting the stage:  Adults in higher education

Why non completion…

It is not about learning about the virtual environment..but making the experience count within the context of what one is learning…

The experience (VLE) is different for everyone.  It can’t be pushed into a cookie cutter pattern.  Must be simplistic enough to not interfere with the experience.  What is the experience? It is the instructor’s role to be a part of the experience.  Embodies learning means that our learning relies on our perspective in an environment such that what we learn and what perspective we have on learning depends on depends on our activities and engagement in the environment.

What evidence is there that games and gamers have a higher motivation to learn..resources:

Digital games research association

James Gees 36 Learning Principles

I was researching for this blog the other night and came across information on the US Dept of Education’s regulations for ensuring program integrity.  These will be implemented July 1, 2011.  No can deny that ensuring program integrity from educational institutions is important..some of my notes are as follows:

1.   Graduation rate and job placement disclosures
2.  Institutions give notice when developing new programs
Formally apply the new program approval based upon whether or not that new  program meets the institutions mission and history.
3. Strengthen regulations that are designated to protect students and taxpayers from misrepresentation,  incentive compensation, state authorization,
4.  Ensure that only eligible students receive federal financial aid
High school diplomas are valid, students with out high school diplomas are eligible for federal financial aid after they complete six credits of college credits
Ability to benefit, satisfactory academic progress, verification of identity

Credit hour award is based upon the standard definition of the credit hour, the final rule allows for the equivalent measure of learning activities.   A credit hour is defined solely for federal program purposes, allow the institution to set their own standards for credits…

Written agreements are required when a post secondary institution is allowed to deliver a portion of another institution’s education program.

Retaking coursework allows the coursework retaken to count in the credit hour load for financial aid.

The department will consider a institution to be making a good faith effort to prospectively comply with the distance education regulations for the state authorization  if the institution has applied for approval of its offerings … the institute is able to document its application for approval and the application receipt by the state.   If an out of state institution is offering distance education to a State’s residents.  Rules and regulations are confusing and vary from state to state..

Stay on top of this information here:  http://wcet.wiche.edu/advance/state-approval

IPEDS info:  http://nces.ed.gov/IPEDS/news_room/ana_Changes_to_8_22_2008_188.asp

Regional Accrediting Bodies:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

New England Association of Schools and Colleges

North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges

Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC)

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges

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