Friday, April 22, 2011

Week 15-Outsourced

Week 15
“Hello, India? I Need Help With My Math” Lohr, Steve
This article focuses on the outsourcing of education along with the outsourcing of corporate America.  There are a few companies in India that are working on an online tutoring program that allows screen sharing and VOiP progams to assist students with homework and projects here in the states while the tutor is based in India.  This program is a monthly fee, rather than a by hour fee.   There are also other personal service industries popping up that schedule mundane tasks such as take out, hair appointments, doctor appointments, birthday reminders and the such to personal assistants that are oceans away.
Technology doesn’t isolate people: US Study, ChinaDaily
This short article focuses on the needs of adults in their social lives and if they were feeling more isolated and cut off from their networks than they did previous to things like cell phones and Facebook.  The study has found that adults have actually increased their networks and contacts rather than shrinking them.  They have been redefined, of course, to be handled in new ways, but the networks are still there and flourishing.
The first article is quite intriguing, but I am one of those people that hates calling any company that routes me to India because I have such a hard time understanding the accent along with the cultural nuances and other problems that come with dealing with a foreigner.  My life is usually so crazy hectic that even having to concentrate that extra little bit on a task that I already don’t want to do, like straighten out a billing issue with my cell phone annoys me to no end. 
In the second article, I would love to have a personal assistant, or a flat fee for a tutor for my kids.  However, the personal assistant thing would never work for me because of privacy issues.  I don’t want to hand over my life story of dates, password, credit cards, and addresses to someone in a different country that may or may not use it for nefarious purposes and I can’t even go after them because their sets of laws are different from my own.

Quote of the Week is also the title of the article, because it says it all!
"Hello, India? I need help with my math."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week fourteen-the ins and outs

Podcasting in Instruction: Moving Beyond the Obvious, Ruth Reynard
IN this article, Ruth Reynard takes blogging for education one step further.  She claims that while blogging is powerful because of the way it can reach so many, it is a station based activity.  This means it is not very easy to be mobile while blogging.  However, she claims podcasting allows for the same amount of information to be passed on while being able to do it from anywhere.  It allows the author to get out their thoughts in voice form, rather than needing a computer with a keyboard, and then allows the recipient to garner the knowledge without the use of a computer with a screen, simply using an iPod or similar device.  It helps with collaboration because that many more people will have access to the material and be able to respond rather than only those with a keyboard and screen at their fingertips.  She claims that once you get the hand of podcasting, the user would need to go beyond the norm of simply recreating the in class experience and allow the students to move forward into new areas that allow them to do more than just listen to the static lecture. 

Teaching with Technology White Paper: Podcasting
This article, by Carnegie Mellon, allowed the reader to learn the ins and outs of podcasting step by step, broken down like an outline on how to create a podcast, when to create it, why to create it, and what to do once it is created.  It uses studies published previously to lend credibility to the reasons why an instructor needs to podcast certain areas and where to move forward from those podcasts.
Love the idea behind Ruth Reynards article on podcasting in the classroom, but I felt a little disappointed at the end because I didn’t receive much guidance on where to go from simply broadcasting a lecture, other than I needed to move forward in new and innovative ways—nothing that tells me what others are doing that is new and innovative, just to do it.  It left me feeling empty about where to go from here since I haven’t podcasted before and wasn’t really sure what I could do with it on a normal basis, much less new things.
The White Paper on Podcasting gave me everything that the Reynards article left out in the beginning—the ins and outs of getting the first podcast up and going.  It laid out the 3 main steps for me, what makes a podcast different from just a regular audio file, and when a regular file is more worthwhile than a podcast (and vice versa).  The graphics are fantastic when trying to show me the steps of podcasting, allowing me to simply follow the flow chart. 

Quote of the Week: “Most students perceive lecture podcasts as a tool for review, rather than as a replacement for attending lectures.”

week thirteen-Pick Me, Pick Me!!

Educational Blogging, Stephen Downes

In this article, Stephen Downes lists the many merits and a few pitfalls of using a blog in a classroom, and in general.  He goes into detail on five reasons that blogs are an essential part of the learning process, being careful to emphasize that blogs, first and foremost, are a reading tool, second to being a writing tool.  They are more usable than a journal article or other formal communication simply because they are a flowing of ideas without having to worry about where the idea came from rather than trying to prove a point and back up where it came from. 
How People Are Using Twitter during Conferences, Wolfgang Reinhardt
This article begins with an explanation of blogging, then moves forward into microblogging, or the use of less than 140 characters.  It differentiates the goal behind regular blogging as sharing whole ideas and microblogging as sharing fast thoughts, ideas, and information.  While a blog may be read by people the writer doesn’t know, a tweet can be focused to certain people, like a facebook account almost, and just share the ideas with those people alone.  The innovation that Twitter has come along with is during massive conferences when there is little time for feedback or questions simply due to the size and scope of the setting, the audience could be sending a tweet to the presenter to allow interaction without losing control of the audience. 
I enjoyed the Downes because it allows many different scenarios that a teacher could be using a blog in the classroom over many different ability levels.  It begins with an example of fourth and fifth grade students and moves all the way through college level courses.  It gives examples of the many different opportunities that a blogger could have on a variety of topics available, and the many different sites that it could take place on.  In short, it opens the world of blogging to those unfamiliar with it and begs to be used.
Twitter during conferences sends many ideas swirling through my head.  If the person watching and listening could become an active part of the presentation during rather than at the end or not at all, then the audience would become more engaged and learn a vast amount more knowledge than before.  Couldn’t that work the same in a classroom? If I am giving a lecture to students, couldn’t they be sending me tweets or emails asking questions on the topic as we go, then I could choose whether or not to answer them as I move forward without wasting precious class time?
Quote of the week from Downes:
“Blogging not only allowed us access to the event; it made us part of the event.”