Week 4

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            As technology makes advancements and further evolves in our daily lives, it also presents challenges in our learning environments. If developers use modern technology in their learning material or dispersal means, they have to keep in mind that the more complex their delivery is, the more likely the learner will have complications accessing the material. One example of modern technology causing potential problems is synchronous training.

            Synchronous training does allow multiple users to access training material on their own, and virtually from anywhere, but varying time zones present complications for learners to be engaged. Trying to get everyone to participate at a single date and time while geographically separated goes beyond just establishing a meeting time, other considerations include weather phenomenon and even work schedules. “Synchronous tools are obviously more difficult to employ when students span many time zones and are less appropriate when students can meet on campus” (Mason 2003, p. 6).

            If a developer were to use programs that create synchronized presentations, such as the Department of Defense’s Defense Connect Online (DCO), they have to establish a particular date and time to hold the session. If your users are in different time zones and countries, this challenge can almost be overwhelming and very frustrating. One thing DCO does offer is a secure means to converse and share information, so that is a plus for this program.

            If DCO would not meet a developer’s needs either because they are not military, or they do not require a precise date and time to get together, chat forums such as Wiki may be better. Using Wiki, developers can create sessions with a common topic and discussion subject while allowing users to access and post comments on their own schedule. From a planning standpoint, this is easier to use for both the developer and user.

 

References:

Mason, R. (2003). Evolving technologies. Encyclopedia of distributed learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Week 2

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How much has your life changed with the introduction of technology, especially in a learning environment? This may seem like a very simple question, but if you consider what this technology actually includes, you may be surprised how much our lives’ have been affected and influenced by it. Computer, tablets, cell phones, and the Internet have all seemed to have merged into an endless supply of learning possibilities. Like the hardware and software, people have evolved along with this technology.

As advancements are made in technology, individuals have to learn how to use it in addition to the educational material being presented. “It is clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally different from their predecessors” (Presnsky 2001, p. 1).

When you look at how people learn, there seems to be three distinct groups of learners that form. Digital native, digital immigrant, and neomillennial learner groups form and help developers further understand just how people learn technology and instructional material. Digital natives, having grown up with recent technology, are the most familiar with modern gadgets and gizmos and struggle least with the latest equipment. Digital immigrants are almost playing catch-up from their familiar technology, which tends to be slightly dated and has been replaced with the emerging technology. Neomillennial learners are those that are the most attune with immersive learning using avatars and role-playing scenarios during their educational processes.

I would consider myself to be part of all these learning groups. I have spent most of my adult life using more modern technology, but have also acquired the knowledge of older equipment in my younger years. I have been fortunate enough to have my learning style grow up with modern technology while keeping my learning roots anchored in the technology of the past. The more recent advancements in the avatar and immersive scenario learning have allowed me to become part of this group too. Learning this way has allowed me to learn in a training mode that mimics real-world events, while staying safely in an educational environment.

Working in an instructional design profession has given me a chance to hold onto all three of these learning styles. Tapping into my roots of older technology gives me a way to connect to the older generations, while staying familiar with the more recent technology advancements lets me talk the same language as the younger groups. This younger crow can be challenging at times as Prensky points out, “They’ve been networked most or all of their lives. They have little patience for lectures, step-by-step logic, and ‘tell-test’ instruction” (Prensky 2001, p. 3).

Fundamentally, we are all digital immigrants anyway. Even those that are most familiar with modern technology will find themselves playing catch-up with advancements in their gadgets. As immersive training continues to evolve, even the neomillennial learners will have to learn newer upgrades and updates in how this is executed in a learning environment.

 

 

 

References

Dede, C. (2005). Planning for neomillennial learning styles. Educause Quarterly, 1, 7–12.

 

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5).

 

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part II: Do they really think differently?, On the Horizon, 9(6).

 

Week 1

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Out of all the different technologies in today’s learning environment, I believe that the computer and the Internet are the most important and I wouldn’t want to do without. Allow me to explain my point of view on these two.

The computer has come a long way since its early development. Now what used to take up several rooms worth of hardware, fits in a lightweight and portable laptop that can go anywhere. Every year there are advancements in processing speed and this machine’s ability to handle more and more complex processes and programs. The computer is a very good example of an information and communication technology (ICT). An ICT “refers to all of the technologies used to process and share information” (Bussell 2006, p. 955) and as a standalone machine, is capable of tremendous amounts of information processing and storage.

The Internet has also come a long way over the years. It started as a Department of Defense project headed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and has become a staple of the modern times. You can access the Internet by individual computers, cellular phones, and even your car. By making the Inter available to the masses, the ability to share data with others is limitless. Also classified as an ICT, the Internet is being used more and more for educational purposes. “The potential for information and communication technologies is seen incredibly broad because of the potential for their use across all industries, in the public sector, and by individuals” (Bussell 2006, p. 955).

The computer and Internet have astounded me in how abundant and wide spread their use is for educational purposes in today’s society. I feel that over the next few years, this technology will continue to evolve and present even more potential for the academic soul in all of us.

References:

Bussell, J. (2006). Technology. In M. Bevir (Ed.), Encyclopedia of governance, 953–956. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.