Consult, Support, and Collaborate
Audio Reflections on Key Competency 6
Respect and learn from differing perspectives and new ideas; apply collaboration, project completion time management, and negotiation skills (Influencers)
Don’t try to go it alone: use a buddy system to make your workouts more enjoyable and beneficial.
Converting a Negative Into a PositiveIn this early course, I learned that scaffolding only works when the MKO shares knowledge.
Turning a Negative into a Positive
In one of my earlier classes, I had the challenging experience of working in a group in which a key member was reluctant to share knowledge about the theme that had been chosen (by that member) for our group WordPress site. This resulted in the marginalization of other group members because only that one more knowledgeable individual knew how to use some specific and hidden “theme options” to edit the all-important front page of the site. Furthermore, when three group members requested that a major change be made to the front page, their requests were ignored. Sadly, the final phase of the project devolved into confusion, frustration, and a fundamentally flawed WordPress site that cannot be used as an artifact for this e-Portfolio.
This difficult experience challenged me to carefully reflect and consider if there might be some way to avoid such difficulty in future group work. According to Palloff and Pratt, group conflicts and crises are not uncommon , but they usually occur much earlier than in the final phase of a project. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I needed to take a proactive approach and develop effective strategies and methods that would prevent the marginalization of any group members in future collaborative MET assignments.
Now that I have completed most of the MET Program, including courses that deal extensively with constructivism and higher education, I can confirm that the solution I came up with is supported by Vygotskian theories about the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and more knowledgeable others (MKOs) ; as well as Bates and Sangrà’s contention that, in higher education, it is essential that all stakeholders (faculty or group members) be included as equal partners in the planning and implementation of e-learning initiatives .
The following video demonstrates what I learned from that unforgettable group experience in which one MKO group member withheld essential information from everyone else.
Peer Reviews and Collaborative ProjectsCourses: ETEC 532 - Technology in the Arts and Humanities Classroom
Peer Review Videos
Audio Reflection (1:52)
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Partnership in ProseCourses: ETEC 500 and ETEC 520
Partnerships in Education
The ability to form working partnerships in business and education is crucial–especially today, with technology making it both necessary and easy to cross boundaries, pool resources, and share expertise with one another. One of the most productive partnerships that I have ever experienced was with fellow MET student Caroline Kim Moore from Ottawa. In two separate courses we collaborated on four major assignments, as shown in the slider below.
Audio Reflection (2:11)
The word clouds are all based on the individual papers and linked to them.
Tap or click to read the papers via Google Drive's PDF viewer (for devices that don't have Adobe Reader installed)
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Preparing for Online Knowledge BuildingCourses: ETEC 532 and ETEC 510
Prior to starting on the MET Program, this page of The Blog did not exist. It is the direct result of the introductory content of ETEC 532. This amazes me because, prior to starting that inspiring course, I had never really given much consideration to the value of art in any classroom. However, the weekly tasks and discussions during those first couple of weeks of MET training really opened my eyes. Among the many items we were given to contemplate in relation to education and technology were these three fascinating videos:
Tap or click to see one of my first discussion forum posts. Warning: It's really, really, REALLY long...
Thread: Post: Author: Week 1 Response Week 1 Response Gary Bartanus Posted Date: Edited Date: Status: January 6, 2013 7:32 AM January 6, 2013 7:39 AM Published
When I first watched “face projection,” I was both intrigued and confused. I actually didn’t know what to make of it or understand what was going on in those videos. So I moved on to the other piece, “Straight and Arrow,” and although I thought I knew what was going on, it turns out that I was pitifully naive. As I was listening to the cute and peppy music, watching the lights, and marveling over the moving images of twitching body parts, I was thinking, “My oh my! These people are very well-trained dancers. They are in such perfect sync with each other. What incredible muscle control and teamwork!” For whatever reason, I just assumed that those little wires and thingies that looked like electrodes were props! Probably due to some theatrical experiences in my past, I initially thought that the whole presentation was a kind of macabre musical production, intricately choreographed and performed by a very talented dance company with incredible muscle control!
I had no idea that those were actual electrodes delivering actual electrical impulses to actual human beings. I have to admit that, after reading some of the articles about this production, besides being a little embarrassed at myself, I was reminded of the famous Stanley Milgram obedience experiment that involved using fake electrical impulses and good actors. In that context, I was and still am a little unsettled about Manabe’s fascinating work. It’s not so much that he was delivering real electrical impulses to people who were not just dancers (or actors), but I think what unsettles me is that, on a purely metaphorical level, his work causes me to reflect on myself and ask some serious questions.
When I use technology in my teaching, what is my primary motivation? Am I truly trying to help my learners learn? Or am I simply trying to create something interesting? Or something sensational? Or something that satisfies some powerful inner need to be a master controller like Milgram (or perhaps even Manabe)? I also ask myself if I truly am the one who is controlling the technology or, as Gillian questioned in her thoughtful response, is the technology perhaps controlling me? These are questions that I will be continuously thinking about as I work on this course and at my place of employment.
I expect that, by considering and evaluating the many examples of educational technology that I am sure we are to encounter in this course, I will not only become more aware of the ”wonderful toys” that continually become our partners in this dance of technological development, but I will also become aware of some external points of reference to which I can compare my own accomplishments and thereby begin to determine how well or poorly I have done. Depending on that outcome, I will be able to either make corrections or, more hopefully, build on some of the work that I have actually done correctly. Only time, research, collaboration, feedback, and reflection will tell. Quite frankly, at this point, I do not anticipate a negative self-assessment. I truly believe that my use of technology will prove out to be a good thing. But I am keeping an open mind because I have a lot to learn and if I do learn(albeit unexpectedly) that my “innovation” has not been as pedagogically appropriate as I thought it was, then of course, I will need to change.
This brings me to guiding question number 1: “How you have used educational technologies and pedagogic strategies, self-directed learning, critical inquiry, or intercultural communication specifically within the context of your area of employment.”
In my role as a university ESL instructor in Korea, I believe that my use of educational technologies for intercultural communication and critical inquiry has been essential. My students are expected to develop confidence and competence in one of the world’s greatest fears, public speaking. Over the course of a 15 week semester, every student in my class must give a minimum course of a 15 week semester, every student in my class must give a minimum of four presentations in English, each lasting from 3 minutes to 7 or 8 minutes. This is incredibly difficult for all of them because, by nature, Korean people are very shy about speaking English in front of each other. (It’s tied in with the a culturally-rooted fear of losing face, I think.) But when they enter my classroom, their fears are doubled: they are already shy about conversing in English, and then our curriculum requires them to stand in front of an entire class of 20 peers and give an academic presentation with proper posture, good eye contact, clear pronunciation, and appropriate vocal delivery—four times per semester!
If I were to simply grade their presentations on a rubric, write a few comments, and sit down with each student one-on-one to explain where he/she needs to improve, there is potential for all kinds of problems, inter-culturally, and in the realm of critical inquiry. Furthermore, there is too much room for doubt. A Korean student who has never had a foreigner for a teacher before may not feel 100% confident about my accuracy or fairness—and rightfully so. To overcome this situation, I use a video camera and individually record the presentations of each student. In the next class after presentation day, students bring their USB/Flash drives or Smartphones to class and get a copy of their video in compressed format that doesn’t take long to transfer. Each videos is identified by student name and I always double check with each student when transferring the files, so they don’t ever have to worry about someone else ever seeing it. (Their peer assessments are only done live on presentation day.) I then tell students to watch their videos several times–until it no longer feels uncomfortable or embarrassing for them to hear the sound of their own voice–and then do a self-assessment. This self-assessment only needs to demonstrate that they have watched their videos, analyzed their own strengths and weakness, and chosen a few self-improvement goals for their next presentations. For those that need a some direction, I provide them with 4 or 5 guiding questions that are posted on their course page. They are not required to answer any of my questions as long as they can demonstrate that they have analyzed their own work and developed a definite plan to improve. The self-assessment can be done either in writing (MLA format) or in the form of a video, depending on whichever delivery method is most comfortable for the learner.
The self-assessments must then be uploaded via an app that I have set up on the course page and it delivers everything to my Dropbox account. Students are also welcome to visit me in person or via my Google+ Hangout Virtual Office to discuss their presentation videos (which I consider to be another acceptable for of self-assessment).
The use of technology in this way, in my opinion, facilitates good intercultural communication and it also allows students to engage in critical inquiry as painlessly as possible. Of course there is also an element of self-directed learning in this, too, because students are not just getting their new presentation goals from me; they are also getting them from themselves. There is one big flaw in this process that I will try to correct next semester. On the day that students get their videos, they bring their flash drives to me one by one while the rest of the class watches a subtitled English-language sitcom called Modern Family. Although most of the students and I agree that the sitcom is a wonderful way to learn about North American culture, we don’t think using up three classes each semester is the best use of class time. After all, they can easily watch Modern Family on the Internet anytime they want. Therefore, after conducting surveys with all the students in my classes, I’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that 99.9% of my students have smartphones. These smartphones all have excellent cameras and, rather than me record all the students videos, they will record their own videos. Then they will have their own video without the need for me to waste their class time transferring videos back to their flash drives. I did a little research and discovered a recently developed tripod that accommodates iPhones and smartphones of all sizes so all I will need to do is bring the tripod and students will be able to quickly slide their phones in and out whenever they do their presentations. Of course, students will also be welcome to just ask a friend to hold the camera and, as long as they are steady and take good video, that can also work.
I will still need to have copies of the students’ videos because I will need them for double checking my evaluations or for possible grade reviews, so again I’ve done some research and learned that, with a Google Gmail account, students will be able to download and install the Google Drive app to their smartphones and use it to immediately upload copies of their videos to a Google Drive folder that they have shared with me. Of course, I will need to make sure that all students get a Google account and share a Google Drive folder with me, so I will prepare a video tutorial that will walk them through that and, hopefully, get the use of a computer lab for a few classes at the beginning of the semester. For the very small percentage of students who may not have unlimited data transfer accounts on their smartphones, they will still be able to transfer their videos to their computer at home and upload to the shared Google Drive folder from their home computer.
Although I’m really excited about the good possibilities of this plan, I would be most appreciative of any feedback, positive or negative, because the new semester does not start until March and, if there is something I have overlooked or just plain figured wrong, it would be much better for my students if I improve this plan while there is still time.
Finally, if this long post is an inappropriate use of this thread, I apologize and ask that you please let me know. This is my very first MET course, so I’m really new at this.
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Three Crack Teams of Consummate CollaboratorsCollaborative group partnerships: the heart of constructivism
Real Life Examples of Linking Theory to Practice:
The following blurbs will connect you to current examples of linking theory to practice.
References for Key Competency 6
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