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Media and Learning in Educational Technology

Here is a Tackk that is the sounding board for my final reflection paper.  I will present these ideas to my class.  The final reflection paper may or may not resemble these thoughts.

Final Thoughts

            One of the things that happened during this past month was that I did start paying more attention to my media use.  Combined with the Clark/Kozma arguments, I started really wondering how I have learned – was it truly from media? Could I have learned that thing by another method? I had not thought about it before, but now have started to ponder. When I was using media, what was my purpose: learning, socializing, wasting time…I found that I combined all three of these things almost simultaneously.  With all of the things that we talked about in class – could I really have learned them through a different vehicle? Is Clark really right: media will never influence my learning (Clark 1994)? I am still not so sure on this point. I could have learned everything that we did this summer in some other fashion, but the economy of time played a part. If media can speed the learning process up, or shorten it or otherwise have an impact, does that impact the learning? Maybe I am missing, the point. Ying keeps reminding me that it is about learning something differently (the delivery truck symbolism) – yes you can learn from the media, but could you have learned that thing differently. If this is the case, then the only way we could learn would be from dialogue and lecture and debate. I want to keep an open mind here, but this seems to be an oversimplification on my case. This was a challenging issue for me.

I don’t know that there were very many new insights or revelations that occurred during this past month. But seeing the research back up some of the things that I had seen in my classroom or knew about from talking to others was very interesting. I had seen first hand the struggle that high school students have with using technology to learn efficiently. I would constantly try to get them to use social media in a way that could develop deeper learning and connect them to people that can benefit them later. There was constant push back out being seen as “academic.” They have grown up with this media around them, especially in the realm of social media. My experience with teens was that they could look anything up very quickly, but took no time to verify information was correct. Google said it so it must be true. According to Selwyn (2009) there is a list of evidence that indicates that the digital native is more limited in what they can do than we give them credit for. I don’t disagree with this, having seen it first hand. The amazing Dr. Thompson (2013) suggested that the digital native looks at information as something to be gathered, while multitasking. Processing and thinking on that information is difficult for them. I have seen this as well. When using media in my classroom, I had to push the students to focus on the task and pursue the goal they were given. In order to get the most from my students, I needed to give them the freedom to send a quick text or tweet. I discovered that when they were in an out quickly, I could still do quite a bit with them. When I made it a big deal “PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!!!” then I had more issues.

I had several opportunities to really think about some of our reading and spent much time in thought about what Goffman (1959) had said about presenting. One of his phrases that struck me most was about the young lady who continually was called to the phone in the dorm. The opportunity to parade in front of everyone that she was needed. We do this when we teach, our students see a different side of us than our friends do. I knew that there were some things that I shared with educators, some things I shared with my family, and others that I would just broadcast. I did not think about this, I just did it. I would love to have more followers, vain and selfish I know, but I have some great ideas for teachers and I want to reach as many as a can, I find that I am sometimes constantly parading myself in front of people online. A phrase that I saw one time that impacted me: If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. One of my dreams is to give a TED Talk, one that reaches millions of people. The ultimate in visibility.

I mentioned this above, but I did not agree very much with Clark and his absolute statements on media influencing learning (Clark 1994). I feel like there is something missing here but not sure what exactly. I know that he views media like a truck that delivers the produce to the grocery store. You can deliver goods in a truck, box van, car…To me, teaching and learning is much more complicated that this. I am not as well read as Clark, but I don’t think his way of thinking will hold up forever. I did find myself nodding along with several of Puntam’s thoughts, but not sure that I agreed with everything. His entire argument was very interesting and got me to thinking about what I do socially and the groups that I belong to and newspaper reading and bowling. I think he makes some very good points about how we are growing more distrustful and removing ourselves from socializing with others on a regular basis (Putnam 1995). I don’t have to look any further than my own family social structure and habits. I don’t stop off at the local 3rd space, my family does not regularly talk with the neighbors, we don’t host or go to many social functions. I look at my step-mom though, she is busy all of the time in community service groups and social situations with others. I don’t even really connect very much online, except through Twitter. I don’t participate in MMO’s, I don’t constantly update Facebook or scroll through it. I tweet, and on Sunday’s I participate in the #oklaed chat. When I tweet, I don’t always go looking for a particular person, I may spend 20 minutes a day looking through twitter for things. On the other hand, I don’t know if I could go a weekend without my phone. I just like having it next to me, to satisfy some of those digital native urges, quick in and quick out.

The guild system and participation in MMO’s and the community that is associated in them was very interesting (Williams, Ducheneaut, Xiong, Zhang, Yee, and Nickrell 2006) and  (Steinkuehler and Williams, 2006). One of my good friends participates in MMO’s and has created some very strong friendships with people from all over. I was aware that this could happen before we read some of the research that supported this kind of relationship developing . I know that my friend often looked forward to their planned gaming times and if someone was not able to make it, those present online would check in with that missing person. Online games as 3rd spaces was interesting as well, Steinkuehler and Williams (2006) compared eight characteristics of what a physical 3rd space looks like. When they compared those physical traits back to MMO gaming communities there were a lot of similarities. It is important have face-to-face connections and relationships, but if people are meeting these aspects in an online space, is that bad? How would these connections be different than just meeting up with your friends to attend a football game? The purpose of both activities is to enjoy a specific event, to have the opportunity to socialize and ultimately to make a memory.

The research on using the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (Mishra, Koehler 2006) framework was very interesting to me. Teachers need help and this looks like a model that would be beneficial in providing that help. My personal goals of this program are nested inside these ideas, helping teachers become more effective with implementing technology.  I want to take the fear away and develop an attitude that encourages teachers to try new technology in the classroom. Right now, it is not uncommon that experienced teachers struggle with using technology efficiently as part of the learning process. Most of these educators did not grow up with any of the tools that are so widely available today. They have a jaded view of the changes that occur in education, too many educators have seen too many things come and go through the years. To some of these teachers, technology is one of those things, “This too shall pass” they are thinking. For others, technology is too difficult to try and understand and still others have the perception that learning the technology is not worth the time. Too often, when new technology shows up, there is minimal training (often less than half a day) on how to use it, then teachers are sent to their rooms to incorporate it into their lessons. Teachers need more time, which is not given, and they need the opportunity to have refresher training during the year. Educators do not get the chance to ask important questions that come after really working with something. If we want our teachers to be the best they can be with technology and use it correctly in their classrooms, then we need to use a model that allows the teachers to build in what they are strong with – content and pedagogy – and combine that with what they are learning in technology. The power that can be unleashed when these three things come together, in the right way, will have far reaching consequences.

I am also interested in the online gaming topics, specifically can these games be used in a way that can enhance learning through the system of guilds, raiding, and use of 3rd space. I would love to see some current research on MOOCS or MMO’s to see how these views might be different from some of the research from the early days of MMO’s.  I wonder if there would be some changes in views or if the research would indicate a different direction, much like what Turkle has experience herself from one book to another (Turkle 2011 and 2012). The research into the guilds and the community of some of those early games is very interesting. These studies indicate that people were socializing and looking for each other inside of these games. I looked into the two games mentioned by Steinkuehler and Williams, Lineage I and II, and Asheron’s Call I and II. Both of these games have fallen off of the radar and are still going, but just barely. The study we read on World of Warcraft was done in 2006. World of Warcraft now has the largest wiki on the internet outside of Wikipedia (McGonigal, 2010). With the changes that have happened in those four years (2006-2010) what would we find if we were to replicated those studies today? Turkle had concern that we were looking for too much companionship from technology (2011 and 2012) and I wonder what she would say about MMO’s.

My big interest right now is gamification in the classroom, is this model a strong enough model that teachers should consider it? Why does is seem to be working right now? In order to understand how to make gamification in the classroom work in the best possible manner, learning why people commit to spend so much time in MMO’s would be very interesting to me. Why are they there? Why do they keep coming back? Was the game difficult for them to learn? What was that opening walkthrough experience like? Why do they choose one game versus another game? How many different games are they playing at one time? How long do they typically spend in one game? Do they remember specific details from games that they have moved on from and do not play anymore? What mechanics of the game are most/least enjoyable to them? How hard is it for them to make the time to play? What are the core reasons that they continue to play? I have lots of questions about gaming and the mechanics that go into a good game. I plan on doing some research in this area and this course has given much to think on.

References

Clark, Richard E. (1994). Media Will Never Influence Learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29.

Goffman, Erving. (1959). Introduction to The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday.

McGonigal, Jane (2010) TED Talk. Gaming can make a better world

Mishra, Punya, & Koehler, Matthew. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108, 1017-1054.

Putnam, Robert D. (1995). Tuning In, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. Political Science & Politics, 28(4), 664-683.

Selwyn, Neil. (2009). The digital native myth and reality. Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives, 61, 364-379.

Thompson, Penny. (2013). The digital natives as learners: Technology use patterns and approaches to learning. Computers & Education, 65(1), 12-33. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.12.022

Turkle, Sherry. (2011). Excerpt from the Introduction to Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Turkle, Sherry (2012) TED Talk. Connected, but alone?

Williams, Dmitri, Ducheneaut, Nicolas, Xiong, Li, Zhang, Yuanyuan, Yee, Nick, & Nickrell, Eric. (2006). From Tree House to Barracks: The Social Life of Guilds in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture, 1(4), 338-361. doi:             10.1177/1555412006292616

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