Week One – Are we there yet?

Posted: September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Oh my! What a ride this is. I hope this is visible somewhere to someone.

I’m all over the map these daze; figuratively, literally, and physically. I am currently working as a temp in a strata management company in Kelowna. This is just a J.O.B. to put some change in my jeans. I’m backstopping for the ladies in accounting (both in receivables and payables) with no real previous experience in either. The company is going through major turmoil and transition. Ironically, I’ve landed in exactly the kind of situation that reinforces my goal of becoming a transition/transformation/change-management specialist.

I lived in Calgary for the last nine years and am now staying with my elderly parents in my hometown of Kelowna, BC to help my Mom recover from recent knee-replacement surgery.

I finally made the big decision and commitment to transition back from AB to BC this Fall. There seem to be many moving parts that need to be put in place to make this adventure run like a well-oiled machine. I hope to coordinate everything with my course commitments and deadlines and hopefully before the snow flies!

I hope that the Universe provides a smooth path to and from. If only the Revelstoke/Golden highway was straight!

Looking forward to learning with all of you this term.

Cheers,

Sylvia

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I like the Jones & Hafner book – Understanding Digital Literacies: A Practical Introduction. Chapter 3 is called Hyperreading and Hyperwriting.

It was enlightening and comforting to read about hypertext and the role it plays in online writing. I now understand my meandering approach to online reading and the need for self-regulation, focus, and critical analysis.

“Because hypertext allows readers greater flexibility to create their own reading paths, readers play a much more active role in digital media than they do in traditional print-based media…As a general principle, readers in hypertext are expected to make choices and read in a non-linear, branching fashion. This contrasts with print-based media, where the dominant…expectation is that readers will proceed in a linear way…Thus, educational theorist Nicholas Burbules (1998) reminds us that it is important to adopt a critical stance when interpreting links in hypertext” (pp. 36-39).

I would also suggest that readers need to determine whether the hypertext is worth following and whether it adds to the discussion in an important way or if it just takes us down a distracting rabbit hole that causes unnecessary cognitive overload.

In my ongoing efforts to become an online reader, this book helps to make sense of the whole phenomenon of affordances and constraints in digital media. It also provides a deeper understanding about the changes that we are experiencing as we shift increasingly away from analogue literacies. “In many ways, digital media are breaking down boundaries that have traditionally defined our literacy practices” (p. 13).

So, in an effort to increase my digital literacy and to learn about it at the same time, I am going to import the book into The Reader’s Edge, a program on my laptop that is going to help me to become a better online reader.

First though, I need to figure out how to import it into the program ; )

Here’s a video about The Reader’s Edge which was created by The Literacy Company, just in case you’re interested. Please note, do you really want to click on this hypertext?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFjdpna_Cy8

Jones, R., & Hafner, C. (2012). Understanding digital literacies: A practical introduction. London and New York: Routledge.

Image

Retrieved from: Royalty-Free Cartoons by Grea (Sydney, Australia). High quality royalty-free cartoons which you are free to use as long as you don’t alter them without permission.

One of the myths that jumped off the screen when I read Schradie’s 7 Myths of the Digital Divide was Myth #4 – It’s just the old farts that aren’t using the Internet.

And then this surprising comment stood out. “Once senior citizens die, then the digital divide will be over. Well, not quite. Certainly, young people are more likely to be online than those from older generations.”

My parents are in their 80’s; Mom 81 and Dad 85. Dad went through several PC’s over the years and now has a Mac. Mom inherited each of Dad’s rejects as they were passed down and eventually out. However, the Mac will go directly out because both Mom and I are not fans. We definitely have the “I’m a PC & I’m a Mac” dynamic in our family.

Dad’s been on the internet since 1998 and Mom shortly after that. A few of their friends are computer literate and they share emails; some newsy but mostly jokes, PowerPoint slides, and incredible photos from around the world.

The latest gadget that both Mom & Dad enjoy is their iPad. Dad surfs and Mom sends texts. I don’t think they would have ventured into the world of computers and devices if it weren’t for encouragement and training from me, my brother, and their grandchildren.

I once heard an interesting factoid that makes sense on an intuitive level but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support it. Apparently, this is the first time in the history of humankind that the young are teaching the old.

For the most part, many of the seniors in my parents’ circle of friends do not own a computer and don’t see any need for one. I don’t think that socioeconomic status is a central factor contributing to their lack of interest/participation. Listening to my parents’ friends and acquaintances talking about computers and the internet, it is clear that they feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the whole concept. It seems too daunting to them to even get started.

There is a great article in The Guardian about young people in the UK teaching seniors how to use digital technology. How youngsters are helping older people move online. As part of an Adopt a Care Home program, “Schoolchildren are being recruited in care homes to make sure that older people are not left behind in the digital age.”

It’s so wonderful when young people teach seniors how to use technology. Even though it might be challenging, it can be fun and entertaining too. Just read some of the comments after the article.

This is my favourite.

Shravan 20 September 2011 2:57pm

I’ve tried helping my grandparents set up skype and things like that… it’s truly fascinating. My grandfather (retired engineer and comodore in the Indian navy – an infinitely smarter man than I’ll ever be) is truly frightened of the computer. He’s not even indifferent, he just thinks its a waste of time and that he’ll break something.

I think many elderly folk need to be shown just how hard it is to “delete the internet” and how much they can watch/learn/read/do with a PC.

I sense there’s a mental block that needs to perhaps be adressed first. It will be great if this scheme can succeed as both youngsters and the elderly can learn a lot from eachother.

It will be hilarious at first though – in the words of Eddie Izzard,

“what have I done… I’ve, I’ve wiped the file?
….I’ve wiped the hard disk?
……I’ve wiped the INTERNET???”

And, to wrap it up, here are some tidbits for seniors. This is a wonderful tool that is very user-friendly – Finerday. And here’s a link to 10 of the best apps for older people. I think I’ll check them out!

Schradie, J. (2013, April 26). 7 myths of the digital divide. [Blog]. Retrieved from http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2013/04/26/7-myths-of-the-digital-divide/

Lh2L

After much muddling, confusion, researching, and general frustration with trying to pin down exactly what I want to research and write for my paper, I finally landed.

The title is: Online Learning Success Strategies – Understanding Metacognition and Emotions in Online Environments.

This paper explores various strategies that lead to being a successful online learner. With the increase in online learning and its inherent flexibility, individuals are returning to school after many years of being away from academic environments.  It is crucial to assist these learners with effective strategies that will lead to successful online learning experiences.

The most important aspect of embarking on an educational adventure that involves online learning is learning how to learn.  The main emphases of the paper are on metacognition and emotions in online learning. Other subsets of metacognition include cognitive style, cognitive load, and field dependence.

Walking the talk is very important; therefore, it is essential to not only learn what I would like to teach, but to practice what I teach. I would like to work as a corporate trainer, instructor, facilitator, and/or a change management specialist. Assisting individuals in their efforts to become expert online learners is one of many objectives in these professions.

Anderson (2008) states, “Metacognition is a learner’s ability to be aware of his or her cognitive capabilities and use these capabilities to learn” (p. 29). This paper will discuss metacognitive supports that help students. These “enhance their ability to study online and facilitate their access to and retention of knowledge. Providing such supports can increase students’ confidence, reduce stress, and enhance their learning experience” (p. 427).

Cognitive style affects their attitudes, values, and how they interact on a social level (Anderson, 2008). One of the aspects of cognitive style that affects online learning is whether an individual has a field dependent or field independent personality (Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, & Cox, 1977 as cited in Anderson, 2008). Self-regulation, intrinsic motivation, maturity, and self-discipline all factor into being a successful online learner.

Another important area to understand in online learning is cognitive load and cognitive overload.  This paper will introduce some theory about it, explain some of the warnings in the literature, and offer some understanding and solutions.

The paper concludes with an overview of research into the emotions generated by online learning; both positive and negative.

To sum up, these quotes capture the essence of what this paper is about:

“Online students must manage, monitor, and regulate—to a greater degree than their classroom counterparts—the time, place, and progress of their learning” (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2004).

“Educators have come to understand that successful online learners must self-regulate to stay motivated; guide their thoughts, feelings, and actions; and adjust their effort in autonomous online situations” (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2004; Whipp & Chiarelli, 2004 as cited in Artino Jr., A. R., & Jones II, K. D., 2012).

A Sampling of References:

Anderson, T. (2008). The theory and practice of online learning. Edmonton AB: Athabasca University Press.

Artino Jr., A. R., & Jones II, K. D. (2012). Exploring the complex relations between achievement emotions and self-regulated learning behaviors in online learning. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 170–175.

Bradford, G. R. (2011). A relationship study of student satisfaction with learning online and cognitive load: Initial results. Internet and Higher Education, 14, 217–226.

Kirschner, P. A., Paul, P., & Ayres, P. C. (2011). Contemporary cognitive load theory research: The good, the bad and the ugly. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 99–105.

Marchand, G. C., & Gutierrez, A. P. (2012). The role of emotion in the learning process: Comparisons between online and face-to-face learning settings. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 150–160.

Mega, C., Ronconi, L., & De Beni, R. (2013). What makes a good student? How emotions, self-regulated learning, and motivation contribute to academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0033546

Salmon, G. (2011). E-Moderating: The key to online teaching and learning (3rd Ed.). New York and Abingdon: Routledge.

Salmon, G. (2013). E-tivities: The key to active online learning (2nd Ed.) New York and Abingdon: Routledge.

Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. Hoboken NJ: Jossey-Bass.

Sternberg, R. J. (1998). Metacognition, abilities, and developing expertise: What makes an expert student? Instructional Science, 26, 127–140.

Witkin, H. A., Moore, C. A., Goodenough, D. R., & Cox, P. W. (1977). Field-dependent and field-independent cognitive styles and their educational implications. Review of Educational Research, 47, 1–64.

Zembylas, M. (2008). Adult learners’ emotions in online learning. Distance Education, 29(1), 71-87.

Internet Pie Chart

Graphic retrieved from:

http://www.upworthy.com/could-this-be-the-most-upworthy-site-in-the-history-of-the-internet

When it comes to this course, every day, as I carve out the time that I want to spend on reading everyone’s blogs and replies to blogs, I always end up in a 4D-world; Distracted, Diverted, Drilled, and Derailed. I would define this process as meandering down the proverbial rabbit hole.

For example, one day I read Laura’s blog about Diigo: “Dream Information Management?” Before I even got to the end, I clicked on attention economy and became intrigued with Upworthy, “the website for viral content.” I explored it a little and clicked on mission statement from launch, which features an adorable kitten. This led me to saving the pie chart to upload for this blog. Then I was fascinated by this headline. If This Video Makes You Uncomfortable, Then You Make Me Uncomfortable. I watched the video to the end because I wanted to find out if it made me feel uncomfortable. It didn’t, so I moved on.

I then got into reading the six replies to the blog. I clicked on Kerry’s URL to read Getting Your Inbox to Zero! which made me think that Kerry might be interested in an email organizer tool called SaneBox. Kerry shared three more links; Harvard Business Review, Leadership Freak, and the Twitter feed from Danielle LaPorte. In the last reply, Kathy told us how much she enjoys using an old-fashioned bookmark while reading the now-popular book by Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. At this point I had to stop because I wanted to click on all of Hadfield’s cool YouTube videos and watch them.

As a quick sidebar, I had full-circle moment when I told a friend that I had seen the movie Gravity and, while I was impressed with Sandra Bullock’s on-site learning in the workplace by consulting several training manuals in crisis-mode, I said to him that I would rather watch Hadfield’s space videos before I see Gravity again. It received pretty good ratings but it was a bit too nerve-wracking for me.

Finally, I was still left wondering about the effects of “peak attention” as mentioned in Aeon Magazine, “There has even been talk of the world reaching ‘peak attention’, by analogy to peak oil production, meaning the moment at which there is no more spare attention left to spend.”

I Googled Peak Attention and came across The Myth of “Peak Attention” which is quite interesting. I’ve seen some movies about Peak Oil so to see the word peak used for attention grabbed my attention.

The comment that stood out was, “So why are we all so stressed out? I think this is the reason: We aren’t being bombarded by an increased amount of important information. We’re being bombarded by cunning techniques of persuasion. We have a mind well-evolved to attend to important information and ignore the rest. What has changed is not how we cope with information but how we sense what is important. So, that’s the issue: How do we decide what is important? What we have to pay attention to and what we have to ignore? We’re obsessed with the conscious aspects of attention — we want to master our email, take charge of our social networking, be efficient multi-taskers — but we’re forgetting about the mounting evidence that we’re paying attention all the time to stimuli that [are] outside conscious awareness — that have an effect on us and our actions…We really would be better off if we could see that we aren’t overwhelmed by information. We’re overwhelmed by information anxiety.”

At another link in the results of the Google search there was “Peak Attention: The Problem & The Concept.” That’s when I laughed. At the bottom it said, Similar Ideas: Information Overload.

Now it was definitely time to stop. As Laura suggested, it was time to take a nap.

At least now I know why I don’t get anything done in the time that I carve out to read everyone’s blogs.

Here’s a snapshot of the Distracting, Diverting, Drilling, and Derailing websites.

Websites of Interest

Good Night iPad

Image of Book Cover retrieved from http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ea15/

 

Sometimes I feel as if I’m on some kind of device all day long. If it’s not my laptop, it’s my iPhone or iPad. When the devices and wireless modems are turned off at night, it’s almost as if the little flashing lights are grateful for the rest too. Of course, that would be me using my wild imagination. But there’s something to be said about letting them cool down; not necessarily thrown down.

I love this video and thought you might enjoy it as well.

Good Night iPad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ouOwpYQqic

And here is more to consider.

Digital Device Addiction

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRKayGei-NA

Every day or so I walk the neighbour’s little black poodle. We wander through some concrete trails and nature trails. I purposely do not bring my iPhone with me.

It’s almost a weird feeling to be out in nature and not be connected somehow.

Reading the leaves, the clouds, and the breezes is a refreshing experience and reminds me of how much more I need to plug into the sounds of nature instead of the sounds of technology.

Chow 4 Now

Webcam

Cartoon retrieved from: http://www.cagle.com/tag/web-cam/

Our Kelowna campus of UBC installed a “TimCam” so students can keep tabs on how long the lineup is at one of their favourite java sources, Tim Hortons. This helps them to figure out if they can pick up a coffee between classes and still make to their next one on time. Check out the news story here:

http://www.castanet.net/edition/news-story-102093-1-.htm#102093

Of course, I would imagine that for most of us distance students, we don’t need to worry about such things if we are learning from home. One quick jaunt to our kitchen is all it takes. The downside is that we need to make our own coffee. First world problems ; )

This got me thinking about webcams around us and around the world.

The other night on the news there was a story about a conservation group that installed cameras in the wilderness so we can all watch wildlife at night and under water. If you take the time to watch the video at the first link, you’ll see a wolf catching a fish.

http://globalnews.ca/news/945882/conservation-group-hopes-to-extend-the-network-of-live-cameras-in-b-c-s-great-bear-rainforest/

www.pacificwild.org

I wondered about the proliferation of webcams around the world so I Googled “webcams around us” and tripped across some fascinating sites.

We can view interesting places live whenever we like.

http://www.earthcam.com/

And then this; someone did a search for us. Some of these are fun to watch (if you have the time, of course). Check out the Las Vegas wedding chapel.

http://mashable.com/2010/05/05/webcam-feeds/

Going on vacation soon? Here’s a site with over 27,000 webcams pointed at some of your potential destinations.

http://www.webcams.travel/

This is obviously a look at the lighter side of webcam networks. The scope of this blog precludes any effort to explore the dark side. Even though some may feel that “big brother” is always watching, I think that there are many benefits to having these cameras. Take for instance, the quick results achieved by authorities in catching the bombers at the Boston marathon.

There are some who do have some problems with the reality of it all. Our Global BC meteorologist had a scary experience with a creature on the webcam. This went viral and she is still trying to live it down. You might dub this a “spider-web cam.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq1M0MEB-W4

So, back to the TimCam. Even though we online learners can take a quick walk to the kitchen to grab a coffee and get back to our computers, I think there is value in standing in line at Tim Hortons. I’ve had some of the best conversations there at the UofC campus waiting with a fellow student. And! I do believe there is a great deal of learning going on in those line-ups. Many people stand there looking at their devices while they are waiting. Maybe they are checking Facebook or Twitter but some may be catching up on their fellow classmates’ blogs!

Couldn’t resist adding this quote. “…changes require educators ‘to acknowledge that learning can happen anywhere, whether in the formal classroom or the coffee shop…’” (Gautsch & Griffy-Brown, 2010, p. 32 as cited in Weyant, 2013, p. 2).

Dark sides and privacy issues aside, even though there may be “eyes upon us,” there are definitely some perks to checking out line-ups for time management.

Weyant, L. (2013). Designing online management education courses using the Community of Inquiry framework. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 12, 1-14.

The Evolution of Reading

Image retrieved from:

http://thoughtful-faith.blogspot.ca/2012/07/philosophy-of-e-reading.html

In my ongoing effort to be a fully online learner I find that I have reticular activation for stories and headlines that feed into the whole phenomenon of going digital. It seems that some of us are going through somewhat of a grieving process after losing or giving up our beloved paper versions of various reading materials.

This morning on CBC Radio One there was a story about the Globe & Mail stopping the circulation of newspapers in a large portion of BC’s interior. Salmon Arm, BC was caught up in the network of cuts. It’s not news that newspapers are suffering from the digital revolution and are sustaining losses. According to Jim Jennings, the paper’s general manager and Associate Publisher based in Vancouver, those losses are into the six figures.

Two people who were interviewed both said that they can’t read online. One woman said that it’s the family’s Sunday morning ritual to share the paper (even the cat gets involved). They talked about switching to another paper to keep the tradition alive.

Jennings stated that people could arrange their own pick-up/delivery system from larger centres; however, he ended the conversation by suggesting that there are multiple ways of receiving the 169-year-old Globe & Mail besides just online; he talked about replicas being available on multiple platforms, i.e., tablets, etc. – still all digital formats though.

CBC Interview:

http://www.cbc.ca/daybreaksouth/2013/10/17/salmon-arm-residents-mourn-globe-and-mail/

In another story headline we learn about a paperless library in San Antonio, Texas. It is a totally digital library.

News Piece:

http://msnvideo.msn.com/?channelindex=8&from=en-us_msnhp#/video/40effdc8-1fff-1f75-8fd8-5e045b1dcd3a

Website:

http://bexarbibliotech.org/

Some background:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Bexar-set-to-turn-the-page-on-idea-of-books-in-4184940.php

This all makes me wonder if we, as a culture and society, are going through an unconscious grieving process as we transition to online resources for everything. I’ve heard that this is the first generation that will not leave behind handwritten letters and hardcopy photographs as legacies of our personal histories.

I really miss reading hardcopy articles. The other night I just gave up and surrendered. Two classmates and I, in my other course, are giving a presentation. We need to summarize three articles. I confess, I printed them! I needed the experience of flipping back and forth between all three as we discussed them last night. It felt so good.

I suppose I’m suffering from withdrawal in many respects. I’m looking forward to the tipping point where paper is less friendly than digital. And the journey continues…