Reflective Journal entries based upon the various chapters of the book ‘Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of Your Classroom will Improve Student Learning.’:
Reflective Thinking Report for Chapters 1-3
Innovative technologies such as Learning Management Systems (LMS) have made possible document sharing, whiteboard, simultaneous discussions and live content among users from all parts of the world. With the help of these, virtual seminars can be held allowing multiple user video-conferencing (Bowen, 2012).
In a study on higher education by EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (2011) 42% students reported their comfort in using online chats, events and webinars while 27% were comfortable in using podcasts and webcasts. 36% students preferred seminars and other classes with some online component.
Smet et al. (2011) studied the technology acceptation of learning management systems (LMS) by secondary school teachers and investigated the instructional use of LMS, distinguishing between informational use and communicational use. They concluded that informational use was a precursor for communicative use, perceived ease of use of the LMS is the strongest predictor in LMS acceptation. Further, internal ICT support has a direct effect on the informational use of the LMS and on subjective norm.
Yes, I applaud the use of LMS in online seminars and in other online educational material. For me, they are a useful and flexible tool for enabling learners gain access to the educational programs beyond the confines of face-to-face classroom. Learning is now accessible to a wide range of participants crossing the barriers of distance, availability of time and age. LMS facilitate video interaction with the instructor or subject matter expert and enable the participants gain access to the educational material in the form of documents, whiteboards, images and idea sharing by the instructor as well as the participants. The online presence of educational content also enables the participants to gain access to them any time and learn at their own pace right from the comfort of their homes in any distant corner of the world.
As for me, LMS are a boon to the field of education. The PIDP program of School of Instructor Education is a fine example of the online and face-to-face classrooms modules in which people desirous of upgrading their instructor skills have the facility to join the course while pursuing their jobs simultaneously. Here, apart from the presence of online learning material in a user friendly manner, the participants can hold face-to-face conversations with their instructors through Skype and Oovoo and can seek their much needed guidance and feedback in the learning pursuit. They can even submit their assignments online and receive grades online as well. Besides, I have attended a number of online seminars (webinars) which have immensely enriched me in my professional development. In the teacher education colleges in India where I used to teach earlier, I always encouraged our student teachers to attend such seminars in addition to the seminars and conferences we organized there. We also made them watch educational videos and gave them access to the interactive educational CD-roms. But for me, it was really beneficial to attend the webinars hosted by the British Council, Cambridge University Press, Macmillan Education and EdWeb community. These organizations hold online seminars on a regular basis and moreover participation is absolutely free which encourages a large number of knowledge seekers from all over the world and besides imparting knowledge in the subject matter, they also enable the international participants to share their ideas with the entire group. The subject experts share their expertise and skill with the participants. In these, the organizer and the subject matter expert share their video and educational documents, images and whiteboards. The seminars of British Council are mostly related to various aspects of English language teaching. Besides, certain topics on technology are covered as well. An interactive phonemic chart is also present on the website to teach young children English sounds. Cambridge University Press holds seminars on language skills, their assessment and professional development. Macmillan Education also conducts seminars on various aspects of education. The EdWeb community has in it a number of communities such as those related to educator resources, learning assessment, professional development, open educational resources, incorporation of educational technology in education, game-based learning and many more. In these seminars, the participants can also post their queries and comments in the participant chat area. The videos of the seminars are available on the website in the archives where the participants can access them repeatedly for their educational needs. Participation in such seminars is a really enriching experience for me and I continually keep on adding to my professional development.
I would like to incorporate the use of LMS in my educational programs. I would use it to present documents, images, power-point, and films related to English language teaching and topics on education. During my classroom, I would use it encourage pupil-pupil interaction to ensure their fuller participation in the topic. Switching from the lecture hall and seminar table format,will enable me to monitor active participation of my students. Using it for having guest lectures will certainly involve more work like contacting the suitable experts in field, settling a time suitable for the expert as well as the students, seeking permission from department head and arranging funds to pay honorarium but it will undoubtedly give the students access to the in-depth views of the expert. In this endeavor though, cooperation of the department/college is of prime importance. Ensuring proper functionality of online LMS tools during the event is also a key issue. Additionally, I love the idea of leaving a podcast for the students during the time I am traveling. I would certainly use it to prepare some important instructional material online so that the learners may gain access to it as per their suitability. I am not sure to what extent I will be able to utilize the LMS tools but will certainly like to make use of them to the maximum extent possible as it will make my educational endeavors more lively, participatory and learner friendly.
Reflective Thinking Report for Chapters 4-8
Podcasts are audio or video creations of any length that can be used as a useful resource in the teaching learning process. Unlike a captured lecture, they can perform multiple functions which gives them an added advantage. Not only this, they can also be customized according to the needs of the students (Bowen, 2012).
de Villiers and Walsh (2015) conducted a qualitative study to explore the reasons for the popularity of podcasts among students of an African medical school. They concluded that students considered podcasts as a novel way to learn which complemented classroom learning and provided them ease of mind without incurring any negative influence on class attendance during regular lectures.
Kay and Kletskin (2012) evaluated the use of problem based video podcasts to teach mathematics in higher education . From the results it was indicated that a majority of students used video podcasts frequently and considered them as useful or very useful, easy to use, effective learning tools, and also reported significant knowledge gains in pre-calculus concepts.
Yes, I truly appreciate the creation of podcasts- another effective and convenient tool bestowed by modern technology which enables us to access a large body of knowledge virtually from any corner of the world. The barriers of time and place have been transcended by this innovation in education. It is truly amazing that the scholarly ideas of subject experts in one geographical location can be accessed by the learner living in some other corner of the world. Likewise the other online tools of learning, podcasts enable the learner to access topics of their interest in multiple disciplines. They have supplemented classroom learning by providing elaborate description of the academic topics covered in the classroom. Thus if the learner wants to enhance his knowledge about content matter further to classroom lecture, he/she can search for online podcasts available on the topic and can play them again and again to reinforce the new ideas discovered. These can be used for the augmentation in assignments prepared for submission. They provide flexibility in learning as they can be played over and again.
For me, these podcasts have a special educational value as during my doctorate research work on English language proficiency, I needed more and more material for conceptual clarification about the research topic. Since the topic demanded a thorough familiarity with various aspects of the origin, worldwide spread and present global position of the English language, I wanted to follow the works of pioneers in the field of language. For this purpose, I researched a lot of online literature pertinent to the topic along with printed matter including famous linguist David Crystal’s book ‘English as a Global Language’. But it was his podcast on the same topic that proved to be of immense educational significance for me. The podcast contained a detailed description about the origin, spread and the present global position of the language. Each aspect of English language was elaborated so well that after repeated listening, I developed an in-depth understanding about the topic and subsequently developed my thesis on the topic.
Thereafter, I started exploring educational podcasts relevant to the topics of my academic concern. The British Council has published a variety of educational podcasts to develop language skills of beginners as well as those related to workplace situations thereby giving ample choice to the user to select topics of his/her immediate concern. The Canadian Education Association has published numerous podcasts on topics of educational concern in present times. The best feature of all these podcasts is the ability of the researcher to listen to them as many times as required at hi/her convenience. These are really worth listening. Edutopia has enlisted some best education podcasts on its web page. I particularly appreciate the opportunity that I got in this course on media enhanced learning to prepare an audio podcast and to publish it online. It made me experiment with this innovative technique. Although at the initial stage, I faced difficulty in uploading it online but thanks to the valuable assistance provided in the course page, after some unsuccessful attempts, I finally managed to upload the podcast and also got familiar with this great educational innovation.
I would definitely like to make use of podcasts in my educational programs. I will prepare a list of English grammar topics, spoken English topics, topics pertaining to writing skills and will then prepare podcasts on English language topics which ESL learners face difficulty with. To illustrate the grammar topic, I shall incorporate plenty of examples for better comprehension by my students. I will also advise my students to listen to the podcasts available on British Council’s website. In addition to this, I will conduct research on podcasts on the new topics in the field of English language teaching and will post the link of those podcasts to my students. Further, I shall polish my skills to customize the podcasts according to the varying needs of the learners.
Reflective Thinking Report for Chapters 9- 11
The best education of the future will be a hybrid. Physical contact with teachers is valuable but online coursework is also convenient with a lot of potential. Striking a balance between face-to-face interaction and online resources will the question of primary concern for most institutions. (Bowen, 2012)
Tanduklangi, Alberth, and Amri (2014) studied the efficacy of teaching writing through hybrid instruction. They found a significant positive effect of hybrid instructional program on students’ writing performance at Writing I Odd Class at English Study Program in UHO.
Frimming, Bower and Chulhwan(2013) examined academic performance, perceptions, and experiences of participants enrolled in face-to-face classroom and online hybrid learning environments. Pre and Post Content Knowledge Tests and a student evaluation were used to measure perceptions and experiences of participants. The results of the tests indicated that participants in hybrid instruction environment had better experiences from the traditional face-to-face class format.
Truly speaking, in the present age, hybrid instructional mode is more feasible and effective than the traditional classroom communication. The significance of face-to-face interaction of the teacher with the students is undeniable. But it can be effectively complimented with the introduction of online component as well. Since we are living in the age of technology and are constantly surrounded by advanced means of communication, it is reasonable to include teaching learning situations that are online in nature. Whereas a face to face interaction with the teacher holds great value for assimilation of subject matter and clarification of concepts, the online component makes the teaching learning process more flexible and accessible for the learner.
As per my viewpoint, the introduction of hybrid learning system is a blessing in disguise for the people who are required to pursue their academic and professional interests simultaneously. People moving to different countries need to arrange funds for their sustenance and at the same time are required to pursue their academic goals to seize employment in their desired field. As such, they need a great deal of flexibility in instructional programs so that they may strike a balance between both academic and professional pursuits. Also, many students have to pursue part-time jobs since they belong to disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. For them too, hybrid instructional programs create opportunities to earn while they learn. In normal educational scenario too hybrid learning programs give the learners opportunity to pursue their different interests simultaneously. Again, a great example of hybrid learning environment is the PIDP program which has enabled the immigrants to upgrade their educational qualifications while catering to their financial needs side by side. In this program there are options for joining either in the regular classroom, weekend classes or online instructional mode. So the prospective students can figure out the program type most suitable to their needs. Contrarily, in the absence of hybrid learning option, people would have found it tough to pursue their education and job at the same time. Hybrid educational programs undoubtedly attract a large number of students. Midst this scenario, the significance of teacher contact cannot be undermined. Because it builds up confidence in the learner since he/she knows that he can confide his doubts, fears and queries with the expert. But this face to face interaction between the educator and the educated can be very beautifully blended with online components to make it more convenient for the learner. I personally feel, that a number of courses in different fields should be made hybrid so that people can learn flexibly without the fear of any obstruction in the pursuance of their dreams.
As a teacher I would keep it on top priority to encourage as much hybrid component as possible. I would endeavor to develop instructional material that can be delivered through online mode as well. I would consult my department head and colleagues any possibilities to include hybrid learning component in the course structure. Based upon these discussions, a list of possible courses that could be delivered during vacations will also be developed. Another important consideration undeniably will be the provision of adequate funds to introduce the program for which I shall have to seek the permission of the head as well as to collaborate with the government funding agency. But certainly, I will take all possible steps to include hybrid learning programs.