Module 4: July 28th
The ongoing growth of the Internet for teaching and learning will likely continue to raise networks as a prominent means of representing knowledge and the learning process (Siemens, 2008). We are certainly observing this in our present educational arena. Society has recently shifted from the total face to face classroom setting to incorporating online distant education with comfort. Distant education is growing rapidly and tools have been created to assist these learners. Some of these tools were first introduced as a social means of communication. Educational institutions have transferred many of these tools into the classroom in order to provide a means for collaboration and communication.
Collaboration tools that are now being used are blogs, wikis, virtual communities, and chat forums. Tools such as these provide students with a means of creating dialogue and sharing information. Collaboration between students expands the boundaries of knowledge being shared by professors and students. Very often a student’s greatest academic gain is obtained from the student to student communication process.
The internet has caused a power shift in classrooms, as learners now have greater access to information, experts, and peer learners (Siemens, 2008). Communication is essential in the distant education classroom. Email, Skype, Discussion Boards, and Twitter allow communication lines to flow smoothly between the professor and student and between students. It is essential for everyone to participate in the communication process. Clarification of assignments, posting, and responses are most important and should be completed in order for distant education to be successful.
The Internet provides access to a wealth of information. There are many different tools that provide the “transportation” to this wealth of information. Search engines, software, Moodle, Blackboard, Web page, and podcasting are resources that allow you to search many different topics. A student must note the importance of carefully selecting the correct tool to use when searching for data (Durrington, Berryhill, and Swafford, 2006).
Durrington, V. A., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190−193. Academic Search Premier database; Accession Number: 19754742
Siemens, G. (2008, January). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. ITForum.