To sum it all up…

As you will see in my video, after attending the first class of EC&I 833 I felt like I was out of my league. I did not have a Twitter account, am not a classroom teacher, and felt that many of the things we talked about in that were completely foreign. However, thanks to great teachers (both Alec and my classmates) I soon felt that I would easily be able to “catch up”. I would like to thank you all for sharing your knowledge and supporting me in my learning journey. Although I am no ed tech expert, I learned more than I thought possible and was able to put many new things into practice.

Please view my video for more details:

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Virtually endless possibilities!

I really enjoyed this weeks’ presentation on virtual reality and augmented reality. Like so many others have commented in their blog posts, before this I felt like VR and AR were not applicable to me. As Reede and Bailiff point out in Virtual Reality Meets Education, VR has always been on the “periphery of technology” and its uses have not seemed practical. However, because the cost to the consumer is rapidly decreasing, and new technologies are emerging that are making VR and AR more user friendly, their uses are becoming much more applicable in education.

Using AR and VR in education has many benefits. Dunleavy and Dede point out some of these in Augmented Reality Teaching and Learning. For example, using AR allows for different perspectives. It also allows for near transfer because students are allowed to experience a realistic environment. This means that students are more likely to be able to apply things to the real world if they are learning through AR/VR vs. traditional teaching methods. Dunleavy and Dede also relate AR to the constructivist learning theory, which posits that new knowledge is built upon old knowledge and is dependent on experiences, context, and interaction with others. AR and VR allow students to experience things in a real-world context, which facilitates participatory and active learning. As Jayme mentioned in her blog, VR and AR allow students to “create their own active learning experiences.”

Of course, there are also negative sides of AR and VR. Dunleavy and Dede in Augmented Reality Teaching and Learning state that some of these limitations include student motivation, the potential for cognitive overload (Nicole goes deeper into this in her blog post), and the need for there to be multiple facilitators with high skill levels in order to develop and use some technologies.

Many ECI833 students, including Adam and Elizabeth, brought up cost as a prohibitive factor of using AR and VR in education. Many wondered if it further deepens the digital divide. I really liked Heidi’s perspective, that VR and AR may actually lessen the digital divide because they allow students to experience things virtually that they may not have the resources to experience in real life. In the higher education environment, this includes things like exchanges, internships and field trips.

Given all of this, I feel like the positives that AR and VR bring to education far outweigh the negatives. I work on Student Affairs at the U of R, and I think there are lots of potential uses for AR/VR that would benefit students. Here are a few ideas:

1. AR and VR could be used by Student Recruitment in many ways, to show prospective students what the University is all about. For example, they could create virtual tours of the campus and residences designed to view with Google Cardboard. They could also use Aurasma to enhance their Viewbook, so that students could scan pictures and watch video testimonials. I found a video that shows an example of this at Kendall College:

2. We could use Aurasma to create a scavenger hunt during Orientation to help students learn more about the Student Success Centre. Here is a great example of how Berkeley did this:

3. VR could be used to deliver the Student Success Centre’s workshops/non-credit courses to students who do not live in Regina. Our programming is geared towards students who are at-risk. We have been reluctant to offer it online, because it seems like it would be more difficult to offer the same level of support to students. However, doing so in a VR environment would allow more connection and would give off-campus students the feeling of being present. Here is an example of a course delivered this way:

These examples would require significant time and resources to bring to reality, but the benefits rendered would certainly be worth it. There are also some small things we could do that require less training and money to get going. These ideas were a result of reading Minock’s article Augmented Reality Brings New Dimensions to Learning. Some of these include:

  • We currently have a “Tutor Wall” with photos and biographies of all of our tutors. We could use Aurasma to add video testimonials to this wall.
  • We could include biographies of guest speakers in posters and brochures. Students could scan the photos on the posters to prompt the video biography.
  • We could create a self-guided tour of the Student Success Centre. We could have four or five different landmarks that when scanned ,prompt a video that shows a service in action. For example, we could have a tutor station show a video of a tutoring session, and the Learning Lounge show a video of a workshop.

My mind has been opened this week! I am excited to talk to colleagues and see what we can do to bring in AR and VR as part of our offerings. Are there other ideas of how AR and VR could be used in higher ed support services? I would love to hear your ideas!

 

 

Lots to Learn about Assistive Technology

I realized after taking part in this week’s presentation by Benita, Heidi, Allison, Launel, and Holly that I have much to learn when it comes to assistive technology. In my job I rarely deal with this type of technology directly. I often meet students who are struggling in courses and recognize that they would benefit from some type of assistance in terms of technology or other accommodations. I usually refer these students to the Centre for Student Accessibility(CSA). I also work with students who have accommodations to develop learning strategies and improve their study skills. However, I have never really considered that I may be able to offer additional support to these students in terms of assistive technology. However, after this week’s presentation I realize that there are things that I can do to assist these students technology-wise, especially those who have not been diagnosed with a learning disability.

In an effort to learn more about the types of assistive technology available to U of R students, and the challenges present for students, I interviewed the manager of the CSA, Stephanie Gomersall. Here is what she had to say:

Naomi – What types of assistive technology are available to U of R students?

Stephanie – In the AT lab we have Kurzweil (text-to-speech software), Dragon Naturally Speaking (speech-to-text software – voice recognition), and Inspiration (mind-mapping templates) that are all used for reading/writing/study strategies. These can be beneficial for students with attention difficulties, learning disabilities, slower processing, and challenges with memory. 

We also have JAWS and ZoomText for students who have visual impairments (ie. low vision). Jaws, in particular, can be very difficult to initially learn as there is so much to remember. Each command on the computer can be programmed, which allows students to verbally use applications – and Jaws will describe each page/item out loud. It really is amazing to see a student become confident using the program – particularly if they’ve lost their vision later in life, as it allows complete independence again. 

We also have a CCTV in the AT lab that allows students to place written text under a magnifier and select the degree of magnification that they require. The image appears on a large screen, and can be converted to alter the contrast as needed. 

The most common type of AT is the Livescribe Smartpen that allows students to audio record lectures and upload to an online Evernote account. There are a wide variety of apps available for the pen and it’s really quite straightforward to use. Probably the greatest function of the Smartpen – if students write in a Livescribe notebook while audio recording the pen will actually sync the two together. They’re also relatively cheap!
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Photo credit: “@derrellg in the Assistive Technology Lab” by mjmonty is licensed under CC by 2.0

Naomi – What are the challenges students face when it comes to assistive technology?

Stephanie – Basically the biggest two barriers for students are access and training. There is government funding for eligible students but many who aren’t eligible (ie. registered in just one course, not permanent Sask residents) can’t access the tools. Some of the software is really expensive – Kurzweil is generally around $1500 – so it’s difficult to purchase without funding. 

Learning to use and becoming truly comfortable with the technology takes a significant amount of work as well! I would say a good percentage of students that first try software in university don’t feel like they have the time to master it and end up reverting back to their usual learning strategies. Depending on how user-friendly the technology is, it can really require commitment to get comfortable. 

Naomi – Do you ever recommend free or low cost software or apps to students?

Stephanie – Sometimes we do recommend free apps, depending on what the student may need – and in other cases psychologists may refer to specific software/apps in their psychoeducational assessment report. Honestly, students are so “techy” these days that a lot are familiar with apps that could technically be considered “assistive tech” (ie. those that help with organizing tasks, creating to-do lists).

Naomi –What are the challenges when it comes to recommending free software or apps?

Stephanie – The challenge with apps is that there are always new ones released, so it’s difficult for our office to stay on top of the ‘best’ or most user-friendly. We’ll often mention a few to students and encourage them to explore various apps to see what works best for them.

Admittedly, knowledge of and experience with assistive tech is where our office lacks – most universities actually have a separate Assistive Technologist position who would assess students needs, create resources, and offer individual training.

Stephanie’s responses to the questions about challenges with AT come as no surprise. Tuesday’s presentation outlined access to technology and lack of training as common AT challenges. In addition, In Rethinking Assistive Technology, Edyburn cites similar challenges in the field of AT including lack of AT specialists, not enough training, AT becoming a “task of procedural compliance”, and the fact that AT and IT are not linked. I believe that on our campus the IT department has little to do with the AT lab.

I agree with Edyburn’s recommendation that AT should be renamed “Technology Enhanced Performance”, and that the educational institutions should have easy to use tools in place that are available to everyone, not just those students who have received diagnoses. As Heidi mentioned in her blog, AT should be available to all learners. I loved Heidi’s example of the wheelchair ramp and how at times we all benefit from using ramps.

I know that there are things that I can do to help make this a reality at the U of R. For example, Stephanie sent me a document with many different apps and software tools that are available for free or a small charge. This document includes apps for note-taking, life skills, money management, text-to-speech, auditory processing, classroom apps, handwriting, time management and more. Note: The document is a pdf so I cannot post it here, but email me if you want a copy. I can become familiar with these apps so that I can recommend them to students who would benefit from using them. In addition, I can work to find other ways to make students’ lives easier. I loved Tyson’s example of how he was able to get an iPod touch for a student to use in place of a heavy device. I can look for opportunities like this to advocate for students and help them use technology to be successful. Are there things that you can do in your classrooms or work places to help make AT available to all learners?

How Can We Speed Up the Dinosaur?

After reading Gerstein’s assigned article, I really got to thinking about what is needed to move to Education 3.0. Although I am not a teacher, I know from my son and my nieces and nephews that many teachers still use a very traditional, Web 1.0, method of teaching. Furthermore, I work at a university and I believe that 95% of instructors use a Web 1.0  approach in teaching their courses. Furthermore, universities are dinosaurs and change is very slow to come. While some instructors may see the value of self-directed learning and the use of technology, others do not.

dinosaur

flickr photo shared by katerha under a Creative Commons license

The first question I asked myself is what does teaching look like in Education 3.0? Thankfully Gerstein covered this very well in her blog post Show Learners the Possibilities and then Get Out of the Way. According to Gerstein, most transformative learning is self-directed. Learners are given the freedom to decide what they are going to learn and how. The traditional role of the teacher has to change in order for this to happen. Gerstein outlined what this role should look like. Teachers should act as observers, as resources for their students (mentors and experts), and they should demonstrate technology to students. What results is emergent, fun learning. Gerstein describes it as messy and unpredictable. However, she believes that deeper more meaningful learning takes place as a result. This tweet sums up Gerstein’s philosophy of Education 3.0 well:

Where does technology fit in? In order to give learners “voice and choice”, they have to have open access to technology and be able to use technological tools in whatever ways help them best learn and demonstrate their learning.

I think Gerstein’s approach is excellent, and when employed would result in confident, creative students. One thing I question is whether not students might feel overwhelmed by all the choices available to them in this model. However, I think with supportive teachers who act as mentors and coaches the students will come to feel comfortable exploring and creating.

As far as I know, Gerstein’s model of teaching for Education 3.0 is not commonly applied. For example, in Benita‘s blog post she mentioned that teacher’s might be too rooted in tradition in order to adapt to Education 3.0. In addition, Erin questioned why teachers do not seem to be moving toward this model of teaching. She wondered whether it might be that teachers are hesitant because they can’t clearly see what their new roles will be, and are scared of the unknown. As I am not a teacher, I question whether this has something to do with the way that teachers have been trained. For those of you with education degrees, please let me know. Do you feel like university prepared you to teach in Education 3.0?

In terms of university teaching moving toward Education 3.0, I believe a systemic change is needed. At the U of R, I know that there are some champion professors who teach in a way that they hope leads to transformative learning. However, many professors are focused very strictly on sharing content with little or no interaction or technology. I came across a great article called Why the University of the Future Will Have No Classrooms but Lots of Tech. The article explains how a former MIT Dean, Christine Ortiz, is building a new kind of university that is preparing students for the 21st century. She believes that universities have been teaching the same way since the middle ages, and that universities take far too long to make decisions. We certainly have not come as far as predicted, judging from this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Ortiz’s idea is to build a non-profit research institution (open by 2020) that allows students to design their own learning pathway independent of discipline. Technology plays a key role. Her team has developed a “software platform for computer-guided intelligent curriculum design” to help guide students learning. Here is a great quote from Ortiz:

The world’s challenges do not fit neatly under a single subject area, rather they are interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, and require diverse thinking to develop solutions, which our higher education system currently does not facilitate.

Granted this is only one example of Education 3.0 in Higher Ed, it really is a great one. We know that governments are spending less and less on education, and institutions are relying on tuition dollars more than ever. I do believe that higher ed intuitions will have to adapt in order to compete. The U of R may never get to where Ortiz’s institution is, but I  hopefully teaching practices will evolve and technology will become more integrated into the traditional classroom.

 

 

 

 

Supporting Distance Students

This week we were asked to reflect on using the tools we have been using in this class and how we would use these tools for distance education. I was excited to see this blog prompt because I do work with distance students, and I have been doing some thinking around how I can use technology to offer better support to these students. Dayley and Hoffman identified that the student supports available for online students are not as strong for those participating  in face-to-face courses. In their words:

Although student services for online students saw significant progress in the last few years, there is still room for improvement, with the ultimate goal of providing as many opportunities as possible or distance students as those on a physical campus.

At the University of Regina there is certainly room for improvement in terms of supports and services for online student. In theory we offer the same supports to distance students as we do to face-to-face courses. For example, we have phone meetings with students to offer learning skills support and do academic advising and writing over email. In addition, we have some of our Student Success Workshops available online, and have a comprehensive online Orientation for new students. However, as Dayley and Hoffman assert, students who are away from the physical campus notice differences between “customary tangible experiences” and online offerings in things like library, counselling, and tutoring services. We notice that a far lower percentage of distance students use our services than those attending courses on the main campus. Part of that can likely be attributed to the fact that the services we offer to distance students don’t have the same personal feel.

I believe that we can make the gap between online and physical student services smaller by using better tools, many of which I was introduced to in ECI 833  Please check out this GoAnimate video I made  highlighting some of the ways that  I think the  Student Success Centre can better serve distance students by utilizing technology.

As I mentioned in the video, these are just some of the ways that the Student Success Centre could use technology to better support students. One thing I feel that is missing, and was pointed out by Dayley and Hoffman, is the opportunity for off-campus students to engage socially. Erin and Launel brought up the need for elementary level students to participate in face-to-face activities for socialization purposes. In addition, Andy talked about a need for a physical community for learners to engage in. I feel like the same things are needed for university students, and that students who take all of their classes online miss out on a critical part of university.

Do you have any ideas on how we could use technology to help university students engage in activities and feel like they are part of the University of Regina community?

To Tab or Not to Tab

This week’s prompt asks if we think the Internet is really a productivity tool, or merely an endless series of distractions?  Has the Internet created a world of ‘multitaskers’ who don’t accomplish as much as they could have without it?

In terms of multi-tasking, I have seen lots of research come out lately that shows multi-tasking is actually ineffective. Furthermore, recent research has shown that multi-tasking can even damage your brain. Yet, in this day and age it would be almost impossible to get through a day without multitasking. The Internet has certainly added to this phenomenon. I get emails at all hours of the day, and everyone who emails seems to expect an instant answer. The same goes for text messages and IMs. Benita talked about just stopping what you are doing and googling something when you have a question about something. I certainly do that all of the time. Another thing that takes a lot of my time is online shopping. I remember at a football practice this summer another mom had a blanket that looked useful. I dropped what I was doing an ordered an exact replica off Amazon. It took less than a minute.

All things considered, the Internet has allowed me to be more productive. I didn’t have to drive to a store and look for that blanket. We don’t have to go to the library to research answers to our questions. We don’t have to waste time phoning someone or visiting them when we want to ask them about something. However, the problem comes in the fact that we can do all of this instantly. Because we can, we do. And that leads us to try to do everything at once.

I agree with Ashley that the key to combatting the constant multi-tasking is to find balance, and to be mindful of what we are doing. Like Benita and Amy, I also practice yoga. It took me a good year and a half to get to a place where I could block outside thoughts during my practice and focus on my breath. I am afraid I have not been able to find this kind of mindfulness at work, though, and I tend to get distracted quite easily. I was very excited to learn about James Hamblin’s theory on single-tasking, and as today was Thursday, decided to give it a try today. I made an infograph to display the results.

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On My Wish List – Starfish Early Alert

As someone who oversees a unit focused on helping university students be successful, my experience with software is a little bit different than most others. Truthfully, I feel like we are behind other universities in terms of student success software. When I go to conferences, I am often envious of other institutions that have things like student life software, co-curricular records, and systems that track students who need extra support. In this post I am going to focus on one of those systems, called Starfish Early Alert. Although we do not currently have this software, it is on my wish list and I believe it would help the university increase retention. In terms of the categories listed by Amy, Krista, Luke, Elizabeth and Rochelle it probably fits best with assessment software.

Starfish Early Alert is a tool that lets instructors, advisors, and other support staff work together to best support students. It provides an easy way for instructors to notify staff members if students are experiencing academic difficulty, are having attendance issues, etc. Student Success staff can them follow up with the students to offer support and make referrals as needed. The software also allows for sharing of student files among the many people who support students. Finally, it allows for easy communication to groups of students in categories. Here is a short video that describes some of the features:

The Student Success Centre currently uses a much more old-fashioned method to identify at-risk students. We have a form and an email address that instructors can use to notify us about students who show evidence of being at-risk. We then add the students to our Access database and contact them using an email merge in Microsoft Word. We save our notes in Microsoft word, and email them to advisors or instructors as needed. While this system works, it is very clunky and time-consuming. In “Media will Never Influence Learning“, Clark suggested that if two technologies achieve the same goal, you should choose the less expensive. The main reason we use our clunky system is because software systems are quite expensive and we do not have that type of budget available. However, I think using something like Starfish could lead to much bigger benefits by involving more people in helping to support students.

The biggest benefit of Starfish Early Alert is that it would allow us to identify students who are potentially at risk much earlier than we currently do. Currently, only a fraction of the students who are placed on academic probation after their first semester are referred to the Student Success Centre or their faculty advisor, or are approached by anyone offering extra support. This system would allow us to intervene much earlier, and help student implement learning strategies, gain writing skills, and seek other supports in order to turn things around in order to improve their grades before it is too late.

In reality, the only way a system like this would work is if more instructors were on board. This may require a shift in philosophy for many of them. We know that some instructors have the “sink or swim” philosophy, and are not motivated to help students succeed. However, I believe that if a system were in place that made referring students very simple, more instructors would do so. I also believe that seeing positive results could help change instructors’ minds.

The proponents and adopters of Starfish would be the staff who currently work with students daily. This includes faculty and college advisors, and staff of centralized support units such as the Student Success Centre, Aboriginal Student Centre, and Centre for Student Accessibility. Several professors, deans, and instructors that we already work with would also adopt the system easily. Opponents, as mentioned earlier, would be the instructors who do not understand or agree with the need to provide students with extra support. Understandably, many instructors already feel overworked. They may have issue spending time flagging students, especially if they are teaching very large classes. However, I still think this system would be beneficial even if only one third of instructors used it.

The positive affects would be that we could identify struggling students and offer supports much earlier. Staff would also be able to share information about students much easier, so that we could create a support team for students. In addition, the communication module would make it much easier and quicker to send tailored messages to students. The negative effects might be that some students might be resistant to being contacted, and some faculty feel that it is an infringement on students’ privacy.

The overall advantage is that using a system like this could increase students’ persistence and retention rates.

I am interested to hear what the rest of the class thinks about Starfish Early Alert. Would it have helped anyone you know? Do you feel like early identification and intervention of at-risk students is the responsibility of the university? Can you think of any drawbacks that I didn’t mention?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Criticisms of Educational Television

Remember Mike Teavee from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? As I sit down to write this blog post I see that my son and niece are watching this movie. I reflect on Mike Teavee, as his story illustrates where some of the criticism of educational television comes from. Mike is so addicted to watching TV that he doesn’t care about anything else. In the end, his TV addiction leads to his demise as he gets turned into a 3D photograph a fraction of his regular size. Common Sense Media gives Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory five stars, but only two out of five points for educational content. However, the movie (and book) were meant to teach lessons. The children in the movie are punished for their over-indulgences. Mike Teavee is punished because he watches far too much TV.

While Postman may not have thought TV would lead to the demise of children, he certainly was not a big fan of most educational television. One criticism of his was that one of educational television’s purposes is to ensure that parents felt less guilty about letting their kids sit it front of the tv for long periods of time. I can certainly relate to this one, and I am guilty of putting my son in front of Baby Einstein videos so I could get some work done. I didn’t do this frequently, but it happened. And I did feel less guilty knowing that he might be absorbing something educational.

Another criticism of Postman’s was “…We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Which is to say, we now know that “Sesame Street” undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents. Postman believed that children would not be interested in school because it wasn’t as entertaining as “Sesame Street”. As Audrey Watters pointed out in her article about the learning channel, TV has had to evolve from strictly educational to more entertaining in order to appeal to advertisers. Advertisers are necessary because they pay for the TV programming. In addition, Fisch pointed out that television has to be “highly appealing to children” in order to get them to watch it.

Postman was leery of this highly entertaining version of educational television. He was not opposed to all educational television, and in fact he defended Mr Rogers because it was shown in real time and didn’t make use of editing. However, his problem with the faster-paced, exciting version of educational television was that children would not want to pay attention to traditional teacher-led teaching once they had been exposed to this exciting medium.

In some ways I believe that Postman was right. Being exposed to highly entertaining, fast-paced technology changes the way that we think and learn. For example, we learned last week that our brains are being rewired because of our exposure to technology. Kids have come to expect technology in the classroom and at home. However, there are two reasons that I disagree with Postman. First, I don’t think that his prediction that kids would be less interested in school came to be. I was a Sesame Street watching kid, and I still did well in school and enjoyed it. We seldom used technology in my elementary school, and my teachers taught in traditional ways. Second, entertaining educational technology has helped make school more interesting to students, and has helped to make students more engaged and focused in schools. While it is true that teachers and schools have had to evolve, I believe that this has resulted in positive change.

Comparing this to the current culture of smartphones and BYOD in classrooms, I feel like the same results are possible. Our brains will continue to be rewired, teaching styles and methods will continue to evolve, and children will continue to expect more entertainment. However, I believe that education can be (and should be) entertaining in part. I think the implication is that traditional schooling has to change to adapt to new technologies.

Lastly, back to Mike Teavee, finding a balance will continue to be important. Too much technology, or relying on technology as the only teaching method, is not effective. When talking about raising his children, Postman stated that in his family they spent  a lot of time with their children and there was a lot of emphasis put on reading and the printed word. Using a variety of teaching methods and ensuring that children have limits on the amount of technology time they have are important considerations in ensuring student development and learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Theories to Support University Students

A large part of my job is to design and deliver programming that supports university students in their academic pursuits. The learning theory that I rely on most heavily is the cognitive theory. Many of the workshops I design and deliver are focused on metacognition, or helping students learn about how they learn so that they can employ strategies to be successful. For example, here is a slide taken from our “Writing Tests” workshop:

r-vs-r

This slide is meant to help students think about what type of memory retrieval strategy is required by them for different types of exams and exam questions. In subsequent slides we give them information about different strategies that might work for each type of exam. We also talk about how the expectation in university is usually deeper level processing. This is often a steep transition for students.

Dr. Stephen Chew is a cognitive psychologist in the US who is well-known for his work on metacognition. He has come up with many strategies to help students really think about how they learn and apply the best strategies to ensure academic success. I often show students his YouTube videos, and example of which is as follows:

So in practice, I spend a lot of time teaching cognitive strategies to students and asking them questions of them to help them understand their own cognitive processes. But do I think the cognitive learning theory explains how all people learn? Is it “the best” theory? Have I been focusing my time and efforts correctly?

For me, the answers to those questions in partly yes. Like it or not, the style of learning and assessment that most university instructors employ is rooted in cognition. Lectures, note-taking, multiple-choice exams and essay exams all rely on mental processing and focus on testing memory retrieval. It would be difficult to find a 100-level instructor who didn’t employ those methods.

However, I agree with Ashley that there is no one best learning theory. One thing I do not like about the cognitive theory (and cognitive style of teaching) is that it doesn’t account for the importance of experience. Constructivism is used some in universities, especially as part of experiential learning and work experience  programs. According to Ertmer and Newby, constructivism is best for advanced knowledge acquisition. As well, learning processes are more important than content. I think this type of learning is very important for students to be able to transfer their learning to the real world.

Connectivism is very interesting to me. In my experience it is not a learning theory that is embraced in universities.  In Connectivism: a Learning Theory for the Digital Age, Siemens states:

The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.

I have to agree with Siemens in this regard. I recently read an opinion piece that explains how two U of T professors are banning electronic devices from their classroom. They believe that the devices are a cause for distraction and prevent the students from concentrating and learning. Siemens would probably strongly disagree with this approach, as he would believe that using these devices and the internet would lead to the students forming connections and therefore learning deeply.

So I agree with Ertmer and Newby that the goal should be using a variety of learning styles in order to make sure our students become adaptive learners. To support this, I will have to learn and implement new strategies to help the students I work with. For example, I found an article that lists some strategies to implement connectivism into a learning environment, such as using social networking more and encouraging students to join professional networks. I will have to try to implement some of these strategies and encourage my students to make connections between the different disciplines and concepts they are learning.