Friday, November 23, 2007

The Paradox of Choice

Barry Schwartz presentation at TEDTalks

Are there any implications for education?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dentistry, Car Maintenance and Online Work

I am sitting in a dentist chair as I write this. The other day I was doing my online work at Rowe Hyundai in Auburn as they changed the oil in my car. When I work late into the evening I can drop into the Market Square Restaurant for a bite to eat and borrow bandwidth, if needed, from the South Paris Public Library across the street. Very quickly access is almost to be expected in public spaces. Hotspots are increasing at a rapid rate, even up in the Western foothills of Maine.

What are your favorite WiFi hotspots in Maine?

Maine WiFi HotSpots Directory
Wifi 411

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Adult Education & Online Learning

One of my side jobs is to work with adult educators and students at Oxford Hills to investigate the possibilities of online (distance) learning for the adult ed student. The idea is to develop some options for students who might have difficulty with transportation and/or scheduling.

I'm working with Ramsey Ludlow on a U.S. History I course. We have been experimenting with the use of Google apps in delivering the instruction, trying to find out what does and does not work in using distance learning with the high school adult ed student.

Of course, as expected, we have had to punt several times for a number of reasons in order to meet the goals of the course. Initially the idea was to meet with students f2f in the evening once per month and do the rest of the course via Google groups and email. The students were very comfortable with the technology, but some had issues with the difficulty of organizing their time, due to a number of factors, to complete the assignments. So now we are back to having weekly f2f classes for that extra encouragement that being in the same room creates. The digital tools are being used within that meeting time.

We did a reflection during last evening's gathering:

Reflection on history online

1. not as independent learners as we thought
2. in class support is helpful
3. online support /discussions don't work
4. more people to respond to is better
5. support/discussion require us to make an appointment at time
6. helpful to work with others-"community of learners"

This is what the students came up with. Of course, there were the usual issues of technology reliablity and access, and all of the students hold full time jobs . . . and some are taking other courses as well. However, I'm not convinced that it simply "won't work." Ramsey and I, as well as other teachers in the OH group, will be chewing on this for the next year as part of the MARTI grant.

We'll be looking at appropriate tools, teaching methods, and scaffolding.

Please do offer your suggestions and wisdom.