Archive for May, 2013

Can Facebook be used productively in class?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Facebook is one of the most visited and used websites in the world.

One place that the site doesn’t see much action is in the classroom. That could change, though.

A blog posted on a Boston University educational technology site, “Using Facebook productively in class,” discussed how a college community health professor — after decided the medium could serve as a positive learning resource — created Facebook pages for her classes, which she invited her students to “like.”

The professor, Sophie Godley, made it clear to her students that they did not have to be her Facebook friend and said participation in the pages in voluntary. The pages — there are three — are used to generate student content and discussion, with students past and present being able to interact on the page.

Godley can also post jobs and internship information and said it is relatively painless to manage the pages.

What’s interesting about this development, which is a solid one — the pages provide professor and students with a one-stop stop for information and outside the classroom interaction – is that the professor is quoted as saying students can spare an hour or two away from communicating with others, making particular reference to Facebook.

It seems as though using the medium is working for the professor. But I am still a bit leery of using social media in classroom instruction. I understand the positives: a one-stop shop for information, sites students already check, etc. Leading students to the website also lends itself to be a huge distraction. The professor herself said she thinks students spend too much time on Facebook, yet she promotes the use of the site for her benefit.

I would suggest creating a blog, using Blogger or WordPress and allowing the students to interact there. You could also use that as a way to get students to express their ideas through the creation of their very own blog. You could be teaching a new medium.

With all the information that comes across via Facebook, I think it could be too easy for a teacher’s information to slide through the cracks. Then, if a student misses an assignment or update, who’s at fault?

Facebook is a social medium. Not an educational one.

ISTE 2013 Conference

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Don’t forget to register for the ISTE Conference. It is June 23-26 in San Antonio Texas.

Too big; too fast?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

From the beginning, I have been watching the development of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with a great degree of professional interest – and some skepticism. For about five minutes two years ago I wondered aloud if they might spell the end of Higher Education. I see now that they are devoid of the necessary individualized teacher to student interaction that marks the difference between picking up a textbook in a bookstore and actually learning a subject in any depth.

In fact, as this essay by Kevin Bell suggests, the original worthy goals of the MOOC – to make higher education open and available to people who might otherwise not have access to it – are being eroded. I also see in this essay the first serious sputtering of the energy these online courses. Pedagogically, for the most part, they are flawed – mostly if you try to compare them to an online course you might take through a university with a professor within easy reach.

Meet Charles De Gryse: EDMT Student Blogger

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Charles De Gryse

Charles de Gryse graduated with a BFA from the University of Michigan in 1970 and was a graphic artist and designer as well as pro photographer for many years. He has been teaching computer productivity and introductory computer skills in the Business and Computer Technologies Department at Washtenaw Community College for the past 3 years and plans to continue to specialize in adult education at the community college level as a career.

Are digital-only textbook classrooms the wave of the future?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

By Guest Blogger, Jason Davis

Ed Tech magazine, which focuses on K-12 issues, in November 2012 published a report on six hot trends in educational technology with a move toward digital-only textbooks as the No. 1 item. According to the report, 37 percent of teachers surveyed — no information was given as to the total number of respondents — say they plan to transition to only digital textbooks within the next one to five years. Just 26.3 percent of them believe they could do so easily given their current network infrastructure.

This is an interesting development, as a move to digital-only textbooks would align with a push by legislators and district officials to implement more technology in the classroom. The push coincides with the need for students to be more techno-savvy as they look for 21st-century jobs.

My question is: who foots the bill for the technology? Would it be the school? Most districts are strapped for cash and looking for ways to slash budgets.

Would the money come via a vote of the public? At a time when so many people are hurting financially, I think it would be tough to sell taxpayers on the idea.

What about funds for upkeep and repair? Would the school or the students be held responsible for that? In principle, the idea sounds like a great one. But, as with many other things, finances are the major hurdle.