Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Jane Ostrander: Scenario-based Learning and Social Media

Monday, November 30th, 2009

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First off, we hope you and your family had a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

A couple weeks back, we talked to Gordon Snyder about using social media in the classroom. This week we’re hearing another perspective from Jane Ostrander, Director of the Experimental Learning Center at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif.

Jane is writing her dissertation about the reasons why people choose to participate in online knowledge sharing. It boils down to a cost/benefit analysis: “The potential participant must see some value in participating that outweighs whatever costs s/he anticipates will occur as a result of that participation.”

Once an online community is established, it’s vital to make sure participants have a stake in the conversation. Jane cites research showing that “a sense of either personal ownership or stewardship of the information enhanced sharing.”

Jane and her team are putting these insights to work in an online community on the educational site Tapped In. They’re using the site to explore new ways to disseminate instructional materials and lesson plans, and to develop online “wizards” to provide advice to community college instructors. Jane has also used YouTube as a way to get materials out to a wide audience without spending a lot of money – “always a concern with budget-impaired community college faculty,” she notes.

As for other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, Ostrander thinks it’s important not to confuse tools with learning. She hopes that her fellow teachers remember the lesson from the advent of the personal computer. “Buying and networking a bunch of computers and parking them in the back of the classroom did not automatically enhance teaching and learning in that classroom,” she notes.

“Social network tools provide educators with a means to connect with and inform students, but that’s not the same thing as facilitating learning,” she says. “The interaction between teacher, student, content and environment – including the available tools – is what makes learning happen in the classroom.”

In other words, it’s not the technology but what teachers are able to do with it that makes a difference for students. That’s why she’s staying actively involved in her Tapped In community. “Essentially, our project team is driving the bus at this point, though hopefully not forever, whereas social media tools just deliver the bus and a set of keys and say, ‘Go for it; make of it what you will.’”

Gordon Snyder: Bringing Social Media to ATE and Education

Monday, November 16th, 2009

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One of the most innovative sessions at last month’s ATE Conference in Washington, D.C., was the discussion titled “Online Impact – Tapping Twitter, Facebook and Other Tools.” The moderator of that panel, Gordon F. Snyder, Jr. shared with us more information about how educators can bring social media into the classroom.

Gordon is the Director of the National Center for Information and Communications Technologies at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts. (He’s also an ATETV advisor.) He also practices what he preaches on his blog and in his Twitter feed.  Gordon told us that, when it comes to social media, students are far ahead of their teachers. “The role of social networking in education will be huge in five years,” he says. “A lot of us older faculty don’t understand it, so we don’t use it.”

Another problem is that many schools block access to social media and disallow mobile devices in the classroom. “I think it’s being done to conserve bandwidth,” he says. “As younger digital natives move into faculty positions, this will change and the use will become mainstream.”

Gordon pointed us to marketing pro Rohit Bhargava’s Five Stages of Twitter Acceptance as a possible way forward for educational uses of social media. “I think you experience these five stages with any social media application,” Gordon says. “The first step is always trying something out, with subsequent steps being about learning how to use it.”

For Gordon, Twitter has changed the way that he interacts online. “A year ago I would read something and then write a blog about it – maybe 500 or 600 words. Today I read something and tweet it with a short description and a link to the original piece.”

He’s also seen some innovative uses of Twitter in classes and presentations, including the Twitter “backchannel”: a live stream of tweets from the audience, projected on a screen behind the presenter. “Backchannels can be very interesting, allowing attendees to maintain conversations while listening to the speaker,” he says. “It also gives attendees the opportunity to question the presenter in real time without interrupting the presentation.”

Gordon is also a big fan of YouTube, calling it “a wonderful classroom resource.” “You’ll find excellent content in most science, math, engineering and technology subjects there. You’ll also find the ATETV videos there!”

Gordon’s advice for educators looking to incorporate social media into the classroom is to separate the personal and the professional – but not to worry too much if their students blend the two a bit. “Students tend to be more personal and also a little more informal. This can be good but can also quickly lead to all kinds of problems if things get out of control. Most students are pretty good about knowing where the line is and not crossing over it.”

When it comes to social media in the classroom, there’s a lot that educators can learn from their students. The trick is learning how to listen.

ATE Conference Wrap-up

Monday, October 26th, 2009

What a week! Our ATETV team is back from the ATE Conference in Washington, D.C., and we’re energized by the great feedback we got from attendees. Many ATE professionals came up to us at our booth at the conference to tell us how our videos have helped them communicate their work to a wider audience.

We also got to show our videos on the big screen right before every key note speaker; the last one, Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter even gave us a special mention in her speech.  She talked about how our efforts to connect students with many options for their future dovetails with the administration’s American Graduation Initiative to increase graduation rates and get students not only “in the door but through the door.”

You can check out some photos from the conference on our our Facebook page.  Thanks to the National Science Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges for organizing such a great event, and to all the attendees for coming and sharing their work.  Seeing all of the amazing ATE projects on display made us that much more excited to continue to document the great work being done at community colleges and ATE centers across the country.

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ATETV on the big screen!

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Student Correspondent Cristina Curatolo

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Student correspondent Josh Cleburn

Welcome to ATETV!
We Look Forward to Connecting with You!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

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Hello everyone! We’d like to extend a big welcome to you and thank you for coming to our newly launched ATETV Web site! We have built an online community in order to communicate directly with students, educators, guidance counselors, and parents about Advanced Technological Education. We work in conjunction with the nationwide ATE Centers, and we are here to help enlighten and educate people about the amazing opportunities available for those interested in technical careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that between 2004 and 2014, U.S. companies will hire 2.5 million new workers in jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math. So we are happy to report that there are tremendous opportunities and demand for students with technical degrees!

Every Monday ATETV will debut a new episode showcasing Advanced Technological Education in the classroom and the field. Our goal is to provide video content focused on real-world careers and skills for those who study in technical fields. We have traveled across the country to film ATE success stories from coast to coast. With an emphasis on centers and community colleges, our program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy.

In addition to our weekly videos, ATETV aims to create an online network for ATE students, educators and professionals. We encourage you to contact us on ATETV.org by commenting on this blog or posting on our Forum. You can also follow us on social media Web sites; comment on our videos on YouTube and check us out on Twitter and Facebook.

Please drop us a note if you have any questions or comments; we look forward to interacting with you!