Saturday, November 10, 2007

Simulations and Microworlds

Educational gaming ~ WOW ~ literally World of Warcraft is it's own world! People like living in this other world. They can create who they want to be, who they want as friends,etc.... When they are done dealing with the character or life they created, they delete it and begin again.

"Simulations are the products that result when one creates the appearance or effect of something else. Games are contests in which both players and opponents operate under rules to gain a specified objective.

There are two types of academic games: simulation games and non-simulation games. Non-simulation games are those in which a player solves problems in a school subject such as spelling or mathematics by making use of principles of that subject or discipline. The other type of academic game is the simulation game in which participants are provided with a simulated environment in which to play. These games are intended to provide students with insight into the process or event from the real world which is being simulated.

It is the use of simulation games which holds the most promise as a truly dynamic educational tool." (Jerry Seay, 2007)

I remember reading about the computer simulations for leaders in an article recently. I wanted to see the actual simulations, not read about them. To me this was frustrating. The author could have put a feed in. Though I could not find the article "situated learning environments" in Sakai, I can fathom what it may be about. It this what university learning is about?

Reality for our students is not about thinking of gaming as a powerful tool for education. They are learning, but don't realize it. I love how standardized curricula are including Bloom's taxonomy and Gardner's multiple intelligences as preferred models in Australia. MicroWorld's are part of our curricula now, whether we like it or not. We need to embrace this new world of teaching using the ideas in this article on new smart boards. Our student's deserve it!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Teleconferencing is lonely...

When you feel like you need more social interaction check out JELLY!

Saturday, November 3, 2007



Resources are pasted all over the you know from the readings. All I can say is your moral ethics rule what you choose to do! Be safe out there!

Distance Learning Trends and Planning

Scott Howell, Ph.D., is an expert on trends and planning. Dr. Scott Howell speaks about accreditation and how it affects financial aid for universities. This is important because it does affect distance learning. Peter B. Williams ,who is now Dr. Williams, interests are in technology and distance learning. Nathan K. Lindsay is also interested in distance education. I bring this up because I always find it interesting to see if people keep writing about their interests as doctoral (or Master's) students. My interests have changed since my Master's research because I now work within different demographics of my student population. Many of the needs and issues are the same.

However, with technology and distance learning on the rise, my interests have changed from ESL to this technology topic due to the lack of technological resources in Santa Barbara county in school districts. Even though I pay almost $200 annually for 2 separate high school district bond measures (passed in 2000 & 2004), there is no technology plan (that I am aware of anyway) in place. I also pay $ 130 a year for the Orcutt school bond passed in 1999 and $120 a year for Hancock Community College bond passed last year. I am not complaining because indeed I voted for two of the bond measures to pass since I have lived in the county. I am an advocate for better educational facilities and we are in dire need for these improvements for our students. My complaint is that with no plan in place our generations of students will not be competitive in the world educationally.

This brings me to the point ~ finally ~ this article stresses the importance of planning for the future and these authors are right on! We don't just needs bonds for brick and mortar, we need them for distance learning facilities. My vision is that schools will have to be experts on certain content for advanced learners whereas their university or college (or even high school) will be able to broadcast one of a kind lectures from the experts in their field to the world similar to that in Baltimore. For elementary students, I still do not have a vision, but I am thinking along the lines of learning and social interactions activities combined. I strongly believe in learning styles and how they too will effect distance learning. We will always have the academia, the jocks, the artists, etc. and we need to have plans in place to accommodate them. These people are who they are because that is how they enjoy learning. If we can reach them doing what they enjoy, we may prosper instead of fall behind. We have many hurdles to jump! Policy, equity, access, organizational transformations, and leadership are just a few. As educators we must be prepared to jump high because it is no longer a choice - it is a necessity. Children need structure and when they come down after jumping their hurdles, I want them to land softly into well prepared curricula that will be beneficial to them as future leaders in the 21st century. This is what we must provide and we must become experts in distance learning planning or we will all be left face first in the dust!

Distance Learning

Distance learning is on the rise but it is not readily accepted by people. Roberts, Irani, Lundy, & Telg (2003) claim there has been a lack of systematic evaluation research focusing on distance education courses. Since this article Dr. Kelsey has research information currently in press regarding evaluating online programs. Dr. Kelsey teaches advanced methods in qualitative research at OSU. Dr. D'Souza from Wichita State was more difficult to find information about. I am assuming he still is Director of Research and Development for TRiO Programs.

I love how the researcher's in the Student Motivation article used Creswell, Yin, and Merriam. I have not heard of ATLAS.ti...has anyone heard of it who is reading this blog? If so, please fill me in. I have not heard of Patton or Stake either, yet I would not have heard of the other three authors if I was not enrolled in the JDP.

Still, this is so interesting because we have the same issues arising in the JDP that were problems in their research.
"Faculty members felt bothered by having to ignore the on-campus students' needs while meeting remote students' needs, or vice-versa, or dealing with technology failures." This is unfortunate because it is difficult that all students' needs be met. I do not agree with the faculty member who stated that in class students should get preferred treatment. Each and every student is important. Do the distance students feel less important? They should not. They pay the same fees, attend the same lectures, and write the same papers. If anything, I feel the distance learners are somewhat at a disadvantage because they can't have the feeling of the camaraderie that in class students feel. Nonetheless, I do not believe they are shorted academically and we still have social meeting times.

I love that
"the case study pointed to several questions for future research. Are distance education students really interested in interacting with other students enrolled in the same course? Do faculty members have enough training and expertise to modify the curriculum and methods of instructions to suit distance education needs? Does evaluation of such programs lead to an improvement in the program? " The answers seem clear - yes, students do want to interact; no, faculty members do need more training - this is new to them too!; Evaluation always gives time to reflect and hopefully improve. I can't wait to read Kelsey's new research!