Category Archives: Informal learning

E-learning Metatrends, Key Emerging Technologies 2008

YouTube, podcasting, Facebook, Google Docs, data mashups, collaboration webs, grassroots video. . .the implication for learning, teaching and creative expressions can be found in the 2008 Horizons Report. Many thanks to Angelo Agujo, Philippine E-learning Society’s Board Member, for leading us to this highly exciting, informative report.

10 Ways to Use Your Edublogs to Teach

I just visited Edublogs.org to look for an introductory video for my learners on how to blog. Then I found this list on using the blog for teaching your students: 

1. Post materials and resources

2. Host online discussions

3. Create a class publication

4. Replace your newsletter

5. Get your students blogging

6. Share your lesson plans

7. Integrate multimedia of all descriptions

8. Organise, organise, organise

9. Get feedback

10. Create a fully functional website

May I lift this whole section from the posting, as I find it speaks a lot of truth:

One of the great things about Edublogs are that they are much, much more than just blogging tools. In fact, you can use your edublog to create a multi-layered, in-depth, multimedia rich website – that hardly looks like a blog at all. So, if you’d rather create a set of static content, archive of important information or even index for your library – you can bend an Edublog to suit your needs.

More from Ferlazzo: Lounging in the Computer Lab

On further surf, Larry Ferlazzo poses a good question how to spend effective time in a computer lab.  Good point. We sometimes use the computer as the substitute teacher, almost like putting the kids in front of the tv to keep them quiet and occupied! 

Use the computer to engage learners to be contributors rather than consumers of content.  Maximize the lab time for application and integration of lessons.

Take a different approach when teaching working adult learners in a computer lab set-up, especially those who are relatively comfy with the hardware but not with the software apps.  Early into the program, provide sufficient time for immediate hands-on exploration of the software interfaces in a semi-structured, small group activity.  Doing the reverse with adults:  try out timed, appropriate games to engage them!  Just some thoughts on how to help them get over initial soft-tech phobia and perceptions of isolation.

No computer can take the place of a face-to-face mentor–but it can definitely give bookpages a run for their money.

Project Communications via Team Blogging

Came across an interesting article on enterprise blogging for projects by Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators.  It’s a very concrete, practical way of introducing blogging to the institution.  It reminds me of virtual teaming projects that allow participants to practice several skills: collaboration, communication using asynchronous tools, writing for the Net,  and information literacy.  It’s also highly practical for those who are not co-located and not from the same domain knowledge, yet need to work on a single project.  This works for those who are in corporate as well as in academe.  See my earlier post on using the blog for a primary school musical.

A concrete project with a short timeframe allows users who have little or no experience in blogging or social networking tools to experience the benefits of using weblogs for communication among team members.  What’s nice is that Boothby notes free tools such as WordPress or Movable Type , and the ubiquitous e-mail groups can work just as well as intranet-based enterprise software.

I like Boothby’s idea of creating a central directory of topics by using targetted e-mail addresses.  You can also use this for  asynchronous brainstorming: you can e-mail an idea to a specific address that posts it to the relevant blog! That would be create a rich repository that can be later on categorized and mined.  The site editor can add links of specific resources to help the blog visitors further explore the project topic, making it an organically growing, informal learning site.  I love it.

Lifelong Learning

Dr. Keith Robinson’s Blue Flavor gives nuggets of wisdom on lifelong learning:

  • Make the decision to keep learning
  • Get face to face
  • Become a teacher
  • Play
  • Use technology to connect
  • Mix it up
  • You don’t need to master everything

On becoming a teacher, I’d like to think it’s more of ‘becoming a mentor’.  In this role, one not only imparts knowledge to a student; one is open to learning from the learner.  In this mode, I get to practice all the other tips that Dr. Robinson has listed.

More importantly, lifelong learning is always a choice.  It takes courage to face people  and say, “I still have a lot to learn”. It also takes a sense of social responsibility to say, “I want to learn, so I can pass on what I know to the next gen.” 

What do you think?

Interpretation : Informal Education Method in Museums and Parks

Interpretation is an informal educational method used to communicate the meaning and value of resources, and is used widely in museums, zoos, and parks. Shanta Rose shows us how the Mer Bleue Boadwalk Trail in Ottawa, Canada, created an interpretative walkway for its National Park. It relies on providing high-quality, reinforcing communications at moments when visitors are awed by their surroundings. The 'aha' moment, so to speak, is a teachable moment as well as a moment when learning just takes place.

No wonder that my kids love visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum at Empress Place,Singapore. It is full of these intepretative trails.  Aside from loving the light-and-sound play at the 'grown-up' exhibits, there is a room for kids that has learning activities, video storyteller kiosks, and games.  These combine intepretation, games and play to reinforce knowledge about Asian culture.  The kiosks are found in all museum exhibit halls, and it combines with interactive exhibits to give a multi-modal, multisensory learning experience.   I especially love beautiful displays of exquisite Islamic-Arabic calligraphy in the Koran.   As you marvel at these you refer to the short descriptions, videos and cameos of how artisans painstakingly craft the script as their tribute to Allah.

Ellen Dornan of the University of New Mexico shows us how to use interpretation in a content-driven design model for designing games and simulation.  This model offers a middle path—combining interpretive principles and game design principles with an instructional design process—in order to maximize motivation, engagement, and retention of the computer-based instruction.

INFORMAL LEARNING

Jay Cross has written a nice entry on the impact of informal learning in the
workplace.
    "From now on, it might be more productive to think of learning as
adaptation to change than as acquisition of knowledge. Learning enables you
to participate successfully in life, at work and in the groups that matter
to you. The faster the world changes, the more adaptation is required.
Formal training programs are not the only learning game in town. CLOs who
spend the bulk of their time improving the development and delivery of
training might be optimizing the insignificant."