I have decided to use the website AARConnect for my final project. This is the social media website for the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). I wanted something more specific to the professsion. This technology incorporates profile creation, directories, libraries, group discussion, and blogging. It is linked to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. I feel that my students could get maximal exposure to forms of social media while using this website.
I am not a very creative individual so when asked to “create” a meme this seemed somewhat daunting to me. Whatever was to be created should have educational overtones and should apply to my field of Respiratory Care. I searched Flickr and Google images and contemplated producing a video. Finally I decided to use an image and post text over it. This image could be used for promotion of the Respiratory Care program or for general awareness of the profession.
Webspiration classroom is a very powerful graphic organizer that can be used by teachers as well as students. It can graphically illustrate complex concepts or ideas – presenting them in a different way thus augmenting the learning process. The site may be freely used as a trial for 30 days or a subscription may be purchased for a varying period of time. Work may be created individually or collaboratively. The program has the ability to manage content and publish to the web. While creating content, participants may comment, chat, or revise depending upon what roles are assigned. I found the site very easy to use and created a few concept maps for use in the classroom. I think it will be particularly helpful for new students to visualize complex concepts and aid in developing critical thinking skills. Please view the screencast for a more detailed explanation.
Also please listen to a few educators who use the website in their classroom:
After viewing and reviewing the material pertaining to copyright and fair use I am sure that I will carefully consider those items that I choose to include in my presentations or handouts used in the classroom. Such consideration of materials used is not new however. I attended a workshop offered by my employer a few years back which considered this topic. I came away scared to death to use anything that even came close to being a copyright violation. Shortly thereafter I was photocopying a handout on APA format for my students to use when writing a research paper. I was uncomfortable doing this and thought about this a long time before giving it to the students. Although used as education I still feel a little uneasy with this.
So what am I to do to develop confidence that I am not violating copyright law? I will be sure to routinely identify and cite sources. Each entry will have to be given careful consideration before its use to try to ensure compliance. I think that for me the answer is if there is a question – do not use it!
While teaching a clinical rotation the other day a student asked me a question and I responded as I sometimes do – “look it up!” It occurred to me that the answer could have been better illustrated with a video rather than text. I quickly informed the student to try You Tube for a visual explanation to assist with the response. Interestingly the site is blocked by the IT police stating this is a “social network”.
How unfortunate that this rich learning resource is blocked from those that could benefit from its use. Granted that there is the possibility that some would use the site inappropriately, yet in this professional environment I feel that this would be minimal. There has been extensive documentation pertaining to the positive aspects of using You Tube for learning purposes (http://voices.yahoo.com/the-value-e-learning-youtube-video-sharing-84540.html). Articles have been written about blocking the site and its impact on learning (http://www.centerdigitaled.com/policy/YouTube-The-Next-Major-Teaching-Tool-.html). I do not feel that the IT Department considered all aspects of You Tube application before making this decision.
Consider the creation of video content and sharing of such with colleagues. What an engaging interaction this creates. The visual learner is provided with video which assists with comprehension of technical task performance. I created this video regarding a form of oxygen administration (Please use full screen when viewing).
This article suggests alternatives to You Tube which teachers may consider when attempting to use social media in their classroom: (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/09/47-alternatives-to-using-youtube-in.html)
I do not feel that I would have ever embraced the idea of a true PLE or the creation of a OLN if I had not taken this course. Granted, I have used wikis, blogs, You Tube creations as well as other social networks in my classes. Most of these, with the exception of You Tube, were part of a larger LMS provided by my employer. They were secure, exclusive and protected. They also existed for a finite period of time. To progress to an open learning network and use Edupunk concepts really makes me ponder the future of what learning will become or more importantly how will it occur!
Am I ready for such a shift to learning with such a technological approach? Certain arguments that promote Edupunk (PLE, OLN) make total sense to me. Jon Mott’s blog reports that more flexibility, an open environment, lower cost and engaging more learners are concepts that are hard to refute. An engaged learner has the Web as his classroom and is limited by only his own desire to learn. Is this education utopia? I am excited by this concept and consequently must be an Edupunk! Or am I?
The other side of me says NO! A structured LMS is needed to address those administrative details that do not lend themselves to such an open environment. A gradebook is such an example. Private, secure lines of communication is another. Some say that most individuals do not use all of the features of a LMS and if they did then the need for PLE and Edupunk is diminished.
Interestingly, I had a discussion with my students regarding this topic – LMS vs PLE and Edupunk. I wanted to know their thoughts about this evolution in learning. The majority stated that they prefered the traditional approach of the LMS versus Edupunk. The major reason cited was the time that would needed to create the learning environment. In addition many are not computer literate unless Facebook etc. is the network of choice. I feel that if the concept of Edupunk/ PLE is incorporated early into a student’s education, acceptance would be forthcoming.
One thing that I have contemplated learning how to do but never had to the time to persue is to learn how to speak Spanish! I know this a social networking course, yet could I put a slant on this such that I could use social networks to help me accomplish this goal? My interest is created by the large influx of Hispanic people that have become my patients in the hospital. I feel that I can better serve these individuals if a clearer line of communication could be established. So.. what is currently being utlilized to address this issue if communiction or answers are needed immediately or within the next ten minutes? The hospital uses a telephone language line that allows for immediate translation for languages which the health care provider is unfamiliar. You dial the number, tell the operator which language that you need help and a translator is provided. Although somewhat cumbersome it does seem to work.
But that does not help me with my learning of the language. Obviously, the long term goal would to be take structured courses offered by the college and over a period of time try to develop competency. Interestingly, some online course have been created to assist students who cannot attend class.
Where does social networking enter into the picture? With a little research I have discovered several networks that are available to accomplish this goals. Consider these:
- LiveMocha (http://livemocha.com/) – free website offering structured lessons along with socia interaction.
- Italki (http://www.italki.com/) – although not free, this site offers teacher/ student student interaction, extensive social networking and a wiki.
- SharedTalk (http://sharedtalk.com/ – online learning community run by RosettaStone. Shared email and chat rooms.
- Mangolanguages (http://www.mangolanguages.com/) – not free. Couples a social network with language instruction.
I find it interesting that social networking can be used to facilitate learning in such an interesting way!