Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Emerging Technology Thoughts

There are several thoughts that I have about emerging technologies and our readings from the last couple of weeks. I find I’m in agreement with many of the things that are in the two Prensky articles (Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants and Emerging Technologies for Learning, Vol 2) and Vicki's podcast from NECC on using a wiki space in a high school classroom (wow that was a great presentation and I'm jealous of what her high school students were doing -- I'd like to be able to replicate that in the college classroom.

This weekend I spent some time exploring the use of the wiki space for collaborative work, the use of social bookmarking via Delicious, and the igoogle space. One common theme that ties these three emerging technologies together is their simplicity of use, especially by a digital immigrant and the increased efficiency that each of these interfaces (? Not sure if this is the correct term) offers a learning community.

We used the social bookmarking tool Delicious last fall in Dr. Z’s database class and I found myself using the site to bookmark materials from the web for my principles of macroeconomics class for use this fall. It will be interesting to see how my students respond to the use of delicious for their economics news journal assignment that will be introduced later this month. I’ve moved away from a “news clipping” journal that was submitted on paper to using the classroom management tools in WebCT for reading and discussing news articles. I’m hoping that switching formats to an online environment will make the assignment more interesting and engaging. That is moving from a legacy approach to future approach using Penksy's language. Making that leap is something I'm going to struggle with, but feel that it is essential to add more of these emerging technologies into the university classroom as more and more of our students have no memory of a world without the internet and digital tech tools in their lives.

I was very enthused after listening to Vicki's podcast from NECC on how she uses wikis in the classroom as a collaborative learning tool. I went to the education wiki space that Adam referred to toward the end of the podcast, but did not find the links with examples of how teachers around the world are using wikis in their classrooms. This is something that I want to explore more as I think wikis offer a simple tool for collaboration that should be incorporated into instructional best practices. This is not a topic that has been addressed in my econ ed network and the wikis offer a better tool for collaboration than what we've been doing with pdfs posted to a website or email attachments or the use of meeting software like go to meeting that has a subscription fee for users.

Wow -- what choices for customizing your igoogle homepage -- I spent too many hours looking at all the gadget tools that I could put on the page. In particular I was struck by how many news services are available to put on the page eliminating the need to click through my bookmarks on my computer when I want to get news information. So now I have a news table on my igoogle page and some fun things with features that offer daily photos, quotes, words, etc. This is clearly much more efficient with a one-stop shop fixed on a computer at home or in my office. so for now the immigrant with an acent...lois

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