7 Things You Should Know…

14 Apr 2006 (Fri)

A neat summary from Educause on how to make sense of emergent technologies such as Screencasting, Virtual Meetings, Grid Computing, Collaborative Editing, Instant Messaging, Augmented Reality, Blogs, Video Blogging, Wikis, Podcasting, Clickers, and Social Bookmarking. (Thanks to Lay Kock.) Good to know that there are only 7 Things You Should Know:

  • What is it?
  • Who is doing it?
  • How does it work?
  • Why is it significant?
  • What are the downsides?
  • Where is it going?
  • What are the implications for teaching and learning?


Screencasting. A screencast is a video recording of the actions on a user’s computer screen, typically with accompanying audio, distributed through RSS. Screencasts can be thought of as video podcasts. They provide a simple means to extend rich course content to anyone who might benefit from the material but cannot attend a presentation. More>>

Virtual Meetings. Virtual meetings are real-time interactions that take place over the Internet using integrated audio and video, chat tools, and application sharing. They offer a way to engage students in fully interactive, online learning experiences such as lectures, discussions, and tutoring. Many virtual meeting applications integrate with course management systems, providing students and faculty with a unified learning system including access to online meetings. More>>

Grid Computing. Grid computing uses middleware to coordinate disparate IT resources across a network, allowing them to function as a virtual whole. The goal of a computing grid, like that of the electrical grid, is to provide users with access to the resources they need, when they need them. Grids address two distinct but related needs: providing remote access to IT assets, and aggregating processing power. More>>

Collaborative Editing. Collaborative editing tools allow a group of individuals to simultaneously edit a document, see who else is working on it, and watch in real time as others make changes. As a functional hybrid of wikis and instant messaging, collaborative editing creates a new dynamic for group work and multitasking, two hallmarks of today’s learners. More>>

Instant Messaging. Instant messaging (IM) is a form of online communication that allows real-time interaction through computers or mobile devices. Although typed text remains the primary convention for IM, the technology now allows users to send images, audio and video files, and other attachments. Hundreds of millions of people use IM to stay connected. In many ways, it epitomizes the notion of the always-connected, multitasking student, sending and receiving messages at all hours, from a wide spectrum of devices, while doing several other things at the same time. IM has become such an integral part of students’ lives that many colleges and universities are working to move it beyond the social sphere into teaching and learning. More>>

Augmented Reality. Augmented reality adds information and meaning to a real object or place. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not create a simulated reality. Instead, it takes a real object or space and uses technologies to add contextual data to deepen students’ understanding of it. To the extent that instructors can furnish students with a broad context for understanding the real world, students are more likely to comprehend and remember what they are learning. Through exposing students to an experiential, explorative, and authentic model of learning early in their higher education careers, augmented reality may help shift students from passive to active learning modes and thus become more successful learners. More>>

Blogs. A blog—shorthand for “Web log”—is an online collection of personal commentary and links. Blogs can be viewed as online journals to which others can respond that are as simple to use as e-mail. The simplicity of creating and maintaining blogs means they can rapidly lead to open discussions. Faculty are using blogs to express their opinions, promote dialogue in their disciplines, and support teaching and learning; students increasingly use blogs for personal expression and as course requirements. By carefully evaluating blogs’ strengths and weaknesses, educators are learning to set guidelines and expectations to maximize blogs’ instructional benefits. Structured exercises and clear goals are further enhancing the educational value of blogs. Put into practice with an understanding of their benefits and limitations, blogs are an increasingly accepted instructional technology tool. More>>

Video Blogging. A videoblog, or vlog, is a Web log (blog) that primarily utilizes video rather than text or audio. Videoblogging offers a richer experience than text blogging by combining movies, sound, still images, and text. New technologies make images and video easy to produce, so anyone with a digital camera or camera-equipped cell phone and Internet access can create a vlog. Based on the popularity of blogs and podcasts, and growing access to video tools, videoblogging is likely to increase in popularity among faculty and students. The ability to easily create video segments and quickly post them online makes videoblogs a potential tool for recording lectures, special events, and so forth. Videoblogs can also be used for personal expression and reflection. As a result, they are being incorporated into e-portfolios and presentations. The use of videoblogs for digital storytelling may be one way to encourage strong student participation in e-portfolio projects. More>>

Wikis. Wikis are Web pages that can be viewed and modified by anyone with a Web browser and Internet access. Described as a composition system, a discussion medium, and a repository, wikis support asynchronous communication and group collaboration online. Their inherent simplicity gives students direct access to their content, which is crucial in group editing or other collaborative activities. Their versioning capability allows them to illustrate the evolution of thought processes as students interact with a site and its contents. Wikis are also being used as e-portfolios, highlighting their utility as a tool for collection and reflection. They may be the easiest, most effective Web-based collaboration tool in any instructional portfolio. More>>

Podcasting. “Podcasting” refers to any software and hardware combination that permits automatic downloading of audio files to an MP3 player for listening at the user’s convenience. Part of the appeal of podcasting is the ease with which audio content can be created, distributed, and downloaded from the Web. Barriers to adoption and costs are minimal, and the tools to implement podcasts are simple and affordable. Podcasting allows education to become more portable than ever before, giving educators another way to meet today’s students where they live and learn—on the Internet and on audio players. More>>

Clickers. Interaction and engagement are often limited by class size and human dynamics (a few students may dominate the conversation while most avoid interaction). Interaction and engagement, both important learning principles, can be facilitated with clickers. Clickers can also facilitate discipline-specific discussions, small work-group cooperation, and student-student interactions. Clickers-plus well—designed questions-provide an easy-to-implement mechanism for enhancing interaction. Clicker technology enables more effective, more efficient, and more engaging education. More>>

Social Bookmarking. “7 Things You Should Know About… Social Bookmarking” addresses a community-or social-approach to identifying and organizing information on the Web. Social bookmarking involves saving bookmarks one would normally make in a Web browser to a public Web site and “tagging” them with keywords. The community-driven, keyword-based classifications, known as “folksonomies,” may change how we store and find information online. More>>

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Posted by J.K. in Collaborative, Constructive, Discursive, Explorative, Instructive, Narrative, Technology | View Comments |

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