Tuesday, March 02, 2010

AFLF Innovations application - Using the popular Internet in teaching and learning

In less than 48 hours and in partnership between UCNISS and CIT, we've submitted an application to the Australian Flexible Learning Framework ACT, for their eLearning Innovations Fund.
Google Search, Youtube and Wikipedia are within the top 10 most visited websites in Australia, and are well configured for mobile as well as desktop access. The open nature of the data held at these sites makes for ease of reusability and customisation. We know with some certainty that students refer to these sites for learning over most other sources, but there are issues and concerns relating to the reliability of the information. This project will collect and review information on those channels relating to the Diploma of Sport Development and Certificates 3 and 4 of Fitness, developing collections, adding supplementary material, and designing learning activities for the reliable use and engagement with such material.

In a face to face setting, students will analyse their unit outlines and assessments to identify key words and concepts for use in Google searches. They will be shown how to refine search results by linking through networked media, socially recommended media, and "see also" links. By creating their own accounts on Youtube and Wikipedia, they will be shown how to organise and customise information to their needs, followed by discussions on the importance and methods of reviewing and critiquing the information. To fully comprehend the user generated nature of Youtube and Wikipedia, students will be asked to adopt a Wikipedia article and make contributions following the Wikipedia standards and guidelines, as well as upload instructional videos to Youtube that demonstrate their understanding on a particular topic or competency. Finally, they will be shown the work of their teachers, who have developed collections and playlists along with a series of learning activities that use content on Youtube and Wikipedia, and invited to join an ongoing community of practice committed to reviewing, editing and adding reliable new content related to the subject areas on a longer term basis.
Fingers crossed...

7 comments:

Michael de Percy said...

Nice work! It is about time digital natives received a digital education. There should be many more incentives like this to encourage more focus on Web 2.0 skills in higher education. Good luck!

alexanderhayes said...

It's great to see an open doc. that shows the development process.

Refreshing.

Simon Leonard said...

Does this approach really ask students to do anything beyond an annotated bibliography using new media and new tools. How do we go from there to authentic learning contexts, deep understandings and intellectual quality?

I am seeing some training here on actually contributing to web 2.0 apps which is important as the research in education shows a surprisingly small number of young people actually creating in this environment, even in the social setting like facebook.

Leigh Blackall said...

Hello Simon, it would be in the "learning activities" that the teachers author and publish on Wikipedia in which that deeper level of appreciation would take place, in the context of their subject expertise. The quote I used from the application mentions, "shown how to organise and customise information to their needs, followed by discussions on the importance and methods of reviewing and critiquing the information. To fully comprehend the user generated nature of Youtube and Wikipedia, students will be asked to adopt a Wikipedia article and make contributions following the Wikipedia standards and guidelines, as well as upload instructional videos to Youtube that demonstrate their understanding on a particular topic or competency." that being a lead in for the teachers asked to create learning activities. I hope that answers your question and compliments your suggestion.

Leigh Blackall said...

Correction, learning activities published on Wikiversity, promoted on Wikipedia.

Simon Leonard said...

Your correction here is pertinent to my thinking, Leigh. A major discourse in (school) education at the moment promotes authenticity. In part this mean creating student activity that connects beyond the classroom in a genuine way.

In trying to explain this to my teacher ed students, I ask them to think about giving the students a target audience, even if it is imagined. When I went to school teachers did this using the old standby of 'letter to the editor'.

My concern with publishing to youtube, wikipedia, or just blogging is the uncertain nature of the audience, especially when the student is new to it all. Who is reading/viewing? Who do you want to have reading. So a more specific target seems important.

I am just setting up a project with some high school students from Australia, Korea, China and Hong Kong using animation tools. To me the authentic point is that we are using the online drawing tools to have an international discussion. Simply creating the animations because 'someone' might look at them doesn't quite get there.

Thanks for the clarification.

Leigh Blackall said...

Sounds like a case of school rhetoric not matching the reality. Take DET NSW for example. Its IT policy across all schools (including TAFE) is to censor most popular Internet channels. Can't access Youtube, use Skype, Flickr, Twitter etc. From 2004 - 2007 You couldn't edit a Wikipedia article! An authentic engagement is far from even started there.

Specific audience can established in Youtube and Wikipedia, while dealing with the issues of anyone. See Michael Wesch's work in getting his students into Youtube for example. And the Wikipedia portal for school projects for other examples. In my experience, the team in Wikipedia that vet and assist the development of featured articles is perhaps the Most authentic, most challenging peer review process out there (leaves the cedability of peer review in journals to shame imo).