Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology & Associate Professor at Royal Roads University

Category: sharing

Learners as theorists

Posted on February 10th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. No Comments

Last week, my students and I explored readings relating to “theories of learning in the digital age.” Specifically, we explored connectivism, rhizomatic education, and social network knowledge construction (links to readings appear below). To tie the readings with our experiences as learners/educators, to contemporary developments in the field, and to our shared understanding of what these really mean, we formed groups and designed our own learning theories. (and, hey, why not, everyone’s creating theories/models/approaches/frameworks so why not do it within a matter of an hour to demonstrate that the “theory development” part is the easy part of the process :) )

I was glad to see deep reflection on the readings and questioning of these approaches to education. While both myself (and most of my students) seem to espouse a socio-constructivist view to learning, I was happy to see a true engagement with the readings in an attempt to understand what they are offering, while at the same time rejecting the pie-in-the-sky view of learning, as evidenced by this post for example.

References
Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age, International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, 2(1): http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm
Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 9(3). Retrieved November 7, 2009, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103
Cormier, D. (2008). Rhizomatic education: Community as curriculum. Innovate 4 (5). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=550 (free sign-up required)
Dawley, L. (2009). Social network knowledge construction: Emerging virtual world pedadogy. On The Horizon 17(2), 109-121. http://edtech.boisestate.edu/ldawley/SNKC_pdf.pdf

E-journals and readership

Posted on February 3rd, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

The image below comes from IRRODL and relates to a paper one of my students and I published a month ago: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/author/submission/755 (Veletsianos, G., & Kleanthous, I. (2009). A review of adventure learning. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(6), 84-105)

Even though numerous other metrics could be added to gauge readership, impact, and interest of an academic paper (e.g. pdf downloads, # repeat visitors,  citation counts, and social media references) this is a step towards the right direction. Making such data publicly available would further benefit the academic community :)

Arrived in Austin, TX

Posted on January 13th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

This blog has been quiet for a bit…. and the reason is because I was moving. I have finally arrived in Austin, Texas and this is the required “I have moved” blog post. Starting next week, I will be joining the Instructional Technology program at the University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor (part of the Curriculum and Instruction department). This blog’s regular program will commence again soon :)

P.S. Here is the University president’s blog and the newly-launched U of Texas iPhone app – happy to see both of these of course! :)

2010/365 Project

Posted on January 4th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. No Comments

This year I decided to participate in one of the “take a photo every day” projects. I am doing this partly to improve my photography skills through practice, partly to learn from others, and partly to force myself to pause and enjoy the daily beauty of life that usually escapes undocumented. I commit to taking a picture every single day, but don’t commit to be uploading the photos on a daily basis. I will be posting my photos at my flickr set entitled 2010/365 and at the 2010/365photos group. Pictures from the first four days of January are embedded below. If you’d like to follow, you can add me as a contact on flickr or subscribe to my set’s RSS feed (none of that “RSS is dead” conviction here!)…

Measuring (and forging a path to) openness

Posted on December 31st, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

George posted a note on elearnspace blog on developing a Measurement of Openness in Education Systems (MOES) to raise awareness and draw attention to openess, while at the same time providing a measure that allows discussions to ensue. George lists a number of measures to be included in a metric to openness and asks what else can be added to this. The following additions may be of interest:

  • Adopting an institutional repository (or at the very least, supporting researchers in posting their publications on university-sponsored sites).
  • Open access to the data behind publications (perhaps published concurrently)
  • Open Tenure and Review applications, decisions, and data supporting them (see for example, Alec’s application)
  • Open access to instructor, department, school, college, and university reviews (e.g., student course evaluations and institutional reviews/assessments)

More importantly however, in line with developing a Measurement of Openness in Education Systems (George’s phrase), we need to develop guidelines on becoming open thus forging a path to openness. As highlighted in the various discussions occurring at the moment surrounding “openness” (here, here, here, and here), the term and it’s meaning are somewhat mystified. To confuse you even more, I suggest that being open doesn’t necessarily mean being open, which I gather is the point behind Siemen’s latest posts.  For example, having a university-wide statement on openness is not the same as adopting and actively supporting an institutional repository or providing incentives for instructors to teach open courses. I keep returning to the shades of gray idea: We usually treat issues as if they are black or white when in actuality they are not. There is no one single notion of closed, open, virtual, real, hybrid education, online learning, constructivism, and so on. There are multiple shades of gray in much the same way that there are multiple variations on constructivism, in much the same way that virtual experiences are quite real.

I am ranting… anyway, the point is that it would be beneficial to publish a document on steps to becoming more open, with each step representing a stronger stance to adopting openness. Such a document can align with the Measurement of Openness in Education Systems suggestion, highlighting relative positions on an openness scale.

< How’s that for an end of year post!? :) >

(Closed) Open Access, or Open Access Fail

Posted on December 28th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

A few minutes ago, I received an email alerting me that the following paper was available at the TC Record website: Open Access, Education Research, and Discovery. I clicked on the link, eager to read my colleague’s ideas! But then I hit the subscription wall that you see in the image above. This led to my current state of dizziness. I tried to access the paper through my university’s databases and figured out that we don’t subscribe to TC Record. I searched the googlesphere in case the author posted a copy on his own website or institutional repository, but I couldn’t find it. It’s not that I don’t have $7 to buy the article, though, arguably, some people may not (hence, the economic argument for open access).

I also want to see if this paper would be good for my students since we will be examining the notion of “openness” in technology-enhanced learning next semester. Unfortunately, I have adopted an open access policy for my class, and unless someone directs me to a publicly available copy of the paper, it does not look like this paper will be on the mandatory reading list…

Educational Design Research: Local Change, Global Impact

Posted on December 19th, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

If you are interested in design-based research and (like me) have a great appreciation of Dr. Reeve’s contributions to our field, you might be interested in the following conference/celebration (via ITFORUM):

“Educational Design Research: Local Change, Global Impact”
A Special Conference to Honor Professor Thomas C. Reeves upon his retirement from The University of Georgia

March 26 – 27, 2010

Call for Participation

Barab and Squire (2004) describe design research as “a series of approaches, with the intent of producing new theories, artifacts, and practices that account for and potentially impact learning and teaching in naturalistic settings” (p. 2) (italics added). This definition highlights the twin outcomes that educational design research ideally yields, important local change with respect to enhancing learning, teaching, and performance, and viable global impact with respect to the development of reusable design principles and enhanced theory. With roots in the 1980s and earlier, educational design research has begun to be more widely adopted by educational researchers and practitioners across a variety of fields, including educational technology and the learning sciences. You are invited to submit papers and posters that report the status and results on recent and on-going design research projects. In addition, papers and posters are encouraged that present arguments for and against educational design research, recommend new directions, and/or share new methods and tools.

Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14.

Submission Overview

Proposals for full papers will be due by January 23, 2010.  Proposals for full papers will be subjected to review by an editorial team. Presenters will have 20 minute slots in the program with 15 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for discussion. Accepted papers will be considered for inclusion in an edited volume of papers from the conference.

Poster proposals (500-1000 word description) will be due by January 23, 2010. Poster proposals will be reviewed by an editorial review team.

Guidelines for paper and poster submissions appear below.

Full paper and Poster proposers will be notified of acceptance decisions by February 15, 2010. Once a proposal has been accepted, each presenter must register for the conference. Presentations/posters will not be scheduled in the program until the presenters of papers or posters have registered. Final revisions of accepted papers will be due no later than March 5, 2010 in order to be included in the conference proceedings.

There will be a minimal registration fee for all attendees. A highly discounted rate for students will be available. The registration fee will primarily be used to help cover the costs of the refreshments and materials for this event. Additional information will be posted to the conference Web site: http://etc.coe.uga.edu/conference/ in January 2010.

Full Paper Proposal Details

Presentation time: 20 minutes including questions
Proposal submission length: 1,000 -1,250 words (without references)
Proceedings length (if selected for presentation/publication): 4,000-5,000 words

Full paper proposals should report on significant work related to research, development or applications of best practices related to the focus of the conference. Integrative literature reviews that advance the knowledgebase in interesting ways are also invited. In addition, paper proposals are encouraged that present arguments for and against educational design research, recommend new directions, and/or share new methods and tools. Proposals reporting studies should include the following information:
The topic and how it relates to the theme of the conference
A description of the problem or opportunity addressed in the work
The goals and/or questions posed
A clear description of what was done (data collected, system development, processes implemented)
Results of the work or major findings
Implications for research, theory, and practice

Please submit your proposal to Diane Igoche (specialconference@gmail.com) as a PDF document by January 23, 2010 at 11:59p. Proposals will be reviewed by an editorial review team and rank ordered according to how well they fulfill the proposal requirements.

If your paper is selected, you must be able to attend the conference, March 26-27 2010.

Poster Proposal Details

Proposal submission length: 500-1,000 words (without references)

Poster proposals should report on significant work related to research, development or applications of best practices related to the focus of the conference. Projects that are in-progress may be presented if preliminary results can be presented. In addition, poster proposals are encouraged that present arguments for and against educational design research, recommend new directions, and/or share new methods and tools. Proposals reporting studies should include the following information:
The topic and how it relates to the theme of the conference
A description of the problem or opportunity addressed in the work
The goals and/or questions posed
A clear description of what was done (data collected, system development, processes implemented)
Results of the work or major findings
Implications for research, theory, and practice

Please submit your proposal to Diane Igoche (specialconference@gmail.com) as a PDF document by January 23, 2010 at 11:59p.

Proposals will be reviewed by an editorial review team and rank ordered according to how well they fulfill the proposal requirements.

If your poster is selected, you must be able to attend the conference, March 26-27 2010.

Preliminary Conference Schedule

Friday, 26 March
Time
Activity
10AM – 12PM
EPIT Department Retirement Celebration for Dr. Reeves
1– 5 PM
Pre-Conference Workshop (4 Hours) – “Conducting Educational Design Research” will be provided by
Dr. Jan Herrington (Murdoch University, Australia),
Dr. Susan McKenney (University of Twente, The Netherlands), and Dr. Thomas C. Reeves (The University of Georgia, USA)
6 – 8 PM
Poster Reception with Refreshments* (Posters will remain up until 5 PM on Saturday)

Saturday, 27 March
Time
Activity
9 – 10:15 AM
Welcome and Keynote – Dr. Jan Herrington
10:15 – 10:30 AM
Coffee Break
10:30 – 11:30 AM
Paper Session 1 (3 papers – 20 minutes each with questions)
11:30 – 12:30 PM
Paper Session 2 (3 papers – 20 minutes each with questions)
12:30 – 1:45 PM
Lunch and Keynote – Dr. Susan McKenney
1:45 – 2:45 PM
Paper Session 3 (3 papers – 20 minutes each with questions)
2:45 – 3:00 PM
Coffee Break
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Paper Session 4 (3 papers – 20 minutes each with questions)
4:00 – 5:00 PM
Keynote and Farewell – Dr. Thomas C. Reeves
6:00 – 9:00 PM
Buffet dinner with folk music and fun

What Google Wave does best

Posted on December 3rd, by George Veletsianos in sharing. 1 Comment

Has everyone blogged about Google Wave yet? I have to confess that I haven’t yet found a profound use for it in my work, but it just occurred to me that what Google Wave does best is to discover your social network and connections, and to allnetworkow you to seamlessly collaborate with them without any mediating steps. Google Wave takes the view that people I have contacted should be added as contacts to my account. If I contacted someone, I therefore “know” him/her, and this person can automatically be added as a contact to my account, so that I don’t need to add them again. Rather than spending time on re-establishing connections, figuring people’s usernames, and going through the process of sending invitations to connect, Google does that all that automatically (at least for those of us who already use google products)…. is this marking a new era of living where our networks (both within and across services) become discoverable and transferable? The implications are wide-reaching.

Photo courtesy of Nimages DR licenced under a CC-license.