Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Module 4 January 25,2012

How has your network changed the way you learn? 

My personal network has drastically changed over the years as technology has evolved within my adulthood.  Within my college educational experience, there have been an abundance of changes taking place in relation to the course make up, class setting, research, participation, communication, collaboration and presentation.  Technology continues to change and advance at high speeds.  My first experiences in college involved a lot of leg work.  I remember the many trips I had to make to the registrar’s office, the library, my professor’s office and meeting rooms with my peers.  Technology has changed all of these areas.  I no longer have to make that hurdle of a walk to the college library and dig through card catalogues and the micro machines for information.  I can correspond with my college office, my professors, and my collaborative community through various tools rather than spending the time and gas to meet face to face on my out of town college campus. My lap top, I pad and iphone are a lot lighter in weight and offer a vast amount of information as compared to the heavyweight books I once carried.  Technology and all the resources that have been developed in recent years have changed the way I learn in that I have a greater connection to what I am learning.  My learning experience has been enriched tremendously through the experience of online collaboration.  I have gained a greater depth of understanding and knowledge through this online learning environment.  In addition to collaboration greatly affecting the way I learn, technology has allowed me to have connections with information globally.  It is available just about any time and any place. Networking today allows easier access and expands the learning boundaries of my education.
Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

The digital tools that best facilitate learning for me has been the tools that have allowed me to collaborate with my professors and learning communities. I have used chat rooms, Skype, wiki, blogs, classroom discussion areas, Gmail discussions and email.  I believe these tools have provided a greater experience with collaboration than I once had in my face to face campus setting.  I have also gained a wealth of knowledge through the online resources Walden University has provided through course related videos. These have been accessible on line and can be viewed many times and shared with others in my field. These experiences have been very valuable. In addition to these tools, students and professors have shared links to information and resources that have been important to my course outcomes and application of knowledge in relationship to my career.  

How do you learn new knowledge when you have questions? 

I have felt very comfortable asking questions of my instructor or classmates through the use of class cafĂ©, email, Skype and discussion areas.  I have had many of my initial questions answered through reading my classmates blog post, wiki post and discussions.  Very often my professor or peers will touch on a topic or address an angle of information that is puzzling to me.  I am also amazed at how easy questions or areas of interest can be addressed through online search engines.  This one particular area has changed tremendously since I began my journey of college education many years ago.  Today, I can place a word or phrase in Google and an enormous amount of related topics and information becomes available.  Wow!  This is a major step forward in research tools as compared to my earlier years of walking all over campus and making ten phone calls.

I have post to Martha Bless and Tony T.'s blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reflection on Rheingold's Video

 Module 3
Reflection on Rheingold’s Video

Do you believe that humans have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group,” as Rheingold proposed in his discussion of the evolution of Wikipedia as a collectively developed encyclopedia?
Rheingold (2008) begins the video enlisting the audience in helping him reshape the story of how humans and other creatures get things done.  He states that a new story is beginning to emerge.  Cooperation, collective actions and complex interdependencies play much more of a role today than the role of competition and survival of the fittest.  He elaborates on the time he spent thinking about the relationship between communication media and collective action.   Human communication media and how we evolve socially have been going on for a long time.  He provides examples of small family groups and how the hunters brought down the game.  These hunters formed together to hunt bigger game.  He adds that you can’t hunt mastodons and be fighting with the group of hunters.  He believes some form of communication and collaboration must have been involved.  He remarks on how the first cities came with the growth of agriculture.  The people made marks in clay in order to keep a count on taxes. Soon after this time frame the alphabet was formed.  Advances in communication came with the creation of the printing press.  According to Rheingold (2008), the printing press caused spread of collaboration and the alphabet was no longer just for the elite. New forms of wealth emerged.  Finally, he discusses technology used today.  He states that technologies used today are based on the internet.  Every desktop in our society is equipped with some form of printing press.   I agree with Rheingold in his views of technology rapidly speeding its progress day by day.  Rheingold believes we will soon see the majority of the human race holding, carrying or wearing super computers.  I also agree with Rheingold in his thoughts that people have always had a need to interact.  I believe humans do have a basic instinct to interact and work as a group.  This has been the case since the beginning of time.  We have always had a need to share and communicate with someone.
How can technology facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles?

Technology can facilitate collaboration among learners in many ways.  In viewing the constructivist perspective, technology offers multiple ways of learning and interacting with others.  Technology addresses the concepts of constructivism through learning goals, conditions for instruction, and methods of instruction (Driscoll, 2005).  There are wealth of technology tools that provide us with the opportunity to share our ideas, express our differences and similarities and elaborate on our discoveries.  These tools include, but are not limited to Wikipedia, blog, wiki, email and Skype.

Find a current research study that has been conducted in the last 5 years that supports collaboration as an effective tool for learning. Include the link and reference for this study in your blog.
The study listed and retrieved from the above site was conducted at the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools by Fred Newmann and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin.  2,128 students were involved.  Students were found to have significantly higher achievement on challenging tasks when they were taught with inquiry-based teaching, showing that involvement leads to understanding.  These practices were found to have more impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.
I have seen first-hand how collaborative, inquiry-based teaching affects all learners.  Creating collaborative groups made up of students from a variety of backgrounds, with different levels of knowledge, benefits all learners. Our human race naturally has the desire to share and communicate in order to gain new knowledge, generate new thoughts and make connections with our existing knowledge.


Barron, B. and Hammond, L. (2008). Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods Retrieved from
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed). Boston MA:  Pearson Education, Inc.
Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration. Vodcast posted to   
 I have commented on thes post: 

 Curtiss Vavra, Cheryl Carroll and Sandra Dykes