1. Why is media selection important in eLearning?
Media selection is important in eLearning because it defines whether or not the online course will successfully meet its objectives. As mentioned by Dr. Newberry, in his Session 7 introduction, “Each media, each technology has its own characteristics that need to be understood so that the designer of the eLearning environment can make the best media choices, and use the power of the available media to its best effect”. The media selection heavily depends on three different criteria, which are, instructor, content and students. Selecting the ideal media can be difficult considering the mentioned criteria, the instructor must choose the media they are most comfortable with and the media must be the most suitable for the content being taught. All three criteria are important, but probably the most important of all are the students, since they are the ones participating in the learning experience. The article that I provided below states that, “No matter how powerful in educational terms a particular medium or technology may be, if students cannot access it in a convenient and affordable manner they cannot learn from it”. Additional compelling arguments are made, such as that when choosing the right technology the designer must consider the students demographics and differences in how students learn.
2. Define “new media”?
The phrase “new media” is defined by Dr. Newberry as, “ease of sharing, but more than that, is the ability for others to use, reuse, link to and comment upon shared works”. New media exists in many forms, there is media where students can share videos, photographs, written documents and audio recordings. Before we could enjoy the advantages of new media, several changes had to take place, which are the availability of bandwidth and technology and the changes of attitudes of utilizing these new types of media. The concept of new media has revolutionized the way in which we teach and learn new material and pretty much anything else in our everyday lives.
3. Choose a “new media” and explain its strengths and weaknesses for supporting eLearning.
In Dr. Newberry’s first podcast, titled Media for eLearning, he mentions various types of “new media” and its strengths and weaknesses for supporting eLearning. One that was not mentioned and that has impacted the field of education is, Google+, which is a tool that includes of all the “new media” put into a single learning tool, making this a major strength. It allows you to organize groups by creating circles where the instructors can gather questions from their students before an upcoming lecture. The instructor can hold office hours and even review video presentations with students in order to re-teach difficult concepts. Not only can the students interact easily with the instructor but also with their fellow classmates and do collaborative writing and projects. Another major strength is that Google+ makes it possible for instructors to engage with students before they start school, to get a feel for what type of online course fits them best. The Google+ tool can also be accessed through any device which makes it easy for students to work on their assignments in any location. Some of the weaknesses include not being able to access Google+ material without WiFi and without possibly having to pay for extras, since some schools may opt to different software. An additional weakness would be students not having the time to participate in synchronous meetings with other students and the instructor.
I have not utilized Google+ in a classroom setting, so I would like to hear from those who have, what are some strengths and weaknesses of Google+ based on your personal experience?
4. Explain the term “Mobile Learning” and discuss the importance of “Mobile Learning” in the current eLearning environment and in future eLearning environments.
William Horton’s definition of “Mobile Learning” has two main meanings (1) participation in learning events while mobile and (2) learning from the world in which we move. “Mobile Learning” does not limit us to just learning from a single person, instead mobile learners have a world of teachers which can be objects, locations, environments, experts, fellow learners and the internet.
“Mobile Learning” is important in the current eLearning environment and in future eLearning environments since technology, social media and other online tools have taken over so many aspects of our lives and is currently being incorporated into education. Almost everything we do today requires technology, so familiarizing ourselves with the newest technological trends is crucial, for students, parents and teachers. This generation and future generation will be filled with Millennials, so its important to keep up with the tools that younger individuals like to use and include them in our lesson plans.
5. Explain the term “Virtual Classroom”. Describe how a “Virtual Classroom” can be used in eLearning.
“Virtual classrooms use collaboration tools to re-create the structure and learning experiences of a physical classroom”, as stated by William Horton. There exists standalone eLearning and learner-led social learning, but virtual classroom is the one that closely resembles the environment of an actual classroom that requires physical presence. “Virtual Classroom” can be used in eLearning for those who prefer to work closely with students and have more control over their students learning. According to Horton in a virtual classroom the teacher can adapt learning to learners, provide the community and discipline some learners need, is familiar and proven and flexible and active. It is an ideal type of classroom for those who have busy lives, but still want the structure and support provided by an on campus course.
6. Thinking about the class you have been designing, what are some ways you could potentially use some new media?
As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I have been focusing my designing assignments on high school mathematics, specifically geometry. Some ways in which I could potentially use some new media would be to deliver lectures by creating audio and video presentations for student-content interaction and VOIP technology for student-student and student-instructor interactions. The audio and video presentations will require streaming media or podcast media in order to create the student-content interaction. I would most likely utilize the podcast media since it allows students to download the file and access it through different technological machines. Allowing the material to have great portability, will also allow students to interact with one another and the content with greater ease. For example, if students would like to go over certain material together they can download the video ahead of time and meet where it best suits them both without there having to be any internet access. For VOIP technology I would suggest student to opt to the media that they are most familiar with, taking into consideration that there are multiple mediums that could be utilized for students to communicate.