Learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning


Academic Paper, 2018

15 Pages, Grade: 74


Excerpt

I. McCarthy & Thorpe’s Papers
1.1. McCarthy’s (2015) paper
1.1.1. Students interactions
1.1.2. Engagement in academic discussions
1.1.3. Recommendations for Facebook design/functionality
1.2. Thorpe’s (2008) paper
1.2.1. The main implications for practitioners
1.2.2. Application to Technology Enhanced Learning

II. Learners Now Have Ownership of Technology-Enhanced Learning
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Most powerful arguments and evidence in support of this claim
2.2.1. Increasing use of web 2.0 technologies
2.2.2. Increasing use of Suitable Digital devices and softwares
2.3. Most powerful arguments and evidence against the claim
2.3.1. Strength of the Digital Contents
2.3.2. Universities’ Preference of VLE over Social Networking Sites
2.3.3. Concern for Vulnerable communities
2.4. Learner’s position in relation to the claim
2.5. Principal implications for practitioners in technology-enhanced learning
2.5.1. Blurring of formal and informal learning
2.5.2. Change in pedagogy and participants’ roles

III. Conclusion

References

Abstract: This module paper attempts to evaluate how learners own technology enhanced learning. It begins with a critical review of McCarthy’s ‘Learning in the Café: pilot testing the collaborative application for education in Facebook’ and Thorpe’s ‘Effective online interaction: mapping course design to bridge from research to practice’. The fact that Facebook has different features that promote student interactions, it was no surprise that 92% agreed that Café encourages their interaction with their peers. The importance of this interaction was confirmed by Thorpe (2008) who recommends a range of activities that promote both group and individual participation as well as compulsory student participation for effective interaction. Undoubtedly, the paper confirmed that the use of the web 2.0 tools that learners may use to research, communicate, store, retrieve, construct, share, develop, and reflect, information, ideas and resources, enhances their learning. However, given a limited opportunity to control learning in self-managed platforms among other challenges, universities tend to prefer virtual learning environments (VLEs). Again, since educational institutions will find it difficult to compete with external technologies being developed, students often find the institutions' systems inferior to the technologies. Either way, one of the implications is that Web 2.0 technologies are starting to have an increasing influence in education, a trend that is expected to continue, hence the need for strong strategies for online and distance education.

Key words: Web 2.0 Technologies in education, Online and Distance Education, Social Media Learning, Student Ownership of Technology-enhanced Learning, Pedagogy and Participation

I. McCarthy & Thorpe’s Papers

1.1. McCarthy’s (2015) paper

In the McCarthy paper, we have chosen to elaborate on how the Café promotes students interactions and engagement in academic discussions, table 5 and 6 respectively (And figure 9).

1.1.1. Students interactions

The study findings indicated that 92% of respondents agreed the statement that, during the semester, the Café promoted their interaction with peers, with 6% undecided and 2% disagreements on the statement (McCarthy, 2015, p77-78).

In my opinion, the results are not surprising because the satisfaction of students in online learning depends on various factors promoted by Facebook, including its interactive nature. McCarthy (2015) himself recognises that “Facebook applications have been specifically created to facilitate interaction between social networks”. In the study conducted by Bray, Aoki and Larry (2008), students’ interaction is a major factor to their satisfaction which depends on the e ase of familiarity of interface where students who find technology easy to use are more satisfied than those who don’t. Similarly their findings were supported by other studies, like Miller, Rainer & Corley, 2003; Schrum & Hong (2001) who found a positive relationship between student comfort with technology and student success and satisfaction in online courses. Knowing that this comfort with technology promotes online interaction (Lee, Danis, Miller, & Jung, 2001), and that 93% of participants were existing Facebook users, with 65% of participants belonging to the majority demographic of Facebook users of people aged between 19-24 (Alex, 2018), the above results are well substantiated.

It may be interpreted that both the 6% undecided and 2% disagreements belong to another demographic range of adults who are not familiar with Facebook, such as young people who live in rural areas or vulnerable communities who have no/less access to internet as well as those who may have had difficulties on course clarity. In relation to my own experience on H800, I was challenged and seemed very bored by unknown tools like Cloudworks, Compendium and iSport, but became interactive on Twitter with which I had a familiarity.

1.1.2. Engagement in academic discussions

Complementary to the above discussions, 46% and 54% of participants, in the pre-semester survey, had indicated that they like to engage in in-class and in online academic discussions respectively. The post-semester survey results indicated that only 26% preferred in-class discussions and 74% online discussions which is a notable difference for each area.

The results support the observations made in section 1.1 in that due to the increase in students’ interaction, students were able to engage further in academic discussions. In addition to students’ familiarity with the Facebook interface, Facebook is accessible on different devices, helping students to post, comment, argue, upload documents and different types of medias and stay connected everywhere and anytime, hence supporting interaction for students.

In addition, the fact that Facebook is also regarded as a self-managed learning environment for students (Annica & Ulrike, 2011), makes it preferable and the way it allows people to use alias names fosters discussions in online environment because it was mentioned that many students fear to disclose their online identity and hence prefer to anonymously engage in discussions.

Briefly, technology supported learning has used different tools that provide students interactions. While instructors claim the use of controlled environment such as VLE, LMS, etc. (Fardoun et al., 2013), it was noted that students are active participants who seek and build knowledge in a context that makes sense to them, hence a call for a social learning environment which is properly used.

1.1.3. Recommendations for Facebook design/functionality

Although Facebook may not be appropriate for some courses depending on the course goals, it can support learning opportunities. While students like to be constantly connected with instructors, and as far as the quality of the course content is concerned, the design should adapt course materials and assignments, foster student-to-student interaction, and managing instructor presence. To do so, there should be clear guidelines for group participation, monitoring system to ensure that that groups are not sabotaged by those who don’t participate fully, provide clear goals for the group assignment, use different activities that encourage shared goals and cooperative learning and regular feedback on students participation in the group.

1.2. Thorpe’s (2008) paper

1.2.1. The main implications for practitioners

In Thorpe’s (2008) paper he underlines the importance of interaction among students, tutors and the course materials in the online environment. Miroslava et al. (2017) support this idea and highlight the six different forms of interactions that account for online learning: “student-student, student-teacher, student-content, teacher-teacher, teacher-content, and content-content”. It was also mentioned that when some course elements are not obligatory, students usually don’t fully participate. This was observed on H800 module where peers contributed much on blocks 1 &2 because forum participation accounted 10% but contribution declined on blocks 3&4 where forum participation isn’t mandatory.

As per Thorpe (2018), it’s recommended that the design contain a range of activities that promote both group and individual participation as well as mandatory participations of students for effective interaction

1.2.2. Application to Technology Enhanced Learning

Relative to how we learn on H800, I have identified some areas where I suggested the change on the design, especially on week 4. In addition to making the fifth (5) activity mandatory in order to increase participation as discussed above, I suggest that the third activity be moved to the end of the week in order to allow enough time for students to be able to read relevant weekly course materials in the previous activities, then discuss the Brown et al. (1989) based on ideas got from the previous activities.

These two week 4 activities (3&5) being very important, I would prefer to add another activity in which I request students write a wiki/blog in order to reflect on their learning before moving to the TMA1. I would also request students to write at least 500 words on these two activities during the TMA1 so that they can reflect on the use of learning technology in this context. This goes with altering the marking criteria so that some marks can be allocated on how students proposed alternative design for these two activities as well as their explains on how the activities helped them to understand the use of learning technology in their context. Moreover, I would also prefer to interchange TMA04 and TMA03 because the later takes students to the EMA and the TMA03 interrupts the work started in TMA03.

II. Learners Now Have Ownership of Technology-Enhanced Learning

2.1. Introduction

The relationship among learners, learning and technology will be analyzed in relation to learners’ own technology enhanced learning. The term “ownership” implies different perspectives in our understanding of the current student-centered education. It can broadly be defined according to different disciplines such as technical, legal and psychological forms (Eleanor, 2018). In this chapter, it is believed that ownership goes beyond owning technological tools and devices, but rather it will include and focus on a more psychological form to reflect a sense of responsibility, accountability, self-efficacy and belongingness (Pierce et al., 2001) because it is believed that learners’ ownership is closely linked to self-determination, hence within education, ownership of learning corresponds best with the psychological form of ownership (Cooner, 2010; Fleming and Panizzon, 2010).

Knowing that the statement that learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning (TEL) can be supported or refuted, this report presents both arguments in favour of and against the statement.

2.2. Most powerful arguments and evidence in support of this claim

2.2.1. Increasing use of web 2.0 technologies

A recent study highlights that there is a remarkable increasing use of technology, especially the web 2.0 that allows learners to engage in more expressive, reflective and explanatory activities (Weller, 2011). With this access to more supported sources such as blogs, eBooks, slideshares and Cloudworks, etc... , it is believed that web 2.0 technologies enhance today’s learning because beyond the traditional text books and teachers, the quantity of information has increased tremendously. In addition, it is also argued that there is an increased sense of ownership with learning enhanced by technology (Conole, 2008) due to the fact that Web 2.0 technologies are often so well aligned with good pedagogy and participation. This increases the sense of confidence, autonomy, control and personal direction (Joanna Neil, 2013), thus there is no doubt that the increasing use of the web 2.0 tools that learners may use to research, communicate, store, retrieve, construct, share, develop, and reflect, information, ideas and resources, certainly enhances their learning.

2.2.2. Increasing use of Suitable Digital devices and softwares

Another more interesting argument that supports the claim is the increasing learners’ ownership of internet-capable devices such as laptops, smartphones, media players, etc. Recent research suggests that over 90% in students’ population own these devices (Dahlstrom et al., 2015). One of the major factors for this surprising ownership of different internet-capable devices is the reduction in their costs as suggested by Green and Hannon (2007). While laptops are considered convenient for many learning activities, Kukulska-Hulme et al., (2011) found that learners mostly own multiple devices that support their learning. For example, Kukulska-Hulme et.al. (2011) point out that “the ability of Mobile 2.0 technologies, allows for learners to have instant and permanent documentation of notes, suitable for auditory learners by use of podcasts and taking photos of overhead slides”.

On the other hand, apart from owning hardware, Green and Hannon (2007) argue that relevant software has become easier to use and cheaper. It is also believed that although not all learners can purchase software, some free software are available with few features but able to support learning, especially for poor students who can’t afford to update licenses. This allows learners to be able to easily create and share materials in digital formats.

Therefore, if we agree that the technical ownership of suitable devices and relevant software can enhance the learning, then, it’s obvious to confirm that more than ever, learners now have ownership of the technology enhanced learning.

2.3. Most powerful arguments and evidence against the claim

2.3.1. Strength of the Digital Contents

The web 2.0 has brought many technologies that allow students interaction in different online environments. These allow students to express, reflect, comment and contribute in many ways. In that collective sense where the forum group members are believed to own what they are learning together, there are also teachers and other influencers who influence the outcomes. So the strength of ownership emerges from the strength of the contents. Although the fundamental principle of Web 2.0 practices is: "no one is an expert", if we consider the use and ownership of technology by learners in the broader context of course content, teachers and other influences are always part of the network, posting credible contents that influence the learning outcomes.

2.3.2. Universities’ Preference of VLE over Social Networking Sites

Despite different claims that learners should be supported in using technologies of their own choice in order to be active makers of their learning, and while learners have vast choices over different mobile devices and PLEs (JISC, 2009, p. 51), it was argued that most institutions prefer to use their own VLEs/ LMSs for the course delivery. Surprisingly while the volume of students’ social media engagement is ‘off the charts’, students’ VLE engagement are declining (Felix P. Rante, Abraham G. Campbell, 2016). The challenge has always been the inability to integrate these student ELPs into institutions' VLE / LMS to allow for ongoing ownership of tools, resources and processes in the learning experience (Feltlikeit, 2013). While full integration is an issue, (Sclater, (2008) argues that it should not be an all-or-nothing approach, but there are implications for how integration is designed for the design and evaluation of activities. There is a suspicion that loss of ownership can occur during this transition between informal and formal learning.

2.3.3. Concern for Vulnerable communities

Another concern with the claim is that vulnerable communities may have less access to technological tools or even license fees, and fees charged by many platforms may prevent them from accessing educational materials. The study conducted by Roshini et al. (2015) found that poverty, inequality and unemployment pose serious problems, such as lack of electricity and telecommunications that limit vulnerable communities' access to education. Such challenges are also likely to remain in the long term, requiring educators to find appropriate ways to educate different categories of people. From this example, it is clear that the ownership of technology depends on different geographies, categories of social groups and infrastructure development, among others.

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Details

Title
Learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning
College
The Open University  (School of Educational Technology)
Course
Technology-Enhanced Learning: Practices and Debates
Grade
74
Author
Year
2018
Pages
15
Catalog Number
V1012765
ISBN (eBook)
9783346407795
ISBN (Book)
9783346407801
Language
English
Keywords
Web 2.0 Technologies in education, Online and Distance Education, Social Media Learning, Student Ownership of Technology-enhanced Learning, Pedagogy and Participation
Quote paper
Dr. Sixbert Sangwa (Author), 2018, Learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1012765

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