All About Print

This week, we learned about printed materials in my online class.  Two of the resources we had for the class talked about designing and printing your very own materials using a computer desktop or laptop, and a good quality printer (Matiru,  1995 and Lamb, n.d.).  Imagine the possibilities: I could write and publish a book all by myself!

We have come a long way from when the first metal press was invented by Gutenberg in Renaissance Europe the 1400s.  The technology did not only “change the world of printing” (Bellis, n.d.) by making the mass-production of books possible, it also paved the way for the development of the arts and sciences (Bellis, n.d.) by making information more accessible.

Of course, the technology has undergone several major changes since but from then on, books have become synonymous to education.  Aside from books, there are other print media that are used in the classroom that also serve to inform and instruct students.

Despite the advent of the internet and the availability to e-books and other digital media, I think that print media are here to stay.  Personally, I prefer old-fashioned-ink-and-paper books to e-Books. I guess I just like to feel the paper when I am reading.  I find the scent of a newly-bought book relaxing and exciting at the same time.  The rustling sound of a page being turned is so much more delightful than the soft tapping of keypads when you scroll down a page in an e-Book.  Besides, the light from the computer monitor hurts my eyes.

By the way, calling something as non-print media (like audiovisuals, e-Books and e-Journals) is actually a misnomer since it contains printed materials (Abolade, 1998).  This is especially true since pictures are actually printed anyway.

Anyway, whether we call technologies we use in the classroom as print or non-print, I think the most important thing to consider when selecting, designing, and using them is to really know your target audience.  From there, it will be easier to design and determine content for any material.  Going back to what I said earlier, I could very well print an entire book via desktop publishing for my students.  But if I don’t know the general profile of my students, it will all be for nothing.

References:

Abolade, A. O. (1998). General techniques for evaluation of learning and instructional materials. Retrieved from http://www.unilorin.edu.ng/journals/education/ije/sept1998/GENERAL%20TECHNIQUES%20FOR%20EVALUATION%20OF%20LEARNING%20AND%20INSTRUCTIONAL%20MATER

Bellis, M. (n.d.). Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press. Retrieved from about.com: http://inventors.about.com/od/gstartinventors/a/Gutenberg.htm

Lamb, A. (n.d.). Designing & developing resources: Print materials (Chap 7). Building treehouses for learning: Technology in today’s classrooms, 243-272. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/treehouses/TJ7print.pdf

Matiru, B. (1995). Printed Media. Frankfurt am Main: IKO. Retrieved from http://collections.infocollections.org/ukedu/en/d/Jgtz016e/8.3.2.html#Jgtz016e.8.3.2

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Tony Stark and his Computers

I have been meaning to write about my fascination for the film industry’s depiction of Tony Stark (aka Ironman) and his computers. Watching TV serials like NCIS and CSI where characters often use advanced computers to analyze data, I have found myself fascinated and wondering if there are actually computers that do that. When the first Avengers movie came, I was again fascinated by the glass interfaces used by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. I was equally impressed about how Stark’s AI butler, J.A.R.V.I.S, was able to scan models and project them as 3D images where (and this is the most fascinating of all) a person can actually walk through to inspect.

What’s my point? You might ask.

Well, I have to admit, I actually started wishing for that kind of advanced technology when I was teaching Biology last year.  Teaching cell structures to my students had proved challenging because my girls thought the images of cells were just revolting.  When it came time to teach them about cellular respiration, I found that video clips of how a 6-carbon sugar is converted into energy were not enough.  I had to retell the story in such a way that the components “came alive” for them.  I had thought then, how neat would it be if I could project a 3D image in the middle of the classroom and have the girls manipulate it just to see what the effects will be?

This week in my Instructional Media Resources class, we were introduced to the TPACK Model designed by Punya Mishra and Matthew J. Koehler (2006).

The TPACK Model by Mishra and Koehler Image source: http://tpack.org

The TPACK Model by Mishra and Koehler
Image source: http://tpack.org

TPACK (or sometimes TPCK) stands for “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge” which is an important framework when it comes to using technology as a tool to enrich knowledge transfer in classroom encounters.

In the midst of reading the resources for the topic, I found myself researching about the likelihood that Tony Stark’s computers actually exist in real life.  There have been amazing developments in technology akin to that of the films like those by Elon Musk (Tolentino, 2013) and Hewlett-Packard (Bright, 2014).  I think that in the very near future, computers like those in Tony Stark’s universe will indeed be available to us.  Budget-constraints notwithstanding, the question that remains to be answered would be how they will impact education and how teachers will be able to use them effectively in the classroom.

References:

Bright, P. (2014, October 30). Gears and Gadgets. Retrieved from ARS Technica: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/10/hps-sprout-pc-is-like-a-real-version-of-iron-mans-jarvis/

Koehler, M. J. (n.d.). TPACK explained. Retrieved from tpack.org: http://www.matt-koehler.com/tpack/tpack-explained

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x.

Tolentino, M. (2013). Elon Musk to Unveil Holographic Technology Akin to Tony Stark’s. Retrieved from Silicon Angle: , http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/08/28/elon-musk-to-unveil-holographic-technology-akin-to-tony-starks/

Will the Real Cone of Experience Please Stand Up?

When I was taking up Nursing, one of my professors presented us with the “Remembering Cone”.  It basically gave the percentages of how much people can remember about things they read, say, or do. It was given as an introduction to why return demonstrations were important in Nursing (we were learning how to insert IV needles).  I remember being fascinated by the numbers back then.

This week, we were introduced to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience in my Instructional Media Resources (the current course I will be blogging about for the next three months) class.  The Cone of Experience showed how so-called learning experiences ranged from the concrete (e.g., first hand experiences called “Direct Experience”) to the abstract which often include the use of media (e.g., watching a movie or reading a book).

There are numerous websites that talked about the Cone of Experience.  On one such website, I came across an article that said that the “Remembering Cone” was also known by another name, the “Bogus Cone”.  Researching further, I found out that since Dale published his model in 1946, other people have modified it apparently without any valid evidence and passed off as factual.  Some of them became popular and were even attributed to Dale.

What was the danger here?  Passing off modified versions and adding figures would definitely make it seem that a model was based on fact.  The presence of percentages can draw people in without second thoughts.  The Bogus Cone, I realized, was the very same model that was presented to us back in Nursing School. The fact that my professor actually used it in class to motivate us meant that she, too, was hoodwinked.  The cone – and all the other bogus ones – it seems, was a very effective tool, especially in marketing.

With the amount of information that is available to us, thanks to the internet, it is easy to take everything as true.  I guess this week’s reading of Dale’s work emphasized the importance of further research and as well as of verifying of sources.  If one were to look closely, as Mike Morrison (on the Web, 2008) pointed out in his article, the numbers were far too perfectly rounded off to be factual.

The only other modification that Edgar Dale added himself to his original model was the incorporation of Jerome Bruner’s theory (Lee and Reeves, 2007).  Even then, he has always stressed that no media was better than the other nor do the upper bands of the cone indicate that abstract experiences were for the learned.  Indeed, the very fact that an individual could express herself or himself through words is already an abstract event.

References:

Lee, S. J. & Reeves, T. C. (2007). Edgar Dale: A significant contributor to the field of educational technology. In Educational Technology, 56 – 59. Available at http://ilpworldwide.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/LeeReeves07Edgar-DaleUPDATED.pdf

Morrison, M. (2008).  Dale – Cone of Experience – Misleading Quotes.  Available at https://rapidbi.com/dale-cone-of-experience-misleading-quotes/

Being a Distant Learner

I have been a distant learner since I joined the University of the Philippines – Open University (UPOU) Professional Teaching Certificate program during the second trimester of 2013.  Having spent so much time in school (earning two degrees and teaching afterwards) made it challenging for me to get used to an asynchronous learning environment that characterizes online learning.

Aside from being open to change, time management proved to be the most important aspect of being a distant learner.  I admit that despite the academic year being divided into trimesters (meaning they only lasted three months), there have been times when I felt that the tasks were never-ending, or that the year just seems to drag on.  However, when there are important tasks which need to be done by group, I just feel like time is fast slipping away.  It is during these trying times that it helps to sit back, unwind, and remember why you are doing this in the first place.

Sure, I need to earn units to be eligible to take the Licensure Exam for Teachers at the soonest possible.   I have, nonetheless, found that many of the things that I have learned thus far have really helped me in my own classes.  For the past year and a half, I have tried my best to incorporate concepts, philosophies, and strategies I have learned in my courses when I prepare activities for the Science classes I teach.

As an educator, I owe it to my students to give the best of what I can offer as a distant learner since I expect them to do the same in taking on the challenges of the subjects that I teach them as well.  So to those of you who are new to distant learning, welcome to a new world of possibilities!