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Recent Posts

  1. Ain't Microsoft Products Great!?
    Thursday, April 17, 2014
  2. Do I Give a Hoot?
    Sunday, September 22, 2013
  3. Death on the Rise
    Thursday, October 25, 2012
  4. The Demise of Adobe
    Friday, April 01, 2011
  5. SCORM and ADL YouTube Videos
    Thursday, March 24, 2011
  6. Instructional Design Models
    Friday, December 03, 2010
  7. Learning Theories
    Tuesday, November 30, 2010
  8. Using Smart Objects in Dreamweaver CS4 or CS5
    Monday, October 25, 2010
  9. Blogging in Education: Pros and Cons
    Sunday, September 19, 2010
  10. How Will We Communicate When All the Words are Gone?
    Sunday, September 06, 2009

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  1. Advent on You must provide a title for your Entry.
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  2. bet356 on Blogging in Education: Pros and Cons
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    10/25/2010
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  5. Patrick Brady on To Blog or Not to Blog
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    10/12/2007
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The BB Zone
The BB Zone

Ain't Microsoft Products Great!?

Do I Give a Hoot?

While watching a UCI Extension Webinar on Internet Marketing, I learned of a product called Hoot Suite. It is supposed to make my Internet marketing life easier by 40 minutes per day. This is one example, the ability to link a blog post with a Facebook post. I will click the Publish button now and see if it works.

Death on the Rise

If you are a relative of a college student, be forewarned, your immanent death may be just around the corner. That's right it is that time of year again, it is time for midterm exams and e-mails of dead relatives are prevalent. This is an amazing phenomenon that occurs repeatedly four times per year, twice during fall semester and twice during spring semester. Oddly always coinciding with either midterm or final exam due dates.

It always amazes me as to the timing of the grim reaper. What devious plot does he serve when he decides to take the lives of the relatives of college students? He never seems to strike during the first several weeks of a semester or in the weeks immediately following the midterm exams. It seems that college student's relatives are only ill-fated during the tumultuous weeks of midterm and final exams. An uncanny coincidence I am sure, one which should be a warning to anyone who is related to a college student. If I were one of these relatives I would ask for a copy of the student's schedule of classes so I would know when I should be most vigilant and wary of the possibility of the grim reaper coming to my doorstep.

You can't say I didn't warn you; make sure your affairs are in order and your will is up-to-date, because if you are related to a college student who is facing a midterm or final exam deadline your days are numbered. Your obituary will be written with tears in their eyes and the tragic impact your death has had on even your least known collegiate relative will be shared with college professors everywhere.

The Demise of Adobe

You're probably aware that Apple has dropped support for the Adobe Flash player from their product line. In fact, Steve Jobs, a person who I don't generally agree with, makes some good points about why Apple no longer supports Adobe's Flash player in this letter he posted on the Apple Web site. The W3C's HTML 5 and CSS 3 aren't officially ratified technologies yet, but they will be soon, and they will most certainly be the death of Flash.

In addition to taking that hit from Apple and the W3C, Adobe seems to be contributing to their own downfall by removing server-side support from their DreamWeaver CS5 product. Adobe has removed all server behavior support for ASP & ASP.NET in the CS5 release of their Web development software. Unless you want to build a Web site using their proprietary ColdFusion technology or the limited open source technology of PHP then there is no reason to purchase an upgrade to Dreamweaver CS5.

If Adobe continues to shoot themselves in the foot and continues to lose support from developers then we might see Adobe being offered up at a fire sale before the end of the decade. I'm Sure glad I don't own any stock in the company.

SCORM and ADL YouTube Videos

The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative was founded by the DoD in 1997 and charged with developing and implementing technologies across the DoD and federal government. Part of the ADL charter is to collaborate with government, industry and academia to promote international specifications and standards for designing and delivering learning content; the shareable content object reference model (SCORM) is one result of those efforts.

SCORM is a design specification in which learning assets are collected into shareable content objects (SCOs) which can then be aggregated in a plethora of combinations in order to suit the purpose of a particular instructional implementation. The aggregations of of SCOs are structured into an organization and then delivered as a single content package. SCORM helps instructional designers to integrate their course content with various learning management systems (LMS) like Blackboard, WebCT, or Moodle, including the use of sequencing, recording assessment scores, and tracking student usage of the SCOs. 

Here is a list of links to YouTube videos discussing e-Learning design principles created and posted by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL):

Instructional Design Models

Instructional Design Models provide a framework for instructional designers to follow during the development of instructional tutors, tools, and materials.

ADDIE - Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation is one of the most popular instructional design models in use today. This is due in part to the broad universal nature of its framework. Below is a video that explains the basic concepts of the ADDIE model.



4C/ID - The Four Component Instructional Design model was developed by Joroen van Mettiënboer as a framework to be used for the design of complex learning and is based on Cognitive Load Theory (CLT). Van Meeriënboer writes in Reiser & Dempsey (2007) "complex learning aims at the integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes; the coordination of qualitatively different constituent skills; and transfer of what is learned to daily life or work settings." 4C/ID focuses on meaningful whole learning tasks, scaffolding, and acheiving transfer. The 4C/ID model is organized around, as the name suggets, a four component model. The four components are: 1) learning tasks, 2) supportive information, 3) procedural information, and 4) Part-task practice. The figure below depicts the four comonents and provides additional information about each of the four components

Learning Theories

During the past several months it has become apparent to me that this blog will be the perfect place for me to record notes about the research I am doing for my MSIDT project; this then is the first installment.

According to Wikipedia, "Learning is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves."

In their book Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology, Reiser and Dempsey included five essays covering the key ideas and principals of learning theories that have had the most influence over Instructional design and technology (IDT). Derived from the psychological foundations of the field these theories include: behavioral learning theory, cognitive information processing theory, Gagné's theory of instruction, schema theory, cognitive load theory, situated learning theory, and constructivism (2007).

Epistemology, a branch of philosophy, is the study of theories of knowledge and is divided into positivism/objectivism and relativism/constructivism. Being that the two are diametrically opposed, there are supporters in both camps who argue that there side is the only way, but good instructional designers should be aware of both and utilize each as is warranted in their instructional designs.

Cognitive load theory (CLT) is a learning theory that is embraced in some part by both sides of the epistemology debate, but is arguably more in the positivists realm. CLT is the learning theory that I am basing my MSIDT project around. CLT is one of several theories that are derived from cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Cognitive information processing theory, schema theory, and semantic networks are learning theories that also fall under this umbrella (Alessi & Trollip (2001)(Reiser & Dempsey, 2007). There are numerous underlying principals of CLT that make it efficient, effective, and engaging. These principals help make the instructional designer aware of the many factors that influence and increase or decrease the cognitive load placed on a learner during the instructional process. The reultant intstucional goals of CLT being schema acquisition and construction, rule automation, and transfer of learning both near and far.

These two videos help to illustrate the basic concepts of cognitive psychology and cognitive load theory.

Using Smart Objects in Dreamweaver CS4 or CS5

 

This video is a demonstration of how to use Smart Objects in Dreamweaver CS4 or CS5. Specifically it is showing the insertion of a Photoshop image, converting it to a PNG for the Web, changing the original Photoshop image and seeing the change reflected in the Dreamweaver document where the image was originally inserted.

Blogging in Education: Pros and Cons

So here I go blogging again. This will be the third time I have been prompted by an educator to blog. I really don’t see the point of writing a blog nor do I read or subscribe to any. When I am searching topics on the Internet, I don’t recall having ever been directed to someone’s blog. The intention of this blog (not the entire entity, but just this post) is to research and examine the literature that is out there regarding blogs to see what, if any, value they have in education.

According to Wikipedia, blogs are supposed to be digital communities evolved from online diaries. Functionally speaking blogs allow the owner of the blog to post some information for others to read and comment on, and they can be subscribed to using RSS feeds so that all participants can be notified when there is an update. According to the 2008 video you can view below from Palm Breeze Café,  Kim Cavanaugh cites the Pew Research Center’s 2008 data on blogs saying that 70% of students under age 18 have a Blog. My guess is this statistic is much lower in 2010 with the advent and popularity of Twitter. A quick search of the Internet using Google shows numerous Web sites singing the praises of Blogs in education, but oddly most are dated around 2003 or 2004 and very few seem to be current. One current blogger I found at halfanhour.blogspot.com had a post dated Monday, April 13, 2009 which is very thorough and comprehensive with a considerable amount of valuable links. Like most of the Web sites I found touting blogs in education this one too starts with a discussion about what is a blog. In his archived post the writer, Stephen Downes, states that according to edublogs they have hosted over 400 thousand educational blogs since 2005.

Pros: Some of the student benefits listed by Mr. Downes are the ability of students to take ownership of their own learning and providing them with an authentic voice in order to give students the opportunity to “articulate their needs and inform their own learning.” He also cites Bortee, D.S. (2005) as having said that “blogs have been shown to contribute identity-formation in students.” However I found no empirical studies which back up any of these claims.

Cons: Amongst the drawbacks I found while searching the Internet for information about educational blogging is the issues of privacy. Privacy of our students is a large concern of educators and so the question arises as to how much personal information, if any, can be requested or required of a student posting to a blog in order to complete a school assignment. Another issue is student motivation which falls in two categories, 1) getting students motivated to write a blog in the first place, and 2) the technological novelty of blogging seems to wear off very quickly and therefore students can become bored with it just as quickly. On another front one complaint I saw made by several posters was a complaint about the slowness of edublog. Edublog is a site set up for educators to give them and their students free blogging. Ostensibly this was a ground breaking site when free blogging was not as prevalent as it is today, but apparently their number of subscribers now outnumber its technical capability to provide blogging services which meet their expectations of responsiveness.

At this point I would say the results are inconclusive and much more research is needed to confirm whether blogs are making a difference in education or not. Subscribe to this blog if you would like to read my further research. I can guarantee you there will be at least two more posts made by me (they are assignments I am required to complete).


How Will We Communicate When All the Words are Gone?

In order for you to give my thesis any credence, I feel you must first understand my love of diversity in our current culture. So, when I say I’m agnostic when it comes to religion, I only state that so that you can appreciate the context of my next statement; which is, that I was once taught by a Catholic nun that there is a theory in Quantum Physics stating that everything created by man will eventually become the opposite of its intended purpose. After reading Mr. Estrada’s argument in chapter 6 of the St. Martin’s Guide textbook, I feel compelled to submit a differing viewpoint with a slightly more pertinent message. I would like to expose the dangers of PCism, and how it could get even more out-of-hand than it already is. PCism is a reaction to a problem, not a solution to that problem.

After reading the essay and completing the word listing exercise I looked at my list and thought about which ones offend me the most? On my list where words like: hillbilly, cracker, white trash, redneck, rube, and hick; all words I heard growing up because I was born in the once rural town of Riverside, Ca. I’m a man of average height, but compared to many of the jock friends I grew up with in high school, I was called small. I’m also part Italian so whop, ginny, and  spaghetti bender have been applied. I became a Beatles fan as a teenager and love rock music so I’ve heard hippie, rock ‘n’ roller, rebel, delinquent, and pistol used as attempts to belittle me. I like to drive fast so several traffic cops have called me a lead foot or a menace to society. I love computers so geek, nerd, brainiac have also been applied. My parents were small business owners so I’ve also heard rich boy, bosses son, and since I’m getting up there in my years then old school and senior citizen can now be added to the list. Much to my surprise, just recently, I heard racist and zagh used as attacks on my character. Some of these words, I’m sure, you’re familiar with. Some you may laugh at and wonder why they are even on the list. Well, if we are to buy into Mr. Estrada’s way of handling things, I need to be sure my list is complete, and that I haven’t forgotten any names I’ve been called that were meant to offend me or inflict injury to my character. My list must be thorough and complete so that everyone can be made aware of what offends me, and I want to ask of you, the reader, to please avoid using them in my presence.

Truth of the matter is, being called any of these names does not make me feel offended or invalidated. To me, when I hear words like these spoken, it just tells me that the person speaking them is ignorant, and has no idea of who I am, what I am, or what I stand for. The way I was raised by my parents and the several public schools I attended while growing up, I was taught that we should all live by the golden rule. Recently, I was amazed to learn that according to a poll reported on the TV news, of the people polled only 28% knew what the Golden Rule is. One simple phrase, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is what I have based my life’s relationships on. For me, in part, I’ve always taken it to mean that I should give every person an even break, and that I should always greet my fellow human with dignity, respect, warmth, and joy from my heart, unless that person demonstrates a reason that I should do otherwise.

The last name on my list, zagh, stands for Zarrwellien Alien Guy Homosapien, and is a theoretically fictitious derogatory word I created to help illustrate how, in a universe of infinite possibilities, the process of trying to regulate speech and vocabulary is not only completely contrary to the first amendment of the United States Constitution, but more importantly, is against common sense. Another theorem of Quantum Physics is that in order for a truth to be true it must be universally true – no anomalies. When our society spans more than just our planet, out into our galaxy and beyond, when inter-planetary breeding becomes common place, and there are so many different cultures and civilizations that the mathematically available combination of letters are nearing annihilation for having been deemed offensive to one group or another, where will that leave us then? How will we communicate when they outlaw all the words?

Those that argue the other side will say that they are only removing the truly offensive words from the global lexicon, offensive to whom? Instead of trying to remove the words they should be trying to remove the ignorance. Instead of controlling lives we should be empowering lives. We, as a collective consciousness, should spend more time on developing educational skills and less of it attempting to regulate human nature. They’ll also argue how ludicrous my theory is that we might someday run out of words, although they’ll never give you any idea of where the line can be drawn as to the number of words that might possibly become taboo.

Wouldn’t it be simpler if we could just agree to all follow one simple rule and apply that rule, as a litmus test, to each and every action we take? The only race I have ever considered myself a part of is the human race. Regardless of where we’ve come from in life, instead of assuming that any one group could or should have power over our lives, instead of grouping various entities, which can only have a disparaging affect, wouldn’t it be so much easier to just do unto others what we would have them do unto us?