Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Passionate Redheads

I had forgotten this video I found in my youtube when I was in there for another reason. So this is what I do in Second Life....

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

What people are saying about the Flat Classroom® Certified Teacher Course

I have enjoyed this course and the challenges it brought. I am most grateful for my new global colleagues and look forward to collaborating and sharing ideas and projects. I’m so excited about the project that I’ll be doing with Donna and Toni because it fits perfectly with our first unit of inquiry and our literacy workshops. Secondly, I am looking forward to the final Flat Classroom book by Julie and Vicki because it is so comprehensive and organized. It will be a good read for new and experienced educators to read before embarking on a project, but also as a reference during projects. This course is just the beginning…
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Diffusion of Innovations

In considering the diffusion of innovations, definitions of terms provide a foundation for the discussion. An innovation is “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new” by an individual or organization. (Rogers, 2003, p.xx) The process of diffusion involves infiltration into a social system. I work in education, so the innovations about which I am concerned are found in the educational community. Rogers (2003) defines diffusion as the “process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.” (p.5) These are the four main elements involved in the diffusion of innovations. The innovation is the idea, practice, or object being introduced into the system. Dede (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008) offers the example of the landline video-phone. Other innovations in education include geocaching, podcasting, online school newspapers, flat screen monitors, charter schools, homeschools, and the whole language movement in reading instruction. Some of these innovations have diffused successfully into the K-16 schools and some have not.
I researched the unsuccessful diffusion of virtual worlds in education. Chris Dede (Laureate Education, Inc., 2008) asserts that all the elements must work in concert for an innovation to diffuse successfully. I know in my own experience that other teachers just tune out when I suggest a virtual world for teaching concepts. The communication channels are not open because I am not perceived as the authority at my school, and am not homophilous enough. Thus the communication process breaks down at the persuasion stage. As Rogers (2003) suggests, “diffusion is a social process” (p.35) in which the structure of traditional industrial age education impedes the diffusion of innovations that would change that structure. (p.25)
Hew and Cheung (2010) discovered five studies that suggested using virtual worlds enhanced learning. However, their conclusions found the use of virtual worlds was largely at the fringe of university level education and virtual worlds were not successfully diffused into the culture of academia. Salleh, Jack, Bohari, and Jusoff (2011) investigated the integration of technological innovations at the university level. They concluded that diffusing innovations successfully is crucial to organizational success, as the current generation of students choose to attend schools that embrace technological innovations. Adams (2011) reported on the successful diffusion of Skype in nursing education, documenting the astronomical growth of Skype internationally.
I would like to find research relating to how these innovations are used in PreK-12 education. I will have to dig deeper to find any or this may be a gap in the literature. Dr. Dede has a point that everything must change at once for an innovation to diffuse successfully. There are many barriers to overcome towards successful innovation in education in the communication of usefulness of these technological innovations, the structure of educational social systems or status quo, and the perceived timeliness of innovations.
Rogers (2003) refers to an innovator’s ability to deal with dissonance (p.22). Maybe to affect the four elements so innovations diffuse successfully we will all need to develop this ability.

Adams, L. (2011). Teaching techniques using Skype in clinical education. Radiologic Technology, 82(5), 475-477.
Hew, K. F. & Cheung, W. S. (2010). Use of three-dimensional (3-D) immersive virtual worlds in k-12 and higher education settings: A review of the research. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(1), 33-55.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Barriers to Adoption segment of Diffusion and Integration of Technology in Education. Baltimore: Author.
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.
Salleh, S.M.H., Jack, S., Bohari, Z., & Jusoff, K. (2011). Use of Information and Communication Technology in Enhancing Teaching and Learning. International Education Studies. 4(2), 153-156.
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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Relay Cometh !

The Relay for Life in Second Life is this weekend. The RFLinSL organization sent us this information recently:
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life began in May 1985 when a colorectal surgeon ran around a track in Tacoma, Washington, for 24 hours, raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society. Today Relay For Life is held in more than 4,600 communities in the United States and in 23 countries across the globe. To date, Relay For Life has raised more than $1.5 billion to help the Society accelerate the progress against cancer by saving lives, helping those touched by cancer, and empowering people to fight back against this disease.

In RL, Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of your American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

In 2005, the Second Life community, in cooperation with the American Cancer Society, saw fit to re-create a Relay For Life event within the virtual world setting, combining traditional design with new elements afforded by the online social platform. Doing this has allowed the American Cancer Society to reach out to a new demographic, thus expanding their mission.

It also enables real people, who might otherwise be physically incapable of participating in a Relay For Life, to get involved in a new way.

Last year, Second Lifers donated enough Lindens to the 2009 Relay for Life to raise more than $270,000 USD.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Schools of the Future

How will his future unfold?

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Questions -> Education

What if educating our children was all about answering their questions?

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Where is your brain?

Vygotsky's work focused on social discourse in the classroom. Cole (1996)described Vygotsky's theory thus

mind works through artifacts, it cannot be unconditionally bounded by the head or even by the body, but must be seen as distributed in the artifacts which are woven together and which weave together individual human actions in concert with and as a part of the permeable, changing, events of life.(pp.136-137)

So where is your brain? My brain in found in my PLN who are gathered together in my social media networks. And schools are disconnecting kids from their brains? Does that make sense to you?

Cole, M.(1996. Cultural psychology: A once and future discipline. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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