Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies/ID Models

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Instructional Design Models and Emerging Learning Technologies

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Educational Impact of Emerging Technologies: Streaming Media, Mobile Learning(m-learning)

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The development of the Internet is fostering the creation and proliferation of emerging interactive media, such as the WorldWide Web, streaming media and mobile learning. These emerging technologies make possible a broader, more powerful repertoire of pedagogical strategies. Also, emerging interactive media empower novel types of learning experiences; for example, interpersonal interactions across networks can lead to the formation of virtual communities. These novel media make possible evolving university instruction beyond synchronous, group, presentation-centered forms of education, beyond conventional “teaching-by-telling” and “learning-by-listening.”

What is streaming media?

Streaming media is a technology that enables people to include audio, video and other multimedia elements in their websites. Browsers will be able to listen to or view immediately without downloading the file to their own computers. Streaming Media typically consists of audio only, video with audio or any combination of audio, illustrated audio, video, graphics or animation.

History of Streaming Media

Streaming did not occur until the early 90’s when the World Wide Web was first made commercially available to the public. Through the web, people were able to connect and share information with thousands of other computers and individuals around the world. But the bandwidth for consumers was so small that bits of text were the only thing that could feasibly be transmitted and downloaded. Audio and video media has also been digitized at this time but a one minute sample of audio would take up roughly 10MB of space which if transmitted through the consumer’s modem lines would take most of the day to download.

The development of MPEG-1 and MP3 gave the consumer the greatest interest in what the Internet can do for media. The MP3 is an audio compression format that had the ability to reduce the file size to one sixth of that original size and reproduce the sound with virtually unnoticeable degradation. With the popularity of MP3, people realized how important compression means to the Internet.

Streaming media entered the Internet in 1995 with its first delivery system by Xing Technology. In 1995, Xing Technology Corporation (acquired by RealNetworks on August 10, 1999) developed StreamWorks, the first live and on-demand audio/video delivery system over the Internet, also known as "streaming" digital video. Since then, this gave way to compression techniques such as MP3, AVI, WMA, and MPEG, bringing about the creation of Hi-Definition for better visual quality.

How does streaming media work?

Streaming technology enables a video (or audio) file to be played, while it is being taken from the Internet. Streaming media means that a sequence of "moving images" is sent in compressed form over the Internet, without waiting for the whole file to be transmitted to the desktop computer. Instead, the media is sent in a gradual continuous stream to the computer, and is played as it arrives. The media file is executed but cannot be downloaded onto the desktop computer. The user needs a media player, which is a program that decompresses the data and sends video data to the display and audio data to speakers.

In order to play smoothly, video needs to run uninterrupted. Streaming technologies use buffer function on the receiver’s computer. This will start executing as soon as a sufficient amount of the file has been buffered. Only a small part of the video is in the computer memory at any given time and it is erased as it is being played, to make space for the new material.

Two kinds of streaming

Video on Demand Streaming (VoD): It allows the user to view pre-recorded material stored on a server archive, ready for access when the user asks for it. In VoD, the video material is always available to the potential user “on demand” at any time. The demand is simply a request sent by the user to the media server, and the machine then starts sending the video clip to the user’s computer.

Live streaming: This is like a live broadcast, taken in “real-time” and transmitted immediately with no file stored in the media server that is performing the task of transmission. This means that it can only be accessed once, which has to be the precise time the event (e.g. a lecture) takes place, as no record of it is stored in the server’s hard disk.

Pedagogical Advantages

Streaming media gives the instructor the possibility to decide when to make material available: 1. before class to prepare students for classroom discussion and practice 2. during the class 3. after the class as a review of topics covered in class 4. instead of a class for those who missed class or as self-study

Because of this flexibility, valuable class time can be saved for focused discussions or applied work, as course material can be accessed outside the classroom. In this way, learning is put in the hands of students who can access material in their own time, according to their own schedule and pause and replay as required.

Streaming media enhances the instruction through media. In class instructor can use streaming media to demonstrate the process of doing something concrete, the procedures, and different stages in teaching subjects like laboratory experiments, and natural processes (the growth of a plant or the birth of an animal). It also can reinforce the power of text, a still image or graphic, showing how something works or performs and help students gain understanding of unknown cultural habits, rituals, etc. by seeing the original context

Furthermore, web sites with streamed video allow teachers and students to jump with ease from one piece of video to another and provide easy access to other related materials (URLs, text documents, interactive exercises, slides, etc.).Using streaming media in class allows teachers and pupils to access a large database of digitized educational movies, to equip them with convenient tools for searching, ordering and downloading, and to gain some empirical insights into the acceptance of such a platform by teachers and students.

What is mobile learning?

The term mobile learning (m-learning) refers to the use of mobile and handheld IT devices, such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), mobile phone, and laptops in teaching and learning. As computers and the Internet become essential educational tools, the technologies become more portable, affordable, effective and easy to use. This provides many opportunities for widening participation and access to Information Communication Technology (ICT), and in particular the Internet.

Advantages of Mobile Learning

Mobile learning offers many advantages for today’s E-learnerS. Some may be listed are;

1. E-learners have a sense of intimacy with devices they hold physically close, over time, and in nonpublic spaces.

2. Mobile learning devices are good tools for collaboration as students share devices, communicate via text messages, and can find a private physical space to share (B. Alexander, 2004).

3. These learners have grown up with a cognitive disposition towards mobile devices, even if they don’t need portability in their learning. (Wikipedia, 2006)

4. They focus on connectedness and social interaction and prefer group-based activities in study and social occasions (Cobcroft, et al, 2006)

5. M-learning increases the flexibility of learning spaces. (B. Alexander, 2004). Mobile learning tools free the learner from the classroom and the power grid (Low and O’Connell, 2006).

6. Mobile learning enables on-demand learning.

7. Mobile learning sees learners as participants who are creative and communicative, not as passive consumers (B. Alexander, 2004).

8. The knowledge that an organization needs is in the heads of its employees. Mobile learning devices can assist in codifying that knowledge in a more flexible format than the traditional formal content (C. Quinn, 2002).

9. Mobile learning gives teachers and learners increased flexibility and new opportunities for interaction (Oloruntoba, 2006).

10. Current mobile tools provide remote and instant access to a range of people and resources, and are able to process data that was never possible before. Learners who live in remote locations can utilize mobile learning tools (D. Keegan, Undated).

How Mobile Learning Benefits Learners

Agnes Kukulska-Hulme and John Traxler, in their book, Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers (2005) said the reasons for using mobile learning technologies are mainly to:

Improve access, by:

1.Improving access to assessment, learning materials, and learning resources.

2.Increasing flexibility of learning for students.

Exploring changes in teaching and learning, through:

1.Exploring the potential for collaborative learning, for increasing students’ appreciation of their own learning process, and for consolidation of learning.

2.Guiding students to see a subject differently than they would have done without the use of mobile devices.

3.Identifying learners’ needs for just-in-time learning.

4.Exploring whether the time and task management facilities of mobile devices can help students manage their studies.

5.Reducing cultural and communication barriers between staff and students by using channels that students like.

6.Wanting to know how wireless/mobile technology alters attitudes, patterns of study, and communication among students” (Kukulska-Hulme, 2005).

Alignment with institutional or business aims:

1.Making wireless, mobile, interactive learning available to all students without having them buy expensive hardware.

2.Delivering communications, information, and training to many people wherever they are located.

3.Blending mobile technologies into e-learning infrastructures to improve interactivity and connectivity for the learners

4.Harnessing the existing proliferation of mobile phone services and their many users” (Kukulska-Hulme, 2005).

Mobile Learning Technologies Support Behaviorist Learning

Naismith et al. defined behaviorist learning activities as “activities that promote learning as a change in learners observable actions.” “Learning is thought to be best facilitated through the reinforcement of an association between a particular stimulus and a response” (Naismith, et al., 2004). In computer-aided learning a problem is presented (stimulus), the learner responds, then receives quick feedback. Naismith and her colleagues include classroom response systems in this category and delivery of content by text messages to mobile phones. The Mobile Learning website says behaviorist strategies can be used to teach the facts (Mobile Learning, 2006).

Frohberg in his article, writes about different categories of context in mobile learning. The first category is free context, examples of which are learners riding public transportation or in a public eating place. He says that most free context learning projects fit the behaviorist model, as those projects “adopt a transmission model, where learning takes place through the transmission of information from the tutor (the computer) to the learner” (Frohberg, 2006).

Mobile Learning Technologies Support Social Constructivist Learning

Rachel Cobcroft, et al, said that a social constructivist view of learning “considers that students learn best when given the opportunity to learn skills and theories in the context in which they are used. Students then construct their own interpretations of a subject and communicate those understandings to others” (Cobcroft et al, 2006). Mobile technologies can support social constructivist theories of learning by expanding discussion beyond the classroom and providing new ways for students to collaborate and communicate in their own classes and around the world (Todd Bryant, 2006).

In his article Low writes about how digital mobile learning can be supported in learning networks, which he defines as “structures we create in order to stay current and continually acquire, experience, create and connect new knowledge (external).” He goes on to say that “learning networks can be perceived as structures that exist within our minds (internal) in connecting and creating patterns of understanding” (Low, 2006). How does digital mobile learning support the learning networks it enables? It gives them the opportunity to create an always connected mobile external network they can access at any time to contribute to the development of their internal network (Low, 2006).

Mobile Learning Technologies Support Collaborative Learning

Naismith defined collaborative learning activities as, “activities that promote learning through social interaction.” (Naismith, et al, 2004). Mobile devices provide a practical additional communications medium and a portable means of sharing information electronically (Kukulska-Hulme, 2005).

Research into collaborative learning supported by mobile devices is based to a large extent on research on CSCL (computer-supported collaborative learning). Naismith and her collaborators stated that the most convincing examples of conversational learning occur when mobile technology is used to provide a shared conversation space. They concluded that effective learning occurs when people can converse with each other and question and share their descriptions of the world.


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