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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Connectivism

Just about every interaction and opportunity can be a learning experience.  Below is a Mind-Map Graphic Organizer depicting my thoughts regarding my own learning network.  As I completed this look into my Connective Learning Network, I determined that on the left side of the diagram, I had listed a variety of resources which I consult, or interact with, in random order.   However, on the right side, I have listed various life learning experiences, from school and career, which occurred in a more sequential order:

Analysis of this Mind-Map:

This diagram reflects the two divergent styles of learning theory: the right side representing learning that is acquired in some “right” way – through direct instruction such as used by the Behaviorists, and through sequential building of understanding onto life experiences and prior knowledge, such as the cognitivists would prescribe.

On the left side of the diagram, however, learning opportunities are not sequential, but rather are a reflection of connections to others and the learning that is gained through random and planned interactions with people and resources, such as prescribed by the Constructivists. The left side of the diagram reflects my own choice in interacting with the outside world, as I am inspired to do so, through media and by building on such human and experiential resources, as the Connectivists would prescribe.

In essence, it is reasonable to summarize all four theories, and the methods that derive from them, can be successfully combined to produce a well-rounded and well balanced learning experience, and should each be considered when planning and designing effective curriculum, especially with regards to curriculum which requires a meaningful and enjoyable experience via a human-computer interface, such as with online-instruction.

Although not intentional, this mind-map may actually be representational of the two-hemispheres of the human brain, considering research which as hinted to the idea that one side is more sequential, and the other side more global in its operation. This also reminds me of the human-computer interaction model of how Facebook/Timeline is beginning to shape it’s functionality: in one part, users are creating and recording a sequence of life events and interactions, which can reflect their learning and gaining of new information.

While on the other hand, the way that Facebook is used is designed to function in a non-sequential network of potential connections to outside resources, such as friends, shared content, access to other’s timelines and albums, and the opportunity to communicate through message and chat. This unique juxtaposition of both a sequential and a non-linear connectedness can likewise lead to invaluable information gained in a non-traditional learning format.

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Brain and Learning… and Forgetting…

Technology and Instructional Design for Elders

Although “Brain Based Research and Learning Studies,” may, or may not, be able to drastically improve the way that Instructional Designers share information in a way that improves learning for an average student, it may have dramatic effects on the way that science and communication can benefit those who are suffering from chemical or electrical dysfunctions in the brain, learning and memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Let’s face it.  Students and adults spend a lot of their lives trying to learn things, both valuable and trivial, and trying to make what they have learned, stick in their memories, and be available for recall.  But many of the older adult “students” that I work with as an Activity Specialist are eager to learn, recall facts, quiz themselves, and study new things, but fear the deterioration of their brain and memory more than the fear Cancer.  Why?  Because most of my Elder Students all have friends who have survived cancers, heart attacks, kidney transplants and broken hips… but loathe the loss of the irreplaceable organ that might one day face “Dementia” or “Alzheimer’s” or “Old Timer’s  Disease,” causing them to forget everything that has ever mattered to them in their lives.

Dementia Weekly:  http://alzheimersweekly.com/content/energy-behind-alzheimers  is a simply written Article/Blog Post that highlights current brain research in memory and memory loss, as well as current treatments, and pays equal fairness to “popular remedies,” being marketed to the Dementia Demographic.   So where does Instructional Design fit into this picture:  in the advent of new technology, the field of APPS for the Elderly and Memory Impaired is wide open for development!  The intuitiveness of a touch tablet is not lost on the aged, yet a youthful designer demographic is simply unfamiliar with the unique challenges and needs of the memory impaired, which Technology, APPS, Memory Lessons, and even basic “reminder” tools could assist.  For those who have loved ones with memory impairments, Instructional Design and “APPS for the Elderly” my be the missing “remedy” in the current “Memory Medicine” cabinet.

In a recent NewsMania Health article:  http://www.newsmania.com/difficult-learning-processes-stimulates-the-elderly%E2%80%99s-brain-4241/  brain research is showing that there is significant value in learning by methods other than quizzing:  “Older people assimilate better if they learn new information by a “strenuous” method (based on trial / error) than by an easier one (question followed by the correct answer), according to a study published Wednesday in the Canadian journal Psychology and Aging.”  This contradicts previous assumptions and publications.  Such “Brain Based Learning Research,” can, therefore, have a progressive impact on the way that learning and “Memory-Maintenance” materials may begin to be created using Technology and Instructional Design tools and methods. 

What might this research be teaching us?  That maybe, our human brains are biologically wired to help us stay safe and live longer… based on the experience we have gained from the lives we have lived, not just from the facts we studied in school, or the dates and details we can’t seem to recall.  So, it’s never too late to learn new things… and, don’t worry if you make a mistake or two along the way… it might help to save your life!

Eileen Callejas, MA, AC, MBA

Eileen is a Consultant to Activity and Recreation Directors, who work with elderly and disabled persons,Through her business:  123 Key Concepts Consulting, Inc.  Phone:  407-234-4768   E-mial:   Eileen@123Keys.com

Eileen is also the founder of www.Helpertunity.org, which supports arts and technology education & volunteer activities for elderly, disabled, and homeless persons living in care facilities.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
Video

It’s a Technology Renaissance Out There!

Are we entering into a time of Technology Renaissance around the world?

Just as the artists, authors and play writers brought the great Empire of Rome and Classical Europe out of the Dark Ages and into a time of expanded learning, creativity, and expression, so too has the tipping point of internet connectivity and speed paired with mobile and touch-tablet devices generated a New Technology Renaissance for our time.  Just nine months after the UN officially declared Internet Access a basic human right, as seen here: (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/06/united-nations-wikileaks-internet-human-rights/38526/) the cries of the “disconnected” are now beginning to be heard.  The “Social Media Revolution” has now reached a cresting point, as the wave of change for this decade, and nowhere have I seen it presented better than in this YouTube Video: (http://youtu.be/0eUeL3n7fDs).

As I begin my project on blogging, instructional design, and e-learning, I encountered a helpful blog site full of articles on making e-learning modules more effective:  (http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/instructional-design/) But this is just my starting point.  My challenges are unique in this field, because of the populations I serve. My organization, (www.Helpertunity.org), works and advocates for the rights of the elderly, disabled and homeless, both children and adults, to gain access to the wealth of resources, including wireless internet, technology, and online learning.

My personal emphasis is on the Human-Computer Interface in instruction, and the excellent opportunities that exist for designers to create learning modules and classic or kinesthetic instructional game-like apps, not necessarily just what you would classify as the realistic looking “video games” of today, but efficient and engaging tools that truly mesh with the unique needs of these populations.

As our Creative Technology Renaissance progresses, we must start with a look at what is new in the GadgetBox this year:  (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42218772/vp/46561265#46389653) especially the videos which previewed a “First Look at Windows 8,” as well as some of the “Connected Gadgets at the Toy Fair” in February, 2012, to get a good idea of where we might be headed…

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized