Monday, November 3, 2008

Week 8 - Issues with Flexible Learning.

"What are some of the issues that you think are significant in terms of what the modern internet has to offer to flexible learning?"

I''m sure that this topic has been plagued all of us as we have been searching to develop our plans for how we will each make our own teaching more flexible. The thinking which has impacted most on my perspective was that around open platforms and the positives and negatives associated with this approach. Raewyn and i have both discussed our concerns about the need to have some information related to our course in a forum which is not open -ie; contextual issues relating to be able to identify client/patients/ or clinical settings from what is being discussed in forums such as Wiki's. the proposed changes which i envisage making to my course may require students to share information which relates to and could identify either clients or the health setting/provider.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Downes video - as it provided some more depth to my thinking around this topic. His promotion of Web 2.0 was interesting in respect to his principles ie: Interaction :The capacity to communicate with others who are interested in like minded information, to social necessity to be with others in a face to face setting. I continue to hold the position that this is vitally important for nurses as part of their undergraduate education pathway. ie; providing them with a learing environment which assist them to develop their communication skills. to be able to engage in face to face provides them with this context. All that said. Downes profiled other online media which were unfamliar to me ie: skype, weblogging, Elluminate, CIDER. I'm keen to find out more about these and how they may assist the learner engagement. Simple interaction techniqhes on how to keep the learner engaged eg: by blogging after lectures was a great idea that i hadn't thought. Setting up email accounts
Usability - again , a reminder to keep things simple and consistent. for the learner and the teacher - a simple concept but when i reflect on the complex nature of how learners currently acesss knoweldge from the courses i work in much of it is focused solely on the visual learner - the aural, kinesthetic learner is not catered for well. Downes also alludes to the need for teacher to use their own langugage -/vocabularly to be convey their message - this made me consider the technical language that nurses use on a daily basis. much of this isn't able to be reinterpreteed for safety reasons likewise within the course which i teach- contemporary maori health issue - Te Reo Maori - Maori words can not be reinterpreted or translated to a different meaning however it maybe possible to offer a personal interpretation of a concept to provide a complimentary view for the learner eg; Tapu - concept of restriction. an explaination/audio link to my interpreation of this concept with a example from a nursing /health care setting./scenario
Relevance: a huge challenge for me in regards to the course i faciltate. often learners do not see the relevance until they can see or experience some of the knowledge in the clinical setting. ie: until they engage with clients who identify as maori in a health setting they do not see the value of this .....Downes refers to this as relevance is determined by Function ie; what is needed for the here and now.....he reinforces that relevance is 'hard' to ensure and teachers need to employ guerrilla tactics!!! now that is something to another time.

conversely Keen vs Weinberger viewpoints we an echo of many of use who have considered the negatives for much of this new media led teaching methodology. Raewyn talks of big brother syndrome and i think she has a valid point. The databases that are created around each of us already are extensive. however that said from an educational viewpoint the academic credibilty of many educators around the world has surely been open to more scrutiny with the open platform approach, and the plethora of media which can be utilised to advance 'knowledge' To me each person has to consider their own 'philosophy' or approach to how/when and where they will utlised different electronic media to convey their knowledge. this said for many it is becoming a 'requirement' driven by our employers? and to some extent the learners. For educators this may signal a change is direction? for others such as ourselves it is the beginning of a totally new way of viewing our teaching pratice..