Tuesday, July 27, 2004

M.Ed. Major Research Project

Of course a major aspect of any interaction is the human or social component. I'm particularly interested in the tipping point where technology and interpersonal relationships interact:

  • Who -- in this case all stakeholders -- from instructional designers and curriculum developers, through coaches, educators, facilitators, instructors, teachers and professors to learners, students and trainees...
  • What helps ensure that "newbies" will stick with it through the "trials and tribulations" common to all new users of technology? I think the buddy system, or extremely low teacher-student ratios are important to ensure early success. It's also imperative that "students" are prepared for the challenges which await. Indeed, a willingness to "roll with the punches" technology will throw is key to success in any information and communications technology (ICT)-based education.
  • When do the characteristics of an "online knowledge-building community" which is self-supporting, sustainable and viable show?
  • Where do participants find the resources to make all this happen? There's no question in my mind that LAMP is the only way to go. Linux; Apache; MySQL; PHP provides a comprehensive set of tools for making and posting web sites. The M and the P of the acronym ensure posted pages may be interactive.
  • Why this approach? I've tried to come up with a way whereby students and educators can make objects or artifacts in media of their choosing for sharing and trading with others with similar interests the world over. The use of "free" or "open" tools means that no one is economically precluded. This ties back to a notion of sharing and the philosophy that the only true way to learn anything is to try and teach it to others. Such an approach also works to engender empathy between educator and student as all stakeholders work to implement media in online education.

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