Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology



The Digital Native Debate in Higher Education: A Comparative Analysis of Recent Literature
Erika SmithErika Smith, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND, 2012/12/25

This paper outlines the origins of, and major principles of, the digital native theory of technological adaptation. It then outlines major criticisms, and then briefly discussion of the concept in the Canadian context. "These research findings from various contexts ultimately counter monolithic characterizations of native and immigrant generations in post-secondary environments, and illustrate the importance of further research regarding these nuances in different Canadian settings." But that said, "those originating ideas of the Net generation as digital natives, including Prensky and Tapscott, appear to be reaffirming and even building upon their previous definitions of generational characteristics rather than discarding of them." If typiologies are necessary, suggests the author, there are alternative typologies that could be explored. For example, "Kennedy, Judd, Dalgarno, and Waycott (2010) argue that we might see beyond the digital native/immigrant dichotomy by understanding 'four distinct types of technology users: power users (14% of sample), ordinary users (27%), irregular users (14%) and basic users (45%)'"

Today: Total:76 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Just-in-time online professional development activities for an innovation in small rural schools
Christine Hamel, Stéphane Allaire and Sandrine TurcotteChristine Hamel, Stéphane Allaire, Sandrine Turcotte, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND, 2012/12/25

Examination of the nature of just-in-time technical support in schools in the Remote Networked Schools (RNS), a systemic initiative funded by the Quebec Ministry of Education, in Canada. The bulk were of two types of interaction: start-up, and trouble-shooting. Additionally, "Above all, participating in an emerging community of practice devoted to teaching in an RNS was, in itself, an opportunity for professional development, and ... such opportunities have the potential of enriching teachers’ professional competencies." I don't know how many times this model has been observed, but it keeps coming up.

Today: Total:47 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Weaving a Personal Web: Using online technologies to create customized, connected, and dynamic learning environments
Jessica McElvaney and Zane BergeJessica McElvaney, Zane Berge, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

Jessica McElvaney and Zane Berge do a competent job of outlining PLEs and Connectivism, but their article leaves the reader wanting more. After a while, the lists of relevant technologies and straw-man arguments against social networks grow wearisome. Also, an odd set of references, considering the subject material - they get the Siemens reference wrong (it should be the connectivism paper, not Knowing Knowledge). No description of PLEs is complete without a reference to Scott Wilson (and, preferably, to Graham Attwell and Mohammed Ali Chatti). I find it fascinating that the references in the 'potential disadvantages' section all predate the material they are supposedly criticizing (and the lone contribution from me is manifestly not intended as a "disadvantage of using personal web tools"). Today: Total:114 [Comment] [Direct Link]

What is educational technology, anyway? A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field
Denis Hlynka and Michele JacobsenDenis Hlynka, Michele Jacobsen, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

OK, I agree with the authors that the AECT definition of "educational technology" isn't very good. (It was "the new definition" some time a few years ago when this article was written, but as it only appears online now we'll just call it "the definition"). Here it is: "Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources."

But the writers, arguing from the perspective of the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) manage to go one worse saying the definition goes too far, citing Jaron Lanier ("virtual reality pioneer") as saying "Something started to go wrong with the digital revolution round the turn of the 21st century. The World Wide Web was flooded by a torrent of petty designs sometimes called Web 2.0. This ideology promoted radical freedom on the surface of the web, but that freedom, ironically, is more for machines than people." Really? Is that what happened? Today: Total:120 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Models for Building Knowledge in a Technology-Rich Setting: Teacher Education
Gregory R. MacKinnon and M. Lynn AylwardGregory R. MacKinnon, M. Lynn Aylward, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

According to the abstract, "this paper describes three technology models used by teacher education interns: electronic portfolios, negotiative concept mapping, cognote-supported electronic discussions." central to this account is a model of knowledge construction employed by the authors. In particular, if you map student discourse to knowledge-building techniques, and if you tell students you are doing this, you can increase the frequency of knowledge-building techniques. I'm uncomfortable with the proposition that knowledge is 'built' in the manner described (which appears to me to be an essentially cumulative model of knowledge creation) and I'm uncomfortable with the idea that stimulating rote processes has the effect of stimulating epistemic awareness. Still, it is worth applauding the attempt to engender some critical thinking in online discourse.
Today: Total:34 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Instructional Designers at Work: A Study of How Designers Design
Dennis Dicks and Cindy IvesDennis Dicks, Cindy Ives, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

There's a certain amount of tedium involved in reading this paper (and the next; see below) but there is something worth digging out and highlighting: "Our interviews appear to confirm the findings of Kenny, Zhang, Schwier, and Campbell (2004) that instructional designers do not do their work by following established models, nor by basing actions on theory. Instead, our designers' tactics suggest they view design as an 'ill-structured problem' (Jonassen, 2002; Schon, 1987) or 'wicked problem' (Becker, 2007) with many possible solutions, which they pursue with a large repertoire of social and cognitive skills." Which really forces the question of whether our discipline should continue its ill-founded focus on (this person or that's) theory. Also, again, as with other CJLT papers, ridiculous citations to the (putative) 'literature'. If you're going to cite someone for "wicked problems", at least cite Rittel and Webber's (1973) formulation, a source even a quick look at Wikipedia would reveal as more authoritative (in this topic) than Jonassen, Schon or Becker. Today: Total:90 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Framework for Identifying and Promoting Metacognitive Knowledge and Control in Online Discussants
Elizabeth MurphyElizabeth Murphy, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

I know some people will find this useful, which is why I'm linking to it, as it is a detailed - some might say exhaustive - list of references and citations in ed tech literature related to metacognition. Metacognition is basically the process of thinking about thinking. The paper identifies three major forms:
1. Declarative knowledge about self and strategies;
2. Procedural knowledge about how to use strategies;
3. Conditional knowledge about when and why to use strategies.
Of course, these correspond with three major categories of knowing generally: knowing what, knowing how, and knowing why. These are associated with three major skills: planning, monitoring and evaluation. And that, basically, is the framework for metacognition proposed by the authors. I personally found the paper tedious and pedantic, overflowing with needless references to half-baked and unoriginal theories.

I'm sorry to be so critical, but consider the discussion and table of nine separate theories that follows the observation that "typical representations of MC are based on the argument that it is comprised of two components or dimensions." (Table 1) If the authors weren't so intent on citing the (dubious) "literature) and would simply get to the task at hand, linking to the people they actually depended on, this would be a really good ten-paragraph blog post. As it is, the reader has to dig through a load of extraneous material (and it's not even linked! for goodness sakes). And for the record - this is more a criticism of the journal, which demands that people write this way, than the poor authors, who waste weeks of their lives complying. Today: Total:73 [Comment] [Direct Link]

An Absolutely Riveting Online Course: Nine Principles for Excellence in Web-Based Teaching
Jim Henry and Jeff MeadowsJim Henry, Jeff Meadows, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

This isn't a riveting course, it's an article about riveting courses. According to the abstract, "the authors compiled a list of 9 principles to provide direction in the search for online excellence. The principles include: the online world is a medium unto itself; sense of community and social presence are essential to online excellence; in the online world, content is a verb; great online courses are defined by teaching, not technology." Just a brief aside: we do not need to cite various "authorities" to know that the subject is elusive, complex and many-faceted. It's just name-dropping, and should not be necessary in order to get an article published. As for the content of the article - well, I'm thinking about it. For example, the authors write, "online instruction needs to purposefully and strategically engage learners in activities and interaction." Are all four elements of this sentence always needed? Or, "excellence in web-based courses is founded on excellence in teaching." Really? Or is it excellence in exposition? Ah - but I'm being picky. The paper summarizes a lot of what is held to be true in the online learning community, and therein lies its value. Via EDUCAUSE. Today: Total:78 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Off With Their heads! Copyright Infringement in the Canadian Online Higher Educational Environment
Kelly EdmondsKelly Edmonds, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

As the author notes, "It becomes increasingly frustrating to remain current on how to create, use and publish works in the digital environment in ways that respect copyright... The consequences for copyright infringement, whether intended or not, are out of proportion to the need for open access for learning and knowledge creation." Quite right. Good and comprehensive overview of copyright's impact on Canadian academic. Additional articles from the Spring, 2006, Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology are also available online. (p.s. I got an email today, and now I see an editorial, boasting about low acceptance rates. Why would anyone be proud of wasting so much academic content, especially given that the peer review system almost guarantees that some quality and innovative work is being thrown out?) Today: Total:116 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Constructivism, Education, Science, and Technology
Moses A. BoudouridesMoses A. Boudourides, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

The fall issue of the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology is now online. This issue represents a significant advance, providing some of the better links between online learning and educational theory seen in recent years. The theme of this issue, "Constructivism and Online Learning," offers a wealth of opportunity for enquiry, and the authors do not disappoint. I include four papers from this issue in today's OLDaily, starting with this overview paper, a detailed taxonomy of different schools of constructivism - of course, in the spirit, this paper would have been better presented graphically, or even as one of those online quizzes, "What kind of a constructivist are you?" Today: Total:39 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Self-Regulated Inquiry with Networked Resources
Philip H. WinnePhilip H. Winne, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

Approaching learning from the point of view of there being "extremely accessible networked resources," the authors examine "questions about how existing designs for learning activities should be revised, extended or supported with different tools." This paper sets out a "a Resource Inquiry model consisting of five stages: (1) Set resource inquiry goals, (2) Plan for resource study, (3) Search and select resources, (4) Study and assess new knowledge, and (5) Critique and recommend resources." This approach, a self-regulated learning model, is set in the context of problem based learning, collaborative problem solving, and project based learning. The paper also lists a short set of tools for resource inquiry learning: a goal setting tool, resource repositories, study tools, resource evaluation tools, and recommendation tools. Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Bridging Theory and Practice: Developing Guidelines to Facilitate the Design of Computer-based Learning Environments
Lisa D. YoungLisa D. Young, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

OK, first, nobody should ever be allowed to use the phrase 'Bridging Theory and Practice' in a title again. It has been done, done to death, and adds nothing to the title. That said, let me say that the first three words of this paper were the works; what follows is the development of a modest set of three principles of online instructional design. What they lack in number they certainly make up for in worthiness: create environments that include social negotiation and cognitive responsibility; provide authentic experiences and contexts; and allow for the development of pervasive knowledge. Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Social Capital in Virtual Learning Communities and Distributed Communities of Practice
Gordon McCallaGordon McCalla, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

This is a high quality paper that takes the concept of social capital, described in lavish detail in the first part of the paper, and applies it to online learning. An immediate benefit of this is approach is the drawing of a set of distinctions between virtual learning communities and distributed communities of practice. The authors also draw on the constructivist idea of knowledge (as a relation between the knower and that which is known) to diagram a process of learning in online communities. There are many subthreads in this article: the role of trust in social capital, negative impacts of social capital, interaction, and cohesion. Don't miss this one.CRLF Today: Total:47 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Human-Computer Interaction: A Review of the Research on its Affective and Social Aspects
Monique BrodeurMonique Brodeur, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

This paper surveys the rrsults from a couple dozen studies of human-computer interaction (HCI). The more I read such studies the less reliable I think they are, but that's a subject for aother day. What I found interesting in this paper was the way the discussion eventually wrapped around the question of "locus of control" and raises the question of whether it is (for example) reflective of a personality trait inherent in the subject or a property inherent in the interface. I think this is an interesting issue: we hear generalizations about various cultures, for example, which suggest that their students won't take the initiative, which if true has an impact on system design. But it could equally be that systems designed for such cultures, by assuming this generalization, ensure its truth. Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Organic Aggregation of Knowledge Object in Educational Systems
Gilbert PaquetteGilbert Paquette, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

One wonders how Harasim (1990) could have made a comment about web-based learning several years before the web was invented. But if you get past this and a bit more gratuitous name-dropping you get to the heart of this paper, the gist of which isn't really revealed until last section: "If learning objects are to be single-purposed, of use only in a single context, and only appropriate to a single level of granularity and abstraction, then the value of learning object repositories will be seriously impaired. The learning object is a raw material that can be used in different ways. It is the activities you do with it and their integration in meaningful scenarios or functions that count. For this, we need a very flexible educational operations system that goes beyond fixed distance education platforms and LMSs, and that can complement other platforms or LMS by providing new repurposing capabilities." (This special issue of CJLT devoted to learning objects has just come online.) Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Great Idea, But How Do I Do It? A Practical Example of Learning Object Creation Using SGML/XML
Janet BartzJanet Bartz, Canadian Journal of Learning and TechnologyCanadian Journal of Learning, CC BY-NC-ND,

Once upon a time, the idea was that learning objects would be authored in XMl and then rendered using stylesheet transforms. The idea was that it would be as easy to change the look and feel as it is to switch between looks for this Zen Garden CSS demonstration site. This idea has been lost a little, but it's time to bring it back and dust it off, much as has been nicely done in this description of how learning objects should, really, be written. Today: Total:43 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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