EC&I 831

virtual learning communities

In the last class, I learned about many wonderful experiences with communities. I especially like the idea of building trust within the community which helps it become a better place for every member to participate, interact, and grow.
I think the trust-building might not be an easy task. It requires mutual understanding among members and their commitment to the community. This kind of relationship does not grow over the night. Instead, it needs to be nurtured and taken good care of over an extended period of time.
I guess the same applies to virtual learning communities. The members in the virtual learning communities actively participate, engage, collaborate with each other to help develop the mutual trust and understanding which ties them altogether. In this virtual communities, they learn with and from each other through interaction and communication.
However, I think we also need to pay attention to the fact that internet opens the door for everyone to go into the on-line space that we create for ourselves or for our communities. If we do not protect ourselves properly in the virtual environment, chances are we might become extremely vulnerable.

EC&I 831, Major Digital Project

Flipped classroom

The concept of flipped classroom is a new one to me. I have never heard or experienced this type of classroom before in China. I find this video really helps me to understand how a flipped classroom works.
I think this form of classroom teaching has huge benefits of providing differentiate instruction to students. Instead of lecturing in front of the class for the most of time, teachers put learning resources on-line ahead of time for students to study on their own. The whole class time is dedicated to activities and discussions which allow students to engage in critical thinking skills and practising what they’ve learned before class. Students are provided opportunities to interact with, work with and learn from each other. Teachers could have more time to observe students activities and offer appropriate support in helping students making connections between knowledge and practice.
Of course, this type of teaching and learning requires that all students are well prepared before class. Each student’s familiarity with the content material and contribution to group discussion or activity is vital to the success of this kind of collaborative learning.
Teachers also need to have advanced knowledge in technology and media in order for them to organize the flipped classroom. But anyways, I think it is a powerful instructional tool for teachers to use and has great potential in fostering student creativity. Any comments or experiences in working with this type of classroom?

EC&I 831

Thoughts after the first class

My previous learning experience with social media and open education is quite limited. I graduated in foreign languages from a Chinese university and for most of my undergraduate courses, I learned in a traditional way (e.g. listening to lectures, writing assignments, preparing for final exams) with very little exposure to the use of social media. Of course, language learning requires practicing communicative skills which could not be done silently on one’s own. In some of my language courses, teachers used multimedia technologies to help students practice listening and speaking skills. This was all I could remember about how technology was integrated in my undergraduate learning experiences in China.

When I came to study in the Master of Education program at the University of Regina, I was exposed to a variety of topics related to Information and Communication Technology in education in the course EC&I 830 Seminar on Curriculum and ICT. I had the opportunity to explore the benefits and challenges that the increased use of ICT has brought to schools, educators and students and how to make the best use of ICT to benefit student learning. Some critical issues such as digital divide, digital literacy have also been discussed. It is during this class that I feel that I’ve started to gain a theoretical understanding of how ICT could be incorporated into teaching and learning.

In the first class of EC&I 831 Social Media and Open Education, I had for the first time an on-line interactive learning experience. Although I was off line for a couple of times which was probably due to the slow internet connection that I have in my room, I’d like to emphasize that it was a wonderful experience for me to participate in a class and connect with people from different geographic locations. I’m especially amazed by the idea that this blackboard interactive system could accommodate at the same time even thousands of people from all around the world. This provides a wonderful space where people can share their resources, ideas and perspectives. Also, I’m quite new with platforms such as twitter and blogs. I think these would be powerful tools for me to explore and to interact with professionals and learn from others.

I value the idea of cooperative learning and I think it is important to create an inclusive and cooperative community in which everyone helps each other to learn and to succeed. Social media and open education provide powerful opportunities in this respect. I really look forward to expand my learning experience through networking within and beyond this course.