Práticas educativas no Second Life

Juntamente com a Telma Jesus, concluí com êxito a apresentação do nosso trabalho sobre as práticas educacionais no SL, neste caso, a organização de uma exposição.
O tema desenvolvido foi "a segurança educativa da Internet", tendo sido criado um cenário específico.
Utilizamos alguns recursos que se mostraram muito úteis e enriquecedores para esta actividade e foram também criados alguns materiais.

Pedagogicamente, foi muito satisfatório o uso do Presenter para explicar à professora e aos colegas as fases do nosso trabalho; do notecard com o texto do Guião desta apresentação no Congresso; dos scripts para dar movimento e animação aos objectos ou a ligação a uma webpage; dos vários painéis criados a partir do objecto denominado "cubo", onde foram expostas as imagens antes compostas no Windows.

Penso que o blogue da turma X no servidor Blogger, onde seriam prestadas novas informações sobre a exposição ou para receber sugestões e comentários dos visitantes, é uma forma de criar interactividade entre os organizadores de uma exposição online e os seus visitantes.
Finalmente, considero ser reconfortante e motivador saber que a audiência presente ficou satisfeita com a exposição e se mostrou entusiasmada por visitar nesse dia a exposição. Para mim, foi importante receber na altura este feedback muito positivo. Deste modo, é fácil estar motivado para continuar ou melhorar este tipo de actividades.

Foi também agradável perceber que a explicitação da exposição preparada por mim e a Telma foi compreendida por todos.

Esta actividade permitiu desenvolver muitas competências que se espera existerem num tutor de ensino online.


Review of annotated bibliography

I’d like to comment the annotated bibliography that Mónica Filipa posted on her blog.

We may find there several interesting entries about transparency in Cooperative Online Education, including learning objects. This reveals that the author had done an extensive research and was concerned to explain thoroughly this theory, showing how the researchers are dealing with the problems and how they overcame them. The papers suggested are a serious contribution to understand the theory's principal concepts, because they often present illustrative study cases.

Most of the time, Mónica shows a critical spirit, developing her own interpretation about the material and resources she had read, trying to show us the most important aspects (cooperation, visibility, transparency in online education) and how/where they should be improved. (See here an example).

The posts are well organized (sometimes, the sentences have a different color), with the main ideas gathered in a logical way, i.e., we learn what are the problems studied and the solutions defended. The citations are efficiently contextualized with the text. The author’s name and paper’s title are graphically identified, whose online access is permitted through the link.
However, the habitual references aren't visible and the author forgot to indicate when she had retrieved the materials.

As a suggestion, I think it would be easier to the viewer if the posts had different titles. Since Mónica had decided to create several posts, I believe the blog would benefit, for example, from the specialized research done on Internet by interested users.

Educational practices on Second Life

I'd like to invite everyone interested in online education to visit Second Life, from 23 to 26 January, after 9 p.m., in Virtlantis (157, 48, 451). The master's degree students in Elearning Pedagogy of the Universidade Aberta (www.univ-ab.pt) will present several good educational practices that can be developed on Second Life.

I'll present my educational practice on 25th January, at 10 p.m.

I hope you'll enjoy this experience.


Online education: transparency and visibility

Together with two learning partners of a master's degree that I'm attending, I created this video that focuses on how transparency thought support some learning activities on the credit unit PPEL, because we believe that our course has great potentialities within cooperative learning theory. We hope that this idea is clear on the video.
Unfortunately, I'm not able to guarantee a video with a good image, by posting it on Youtube. Although the sound is perfect, it seems that some visual quality is at risk there...

Everybody cited on the video kindly allowed us to use their personal data.

Well, enjoy it and feel free to comment.


Teaching as transparent learning

George Siemens discusses on his blog (retrieved January 9, 2010) some questions about transparency in online education. This thought is interesting: "When someone decides to share their thoughts and ideas in a transparent manner, they become a teacher to those who are observing." We might conclude that the members of a learning community learn better when each one knows the other's important aspects, besides producing and sharing information.
Because the value of transparent learning became more apparent to him, he encouraged his students to profit of networks, such as blogging, discussions in Moodle, language translations, cohorts in Second Life. As the course facilitators, the teachers were active in sharing their ideas and views, but they "were only two nodes in multi-node network".

Some important thoughts in this post are:

The real value of the course was in fostering connections between learners and concepts.

The varying cognitive architecture of those who are new to a subject and those with significant experience provides support to the value of peer-to-peer learning.

A student who has just started blogging can likely relate better to someone who is still only considering blogging. Or a student who has just mastered key math, physics, or philosophical concepts is better able to relate to students who are still grappling with the concepts.

My argument is this: when we make our learning transparent, we become teachers. Even if we are new to a field and don’t have the confidence to dialogue with experts, we can still provide important learning opportunities to others.

Transparency in expressing our understanding, our frustrations, and our insights helps others who are at a similar stage. Yes, we’ll participate in the broader discussions held by experts in time, but lurking is no excuse to deny others (who are also new to the field) our progressive insights.

Transparency for cooperation

Transparency for Cooperation

related [www.seminar.net]
Transparency for Cooperation

Visualizing Student Profiles through NKI’s Online Catalogue and Student Network

Transparency in Cooperative Online Education

Christian Dalsgaard and Morten Flate Paulsen, in the paper "Transparency in Cooperative Online Education", (22 pages) (retrieved January 9, 2010) try to answer to the question: What is the potential of social networking within cooperative online education?

Since the abstract explains their purpose better than I, here it is:

“The purpose of this article is to discuss the following question: Social networking does not necessarily involve communication, dialogue, or collaboration. Instead, the authors argue that transparency is a unique feature of social networking services. Transparency gives students insight into each other’s actions. Cooperative learning seeks to develop virtual learning environments that allow students to have optimal individual freedom within online learning communities. This article demonstrates how cooperative learning can be supported by transparency. To illustrate this with current examples, the article presents NKI Distance Education’s surveys and experiences with cooperative learning. The article discusses by which means social networking and transparency may be utilized within cooperative online education. In conclusion, the article argues that the pedagogical potential of social networking lies within transparency and the ability to create awareness among students”.

The authors argue that transparency is important to online education, as a prerequisite for distance students to work cooperatively. They believe that transparency enables students to be visible to each other as potential partners and resources.

I’d like to focus my comment on the relation between transparency and cooperative learning. The pedagogical potential of transparency lies within developing social networks in which students’ activities are visible (whose privacy is assured) to other students. We learn that “cooperative learning and a socio-cultural approach provide a strong motive for support of transparency between students”. Maybe with the condition that all students on distance education should contribute to the learning community, either with high quality contributions or with low quality contributions, be visible as potential partners and resources for others. That’s the challenge.

The use of social software (blogs, wikis, social networking sites, RSS and social bookmarking) by the learning community is discussed also in the paper, not only to understand how users produce, share and refine information of mutual interest, but how it could be used to strengthen affinity between students. For example, if a personal tool like del.icio.us is available to others, this way it supports transparency and become social, because students can connect to and subscribe to the personal tools of other students. Thus, social networking is a pedagogical cooperative supplement within a virtual learning community.

***MY SAY***

I agree that creating awareness among students is a good pedagogical thought, because on online education is important that students be motivated to work together with someone that they will hardly meet face-to-face ever. Arguing in favor that transparency might support cooperative learning between students, that it has a pedagogical potential within a virtual learning community is a great contribution to debate the challenges of online education.


Supporting transparency between students

Christian Dalsgaard, in his papers Supporting Transparency between Students (4 pages) and Social Networking Sites: Transparency in Online Education (6 pages), (retrieved January 8, 2010) is interested in showing how social software/web 2.0 has a role in the relations between students: "the basis of this case was to empower students by providing them with tools for individual use and social interaction". We may know these tools (weblogs, social bookmarks, socail networking) and that students have no difficulty to use them to contact their colleagues and friends. But how far do students know each other while using these social tools in collaborative working? The author explores this question (increasing of transparency between students) through the results of a case study in a university course.

Dalsgaard says that transparency "implies that the doings of students and teachers are made visible within a learning environment." He's main concern is not to understand how students collaborate to achieve the activities within the LMS. Instead, the author wishes to prove that these sharing and communication in this environment might not mean that students create a personal relation. For example, in discussion forums, does one need to see other's personal profile? However, if the students communicate through social software, that may be different... As thinks Dalsgaard, "communication within social networks is a matter of transparency", even social networking do not necessary involve communication, dialogue or collaboration similar to discussion forums (send messages or documents). In a site of that kind, for example, Facebook or Myspace, there is a personal page with a profile, wich the owner develops and modifies. The second paper mentioned above argues that a central characteristic of these social networking sites is "a combination of personalization and socialization." In opposition to a discussion forum, where you are "visible" only when you post a message, there are the personal page - the owner can chose the look and content of the page - that can be viewed or the activities that can be followed by others, this means that all the actions are transparent. On the other hand, communicate and sharing is possible in those sites because people uptade their profiles, add pictures or texts which their "friends" follow and comment. Their pedagogical potential is that student's own work interact with his personal page. As the author clarifies, a profile page is not personal in the sense that it is private; it can be made public."
So, education might profit if students in a course are aware not only of each other's work, activities and thoughts, but also be each other's resources. This is possible when transparency exists between students: if my colleague is visible to me, I may be more confident to see how we may help each other to improve our learning.

Some author's conclusions are:

a) It's possible to make students visible through their writings and questions (colaborative working, discussion forums, weblogs, social bookmarking).

b) Weblogs encourage empowerment, because they are open to individual or personal writing of students.

c) From the point of view of transparency, the problem with the employment of social bookmarking in this case study was that they were not read very much by other students.

d) Although the weblogs supported tansparency, they did not fully support the collaborative work of the students.
e) The personal page provides a basis and a starting point for social networking. On the other hand, the starting point for social interaction in discussion forums is the forum itself.

***MY SAY***

Online educators and education institutions might, in my opinion, profit from these study cases, because the author discussed important questions related to the sucess of the online students learning. The way how these interact while developping activities may depend on the awareness of each others' thoughts and opinions. So, I believe that the educational use of digital media should support the transparency between students. Thus, the discussion forum, for example, created within the LMS may not be sufficient. The personal nature of weblogs and social networkings showed that they are an useful educational ressource too. Another important issue is that the information and resources to be shared are developed by the students and made available to others, with a positive control by themselves over their activities.


A escola no Second Life

Com o avanço tecnológico, a educação começa a apostar na tecnologia de informação cujas ferramentas de interacção permitem aos alunos estarem mais envolvidos no processo de aprendizagem. Essas ferramentas podem ser objectos de aprendizagem ou, mesmo, ambientes virtuais de aprendizagem, como uma sala de aula virtual.

Como exemplo de um ambiente educativo online, temos o Second Life. Este ambiente imersivo permite uma interactividade incomparável às situações que se podem verificar no ensino tradicional, em que a velocidade de informação é considerável e o aluno (avatar) pode ter sentado a seu lado na sala virtual alguém que vive a quilómetros de distância ou noutro país...

No seguinte vídeo, podemos saber como isso é possível.