I’ll Take it to Go

CEP 811 is steaming forward at full speed and we're now getting close to finishing week four of the course. This week, we've been tasked with creating an outline for a MOOC. After many days opening a new blog post and staring at it, I think I've finally landed on a format and topic. So, without further ado, I humbly submit for your consideration...

In I'll Take it to Go, my peers will explore mobile creation skills by working only on mobile phones for the course and through open communication, feedback, and remixing by peers.

Course topic: facilitating active learning on mobile devices.

Students are coming into schools with mobile devices which are not being utilized for a variety of reasons, one of which is not knowing how to effectively engage students in higher order thinking skills. Often, mobile apps and tools are dismissed as only having entertainment value. We are missing a huge opportunity to leverage the computing power in their pockets.

So, the question is, "Why mobile devices?" Consider the amount of time you use your device each day. Directions, research, quick communication...all done on the go. We capture moments through photos and video, we share our lives with one another as we move from place to place. These simple (and often free) tools can be repurposed to support students and the learning process. Nearly all students have experience with mobile devices, so the time spent teaching complicated tools can be eliminated. Remember, Cognitive Load Theory states that learning can only occur when the student can apply sufficient working memory resources (Sweller, Merrienboer, and Paas, 1998). Too often, new tools command the student focus rather than the learning task given. By using familiar tools, accentuating process and encouraging connections, the course will push learners into higher-order application of ideas and skills.

This is meant for all educators and students. Tools that can be used by students can (and should) also be used by teachers and other staff to engage, encourage, and support learning. This won't be a typical MOOC. The course will be decentralized and focus on skill building and innovative application of mobile learning techniques. Learning targets will have suggested tasks to complete, but participants will be able to network, explore, and create their own products for completion. Peer evaluations will be used as benchmarks for progress through the course, and the course can be taken in any sequence. That being said, the length of the course may vary from one person to another.

Participants in the course will be expected to use their mobile device to create a history of artifacts to demonstrate their learning. Areas of focus will include photography, video, audio, social media, and blogging. While all tasks can be done on a traditional desktop or laptop computer, the main objective of the course is to immerse learners in the world of mobile tech so they can bring their experiences back to the classroom to more successfully engage their students. The time it takes to complete is partly determined by the depth of exploration that occurs within each topic and the resulting peer assessment, revision, and remixing. There is no prescribed "time on task," and learners will have an opportunity to explore ideas as in depth as they would like.

Putting it together

The majority of MOOCs focus on using the Internet as content delivery...a large pipeline through which information can be delivered from one person to thousands. The problem is that the Internet doesn't work like a pipe. It works like a network, with information criss-crossing from one person to another. If we want to design effective online classes, we need to build courses to mimic that network. As long as MOOCs focus on technology (the LMS used for delivery) and the content (top-shelf professors), their design and effectiveness will continue to suffer. Pedagogy must has as much importance as the others, if not more, in order to truly innovate in online education.

Resources

TPACK self-assessment. [Digital]. Retrieved from http://caryacademy-sti.wikispaces.com/TPACK+Self-Assessment

Sweller, J, Merrienboer, J, Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review. 10-3, 251-296. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B68p5ayLtLuqZ2wtTTNueElZUHc/edit?usp=drive_web

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