Fr. Jacob Dankasa – My Blog

Archive for the ‘Instructional technology’ Category

Published in the International Journal of Research Studies in Educational Technology, Vol. 3, No. 2.

Abstract

Mobile technologies are promising features that point to the future of instruction and learning. This paper reviews literature on mobile technology in order to identify areas of focus for researchers with interest in Africa towards contextualizing the use of mobile technology for mobile learning (m-learning) within the African experience. It examined the uses of mobile technologies as explored by researchers and pointed out the benefits and drawbacks. This paper extracted the recommendations of researchers on how to overcome or correct the setbacks to the implementation of mobile technology into the learning environment. It recommended offline access to learning materials on mobile devices to be seriously contemplated for m-learning in Africa. There is need for further research in the developing world of Africa to measure the outcome of offline mobile learning and its effects on cost reduction, and to develop theoretical frameworks that will evaluate programs, learners and instructors for building effective instructional design using the mobile technologies. This paper draws a roadmap and sets the ball rolling for designers of mobile learning modules, instructors and researchers in the field of education to work in situating learning with mobile technology as a method of choice in the learning environment. It also demonstrates to learners the much functionality their mobile devices offer them in attaining their educational goals.

Click here to read the full journal article.

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The scenario of ‘no electricity’ is not new to me. In fact, I have endured more than a day of blackout. For those of us who come from countries that power supply is not stable this has been a misery experience. I travelled to my country, Nigeria in spring this year. I had to charge my phone in the car sometimes because that is a better source of power for me. I have to stay off my favorite TV shows, and fold my laptop when the battery goes down, only to wait for hours, perhaps, power may come back. On the alternative, spend some money on powering a generator machine to get some light. It is quite an unpleasant experience!
I had to contend with no Internet for days and sometimes have to go to the cyber café to connect to the Internet. This was miserable for the fact that I like surfing the web, checking my emails or connecting to my social networking forum on the go. Although the mobile phone service providers are making tremendous progress in making Internet service available to subscribers, the Internet connections are still super slow, and getting something better comes with a price. However, I must say though that the provision of Internet by service providers is getting better, but the electricity supply is still epileptic. Therefore, I had to get alternative means of electricity or stay in Blackout several hours. The popular means of connection to some form of limited Internet is through the cell phones, but I cannot get the serious stuff, such as my class work, done with this limited connection. The technology connection is only one little piece of a large pie of the inconvenience that lack of electricity brings.
I wish we had fall break!

Blogs and Wikis are very important additions to the learning process. Although people have different purposes for operating a blog or Wiki, one single uniting factor is for the purpose of sharing information. Duffy and Bruns (2006) opine that blogs and wikis explore flexible and mobile technologies for collaborative and (co)creative purposes, as well as for the critical assessment and evaluation of information. Blogging as a versatile phenomenon catering for variety of people “has evolved from its early origin as a medium for the publication of simple, online personal diaries, to the latest disruptive technology, the ‘killer app’ that has the capacity to engage people in collaborative activity, knowledge sharing, reflection and debate” (Williams & Jacobs, 2004; citing Hiler, 2003).

I explored some blogs. Among them are two for educational purposes and one religious. I looked at a blog called Education Next (http://educationnext.org//). It is a journal for opinion and research. Another blog is This Week in Education (www.scholasticadminstrator.typepad/thisweekineducation). Here students give updates about their readings for the previous week. It has a link for teachers, parents, kids and administrators. One religious blog I looked at is the blog for the Catholic Bishop of Dallas (http://bishopfarrell.blogspot.com). The bishop as the chief shepherd of his diocese uses this blog to communicate and to teach his faithful.

In most of these blogs I observed that people comment on issues that are particularly interesting to them. There are a lot of postings that go without a single comment which shows that there is selective interest on the topics posted.

I explored wikis such as Sugar River HOSA (http://sugarriverhosa.wetpaint.com/). This wiki is specially made for grades 10-12, a high school course, two college courses and a licensing program. It is for Health Occupations Student Association. Students get information on events that are related to the local health. It contains students’ homework and schedules of activities.

Another Wiki is the Microbiowiki (http://microbiowiki.wetpaint.com). It is a wiki site for students, teachers, and those interested in learning about the human anatomy, mainly for undergraduates, but high school students may participate.
Using blogs and wikis for instructional purpose are beneficial for a lot of reasons. Few of these benefits include:
1. Blogs can be student-centered offering the learner the opportunity to get involved beyond a discussion forum.
2. One needs little or no technical background to make updates to blog, as Duffy and Bruns (2006) calls it the “novice’s web authoring tool.”
3. Contents can easily be filtered by entries and information shared can be retrieved easily in the future.
4. Wikis are capable of offering the summary of one’s contribution and progress so far which is important for one’s assessment.
5. Wikis offer opportunity for students to share their knowledge and make updates where necessary when something that is hitherto not known is learnt.

The drawbacks I see in blogs and wikis are the fact that extra care has to be made in postings within blogs. Long and boring postings are mostly not read in entirety. Research has shown that most people gloss through online reading when it is poorly organized or too long (Sri & Panayiotis,2001). In addition, younger people in most cases don’t visit blogs. They prefer the social networks (Dankasa, 2010). So some interesting features that include visual presentation and pictures may invite them to the blogs.

References

Dankasa, J. (2010). New Media as tools for Evangelization: Towards Developing Effective Communication Strategy in the Catholic Church. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. St. Cloud State University, Minnesota.

Duffy, P. D., & Bruns, A. (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, 26 Sep. 2006, Brisbane.

Sri H. K., & Panayiotis Z. Reading Online or on Paper: Which is Faster? http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.12.2890&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

Williams, J. B., & Jacobs, J. S., (2004). Exploring the use of blogs as learning spaces in the higher education sector. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(2), pp. 232-247.