Theories

During my research and studies within the MET program at UBC, I have discovered certain theories that resonate deeply within my own philosophies, teaching practice and experiences in eLearning and thoughts around the digital and physical world philosophy and learning experiences.

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Applications

There are many applications of the theories learned in MET. Here I've developed a compilation of applications of theories and artifacts that can be used for teaching almost any level. All elements are built upon the principles of constructivist learning complete with scaffolding opportunities. This list is only a beginning, as the applications of learning theory are based on creativity and reflection as well as suitability for a group.

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Practice

The MET program had a profound impact on my teaching practice and learning methods. During my time of study, I built a Digital Media Arts Program which now provides learning opportunities for 400 students of all ages. Everything from better use of Moodle, social media, community of practice and much more have all become a part of my daily teaching practice.

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A compilation of applications of theories and artifacts that can be used for teaching 

 

 

Temple of Zeus

Digital Stories

Digital Stories are a powerful way for students to express their thoughts, emotions, philosophies and insights into a particular project. There is a great deal of theory to support using digital stories for ePortfolios, development of identity and deep reflection.

For platforms, Web 2.0 applications are readily available that are quick to learn and easy for students to sign up and utilize for various methods of expression. These platforms include Tumblr, Wordpress, and Twitter just to name a few.

Sample Digital Stories:

Tumblr platform
Twitter

The research behind Digital Stories is extensive, and there are many good reasons to utilize this tool in the classroom.

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Communities of Practice

A community of practice enables learners to connect with each other in digital spaces and access common content based on interests. It is important that a safe place is created to experiment, ask questions, work together and produce knowledge that is applicable and assists the community in growth. Constructivist learning opportunities are a vital part of this structure,since learners will come into the space with different foundations of knowledge upon which new knowledge can be scaffolded.

The main theorist behind Communities of Practice is Wenger(2000), and among the many benefits of using this structure is that it is applicable to all learners who are comfortable using the internet and in almost any subject area.

Platforms for communities of Practice can include the following:

Google+ - the use of circles is a natural extension of the concept of learning communities

Moodle - building interactive activities within Moodle through the use of a forum, peer editing session or group work opportunities enable group interaction and knowledge production

WebCT/Blackboard - Course Management software also supports online Communities of Practice through its interactive commenting and communication systems as well as its additional elements of chat rooms and more.

PBWorks - is one of many free wiki spaces that can be used for collaborative development of content, artifacts and resources.

 



Digital Identity

The Internet enables a visitor to take on any identity he/she wishes to explore and thus influences the physical reality as well. As we traverse between the digital and physical worlds, the question of who we are can become distorted. Integrating a unit of digital identity is an ideal way for learners to grapple with their digital and physical identities and explore what it is like to exist within another persona.

When we go online, whether it is in a social network like facebook, on a blog, or even chatting, we can assume the face of a character we want to be. It is possible to not use your real name, real location, or even your real pictures. Despite copyright issues, many people in online social networks put up photos of super models and claim to be that person. What does this say about us? This internet persona may be a way to discover who we really are.

Just as your real image influences the way people think about you, so do your digital images.

This unit integrates English and Digital Media classes and provides constructivist learning activities for students.

Links to Unit on Digital Identity Elements
Concept Map of Digital Identity
Website for Unit of Digital Identity
Research and Writeup for Digital Identity Unit

 



Xenophobia in Science Fiction

Human societies, based on homogeneous ideas, cultures, languages and religions have always sought protection and comfort within their own familiarity while at the same time fearing that which is outside their walls.  It almost seems to be an instinctive fear, or tribalism that drives the emotional response of rejection of the outsider. Perhaps it begins in early childhood, with the fear of the darkness, or that which cannot be seen, and transposes later as a fear of the unknown. In adolescence, this feeling can become more familiar, as teenagers deal with huge physical and emotional changes as they work to solidify their identity, and often feel alienated from their own body. This emotional reaction to “the others” often becomes instilled deeply within a society, where these outsiders are foreigners, or people of different races and cultures who approach life in different ways with different ceremonies and ways of life.  Laws can result to keep foreigners out, to prevent the infiltration of ideas of life that are different from the common thought of a single powerful group in a society that controls it.

 Science Fiction reflects this Xenophobia or Ethnocentrism in that there are two very common themes found throughout Science Fiction movies, novels, even television shows. "The Others" in Science Fiction may be a different species, or have different customs that threaten the existence of others, or may be hybrids of humans and machines. Regardless, they are seen as a force to be feared and to defend against, or in rare cases, a new life form to be contacted. This lure to reach out is often beyond curiosity and might be looked at as a way to see a reflection of self.   

This theme of “The Others” is reflected throughout Science Fiction, since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where the alienated self reaches out into the unknown, in fear and often in loathing to the unknown, in an attempt to find a sense of “self”.  

This unit is designed to incorporate the concepts of xenophobia and self-identity into learning about science fiction.

Website for course unit: Xenophobia in Science Fiction

 



Framework for Learning in blended-mode atmospheres

Blended or mixed-mode learning enables students to benefit from working online at their own pace, while also being able to partake in classroom activities. A framework for learning enables an educator to build constructivist learning activities withing a scaffolded learning space that provides opportunities to build knowledge through interaction, artifact creation and knowledge production.

Here is a framework for blended learning that I use for the Roberts Digital Media Arts Program I created:

 



 

 

 

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We can interconnect the digital and physical worlds through rich learning experiences that challenge identity, explore new social spaces and develop new global cultural memes.