Lifelong Learning

Computational Thinking

Which skills do you need?…

  • to solve an equation,
  • to plan a project
  • to develop an outline for a writting assignment

All these activities need similar skills.

Computational thinking builds on the power and limits of computing processes, whether they are executed by a human or by a machine.

Often we are confronted to problems we are not capable of tackling alone. We need often computational methods and models to help us to solve problems and to design systems.

This discussion always raises questions like:

  • What can humans do better than computers?
  • What can computers do better than humans?
  • What is computable?

Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists.

ISTE and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) are collaborating on a project to prepare young learners to become computational thinkers who understand how today’s digital tools can help solve tomorrow’s problems. Download the Computational Thinking Teacher Resources.

Lifelong Learning

Social Networks and New Forms of Government

Us Now is a video produced in England which tells stories of online networks that challenge the common notion of hierarchy. This video includes interesting thoughts about a future form of government.

Cases are varied: from a football club owned and run by its fans, a bank in which everyone is the manager, and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members share their homes with strangers. These examples show how this type of participation could transform the way that countries are governed. You will see stories of online networks, with a radical self-organizing structure that questions the usual conception of government.

It’s worth spending 60 minutes, with good examples and additional motivation.

Online Pedagogy

Week 12: Mid-year post

I must admit that I really enjoy learning and discovering new things, as is the case with Pedagogy First course.

Although the 4-5 hours a week workload  sounded reasonable for me, I didn’t realize how much more time I’d expend in my readings and researches. Often, when you are working searching about a specific topic, you find new approaches or new perspectives of great attraction and must keep a huge discipline not to deviate from the assigned task.

Week 1: My presentation to Pedagogy First!-course

I started, slowly I must admit, by presenting myself. When I look back to the first weeks, I feel it was a slow start. As this course has progressed, I was able to participate more by reading the classmate’s blogs, reading the comments to my own blog and sometimes replaying some comments. It’s a process…

  • I created the Diigo account and start my learning process by experimenting. I used a blog created before with WordPress with some few comments.
  • I opened for the first time the book: Ko and Rossen, Teaching Online by reading the first chapter.

4 comments to my first port were my welcome!

Week 2: Teaching and Learning Online. RSS

The recommended reading blogs allowed me to discover interesting input on the advantages of using social networking in education.

  • During this week I read the last part of the chapter 1: Teaching Online: An Overview.
  • I got 2 comments this week.
Week 3: Pedagogy and Course Design

I started with the questionnaire, which shows my tendency toward a constructivist formula.

I was able to check the importance of designing a course placing the student at the center. This reflection highlights one of the factors that distinguishes online learning and face-to-face. There is NOT just a difference in methodology; it is much more than that.

  • During this week I read the beginning of the chapter 3, about course design and development.
  • The chart and the video for “Getting Started Chart” show a very good path structure.

I posted my reflexions about my pedagogical goals and objectives for a possible or current class:

  • Encourage the creation of content created by the students, both for the current course content to use as future versions of the of course.
  • Reinforce the active participation of students, by using tools like wiki, blogs, social bookmarking, etc.
  • Create relevant application Assessment of Proposals to assess skills (easy to say, hard to do).

I got 3 comments: really motivating!

Week 4: Materials for Online

I was really impressed by many of the Pedagogy First participant’s presentations. Although I made a preliminary experience with Prezi, a suitable tool for presentations, I think I must go further with it, because it is an advisable way to present ideas and concept maps.

This week the reading of the Chapter 3: Course Design and Development, started with the presentation of two different approaches regarding the conversion of the course content to an online shape. The cases described are similar in general term to real situations in several educational institutions.

In this week I wrote one of my longest posts (otherwise, I’ve to recognize it: my posts use to be  just one to two paragraphs long).

2 comments expressed interest in the written summary about the Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Week 5: The Online Syllabus

Starting with the recommendations of this chapter, I highlighted the two objectives of the syllabus discussion:

  • As a reflection of course content (the reading gives a clear idea of the course, expectations, requirements and methodology).
  • As a practical guide for the student.

On the other hand I found particularly interesting the “Checklist for Online Syllabus” and the clear separate proposal for the online respective blended course syllabus.

The recording of Lisa and Jim gave me good advice to implement a Blackboard course based on a perspective of an Interactive Syllabus, easier to implement in Moodle.

This post received 1 comment about the mentioned different types of courses (sequential instruction, critical analysis and project based).

During this week I started reading the chapter 5: Creating an Effective Online Syllabus.

After week 5, I kept thinking of the syllabus, not only as a descriptive document, but as a tool to support students in their educational adventure. So I wrote an additional post: … still talking about Syllabus…

I think it was an interesting exercise!

Week 6: Creating a “slidecast” presentation with Slideshare

I uploaded a presentation to Slideshare about Web 2.0 posted on “Slideshare” a few months ago. In this week I tryed to update this presentation with the voice produced by an text-to-speech web service: iSpeech

As I expressed before, I wasn’t impressed with the result but the experiment was worth… (I received a comment with applause)

During this week I read the last part of the chapter 5: Creating an Effective Online Syllabus.

Week 7: The Online Classroom-Teaching Concept Mapping

The post of this week describes the content of the introduction to Concept Mapping, both with a Slideshare presentation and the material included on a Moodle course. I’m satisfied with this post.

I got 7 comments! All of these comment received my replay.

I joined to Twitter and got interesting tips from the Pilar’s Video: Building Community in Your Online Class.

Week 8: Creating Community
  • In this week, I joined to the Elluminate session on October 20.
  • I already have set up a Google+ account but I didn’t join to the Google+ hangout.
  • I posted a comment to Pilar’s Voicethread and continued replaying to others comments.
  • During this week I read the final part of Chapter 6: Building an Online Classroom.

Probably the weakest week…

Week 9: Student Activities

I had already tested Second Life before. I do not reach the expected results with Second Life this week, among other things, because my computer had difficulty maintaining SL stable for long periods of time. I think, on the other hand, SL is old and heavy software, although I must admit I don’t known an alternative with the features SL has today.

  • I posted a list with the advantages and disadvantages I see in Second Life.
  • During this week I read part of the Chapter 7: Student Activities in the Online Environment
Week 10: Open Platforms for Teaching and Learning

This week coincided with a blended course for newly admitted students to the career of teaching in the university where I teach now. This week we started by creating a group wiki (sorry… just in Spanish) and an individual blog and a social bookmarking site.

I didn’t Post about this week’s topics. What might be the advantages and disadvantages of using a class blog or student blogs for your class?. But I can express my opinion now: I prefer using a class blog, because it provides a more interactive environment.

  • I watched Lisa’s slidecast on Blogging.
  • During this week I read the last part of the Chapter 7: Student Activities in the Online Environment.
Week 11: Intellectual Property and Accessibility

The main disadvantage of the reading of this week (Chapter 8: Copyright, Intellectual Property) is that applies to the United States only.

In relation with the accessibility issues, I ported a really good introduction to Accessibility by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) describing policies, resources and tools to make the Web accessible.

  • I viewed a good video: How creativity is being strangled by the law
Week 12: Resources Online

This topic is not new to me. I use to access Open Educational Resources to recommend content to teachers who are building online courses or are adapting their face-to-face courses to a blended methodology. I use to explore Open Educational Resources both in Spanish as in English.

Some of the OER sites I use to explore didactic materials:

I read the chapter 8: Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Open Educational Resources.

Usually, I do not review the previously publishes posts, so this effort was new, it helped me to recognize my own progress during these weeks and the conclusion is positive…

See you back in February!