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  1. Community and Informal Learning Models
  2. School Models
  3. Classroom Models
  4. Professional Development Models
  5. Distributed Learning Models
  6. Corporate Models

Various communities, schools, classrooms, and professional groups use technology in many ways. The boundaries of traditional learning, which took place primarily through textbooks and with one teacher in the classroom, have become blurred. Now learners can take field trips to different parts of the world without leaving their physical classrooms. Years ago, such a field trip was simply impossible. Learners can ask questions of experts who may be conducting research thousands of miles away, and teachers can more easily access material to supplement lessons. There are endless possibilities of how technology can benefit education. Listed below are some of the most common uses of technology in the school system today and how it benefits students of this new era.

5.1 Community and Informal Learning Models (TOP)

Even as the universe becomes more flexible, we find that our presence within it, no longer fixed at a single point, can move seamlessly throughout the collected knowledge of humanity. We can place our eyes and hands into other worlds. With each site we visit we will change how we think about the world. Virtual reality is the imagination realized, the hidden parts of us brought into view. The World Wide Web is a ubiquitous fabric of knowledge. Our children will come to apprehend a different reality than the one we inhabit, and they will be granted a broader sense of self (Pesce, 2000). The virtual friend could help children, with the close supervision of caring adults, to become more nurturing adults. “When children can see their reflection, when they can come to explore and model their own behaviors on the outside world, they’ll develop the theories they need to become better adults” (Pesce, 2000).

Virtual reality has the ability to take technology from the classroom to omnipresent communities all over the world. It provides students the ability to see places they have never dreamed possible. Virtual travel allows students to see geographic locations, laboratories, or perhaps visit with experts in numerous fields all around the world (Pesce, 2000). These trips could be seen as modern day field trip (Pesce, 2000). The endless possibilities for virtual field trip opportunities can inspire teachers to introduce their students to places and people all over the world. GlobaLearn is one example of virtual technology being used to further children’s education and global interaction. “GlobaLearn is an inspired company of young adults who travel the world and chronicle their journey through the eyes of children. GlobaLearn expedition team travels with state of the art electronic equipment, including portable computers , digital photo and video recorders , high-speed modems, and a mobile satellite transmitter” (Tapscott, 1998).

5.2 Classroom Models (TOP)

One of the most important areas where we can positively impact our young people with technology is in the classroom setting. "…the school years are a neurological window of opportunity, a chance to ensure that all children will get the right experiences to help them flourish in their jobs and careers, as mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, as citizens of communities" (Lucas, 2002). Technology is a very important tool in helping to revitalize and energize our classrooms. The enthusiastic adoption and implementation of technology in an educational setting helps young people to explore who they are and how they think about the world (Pesce, 2000).

Current educational technological innovation has produced a number of useful instructional tools. MOO, where students keep a "virtual presence...participating in both real world activities of the lab and online lectures, presentations, and informal discussion featured MediaMOO" (Pesce, 2000). Other programs such as e-Instruction and Promethium allow all students to answer questions with a hand held device in conjunction with a smart board without fear or a teacher's pet answers all the questions alone. Now all students are truly on a equal "playing field" in the classroom. A wonderful example at the University educational level is the Pepperdine University Master of Arts in Learning Technologies program ( MALT). This program is a successfully working model that utilizes the benefits of technological innovation and effective implementation in a virtual classroom setting. The students in this program are challenged to effectively use a wide variety of technologies in enriching and exponentially expanding their own individual learning experiences. The introduction of advanced technologies in a wide variety of educational settings can be effective with all age groups.

Integrating technology into the curriculum enables students to connect that no academic subject stands alone. All subjects are interrelated. Technology helps comprehensive understanding of all areas of the curriculum. No matter what the subject, learning is maximized when there is an immediate feedback available. Computers support this learning.

Lucas feels it's imperative that we create new kinds of schools, freed from outdated educational systems. Today a growing trend for alternative high schools use the model of self-paced learning for GED success with computers and/or distance learning. Most of our students minds go untapped in the according to traditional textbook-based classroom, because we are living in a Digital world which has brought on enormous changes to our world. (Lucas, 2002). Perhaps, this is one reason for the high drop out rate we have today.

All subject matter can benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) - the use of “pets” with artificial intelligence, such as the Furby , to work with autistic children and others who can benefit from the extended repetition inherent in the activity of AI (Pesce, 2000). Continuing in that light, using Lego kits as with Papert’s turtle, “children can master logical thinking and complex concepts through play and exploration” (Pesce, 2000).

5.3 School Models (TOP)

It has been almost three decades since Marshall McLuhan characterized the world as a “global village” (i.e., http://www.microsoft.com/southafrica/community/digital.htm) because of the rapid expansion of worldwide communication. More than ever before, students need to put their critical-thinking skills together in order to increase their problem-solving ability and improve interpersonal communication skills.

The computer allows teacher and students to search documents and database to get more information about various subject matter and supplement instructional and learning material. Projects can be developed that link students from different background and even from different countries and cultures. Teachers can design digital portfolios that help students organize information from many different places. E-mail puts us in contact with people around the world and gives us a massive wealth of information at our immediate access (Tapscott, 1998).

Technology has brought individual students and the community to a better understanding of themselves and others. The needs of both the individual and the community (business as well as residents) have been vocalized with technology. Children with special needs can communicate with other students without the fear of being stigmatized. They can share their feelings and concern about a disability. PatchWorx Web site is the place that they can share their stories, feelings and find a friend with common interests. Student centered programs of participative academic inquiry have demonstrated that previous theories of practice could be improved upon substantially. New assisted technologies may be shared quickly from the Internet for answers to needs of the disabled or students who have learning differences. The performance data being gathered and analyzed from some of these programs suggest that they can be very effective in transforming schools from disconnected entities to partners in the community (Lucas, 2002).

Work and home have now become one in the same because we can be reached everywhere due to the advancements in technology. This is promising as we can relate this to the continuity of school and home as a result of the internet (Rheingold, 2002).

“We need to replace the teacher’s globe, a fixture in every classroom, with a living model of the Earth . . . one becomes immediately aware that political boundaries are, for the most part, entirely arbitrary, that the governments dividing people are figments of our cultural imaginations and have very little to do with the actual realities of life on this planet” (Pesce, 2000).

Technology and philosophy are only tools. We have always had tools at our disposal. The key is to change people’s minds. As education professionals it is our duty to provide the leadership required to implement these effective instructional strategies. The entrenched educational instruction theories of past generations unfortunately still retard our intellectual progress towards wholeheartedly embracing student based interactive educational instruction. The teachers who are the unable to "think out of the box" regarding computers and technology often times are also unable to think out of the box regarding teaching and education itself. For example, they are often stuck in strict molds of teacher-student relationships, where they know and the student does not. They may now be intimidated that students may know more then them about technology. Professional development that broadens their knowledge in the areas of learning styles and multiple intelligence will move them toward a new view of their teaching style. As well as help educators find ways to provide total student engagement using all three learning styles: audio, visual and kinesthetic.

As educators we are the ambassadors and standard bearers charged with leading the way in the struggle to transform educational instruction into a partnership that prepares our children to meet the challenges of life in the 21st century. “The surest way to create a better future for our nation, and thereby better the lives of our citizens, is through improving the quality of education over one’s lifetime, wherever and whenever this education takes place and whoever provides it. In all these avenues, we must exploit the wonders of new technology” (Lucas, 2002).

An area where 21st century skills are lived by both teachers and students are in schools that have adopted one-to-one laptop programs. Implemented for various reasons and rationales in both public and private schools, such programs place laptops in the hands of students and teachers providing an opportunity for fully integrating technology into the curriculum. But providing access to every student does not guarantee results. In fact, in a two year study of one-to-one laptop programs nationwide, it was found that such programs generally did not result in higher standardized test scores, provide reform for already troubled schools, no erase any achievement gaps. Rather, one-to-one programs were effective on five fronts: 1) in facilitating 21st century learning skills among students, 2) generating greater engagement through multimedia, 3) more and better writing, 4) deeper learning, and 5) easier integration of technology into instruction (Warschaeur, 2006). In one-to-one schools, teachers were able to pick and choose a variety of tools and strategies to provide multiple ways for students to approach content, practice and receive real-time feedback, and use multimedia to grapple with and present their understanding of the curriculum. But these successes are seen with the leveraging of student technology talent and know-how; effectively making students partners in their own learning as well as structures to keep students on task and providing for ongoing opportunities for teacher collaboration. But ulimately it is patience and a focus on the broader educational goal of developing 21st century skills rather than an educational panacea that make one-to-one programs successful (Warschaeur, 2006).

One of the more common uses of technology in school settings, specifically higher education, comes in the form of "distance learning." Over time, distance education has taken on many forms and definitions relative to the technology available. In their "Glossary of Technologies and e-Learning Terms," The University of Plymouth, UK defines distance education as "The organizational framework and process of providing instruction at a distance. Distance education takes place when a teacher and student(s) are physically separated, and technology (ie voice, video, data and/or print) is used to bridge the instructional gap." While many view distance education as simply a means to spread knowledge across social, economic and cultural boundaries, it is important to keep in mind that evidence which speaks to the effectiveness of distance education is somewhat difficult to obtain.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 56% of degree granting institutions offered some form of distance education in 2000-2001, with another 12% indicating that they had intentions of creating distance programs in the near future (US Dept of Ed, 2001). As of 2008, some estimate that number to be closer to 90% (Urtel, 2008). The rise in popularity of distance learning in higher educational settings it has led to the belief that, all things remaining equal, it is at least as effective as face-to-face learning, and may in some cases be even more advantageous. Assumptions have been made that it gives learners more freedom, allows them to learn at their own pace, and helps them overcome the hurdles of time management. While the intentions of distance learning are inherently good, its effectiveness as a learning tool, in comparison to face-to-face interaction, is still in question.
In 2008, Professor Mark G. Urtel of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, conducted research in 'Assessing academic performance between traditional and distance education course formats." Ceteris paribus, Urtel used a face-to-face class for his research, and included a distance education module. One of the issues in conducting such a study is that things can never be "completely" equal. Demographics will be different amongst face-to-face and distance education students, so the fact that, "There was a statistically significant difference between the distance education and face-to-face groups regarding overall academic performance," (Urtel 2008) can be interpreted in a number of ways. Freshmen DFW (D, Fail, Withdrawl) rates were considerably higher among freshmen in the distance program, and the average age of distance learners was 3 years older than that of face-to-face learners. Overall, the study merely proved that there is little clear cut evidence that distance education is more effective or less effective than face-to-face learning. Researching this topic is difficult due to many demographic factors. Complicating things further, "The return rate for semester ending course evaluations for the face- to-face section was 95%, and the return rate for the distance education section was less than 5%" (Urtel, 2008) Therefore without a significant amount of feedback, it is hard to gauge the learners' motivation or to assess the learning experience.
Distance education is constantly evolving. It is important that the model be continually researched because as technology changes, the learning experience changes with it. Traditional school models may or may not translate to the "online classroom," and time will tell whether or not face-to-face courses and distance education courses can remain homogenous.

5.4 Professional Development Models (TOP)

We've seen it all too often. A new strategic direction is announced at the District level, or a leading-edge principal buys a new software package that going to improve test scores. The word gets out to teachers and it's met with some excitement and trepidation. The solution is implemented and teachers get one lunch time orientation. Or, a year goes by and the software still sits in the box, dust is collecting. Unfortunately, there's no funding for professional development and the District does not want to release the product without PD. Sound familiar? The NCLB has addressed one of the key elements in any successful technology deployment with a built-in requirement to fund PD. All too often, technology fails as a result of a lack of an integrated technology implementation plan that encompasses PD. The NCLB addresses the critical missing piece of the puzzle that has plagued every school in America, at one time or another. A welcomed promise by educators across the nation. “NCLB fundamentally changes how education is paid for, and how technology fits into the process ... what are the conditions under which technology improves student learning?” Serim sees this as a having significant potential for all educators. Serim sees the importance of 25% of the funds being required to be spent on professional development, which is an element that is often ignored or neglected and often results in failed implementations. "No matter what system you implement, professional development is the key" (Serim, 2003).

Aside from just paying for faculty development, how do you "do" faculty development? You can have one day workshops or training documents, but what actually works the best for teachers? In 1999, Moursund and Bielefeldt released survey results of faculty focusing on trends in Educational Technology. The survey results indicated that "most student teachers do not routinely use technology during field experience and do not work under master teachers and supervisors who can advise them on information technology use." (Maduakolam and Bell) This summation of the survey results offers two important insights. When students are training to use technology in their field, they aren't using technology, and more importantly, there isn't a local resource once they become teachers to advise them on technology.

5.5 Distributed Learning Models (TOP)

Distributed learning models exist in ever increasing varieties both in scope and complexity. The fundamentals of these models act as a binding force that give strength and validity to this pedagogical approach. Among these fundamentals, distributed learning relies upon distributed resources that allow learning to take place across both time and space. (Bowman, 1999) Distributed resources environments allow for a more rich and individual learning path, giving “learners a greater degree of control of how, when and where their learning occurs. They also increase their level of responsibility for their own learners and are no longer passive receptacles of information and knowledge.” (Bowman, 1999)

Additional, fundamentals that bind various distributed learning models include a unified set of standards from which to both promote the use of technology in education and ensure the viability and accessibility of web based content. The leading standard by which distributed learning models are designed around is SCORM or Sharable Content Objective Reference Model developed by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) which was formed by the Department of Defense. ADL was created to explore the uses of collaborative learning environments through new technologies as well as identify a set of standards for development of distributed learning models. Beginning in 1997 the ADL identified five needs or “ilities” which stand for interoperability, affordability, durability, reusability and accessibility. What the ADL found is that these needs not only existed in government existed in education and private industry as well. (ADLNET.GOV)

SCORM addresses these needs by defining standards and offering models for the development of various training initiatives. There are four “books” that outline SCORM standards.

·SCORM Overview- Addresses the conceptual development behind SCORM including its background.

·SCORM Content Aggregation Model- Discusses the basic elements in developing web based learning.

·SCORM Run-Time Environment- Outlines the standards for modern Learning Management systems (LMS) such as BlackBoard or Moodle should employ to meet the “ilities” mentioned above.

·SCORM Sequencing and Navigation- describes the sequencing processes that people taking part in e-learning environments should expect.

SCORM is certainly the most widely recognized set of standards for the development and deployment of e-learning/distributed learning models. Products such as Adobe Captivate, Flash Form, etc… come with SCORM complaint screeners built into the applications. According to Digital Think based in San Francisco California,(www.digitalthink.com) the business benefits of SCORM compliant e-learning include greater efficiencies and lower costs because content can be developed faster and reused for multiple audiences as well as the ability to share content across different systems.

“Human development is accomplished by knowledge and learning.”(Vlada, Tugui) As societies questions are becoming increasingly more complex the tools required to address these question are evolving at a rapid and dynamic pace. By utilizing the standards set forth by SCORM and other models such as AICC researchers, instructors and e-learning developers are better equipped to address the needs of today’s learners. More importantly, the learners themselves are better able to address their own unique and specific learning objectives. The standards for e-learning/distributed learning models also offer the ability to reach a far greater audience of learners than at any point in history.

5.6. Corporate Models (TOP)

Corporations are embracing technology for educational applications at a rapid pace based on the desire to have competitive advantage within the market. Virtual training environments, simulation-based learning, avatars, Wikis, and numerous distance learning tools are common place in today’s corporate learning environments.

Aside from the possible competitive edge corporations are seeking through technological advances in learning. There is also a desire to remain attractive to upcoming generations of new employees. Bring a group of Gen Y’s into a corporate setting and force them to endure six weeks of instructor lead training (ILT) and you are likely to have a riot on your hands.

Today’s learners are seeking more individualized, web-based learning events, self-paced, self-initiated, and with an appropriate and engaging amount of social interaction involved at the right time. Preferably add in some Second Life or involve social networking tools such as Facebook or Twitter to begin to align with expectations of many within the Gen Y group. Making learning engaging and fun in the workplace is turning from a novelty to a requirement.

“Not long ago, playing digital games at work was considered a violation of company policies. But now many businesses are making it a job requirement. In an effort to connect with their growing ranks of 20-something workers who practically popped out of the womb wielding a cellphone and laptop, companies around the world are using digital games to train young employees who don't respond well to traditional methods, such as reading manuals. Ian Bogost, associate professor of digital media at Georgia Tech, says anyone under 35 has grown up with games. "The kinds of experiences they have grown accustomed to, in terms of the presentation of ideas, are more interactive than passive.’” (LaMotta, 2008)

Major corporations, such as Sun Microsystems, Intel, and IBM use the virtual world of Second Life for everything from meetings, to training, social events, and to evaluate technical scenarios in a ‘safe’ environment. “Sun, which makes computer servers and software, owns seven islands in Second Life, and only two are open to the public. The rest are used for training sessions and internal meetings. During its biggest event, a 12-hour corporate meeting held last month , 14 of Sun’s top executives hobnobbed with hundreds of employees. Also featured at the event: alpine skiing, car racing, live jazz music and a sandbox.” (Semuels, 2008)

These examples are but a few of the ‘bleeding edge’ technologies that corporations are applying everyday to advance. Tools such as teleconferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing are giving way to new realities such as “TelePresence”, a tool created by Cisco that allows participants in remote locations to engage in real time video and voice meetings that rivals being there in person. These systems allow companies operating in what Friedman has termed the “Flat World” to save millions of dollars on costly air travel normally required to maintain today’s multi-national corporations. Tools such as this will be the future of how business, and certainly learning, is done in the global economy.

As schools prepare students for their future roles in society it is critical that teachers and administrators stay closely aligned with trends in the corporate world to ensure that students entering the job market are prepared for the technological demands of their new roles. In the same way corporations must be in tune with what drives upcoming generations and strive to meet their growing technological needs.

Malika Viltz - Just a footnote

Many companies have moved their training and development from ILT (Instructor Led Training) to CBT (Computer Based Training) and WBT (Web Based Training). Companies are eager to ensure their employees are ahead of their competitors as it relates to learning and technology. Many companies have implemented Learning Systems to track and monitor the employees learning ability. Some companies like Skill Soft have cornered the market for Adult Corporate e-learning. And many organizations have implemented an LMS (Learning Management System) to track and maintaining learning, training and development. Technology and Learning is a model that's been adapted into the corporate workforce.

Several companies have also introduced their own internal Wiki pages and blogs, which is a great way for their employees to collaboration, not matter where they are located.

Another learning model to consider for Educational Technology Models:

GOMS Model (Card, Moran, and Newell)**

The GOMS Model is a human information processing model that predicts what skilled users will do in seemingly unpredictable situations.
Originators and proponents: Card, Moran and Newell in 1983; Bonnie John et al.

This model is the general term for a family of human information processing techniques that attempt to model and predict user behavior. Typically used by software designers, a person’s behavior is analyzed in terms of four components:
  • Goals – something that the person wants to accomplish. Can be high level (e.g. WRITE-PAPER) to low level (e.g. DELETE CHARACTER)
  • Operators – basic perceptual, cognitive, or motor actions used to accomplish goals, or actions that the software allows user to make (e.g. PRESS-ENTER-KEY or CLICK-MOUSE)
  • Methods – procedures (sequences) of subgoals and operators that can accomplish a goal
  • Selection rules – personal rules users follow in deciding what method to use in a circumstance
One of the most validated methods in Human Computer Interaction (HCI), the GOMS model assumes expert user and well-defined tasks. It should be noted that there are various limitations to this technique, e.g.:
  1. Task in question must be usefully analyzed in terms of the procedural (how to do it) knowledge.
  2. Represents only skilled behavior. Not useful for ill-defined problem solving, exploration, etc. Cognitive walkthrough is useful for exploratory behavior by novices.
  3. Need to start with a list of top-level tasks or user goals. List must be provided outside of GOMS.
GOMS is useful for uncovering a frequent goal supported by a very inefficient method thereby informing a design change to include a more efficient method.
Variations include:
  • Keystroke Level Model (KLM) by Stuart Card: The first, simplest form of GOMS consisting of the sum of subtasks and required overhead. That is, the sum of the time of P – pointing, H – homing, D – drawing, M – mental operator, R – waiting for system response.
  • Card Moran Newell (CMN)-GOMS: A serial stage model of GOMS.
  • Critical Path Method (also known as Cognitive Perceptual Motor or CPM-GOMS): A parallel stage model (for users with highest level of skill) critical-path-method or cognitive-perceptual-motor analysis of activity – perceptual, cognitive, motor operators can be performed in parallel as the task demands.

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