Friday, July 24, 2009

The essence of sheer motivation is interest

Dr. Hanan Yaniv, from the Graduate Division of Educational Research, captured the imagination of the class with his informal presentation. We were all sitting on the edges of our seat’s listening to his every word.

The Second Life work that he has been involved in was quite impressive and demonstrates his multiple interests in augmented digital realities and their potential. His discussion of John Dewey’s theories in relation to his own made real world connections that took theory and gave it life in learning structures.

As I listened to Dr. Yaniv one statement really jumped out at me “The essence of sheer motivation is interest”. What a simple yet profound statement! We see evidence of this all around us and yet it escapes us.

Video gaming is a great example of children learning deep and complex meta- cognitive processes and skills in a fast paced, interactive and interest focused learning environment. Usually the interest is so high that these learners have to be sternly separated from their learning process.

This is quite interesting and has very provocative implications for learning and teaching. As I left the discussion I could not help but dream about the possibilities that could be.

Communties of Inquiry and Practice Dr. Randy Garrison

Dr. Randy Garrison presented a very informative and interesting discussion around the structure called “Communities of Inquiry”. He related hat these are learning communities generally centered on subject or process inquiry. These structures are more formal and revolve around theories of Collaborative Constructivism and Social Presence.

My confusion revolves around the answer he gave me concerning the differences between Communities of Inquiry and Communities of Practice. He describes Communities of Practice as informal and more social in philosophical and functional framework. His is in direct conflict with what I was taught in Graduate School by a world renowned “Communities of Practice practitioner, Dr. Margaret Riel of Pepperdine University and a world renowned scholar in the field of Learning Circles and Communities of Practice.

She describes Communities of Practice as groups of people who collaboratively discuss and refine their “Professional Practices”, whatever that may be. It is not described as informal and social.

The clarification I got from Dr. Garrison only confused me further. This is the very important part of Doctoral Studies, discussing different ideas, philosophies and practices. I hope by the end of my time here I will be able to adequately understand the difference.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"An Educational Technology Vision of 21st Century College Classrooms"

The following reference written by Dr. Michelle Jacobsen, Graduate Professor in the Doctoral Studies Department of the University of Calgary illustrates a philosophy of using technology to support the theory rather than the other way around. “I believe that educational technology is ninety percent about how people learn and ten percent about making computers and networks support and extend that learning (Jacobsen, 2008). She goes further to suggest that creating dynamic learner centered environments, supported by media is a natural role for Educational Technologists.

She concludes by making the case for advocacy and leadership in illustrating and demonstrating leadership in communicating the important and power of these learning environments “illustrating and demonstrating the power of 21st century learning theories and technologies through teaching, speaking, and building communities of practice” (Jacobsen 2008). These main themes are woven through the article and form the basis of her professional practice.

The direction and pace of educational innovation is forcing the re-examination of previously held ideas about learning philosophies and instructional delivery methodologies. The rapid evolution of education demands new ways to thinking about how we educate, what types of technologies we use, and how we view the world. The question is can we keep up with the pace of innovation and technology?


Jacobsen, M. An Educational Technology Vision of the 21st Century 2008 Retrieved From

Field of Educational Technology and Ethics

The field of Educational Technology has exploded in recent years with the development of digital technologies. Educational opportunities at all levels and are being created by the innovative application of technology. This has lead to the rapid expansion of the field creating significant challenges. Some of these include acceptable assessments; misunderstanding of best practices and educational theories, as well as a lack of a professional regulatory body. These are serious challenges but are currently being addressed by the academic community as evidenced by the ACET definition and the Code of Professional Ethics (Januszewski & Molenda pg. 3, 2008).

The opportunities in the Field of Educational Technology are limitless. It is one of the fastest growing and is becoming intertwined with almost every other facet of human life. This puts a great deal of responsibility upon Educational Technologists because they are becoming the facilitators of communication and education (Januszewski & Molenda pg. 2, 2008). We are responsible for adhering to the philosophy behind each element of the ACET definition. This is important for creating a universally acceptable framework that Educational Technologists can ethically operate within.

ACET Definition:

Educational Technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources (Januszewski & Molenda pg. 1, 2008).

The previous definition supplied by the text “Educational Technology, A Definition with Commentary”, comes from an Association for Educational Communications and Technology project and provides an opportunity to examine the underlying philosophies behind each element.

My personal definition of Educational Technology is as follows:

Educational technology is the analysis and implementation of technology in learning settings within the framework of best practices, ethics, and applied education instruction theories.

The two definitions while different express many of the same terms and philosophical understandings. Both are centered on the important foundational themes of analysis, implementation, best practices and ethics. These in my opinion should be the central pillars of Educational Technology as a field and profession. The literature as cited above suggests similar observations.

Ethics is perhaps one of the more problematic issues addressed by ACET. The importance to the field of using ethics as the foundational construct rather than a series of rules and expectations can’t be overstated. Without this philosophical framework success is not possible (Januszewski & Molenda pg. 3, 2008). I feel that this is quite a profound shift from historical applications of ethics philosophies and is re-defining the constructs with which we as Educational Technologists must operate within.


Januszewsk, A., Molenda, M., (2008) Educational Technology: a Definition with Commentary. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate & Taylor and Francis Group

Saturday, July 18, 2009

University of Calgary Tour "Grassroots Video" Ed Tech on the Fly, in Action!


Here is an my example of "Grassroots Video", a wonderful type of evolutionary communication artifact, that has broken the choke hold on the information flow to the masses of us.

I made this video using Ed Tech on the Fly, something I learned at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology. This one happens to be posted to YouTube, one of the sites that make this possible for all of us with access to digital assets.

Please take some time to come back and view the Wetpaint Wiki that our team is preparing for next week on this very subject matter.

Mitchel N. Townsend

Friday, July 17, 2009

Possible Areas of Inquiry

Subject matter research questions,

What do the current climate models suggest?
What time frames are we discussing?
What effects are we contemplating?

What technologies and implementation strategies are available?
What evidence is available for determining the effectiveness or potential effectiveness of these technologies?
What are the the cultural, societal and political considerations?
What type of research design strategy will be most effective in addressing these issues?
What worldview "lens"should I bring to the project? Mine or another?
What resources do I have to effectively address these potential research questions adequately?

Is this as valuable use of my time and educational focus?
Am I passionate about this issue?

Possible Research Question


Contextual Statement "Did your know that if we don't do something about seriously reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, life will be drastically altered for every living creature on the planet?"

Problem Statement "How do we go about democratically finding and implementing humanistic and technologically blended solutions that slow or arrest this ongoing catastrophic process?"

Classmates, Please be candid and brutal if needed.
This is part of the shaking out process and I'll not be offended in the least!.


Mitchel Townsend

Dr. Jacobsen and Dr. Friesens's Work

The lecture that we received from these two distinguished scholars on Thursday was very informative and insightful. Thier Multi-year research and research application project has produced some very interesting results, that seem to be duplicatable and scalable.

Increased abilities and deep cognitive learning was happening at all levels in these schools from the students up through the parents, teachers and principles. These progress results were illuminated by using a newly designed chart that accurately and clearly lists the research results. This was and still is another very important part of their project in my opinion, being able to communicate complex data so that most anyone can understand it and graphically visualize it.

Some of the questions I have are about the increasing scalability of this project.

Evidence suggests that a cyclical process is at play here. With this information one must draft a clear and ongoing action process to take into account this dropping off period. Are the issues with the teachers? Their professional or lack of professional development? Or maybe its something else or a variable combination here to fore undiscovered?

I am very interested in this project because it has important implications for the applications of applied educational research in field settings.

I am going to go back and try to understand their data collection methodology. This may hold some very important research project design nuggets of precious wisdom.

Do you have any thought on this lecture and my observations concerning it?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In the Beginning

This is my first official Blog Spot! I am welcoming myself into the world of the Bloggers!!!!

Today's lectures presented the opportunity for some multi-faceted reflective analysis. The text Januszewski and Molenda, presented a historical contest around the process of trying to define the field of Educational Technology. The main idea that I have taken from the early text readings concerns the adoption of the term Educational rather than Instructional " in fact this is one of the reasons that the definition chooses the term educational technology rather than instructional technology, using the term with the broader connotation in order to capture both planned and spontaneous learning situations" ( Januszewski & Molenda, pg. 42, 2008).

This in my humble opinion is spot on, and truly reflects the reality that learning can take place at anytime and anywhere, under most any conditions.

In my opinion, Educational Technology is a living and breathing entity, it defies and refuses to be defined by the sheer speed of innovation and ubiquitous technological integrations.

How can you put a static label on a dynamic and ongoing transformational process.

What do you think and why? What did you get from the early text readings and why?