TECHNOLOGY MEDIATED LEARNING
Technology-mediated learning refers to an environment in which the learner's interactions with learning materials, peers, and/or instructors are mediated through information technologies (Alavi and Leidner, 2001).It is used as the broader term to encompass the use of any form of technology is used to mediate learning interaction or materials.
'Technology-mediated learning' (TML) is an 'umbrella' term, incorporating different approaches to using computers in learning and teaching: computer-aided/assisted learning (CAL), computer-mediated communication (CMC), generic computer-based production and presentation tools and computer-supported research tools
HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY MEDIATED LEARNING
If the definition of technology is expanded to its most inclusive the use of paper and books are early examples of technology-mediated learning. In fact, some argue that every form of instructional delivery is in some way mediated with some form of technology (Reiser 2001). Bates (2008) suggests that technology has always been a defining feature of distance education.
Most descriptions of the history of technology-mediated learning, however, categorise the three main technologies of pre-20th Century instruction – the teacher, chalkboard and textbook – separately from other technologies (Reiser 2001). Following this practice, this section starts provides a brief history of technology-mediated learning through 20th century until the rise of internet-based learning.
It is possible to observe two separate streams of technology-mediated learning that arise during the early 1900s: The audiovisual instruction movement and Teaching machines. Both these streams continue to have much the same emphasis throughout the century, but continue to evolve in line with increasing theoretical understandings and changes in the available technology. The presence and impact of both streams continues to be in evidence in many of the practices associated with e-learning.
1. Audio-visual instruction
Early, in 1909, a short story by E.M. Forster called “The Machine Stops” describes the use of a type of video-conferencing network to deliver a lecture. By this time the audiovisual instruction movement has taken its first steps through the use of silent visual media such as stereographs, charts and photographs housed in school museums (Hew 2004). Over the next 20 years the movement grows significantly through the availability of and an interest in the application of a range of related technologies including motion pictures, radio and television (Reiser 2001). The rise of Internet-based e-learning sees a continuation of this work through net-based audio and video, and currently services such as YouTube.
Much of the work around audio-visual instruction has emphasized the value of audio-visual material in their ability to present concepts in a concrete manner, as opposed to more abstract descriptions possible with media such as a lecture and book (Reiser 2001). From the start the theoretical rationale for audio-visual instruction was as an antidote for verbalism (Saettler 2000). The research tradition of the audio-visual instruction movement was largely confined to comparison studies of the effectiveness of the audio-visual media against other methods (Saettler 2000).
2. Teaching machines
The second stream, teaching machines also known as programmed instruction, has a foundation in the industrial revolution, automation and the possibility for the application of machinery to solve problems. From 1900 through 1920s there were a number of attempts to develop machines to automate the application of multiple-choice tests (Petrina 2004). . Skinner (1958) criticises the audiovisual instruction movement and suggests that widespread use of such material creates the potential problem of the student becoming little more than a “mere passive receiver of instruction”.
It is Skinner’s work during the 1950s that contributes to the rise and establishment of the programmed instruction movement. The key goals of this work included individualized and self-paced learning , application of a science of behaviour to teaching and learning through the principles of reinforcement of learning, and the construction of carefully programmed sequences of learning that lead to pre-determined learning goals (Galloway 1976). Skinner (1958) describes a number of mechanical teaching machines.
By the late 1950s early computers were available and promised to offer a better platform than mechanical devices for teaching machines; however, it was the 1980s before there was widespread interest in the computer as an instructional tool (Reiser 2001). Many early applications of computers to education were demonstrations to show the potential of computers in education (Molnar 1990). Early interest in the application of computers to education is based on the dual beliefs that instruction adapted to the needs of the learner is good and that the computers makes this individualization of instruction easier as it can store and use each student’s own performance as a basis for selection the new problems or concepts for the student (Suppes 1966) By 1973 the instructional uses of computers were listed as drill, skills practice, programmed and dialog tutorials, testing and diagnosis, simulation, gaming, and various forms of information processing, storage, management and display (Zinn 1973). Computers were not being used to enable communication between people.
· Computer-mediated communication
The use of technology to enable human-to-human dialogue, commonly referred to as computer-mediated communication (CMC) during the 80s, was one approach to address this limitation. CMC encompassed three types of online services, which were generally seen as discrete elements serving different types of clientele: electronic mail, computer conferencing and online databases and information banks (Kaye 1989).
· Computer-managed learning
During the 1980s, the rise of the powerful personal computers and local area networks encouraged rapid growth in computer-managed instruction systems (Friesen 1991). By 1983 40% of elementary schools and 75% of all secondary schools in the United States were using computers for instructional purposes (Reiser 2001). During the 80s there was growing interest and use of Computer-Managed Learning (CML) systems, which manage both the learning sequence and related educational and administrative functions (Friesen 1991). These systems ranged from software design to “teach” a particular topic.
USES OF TML
As access to computers and the internet continues to increase, and student numbers on traditional courses continue to fall, so interest in and provision of TML becomes more widespread all over the world. TML, it is believed, can (1) address the needs of learners engaged in flexible, distance and open learning, (2) provide a wider outreach to more geographically and educationally disparate learners than 'traditional' face-to-face or distance courses, and (3) be cost-effective.
(1) Flexible, distance and open learning :
TML now allows distance learners to view streamed lectures and, on occasion, to participate remotely in scheduled seminars or tutorials via applications such as instant messaging, video- or audio-conferencing. For distance learners, who may never meet each other face-to-face, applications that show when others in a learning group come online can provide a sense of 'presence'.
In areas with low populations and large geographical land masses such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Norway and Sweden, TML has been effectively used to support learners in all educational sectors. It provides learners with the means to communicate with others and thus to form a 'community of learners’.
Since TML theoretically allows for the participation of large numbers of non-standard and geographically-remote learners it might seem reasonable to assume it to be 'cost-effective'. However, this assumption is often based on a view of TML as 'transferring the textbook to the screen' and a transmission model of learning which does not take into account the most effective methods of using electronic media. Because of the need to provide equal access, different versions of courses may need to be developed, using both TML and 'traditional' media. Furthermore, although TML apparently offers a world-wide market, courses may still need to be localised for different target cultures, the language of instruction and learner expectations about the role of learner and teacher; for example, a pedagogical approach that requires the learner to become autonomous relatively quickly may not be appropriate in all cases.
The use of TML in languages, linguistics and area studies, and its investigation, is still being actively researched and, as a result, it is not yet possible to define best practice in this area. Much of the pedagogy currently underlying TML is based on a model of learning that sees the transmission of knowledge as the goal of learning and teaching; online lectures and lectures notes, electronic versions of textbooks and electronic 'drills' are offered. Increasingly, however, as the characteristics of different electronic media - and thus their applications to learning and teaching - become clearer, a socio-cultural, constructivist model of learning is emerging. This concentrates on the possibilities for communication between human beings offered to language learners by new technologies.
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Teleconferencing is the use of various technologies to allow discussions and meetings between multiple parties in different locations. The term was first used in 1953 as a contraction of “telephone” and “conference.” A teleconference is a business meeting or educational session conducted among participants in different locations using telecommunications equipment. All types of teleconferencing require interactive communication. Long-distance meetings via teleconference save time and money, and the practice eliminates the need to travel for a face-to-face meeting, thereby greatly reducing a company's carbon footprint. . It is a generic term for linking people between two or more locations by electronics. At its simplest, a teleconference can be an audio conference with one or both ends of the conference sharing a speaker phone. With considerably more equipment and special arrangements, a teleconference can be a conference, called a videoconference, in which the participants can see still or motion video images of each other.
. There are different types of teleconferencing. The methods used differ in the technology, but common factors contribute to the shared definition of teleconferencing:
- Use a telecommunications channel
- Link people at multiple locations
- Interactive to provide two-way communications
- Dynamic to require users' active participation
1. Audio Teleconferencing The earliest and still most common form of teleconferencing is conference call, a telephone call including three or more parties. Audio Conferencing means using conference calls on telephone for routine or special meetings. It has been in use since decades due to its ease and yet frugal aspects.
Many organizations use it for training their employees as well, like in crash course training. There are various ways of making such a call, ranging from basic conference calling available as part of consumer home or cellular phone services up to more fully featured systems that may be hosted on a company’s own servers. An example of a more advanced feature is the ability to allow some participants to speak and be heard while others may only listen.
Audio teleconferencing is voice only; it is also known as conference calling. This kind of communication can be done on a casual basis through individual phone services, known as three-way calling, or by using services designed for the purpose. Some companies purchase a permanent, dedicated conference network where users simply pick up the phone to participate in a conference call. Services can also be purchased when needed. In this case, each conference participant is given a phone number and a pass code. Participants then "meet" on the air at a designated time. Pricing is determined by the length of the call and number of participants.
Distance learning can be conducted by audio conference. In fact, it is one of the most underutilized, yet cost effective methods available to education. Instructors should receive training on how to best utilize audio conferences to augment other forms of distance learning.
Widgets Required for Audio Conferencing:
· Two or more speaker phones.
· Many contact numbers. These contact numbers can be local or long distance or toll free numbers.
Advantages of Telephonic Communication:
· It is an instant source of contact.
· It ensures that though you are away from each other, the information exchange is speedy.
· Presence of pin number for the conference takes care of the security of information being exchanged.
· It is very convenient as one can participate in it by using a simple speaker phone.
2. Audiographic Teleconferencing Audio graphic teleconferencing is also known as electronic white boarding, according to The Free Dictionary. Both an audio and a data connection are necessary. This type of teleconferencing was often used for distance learning and meetings that only require narrowband communications. It was designed primarily as a student-instructor mechanism, with color imaging, digital video and telephone communications and endeavored to create a realistic virtual classroom.
It uses narrowband telecommunications channels to transmit visual information such as graphics, alpha-numerics, documents, and video pictures as an adjunct to voice communication. Other terms are desk-top computer conferencing and enhanced audio. Devices include electronic tablets/boards, freeze-frame video terminals, integrated graphics systems (as part of personal computers), Fax, remote-access microfiche and slide projectors, optical graphic scanners, and voice/data terminals.
Audiographics can be used for meetings and distance learning.
3. Computer Teleconference:
Uses telephone lines to connect two or more computers and modems. Anything that can be done on a computer can be sent over the lines. It can be synchronous or asynchronous. An example of an asynchronous mode is electronic mail. Using electronic mail (E-Mail), memos, reports, updates, newsletters can be sent to anyone on the local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN). Items generated on computer which are normally printed and then sent by facsimile can be sent by E-Mail.
Computer conferencing is an emerging area for distance education. Some institutions offer credit programs completely by computer. Students receive texts and workbooks via mail. Through common files assigned to a class which each student can assess, teachers upload syllabi, lectures, grades and remarks. Students download these files, compose their assignment and remarks off-line, then upload them to the common files.
Students and instructors are usually required to log on for a prescribed number of days during the week. Interaction is a large component of the students' grades.
Through computers, faculty, students and administrators have easy access to one another as well as access to database resources provided through libraries. The academic resources of libraries and special resources can be accessed such as OCLC, ERIC, and Internet.
Administrators can access student files, retrieve institutional information from central repositories such as district or system offices, government agencies, or communicate with one another. Other resources can be created such as updates on state or federal legislation.
4. Video Conferencing A technology that allows users in different locations to hold face-to-face meetings without having to move to a single location. This technology is particularly convenient for business users in different cities or even different countries because it saves the time, expense and hassle associated with business travel. Uses for video conferencing include holding routine meetings, negotiating business deals and interviewing job candidates. Video conferencing originally entailed closed-circuit television systems consisting of a camera and monitor at each end of the communication platform. With the dawn of the Internet and advances in video compression technology, video conferencing can take place anywhere there's an available Wi-Fi connection. Privacy in online video conferencing necessitates security, which involves encryption. The more sophisticated video conference platforms take place over virtual private networks (VPNs) set up by firms specializing in video conferencing or by a large corporation as part of its overall corporate network.
Video conferencing helps in conducting a conference between two or more participants at different sites by using computer networks to transmit audio and video data. For example, a point-to-point (two-person) video conferencing system works much like a video telephone. Each participant has a video camera, microphone, and speakers mounted on his or her computer. As the two participants speak to one another, their voices are carried over the network and delivered to the other's speakers, and whatever images appear in front of the video camera appear in a window on the other participant's monitor. Multipoint videoconferencing allows three or more participants to sit in a virtual conference room and communicate as if they were sitting right next to each other. Until the mid 90s, the hardware costs made videoconferencing prohibitively expensive for most organizations, but that situation is changing rapidly. Many analysts believe that videoconferencing will be one of the fastest-growing segments of the computer industry in the latter half of the decade.
A videoconference is a live connection between people in separate locations for the purpose of communication, usually involving audio and often text as well as video. At its simplest, videoconferencing provides transmission of static images and text between two locations. At its most sophisticated, it provides transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations Videoconferencing software is quickly becoming standard computer equipment. For example, Microsoft's NetMeeting is included in Windows 2000 and is also available for free download from the NetMeeting homepage. For personal use, free or inexpensive videoconference software and a digital camera afford the user easy - and cheap - live connections to distant friends and family. Although the audio and video quality of such a minimal setup is not high, the combined benefits of a video link and long-distance savings may be quite persuasive.
The tangible benefits for businesses using videoconferencing include lower travel costs and profits gained from offering videoconferencing as an aspect of customer service. The intangible benefits include the facilitation of group work among geographically distant teammates and a stronger sense of community among business contacts, both within and between companies. In terms of group work, users can chat, transfer files, share programs, send and receive graphic data, and operate computers from remote locations. On a more personal level, the face-to-face connection adds non-verbal communication to the exchange and allows participants to develop a stronger sense of familiarity with individuals they may never actually meet in the same place. A videoconference can be thought of as a phone call with pictures - Microsoft refers to that aspect of its NetMeeting package as a "web phone" - and indications suggest that videoconferencing will someday become the primary mode of distance communication.
Video Teleconference Combines audio and video to provide voice communications and video images. Can be one-way video/two-way audio, or two-way video/two-way audio. It can display anything that can be captured by a TV camera. The advantage is the capability to display moving images. In two-way audio/video systems, a common application is to show people which creates a social presence that resembles face-to-face meetings and classes and enables participants to see the facial expressions and physical demeanor of participants at remote sites. Graphics are used to enhance understanding. There are three basic systems: freeze frame, compressed, and full-motion video.
Video conferencing is an effective way to use one teacher who teaches to a number of sites. It is very cost effective for classes which may have a small number of students enrolled at each site. In many cases, video conferencing enables the institution or a group of institutions to provide courses which would be canceled due to low enrollment or which could not be supported otherwise because of the cost of providing an instructor in an unusual subject area. Rural areas benefit particularly from classes provided through video conferencing when they work with a larger metropolitan institution that has full-time faculty. Through teleconferencing, institutions are able to serve all students equitably.
How to Use Video Conferencing For Educational Training
Video conferencing as a modality to deliver educational training is a widespread practice. Schools as well as businesses use video conferencing for a variety of reasons, the most common being convenience. Video conferencing can bring students and teachers together without forcing them to drive long distances to attend class. There are several ways to set up a video conference, some require major investment in time and infrastructure, while others are relatively easy and inexpensive. It all depends on what the school or business wants to accomplish with the video conference.
Things required :
- Video cameras
- Internet access
Instructions : 1. Small or One-to-One Video Conferencing · Determine the goals of the video conference before deciding on what equipment to use. A simple one-to-one meeting over distance can be accomplished with a small video camera attached to the computer and a headset with attached microphone. Both parties in the conference need to be connected via the Internet using one of several available services like SKYPE or Adobe Connect, or NetMeeting. Some of these services are free while others charge a fee · Check with the service to see what the limitations are before arranging the conference. For example, SKYPE is good for one-to-one conferencing if you want to retain the video aspect. You can have up to 15 callers in a SKYPE call, but will lose the video with the third caller. SKYPE is free. Adobe Connect will allow multiple callers with video, but there is a charge to use Adobe Connect. NetMeeting is another free service that has specific features and limitations as well.
· Explore other web-based options to find out what the best solution for your small or one-to-one conference is. Start with the IT department at your school to see what is available internally before trying other outside options. All parties in the conference will need to have web cameras, speakers and microphones. Headsets work best in areas where noise will bother others.
· Decide on the time for the video conference and make sure all parties are given log-in information or are at their desks ready to accept a video call. Spend a few minutes before the conference starts checking audio and video to make sure everyone has access and can participate. The conference will start by either clicking on a link in a message (for a web-based conference such as Adobe Connect) or by calling a phone number (for a call-based conference like SKYPE).
· Have an agenda or schedule prepared so the conference can move along on time. If there are handouts, make sure they are emailed to all participants before the start of the conference so everyone is prepared. Some web based video conferencing applications have chat features so participants can type questions during the presentation. Others have audio access for everyone so they can ask questions directly to the presenter. Set guidelines for handling interaction like questions and comments.
2. Video Conferencing on a Bigger Scale · Teach a class over distance using video conferencing. Entire courses can be taught via video conferencing in a synchronous environment over great distances. This is done through what has been called "Interactive Television," although television is no longer used. Students are present in classrooms equipped with cameras, speakers, projectors and large screens. There are typically three to five classrooms in different parts of the city, county, state, country, or even world with students meeting at the same time.
· Schedule the students into classrooms most convenient for them. The teacher will be in one of the classrooms, sometimes traveling to different sites on different days. The teacher delivers the content to all the classrooms through equipment like computers, document cameras, DVD players, etc. just as in a regular classroom. The difference here is the images projected from the computer, document camera, or DVD are all broadcast to the other classrooms so all the students can participate in the class.
· Speak clearly and ask that the students also speak clearly, using the microphones in the classroom. Make sure that everyone looks at the cameras when talking, not necessarily at the teacher, who will actually be at the back of the room. Even though some of the students are miles away, the cameras and speakers bring them all into the same "virtual" classroom where they can learn and interact as if they are all in the same room.
· Instruct the participants in the video conference on the rules of the classroom, with extra emphasis on noise and distractions. The microphones are very sensitive and will pick up shuffling papers, whispers, and other small noises and broadcast them to everyone in the course, where they will become much larger noises. Even though a teacher is not present at all the sites, the students are still expected to behave as if the instructor is right there.
· Once the class session is over, make sure all the equipment is turned off and put away. Find out from the campus personnel what is required when leaving the conference classroom. The cameras and other equipment are very expensive and need to be protected. Convey to the students information needed for the next class meeting. Email or post online all course materials and handouts. Record the session if possible for those who miss class
Advantages & Disadvantages of Teleconferencing The benefits of teleconferencing, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, are a wider pool of ideas and opinions along with more realistic discussions. Because teleconferencing happens through live audio, the USDOT states further that discussions tend to be more personal and lively, and that people with limited mobility, such as the disabled or elderly, can more easily participate in meetings.
Videoconferencing increases efficiency and results in a more profitable use of limited resources. It is a very personal medium for human issues where face-to-face communications are necessary. When you can see and hear the person you are talking to on a television monitor, they respond as though you were in the same room together. It is an effective alternative to travel which can easily add up to weeks of non-productive time each year. With videoconferencing, you never have to leave the office. Documents are available, and experts can be on hand. A crisis that might take on major proportions if you are out of town, can be handled because you're on the job. Videoconferencing maximizes efficiency because it provides a way to meet with several groups in different locations, at the same time.
As the limited resource of funding has decreased, limited resources now include instructors, parking spaces and buildings. Students now include time as a limited resource. Teleconferencing enables institutions to share facilities and instructors which will increase our ability to serve students.
Other advantages include:
Save Time: Content presented by one or many sources is received in many places simultaneously and instantly. Travel is reduced resulting in more productive time. Communication is improved and meetings are more efficient. It adds a competitive edge that face-to-face meetings do not.
Lower Costs: Costs (travel, meals, lodging) are reduced by keeping employees in the office, speeding up product development cycles, improving performance through frequent meetings with timely information.
Accessible: Through any origination site in the world. Larger Audiences: More people can attend. The larger the audience, the lower the cost per person.
Larger Audiences: More people can attend. The larger the audience, the lower cost per person.
Adaptable: Useful for business, associations, hospitals, and institutions to discuss, inform, train, educate or present.
Flexible: With a remote receive or transmit truck, a transmit or receive site can be located anywhere.
Security: Signals can be encrypted (scrambled) when it is necessary. Encryption prevents outside viewers.
Unity: Provides a shared sense of identity. People feel more a part of the group...more often. Individuals or groups at multiple locations can be linked frequently.
Timely: For time-critical information, sites can be linked quickly. An audio or point-to-point teleconference can be convened in three minutes.
Interactive: Dynamic; requires the user's active participation. It enhances personal communication. When used well for learning, the interactivity will enhance the learning and the teaching experience.
Immediate Scheduling & Flexibility: You can set up a teleconferencing call in a matter of minutes. There are online teleconferencing services that allow you to log in, set the date and time for your call, and retrieve a phone number and personal identification number, or PIN, to distribute to your call participants almost instantly. Call participants also have a lot of flexibility. Callers can leave and come back to the discussion whenever desired. Ability to Record: Another advantage of teleconferencing is that you have proof of who participated in the call and you can also have the call recorded. So if there are any disputes or questions about the terms of a verbal agreement that was made over the phone, you can simply refer to the recording or transcript of the call. You can also email each participant a copy of the call. This will help your clients, colleagues and workers be more efficient. For instance, if you were discussing a project to be completed, an employee can replay the call to be clear about his role in the project. Companies frequently use teleconferencing to host earnings calls after a quarter or financial year has ended. This allows them to share additional financial information on top of what is on their earnings reports. Companies can use teleconferencing to have numerous locations in their company be involved in the same meeting. Teleconferencing is also useful for managers who manage employees remotely and need to explain directions for a project to their employees simultaneously
Hard to Officiate: In a normal meeting, one person is usually assigned to act as parliamentarian over the proceeding. The parliamentarian is a neutral person who prevents the discussion from veering off-topic, mediates arguments and keeps the meeting short. However, when you're having a meeting over the phone, people are less likely to respect and acknowledge the parliamentarian. As a result, a teleconference can be difficult to manage and officiate.
Impersonal: Because this teleconference takes the place of an actual face-to-face meeting, this can be a very impersonal way to conduct business or discuss issues with your group. You can't look into a person's eyes when he's talking or watch his movements to gauge his mood, meaning or intent. It is harder for members to develop a strong connection with each other. If you replace face-to-face meetings with teleconferencing, your group members could, over time, start to become disconnected from each other.
Skype is a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) application that lets users make free phone calls between Skype-equipped computers and inexpensive calls between Skype computers and landline or cell phones. Skype functions on a P2P model rather than as a centralized application, and it offers features such as voicemail, call forwarding, conference calling, and video chat. In most circumstances, Skype provides access to voice and video communication for a fraction of what other options cost. It allows more frequent contact between colleagues, collaborators, and friends and permits connections with those not likely to be in touch through conventional phone systems.
The most popular feature of the Web-based Skype is the ability to make phone calls, including conference calls, from the convenience of your own computer. Here's how to make a conference call on Skype:
To Make a Conference Call Step 1- Open Skype and log in with your user name and password.
Step 2- Click the Contacts tab in the main section of your Skype window.
Step 3- Find your friend's contact information and double-click the name.
Step 4- Find another friend from your contacts list whom you'd like to invite to your conference call. Right-click his or her name and select "Invite to Conference" from the menu that appears.
Step 5- Alternatively, invite multiple contacts to a conference call at the same time by clicking each contact name as you hold down the Ctrl (control) key. Once you have selected the contacts you'd like to invite, click the "Invite Selected Contacts to Conference Call" button.
Step 6- Another way to create a conference call on Skype is to select the contacts you'd like to talk with. Hold down the Ctrl key as you click on multiple names.
Step 7- Click "Tools" on the horizontal menu along the top of the application window.
Step 8- Select "Create a Conference Call." Choose any additional contacts you'd like to invite via the menu that appears.