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December 8, 2006

Technology Enhanced Learning Seminar - 12/6/06

I presented at the TEL Seminar today with Joan Hughes (C&I) and five others, including three faculty from PSTL (Murray Jensen, Gerald Shannon, and Jill Trites). I think it's great that, of the seven panelists, five were from CEHD!

I have to admit that I've been soooo busy that I didn't really prepare much for this presentation. If you saw it, you might have noticed! Generally, I think it went well, although I think it was difficult for people to really connect with what we were talking about without seeing the actual environment (it's still vaporware!).

The last two times I've presented this with Joan, the same gentleman asks this question:

Do you have experimental evidence that your environment will be better than face-to-face?

I'm all for research, but we stopped doing "better-than" research years ago. Educational Technologists are now more focused on affordances: What is this technology good for? What will it allow us to do that we might not have been able to do before? And besides, our project has nothing to do with replacing face-to-face. Instead, it's an additional opportunity for interactions.

November 30, 2006

Virtual Pals

I've long maintained that the real power of the internet is it's ability to connect people. A new survey finds that

... 43% of online networkers from the US felt "as strongly" about their web community as they did about their real-world friends.

Online education is often described as "impersonal" but this is evidence that meaningful human interaction can occur online. Some might not feel comfortable with this, but a previous generation had the same misgivings about the telephone. Now it's a very valued way for people to stay in touch and communicate. Perhaps online communication also needs some time to become part of our society's social norms.

This doesn't mean that online communication can always replace face-to-face interaction (neither can a telephone call). But it has its place.