Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Authentic Critical Reflection: Critique_It in Second Life

Michael Connors, Associate Professor, Digital Printmaking, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: Critique_It is an online virtual classroom critique system originally developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Croquet and ported to Second Life. The critique is a rudimentary instructional methodology in the arts that can be applied to most other disciplines. Critique_It provides an environment for simulating authentic learning strategies and allowing the possibility for feedback from peers and experts from outside the campus.


My notes

Student exhibition in SL. Old style grand Vic gallery.

They've developed a HUD (Heads Up Display). The HUD features information about each work of art in the gallery and links to further information. It links out to a wiki they've set up to record the seven stages of the critiquing process the students undertake.

He's sharing SLURLs eg:

Wiki is actually not a wiki - its a bb called punBB (free, open source available at:

This appears to be an NMC sponsored project. Access to the SLURL is available to NMC members.

Brave/confident user of SL to do this live!

They're also using a mediawiki as a #gallery space' ie articles and pix.
Student exhibitions are certainly good examples of authentic learning and Second Life heightens it. He just said that students can sell their work in SL and presumably can to real world sales from there too?
Cost of setting up this gallery and exhibitions? - The space in SL funded himself to begin with. Wants an island for the University. Then had some TQEF-type funding. Started in Croquet which was very expensive and time consuming. Decided to migrate to an environment that was already fabricated. Now confident about moving to other environments. He mentions that both Google and eBay are working on 3DVWs.
He has drawn upon programmers from NMC who built the HUD.
We ought to think about demo spaces beyond the art student eg what would a poster session look like in SL? perhaps uing SL as a dress rehearsal space for peer review?
Time to go.

Digital Documentaries Using Primary Access

Bill Ferster, Director, Primary Access, University of Virginia
PrimaryAccess ( is a Web 2.0 digital tool developed at the University of Virginia's Center for Technology and Teacher Education that allows teachers to integrate primary source documents into the curriculum through student-created digital documentaries. This session will demonstrate the tool and discuss its use in the K–12 classroom to stimulate participant ideas for transferability to higher education.

My notes

He uses word 'frictionless' (I use the Red Button for the same thing) - basically technology without technoligical inteference - user friendly design for non-techies.

I love the tool. We saw this in earlier session. Reminds me of VoiceThread (which we can't get a free licence for).

Primary Access is teacher driven exercise.

You can do similar thing with iMovie/WMM and Google Images but this is a firehose approach (ie tool too powerful and media is unmediated I suppose)

This is Web 2.0 type tool. Tool has built-in voice recorder

The tool he's describing is great. It would be brilliant for DST.

Web-based so finished work can be shared widely.

It can connect to Flickr as well as specified local repositories or other academic sources of images.

It has a great built-in image zooming tool that works like Camtasia Studio.

Stories or shows are published and shareable via a URL. I would love this tool!

Wow! It's free and opensource:

They're also working on a tool called MediaMixer - a more open ended tool for integrating various media.

Integrating Community History, Technology, and Service Learning: The Digital Durham Project

Trudi Abel, Director, Digital Durham Project, Duke University
This presentation focuses on a collaborative local history project between Duke University undergraduates and Durham eighth graders. Through their research seminar, Duke students conduct original research in local archives and then mentor eighth graders in how to use technology, particularly the Digital Durham website
My notes
Creating exhibits (hmmm, like my new idea for curating online exhibitions)
Louise is chatting at length on the benefits of the described approach and notes 'audience' as a factor. Yes as with blogging and podding - should we look at addressing the issues associated with student publishing (accuracy copyright and ethics). This should be within remit of DF
She says "very rich iterative process" - yes. Why haven't we got a project like this yet? Oh, Louise continues: "these were English Lit students where the course was on kiddult fiction." It takes me to go stateside virtual to find out about stuff at home...

Authentic Learning in History and Social Sciences: How "Real" Can We Make the Classroom Experience?

Scot A. French, Associate Professor / Director, University of Virginia

Abstract: How can we bring authentic learning, with real-world outcomes and assessments, into the history/social science classroom? This session will discuss the presenter's efforts to design and teach digital history seminars in partnership with museum professionals at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Monticello.

My Notes

Yesterday's sessions are available for everyone online:

Partner with non-profit cultural orgs
Partnership mentoring K-12s
Smithsonian Art Museum partnership where History majors can fill a gap interpretting paintings in the S's collection. Taging them and making them relevant to K12 teachers.
Also partnered with Primary Source Learning who work with Lib of Congress.

How could the images of life between the wars help teachers tell a meningful story of life between the wars and connect to K12 standards?
Inventing the course on the fly - it suffered from that.
Majors were trained to think like teachers and be aware of their constraints (eg emphasis on testing).
Connections being made in the back channel to Digital Storytelling and authenticity (Oral history approaches). It's worth thinking about DST in terms of authenticity. Later...
Must follow up on some of the DSTs shared (saved to my Delicious account and with SHUCDT and DST tags).

Great timeline visualisation being shared:
Pachyderm tool for building stories mentioned in chat. I think that's an NMC tool. We looked at it briefly years ago. Must take another look.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This provides a useful framework for discussion about authentic learning

Using Wikipedia to Reenvision the Term Paper

Andreas Brockhaus, Manager, Learning Technologies, University of Washington BothellMartha Groom, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
Abstract: To enhance the learning experience of a term paper, students were required to publish their papers in Wikipedia. Publishing for a large audience provided authentic feedback and encouraged students to do their best work. Using Wikipedia also allowed students to connect with a vibrant community and share their knowledge by making their papers publicly accessible.
My Notes
Publishing for a large audience with blogs and podcasts is something I don't hear enough about. I have heard a lot of k-12 teachers talking about using Wikipedia as an outlet on various podcasts before. For younger kids this is undoubtedly rich.
Technology (Wikipedia) is manageable - yes this is so important in all our work.
A smile when the students think about how many people might be actually looking at their contribution.
George Siemens said in ELI in jan: "Wikipedia content is 'relaible enough' - most importantly is is current and accessible." Currency and accessibility are surely an important attributes of authenticity.
There's a poll going on: What do you think is the greatest barrier to using Wikipedia as part of a class project? and Reliability of content (even in this group) is still seen as main issue people have followed by finding a topic to publish.
He demos how a student's wikipedia article comes up as #1 in Google. That makes them feel good.
There's discussion about whether this is manageable and some are saying setting up a private wiki would be preferable - missing the point! It's not about using wikis it is about contributing to global knowledge on a global stage.

The New Virtual Field Trip: A Perspective from NC State's Entomology Bug World

Len Annetta, Asst. Professor of Science Education, North Carolina State UniversityMarta Klesath, Lecturer, Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University
Abstract: The presentation will give a development perspective to incorporating a virtual field trip into a newly created online entomology course. The field trip in the traditional course took students to a local farm to uncover the varying species of bugs at the farm, as well as where they lived and what they ate. As the course went online, the 3D virtual environment enabled virtual students to share experiences similar to those of the traditional students while learning the same content.

My notes
Using a 3DVW to study bugs! A virtual field trip.
How to integrate 3DVW with teaching? (hmm, tech led, but let's see...)
Useful for visualisation and adding taxonomy - better than real life field trip.
Not so interesting a session but people are asking if it is important that the students are made to walk in a 3DVW (when they could fly or teleport). I thought flying or teleporting was like hyperlinking, hence loss of immersion and authenticity.
Mike Kelly says, "flying is also very useful - leads to survey knowledge vs route knowldege."

Q: Why Active Worlds over other 3DVWs?
Adobe Atmosphere was his first favourite space. Then Adobe stopped. First inclination Second Life but at the time Linden Labs weren't interested in Education. Also SL quite pornographic then. Active Worlds was set up for Education and he has since accumulated scripts and content for AWs. Communitiies and Help good for AWs.

Back channel: "The academic environment in SL has more or less separated itself from the rest of SL." Not sure what this means but i think the suggestion is SL is big enough to have many factions that needn't affect each other.

Using Computer-Simulated Case-Based Scenarios to Improve Learning

David M. Segal, Assistant Professor, College of Health & Public Affairs, University of Central Florida
Abstract: An online virtual case-based management system was developed to provide an interactive learning portal using simulated case scenarios, collaborative learning, decision support, and real-time assessment of student motivation and decision skills. Learn how to dynamically create and implement online case scenarios using virtual characters, speech, and other media-rich content.
My notes:
Case Based Learning allows students to focus on processing skills rather than teacher content.
How can technology mediate this?
A range of technologies: paper, word, powerpoint, wimba, animations, immersive worlds, mannequins, etc
(But) the focus can become more technology than content.
CBL supports most of Blooms Taxonomy.
How do you design CBL? Start with outcomes eg proficiency with content, critical thinking, evaluation, etc
Attributes of CBL: Relevant, Relealism, Engagement, Challenge (useful words for media interventions) Good diagram that I'll have to revisit. It describes how each of these attributes can be managed to heighten the learning experience.
Using a CBL system called My CaseSpace (portal). You can interrogate patients (subjects) by selecting patients in a line up (waiting room). There are various types of data behind each patient case (lab tests, histories, physical examination notes, etc, etc). Student has to propose a diagnosis by examining all of this data and then recommend a treatment.
At the end students can feedback on the exercice and play a video feedback file on the case.
This system (My CaseSpace) was developed by David himself using ASP and MySQL.
Someone asks: how long does it take to develop a case? - with all content ready it takes 15 minutes to assemble it.
UW-Madison has open source case tool under development - must look out for it.
A lot of people seem to be interested in having a CBL system. (follow up:
The system was developed with no funding from his uni - he's made a great tool as a lone ranger. Is this good? People like this will build before they even look for existing tools perhaps. We shouldn't feel so bad for him.
University of Huddersfield (I think - have a CBL tool I saw a few years ago.
I'm impressed by CBL approaches across the curriculum.
Question: have you found differences in responses between human and cartoon avatars?
Students relate better to real human pix that cartoon semi-realistic avatars.

Making Learning Real: Turning Sim City into "Sim Science"!

Diane Jass Ketelhut, Assistant Professor of Science Education, Temple University
Abstract: Current theories suggest that learning is facilitated when embedded in the context in which it will be used, but the constraints of the traditional classroom make implementing this difficult to impossible. This session will focus on exploring how new technologies such as virtual environments can situate learning in a "real" virtual context, motivate students while helping them develop scientific habits of mind, and support teachers in leading complex scientific inquiries.
More info

I came in late unfortunately - I had a meeting that I just had to go to. However it seems people attending get the idea and understand the value of authentic learning and even in using 'virtual real' environments. But the questions in the back channel ask:
"Right now the question is time - time and money for faculty to develop these scenarios." My response is, so how can some people like Diane do this while the rest of the world asks about time. I think you just have to do it. This is again about proving and modelling the concept. Slow and painful though that process might be. How can we as a university help people to 'do it' more often?

Conference resources

Authetic Learning for the 21st Century resources from Educause can be found here:

EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2008 Online Spring Focus Session

I'll be attending thr ELI Focus Session over the next 2 days and will leave notes here. I'll also be creating a podcast commentary of the experience with the purpose of comparing real and virtual attendance at an event such as this. The podcast will appear at in a couple of days time.
The theme of the focus is authenticity in learning - a really important topic in my own work.