The Concerns of Using Technology

Asynchronous learning is student-centered  teaching that uses online courses that you can take on your own schedule. It has many benefits for those of us juggling work and family as I have been doing for quite a long time. DeVry instructors provide lectures, tests, and assignments that can be accessed at any time. The discussion forum is set-up to be private with classmates to access, which is similar to how a blog should be set-up. Students are given a week to complete assignments and discussions with classmates whenever they are available 24/7. This is my preferred learning method without a doubt. Finding out the concerns related to using open source platforms will be explored further.

Social-networking sites, Wikis, and Blogs
Social-networking, Wikis, and Blogs can increase student learning through student interactions. Some challenges can occur when and educator incorporates them into their curriculum.  When a student is directed to a social media site or a blog, set-up by an educator, sometimes off-topic or non-academic discussions can occur. Of course this is a distraction to the student who may never get back to the task at hand and become further distracted by starting a conversation/networking with someone that is older than them, but is acting like they are a young student too, which can put them in a very dangerous situation. Blogs can be setup as public or private. Educators must set up the blog to be private so that only those invited have access to them.

Social media can also be a challenging instructional strategy to incorporate because it attempts to balance the authority of the educator with  active participation of the students. Collaboration through social media supports more of a constructivist approach to learning, where students and educators can work together to co-create understanding of a particular topic, rather than an approach that emphasizes individual contributions.

As a result, students and educators become equal participants in the knowledge sharing process. Though this seems beneficial for creating and disseminating knowledge, social media can also become a privacy concern  as well as an outlet for abuse and cyber-bullying  This suggests that establishing standards for social media use should include behavior and attitude guidelines similar to those enforced in the classroom. (Tarantino, McDonough,  & Hua, 2015)

Wikis target accounts for K12 and postsecondary schools and are easy to use with a friendly user interface.  There are good privacy settings for classroom use and controls can be set as safeguards. But, there are costly individual accounts and the wiki format may not be right for everyone to use. (learn.org, 2015)
 

Using wikis for educational purposes, educators and students is a good open source website resource.  But, it is an open source website that can be changed by anyone without them providing their identification. The fact that anyone can undo someone else’s changes is confusing and misleading. How do you know what you may have missed or if the content is credible?

 

Web-Based Media Benefits

Students who learned from materials containing both text and graphics produced

55 percent to 121 percent more accurate solutions to problems, according to David Taylor at the University of Maryland. The use of images, along with words, diminishes the overwhelming nature of text and helps the student to manage the cognitive load, which increases retention. Specifically, graphics are found to support retention because important elements are focused on via placement, layout and color. Activation of prior knowledge is engaged quickly with visual analogy, and mental models are created easily as diagrams can enhance understanding of how a concept works. Additionally, learning is made easier because simulations allow students to visualize real-life situations, and motivation is increased as students are able to see the relevance of skills. (Sosnowski, 2015)
 

What are the benefits of web-based media for teaching and learning? If a student can visualize what they are learning, then they can better understand and retain the information presented in the various media forms available.  It is a different method of learning.  Providing students different, innovative methods of learning changes the way educator’s jobs are performed and move them into the future, right along with students.

Learner Characteristics

What learner characteristics should be present when considering incorporating web-based media in a lesson? The learner’s prior knowledge should be considered, most students are already experienced in using media to learn in some form, games, video, etc., in and out of  school.  Students watch YouTube all of the time and know that if they want to learn how to do something, they can take training on that platform.  Also, I believe learners have to be motivated, goal oriented with focus, and determination. 

Integrating Web-Based Media

Currently, there is little research to show whether social media use varies based on course content type. Researchers should also investigate best practices for educators in how to effectively incorporate social media into the classroom. This research could provide insights on how students assume the role as co-creators of knowledge as well as how social media increases creativity. Finally, researchers should also consider the role that gender plays in social media use. Since females are more likely to use social media gender may affect the degree to which students are engaged in course collaborations, thus affecting their overall student learning. Since students vary in their level of engagement, it is imperative that further assessments of social media supported student learning consider multiple explanations for increased student learning. (Tarantino, McDonough,  & Hua, 2015)

Conclusion

Asynchronous learning is my preferred learning technique without a doubt.  It offers a variety to the learning process. I am very disciplined and you have to be, for this type of learning. For me, it is not hard to share the benefits associated with web-based media to enhance student learning experiences. It can be a challenge to find a platform that is secure for students, and credible.  You must be careful when using social media in any form, as it has its advantages and disadvantages.  Making sure privacy settings are put in place, is a task that educators need to make a priority.  Overall, social-networking sites, wikis and blogs are good for education with a few reservations that have been brought to the surface.

References

Online Community Tools: Wikispaces Reviewed. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://learn.org/articles/Online_Community_Tools_Wikispaces_Reviewed.html

Sosnowski, J. (n.d.). Advantages & Disadvantages of Schools Using Multimedia. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://education.seattlepi.com/advantages-disadvantages-schools-using-mu...

Tarantino, K., McDonough, J., & Hua, M. (n.d.). Effects of Student Engagement with Social Media on Student Learning: A Review of Literature. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.studentaffairs.com/ejournal/Summer_2013/EffectsOfStudentEngag...