Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doing (multiple) MOOCs + Multiliteracies

I am currently registered in and trying to follow one online workshop and two MOOCs. Vance Stevens, who is conducting the online workshop, (TESOL's EVO or Electronic Village Online Multiliteracies , responded that he was considering designating Multiliteracies a MOOC or Miniscule Open Online Course. Comparing the courses, finding connections, is as much my goal and ongoing blog topic as surviving the experience without my head exploding. 

All three are populated with repeaters. The light finally went on. Since these are networks are part of my immediate (maybe longterm) learning network, I should draw on them, ask who else is in multiple open courses and how they handle them, navigate the chaos. What strategies, tools, practices, tips can they (YOU) share?  

 Hi there ~ I know a number of evomlit-ers (or however we designate ourselves) are taking one or more concurrent MOOCs, in addition to Multiliteracies?

I've been wondering:

Monday, January 17, 2011

What is Technological Literacy?

Technological literacy is the starting point. No literacy, no meaningful access to technology. Online learners avoid logging into LMS, postpone assignments. When they do finally log in, the time logged in LMS does not reflect productivity. The absence of technological literacy skews learning analytics, shrinks the effectiveness of computer mediated learning and connectivity, not unlike how gaps in print literacy affect learning. Technological literacy is also as much a mindset and way of thinking as a skill set. The critical thinking aspect is indispensable to connectivism. 


Technological literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate technology. It complements technological competency, which is the ability to create, repair, or operate specific technologies, commonly computers. 


Technological Literacy: Comprehension of technological innovation and the impact of technology on society -- may include the ability to select and use specific innovations appropriate to one's interests and needs. 

The U.S. Department of Education (1996) defines technology literacy as "computer skills and the ability to use computers and other technology to improve learning, productivity, and performance." It lists four goals related to technology literacy that ensure all students and teachers have equitable access to and effective use of technology.

ENGINEERING from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE): 

One useful way to think about technological literacy is as a component of the more general, or "cultural," literacy popularized by educational theorist E.D. Hirsch, Jr. Hirsch pointed out that literate people in every society and every culture share a body of knowledge that enables them to communicate with each other and make sense of the world around them.

What a literate person knows will vary from society to society and from era to era; so there is no absolute definition of literacy. In the early twenty-first century, however, cultural literacy must have a large technological component.

Technological literacy is a much richer concept than computer literacy, although the two are often confused. Technological literacy can be thought of a comprising three interrelated dimensions that help describe the characteristics of a technologically literate person.

Three dimensions of technological literacy 

Technological literacy encompasses three interdependent dimensions:

(1) knowledge;

(2) ways of thinking and acting; and

(3) capabilities.


These dimensions can be placed along a continuum-from low to high, poorly developed to well developed, limited to extensive. 

Every individual has a unique combination of knowledge, ways of thinking and acting, and capabilities that will change over time with education and life experience. The characteristics of a technologically literate person can be described along these dimensions. 

Different job and life circumstances require different levels and types of literacy. For example, a state legislator involved in a debate about the merits of constructing new power plants to meet future electricity demand ought to understand at a fairly sophisticated level the technological concepts of trade-offs, constraints, and systems. He or she must also understand enough details about power generation to sort through conflicting claims by utility companies, environmental lobbyists, and other stakeholder groups. The average consumer pondering the purchase of a new digital television may be well served by a more basic understanding of the technology - for example, the differences between digital and analog signals - and a smaller set of critical thinking skills.

In practice, it is impossible to separate the dimensions from one another. It is hard to imagine a person with technological capability who does not also know something about the workings of technology, or a person who can think critically about a technological issue who does not also have some knowledge of technology and science. So, although the three-dimensional framework about technological literacy can be helpful in thinking and talking, it is important to remember these dimensions are arbitrary divisions.

A technologically literate person has knowledge of technology and is capable of using it effectively to accomplish various tasks. He or she can think critically about technological issues and acts accordingly. Technological literacy can be visualized in three dimensions.


1. Knowledge
A technologically literate person:

  • Recognizes the pervasiveness of technology in everyday life. Understands basic engineering concepts and terms, such as systems, constraints, and trade-offs.Is familiar with the nature and limitations of the engineering design process. 
  • Knows some of the ways technology shapes human history and people shape technology. Knows that all technologies entail risk, some that can be anticipated and some that cannot. 
  • Appreciates that the development and use of technology involve trade-offs and a balance of costs and benefits. Understands that technology reflects the values and culture of society.

Compare your Tech Savvy with those who participated in a Gallup poll on technological literacy, 

2. Ways of Thinking and Acting

  • Asks pertinent questions, of self and others, regarding the benefits and risks of technologies. 
  • Seeks information about new technologies.
  • Participates, when appropriate, in decisions about the development and use of technology.

3. Capabilities

  • Has a range of hands-on skills, such as using a computer for word processing and surfing the Internet and operating a variety of home and office appliances. 
  • Can identify and fix simple mechanical or technological problems at home or work. 
  • Can apply basic mathematical concepts related to probability, scale, and estimation to make informed judgments about technological risks and benefits.

What is Technological Literacy? via Everyone's Blog Posts on Multiliteracies by Vanessa Vaile on 1/16/11, inspired by Vasi's forum question...

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First Impressions

Week 1 impressions are primarily about evomlit11 (Multiliteraciesand LAK11 (Learning and Knowledge Analytics) and only peripherally to CCK11 (Connectivism and Connective Knowledge), which starts today as I am reminded by an email notice from that other MOOC. I registered there early and did some early prep. We'll see whether/ how much that helps chaos management (an oxymoron if there ever was one).

Evomlit11, Vance Steven's 6 week EVO (Electronic Village Online) workshop, Multiliteracies, is my persoanl comfort zone and starting point for impressions and comparisons even it lacks sufficient massiveness to be authentically MOOC. Someone suggested renaming MOOC, taking out the M because massiveness puts people (especialy education traditionalist, no doubt) off.

Week 1 is orientation, getting acquainted, speed dating as online community building strategy. There are readings, discussions and presentation, but those take the back seat to the former. Week two may be too late to catch up with establishing a presence and making connections.

Multiliteracies (#evomlit11) Week 1 was comfortable, not in the least hectic or stressful. No doubt it was hectic for first timers, but there are always enough repeat offenders to glad hand, greet and ease the way. Not a moderator (official), I can still be a greeter (unofficial). MLIT (short for Multiliteracies and not all are EVO generated) and its addresses on PBWiki, Ning and Y Groups constitute my pièd à terre in open course cyberspace.

Group.ly still does not quite feel like home. PLN, a post-PLENK encounter at yet another group platform contender, hasn't quite taken either. Groups and listservs are prone to the same clique patterns as high school. But that's another topic for another time. Today, it's "mooking about" impressions. The sheer size of a MOOC, combined with relatively short duration, 6-10 weeks, skews those dynamics. Moderation is another factor influenced by group size.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fw: Only a few days left for testing IAW Beta 3 for free

In case you've ever wondered why some content mill articles read as though written by buggy software in beta.... hmm, maybe student essays too...

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IAW does all the research for you, no more wasting time searching for content and no more writers block. What used to take me an hour I can now finish in 5 minutes!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A PLN Blueprint in 5 parts

The 2011 MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) season is upon us. This time I'm enrolled in two in addition to Multitliteracies, aka #evomlit, at EVO (Electronic Village Online, Tesol's annual pre-conference). Evomlit is not a MOOC (in massive sense) but is both open and online. They are all also free and self-paced.
With these courses comes PLN-OCD. Following (or actively participating in) MOOCs (aka "mooking about") is saturated with PLNs. The the activities seem inextricably intertwined. Workshops still spend time defining and describing PLNs, differentiating them from PLE's. Something "meta" is definitely meta going on here. 

Tom Whitby blogs on PLNs, clarifying what should have been clearer from the outset, 
This was one of my early posts explaining how I became involved in Social Media and the idea of a Personal Learning Network.It seems to be a topic that needs to be continually explained because of the growing number of educators who continue to enter the world of social media for educators. 
Part 1
One of today’s educational buzzwords, or fad terms is the PLN.  For my purposes it stands for Personal Learning Network. Others call it a Professional Learning Network or Community or even Environment. That would be PLN, PLN, PLC, or PLE. Many educators today are involved understanding and developing their own PLN’s. Everyone has one, and each is different and as unique as a fingerprint. Some employ technology, and others dwell in faculty rooms across the country and around the world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

David Noble, activist and academic gadfly

... best known for his criticism of the corporate university, distance education and his book, Digital Diploma Mills. Another outspoken Canadian educator (Athatbasca), Stephen Downsproponent of online education and education technology innovator, writes fondly and appreciatively of Dr Noble. Link to Globe and Mail obit + comments included. 

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