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As a student of ETEC 642: Facilitating E-Learning Communities through the College of Education, University of Hawaii, Manoa, I have three take-aways for the course as a final reflection of the experience.  These include the following:

  1. Favorite Assignment
  2. Most Useful Exercise
  3. Best Food for Thought

imagesFavorite Assignment: By far my favorite assignment was the Collaborative Video Project.  I’ve done numerous online team projects in this masters program and even in my undergraduate studies.  I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t work.  Slowing down and working through the material as a team is the best team approach.  Because we were working with people from Japan and they were communicating in a second language, we had to take time to communicate clearly.  The people we worked with in Japan spoke English and had experience with the project from a previous year.  They were also fun and wanted to make the video to be funny.  The people from Hawaii came with skills that helped the project along whether with Google Hangouts, Google Docs, the application LINE, or video editing.  I was very happy with the process of creating the video and thought the final project was good.  For me, I was also very happy to work with an ethnically diverse team of people whether Japanese, Hawaiian, or Chinese.  These kinds of opportunities are very important to me and one of the reasons I love Hawaii.

UnknownMost Useful Exercise: The more useful exercise for me was having to set up the Twitter account.  Twitter has been around for awhile now, but I hadn’t set up an account.  I now have an account, I understand how hashtags work, I’m following accounts that interest me, and I’m being followed (probably only the people in this class so far, but it’s a start!).

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 4.28.32 PM Best Food for Thought: I really liked Dr. Howard Rheingold’s Network Literacy Part II video lecture where he reviews the end-to-end principle and talks about David Reed and the value of networks.  He began by explaining Sarnoff of RCA and television broadcasting along with the value of broadcast being dependent on the number of receivers.  This would be represented by ‘n’.  When the ethernet was invented a network could be connected with multiple connections such as FAX machines.  The value associated is now ‘n’ squared.  What is really exciting is when humans use the technical architecture of the Internet to form groups with similar interests.  The mathematical equation is shifted and the exponential growth is extreme.  In addition, Reed feels there is a connection between groups forming networks and social capital.  Rheingold likes to define social capital as the “ease of which people can get things done together without going through institutions.”

THANKS DR. BERT AND DAL WONG FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP! WENDY LAROS Wendy Laros

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As a student in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii, Manoa in the Learning Design and Technology program, I’ve learned that collaboration is an important concept in this field of study.

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Dr. Bert Kimura is a professor at UH Manoa as well as a lecturer at Kansai University in Japan.  He has conducted other collaborative projects with the students from both institutions, so the instructions for the assignment were clear.  In fact, he has published Authentic Learning and Collaboration with Web 2.0 Technologies with colleagues Mary Kimura, Curtis Ho, and Kenichi Kubota.  The purpose of this study was to discuss the outcomes of the collaborative video projects between students at Kansai University and University of Hawaii.  The results of this study were actually different than the experience I had in the Collaborative Video Project with our team.

First, Kimura et al. state, “Most oral communication students indicated that they were nervous speaking English with Hawaii students for the first time.”  Two out of the three Kansai students that we were paired with were eager to speak English and did so quite well.  They were not shy and comprehension was high.  Although one of the students did not speak during our meetings, he had participated in the project last year and was familiar with the process.  He contributed through translation by the other team members.  The team member that had not participated in project previously was a woman who spoke English well and was very easy to communicate with.  So, these students may have felt nervous, but it didn’t show nor slow down the process of communication.

Secondly, Kimura et al. state, “Students who participated in the CVP realized the need for good leadership, time management, scheduling in different time zones and selecting tools that best facilitated communication.”  Luckily, our group was full of leaders.  On the Hawaii end, Kainoa was quick to jump in and set up our Google Hangout and Google Document.  Kitty, was quick with the schedule and time zones.

Finally, in regards to collaborating on the story, Sayuri was eager to share ideas as well as Junta.  Although Kazuki wasn’t speaking directly, they were translating his input.  Sayuri let us know from the beginning that they wanted to be the Humuhumu team.  It was a funny word to them so we all agreed.  This got us started on having some fun fish graphics in the beginning and end of the video with humuhumus and the Japanese golden fish.  Kainoa put together the animated introduction and close.  We all liked that very much.  Because Junta and Kazuki had done a video the prior year, we talked about what we liked about it and agreed to go with a food sharing theme on social media.  Because we had six people, we decided to break up the scenes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Hawaii and in Japan and use foods that were well known in these places.  Then we chose different forms of social media to share our food photos with friends.

I personally helped in offering storyline ideas that we developed as a group during our meetings and I offered to edit the final video due to my experience with video editing.  We were all happy with the final product.  Here’s a look at our Kansai Hawaii Collaborative Video Project:

Manta Pacific Research Foundation founder, Keller Laros, is a PADI scuba instructor and dive guide with Jack’s Diving Locker on the Kona Coast of the island of Hawaii.  He has over 10,000 logged dives and has certified and guided thousands of divers in a career that spans 30 years in the dive industry.  In January 2013, he was leading divers on the world famous Manta Ray Night Dive when a lone bottlenose dolphin swam through the manta dive site.  After several passes, the dolphin let out a loud squeak and Keller then realized the dolphin had fishing line wrapped around its left pectoral fin.  He signaled for the dolphin to come and it did.  He proceeded to remove the fishing line from this animal in distress.  The behavior exhibited by the dolphin and the bravery exhibited by Laros are worth watching.  This event was captured by a videographer on the manta dive and that video now has close to 10 million cumulative views on the Internet.

Manta Pacific Research Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and conservation concerning manta rays and the marine environment.  The foundation worked for six years toward manta protection in the State of Hawaii and now ACT 092(09) is a law that prohibits the capture or killing of manta rays in state waters.  The path to protection included many tried and true methods such as presenting law makers with scientific data, written and verbal testimony, a petition, and even hand drawn pictures from school children urging protection for manta rays.

Alexander's artAlthough these methods worked for this important cause, there is much more to do.  The foundation is funding scientific research for manta rays, continuing existing projects such as the manta identification project, and developing new projects such as the Manta Rescue Project.  The foundation has been in existence since 2002 and has proven to be an organization that affects change.

The question now is how to combine social media awareness and the worthy cause of manta conservation?  In the article Activism or slacktivisim? The role of social media in effecting social change, Jones (2013) states, “Most successful online activism exist to augment successful off-line campaigns.”  This is good news because as an organization, this foundation has  been successful in running an off-line campaign.  What they need now are the tools and strategies to run an online campaign.

Unknown-1On the ABC news, Rebecca Jarvis interviewed Jerome Jarre in Social Media Star on the Art of  Making Viral Videos.  When giving advice on how to be successful with social media awareness, he states, “Post everyday.  You start to become part of the people’s everyday life.  Definitely do something that no one else is doing.  You must be different or else there is no point in following you.”

More research must be done, but the advice from Jones and Jarre is a good start.  In regards to an already established off-line campaign, the foundation already has a track record and new programs are being developed.  In regards to a social media presence, the foundation can associate with the dolphin rescue video, however, fresh, original content needs to be posted for followers to be interested and to build the momentum.

UnknownI’ve lived in Hawaii my entire adult life (coming up on 30 years), so I understand the importance of building relationships.  I’ve always lived in the outer islands and these areas are often referred to as ‘rural’.  Maybe they resemble rural areas on the mainland, but there is something different.  For starters, we live on an island, a finite land mass in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Second, layers of very distinct cultures make up the resident base – Hawaiians make up the host culture, Japanese descendants make up the majority of actual residents, and the United States governs the region.  Yes, it’s a state, but the history and ethnic diversity are very different from other states on the North American continent.

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Often when Hawaiian locals greet one another you hear a dialogue about family ties.  “Who’s your family?”  This is a quick and easy way to create a social connection.  Often times, the Hawaiian ohana (extended family) is far and wide, so at some point in the exchange a connection is typically made.  For me, it’s not my family in Hawaii, but I might be able to make a connection through my ohana of friends, colleagues, schools, or place of business.  Regardless, establishing a social connection is of extreme importance to begin a real relationship with people in Hawaii.

Establishing social connections allows the opportunity to build relationships.  Through relationships and connectivity, social capital is established.  According to Steinfield, Ellison, Lampe, and Vitak (2012), “The term social capital has been widely used to refer to the accumulated resources derived from the relationships among people within a specific social context or network.”

In a TED talk, Christakis (2010) explains the impact of social ties in the “The Hidden Influence of Social Networks” by explaining that networks have value.  They are a kind of social capital.”  He states, “It’s the ties between people that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.”  “Our experience of the world depends on the actual structure of the networks in which we are residing and all the kinds of things that ripple and flow through the network.”

It’s important to establish a sense of belonging in the community in which one lives.  By establishing relationships and building social capital, life can be more meaningful and purposeful.

Unknown-4A friend of mine always tells us to “Go ask Uncle Google” whenever I have a question that could be answered through in Internet search.  When you type the question into the search bar, the answers come up in a long list of possible sources.  Answers do seem to be there.  This wasn’t always the case.  I’ve been online since the 90’s and availability of information was not the same back then.

Go to Google and ask the question, “What is network literacy?” and Howard Rheingold’s YouTube video shows up on the first page of a list of possible sources with the answer to this question.  Rheigold has a two-part series about network literacy that outlines some of the history of the Internet or originally called the ‘Inter Network’ and how this infrastructure is combined with social networking.

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Tim Berners Lee

Rheingold explains, “When the original architects of the Internet protocol started creating the architecture for the overall network by creating the rules by which data could be sent through that network, they realized that the did not know what would be done with the network in the future.”  These architects decided to decentralize control and create the end to end principle.  This allowed someone like Tim Berners-Lee the opportunity to utilize the Internet in creating the World Wide Web. He didn’t have to ask for permission.

In Part 2 of Rheingold’s video lecture, he cites David Reed and explains how value can be associated with this network.  There’s a liner value with a sender to a receiver, a squared value from transactions, and an exponential value for facilitating groups.  This kind of group value is produces extraordinary results in regards to the amount of information available on the World Wide Web that is utilizes the Internet.  So when my friend says, “Go ask Uncle Google”, what is really happening?  We are seeking answers from the value of group affiliations.  It’s not liner, not squared, it’s exponential.  Social networking is certainly something that is innate and familiar to humans, but the availability of a network at this level is unparalleled in human history.  It’s an exciting time to live.

According to Rheingold (2010), “Attention is the fundamental building block for how individuals think, how humans create tools and teach each other to use them, how groups socialize, and how people transform civilizations.”  Wow, “transforming civilizations’ that’s something to take in.  As someone who is familiar and comfortable with focused attention, I see the point that Rheingold is making.  Certainly focused attention can lead to great things including creativity, innovation, productivity and more.

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However, the topic of attention and the topic of social media often blend.  On the one hand, many people that engage in social media engage in spilt attention scenarios instead of focused attention.  Spilt attention is a concern to educators due to the possible diminished capacity of their students to retain pertinent information.  For someone like Dr. Rheingold, who is a lecturer on the topic of social media at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, this is a concern.  It was also a concern for Shirky who teaches social media and theory at NYU.

Yet, Rheingold (2010) relates attention and social media to “crap detection”.  Crap detection is the art of being critical with the content consumed.  Find trustworthy sources.  Rheingold states, “Finally, crap detection takes us back, full circle, to the literacy of attention.  When I assign my students to set up an RSS reader or a Twitter account, they panic.  They ask how they are supposed to keep up with the overwhelming flood of information.”  When I think of social media, that is exactly my concern.  I don’t want to take precious time out of my life to sift through irrelevant information when I have so many other important tasks and projects.  Social media sometimes bothers me.

It feels as though social media stimulus is overwhelming, but the opportunity of being connected to worthwhile sources may outweigh the work involved to sift through the crap.

On Storify at https://storify.com/kroos/curationtools4edu, Karel Roos has collected several interesting and informative online videos about curating web content.

I really liked the presentation by Dr. Vanessa Dennan from Florida State University who communicated FACETS, an approach to online curating. She seemed like a credible source and somewhat innovative in her approach.

  • F – Find the content
  • A – Assess the content
  • C – Choose the content
  • E – Explain the content
  • T – Tailor a collection
  • S – Share a collection

Although it’s a little too detailed and hard to remember all of the steps outlined by Dennan, I do like the organization. I also like how she explained the similarities between curating a collection for a museum and the process of curating content found on the web.  I’ve been to some very famous museums in the world such as the Smithsonian, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, and countless more.  It’s something I enjoy doing and curating a collection is certainly a very important and prestigious job.

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The beginning of the module stated, “This video lecture will help you learn . . . “. After the intensity of learning how to create measurable objectives, I was a little disappointed to see this statement. This made me wonder about how credible this educator really is. I wondered, “If she is professor and teaching, why doesn’t she know how to craft instruction.” That’s when I felt really good about the instruction I’ve had in this learning design and technology program.

This is a tough time in history to be an old person.  It would seem that many cultures associate old age with wisdom.  Why?  Because the longer you live the more experiences you’ve encountered.  The assumption is you should’ve learned from those experiences and hence should know more.  Wisdom is defined as “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 11.02.47 PMMost would agree that the U.S. Supreme Court justices are considered wise, however most would also agree that these people are old, ranging from age 54 to 81.  Eighty-one, really!  This group of aged individuals live in a very difficult time in in history – a time when technology and its use is coming at us so fast, it’s hard to be ‘all knowing.’  In the article, “Technology Law will soon be reshaped by people who don’t use email”, author Timm comments on the Supreme Court justices’ lack of knowledge when it comes to technology.  He states, “This lack of basic understanding is alarming, because the supreme court is really the only branch of power poised to confront one of the great challenges of our time: catching up our laws to the pace of innovation, defending our privacy against the sprint of surveillance.”  He goes on to say, “So the future of our privacy, of our technology – these problems land at the feet of a handful of tech-unsavvy judges. Future nominees to the bench should be quizzed on their knowledge of technology at confirmation hearings.”

It’s hard to be an ‘old’ person and to be tech savvy.  That’s why I joined the University of Hawaii Educational Technology program.  To be a productive and valued citizen in today’s world, I needed to embrace technology or be left behind.  I was not interested in being called out as Timm is doing with the Supreme Court.  I’ve got tech savvy teens, so I certainly had my critics.  Obviously, the responsibility of this group of nine people is monumental.  The decisions they are asked to make become history.  I respect these people, but feel they need to step up their game.  As Timm suggests, maybe be quizzed.  I do think something as important as the use of technology in today’s world is worth a lesson or two to the folks that are responsible for making such important decisions in our country.

In the article, “Millennials will Make Online Sharing in Networks a Lifelong Habit”, authors Anderson and Rainie (2010) explain that digital natives will continue to disclose a great deal of personal information on the Internet in order to take advantage of social, political, and economic opportunities.  As the mother of an eleven year old very social digital native, I wonder about this disclosure.  Privacy concerns are real.

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Here’s what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has to say:

C. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The FBI is especially concerned about protecting children’s privacy. We hope parents and teachers are involved in children’s Internet explorations. It is particularly important for parents to guide their children when children are asked to provide personal information online. The FBI’s Fun and Games Page does not require children to reveal any information that could personally identify them. If a child chooses to provide personally identifying information to us through e-mail or otherwise, it will only be used to enable us to respond and will not be retained.

My question is how am I really supposed to be involved.  Teens and pre-teens are like to spend time privately on computers.  It’s hard to know what exactly they are doing.  A few years ago when my daughter was in middle school, I made her remove all the adults (many of them mine) from her Facebook account.  I’ve asked my eleven year old son to do the same with Instagram.  However, I feel as though I don’t really have much control in my locus of control as a parent.  I guess it’s time for more communication with my son and to make sure he understands the concerns of disclosing personal information on the Internet.  However, as much as i might try, I’m not sure my warnings will do much for this Millennial as he lives in the ever changing world of the information age.  It’s not just information that he seeks, but also information he gives – about himself.  Scary!

I went to the Facebook page for our class and scanned the Storify posts to get a feel for what everyone’s doing.  I looked to the side and there were all kinds of friend requests – distraction!  So I get sucked in and all of sudden I’m lost in my personal stuff now and not doing ETEC course work.  Then it hits me – is this why Dr. Bert wanted us to really think about multi-tasking.  Social media sometimes bothers me.

So, I go back to the ETEC 642 web site and look up the Storify assignment.  I click on one of Dr. Bert’s links “Old Jokes Illustrated” and think I like old jokes so why not.  I read the Storify and it’s just irritating to me – not funny.  What a waste of time.  Social media sometimes bothers me.

So, then I decide to do a Google search on ‘Social Media Bothers me’ and some interesting blogs come up.  I started with “What Annoys You on Social Media” which lead me to “The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media” which then led me to Scott Stratten.  Who is this guy?

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Maybe this is normal, but here’s the close up:

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35,000 followers – What is this guy talking about?  His twitter site is so impressive to me – someone who’s only been on Twitter since this class started.  So, I go to his web site and read all kinds of interesting information and decide I’ve just got to have his book Unmarketing.  So, I decide to buy it.  I chose iTunes.  I download it on my computer.  Now it says I can’t use this device to read it.  Irritating!  None of this would have happened if it weren’t for social media (remember it started with the ETEC Facebook page).  In the end, I still feel the same way.  Social media sometimes bothers me.