Monday, May 26, 2014

Smart Pedagogy II: Time Portal and Oculus Rift

Smart Pedagogy means innovating with respect to the elements that must align with a pedagogy shaped by 21st century needs. Pedagogy is not a static entity but is something that is changing because of what we are discovering through multidisciplinary research about how students learn and from a new vision of education that reflects a new culture of innovation.

The focus for this post is how we can take online collaborative discussion and design it in such a way that it is challenging, inspiring, real, and focused on arriving at solutions to real world problems. However, in order to  be effective, the end result must not be left to being just academic exercise but must also have an outlet so that the students receive real world recognition for the solutions that they have come up with. This means that they must have a real world outlet so that their solutions are published and open to examination.

One of the challenges to real and relevant online discussion has been the claim that the asynchronous nature of the Internet creates a problem for involving students across the globe in a specific online collaborative discussion. In other words, it is all about time and time zones!

Credit: twobee
Part of the problem in the past has been we have neglected to lay the foundation for online collaborative discussion to take place within an online environment. One way to solve this problem within any particular LMS is to have a module designed that students reach before entering the course proper where they have to create a personal introduction with YouTube as a possible vehicle and share it with other students who are present as well. Laying the foundation of real online collaborative discussion means that the students need to get to know each other. This introduction of a social aspect is something that students are quite familiar with as a result of their past involvement with such social media sites as Face Book and Twitter to name a couple. In this instance you are taking two modern communication innovations and using them to further the goals of student learning. Within this module is where students may be introduced to the idea that they are going to become involved in online collaborative discussion during the time of the course.

Now turning to the problem of the asynchronous nature of online collaboration, here are some suggestions:
  1. Since in the past posting I used online World History as the example, I will continue to use it in these suggestions. When students do their personal introductions, ask them to put in the GMT or time zone that they are in so that other students get an idea as to time difference. Most students of geography understand the basic fact that the world has 24 time zones.
  2. Next, include an utility that is built into the course that is in fact a Time Zone Calculator. This means that when students are about to get involved in a online collaborative discussion, they can insert the time zone that their collaborators are in and have it produce the time difference in hours compared to the hosting site.
  3. Based on the hosting time zone, suggest that on the particular date that students are told by their instructor the discussion will take place, that the start time be noon. So, what this means is that if the limit is a difference of 12 hrs, it will try to include a majority of students registered in the course. Some might be up late at night but for many who are involved in online gaming which they have no problem with, it shouldn't be a problem to use this time for something more important, their education!
  4. The online collaborative discussion is much more than just a text debate. It is presented as a time portal in which students enter in the role of the historical events main characters into an immersive virtual scene where they must make decisions and defend their decisions based on the outcomes that they see.
Next, what they find on the other side and how Oculus Rift may play a pivotal role in what happens.

No comments: