Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cognitivism as a Learning Theory (Module 2)

It’s hard to walk away after reading Kerr’s (2007) blog on cognitivism and learning theories, as well as Kapp’s (2007) blog on educational schools of thought, without having a strong sense of one’s own ideals as they relate to learning behavior – and the important adjustments that must be made along the way to accomplish various learning objectives. As someone who embraces the constructivist philosophy strongly, thanks to the learning theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Gardner – among others – I find cognitivism and constructivism pivotal for both learner and educator in problem-solving and collaboration pedagogy. Simply, I just think that having a strong sense of how to make the most effective use of one’s knowledge, based on experiences, collaboration, and, yes, creative ways to augment existing knowledge, adds a dimension to constructivism that is paramount to the learning process.

The collaborative exchanges in both blogs speak volumes about how information involving cognitivism, behaviorism, connectivism and constructivism is processed and used. I’m a firm advocate of the kind of back and forth that ensues in blogging and similar e-learning venues, because it augments the learning process. The more information and ideas exchanged among connected individuals, in my view, the more opportunity there is for a highly instructive and insightful learning experience. What one does with that information from the learning experience, as in the case of the Kerr (2007) and Kapp (2007), has to serve as an enlightenment – if nothing more than the sharing of certain isms or beliefs related to knowledge and behavior.

Finally, a word about pragmatism. While I don’t suggest hoisting a moistened finger to the wind on every decision made, especially in educational technology, pragmatism has served learning theorists and education, itself, well over the years. Dewey’s (1938; 1997) well-documented pragmatic reforms on educational and social change, should serve as a primmer in the ever-burgeoning and ground-breaking world of educational technology. Dewey exhibited the kind of behavior that served as a springboard for much of what we as educators and learners enjoy in education today. One thing is for certain. Like pragmatism, isms -- as detailed in the Kerr (2007) blog – also must change to help improve the learning process. As such, cognitivism and constructivism are sure to continue to be reliable, if not trustworthy beliefs and components for  education overall. Let’s hope these ideals continue to move the learning process forward.

Dewey, J. (1938; 1997). Experience and education.
Kerr, B. (2007), January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from
Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about:  Discussions on educational schools of thought
           [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Conducive Learning Environment: To Guide or Not to Guide

I can’t say enough about the guided inquiry approach that I’ve used in the classroom over the years at both the college and secondary school levels. A sizable chunk of this pedagogic enthusiasm no doubt stems from a tightly embraced Socratic approach to learning. But as an instructional technologist, with an unwavering penchant for multimedia and digital technology in a perpetual critical thinking and creative environment, I view the guided inquiry approach as a proven pedagogic tool.

That’s why I’m especially intrigued over Siemens (2008) and his provocative but praiseworthy paper on learning theories in the digital age. As a veteran communications instructor, I certainly can see all sides of the issue regarding instructional guidance when it comes to computers, the Internet, and, by extension, multimedia and digital technology. Learners, as I continue to find out, handle and absorb content in the technology environment differently, which requires certain pedagogic adjustments on the part of educators and learners. But I’m not so sold on the concept in the students’ interfacing with multimedia and digital programs and applications that minimal guidance, as Siemens (2008) posited in his Mitra (2007) “hole-in-the-wall” reference, is the most effective approach. Granted, this had to do with a children’s research study in which computer learning was achieved with minimal instructional input involving computers. But my question is, what constitutes “minimal guidance”? Is it having a group of youngsters, in this case ages 6-12, turning on their computers and going to an application or a program, without the instructor making reference to any program nuances or complexities? Or, is it reinforcement of digital content, where and when applicable? As a seasoned communications and technology instructor, I submit that “minimal” at this point begins to take on a whole new aura or meaning, making it not only pivotal but something akin to a concept being in the eye of the beholder.

But regardless of the pedagogy, behaviorism in educational technology no doubt shifts depending on the task or the assignment. I can just imagine what the learning environment was like in the 1960s when Skinner’s (Saettler, 2004) teaching machines and programmed instruction were beginning to make their mark on a skeptical but increasingly technologically-savvy society. From my vantage point, this behavior in multimedia and digital technology kind of ebbs and flows among students depending on the application or program. When a group of my gifted and academically talented middle school students started using their iPods to make videos a few years ago, I literally had to pry them away from my computer lab to go to their next class. I got the same enthusiastic response from the same group when I introduced them to electronic organizer programs such as Inspiration® and Timeliner® that literally involve bells and whistles.

However, class enthusiasm was a little more subdued when the students had to work with graphics and enhanced illustrations in Macromedia’s Fireworks as part of a WebQuest® (WebQuest.Org, 2007), which required constant interaction with me as their instructor using this increasingly popular electronic lesson tool. There was no other choice but to assume a more guided posture as their instructor to spur the kind of requisite engagement necessary to achieve the WebQuest® task.

So to guide or not to guide is a pedagogic dilemma in which educators may often find themselves. My suggestion for a possible solution is not only to monitor learner behavior as technology continues to expand, but to couple the efforts with a heavy dose of engagement to help bring about a more conducive learning environment.


Saettler, P. (2004). The evolution of American educational technology. Greenwich, CT: 
           Information Age Publishing.

Siemens, G. (2008), January 27). Learning and knowing in networks:  Changing roles for

           educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from


WebQuest.Org (2007). The WebQuest Research Forum. Department of Educational Technology,

           San Diego State University. Retrieved from

Friday, August 19, 2011

Intellectual Property Video


Video #2 is the updated version that corrects Video #1's sound overlay problems.

Intellectual Property

Imagine a world without intellectual property. We live in a society some say creates more problems with intellectual property than it solves, thanks to global convoluted laws and regulations. Are we better off with or without these legal mandates that touch upon every aspect of our lives?

F. Davis

IP Concept Map --

Intellectual Property Narrative --

References/Video Credits

Corbett, S. (2011). Creative Commons licences, the copyright regime and the online
           community:  Is there a fatal disconnect? The Modern Law Review, 74(4), 503-531.
           Retrieved from ProQuest Central. (Document ID:  2391083031).
CNBC (2010). Intellectual Property [Program Video]. Retrieved from 
Leary, H., & Parker, P. (2011). Fair use in face-to-face teaching. Tech Trends, 55(4), 16-17.
           Retrieved from ProQuest Central. (Document ID:  2369041911).
Gilbert, R. (2011). A world without intellectual property? A review of Michele Boldrin and
           David Levine’s against intellectual monopoly. Journal of Economic Literature, 49(2),
           421-432. Retrieved from ProQuest Central. (Document ID:  2381812161).
Mackie, J. (2011, August). LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, Photo District News, 31(9), 102.
           Retrieved from ProQuest Central. (Document ID:  2422747161).
Naughton, E. (2011). The bionic library:  Did Google work around the GPL:  Intellectual
           Property & Technology Law Journal, 23(7), 3-8, 1. Retrieved from ProQuest Central.
           (Document ID:  238556092). (2011). World Intellectual Property Organization:  What is intellectual property?
           Retrieved from
Visuals/Graphics/Video Credits:
Apple iMovie/iDVD/iWeb                                                                                                                          Media Matters                                                                                                                                                                                         

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Toward Dynamic Technologies

Please access my concept map at the above link.

I would like to think at this point that I’m well on my way toward the dynamic end of the “static-dynamic continuum. Granted, there’s still some distance to go. But my comfort with – and regular use of – multimedia and digital technologies, particularly Apple-based technologies, have instilled the kind of confidence in me that should continue to bode well as a communication instructor and a doctoral educational technology student. Based on the components of static and dynamic technologies, at least the ones defined by Moller (2008) in his essay on Static and Dynamic Technological Tools, I probably make equal use of both technologies on a regular basis, with a slight nod going to the Dynamic side of technology and media in distance education. Admittedly, the use of Google, You Tube, and other multi-user environments has heightened as a Walden EDUC 8842, but so has the static side of things in this class as online media relate to peer-collaboration, which, in my view, is a huge plus for class interactivity, and a key technological tool that Fahy (2008) viewed in online individual success.

While I continue to make marked strides toward dynamic technologies, I’m surprised to learn, at least in the Fahy(2008) study, that print is as static technologically as it is. As both a broadcast and print journalist, and one of the change agents back in the 1980s with helping a national broadcast network make the quantum leap from manual typewriters to computerized newscasts, I would think print would play a more dynamic role. Fahy (2008) acknowledged that “there is no medium more ubiquitous than print” (Fahy, 2008, p. 173), but at the same time lamented the low-cost medium as “non-interactive,” “non-responsive,” and a high-profile candidate for “passive, rote learning” (p. 173).

I have to admit television as static technology also comes as a surprise, though the Moller (2008)  essay was quite clear in what keeps the world most powerful mass communication medium from the dynamic technology side. The recipe analogy, in that information and ideas in the medium are largely being reproduced, is convincing and not the way I view television that has been my livelihood for all of these years. On the Moller (2008) scale, radio also belongs in the static arena, as are webinars that I often participate in but, arguably, provide the same static reproduction as its broadcasting cousins, television and radio.

At the rate I’m using static and dynamic technologies, I still don’t have a clue how soon it will be before I will accomplish all of the technologies I’ve listed at the dynamic end of the continuum. While I don’t participate in videoconferencing or teleconferencing, largely because of my departure from corporate America, I do make regular use of iPods and MP3 players, two of the three content items I mention on my dynamic content list. I do plan to purchase an iPad soon, which, with the exception of videoconferencing and teleconferencing, will essentially complete my dynamic list. Somehow, I already feel I have come light-years in the use of static and dynamic technologies. Not bad for making use of innovations that seem to have the life-span of an ameba.


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the mega-analysis.

Anderson, T. (2008). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Edmonton, AB:  AU Press.

Moller, L. (2008). Static and dynamic technological tools. [Unpublished Paper].

*Fahy, J. (2008). Characteristics of interactive online learning media. Edmonton, AB:  Athabasca University.

Rogers, E. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY:  Free Press.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Please link to my Module 4 Graphic Organizer at the above address.
You will be directed to the home page, then to the desgnated
page for the graphic organizer strategies/tools display.

As you will see from my colorful Inspiration graphic organizer, the online and distance education environment is rapidly becoming limitless in its functionality. I see multiple gains for both instructor and student, thanks to a welcomed and embraced non-linear approach. But the aspect that innervates me the most, particularly when I wear the educator's hat, is the pedagogical road map given to students with clear expectations (Durrington, Berryhille, & Swafford, 2006) and learning outcomes. Accordingly, everybody is on the same page literally, and that, I suppose, is the way it ought to be in any learning environment -- online or not.

Given the time I've spent in education over the years, I'm frankly not surprised by the gains that continue to be made in distance education. Durrington et al. (2006), in their work on malleable strategies to bring about more effective collaboration online among students, pointed to a detailed syllabus and a designated area to  answer student questions, all under the aegis of participation and engagement. It's hard to argue with that kind of useful expertise, and I believe as more neophyte online learners become increasingly comfortable with the distance education environment, student participation and engagement will begin taking on a whole new -- and even more increased -- positive personna.

So, from my vantage point, which involes roles as both a student and an educator, things are looking up even more these days for online and distance education. It's the kind of paradygm shift Siemens (Laureate, 2008) referred to that began in the 1950s, and one which seems to be reaching a sort of crescendo at this point in the 21st century. For educational technologists and aficionados, it doesn't get better than this.


Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in
an online environment. Heldref Publications.

Laureate Education, Inc. (2008) (Executive Producer). Learning communities (Program Video). Available from

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Search of Online Camaraderie

It’s not hard to understand why some higher ed institutions are hesitant about instituting an online curriculum. After all, there is a certain mystique about distance education, despite the fact it seemingly has been around for ages. But if you’re keeping score of how well learners and educators interact and collaborate online, and if you’re surprised by the camaraderie that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, you shouldn’t be. Siemens (2008) is so bullish on this huge shift in distance education that he intimates we’re experiencing what amounts to a seismic shift in distance education programs over the Internet – and that the sky is the limit as to where this whole thing is headed.

As a longtime instructor engaging students in an online community, I couldn’t be happier with what George Siemens and others are saying about the benefits of distance education. True, the absence of face-to-face communication is more psychological, in my view, than anything else. But the opportunity to evaluate other peoples’ work online as well as a peer review of your own, is just something that doesn’t happen in a traditional classroom setting, not to mention having access to the classroom 24/7. And Seimens (2008) believes our best days are still ahead of us in distance education.

I don’t know about what’s just beyond the distance education horizon. But I am fairly confident that whatever it is, it’s likely to be good. Distributed learning in higher education, according to some of the experts, is getting some astronomical marks these days and things apparently can only continue to go up. Distance education, by no means, is a perfect electronic world. But as a student, if you’re in the market for establishing closer ties with fellow students or instructors, or making the best out of networking – one of the real strong suits of distance education – the opportunity online to do so couldn’t be more ripe. Granted, there are those among us online who would rather take a low-profile approach to doing anything involving the Internet. But the myriad ways of assessment online for class assignments are about as flexible in a positive sense, and no doubt a boost for all of education. Educators like myself have been clamoring for years for innovative but effective ways to assess student work, mainly in traditional class settings. Distance education apparently has come up with the answer, which seems to lie in online collaboration that puts everybody on equal footing and the like. As an online instructor and doctoral student, somehow I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Laureate Education, Inc. (2008) (Executive Producer). The future of distance education [program Video]. Available from

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Intellectual Property: Video Presentation and Storyboard


Please access graphics, images, and video for storyboard through preceding referenced link. The outlined text is below.

F. Davis

Intellectual Property
I.         textbook
II.        monitor
III.      CDs
IV.      Ideas
V.        notes
VI.      group meeting
White House Panel on Intellectual Property
TV Programs
VIII.   Films
IX.      Radio
Regulatory Agency
X.        World Intellectual Property Organization

Friday, July 15, 2011

Internet Telephony As An Effective Interactive Tool


When multimedia programming software became more accessible and multifunctional (Schrand, 2008) in the late 1990s, the table was set for such popular Internet interactive tools as Skype and Logitech Vid. While Skype, arguably, is the best known of the two, the rapidly growing Internet video program did not really start taking off and climbing up the innovations S-Curve until late 2005 (, when it was reported to have 11.8 million users.

Since that time, according to the search engine (2011), Skype reached an eye-popping 30  million users, as of March, 2011. That's impressive. And so are the hair-raising 54 billion Skype calls made over the Internet in 2010, which gives a pretty impressive track record of the leaps and bounds this popular interactive Internet program has made in two decades. George Siemens (Laureate, 2010) was right. There is definitely a comfort level with programs such as Skype that helps to spur increased interest in the burgeoning world of distance education. While the increased use of Skype and other video interactive tools such as Logitech, a program I use often interchangeably with Skype, is helping to bring about Siemens' requisite comfort level. Siemens (Laureate, 2010) believed one of the key challenges for distance education is comfort. I'm certainly comfortable using interactive video programs to keep in touch with family members and friends who are long distances away, and as the recipient of two advanced online degrees, I couldn't agree with Siemens more that online comfort and familiarity are pivotal in distance education success.

So, where is distance education headed? Well, if one subscribes to Siemens' philosophical approach to distance education, government, and business, distance education has a bright future ahead. Naturally, these three factors are the nucleus of a thriving community, one that is enriched by vibrant online educational success.


Answers. com (2011). History, usage, and traffic. Retrieved from

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010) (Executive Producer). The future of distance education [Program Video].
Available from

Schrand, T. (2008). Taping into active learning and multiple intelligences with interactive media:  A low-threshold classroom approach. College Teaching. Heldref Publications.  


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Online Politeness

Online Collaboration -- and Politeness

I couldn't agree more with Moller, Huett, Foshay, Coleman, and Simonson that collaboration is key in online and distance education. My agreement with the authors is based on my experience in an online environment of nearly 10 years, which began with an intense M.B.A degree and continues today with the Walden Ph.D. program in educational technology. While collaboration among members of the online learning community is pivotal in any program, some of the problems I experienced first-hand in the learning communities, particularly in my pursuit and completion of a master's degree in management this past decade, resulted from some members of the community behaving in ways that were not only non-collegial or disrespectful among some learners in the online community, but they bordered on unacceptable behavior that has no
place in any educational environment.

Posting openly that another learner has no idea what he or she is talking about, or making snide comments in a discussion forum in an embarrassing way about another learner not participating in a collaborative class exercise, is a recipe for collaborative disaster. Obviously, such bad behavior muddies the learning process. Perhaps, I like to think of myself as overly gracious or respectful of fellow classmates, and that any behavior not in lock step with learning is unjustifiable or inexcusable. However, I have witnessed situations in in the online and distance learning communities over the years that simply boggle the mind, if not thwart the learning process. Ally in his article of couirse focused on behavior and the connectedness necessary for a thriving and effective online learning community. Ally also pointed out the importance of cognitivism and constructivism as important and parallel keys for wholesome learning environment. As instructive as these theories are, they don't mean a thing to any learner in the online or distance education community who is bent on disruption in as a means of camouflaging any academic weaknesses -- or, worse -- settling some sort of score because of the ill-advised but misdirected belief that they have been wronged by a system that has served the overall academic community well.

At the risk of sounding condescending, I can honestly say that instances of incivility in the Walden online learning community have been almost non-existent in my nearly five years as a student in the educational technology program. Granted, every once and awhile there is an unfortunate moment of non-colleagial behavior involving one or two students. But for the most part, Walden learners have been commendably gracious to each other in the the virtual classrooms, and such laudatory behavior speaks well of not just the college of Education, but the entire institution.

So, the distance education authors seem to be right on point when they advocate collaboration and a wholesome interactive relationship as important factors in an effective online learning community. While these same online learning and distance education experts have various approaches to online navigational and preparation, they all share the same goal for educational stakeholders: improved student learning. Such goals should be difficult for any member of the learning community to disagree with, including wayward or disruptive learners, who obviously have their own agenda.