Scenario 2: Interactive Tours
"A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a "tour" of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?" (from Walden University, EDUC 6135)
For this scenario, the two distance learning technologies that will assist the high school history teacher in her endeavor would be media sharing and discussion technologies. To further streamline the technologies, the teacher should use these features within a CMS (course management system) if she can. Nonetheless, I would like to focus upon how she can use media sharing tools and then discussion technologies so that she is able to have her students tour the museum, see various works of art, interact with the curators, and finally critique a work of art as a class.
Social media is one mode of media sharing that is very popular. With the features of smartphones and other mobile devices, sharing media like pictures and videos is possible with a variety of social media sites including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and many others. Weilenmann, Hillman, and Jungselius (2013) confirmed that "mobile technologies such as smartphones are a relatively common sight in modern museums and science centers." Therefore, this history teacher should encourage her students to utilize social media as a means of collaborative learning. Luckily, if she uses a CMS like Canvas (http://www.instructure.com/), she will be able to integrate outside social media tools more seamlessly than with other CMSs, but she should be able to integrate social media tools through links with any CMS. This will help the history teacher because "media sharing sites are Web Sites that facilitate the sharing of content and artifacts such as text, pictures, videos, presentations, and audio files" (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.), and that is exactly what she wants to do. She wants the students to "tour" the museum so that they can see artwork.
Weilenmann, Hillman, and Jungselius (2013) suggested using Instagram because it "includes dedicated mobile applications that allow users to take and manipulate photographs... and to share them online where other users can react through comments and ‘likes’." The latter could help the students interact with the curators, another goal of the history teacher. Also, Instagram allows users to include tags which "can be seen as a way to direct photos into a certain type of image stream or photo-graphic conversation" (Weilenmann, Hillman, & Jungselius, 2013). With tags, it would be easier to help the students stay on task and to find artworks again with greater ease. As an additional bonus, Instagram can be integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr, sites that also encourage interactions through commenting, replies, and/or "likes". This is especially important because Weilenmann, Hillman, and Jungselius (2013) reported, "It has become relatively common for museums and science centers to use social networks with the aim of facilitating new types of participation with visitors." So if the museums are already using social media networks, the history teacher should be able to work with the museum to find the right media sharing venue for her class.
Once the class has sufficiently toured the museum and interacted with the curators (and possibly other art aficionados who use social media networks), then the history teacher should gather her class by using a discussion technology. Again, if she has a CMS, it should "integrate discussion technologies such as discussion forums, group collaboration areas, and virtual chat tools into the online learning environment" (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). However, if she does not have a CMS, there are "Web discussion technologies [that] provide yet another method to actively engage students in learning" (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). In fact, the teacher could choose to conduct the discussion on Instagram or whatever social media network was used for the tour. After all, they do allow for commenting; however, if the comments are to be graded, that could become a logistical nightmare and this is why CMSs are so wonderful−they will help you find and grade your students more easily. However, in order to conduct a group critique of an artwork, the history teacher should "spend [her] time preparing materials and the carefully thought out discussion questions and topics that relate to learning objectives" (Andresen, 2009, p. 251). Having guiding questions will help direct the learners and allow her to "intervene, but only in order to keep the discussion on track, or take on a cheerleading role to motivate the discussion" (Andresen, 2009, p. 251) would be the ideal situation. Andresen (2009) found that if the instructor participates in the discussion too much, then the learners "begin to rely on the instructor to answer questions" (p. 251). Therefore, the history teacher should take care to intentionally set up the discussion so that learners can participate and have a lively discussion critiquing the artwork that is steeped in respect, understanding, and constructive learning.
As you can see, using media sharing and discussion technologies will help the history teacher accomplish her learning objectives (and with relative ease if she can use a CMS). These learning tools will help enrich the classroom experience and connect her learners with outside experts, something that may even help them realize the possibilities of social media, helping them become life-long learners.
Andresen, M. A. (2009). Asynchronous discussion forums: success factors, outcomes, assessments, and limitations. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (1), 249–257. Retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/12_1/19.pdf
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). The technology of distance education. [Multimedia Program]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_3398790_1%26url%3D
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.
Try Canvas. (n.d.). In Canvas by Instructure . Retrieved from http://www.instructure.com/try-canvas
Weilenmann, A., Hillman, T., & Jungselius, B. (2013). Instagram at the Museum: Communicating the Museum Experience through Social Photo Sharing. In Academia.edu. Retrieved September 21, 2013, from http://www.academia.edu/3575522/Instagram_at_the_Museum_Communicating_the_Museum_Experience_through_Social_Photo_Sharing