Wilson and Bolliger (2013) provide an overview of the educational opportunities for the implementation of mobile learning, or m-learning as they call it, for educators in the allied health fields. After providing a brief introduction of the ubiquitous use of mobile devices in general, as well as the reluctance of educators to embrace the use of mobile devices as a learning tool, the authors go on to explain the basic elements and characteristics of mobile learning and how it can be effectively applied in the allied health education. Wilson and Bollier (2013) also address the challenges and drawbacks that can be faced when implementing mobile learning strategies.
There are potential advantages to implementing learning activities using mobile devices. The learning experience can be created to be more inquiry-driven by the learners, since they have the ability to research answers and collect data on their own or in groups. Instructors can create structured but more informal learning opportunities and work in asynchronous collaborative groups not only outside of the classroom, but possibly within the context of their job, since learning is not location-specific.
Particularly for learners in the allied health fields, mobile learning offers performance support and just-in-time instruction within the context of their work. For example, before performing a task related to their clinical specialty, they can review a brief video of the specific task and how to implement it, or receive a checklist to aid in their performance of the task. Reinforcing material or questions can be regularly sent to a learner’s mobile device to assess learning. This type of reinforcement was part of a pilot program at the American Council on Exercise (ACE), where it was a major success in terms of participation by learners (Philbrook, R. n.d.).
Wilson and Bolliger (2013) also note that mobile devices can also be useful in a classroom environment, by allowing learners to use mobile devices to research information, facilitate real-time collaboration or discussion or use surveys and quizzing on a mobile device to assess learning quickly.
Wilson and Bolliger (2013) also address some of the potential challenges for using mobile devices in educational settings. First is the issues of designing for a wide array of mobile devices, where there is no standardization among platforms. Educators need to be aware of third party services which may alleviate this problem, or be able to address the technical needs of using a standard, compatible streaming solution.
There is also the limitations of mobile device screen sizes, which can influence the types of learning activities that are possible in a given context. Consideration should be given to how long the activities will be and how much interaction is necessary or possible depending on the size of the mobile screen.
Battery life, connectivity and the ability to download (or not) to a mobile device is also a potential drawback for implementing mobile learning and should be considered in the design of learning materials. Other potential challenges, or design considerations, are the lack of printing capability for most people from a mobile device and technical support which might be needed to complete learning activities on a mobile device.
Positive Contribution to Society
In terms of analyzing this information related to how mobile learning can have a positive impact on society, using mobile devices in allied health education allows for learning and performance support in the context where a learner will be applying the knowledge and skills typically learned in a classroom setting. Taking these ideas a step further, by integrating the technical knowledge and skill that many already use for personal social networking, such as using Twitter or YouTube, collaborative and social performance support can also be readily accessed at the time of need in a learning situation. Using mobile devices for learning can increase the implementation and assessment of more informal learning opportunities which can enhance skill development and practical application of the material.
Once such example of using mobile devices to manage, implement and assess skill development and informal learning opportunities is the use of the learning experience manager, TREK. This is a platform designed to use mobile devices, in the context of the workplace to teach and assess. As technology advances, this type of platform will be a benefit to any occupation requiring education or training related to practical skill development and mobile devices will be the best way to implement this type of training. Wilson and Bolliger’s (2013) review of the practical applications of mobile learning in allied health education provides additional insight into the future advantages and challenges for mobile learning.
More about TREK and teacher education
Philbrook, R. (n.d.). [ACE Essentials of Exercise Science Mindmarker Report]. Unpublished raw data.
Wilson, M., & Bolliger, D. U. (2013). Mobile Learning: Endless Possibilities for Allied Health Educators. Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 29(5), 220–224. doi:10.1177/8756479313503734
Shaping my digital scholarship and professional identity
To this point in my academic and professional life I have been somewhat passive regarding digital (or traditional) scholarship and online professional identity. Even before this course, however, after attending DevLearn at the end of last year, I knew that I needed to create a more effective online presence, including using and engaging with Twitter and LinkedIn more consistently. The need for creating a professional identity, or brand, seems like a more urgent task, maybe because I do not work in an academic setting where publishing articles or doing research is necessarily encouraged or required.
The concept of branding is very familiar, since our organization is committed to maintaining their own brand identity and online presence. We are also starting to educate our own professionals on their online brand and presence as well, so I have had access to experts on branding from a fitness and health related perspective. I had not really thought of it in terms of "branding" myself as an instructional designer until reviewing the MOOC materials and I will be identifying the appropriate steps to take to create and maintain a distinct professional brand that feels true to what I do and what I believe, perhaps even following the 3-step strategy outlined in the How to Use Social Media for Academic Branding slideshare.
In terms of what I want my brand to reflect, the quote below from Tracy, Hutchinson and Grzebyk (2014) really resonated with me. I have always thought of myself as a "problem-solver" in my work and it is one reason I changed my title on my LinkedIn profile to "learning solutions architect", to reflect the fact that I aim to understand the educational challenges I am presented and provide solutions which fit within the context of the organization. I may now call myself a "Dynamic Agent of Change"!
The topic of professional identity and online presence has even come up in my work. At a luncheon recently with our board of directors, I was in a conversation with one of our board members about the future of published textbooks in our industry as the inclination is to move towards more digital learning strategies. During our conversation, she mentioned that she has been a successful consultant for years, with her own business, and has never had a website. She seemed embarrassed to admit this and we joked about it a bit. Later, I thought about it in terms of what we have reviewed in this course and wondered if the website as a professional identity is no longer even needed. Could it be as effective or appropriate to maintain any professional social or online presence, such as a robust presence on LinkedIn, or an active Twitter feed, to allow clients to find and follow her?
On the topic of digital scholarship, Micah Altman's brief response below gives the perspective that digital scholarship is (or should be) essentially the same as traditional scholarship. While I agree with this, I do think that digital scholarship requires some additional thought and attention to preserve scholarly integrity. Whatever methods are used, or evidence presented, digital or otherwise, it will still need to meet a certain standard of review. Again, this will be a new area of practice for me as we move toward our dissertation and I hope that I can maintain a traditional approach to scholarship while implementing an innovative approach to my research topics and professional practice.
Tracey, M. W., Hutchinson, A., & Grzebyk, T. Q. (2014). Instructional designers as reflective practitioners: Developing professional identity through reflection. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(3), 315-334. doi:10.1007/s11423-014-9334-9
I was on a search for articles related to my target learner audience, having to do with social media, online identity and weight loss support, when I happened onto van Dijck’s (2013) article about our online identity and “self expression, communication and self-promotion”. The main points of the article relate to how changes in the architecture of social media platforms, in this case Facebook and LinkedIn, have been designed to ensure a uniformity in the presentation and expression of our online selves and also to ensure a uniform and continuous collection of data related to that expression. The idea is that the platforms changed from being space to connect with other people, to spaces where you could be connected with products, ideas and things based on the narrative of the “story” that you present on your timeline. This generates the question, to whom are are we telling this story? Are we expected to curate our timeline in such a way to create a personal brand based on the audience that we cater to?
As time has gone on, users of these platforms have adjusted how they present themselves, in conscious and unconscious ways, giving information to marketers through complex algorithms that distill our “likes”, “shares” and friends, and in essence our emotions, into data sets to drive “personalized” ads to our online spaces. In some cases, whether subtle or obvious, users have begun to form a personal brand, which goes beyond creating an online identity separate from their offline identity, but is an intentional curated version of themselves.
The idea that the interfaces of these platforms have been designed in a way to ensure that we present the appropriate information (according to the corporate owners of the platforms) is fascinating to me, and goes beyond the definitions of identity I was searching for initially. Really, to what extent are we even in control of our online identities, or as the article suggest, our “personal branding,” when the interface of the social platform is designed in such a way to elicit certain information out of us? Far from being an altruistic effort on the part of the platform, it has become a means to an end for accumulating data to create more effective marketing campaigns, all within the platform from which the data is created. As I mentioned in our last discussion post, I am not sure that we are really ultimately in control of whether or not we participate in social networking, since we can be connected through those that are choosing to participate. But the next level of that question is, if we do actively choose to participate, are we really even creating our own identity, or are we being directed by an unseen entity to share what “they” want us to share? How can we participate without being part of an algorithm that we ultimately know very little about how it is working behind the scenes?
Clearly, this article has raised many questions for me as it relates to our online presence. The idea that I may not fully be in control of my online identity is unsettling and somehow fascinating at the same time. I will be using this article in our proposal about teaching about online identity as this has been eye-opening for me in some ways and I hope to make time to explore the topic further. After reading the article, I sought out videos related to the topic and found this lecture by the author.
Edited 1/24/16: When I checked my Facebook this morning, I was shown a "memory" from five years ago that I could re-share on my timeline. It was a happy post and I thought about sharing publicly, since everything I share is made public. My next thought was wondering what information that Facebook was gathering related to my sharing of this picture from five years ago, so mundane to me, but adding to the data associated with my profile. It is interesting to realize what some of my cohort have said in discussion posts, that if something is free, then you (or your information) is the product that someone is selling. The idea of this data being the commodity is something that I will research more.
van Dijck, J. (2013). “You have one identity”: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2), 199–215. doi:10.1177/0163443712468605
Datafication, datasim and dataveillance
Jose van Dijck
Theme: How do we define who we are, and shape or reaffirm our identity using social networks?
As I searched for additional information related to this week's theme, I kept finding myself reading or watching videos related to social media and social networks and their influence and effect on obesity and health behavior. I feel like I could continue with this idea and find connections from obesity and health behavior to identity and self-perception or definition, but for now I will start the thought process with this idea of social networks affecting our physical selves and physical identity.
Below is a TED Talk in which Nicholas Christakis speaks about our social connections and how they influence our health and our emotions. Although he is speaking here about our social networks in real life and how your risk for obesity increases by 45% if your first connection friends have obesity, it made me wonder if this also applies for our online social networks and if our first connection friends on Facebook, for instance, have the same influence as those in real life. I have not yet searched for data on this, but since it pertains directly to my learners and their clients and how those clients are being affected by the social networks in which they live, it is important information for our organization to begin to study.
Our theme for this week is "How do we perceive ourselves (and others) in the media ecologies in which we live?"
“We typically prefer not to meet ourselves in the world. And when we do encounter something of ourselves -- as when we get spooked by a dark forest -- we berate ourselves for our superstition. As children of the scientific era, we feel obligated to become dispassionate observers whose primary (and admirable) goal is to avoid meeting ourselves -- our biases and unconscious wishes -- in the world. But whatever the case may be with the natural world, we cannot avoid meeting ourselves within the sphere of the technological artifact.” (Talbott, n.d.)
This statement from Talbott made me wonder in what ways I attempt to “meet” or “know” myself, particularly as it relates to the technological artifacts I create and share with others. This line of thinking led me to explore the idea of the selfie as an artifact, which seem to be a line of serious research that is taking place. Is the proliferation of the selfie just a sign of narcissism or maybe a subconscious attempt to meet oneself through an online lens? As I was questioning the idea of selfie in an individual’s media ecology, I found the web site Human as Media, which included a post exploring the selfie within our media ecosystem.
“The selfie is not about posing; it’s about self-publishing. Classical narcissism is egocentric: Narcissus was happy to admire his reflection all by himself. Selfies, meanwhile, take the nature of narcissism to its direct opposite, with the objective now being to admire one’s reflection in the beholder's eye. Selfies don’t make sense unless they have an audience to be manifested to.” (A Miroshnichenko, 2014)
Selfie as self-publishing makes sense when viewed as a technological artifact with an audience with which to share. The selfie as a part of a curated view of one’s own life helps to create a perception for others to identify with that individual’s real self, which may or may not even be true. Miroshnichenko (2014) notes that it is not even individuals creating their own selfies but being prepared for selfie moments in public, such as a “kiss cam” at a sporting event. Our lives are being curated in new ways in this new media ecology, which was a new idea to me through this idea of how technology captures us in unexpected moments.
I’m not entirely sure how this relates to educational technology yet, except in this sense that learners today, ourselves included, have to navigate an always changing landscape of what is acceptable or expected of us to contribute to other’s perceptions of our own lives.
Fallon, K. (2014). Streams of the Self: The Instagram Feed as Narrative Autobiography. In Proceedings of the Interactive Narratives, New Media & Social Engagement International Conference. Eds. Hudson Moura, Ricardo Sternberg, Regina Cunha, Cecília Queiroz, and Martin Zeilinger. ISBN (pp. 978-0).
Ito, M., Sonja B., Matteo B., Boyd, D. Cody, R., Herr, B., Horst, H.A., Lange, P.G., Mahendran, D., Martinez, K., Pascoe, C.J., Perkel, D., Robinson, L., Sims, C., & Tripp, L.(2009). Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Living and Learning with New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press
A Miroshnichenko. (2015, September 24). New senses, electronically induced. How gadgets reshape the human sensorium. Retrieved from http://human-as-media.com/2015/09/24/new-senses-electronically-induced-how-gadgets-reshape-the-human-sensorium
A Miroshnichenko. (2014, July 13). They see me, therefore I am. Selfies and the media ecosystem of lazy authorship. Retrieved from http://human-as-media.com/2014/07/13/they-see-me-therefore-i-am-selfies-and-the-media-ecosystem-of-lazy-authorship
Talbott, S. (n.d.). Media Ecology: Taking Account of the Knower. Retrieved from http://natureinstitute.org/txt/st/knower.htm.