AMEE conference (day 3)

Today was the final day of AMEE 2011. Here are the notes I took.

The influence of social networks on students’ learning
J Hommes

Collaborative learning is supposed to facilitate interaction and it’s impact on student learning

Difficult to quantify the role of informal learning

Informal social interaction: behaviour is the result of interactions and relationships between people

Many variables can impact on student learning (e.g. motivation)

How does the effect of SN on students’ learning relate to possible confounders?

Methods:

  • Academic motivation scale (determine motivation)
  • College adaption questionnaire (determine social interactions)
  • GPA (previous performance impacts on future performance)
  • Factual knowledge test
  • Social network analysis (looked at Friendship, Giving information, Getting information)

Social interaction in informal contexts has a substantial influence on learning

Could it also be true that good learners are also well-developed social beings? If learning is inherently social, then people who are more social might just be better learners, and it has nothing to do with the social network?

Veterinary students’ use of and attitude toward Facebook
Jason Coe

Physicians share information on Facebook that could potentially upset their patients

People disclsoe more personal information on Facebook than they do in general

32% of students’ profiles contained information that could reflect poorly on the student or profession → venting, breaches of confidentiality, overtly sexual images / behavioural issues, substance abuse

78% of students believe that their profile pictures accurately reflected who they were at that time, 56% of students believed that their current profile pics accurately represents them as a future professional

More professionals believed that posting comments and pictures about clients on Facebook was acceptable, than students

Should professional students’ be held to a higher standard than other students?

Should Facebook information be used in hiring decisions?

An awareness of consequences causes students’ to disclose less on Facebook than they do in general

Individuals have a right to autonomy → education and guidelines can minimise risks

The issue of disclosure is important when it comes to using online social networks

Developing a network of veterinary ICT in education to suppor informal lifelong learning
S Baillie and P an Beukelen

Goals were to generate evidence of benefits and limitations of informal, lifelong learning using ICT

Questions in focus group that would affect participation in an online group:

  • What activities? Networking, finding information, asking questions, discussions
  • What motivations? Anonymity, sharing knowledge, convenience, saving time, travel and cost issues, required component
  • What support? Employer support, attitude, help desk, post moderator (reliable information)
  • What barriers? Time to participate, lack of confidence, lack of technical knowledge, understanding
  • What challenges? Poor site usability, professionalism issues / behavioural change

Was important to have behavioural guidelines for participation in the online network e.g. respect, etc.

Can YouTube help students in learning surface anatomy?
Samy Azer

Aim: to determine if YouTube videos can provide useful information on surface anatomy

For each video, the following was recorded:

  • Title
  • Authors
  • Duration of video
  • Number of viewers
  • Posted comments
  • Number of days on YouTube
  • Name of creator

No simple system is available for assessing video quality, but looked at (yes = 1, no = 0):

  • Content – scientifically corrent, images clear
  • Technical
  • Authority of author / creator (but how was this determined?)
  • Title reflects video content?
  • Clear audio quality
  • Reasonable download time
  • Educational objectives stated
  • Up to date creator information

57 out of 235 videos were deemed to be relevant, but only 15 of those were determined to have educational usefulness. Several videos were created by students and were often of a high quality

Conclusion was that YouTube is currently an inadequate source of information for learning surface anatomy, and that medical schools should take responsibility for creating and sharing resources online

Social media and the medical profession
Dror Maor

What is public and private? How do we separate out our personal and professional identities? Should we separate them out?

Discussion of the role of, and use of, social media by medical professionals (http://ama.com.au/node/6231)

Why do people think that using social media takes anything away from what we already do? Social media doesn’t take anything away from the hallway conversations…it’s not “better” or “worse” than “the old” way of doing things.

From “knowledge transfer” to “knowledge interaction” – changing models of research use, influence and impact
Huw Davies

Research, evidence and practice → moving from “knowing differently” to “doing differently”

There’s a lot of noise, but are we having any impact on practice? Who are we talking to? What kinds of conversations are we having? How can our collective input have an impact?

Currently, the model entails doing research, publishing it and hoping that clinicians change behavioural based on the results. No questions about how the knowledge transfer takes place?

How does knowledge “move around” complex systems?

The current system is too:

  • Simple
  • rational
  • Linear

Current outcomes are variable, inefficient, ineffective, unsafe, and sometimes, inhumane

Why is it that when we know more than ever before, do we perform so poorly within our healthcare systems?

  • Goals are ambiguous
  • Workforce is multiple
  • Environment is complex
  • Tasks are complex and ambiguous

Even though organisations are highly social, yet the belief is that caregivers act as they do because of personal knowledge, motives and skills

Major influences on outcomes are through the organisations and systems through which services are delivered, not individual characterstics (applies equally to educational outcomes)

Context matters → it’s situational, not dispositional (behaviour is as much about the context as it is about dispositions)

Reductive and mechanistic approaches only get us so far. “Rocket science” is merely complicated. Tackingly educational and health issues is genuinely complex because of connections of people, each with own unpredictable behaviours and contexts that changes over time in non-linear ways

Throwing information at people doesn’t generate appropriate responses / behaviours

For some, “evidence” is reduced to research on “what works”. Consequnces of this:

  • It’s relative straight-forward if the right methods are used
  • It provides instruction on what to do i.e. it allows us to make choices more easily
  • Assumes that the answers are out there to be found

Knowledge required for effective services is more broad than “what works”?

  • Knowing about the problems: their nature, inter-relationships, “lived experiences”
  • Knowing why: explaining the relationship between values and policies, and how they have changed over time
  • Knowing how: how to put change into practice, what is pragmatic
  • Knowing who: who should be involved, how do we build alliances, connect clinical and non-clinical

Challenge of integrating “knowledge”:

  • Uncertain process, engages with values, existing (tacit) knowledge, experience
  • socially and contextually situated
  • not necessarily convergent
  • may require difficult “unlearning”

Also, not just what knowledge:

  • Whose knowledge / evidence?
    “evidence” may be used selectively and tactically, use is not necessarily disinterested (evidence is what the powerful say it is)
    Knowledge and power are co-constructed

Knowledge is not “a thing”, is it a process of “knowing”?

Knowledge is what happens when you take data from research, and combine it with experience, and shared through dialogue

Uncovering evidence and understanding its complexity
Barry Issenberg

“If there’s evidence, I feel confident. If there’s no evidence, I’m uncomfortable”

Evidence is only useful if it meets the needs of the user. Who is the user?

Features of learning through simulation (BEME guide 4), a systematic review:

  • Feedback
  • Repetitive practice
  • Curriculum integration
  • Varying difficulty
  • Adaptive learning
  • Clinical variation
  • Controlled environments
  • Individualised learning
  • Defined outcomes

Discipline expertise doesn’t mean you can teach

Implementing clinical training in a complex health care system is challenging

Understanding the complexity of medical education → relationships between:

  • Learner characteristics, experiences, educational and professional context
  • Learning task: looked at psychomotor and procedural skills but behavioural not addressed
  • Instruction (deliberate practice under direct supervision in groups or individually, for as long as it takes)
  • Teacher characteristics and qualifications (these are not well-defined), clinical experience doesn’t equal teaching experience
  • Curriculum content and format, blend of presentations and practice sessions, expert demonstrations, orientation
  • Assessment: content and format
  • Enviroments should be supportive, needs to be infrastructure, time set aside
  • Evaluation of the programme: target, format, consequences (Kirkpatrick levels)
  • Society: politics and culture taken into account, patient safety, clinical opportunity, clinical advances
  • Setting: wide variety of settings, including schools, workplaces
  • Organisation: need to involve all stakeholders

Journals have a limited role to play in knowledge interaction, and appeal mainly to people who just want to do more research

Without context and explicit intention, medical education will never have the impact on society that it would like to (Charles Boelen)

 

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-04-04

  • The Daily Papert http://bit.ly/f03fXV “…openness and flexibility…is necessary to keep inquiry interesting, stimulating and exciting” #
  • @sarah_blc I’ve been wondering about the usefulness of splitting learning into “formal” and “informal”. Shouldn’t it just be “learning”? #
  • The Daily Papert http://bit.ly/gJ24NL. “Much of what the child learns we don’t even notice” #

Posted to Diigo 12/10/2010

    • The zone of proximal development is the area between what an individual can achieve on their own and what they can achieve with assistance
    • A student should constantly be reaching slightly beyond their capabilities rather than working within them
    • students should lead their learning and teachers simply assist and rather than judging students on what they know in standardised tests, learning should be done through looking closely at their zone of proximal development
    • If informal learning is as important as formal learning, then varying the way students are assessed can only work in their favour
    • Relevant, meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know are what help build neural connections and long-term memory storage
    • it’s necessary for learners to attach a new piece of information to an old one
    • If a student acquires new information that’s unrelated to anything already stored in his brain, it’s tough for the new information to get into those networks because it has no scaffolding to cling to
    • a solid amount of research also links personal relevance and emotional engagement to memory storage
    • “the learner’s emotional reaction to the outcome of his efforts … shapes his future behavior,”
    • if [a student] doesn’t believe a particular activity is interesting, relevant, or within the scope of his capabilities, it’s probably not going to sink in
    • too much emotion can be as detrimental to learning as too little: distractions and stress can also block receptivity to new ideas
    • Make it student directed. Give students a choice of assignments on a particular topic, or ask them to design one of their own. “When students are involved in designing the lesson, they better understand the goal…and become more emotionally invested in and attached to the learning outcomes.”
    • Connect it to their lives and what they already know. Taking the time to brainstorm about what students already know and would like to learn about a topic helps them to create goals — and helps teachers see the best points of departure for new ideas. Making cross-curricular connections also helps solidify those neural loops
    • With no reference point and no intrigue, information is fairly likely to go in one ear and straight out the other
    • Happy learners are healthy learners, if students do not feel comfortable in a classroom setting, they will not learn. Physiologically speaking, stressed brains are not able to form the necessary neural connections
    • The amygdala, for instance, processes emotions, stores the memories of emotional reactions, and reacts so aggressively to stress that it will physically prevent information from reaching the centers of the brain necessary for absorbing new knowledge
    • Even feelings like embarrassment, boredom, or frustration — not only fear — can spur the brain to enter the proverbial “fight or flight” mode
    • The amygdala goes into overdrive and gets in the way of the parts of the brain that can store memories
    • it makes sense — on many levels — to cultivate the learning atmosphere as much as the learning itself. “Reducing stress and establishing a positive emotional climate in the classroom is arguably the most essential component of teaching,”
    • Make the classroom stress free. Lighten the mood by making jokes and spurring curiosity; create a welcoming and consistent environment; give students frequent opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussions without judgment; and determine achievable challenges for each learner
    • Encourage participation, not perfection. A classroom in which mistakes are encouraged is a positive learning environment, both neurologically and socially speaking
    • “Students will allow themselves to experience failure only if they can do so within an atmosphere of trust and respect.”
    • This kind of positive reinforcement from the get-go allows students to let their guard down (known in neuro-speak as calming their “affective filters”). Listening to students in general, and listening to their intentions in particular, can help relax anxious brains.
    • Practice active listening. “Focus on what students are trying to say
    • Intelligence is not fixed, it turns out, nor planted firmly in our brains from birth. Rather, it’s forming and developing throughout our lives
    • neuroplasticity is defined as the selective organizing of connections between neurons in our brains
    • neuroplasticity is defined as the selective organizing of connections between neurons in our brain
    • “cells that fire together, wire together”
    • “Practice makes permanent. The more times the network is stimulated, the stronger and more efficient it becomes.”
    • both morale and grade points increase when students understand the idea that intelligence is malleable
    • Practice, practice, practice. Repeating an activity, retrieving a memory, and reviewing material in a variety of ways helps build thicker, stronger, more hard-wired connections in the brain
    • Put information in context. Recognizing that learning is, essentially, the formation of new or stronger neural connections, it makes sense to prioritize activities that help students tap into already-existing pathways
    • “Whenever new material is presented in such a way that students see relationships between concepts, they generate greater brain cell activity and achieve more successful long-term memory storage and retrieval.”
    • Let students know that this is how the brain works. “Especially for students who believe they are ‘not smart,’ the realization that they can literally change their brains through study and review is empowering.”

Posted to Diigo 05/25/2010

    • Turn over grading to the students in the course
    • “It was spectacular, far exceeding my expectations,” she said. “It would take a lot to get me back to a conventional form of grading ever again.”
    • she found that it inspired students to do more work, and more creative work than she sees in courses with traditional grading
    • based on contracts and “crowdsourcing.” First she announced the standards — students had to do all of the work and attend class to earn an A. If they didn’t complete all the assignments, they could get a B or C or worse, based on how many they finished. Students signed a contract to agree to the terms. But students also determined if the assignments (in this case blog posts that were mini-essays on the week’s work) were in fact meeting standards
    • the students each ended up writing about 1,000 words a week, much more than is required for a course to be considered “writing intensive”
    • she said that students took more risks
    • “I think students were going out on a limb more and being creative and not just thinking about ‘What does the teacher want?’ ”
    • While the students are ending up with As, many of them are doing so only because they redid assignments that were judged not sufficient to the task on the first try
    • “No one wanted to get one of those messages” that an assignment needed to be redone. (But when they did receive such notes, the students didn’t complain, as many do about grades they don’t like. They reworked their essays, she said.)
    • the alternative approach to grading in the course didn’t eliminate the teacher’s role, but changed the dynamic from “a single teaching-student interaction to multiple teacher-student/student-student interactions” with students in the roles of both student and teacher
    • “peer pressure is a very influential thing.”
    • “The greatest scam ever pulled off by “vendors” was convincing management that an LMS isn’t just a database. The second biggest? That they really needed one. The third? That it is a “Learning” “Management” System.”
    • “Those organizations (and frankly public learning institutions) that are clinging
      to their standalone learning management systems as a way in which to
      serve up formal ILT course schedules and eLearning are absolutely missing the big picture. Sadly, there are too many organizations like this out there.”
    • “The traditional stand-alone learning management system (LMS) is
      built on an industrial age model. There are two specific problems with this model, first it is
      monolithic within a learning institution and second it is
      generic across learning institutions.
    • there are simpler, cost-effective ways of tracking and reporting usage of content
    • the key point, as mentioned in the earlier Dan Pontefract quote, is that by focusing on an LMS, organisations are missing the big picture
    • adding social functionality into formal courses might go some way to making them more “engaging” to users, but it isn’t addressing the wider “learning” needs of the organisation
    • you simply can’t manage or formalise informal learning; it then just becomes formal, managed learning
    • “Whether you’re in a private or public organization …  start first with a ‘collaboration’ system rather than a ‘learning’ system, and build out from there.”

Posted to Diigo 05/16/2010

    • “PLEs are more a methodology or an approach to technology enhanced learning than an application.”
    • the introduction of e-learning led to a reverse in pedagogic innovation
    • I tend to think that knowledge is best shared and developed through communities of practice. Communities of practice as Etienne Wenger says are based on a shared repertoire of communal resources (routines, sensibilities, artefacts, vocabulary, styles, etc.) that members have developed over time.
    • One of the challenges faced by traditional education is found in the very goal of its existence (second only to its role as providing value statements through accreditation): to present bounded structures of knowledge in order for others to learn a discipline. Or put another way, schools and universities help students make sense of a discipline.
    • There are two elements under consideration:
    • 1. The curriculum itself
    • This is what learners must learrn.
    • Curriculum/content is created and disseminated through research and publication. This content then forms the basis of instruction. Nothing new here, with the exception of the argument that the scholarly publication process is too slow.
    • It’s this content that most people see as the important part of education.
    • We make learners do all sorts of fun things to get this to happen: cases, problem-based learning, games/simulations, lectures, podcasts, tests, eportfolios, and so on.
    • 2. The framework of sensemaking
    • Should the educator provide a formed narrative of coherence? Or should learners be tasked with this? Should the educator create a fully bounded content structure? Or should the content interaction opportunities be more fluid? And what about interaction? Should it be under the control of educators? Or should learners self-organanize as they deem worthwhile? This is where education truly begins to change. Tweaking content creating and delivery models is perhaps a start. But it’s not transformative.
    • It means the conversation is more chaotic. It means that we’re always missing something. Everyone is. Some important conversation, somewhere, is being overlooked. Why is that so discomforting?
    • We expect the academy to be a place that provide clarity, a path forward
    • When we then step into a course and discover the conversation is distributed and that the expected frameworks for telling us what to think don’t exist, we get disoriented.

      But isnt’ that life?

    • Isn’t that how real learning occurs? In business? In our personal lives? Who actually possesses a framework fo sensemaking in advance of encountering novel problems? Or who can rely on the “narrative of coherence” provided in advance of becoming a parent?
    • We can’t manage it all. We must choose. As we move through this course, we’ll focus more on what it means to choose – i.e. what types of networks we want and need to build. For now, realizing that our ability to make sense is under our control.
    • Where is the learning in this? The learning exists in the process of forming and navigating networks. Some sources we filter. Some thinkers we value greatly. Others we ignore.
    • This paper described experimentation in the development of distributed online courses and in software – particularly, the personal learning environment – that support the formation of connections between the far-flung pieces of such courses
    • suggests a pedagogy of participation rather than retention, and even suggests distributed and locally-based forms of evaluation and assessment
    • The intent of such systems is to to facilitate the conversation and interaction around episodic learning events in a distributed environment, transforming them from elements in a linear flow-based design to free-floating objects in an environment
    • In addition to providing an engaging and immersive environment for student learning, substantially improving motivation and interaction with the learning material, games and simulations are able to support learning in complex environments, offering a subtlety simple instruction-based or lecture-based learning cannot offer. (Squire, 2005)
    • games and simulations fall into a category similar to lectures and presentations in that they involve statically designed learning objectives and strategies. (Amory & Seagram, 2003)
    • we often do not know what it is we want to teach the student. (Caine & Caine, 1997) Today’s environment is variable, which means situations – and hence, fact – change fluidly. One day Pluto is a planet, the next day it is not. One day Czechoslovakia is a country, the next day it is not. One day capitalism is the unassailable foundation for our economic system, the next day, following a market collapse, it is not. Moreover, today’s environment is complex. The relations between variables cannot be described or even predicted.
    • learners themselves are changing
    • It has even been suggested that our interactions with modern communication technologies change the way we think. Even if we reject such descriptions as students as overly broad and inaccurate generalizations – and there is good reason for doing so – it is nonetheless the case that the needs, capabilities and interests of the target audience is rapidly shifting and changing
    • It is not merely to create a network into which to situate episodic learning, but rather, to create a network that learns and thus adapts and reshapes itself based on those conversations and interactions. (Downes, 2007)
    • the best we can manage is to teach students how to learn, and to encourage them to manage their own learning thereafter
    • how we learn itself is something that changes, and cannot be precisely taught
    • For this reason, we need to see the educational system itself as adaptive rather than merely prescriptive
    • knowledge exists in the minds of the members or participants, and this knowledge is derived from their direct (and recent) experience in the field
    • In addition, the need for content and support emerges from conversations among the participants. These interactions are able to reveal not only what company commanders know, but also what they don’t know (and need to know). The interaction, in other words, meets and addresses an objection often put of self-directed learners, that they don’t know what they need to know. (Clayson, 2005)
    • The core of a social networking technology is the capacity to create links between members in a community – to create, in other words, social networks
    • Topics, for example, are not assigned centrally, but are instead created by individuals ‘tagging’ certain content with terms or categories they choose themselves. (Barsky & Purdon, 2006) Each person’s social network on a social networking site, moreover, is unique; there is no definitive grouping of people, only a clustering of people with more or less similar interests.
    • users jump from service to service, creating (and discarding) new identities as needed. A typical web user may have multiple ‘home pages’ – their personal blog, their photo page on Flickr or Picassa, their Google Reader account, shared documents through Zoho, their video page on YouTube, their Twitter account, their profiles, on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, their Wikipedia login, their email accounts, and (often least) their university LMS login. While real friendships and communities develop through this mélange, loyalty to online sites and services is limited and fleeting. (O’Brien, 2007)
    • The idea of the personal learning environment is that it performs many of the functions of a content management system and of a social network system but from the perspective of the individual rather than the community or the institution. (Attwell, 2006) Hence, the PLE may be understood as the intersection of the multiple home pages employed by any given individual. In the first instance, the PLE is a concept, rather than an application – it is the idea that a person’s web presence can be distributed. (Attwell, Graham Attwell: “Knowledge is best shared and developed through communities of practice”, 2007)
    • Because there were so many people contributing to the course, and because the content of the course actually shifted and varied according to participation and input into the course, it was necessary to emphasize to students that their role in the course was not to attempt to assimilate all course content. This was neither possible nor desirable. Rather, students were told that their role was to select and sample course content, pursuing areas of interest, reading related material from both within and outside the course, and then to contribute their unique perspective based on this reading. (Siemens, Where does the learning occur??, 2008)
    • we are currently seeing experimentation in the development of distributed online courses and in software – particularly, the personal learning environment – that support the formation of connections between the far-flung pieces of such courses
    • In the PLE project being undertaken by the National Research Council, the functionality of the PLE is depicted in four major stages: to aggregate, that is, to collect content from the individual’s and other online content service providers, where aggregation includes elements of recommendation, data mining and automated metadata extraction ; to remix, or to organize content from several different sources in different ways, including through automated clustering; to repurpose, or edit, localize, or otherwise modify or create new content; and to feed forward, or send the content to subscribers and other web services, either via RSS syndication, email, Twitter, or other relevant services. (Downes, Theory of Learning Networks, 2004)
    • the PLE is not a recreation of the capabilities of the learning management system, but rather, a learning network

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-01

  • Revisiting the Purpose of Higher Education and Courses. Why teaching content isn’t enough http://tinyurl.com/yg7ttj8 #
  • First two weeks of OpenContent at UCT http://tinyurl.com/ygtm9wx #
  • The Open Source Way: Creating and Nurturing Communities of Contributors http://bit.ly/bTDcGp #
  • Why technology is not disrupting the university sector http://tinyurl.com/yhk3boy #
  • @weblearning I like it, thanks for the heads up 🙂 #
  • RT @weblearning: “key difference between informal and formal learning is .. permeable classroom walls” writes @bfchirpy http://bit.ly/90f17e #
  • Establish Authority by Creating Value. A few suggestions on ways to better establish yourself within your field http://tinyurl.com/ygv2nfl #
  • Highlighting E-Readers. Short comment by Downes on a post highlighting issues with e-readers for scholarship http://tinyurl.com/yghqbnf #
  • Short post on the predominantly content focused nature of course planning http://tinyurl.com/y9v4u64 #
  • RT @melaniemcbride: one of the downsides of fewer [bloggers] is a preference for the shotgun-share over [hard work & analysis/commentary] #
  • @KEC83 #Diigo ed. acc? Been trying on/off for 6 months with not even a single response from them. Very disappointing #
  • @RonaldArendse looks interesting, but I think it’s going to be a while before we’ll see anything like that locally 🙂 #
  • Policing YouTube: Medical Students, Social Media and Digita Identity http://bit.ly/crA5yi #
  • Sunset at Mont Flour in Stellenbosch is beautiful #
  • apophenia » Blog Archive » ChatRoulette, from my perspective. Thoughts on the video service by danah boyd http://bit.ly/9TU4O3 #
  • Johannes Cronje: Wendren’s PPC Bag. Cool example of South African innovation http://bit.ly/aKdy3O #
  • @meganbur welcome to the revolution 🙂 #
  • At http://montfleur.co.za/ for UWC writing retreat. There are worse places to be. Some good insight into the writing process #
  • @sbestbier Thanks for the suggest, much appreciated 🙂 #
  • Science in the Open » Blog Archive » Peer review: What is it good for? http://bit.ly/cxzR6o #
  • It’s not peer review if you aren’t familiar with the subject « Connectivism http://bit.ly/1PIqDK #
  • elearnspace. everything elearning: Scholarship in an age of participation (Siemens) http://bit.ly/bigAMm #

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