Thursday, February 25, 2010

Committee Meeting for COE Second Life Island

Hi blog!

Today we had a meeting in Wist 234 with our development committee for the COE island. We initially thought of designing the island like this...

However, we got some great feedback from the committee about our initial design.
  1. The Hawaiian museum should not be a museum since the Hawaiian culture isn't "history," it's alive and well. Instead it should be more like an open air Halau. Students can sit around the Lo'i. Holo exhibits were mentioned.
  2. Places all over the island should contain more open air meeting spaces, not stuffy buildings and classrooms.
  3. The island needs to have a welcome center with information about the different locations around the island and directions to these places. Comfortable, sense of place, welcoming, easy to find. It would be nice if someone was there all the time to answer any questions someone might have about the island or COE specific programs.
  4. It would be nice as a place for children to come to, a place for family connection. Also, a place for connection with the lab school and a places where children and Youth are represented.
Some good ideas! Any other suggestions for the island? Feel free to post them in the comments area of this blog post :)


Monday, February 22, 2010

ETEC 750 readings - Week 5

Dear blog,

We had a lot of readings for class week, but I managed to read the majority of them. Overall, the readings spoke about the different types of philosophies surrounding technology's integration into education and how these philosophies were viewed by others throughout the history of modern education. Each philosophy basically asks how (or to what extent) educational organizations should incorporate technology into learning. This issue is not clear cut in that sometimes too much technology is used in the classroom and is feared by some to have replaced instructors in the classroom, yet others see technology as a supplement when teaching and not necessarily a replacement for instruction. In addition, the readings stated that instructional design philosophy is very fluid and changes constantly.

I believe that these readings are particularly helpful, especially to me, since we all need to describe our philosophy of education (aka our theoretical lens) within our dissertations in order for the readers of the dissertation to know what biases we may have when conducting our research. I especially need to re-think my personal philosophy since it has changed quite a bit over the years. Still not sure what I am in particular. When I first started out, I took on a more isomophistic viewpoint. Nowadays, I believe myself to be more of a social cognitivist. However, I'm still thinking about it.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goals for today

Hi blog,
I just met with my adviser Peter this morning for 690. I got a lot of good advice from him and I'll try to get my article to where it is suppose to be. He made a good point about creating a graph with 4 columns: Statements, Research questions, survey Questions, and Answers. And I will incorporate this into my analyzation of the data I received.

I am having a hard time with my dissertation though. I want to study one thing, but keep getting asked the same question over and over again: why is this (what you are studying) relevant? In return, I would have to ask, "Does relevancy really matter in these studies? What if you know that what you are studying is relevant but can't explain why? What if that point of relevancy won't exist for another few years? " Just rambling. I like what I am studying, it's just putting my finger on it's relevancy or putting it into words is hard for me. Frustrated again. Should have I stuck with something safer? Something I knew that I wouldn't necessarily be interested in, but would not provide so much frustrations?

I have a meeting at 3 PM for the Second Life committee. I am sure that will go well. In the meantime, I am going to clean my room. And then work on my 690 article either after the meeting or tomorrow.


Monday, February 15, 2010

ETEC 750 readings - Week 4

Last week I didn't have to do any readings for class. However this week, our class read Technology Matters: Questions to Live With by David E. Nye. No, not Bill Nye the Science Guy, although I thought the book was by him when I first looked at the cover.

The first chapter of Technology Matters was hard to read I have to admit. I kept having to put it down every so often because I couldn't concentrate on Nye's historical accounts of how cultural created technology instead of technology creating cultural, as society usually presumes. It's not that the first chapter was filled with superfluous academic discourse or that the words were tiny with no breaks in between paragraphs. Plus, I am a fan of history, so I thought I would be somewhat captivated by it. It was just that the chapter didn't seem like a story. It was mostly a stating of facts, not necessarily a linear narrative of how society or societies got to a certain point in their history.

However, when I arrived at the second chapter, I really got into his book because I am a fan of studying and critiquing the oh-so-famous concept of technological determinism. I first encountered the term back when I was taking a Rhetoric and Technology class for English back in my undergraduate days. Plus, the chapter had somewhat of a narrative format which I enjoy reading. It was also after reading this chapter that I realized that I needed the information from Chapter 1 to fully appreciate what Nye was talking about in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 as well as the rest of the chapters after that were Nye's case against technological determinism. His main argument was similar to that of Chapter 1, that people, society, and their culture determine the adoption and distribution of technology. He also indirectly showed how one culture's technology doesn't necessarily "work" for another culture even though they may have the same problem that this particular problem. I also liked how he gave examples of how society often uses technology in ways that it wasn't originally intended for.

What I found most interesting was how Nye described how certain technologies come about in that inventors often "discover" their inventions and people explain the concepts behind these inventions rather than the other way around, where the inventors understand certain concepts and then "create" inventions out of them. Another factoid that I found interesting from the chapters is how companies would try to "feminize" products to make them appeal to the female consumer, but have little success in selling them even though they did this. I like how he explains how gender often plays a role in technology, but it is through culture that the gender role within the use of this technology is perpetuated.

Overall, I found this book a good read. It does make a solid case against technological determinism which I hadn't considered before. I mainly heard from fellow professors regarding how technology shaped our culture, but rarely heard the argument on how we shape technology. It is somewhat like the Matrix movies. Even though technology has taken over the world, it still represents itself in the form of human beings, at least within the Matrix. Will technology eventually gain a mind of its own and adapt to our culture or will it change our culture once and for all? Hard to say. I think I'm more on the side of humans shaping technology rather than on the "technological determinism" side, but I can see valid points from both sides. I think the human being is still too complex to ever be replaced by computers. Simply, computers and machines are an extension of ourselves but not necessarily a replacement.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Today was a busy day

Dear blog,

Today was a busy day today. I woke up a little earlier than I usually do and went to work to help out with the commercial we are working on today with Gary and Monica. We recorded footage off of Second Life. That took almost half the day. The other half I am taking care of emails and working on a PowerPoint for tonight's class.

Going to class in 2 hours. I'm going to grab my early dinner right now.


Monday, February 8, 2010

(In the near) future goals

1. Work on church website
2. Update my Google Pages site on my dissertation.
3. Update my official University of Hawaii page (I took it down a year and a half ago and need to put it back up)


Hey blog,
Today I watched the Super Bowl and hardly did any work on anything. Oh I did clean my bathroom. Hooray for me! LOL. Well this is what I plan to do for the next 3 days.
  • Prep for Wednesday's class. I need to bring in something to talk about. I think I'll go over strategies I used to prepare for my prospectus and comps. Also, prepare to talk about other studies that are similar to mine, research so far, etc...
  • Email Peter about my article I plan to submit to AERA.
  • Send out SL Valentine's Flyer with corrections, both in-world through groups and on any particular mailing lists I am a part of.
  • Do my taxes.
  • Work on my transcription work for my GA job.
  • Start reading the book club book.
  • Cook dinner
  • Schedule massage
See you tomorrow!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

SL Valentine's Day Social and Conference Paper

Dear blog,
I was planning to submit my new draft of my article to Peter on Thursday. However, I am almost done and wanted to work on it some more so I plan to submit it today. I think Peter is busy for the most part on his vacation, so I think a few days late won't matter too much. I think Peter should enjoy his vacation :)

So today I plan to submit my article draft today. Also I need to work on the flyers for the UH Second Life social and work on what I plan to do for the workshop on relationships in Second Life that will be held during the social. I feel a bit bad too because I keep bombarding my colleague Yoko with ideas about the social and this is her first time chairing one of these things. I hope I don't come on too strong.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

ETEC 750 readings - Week 2

Dear blog,
This week I had several readings to complete. They basically went over Educational Technology theory. After reading these readings, I came to a better understanding of why we read last week's readings. Last week's readings involved the definition of Educational Technology and now the theory part expounds on the definition of Educational Technology in regards to the "why" and "how" of it.

When I first started the PhD program, I had less understanding of why theory was important. However, now I understand that theory helps us understand the viewpoint that we are coming from when we do our research. Our biases are now out in the open and since we are able to admit our viewpoint, we can then proceed with the actual content of the research we are doing without much questioning from our peers. I doubt that NO questioning will occur, but at least some understanding will exist between researcher, peers, and advisers.

Also theory helps us frame our research project. What we intend to find out and how it will occur. In other words, it provides a basis of what we are looking at.

As for the readings, the first two readings basically asked the question, "How does technology affect the way we think and learn?" These two readings provided the framework for the rest of the readings which involved Educational Technology theory. Theory basically does ask the questions "why" something happens or "how." This then went on with the other readings which delved into the various theories possible for use within Educational Technology research.

Overall, I thought that the readings were a good review. I can't say that I have anything critical to say about them. They were more informative rather than controversial. I am looking forward to reading them again, to figure out which "lens" I want to apply to my research project. When I started out in the program, I had already decided on what my lens would be. However, my topic for my research was on videoblogging and not necessarily virtual worlds. I think I will need to apply a different lens. I have read through pretty much all of the articles, but I need to go back and review them again. Once I decide on my lens, I will update you on this blog.

Ideas for the new College of Education island

Dear blog,
Yesterday I met with Monica and Ritsuko about their ideas about the College of Educations island in Second Life. We all brainstormed some nice ideas. Here is a summary of what was suggested.

In General
1. Have a sign outside with upcoming events on the island.
2. Regular College of Education tours
3. CCC library/museum (showcase of what COE researchers have done, grant projects, etc...)
4. Info packet to new visitors (notecard of who we are, code of conduct, and a landmark).

A Place for Socializing
1. Student dormitories (a simulation of the actual ones reserved for College of Education students with information about the program in real life)
2. Coffee house/student-faculty lounge with a bar for drinks, couches and tables for socializing, and a stage for performances (singing, poetry slam, etc...). Low key lighting and carpet.
3. Areas for small meetings - beach area, courtyard area, and reading garden
4. Kennedy Theatre for large performances. meetings
5. Ampitheatre in Diamond Head?

A Place for Students
1. New student orientation area - A place for new students to get information on what to expect at the College of Education
2. Divide the college building (virtual Wist/Everly Hall) into sections with information on each department and the programs they offer (or at least links to their websites)
3. Showcase Area for dissertations and student projects
4. Meeting area for extension/non-credit outreach classes (i.e. - professional development for students)
5. Sandbox area for building

A Place for Faculty
1. Divide it the COE into sections for professors and showcase what they have researched. Have an email link where colleagues and set up appointments and meet with them to discuss about their research.
2. Research area for faculty to conduct research in a virtual environment

A Place for Culture
1. Sculptures, landmarks (i.e. Diamond Head crater, Hawaiian history museum)
2. Classroom under a volcano?, amphitheater in Diamond Head?
3. Bishop museum (some type of partnership with the real life museum) we would showcase some things from the museum.
4. Give visitors the Hawaiian experience. A greeting person that explains basic Hawaiian vocab, (Hawaiian word of the day). Hawaiian curiosity corner (factoid do the day)
5. SL culture - Something that you could do as you are flying or a place you can only get to by flying. Nest area with a great view.

A Place for Possible revenue or sustainability
1. A store on the island selling COE virtual merchandise (i.e. shirts, caps, etc...)
2. Places on the island for other colleges to rent out and use for teaching (i.e. pay fee to helps sustain the island, free for COE faculty)
3. A place to hold fundraisers for educational causes. Linden donations go to educational causes.
4. Donations boxes around the island

Possible events
1. A workshop on researching/how to access research articles
2. Student showcase
3. Have a "demo" class where a professor would teach a class in SL simulating what a "real" COE class is like (for potential students)
4. Dissertation showcase
5. Academic workshops (how to make a website, ePortfolios)
6. Teachers development classes
7. IT support, ask questions time

Other notes:
1. We need to design with this in mind --> General to specific (starting in Second Life and then specifying - we are UH island, what are the purposes of the UH island) --> Conclusion: All it how integrates
2. The thing that runs Second Life is the people, not the environment itself. The environment helps with the socialization/networking process, but does not enable it, as we can see with regular text-only chat rooms or audio conferencing places, i.e. Elluminate.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Working on readings.

Dear blog,
Ok, so I ended up cooking on Sunday, but I did work on the 690 article at the same time and got somewhat of a draft done. Today, I need to do my blog post for 750 class tomorrow and some transcribing work for my GA position. Some of my classmates have to submit their prospectus tomorrow, but I am wonder if I have to do that as well since I already passed my comps. Hmm... guess I'll have to look at the syllabus again.

Becca :)