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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET)

Check out these interesting articles, appears in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) 2008, 24(2)

Photo by it's learning

Professor Sugata Mitra talking at the it's learning conference 2008 in Bergen, Norway.
He delivered an inspiring and witty keynote where he presented his well-known Hole in the Wall experiments.

Effects of remoteness on the quality of education: A case study from North Indian schools

Sugata Mitra
Ritu Dangwal and Leher Thadani

This paper studies the relationship between geographic remoteness and the quality of primary education in rural Northern India. It then discusses this relationship in the context of educational technology. There is a significant negative correlation between the quality of education and the distance of a school from the nearest urban centre. No correlation was seen between the quality of education and average number of students per teacher or per classroom. The authors suggest that teacher migration and desire for migration are directly responsible for poorer quality of education in remote areas. The role of technology, therefore, becomes vital in such areas. We propose that appropriate educational technology, if designed for that purpose, will be needed to improve the quality of education in non-urban regions where good teachers will not remain.

Using blogging for higher order learning in large cohort university teaching: A case studyBrett Farmer, Audrey Yue and Claire BrooksThe University of Melbourne


The small but developing literature on weblogging underscores its potential as an effective learning resource for use in higher education. This paper contributes to these discussions through an initial case study of the authors' experience with the on going development of an educational blogging resource for use in a large cohort, undergraduate liberal arts subject. Detailing the theoretical aims, design, implementation and incipient evaluation of the project, the paper supports the argument for the educational use and value of blogging but also highlights potential limitations and problem areas.

Quantifying the reuse of learning objects

Kristine Elliott and Kevin Sweeney

This paper reports the findings of one case study from a larger project, which aims to quantify the claimed efficiencies of reusing learning objects to develop e-learning resources. The case study describes how an online inquiry project Diabetes: A waste of energy was developed by searching for, evaluating, modifying and then integrating as many pre-existing learning objects as possible into a learning design. Development times for the reuse approach were recorded and compared to estimates for the de novo development of an equivalent project. Outcomes suggest that considerable savings can be made using the reuse approach; we estimate a threefold increase in time to develop the Diabetes project using new objects in comparison to reuse. In this case study, gaining permission from owners to reuse objects was not a barrier to reuse. However, in some circumstances, being unable to source pre-existing objects to meet specific requirements, or having to modify objects for reuse, could be problematic.

Harnessing distributed musical expertise through edublogging

Eddy K. M. Chong

The pedagogical potential of edublogging - blogging used as an educational tool and strategy - in music teaching has been explored in two previous studies; a third exploration has now been conducted. Recognising the social and contextual dimensions of knowledge and of the learning process, I reflect on all three experiences from a distributed cognition perspective, as opposed to a traditional cognitivist one. First, the edublogging scenario in each case will be seen through the lens of distributed cognition in respect of the nature of its learning community and culture. Then, these instructional endeavours are evaluated against the distributed cognition ideals. The pedagogy discussed here leverages the potential of edublogging to draw on distributed musical expertise. Apart from being in line with the current trend in learning theories towards emphasising distributed cognition and community based learning, such a pedagogical strategy in part also offers a viable solution to the challenge of addressing an increasingly expanding curriculum, whether in music or other subjects, due to knowledge explosion and the pressures of globalisation.

Is wiki an effective platform for group course work?

Irina Elgort, Alastair G Smith and Janet Toland

This study reports on students' and lecturers' perceptions of using wikis as a platform for conducting assessed group projects in two postgraduate Master's level university courses. The results highlight the fact that student attitudes to group work, in general, are mixed, and that the use of wikis per se is not enough to improve these attitudes. On the positive side, students found wikis useful for arranging information and sharing knowledge, while instructors thought wikis made managing and marking group work easier and more effective. Other issues related to using wikis as a collaborative learning tool in higher education are also considered.

Coherence or interest: Which is most important in online multimedia learning?

Derek A. Muller, Kester J. Lee and Manjula D. Sharma

The coherence principle states that all non-essential information in multimedia messages should be eliminated to minimise demands on cognitive resources. This assertion has been empirically verified in controlled laboratory studies with learners who have little prior knowledge and limited interest in the domain of instruction. It has not been investigated, however, whether the coherence principle generalises to real learning environments. In this study, 104 students from year 10, year 11, and first year university viewed either a concise or an extended online multimedia treatment on stellar spectra. The extended treatment included additional interesting information about the formation of black holes, galaxy collisions and the observation of dark matter. Following the multimedia, participants completed a retention and transfer test that covered only the material common to both treatments. Results showed students in both treatment groups achieved similar performance. This suggests that in authentic learning settings, interest may mitigate the effects of the coherence principle. Difficulties involved in measuring differences in learning within the constraints of a real learning environment are also addressed.

Related link

Dr. Sugata Mitra launched what came to be known as
the Hole in the Wall experiment.