Technology and Posture

I have been thinking a lot lately how technology has changed not only how we learn, but our actual physical learning environment. Years ago we were searching library stacks for research articles, carrying textbooks to every class and writing pen and paper notes for lectures. Now we are using our laptops, tablets and smartphones to research, type notes and even take quizzes/tests. The hours we spend in front of a screen has increased significantly, this places postural strain on the body. It is almost impossible to sit in front of a computer for hours and not experience repetitive strain of the wrists, eyes and neck/upper back muscles. In my career as  Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), I see many clients who are experiencing aches and pains from working at a desk for too many hours of the day. A good strategy is to take frequent stretch breaks, however there is only so much we can do to combat the technology posture that is pervasive in our daily routine. There was recently an article on the CBS website that highlighted how bad using your smartphone is for your body as per the image below (Firger, 2014). For every few degrees the head tracks forward and down to read the screen, there is a significant increase in pounds of pressure on the upper back and neck. The muscles then become tight and knotted while the spine can degenerate faster than the normal aging process. Long story short, technology can be tough on our bodies and we need to create strategies for stress relief!

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/omg-youre-texting-your-way-to-back-pain/

Firger, J. (November 14, 2014). OMG You Are Texting Your Way to Back Pain. CBS Interactive Inc. [Web log]. Retrieved November 18. 2014 from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/omg-youre-texting-your-way-to-back-pain/

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Web 2.0 Tools for Teaching

The 3240 Media Enhanced learning course has opened my eyes to the plethora of Web 2.0 tools available for teaching. My fellow online classmates have researched and posted on the discussion forum many Web 2.0 sites available for educational use. For example below is a Slide Share  that compiles a list of the top 100, so many to chose from!

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”//www.slideshare.net/janehart/top-100-tools-for-learning-2014″ title=”Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014″ target=”_blank”>Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”//www.slideshare.net/janehart” target=”_blank”>Jane Hart</a></strong> </div>

Three of my favourites that I will be using in the near future for my teaching are:

1. Google Drive- Create documents and collaborate with others with this free online tool with many format options (word, spreadsheets, presentations etc.). It is a great way to work on a group assignment without having to physically be in the same place, safe and secure storage provided for free as well. https://www.google.com/drive/using-drive/

2. Edmondo- Collaboration and sharing site specifically for educators and students, similar to Twitter in a way. There is an option to use what they call Snapshot, real time student interaction software to promote engagement. This site allows the teacher to access analytics on student performance. .https://www.edmodo.com

3. You Tube- This may seem like a strange choice, but there are so many fantastic educational videos on You Tube! Here is a link to an article that outlines tips on how best to implement You Tube videos in the classroom. It recommends using shorter videos, searching the You Tube educational channel option, and actively engaging students while they watch. http://www.teachthought.com/technology/teaching-with-video-9-tips-teaching-youtube/

Gallano, M. (Nov 13, 2014). 9 Tips for Smarter Teaching with You Tube. Te@ch Thought [Web log]. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from: http://www.teachthought.com/technology/teaching-with-video-9-tips-teaching-youtube/

Hart, J. (n.d.). Top 100 Tools for Learning 2014: Results of the 8th Annual Survey of Learning Tools [Web log]. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from: http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/

 

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Student Accountability

Prior to my careers as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and health sciences teacher, I ran my own personal training business. Essentially I was a  teacher, but in a one on one format and specifically for fitness. I met my clients in the gym and created innovative workouts to help them reach their goals. One of the most effective business strategies I used was not how tough the workouts were, but the accountability. I kept in touch with my clients frequently via email, checking in to see how the rest of their week was going and sending motivational tips to stick with their wellness plan. The reward for me was developing that relationship with my client and helping them get stronger and fitter. My client retention was high and I felt the key was the fact I really cared and was passionate about their health.

I bring up this story as it relates to the articles posted on the VCC School of Instructor Education Facebook page, links found below. Basically, the new digital degree that is available from higher education centres was proposed to be the next big thing. The articles outline the numbers of students enrolled and how Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are quite popular. They evidence also shows that student attrition rate is quite high, not many actually finish the courses. I feel a big component missing is the student accountability. Without a teacher knowing you by name and checking in if you are doing your homework, it would be difficult to stay motivated. As teachers we are guides to our students, helping them along the learning process. Without that personalized attention the students may lose interest and drop out. There is a human factor to learning in school, similar to reaching your fitness goals with a personal trainer!

IMG_barb

Economist print edition (2014, June 28). The Future of Univerisities: The Digital Degree. The Economist [Web log]. Retrieved Nov 11, 2014 from: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21605899-staid-higher-education-business-about-experience-welcome-earthquake-digital

Konnikova, M. (2014, Nov 7). Will MOOCS Be Flukes? The New Yorker [Web log]. Retrieved Nov 11, 2014 from: http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/moocs-failure-solutions?utm_source=tny&utm_campaign=generalsocial&utm_medium=facebook&mbid=social_facebook

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Twitter for Teachers

Part of the social media assignment for 3240 is to interact and create a community with my fellow online classmates via Twitter. I will admit I find it scary that tweets can be read by anyone, there are no privacy controls and you cannot take something back once it is written! I have done research on Twitter through the years for business purposes and came across a good read called Twitterville (2009). I would recommend Twitterville you are looking for ways Twitter can be harnessed for building your business brand and online marketing. For the world of higher education, in our 3240 discussion forums the idea was presented that Twitter could be implemented as an instructional strategy. It could be a way to interact with students and increase their engagement with the material. I would like to suggest another idea, using Twitter to create a professional development community for teachers, similar to our 3240 discussion forums. Below is a link to a  You Tube video that outlines the benefits of connecting and sharing with other teachers through Twitter:

http://youtu.be/3tT6N_8wcn4

 

Hill, P. (2010, August 27). Twitter for Teachers. [You Tube Video File]. Retrieved November 8, 2014 from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tT6N_8wcn4

Isreal, S. (2009). Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the new Global Neighbourhoods. New York, Pengiun Group.

 

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Social Media Branding

I have been struggling with a dilemma, my social media branding has become muddled. I am pursuing the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PIDP) through VCC for my career as a health sciences instructor as Vancouver College of Massage Therapy (VCMT), of Utopia Academy. The problem is that my primary career is running my own Registered Massage Therapy (RMT) business. These are not mutually exclusive and do compliment each other very well, except when it comes to my online presence. I have done research into social media marketing and the most important message is to be consistent and clear with your brand. A quick google search and you could be confused why Barb Tyers RMT is tweeting about new learning technologies, or Facebook posting about Web 2.0 learning tools, or blogging about classroom dynamics. My message has become muddled with the different roles I am playing, unfortunately I feel my RMT business may be suffering. At this point I am willing to lose marks in the 3240 course to try to stick with my goals as a sole proprietor providing massage therapy as my main career. I will continue to fulfill my requirements for the 3240 Media Enhanced Learning assignments, however when the course is done I need to clean up my social media message and this blog will become private. Below is a link to my real blog for my RMT business, thanks for your support and understanding!

http://barbtyers.com

Barb Tyers RMT

Gilbert, S (July 2, 2014). 7 Rules for Social Media Branding. Business to Community Weblog. Retrieved November 4, 2014 from: http://www.business2community.com/branding/7-rules-social-media-branding-0925893

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Teaching by Storytelling

The main focus of 3240, Media Enhanced Learning, is implementing technologies into the teaching environment. This blog post is not exploring a specific technology, but a reflection on a link that was posted to the VCC School of Instructor Education (SIE) Facebook page. Everyday I scan the latest posts and read the links, this one in particular caught my eye as a basic lesson in how to capture your student’s attention http://www.teachthought.com/literacy-2/30-storytelling-tips-for-teachers/ There are quite a few fantastic tips, I would like to highlight a few I feel are applicable to adult learner environments: Create a hook in your opening to gain their attention; Keep it simple; Use pauses; Finish your story strong with an important take away message; Make sure the story is relatable/realistic; Avoid tangents; Do not give away everything. Why this blog post resonated with me is that I frequently incorporate case studies into my lesson plans. I am adept at using a relevant case study from a real life example or made up, however it is the delivery that I need to improve on. Case studies are an excellent tool for creating a story that students must analyze and critically think to come up with a solution. Developing my skills as an effective case study storyteller could enhance students engagement.

Queen’s University (n.d.).  What is Case-Based Learning? Centre for Teaching and Learning, Queens University Weblog. Retrieved Nov 4, 2014 from: http://www.queensu.ca/ctl/resources/topicspecific/casebased.html

Teach Thought Staff (November 22, 2012). 30 Storytelling Tips for Teachers: How to Capture Your Students’ Attention. Te@ch Thought Weblog. Retrieved Nov 4, 2104 from: http://www.teachthought.com/literacy-2/30-storytelling-tips-for-teachers/

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Instructional Media Through The Years

I remember when the teacher would roll in a TV and VCR trolley for the class, it was considered the newest technology! There has been many changes and improvements in institutional media through the years. We have progressed from overhead projectors to white boards to power point presentations, and now all of the new interactive technologies. Online learning management system forums, in class clickers and polling, instructional games, social media applications….there are so many new fancy options! Using technology should have a purpose, not  just using the fantastic new media tool for the sake of using something fancy. Appropriate to the level of learning and relevance to the course objective are key points. Always keeping in mind the goal of engaging students and fostering critical thinking with interactive technology, versus passively watching a video. There are so many possibilities to enhance your teaching with instructional media, I continue to learn through the 3240 discussion forums of what is available out there!

TV VCR on Wheels in the Classroom as a kid

Oblinger, D. G. & Oblinger, J. L. (2005). Using Technology as a Learning Tool, Not Just the Cool New Thing, Chapter 4. Educating the Net Generation, Educase e-book. Retrieved November 2, 2014 from: https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7101d.pdf

Random Lolz (Feb 19, 2011). TV VCR On Wheels in the Classroom as a Kid. Retrieved November 2, 2014 from: http://www.randomlolz.com/tv-vcr-on-wheels-in-the-classroom-as-a-kid/

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