Today we live in a world where technology is the foundation of almost everything we do. As educators we cannot live in the past, we have to be able evolve and adapt to our ever changing technological environment. This is necessary because we need to be able to provide our students with the best learning environment possible. Thin clients and blade PCs was the first subject presented in the discussion. At WOU this is already seen campus wide. The school is based upon a centralized network where each individual, student and faculty, possesses a username and password that allows them to login to access their “profile” from anywhere on campus, and/or off campus by logging into the server through a remote desktop connection. This is a very justifiable investment for schools to make because it is cost effective, energy efficient, reliable, and easy to manage. Some of the problems that arise from this are server crashes. We encounter this at WOU on occasion. The server goes down and it takes some time to be able to fix but after it is fixed everything returns back to normal. I see this technological advancement as the most logical to be implanted in schools nation wide because of the reasons stated above.
Virtualization was a little hard for me to be able to grasp my head around. The best way I can describe or understand it would be to view all of the outside boxes as individual external hard drives connected to one computer. All of these external hard drives are able to function at the same time. With all of the applications existing on the external hard drives this allows your device to be able to run quickly and smoothly by keeping it free from all the clutter that it would have to run in order to do the same jobs. I believe that our school uses this and can be seen as our h: drive for example. Instead of saving documents into the device we save it onto this disk or drive. This allows us to be able to access it anywhere on campus. I believe that this is an example of using virtualization. Virtualization is user friendly, cost effective (allowing machines to run smoother longer, don’t need to have as many machines), and easy to manage.
Gesture-based learning is something that uses Kinect. Kinect observes your movements and allows a user to be able to control a PC or program through their gestures. This is creative and would be fun to be able to observe in a classroom setting. After watching the videos and reading the overview, I honestly can’t see this being extremely successful. I can see it being used yes, but when you take into consideration all of the variables I just can’t see this being a successful intervention. As the technology develops in the future it may become more useful and accepted, especially with mathematics. I can also see it being used with dynamic movement or exercise science. The number one underlying factor behind educational systems being able to use something like this is funds. By the time schools are able to afford this new innovation a new, better, more expensive one is going to be presented and the circle just continues. Instructor training, student’s ability to stay focused, and curriculum are all things that also play a factor when wanting to try to implement this into a school setting.
Learning analytics was the last topic, but certainly not the least. It was by far the most influential for me. Steve Schoettler’s presentation and reading presented some great features about being able to advance our educational system. At the beginning of his presentation he talked about “feedback”. The fact that it took our government two years to be able to analyze the data disturbed him. He looked at examples where feedback measures were implemented and the positive results that it created. He also looked that the learner and what we currently focus on, knowledge- skills, understanding. He continued to present that not only should we focus on this but we need to include cognitive ability, multiple intelligence, background, and personality and all of the subsets of individualizations that come from each of these characteristics. With technology we can create an educational system that will provide a personalized feedback system to develop a better learner centered curriculum.