Campus Life in the Age of the Online Learner. The publication is available, even though is from 2010, it’s still relevant to what we pursue. Access to the pdf file.
Julio Wallovits interview for Campus Life:
The Argentinean Julio Wallovits has been working in the communications sector for almost 20 years, working as Creative Director at prestigious agencies such as Bates, Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, El Sindicato and S.C.P.F. In parallel, Wallovits is a film director and playwright. In 2001 he wrote and co-directed the film Smoking Room, obtaining, among other awards, a Goya for best new director. In July 2009, he made his first foray into the world of theatre with the premiere of Las Listas, a work that enjoyed enormous success with audiences and critics alike. From La Doma, the advertising agency that he is a partner in, Wallovits aspires to provide the necessary framework for building common dreams between consumers and brands.
Julio Wallovits’ favorite online site/platform is…
As a publicist, what effects do you think a particular aesthetic can have on a person’s emotional state?
Everything has an effect on a person’s emotional state. Broadly speaking, I think that this ‘everything’ is shaped by experience – tradition, by the place we inhabit and, ultimately, by education. The very idea of culture is conditioned by these three factors wherever we go.
Do you think this is also applicable to online environments?
Well, virtual environments are products of globalization. That is, one does not find a difference in environments wherever they go. This results in two phenomena: on the one hand, a certain ‘corrosion of character’, since the cultural values one puts into play are sometimes attenuated to reach a consensus, to be accepted –it’s like when we have to communicate with several people in a language that is not ours; there is always a certain tactfulness when communicating ideas, both due to the fact that it isn’t ‘our language’ and also because we are unsure of how they will be received by our interlocutor-. On the other hand, however, the manipulating of technology fuels the ability to manage abstract ideas collaboratively, since in principle they are less rooted in environment and culture in general. I believe that the ideal situation is to achieve environments that combine connectivity and identity when it comes to ‘teaching’ the user to deal with the virtual world. And this is the big challenge facing virtual environments today.
Distance education takes place in virtual environments. Do you feel that virtuality limits learning?
Imagine that you lead the advertising campaign of a distance university. How would you focus it?
First, I would abandon the concept of ‘distance’, which only suggests being excluded from the sphere required for education. There is no library, campus or classroom larger or more diverse than the world, than experience itself. And we are all the same ‘distance’ from the world. If we all saw it like this, the so-called ‘obstacle of being unable to attend the university’ would not only be avoidable but would become an indispensable condition for gaining access to Education with a capital E. The university is nothing; it is a building. I’m not saying that it is an institution that is not worthy of respect, but it must be freed from these ‘false’ values it is bestowed with in order to put the focus where it should really be. Intensity, sensibility and enthusiasm, whether or not one goes to college, always find their way. Starting from this basis, distance education should ‘fan this flame’ that is in each of us so that it may become a fire that will warm us for a lifetime.
In recent years, advertising has abandoned information for the sake of emotion. Is this strategy more effective when it comes to captivating the consumer?
There are less and less differences between products. What was informative before now has little relevance in many of the categories of the products we consume. So, emotion became capital in these markets with a high ‘me-too’ factor, and also in those in which the products lacked usefulness, since they were merely things we might enjoy. Coca Cola is the most paradigmatic example, a product that ‘is of no use at all’ and that, literally, is the product most desired by the whole world. However, this too is changing.
In what respect? Is ‘uselessness’ no longer attractive?
In a way. Thanks to the virtual world, functionality has come back into style. And most importantly, it has become emotional. The possibilities offered to us by certain devices, social networks or even websites can be very exciting, not only because of their technological advantages, but also because they help us to communicate better, to be connected and, in some cases, to reflect better and more. We should never think in terms of technology when it comes to conceiving consumer needs. We have to think in terms of ‘social tools’. The great ideas in this domain today move us all. And for these ideas to be great they must contain elements that have nothing to do with technology, but rather with the ideology and sentiments that unite each group to that which we seek to conquer.
How would you conquer online students from an emotional dimension?
In the case of virtual education, I would never forget the possibility that the new technologies offer students to connect with talented and sensitive people to find the solution to problems they have to tackle during their studies. I would stay focused on the idea of ‘Comprehending’ and not on that of ‘Knowing’, because knowledge seems to be available to everyone, everywhere. That is the challenge of education today! To endow students with criteria and train them in meaningful searching – which the virtual world cannot offer by itself, are aspects that would be included, without any doubt, in the emotional design of the learning process. After all is said and done, everything is there. What we would like to know is what we can build with all of it, how we can make the most of our potential. And for that, it is likely that we also need to know what Leonardo da Vinci, Orson Welles or Steve Jobs himself would do in our place.
How are the new technologies seen from the advertising sector?
Advertising is going through a time of great transition because the new social tools multiply the possibilities for improving communication with the consumer. Let us not forget that we consumers are the masters of brands. Brands exist because of our demand for them. And this, which has always been this way, now has a clear channel of expression through new technologies. I predict a future in which brands are totally dependent on the opinions, ideas and visions of the consumer such that, on this basis, they put all of their corporate intelligence to work on meeting a challenge, one that assaults their imagination.
What degree of prominence do you foresee for the new technologies in the field of education?
As regards the field of learning, I see a future where the brands related to the new technologies are much more involved socially. I believe that brands will be the first factor of social change, even in the field of education. Like it or not, many of the services offered by the majority of brands carry with them a series of responsibilities that they must accept. To give an example, I think that Google should emphasize the formation of criteria. And why? Because it is Google’s responsibility for us to be able to know and see ‘everything’. The producers of electronic games, on the other hand, should break into the field of education in a much more forceful way. In the very near future, the majority of the absorption of knowledge will be experiential. This will eventually come about through the willingness of brands. And it will happen much faster if we demand it. For this, it is key for us to be heard, to complete the image of brands as well as our own.
From a marketing perspective, what role do social relations play?
Right now, they are essential. Nowadays brands should seek prestige of a ‘personal nature’, separate from the corporate stereotypes that generate so much distrust. To achieve this, the means must be credible. And nothing is more credible than the relationship between people, than the recommendation of a relative or friend.
What about in education?
On the educational level, I’m convinced that social networks can be greatly exploited. One of the great engines of social tools, since their appearance, has been forums, which basically group together persons with similar knowledge and interests. Forums are a magnificent idea because they don’t take the idea of community as something defensive, an attitude that is so fashionable today, but uphold the old idea of community: to be together to share something that we enjoy; we educate ourselves mutually and reinforce our identities. Not to detract from the academic world, but it’s amazing how many things one can learn today from anonymous people, who you find on Internet.
Technology is an engine of social change. How do you conceive the society of the 21st century?
Hopefully, the 21st-century society will prove to be a society that uses all the tools and possibilities available to it to engage in ‘Comprehension’. This is the heart of the matter. In reality, I see the new society as a society of ‘rich’ people. We are rich. Not monetarily speaking, but in terms of the possibilities to reach out to others, to influence and participate, and in a way that was unimaginable only a few years ago. This is a time in which the institutional space is growing smaller, and therefore we must also educate our young people to be able to make good use of their personal space, which is growing at a tremendous rate. Distance education is part of this new way of approaching reality, but it is still undervalued because, even today, there is a terrible fear of letting go of all things institutional.
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“Learning processes belong to learners and nobody else”
Professor Vasudha Kamat, Joint Director of the Central Institute of Educational Technology (CIET) and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) from New Delhi since 2007, was appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of SNDT Women’s University in May 2011. Kamat joined the SNDT Women’s University as an Assistant Professor in the PVDT College of Education in 1983, and has served as Head of the Department of Educational Technology since 1986. She has over 32 years of experience in research in Educational Technology, Educational Psychology, Textbook Development etc. Her areas of research interest are Instructional Design, Online Learning, and e-content Development.
Vasudha Kamat’s favorite online site is…
What role should ICT integration in education play in countries as extensive and populated as India?
India is a thickly populated country and it has a very peculiar dimension to providing education due to population. Integrating ICTs would definitely help address this issue in a very fruitful manner. ICTs would help in reaching large numbers of learners and also with quality. Presently, India is using an educational satellite through which two-way audio two-way video can be used. This satellite helps reach large number of learners in schools as well as in higher education and also teachers. Similarly, community radios, FM radios, are used for education. It helps in reaching a large number of individuals with course contents and with innovative ideas.
New ICT tools like web 2.0 tools and virtual classrooms are also gaining importance, especially in higher education.
Would you give us an example of a new ICT tool recently applied to Indian education?
The ‘Lab in a Box’ initiative, for instance. This was an initiative taken by CIET and NCERT. This project was developed in collaboration with HP. In India many schools do not have adequate infrastructure for computer labs. To create an extra room in the school would take months and by that time, the technology has already become obsolete. We developed a computer lab in a container (40*8*8 ft) which was properly air-conditioned. This box has 15 computers with broadband connectivity. It can be lifted by crane and moved anywhere.
This has, in fact, turned out to be a very handy solution to creating a computer lab. Fifteen students can sit in it and work. A teacher table, library stand, board and projection facilities are all created inside the box. If required, up to 30 students could be accommodated. It had all FOSS applications as we wished students to use free and open source software. Mr. Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development, inaugurated it on February 2, 2011.
Alternatively, how can mobile technology add value to education?
India seems to be having a growing number of mobiles; growth in June 2011 occurred at the rate of 11.41 million new subscribers per month. India is projected to have 1.159 billion mobile subscribers by 2013 (Wikipedia).
Many educational institutes/universities are using mobiles not only for administrative purposes, but also academic use. SNDT Women’s University is conducting research in use of mobiles for teaching-learning, also in the area of Instructional Design. It has a lot of implications for open and distance learning organizations in India.
Is virtual education the only way to provide educational access to everyone?
In today’s technology era, there is no ‘the’ solution, there are many alternatives. Learners who are used to the traditional ‘face-to-face’ educational set up have now modified their learning habits through ODL, where print material was provided along with a small component of contact programs. Indeed, at the present time, blended learning is appreciated to a great extent by students as well as having contact with their teachers, either virtually or face-to-face.
The truth is that online learning can be currently provided through many modes, bringing in a variety of educational experiences. We must take advantage of this versatility.
Any other considerations to generate successful learning experiences?
Learning is a process of active engagement. And engagement in education should be looked at from student participation in the process of learning – not only physically but emotionally and cognitively as well. In other words, it is not just important to have experienced something, but it is equally important to reflect on this experience. In this regard, there is a paradigm shift taking place in Indian education through a constructivist approach to learning. This shift conceives that students need to be engaged more in the process of learning by owning it, since it belongs to them – and nobody else!
We, at the SNDT Women’s University, developed a strategy called Zero Lecture Project way back in 2003. We used to conduct workshops for teachers on how to teach without lecturing (talking) in the class. Basically, this initiative attempted to open the minds of teachers towards engaging students in their learning process, making them master of their learning process, and shifting the role of teacher to that of facilitator.
Many experts believe that if online copies offline methodologies and procedures, that will lead us to failure. What’s your belief?
Unfortunately, many other people also believe the opposite! When I was at CIET, nearly every day I was visited by ICT vendors to demonstrate their educational products. They all would first promise me that their product will do exactly what a teacher does in the classroom but through e-mode – i.e., e-content, online learning, virtual learning, etc. I remember telling them that they better leave then, as we do not want to create the same Teaching and Learning Process (TLP) using ICTs.
ICTs today have so much to offer for cooperative and collaborative learning in which I strongly believe. We should first delimit teacher talk in the class and start believing that learners are capable of learning, on their own as well as in groups. We need to work on creating intellectual environments where challenging tasks are put in front of the students and through which they learn. ICTs can be of great help for a teacher to create such a rich environment.
However, some educators tend to act differently, though…
True! And it’s our job to change their frame of mind. We conduct teacher training workshops in ICT integration. And we never include presentation tools as they can be learnt anytime, but mainly because these tools are mostly used to facilitate teachers’ talking. Instead, we bring teachers’ attention to collaborative tools by which a ‘we’ feeling can be developed. In my opinion, the learning process shouldn’t thus be driven by just ‘thinking’ but also by ‘feeling’ to be part of a community.
What other imminent changes should online educational institutions implement in order to assure successful learning experiences?
I think the university may not direct all its worries about whether to offer face-to-face or online education; what it should do is to focus on student engagement, their involvement, and their commitment to learning. Also, the process of learning should be anchored. Online learning can certainly help in interacting with other learners from varied places, from many other countries. This interaction – which is not possible to such an extent in on-site environments, brings with it understanding about social reality, different cultures, views, and ultimately, about the richness of the world we live in. This is certainly very fulfilling.
We interviewed Dr. Larry Rosen, Past Chair and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, for the upcoming publication “Campus Life in the Age of the Online Learner”.
This soon-to-be-published publication summarizes the work carried out by a group of experts in education in Barcelona, in which they tried identifying the elements of online learning design that can contribute to inspiring and motivating learners.
|From the Net to the C Generation|
Dr. Larry Rosen, Past Chair and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, is a renowned internationa
l expert in the “Psychology of Technology.” Over the past 25 years, Rosen has examined reactions to technology among more than 50,000 children, teens, college students, parents and teachers in the United States and in 23 other countries. He has written four books, and dozens of scientific articles. His most recent book, “Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn” (2010), offers insights to motivate student learning. His new book, “iDisorder” will be released in March 2012 and will discuss how technology is making all of us exhibit signs and symptoms of psychiatric disorders such as OCD, ADHD, narcissism and depression.
Dr. Rosen’s favorite on-line sites are…
Has technology shaped human being’s way of behaving and thinking?
There is no doubt that technology has changed our way of relating to the world. Up until the late 1970s and early 1980s, we saw slowly emerging and evolving generations of people based on technology that took years if not decades to become part of our society. After the World Wide Web emerged on the scene, we started seeing technologies be introduced and rapidly penetrate society. The web itself took only four years to penetrate society compared with, say, the television which took three times as long to do the same. Since the year 2000 we have seen technologies that have been developed, distributed and become part of our world in months rather than years. YouTube, for example, penetrated society in only one year. Facebook took two years while Google Plus did the same in a matter of months.
How have all these on-line tools modified people?
In my work we have identified three new “mini-generations” of people based on how they use technology to see the world. In the 1980s a new generation of Internet-savvy children were born and have been called the Net Generation by most. In the 1990s, with the popularity of technologies with an ‘i’ in front of their names (iPhone, iPod, iTunes, etc.) emerged as a major force in a generation that embraced the ability to individualize their technology experiences leading to naming them the iGeneration. But then when we look at the children born in the new millennium we see that they are actually different than their older brothers and sisters and we are tentatively calling them “Generation C” reflecting their love of connectivity, communication, creativity, collaboration, community, and customizability all through technology. We are just completing a study looking at the values of these young children and plan to track them over time to note how their relationship to technology changes and develops.
Are schools and universities ready to accommodate the learning expectations of these new generations?
Not really. Education, in general, has to change for a variety of reasons. First, teachers and schools must find ways to engage students. This is actually pretty simple. Watch what they do during their free time or while studying at home and then use those observations to determine what they find captivating and engaging. We are already seeing that teachers who introduce a variety of ways to disseminate information to students through all sensory modalities are seeing higher levels of excitement for education. Second, it is important to take into consideration that these new generations of learners are highly communicative and social so education must be structured to take these into consideration. Group projects are helpful and attractive to these learners as are online collaborations. However, these young learners still need to have extensive time to explore each other’s values and ideas in a face-to-face environment so that they learn the pragmatics of communication in ways that cannot be done when communicating behind a screen.
In your books, you also highlight the high degree of multitasking performed by new generations…
True! Kids, nowadays, aren’t happy just working on a single task such as homework. Instead, they’d prefer to do their schoolwork while listening to music and messaging friends, or with the TV on mute in the background, basically having multiple things going on. In that sense, educators must understand that these young learners exist in a highly engaging, task-switching environment and we must modify education to allow for them to learn when to focus and when it is acceptable—and not harmful—to switch tasks. Much of my latest research has been geared toward understanding the neuroscience of focus and developing models for learners that include teaching meta-cognitive strategies on how and when to focus.
What about educational content delivery?
Teachers need help in determining what materials or content can be transmitted to students equally effectively or even more effectively through technology. Teachers may not be familiar with all of the options available for obtaining content but they can find the help of a “knowledge broker” to assist them in accumulating resources that students can use outside of the classroom to impart the “content” and allow more classroom time for the teacher to analyze, assimilate and discuss material rather than using most of the time for presenting pure content. Alternatively, educators are beginning to see the popularity of social networks and are wondering how to include them into their educational plan.
but, social networks aren’t that popular among educators, are they?
This is because there has been so much media about how bad social networks are and how disruptive they will be in the classroom. Having said that, there is no denying that when a website such as Facebook garners 23% of all Internet time (one in every four-and-a-half minutes on the web are spent on Facebook) this means that it can and should be a part of an educational plan. I have seen projects using Facebook groups for classroom discussions or collaborative projects and these appear to work well and not only do not disrupt education but lead to enhanced learning. Social networks are not the only communication tools available to enhance education. Given the massive amount of texting done by students, educators are now beginning to incorporate text messaging into their classroom lessons in unique and creative ways to engage their already texting students.
How would you build a more efficient and engaging educational model?
I think that we are seeing indications that suggest that a good model would incorporate blended education with opportunities to work 24/7 from wherever the learner happens to be as well as opportunities to collaborate both online and face-to-face. The latter may be possible over video conferencing systems such as Google Plus Hangouts or Skype but research has yet to show that this virtual collaboration is as effective as face-to-face learning. Some of our research shows that gathering cues from a video chat is not the same as gathering cues from an in-person chat. With that said, education should offer students the opportunity to connect with a variety of technologies including social networking, wikis, blogs, or even three-dimensional websites such as Second Life.
The thing is we can’t simply take the same models that work in the classroom and assume they will work in the virtual classroom. One problem with allowing education to occur online is that this requires a level of meta-cognition that many students do not possess. When they live in their virtual worlds they are constantly switching from one task to another – checking texts, switching screens, checking Facebook – which is not the best way to learn classroom material. We have to develop online educational models that incorporate popular technologies but in a way that promotes focus and learning rather than constant task switching.
Make a wish…How your “perfect” on-line University would it be like?
I am somewhat old fashioned when it comes to envisioning my “perfect” classroom either virtual or real. I would like to believe that my online education would incorporate all available tools and allow students to engage with the material and each other 24/7 by creating an active, off-site learning environment that is coupled with some face-to-face or video face-to-face engagement. I would love to have my lectures be virtual where I present material and there are concurrent active discussions between students in a variety of modalities. I think that we must make a distinction between providing content – which may be readily available in many modalities in the virtual world – and “understanding” the material that can be handled through student-teacher and student-student interactions and discussions. Some of these can be done asynchronously but some has to be done with all parties “present” to engage in a synchronous active discussion involving student-teacher interactions.
Envision the next iteration of online campus life. This was the goal of the diverse group of leaders in education, technology, the arts, design, and communications who met in Barcelona on October 3-5, 2010. Over the course of two days, some 30 specialists engaged in deep discussions about how to create an engaging, campus-like experience and environment for online learners.
The event built on the work of last year’s Open EdTech Summit, which focused on how to design educational institutions that can be truly responsive to the needs of contemporary society and of today’s students.
You can visit the website of the event here.
The standardization of Web technologies is part of the work developed by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). One of the groups involved in the development of web standards is the Multimodal Interaction Working Group, responsible for the implementation of emotional elements that computers can handle. This specification has been called Emotion Markup Language.
The idea is simple: to go beyond the traditional methods we humans are using to communicate our emotions and the way computers can understand them; basically meaning to go beyond emoticons, so that human computer interaction can be closer to more natural ways of human communication.
If you want to read an extended article, go here.
Can you imagine buying a city map based on emotions? Maybe you would visit different places according to specific emotions already tagged for such places instead of going to the ‘always-the-same top ten highlights’. Maybe this would fit better what you are looking for in a city !
Chistian Nold has worked with several groups in the design of these maps for five different world cities. Groups of people walking around the city and describing their reactions to particular places in several ways in a digital map.
Do not miss the project and the representation of some maps.
There we have him: Iroshi Ishiguro, quite well known thanks to his continuous work with robots.
As time goes by, the degree of realism in virtual worlds, videogames or robots is getting really close to what we call ‘reality’. In this sense, Iroshi is bringing something really amazing. The Geminoid F, his new creation, shows a set of facial expressions that would make many people doubt whether we are in front of a robot or a person. The video is absolutely enlightening.
IEEE CIG Special Session: Emotion in Games - Sensing and inducing player experience and affect, in conjunction with the 2010 IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games (CIG) (http://game.itu.dk/cig2010/), August 18-21, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Organized by the IEEE CIS Task Force on Player Satisfaction Modeling and the Humaine Association SIG on Games and Entertainment
21 August 2010 - 21 August 2010 Copenhagen, Denmark