Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cultural Diversity, Academic Engagement, and Technology?

Is it now possible to use teaching/learning strategies enabled by new educational technology options to respond to cultural differences - in face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses? To help modify undergraduate courses to increase student engagement by responding more effectively to cultural learning differences and workstyle differences?

PLS SUGGEST USEFUL RESOURCES, ISSUES, OR QUESTIONS! Click on "comments" at the bottom of this posting. I’ve quickly assembled some resources – as a starting place:

NOTE: Unfortunately, I could find very few references to educational uses of technology in these resources, and I’ve probably omitted some “obvious” excellent resources. WHICH ONES HAVE I OMITTED? WEB PAGES, BOOKS, ARTICLES, PEOPLE....? ANYONE WILLING TO ADD TO, ANNOTATE, OR OTHERWISE IMPROVE THIS LIST?

I'm heading to Dallas tomorrow morning for the week - mostly for the Educause conference and to run a workshop on Cultural Diversity, Academic Engagement, and Technology for Eastfield College of Dallas Community College District on Friday (10-13-2006) in the morning. Fortunately, Naomi Story of Maricopa CC will be co-presenting via the Internet.

A few of us are also developing a panel and and an online workshop for January, 2006 about how it is finally becoming possible to develop realistic options for modifying undergraduate courses to respond to findings and goals that have been accumulating for decades about cultural learning differences and workstyles. We are especially interested in finding and sharing resources already available that can be easily adapted and used for these purposes – and in identifying related research questions. [MORE EXPLANATION BELOW.]

Thanks in advance for your help.
Steve Gilbert

Many colleges and universities are striving to find ways of building students’ academic engagement at the same time that they are trying to serve more diverse student bodies and improve educational uses of information technology. Few institutions have yet begun to integrate these important inter-dependent efforts. Fortunately, some recent educational uses of information technology make it feasible to respond to differences in students’ learning styles and needs within college-level courses with heterogeneous enrollments. However, most efforts do not yet focus on learning differences associated with students’ cultural backgrounds. It is finally becoming possible to develop realistic options for modifying undergraduate courses to respond to findings and goals that have been accumulating for decades about cultural learning differences and workstyles.

We are especially interested in finding and sharing resources already available that can be easily adapted and used for these purposes – educational uses of technology that enable teaching/learning strategies responsive to cultural differences – in face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses. We are also attempting to identify and articulate research questions that others could address to advance this goal.

Success in this effort depends on effective collaboration among those with expertise and experience in multiculturalism, educational uses of technology, and professional development, shaping the curriculum, and finding and organizing resources. We hope to engage faculty members, librarians, and other academic professionals who share our commitment to this integrative purpose. Please help!

Do I need my computer? Busy week!

Last week I wondered what we might do - educationally - with the newest hand-held devices that provide Internet access and a growing array of other functions. This week I'm wondering how close I am to getting along without my laptop. Because, for at least a few days, I don't have a choice. Since my laptop died last Friday, I've been both preparing to replace it and figuring out how to continue doing my work without it. Like writing this blog message right now!
See from last week: "My phone is now my wallet"
- Educational Implications Looming

This wasn't a good time - if there ever is one to lose my laptop capability! Educause, Hybrid Tuesday, Cultural Diversity etc. FridayTHIS TUESDAY Thanks to our growing relationship with Educause, Steve Ehrmann & I will be hosting an informal gathering this Tuesday Oct 10, 12:30 - 2pm CDT, Meeting Room D160 & Wednesday Oct 11, 12:30 - 2pm CDT, Meeting Room A133/134... and I'll be participating in a truly hybrid event DURING the Tuesday "gathering" We'll be connected synchronously to an online live session about "Dangerous Discussion: Policy Issues for Blogs, Wikis, Newsfeeds & Aggregators" from 1-2 pm CDT.

Also, pls click here to read about this Friday event, ask questions, suggest resources for Cultural Diversity, Student Engagement, & Tech session.

Upon landing in Dayton on Friday afternoon I discovered both that my luggage had gone to Rochester, NY and that my laptop computer was completely dead. I used my cell phone to get some help from the Gateway service people, which cost approx $3 per minute for first session because the warranty had expired and I was still naively hopeful. During those several conversations with the polite, competent Gateway staff I was constantly worrying about running out of power because the cell phone charger was in my luggage. By early Saturday morning my luggage had been found and delivered to me, and I was pretty certain my laptop was not going to revive easily.
HINT: When traveling, never leave your cell phone charger in your checked baggage.
OBSERVATION: There is some advantage to getting older. I didn't become totally stressed out, and I was even able to talk politely with the people who were trying to help.

What I've been forced to recognize is how many parts of the work I always do on my laptop are not really dependent on it. Fortunately, I can monitor and work on my blogs, check and send email, use our new email service, .... I cannot access documents that I kept ONLY on my laptop (even though almost all of them are routinely backed up on a device in our office - which I don't have easy access to from the road.... or do I? So I'm starting to think seriously about what I could do if I jumped to a really souped up hand-held device, portable keyboard, .... and what else? The new HDTV set Sally & just bought last weekend has jacks for connecting a computer, and we have a couple extra old monitors in our office. Can I get along knowing that I can use other, public computers, connect to other monitors, and rely on my portable device as mostly a way to connect with other things, especially with those parts of the Web that store my info?

So, of course I'm going nuts with frustration and upset about the expense arriving before we were ready, but I'm intrigued with these ideas. I suspect it is NOT yet time to give up having a laptop, but it might be close. And, as a consequence of the decades passing by, I have various muscular problems more often, I would be happier not to have to carry the extra 5-10 pounds (I'm referring to my laptop as well as my belly).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Information Literacy Best Practices Workshop Oct. 2006

Please leave a comment introducing yourself and, if you like, add a question or suggestion for this workshop. Best of all, suggest some additional resources that your colleagues in this workshop might find interesting and useful.

Visit the home page for this workshop at:
Visit the Writely planning document for this workshop at:

We look forward to communicating with you during the the 2+ weeks of activities for this workshop!
Steve Gilbert

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"Class Size" - Sampling vs. Covering: Dangerous Discussion/Clothing the Emperor

"Class size" has long been a Dangerous Discussions Issue, but now more than ever. Pressures to increase class size, especially in online or hybrid/blended courses, are growing - just when many faculty members already feel overloaded. Many people are still only beginning to learn how new educational uses of technology can support different ways of teaching and learning and different class sizes. Opportunities to discuss the implications of these new options openly, civilly and constructively are all too rare.

For info about TLT Group's next Online Workshop about this topic - November 2, 9 and 16, 2006, see below and:

Powerful principle: Sampling vs. Covering

Most effective learning and teaching happens somewhere between

Every teacher makes sampling decisions about almost every aspect of teaching and learning: selecting a group of topics, a group of students' responses, some portions of students' work, some individual students, etc. to deal with as a meaningful representative of the full collection of such items or people. For example, during a traditional classroom discussion, a teacher may invite only a few students to respond to a few questions about a reading assignment that was to be completed in preparation for the class.

Traditionally this has applied primarily to choices about topics to be covered in assigned readings, discussions, laboratory work, and classroom presentations within a course. However, educational conditions are changing so that teachers and learners have many more choices about what, how, and when to learn and to teach - and about what, how, and when to interact with each other. The sampling decisions have become more important and more dangerous to leave to old habits and assumptions that may no longer apply.

For more on this topic, this excerpt is from:

Class Size Online Workshop
Thursdays, November 2, 9 and 16, 2006 3:00 - 4:00 pm EDT
Leaders: Cynthia Russell, University of Tennessee Health Sciences, and John Sener, Sener Learning Services

To see more about what we'll be discussing and our two guest leader/presenters, visit:

TLT Roundtables - Retrospective/Prospective

15 years of the TLT Roundtable at IUPUI.

What's past? What's next?
FridayLive! Interview 10-13-2006: with Garland Elmore and Bill Plater.

Writely Planning Document for 10-13-2006 FridayLive! Session

Scalability [alone] doesn't work: Centralization vs. Decentralization

Scalability [alone] doesn't work: Centralization vs. Decentralization

"This focus on systems is, by its nature, reflective of a top-down, command-and-control approach to management. It runs counter to another strain in modern management theory, which holds that the best-run companies push authority and responsibility further down in their organizations. A bottom-up approach aims to empower high-performance work teams in the factory, or on the sales floor or in the design department, tapping their experience, unlocking their creativity and giving the company the benefit of real-time customer feedback. The role of top executives isn't to tell them what to do and how to do it. It's to set ambitious business goals, giving workers the tools and incentives to accomplish them.

"Figuring out how to reconcile these two approaches has become the central challenge of modern business management."

"Top-Down, Bottom-Up, but What About the Middle?" By Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, Wednesday, October 4, 2006; D01

What trumps evidence? Engaging in Civil, Constructive Discussion

Mission of "Dangerous Discussions/Clothing the Emperor":
Enable stakeholders who seem committed to opposing views to engage in civil, constructive discussion.

Role of evidence, trust, partisanship, ..... from
Clothing the Emperor Mission and Methodology:
<< >>

Anticipate how different kinds of arguments can be resolved. Identify the kinds of evidence that can be made accessible and useful to participants. What kinds of evidence will be respected? What other factors matter?
What "trumps" evidence?

E.g., what priorities might modify the influence of evidence on important decisions
about this issue?

"... there was a time when partisanship took second place to trust ..."
From "When the House Could Clean Itself," By Joseph A. Califano Jr., Washington Post, Wednesday, October 4, 2006; A25


I. Ask "Why bother?" "Who cares?"

II. Describe the issue fairly

III. Identify desirable, feasible outcomes:
"Visions Worth Working Toward"

IV. Establish guidelines, priorities, evidence


V. Plan, Assess, Adjust, Do

VI. Engage deeply

VII. Use technology appropriately

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"My phone is now my wallet" - Educational Implications Looming

Coming faster than we can track to classrooms near you - and everywhere else: Handheld Internet-connected digital devices combining Cell phones, ATMs, iPods, digital cameras, GPS, voice recorders, PDAs, and WHAT ELSE? Way beyond "Ubiquitous Computing," "Mobile Computing," "Going Wireless."

Together, these little gizmos constitute one of 3 current technology floods with unpredictable, unavoidable - but not uncontrollable - educational implications.

The other two floods:

- Combination of Web 2.0 and Social Networking

- TMI/TMO = Too Much Info / Too Many Options; Can't keep up!

THE FOLLOWING EXCERPTS ARE FROM: "New Conductors Speed Global Flows of Money: Cellphones Make Transfers Faster, Cheaper," By Mary Jordan, Washington Post Foreign Service, Tuesday, October 3, 2006; A01

"'My phone is now my wallet,' ...

"In recent years, growing numbers of people in the Philippines, as well as in countries as diverse as Japan and Zambia, have begun using new features on their mobile phones to pay bills, buy goods and transfer cash to relatives in the same country.

But international money transfers by this method have been slower to flourish, in part because regulators are trying to assure this new channel won't be used to launder money. Tightening the monitoring of international cash flows has become a prime goal of U.S. authorities who are trying to prevent terrorist attacks."

"With cellphone use booming across the developing world, from the open deserts of Africa to Bandoy's densely populated neighborhood in sultry Manila, handsets that cost as little as $30 are enabling struggling nations to leapfrog past the need for land-line phones and ATMs."

For full text including the above excerpts, see:

Monday, October 02, 2006

Faculty seek/avoid "optimizing" their own learning?

Do faculty seek or avoid professional development programs that APPLY AND DEMONSTRATE "principles for optimizing learning? Why?
"Many approaches to teaching adults consistently violate principles for optimizing learning" ... including professional development programs! - EXCERPT from Chapter 2 "Key Findings," in How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice, By M. Suzanne Donovan, John D. Bransford, and James W. Pellegrino, Editors; Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, National Research Council; ISBN: 0309065364; 1999


And, read entire book online free:

Longer excerpt:


The design framework above assumes that the learners are children, but the principles apply to adult learning as well. This point is particularly important because incorporating the principles in How People Learn into educational practice will require a good deal of adult learning. Many approaches to teaching adults consistently violate principles for optimizing learning. Professional development programs for teachers, for example, frequently:

- Are not learner centered. Rather than ask teachers where they need help, they are simply expected to attend prearranged workshops.

- Are not knowledge centered. Teachers may simply be introduced to a new technique (like cooperative learning) without being given the opportunity to understand why, when, where, and how it might be valuable to them. Especially important is the need to integrate the structure of activities with the content of the curriculum that is taught.

- Are not assessment centered. In order for teachers to change their practices, they need opportunities to try things out in their classrooms and then receive feedback. Most professional development opportunities do not provide such feedback. Moreover, they tend to focus on change in teaching practice as the goal, but they neglect to develop in teachers the capacity to judge successful transfer of the technique to the classroom or its effects on student achievement.

- Are not community centered. Many professional development opportunities are conducted in isolation. Opportunities for continued contact and support as teachers incorporate new ideas into their teaching are limited, yet the rapid spread of Internet access provides a ready means of maintaining such contact if appropriately designed tools and services are available.

The principles of learning and their implications for designing learning environments apply equally to child and adult learning. They provide a lens through which current practice can be viewed with respect to K-12 teaching and with respect to preparation of teachers in the research and development agenda. The principles are relevant as well when we consider other groups, such as policy makers and the public, whose learning is also required for educational practice to change.

Above EXCERPT is from: Chapter 2 "Key Findings," in How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice, By M. Suzanne Donovan, John D. Bransford, and James W. Pellegrino, Editors; Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, National Research Council; ISBN: 0309065364; 1999


And, read entire book online free:

Little Red Hen Principle: Teamwork and Delegation?

If one member of a group does most of the work on a team project, then that person should have the most influence on decisions about the results. If someone delegates most of the work on a project to others, then those who do most of the work should most influence decisions about the results.

At each stage of her effort to grow wheat and bake bread, the Little Red Hen asks her barnyard colleagues for help. They refuse every request, so she does all the work herself. Until the last step…

“She did not know whether the bread would be fit to eat, but--joy of joys!--when the lovely brown loaves came out of the oven, they were done to perfection. ... Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called: ‘Who will eat the Bread?’ …

“All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking their lips in anticipation, and the Pig said, I will,’ the Cat said, ‘I will,’ the Rat said, ‘I will.’

“But the Little Red Hen said, … ‘No, you won't. I will.’

“And she did.”

ABOVE EXCERPT FROM “The Little Red Hen” An Old English Folk Tale, written & illustrated by Florence White Williams; The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Little Red Hen, by Florence White Williams; ; Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Sankar Viswanathan, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at