Media Enhanced Learning: My Thoughts

Table of Contents

1.  My Thoughts (Jan 18/15)

2. How Social Media is Changing the Power Balance of What we Read and See on the News. (Jan 22/15)

3. The Effects of Gaming on Learning (Jan 23/15)

4. Technology and Social Skills (Jan 25/15)

5. What if our Technology Systems are Hacked or Crash? (Jan 29/15)

6. Copyright in 3D (Jan 30/15)

7. Can technology teach us to be compassionate (Feb 2/15)

8. Media Literacy – Providing education to nurses that work at several different physical locations (Feb 5/15)

9. What Happens When the Student Knows the Technology Better than the Teacher? (Feb 10/15)

10.Pecha Kucha Power Points (Feb 15/15)

11.Things I have learned (Feb 16/15)

12.Why am I driving myself crazy learning all this new technology? (Feb 18/15)

13. Cheating and Technology (Feb 23/15)

14.  Web 2.0 Tools (Feb 26/15)

Jan 18/15

My thoughts

There are 8 courses in the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program and this is the 7th one that I have taken.  I left it to the last because I am afraid of technology.

I’m 53 years old, have a husband, 2 teenage children, an almost full time job and yes I even have a life outside of all of this.  I haven’t and still don’t spent a lot of time using technology.  I was one of the last of my friends to get a cell phone and only got one by default when my husband got a new one for his work.  I have had friends look at me like I have 2 heads because I don’t spend hours each day checking texts, Instagram, Facebook or e-mails; it’s jus not part of my life.

I guess I could sit and scroll through Facebook while I have my morning coffee but that’s when I have my own little quiet time, free of outside disturbances.  I could read my e-mails every night when I get home from work but I spend my day at work endlessly communicating with everyone and being updated on all the new things that I need to know so plain and simply…I don’t want to…

So where and how will all this new and ever changing technology fit into my world?

That is a question I can’t answer right now.  Where I work there is not a lot of need for me to be tech savvy, I just need to know the programs that I use.  I can text, e-mail, office communicator & answer my phone.  I am even considered somewhat of an expert on the PARIS program & on Microsoft Office and Outlook.  I have self-educated myself on how to make Power Point presentations but not on how to set  up the laptop at the site of my presentation.

Next month I am going solo on a day long course that I have so far only co-facilitated with my mentor and I have to admit that I am nervous.  I will be the only teacher in the room.  I’m going to have to get there very early in order to ensure that I have all the equipment set up and all the props and resources that I will need are ready to go.  There is a tendency in the building that we are at for the drop down screen to just raise itself back up into the wall with no apparent instructions to do so.

Oh well, live and learn, that’s my motto.

Besides, there’s always someone in the class that knows more about technology than me.

I’m excited to be learning about all this technology but I am also a little overwhelmed.


Jan 22/15

How Social Media is Changing the Power Balance of What we Read and See on the News.

In his TED Talk of How Social Media Can Make History, Clay Shirky made some interesting points but what I got out of it loud and clear was the shift in power that is occurring with social media.  The big corporations, governments, media, newspapers etc. no longer have the power to censure what is heard and said by the general public.

The fact that news can be broadcast instantly, that various opinions can be expressed in real life time, decisions can be challenged and the general public has access to unlimited information (whether accurate or not), makes this power shift or struggle more & more prominent.  I wonder how the powers that be feel about losing their elite power base.

He spoke about the ability for the world’s population to network with each other but he also spoke of the attempts of power houses such as the Chinese government to block this networking.  This is a representation of how the world has been controlled by the elite for so long and how Social media is a threat to their control.

The instant responses after the Chinese and Haiti earthquakes made rescue & cleanup efforts so much more effective.  But social media can spread inaccurate information and there is no way to stop it’s spread and often misinformation can lead to bad choices.

I love that social media is able to reach out to so many people that in the past have had limited access to news, I love the way people can discuss the news amongst themselves and redirect the course that some events ultimately have.

Social media is scary for me because it keeps changing and I feel helpless to keep up but I also love it and wouldn’t want to live without it.

Jan 23/15

The Effects of Gaming on Learning

I had never thought of video games as a source of learning my nursing skills.  I trained in a hospital based nursing school 30 years ago when the internet didn’t even exist yet and everything was learned by rote repetition or practice on a patient.   Ouch!

I have spoken to many nursing instructors who now use lab simulations to help the students to treat patients for any number of illnesses or life threatening conditions in a non-threatening and safe environment.    At first I was skeptical but I have come to see the value in this.

Confidence is built without practicing on some poor soul who isn’t feeling very good anyways.

Skill is developed without causing pain on anyone.

Procedures can be mastered by practicing in an enjoyable way without an instructor hanging over your back.

Scenarios can be replayed over & over until the learner understands concepts and has develop the required skills.

I was sitting here thinking that if hospitals developed video games that had the same set up as their emergency rooms staff could play games and learn where supplies are kept – in the ER it is often quick responses that can save a life and running about trying to find something or digging through a ‘crash cart’ for the equipment to manage a code blue situation can waste valuable time.

I am not an ER nurse, I have passed the age of wanting the excitement of life threatening scenarios.  I work in the community as an RN – in my job I am on my own in people’s homes and often when doing assessments I need to have the background knowledge of many chronic disease processes as well as knowledge and assessment skills for more acute situations.  I need to know the resources that are available in the community to help patients manage their care needs.  I need to be able to speak professionally to many other health care professionals and as a Case Manager I often take the lead role in Patient Care Conferences.  I need to be able to determine when someone can no longer be managed at home but needs an admission to acute care (our mandate or goal is to keep people out of acute care and care for them safely at home).

So why am I babbling on & on?  I think it would be great to have a game that would give you a set of symptoms and guide you in determining what is going on.  Is it heart failure, is it dementia or delirium?  Is it fatigue from some acute process or is it anemia & if it is anemia what would the possible causes be?

I would play that game any day!

Maybe games like these actually exist, I’ve never really looked.

So I spent some time on Google today and found this great site – I have to take time to dig deeper and play games that will benefit me in my work in a community setting but it looks promising.

Jan 25/15

Technology and Social Skills                                                                       Are young people losing the ability to read?

On the website Human Kinetics there is in excerpt from a book (shown below) I think it relates to this subject.

I find it so sad when I see people sitting in restaurants eating their meals and playing on their phones and not talking to each other.  People are always so proud to state how many followers they have on Tumblr or Facebook but how many of these people can they truly call close or good friends?  It will be interesting to observe the current high school generation and generations to come as they move on in life and move on into the working world and see if they are able to manage social skills when person to person interaction is required in a sensitive manner.  Will they be able to manage conflict when it’s face to face and not over cyberspace?

The book sounds interesting; too bad it’s so expensive.

“With the proliferation of technologies that are able to overcome the obstacles of time and space (e.g., airplanes, cars, the Internet), one would think that these tools would be used to gain an understanding of other cultures, meet people all over the world, maintain and strengthen familial relationships, communicate effectively with others, and help people to become more socially adept. However, some technological advances cause people to be distracted, overly stressed, and increasingly isolated. Many people are involved in an abundant number of relationships through technology, but sometimes the quantity of these associations leaves people feeling qualitatively empty. Obviously, technology has had a profound impact on what it means to be social.”

Human Kinetics. (2015, January).Technology can have positive and negative impact on social interactions. Retrieved from:

Jan 29/15

What if our Technology Systems are Hacked or Crash?

There has been a lot of press lately about computer hackers, hacking very prestigious & well-guarded computer systems.   These people seem to have no scruples and have no thought for the damage that they cause.  It seems that there are people continually trying to hack into government, banking, business computer systems etc.

Could this be something that could happen in our schools?

Transcripts erased, teaching curriculum lost or altered, what about the students learning through programs?  What if the outcome of programs was altered, whole systems shut down?

It sounds so inhumane to think that someone would do these things, but it’s out there.  So what are we doing to protect ourselves?  I know that there are security systems set up but there’s always someone trying to get ahead of the security program.

I know that technology has so many advantages over some of our older educational processes but it is also a potential portal for someone to cause damage.

I am not a person that sees the cup as half empty; as a matter of fact I do my best to see it as half full.   I look for the good in everything because I believe it’s there.

My son is in grade 8 and he doesn’t know how to write in a cursive script…I’ll be the one to teach him because our schools aren’t.  Is this a skill that will be needed in the future?  Kids are reliant on technology to think critically for them and to solve problems, even to write.

There has to be a balance somehow so that we can still survive in our lives, where ever they are, without such a strong reliance on technology.

Sadly I think I am a dying breed who thinks this (yes I’m older…in my early 50’s and no I didn’t get my first computer until I was in my mid 30s).  As many of the younger generations

Jan 30/15

Copyright in 3D

I have heard of 3D printers but have never really explored what they were or what they could do.  The impact of these copiers could be catastrophic and yet wonderful.

I had to start by finding out exactly what 3D printing was – here is an article that includes a video from How Stuff Works that gives a brief explanation – I also read the article and it was amazing.

The thing that confounds me is the ethical side of this technology.  Just because we can do something, should we do it?  Is it right to do something if it causes harm to another person?

How can people who have the incredible skills to create things for us that help us live our lives better make a living when they have their income taken away from them because of this technology.

I have to ask just how available this technology will be to the average person?  Will it be something everyone has, like a computer?

There are many unethical people out there that have no qualms about stealing or hurting, even killing other people but there are many more people that are ethical and would not use this technology to steal from someone else.  I have to believe in the good side of human nature.

As our economies change, as technologies take away the mundane jobs from our younger generations – what will people be willing to do to earn an income, to survive?  Already there are so many young adults that do not have the hope of meaningful, well paying jobs.

As a culture how can we teach our children what is ethical and what is not; how can we tell them it is wrong to do something, even when they are desperate and unable to afford what they think is their right to have?

Deep questions that I don’t have the answers to….

Feb 2/15

Can technology teach us to be compassionate

As a nurse, I feel strongly that compassion and empathy at the human suffering that we as health care professionals witness is something that must be addressed at every step of the training & learning process.

As a student nurse, I developed most of my skills while working on the hospital wards. I witnessed the discomfort of someone having a tube put into their stomach through their nose, or who felt the “pinch” of an IV being started and I felt the crunch of ribs being broken while doing CPR on a live person who was in a real cardiac arrest.   I was acutely aware of the discomfort I was causing as well as the ramifications if I wasn’t doing something correctly.

Is this the only way to teach empathy?

Can a nurse trained in a lab or simulations learn the same compassion?

Technology can teach us knowledge, procedures, critical thinking and a whole host of other necessary skills that are needed to be successful in the workplace.

What about technology & compassion? Can a medical professional (nurse) trained in a lab setting develop the same compassion as the person trained through hands on experience with real live people in real time situations?

What do you think of the technique used by the Sheffield Hallam University?

Feb 5/15

Media Literacy – Providing education to nurses that work at several different physical locations.

Recently I was in an educator position in Fraser Health and found myself attempting to provide education to 7 different units at 7 different acute care sites. Most educators are responsible for 1 or 2 units but I had 7. How do you provide education to 7 units that are geographically spread from Abbotsford to White Rock & Langley to Maple Ridge?   The staff on these units also worked either 8 hr. or 12 hour shifts making it difficult to provide face to face education to everyone consistently.

At first I made up a poster board with visuals and took my education on a road show and tried to hit up as many people as I could – I’d get to the units 2 hrs. before shift change and stay for an hour or 2 after the new staff came on…this wasn’t overly successful and was not an efficient use of my time.

I thought about making a video and posting it on YouTube and making it mandatory for all staff to watch but there was the nagging feeling that staff wouldn’t watch it because they are so busy providing patient care and doing all the other tasks required in their jobs.

The education was on a new Clinical Practice Guideline on Falls Prevention and Post Fall Assessment. The best response that I got from staff was when I laid a sheet on the floor of the unit and plunked myself down on it and pretended that I had fallen and had them do a full post fall assessment, use the lift to get me up off the floor (when appropriate) and do the follow up assessments on me. They had the algorithms to use and could talk to each other. The staff had fun and got hands on practice but again it was not an economical use of my time.

That position was only a temporary position & I never did figure out a way to provide the education to all 7 units, especially when there were other educational needs requiring my attention at the same time (prevention of urinary tract infection, wound care, central line care, swallowing assessments to prevent aspiration pneumonia etc..).

I’m still not sure how to motivate staff to watch videos or do online learning. It is rare that when there is an education session for staff that more than 1 or 2 people actually do the pre-reading.

I am hoping that somehow from this course I will learn some new & innovative techniques that could be used.

I found the Faculty Focus list of articles on teaching with technology…

Feb 10/15

What Happens When the Student Knows the Technology Better than the Teacher?

What happens when the student knows the technology better than the instructor?   The younger generations are so comfortable with technology and the older generations are often not.

If an instructor uses a technology but is not proficient at it, will it decrease his or her credibility?

How far will technology go? Where will it lead us? Will there come a time when we will say “enough is enough” and get back to simpler methods of instilling education into our students?

I think that we can truthfully say that technology is here to stay and that it will continue to expand in its applications.

My thought is that I will stick to a few technology mediums that I am familiar with and use them well. I will ensure that I am confident and efficient with them before I move on to others. Just because technology is there, it doesn’t mean that we have to incorporate all of its options into our lesson plans.

Somewhere there has to be a happy medium where we incorporate the appropriate technology into our education but not use technology for the sake of using technology.

I guess it depends on where you teach and what you teach as well as your skill level on what technology you opt to use.

Feb 15/15

Pecha Kucha Power Points

Pecha Kucha is a Power Point set in the format of 20 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds. The purpose is to use a short format of approx. 7.5 -8 minutes to present an idea, concept, pictures, project or anything else you want to share. The format used in a PK PP actually has 22 slides – it includes an introduction and a resources page and then 20 slides in the body of the presentation.     There are actually Pecha Kucha nights held around the globe where people get together to present their 20 slide/20 second PP’s.

I find this format refreshing because it doesn’t go into great detail that can bog the viewer down; by necessity it is short and straight to the point thus preventing ‘Death by Power Point’. It took me a while to determine the topic of my PK PP because it had to be something of interest to me and something that many people would find interesting; I can see where groups of people with specific agendas or interests would form groups to present PK PPs in order to provide a wide variety of views, opinions, styles etc. to their specific group, I can see them being used to showcase broad topics as well as more specific agendas.

What makes a good Pecha Kucha Power Point?

  • Topics of interest to the people (groups of people) watching.
  • Topics that are of interest to a wide variety of people.
  • Clear audio that flowed easily, without pauses and uneven silent gaps
  • No background noise
  • Speech that is clear, spoken at a rate that was relaxed, not rushed & that varies in tone.
  • Pictures that change with each slide to keep the viewers interest.
  • Pictures introduced onto the slides at various intervals during the 20 seconds the slide is being viewed.
  • Personal information to make the topic personal.
  • Personal & shared personal experiences; state how the presenter felt during the experience being presented.
  • Show people in the pictures to show size/perspective in the background.

All in all, I really like the idea of Pecha Kucha Power Points, they do not have time to become long & drawn out presentations that put people to sleep.  It would be an excellent way to present multiple ideas or concepts in a short period of time at a large symposium (mix the PK PPs into other activities).


Feb 16/15

Here we are, 5 weeks into Media Enhanced Learning and I am overwhelmed.

Things I have learned:

1.  I need a lot of tech support to complete my assignments.                             2. Googling instructions on how to use technology isn’t always helpful.         3. I couldn’t survive without the help of my 16 year old daughter and her tech savvy friends.                                                                                                                4.  The staff at Staples are invaluable when it comes to desperate times of need.                                                                                                                                5. I am stronger and grittier than I think, I haven’t given up yet!                      6. Even when I feel like I haven’t been successful in learning technology, I can go to work and see from my other nursing co-workers that I have indeed come a long way.    They all think that my skills are amazing.                            7. Teachers need to be very patient people in helping their students to learn complex concepts and tasks; they must provide explanations and assistance from multiple angles until their student “gets it”.                                                 8. A good nights sleep really does clear your mind and give you the strength to move forward.                                                                                                          9. I admire veteran educations and anyone that is over the age of 50 that is dedicated to learning technology no matter how foreign or difficult it is.        10. If teachers are going to incorporate technology into their lesson plans, we need to develop systems where there is support & mentorship for these teachers so they succeed and don’t give up when problems arise.

Feb 18/15

Why am I driving myself crazy learning all this new technology?

Today was one of those days where I asked myself, several times, why I am bothering with all this schooling and technology?  I have tried to figure out how to upload a podcast to Audacity with no luck only to have my 16 year old do it on her first try.  I have tried to hyperlink an article on this blog repeatedly over the past few days without luck but today, it worked on the first try.

What is going on?

Is technology always this fickle?

My frustration level seems to go up and down depending on the day.  I have a difficult time trying to find someone in my over 50 years of age crowd who I can turn to for assistance when I’m having troubles…so I ask again…why am I doing this to myself?

It’s because I love a challenge.  I love to learn new things.  I love to understand what my kids are talking about.  I love to ask my kids for help because it lets them be the leaders/teachers for a change.  I love setting an example for my kids and their friends about picking up the gauntlet and taking on the challenge of higher education after 30 years out of school.  I love being creative in finding ways to get the help I need.   I love it when my husband makes dinner and cleans up the kitchen afterwards so I can do my homework.  That’s why I’m doing this.

My brother is a printer and very good with computers, I have abused our brother/sister relationship by phoning or e-mailing him, by sending him copies of documents that I’ve tried to develop in order for him to ‘fix’ them  for me – always asking how he did it of course.  He’s a good sport, he always says he may need my help as a nurse one day so he’ll get even with me then.

I can honestly say that the young tech people at Staples have been the best, they are always willing to help and they truly have compassion for the ‘old lady’ that looks harassed and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I haven’t just stopped at Staples though, I shamelessly ask questions to anyone that looks like  they might be computer/tech savvy.  No young person at my work, no techy hired by Fraser Health, and none of my kids friends are put of bounds when I have questions.  It’s a fun way to have a good laugh at myself and to let others help me out for once.  As a nurse I find it difficult to ask for help from others and this is good practice for me.

So I will keep learning and asking questions to anyone who happens to be on my path so I can keep learning.  I am also learning to just “push the dumb button” and not be afraid of the consequences – most programs have that little icon of the backwards arrow that will fix just about anything I can think of to do wrong.


Feb 23/15

Cheating and Technology

Everyone’s thought about it but most people don’t do it; it’s becoming easier as technology gets smaller, sleeker and more sophisticated.  It is unethical and in my view shows a lack of character, but many students are doing it in order to compete in a very competitive learning environments and job markets.  How many students actually cheat on exams?

Here is a fact sheet from Stanford University on Academic Cheating.  Many student defend and rationalize cheating as the only way to compete and feel that it is an acceptable means to reaching their goals.

I saw a video last year about a med school teacher that had ignored some of his students cheating on exams, he found himself in critical condition in the emergency room a few years later and the doctor about to do surgery on him was the student he didn’t confront about cheating.  How frightening would that be?  That’s an extreme example but one that proves a point.

There are so many ways to cheat that are difficult to detect but technology is fighting back and developing ways to catch the cheaters.

In the article New Frontiers in High Tech Cheating, Rosemary Counter  states “Sometime next year, Apple will launch its watch, a sleek, wearable technology with full wireless capabilities, including downloadable apps, access to maps and photos, notifications via vibration and even a walkie-talkie function.”  (Counter, R. 2014).   This will be a wonderful gadget to own  but a nightmare for teachers attempting to curtail cheating in their classrooms.

What is the cost of cheating?  Here is another example of cheating and how much it truly costs the students and their school.

“In 2011, a student sat down to his medical college admission test wearing a disguised pinhole camera. Images of test questions were transmitted to a friend, who forwarded them to three hired tutors. They thought they were writing a practice test to secure a tutoring position. Their answers were sent back to the test-taker via smartphone. When the tutors grew suspicious, they alerted campus security. In the end, both men pleaded guilty to a charge of copyright infringement and were given an absolute discharge. The test had to be readministered at a cost of more than $200,000.” (Counter, R. 2014).

Who would have dreamt up this scheme?  What it shows is the lengths that students will go to in order to get the best grades.

The following is an article on the Middle Earth (Partnering with Youth for Responsible Adulthood) on the effects of cheating in school. As a society are we teaching our children moral & ethical boundaries and why they are put there in the first place?  Whose responsibility is to teach theses values of what is right and what is wrong?  What about the student that doesn’t cheat on exams and consequently doesn’t’ get the highest grade and maybe not the coveted job?  These are all questions that are valid to ask and we should be asking them.

In the following article John Spencer writes about 10 ways to Cheat proof your Classroom; it’s sad but true that we need to be aware cheating and how it’s being done as well as aware of and prepared to prevent cheating.

Cheating is not going away and we will not be able to prevent it 100% but being aware of it and planning for it is the first step to fair and equitable grades among learners and in institutions.


Counter, R. (2014). New Frontiers in High Tech Cheating. Retrieved from: Rosemary Counter (Oct. 2014)


Feb 27/15

Web 2.0 Tools

Over the past 7 weeks I have been learning extensively about Web 2.0 tools.   Before  started this adventure I had no idea what a Web 2.o tool was, I hadn’t even heard of them.

What I have discovered is a wide array of “tools” available on the “Web” that I can use to improve my teaching platform:  course design and development, content delivery, assessment, communication etc.  There are no end of tools out there that are available free of charge or for a price and the numbers of tools are growing exponentially.

I have created a page on this blog that lists many Web 2.0 tools, their use and their links.  They are  grouped according to their purpose for ease of finding what you are looking for.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, I don’t think there ever can be one.  But here is a list of some Web 2.0 tools that may be of use for educators, teachers, creators.




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