gwen dapper portfolio

Professional Overview

In 1997, I graduated from San Jose State with a Bachelors of Science in Business, specializing in Management Information Systems. While pursuing my degree, I was fascinated with the Internet. I wrote about VRML (virtual reality modeling language) in my Senior Seminar, and modified Intranets for HP for my Senior Practicum. Even then, I believed that the Internet had the ability to change the way we do business, and the way we teach.

When I began the Instructional Technology program, I decided that I was going to focus my studies on the Internet, and more specifically, Interactive Technologies. Blogging as a Collaborative Learning Tool was my first paper in EDIT 188. I believed then, what I believe now; used properly, blogging can engage students to discover and explore topics.

As the semesters passed, I added podcasting to the mix. Podcasting has the potential to transform how we, as educators, augment our learning interventions. Cascading Style Sheets, and their ability to help educators easily change the look of their webpages with a few simple modifications to one page, became a back-end technology I explored. Finally, I added interactive syllabi. This is a document that allows students to link to additional information from the most important document an educator can offer.

These Interactive Technologies should not be used by themselves. They need a strong implementation plan to be successful. Used together with a lesson plan that supports their use, they can dramatically change the learner experience.

Blogging as a Collaborative Learning Tool

When I first started to think about a topic for my portfolio, I was a first semester graduate student.  In my pocket, I had my newest toy, a pink iPod mini.  I bought it to work out with, my cd player was just too bulky.  Podcasts were not a new idea to me, but the thought of using a podcast as an educational too was.  In addition, I had been writing in a blog for years.  It was something fun that I shared with my friends.  But again, I had never considered it as an educational tool. It was at that point that I picked my topic… Interactive Technology for Learning and Performance.

In EDIT 188, I took the opportunity to write about a technology that I was intimate with, the blog.  Instead of thinking about a blog as a way to stay in touch with friends and relatives, I thought about it as a tool for learning.  By using blogs as a tool for collaborative learning, instructors have an opportunity to share instructional information easily with their students.

With their comments and feedback, blogs allow students to be active participants in their learning process.  By defining collaboration and showing the educational theory behind blogging, this paper shows how blogs support a collaborative learning environment, while presenting hurdles and benefits of their use.  In the process, it will show why blogs are changing education for the better.

pdf version of the paper


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