Exploring the Limitations of Face-to-Face Instruction through Blogging: An Emergent Exploration in a Teacher Education Program

Despite a very successful first four years as a teacher educator, it became clearly evident that face-to-face learning had limitations. Of particular note was the vacuum of isolation that existed in between weekly class sessions, where students and instructor had limited opportunities to discuss and explore course issues. Hence, the world of online blogging, a form of asynchronous communication in between classes, organically developed as an attractive pedagogical tool. Through emergent research designs rooted in action research, reflective practice, and self-study of teacher education practices, this paper will explore my experience incorporating online blogging while teaching twelve courses in a Canadian teacher preparation program over a two-year period. Through numerous communication mediums with my students, I discovered that online blogging cultivated (a) student engagement and motivation for learning, and (b) the building of relationships through interactive virtual communities. In sum, I believe that an online blogging component in any face-to-face course creates an inclusive model of education that affords both teachers and students a blended curriculum that is dynamic, flexible, and engaging.

Experiential Media and Disabilities in Education: Enabling Learning through Immersive, Interactive, and Customizable Digital Platforms

Emerging experiential media platforms are enabling persons across a diverse array of disabilities to increasingly engage in customizable, interactive, immersive and multi-sensory globally connected and mobile learning environments. The purpose of this paper is three-fold. First, we seek to outline the nature and parameters of experiential media and their implications for learning for persons across a broad array of disabilities. This articulation of a model of experiential media will builds prior research and lays the foundation for future investigations. Second, as a preliminary framework for testing this experiential media model, we employ a case study methodological approach. The case studies offered are based on an examination of a pilot project examining persons with disabilities who engaged immersive, multi-sensory, and interactive media prototypes. These case studies are re-examined in the context of the recent development of commercially available virtual reality platforms including Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and the Oculus Rift (Oculus Virtual Reality 2016). Finally, we conclude by offering a framework for assessing the potential effectiveness of emerging experiential media platforms for learning among differently enabled users.

Continuous and Ubiquitous Programming: Learning in Kazakhstani Schools

Today there are numerous, easily accessible software programs used to teach the basics of programming in schools. These resources are diverse and varied with regard to device, accessibility, interface, functional capacity, and the difficulty level for different age groups. Taking into account the diversity among such resources and the ability of students to use mobile devices starting in the earliest years of life, this study poses and attempts to examine the question of how to construct continuous and ubiquitous programming-learning at schools. According to the latest research, Kazakhstani high schools use mainly mathematical and algorithmic approaches for learning programming languages such as Pascal and C++. However, only students who are good at math can achieve good results. In order to give an opportunity to everyone, schools need an alternative, easier approach to programming-learning. The solution lies in the practical approach. This can be achieved through utilizing the ubiquitous capacity of smartphones, tablets, and accessible software, as well as through practical problems from everyday life, which will interest students who begin programming in primary school.