Helena Prieto’s Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Ask an expert – One question Interview to John Seely Brown Junho 3, 2010

Filed under: ppel — helenaprieto @ 2:17 pm
Tags: ,

For unit 2, activity 4 , Professor Morten suggested we asked an expert one questions related to a topic of our choosing. As I had read and explored some of the worke published by John Seely Brown , I thought it would be interesting to choose this expert.
Here is my question and his answer.

Hi everyone,

I finally got an answer from John Seeely Brown to my question:

Hello again professor,
I wonder if by any chance you didn’t get this e-mail. So I’m resending it again.
I hope it is not too much trouble for you just to write a few lines in response. I’d be very gratefull.
helena prieto

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Helena Prieto
Date: Sat, Dec 12, 2009 at 1:14 PM
Subject: Which online teaching techniques foster knowledge and creativity?
To: jsb@johnseelybrown.com

Hello professor John Seely Brown,

My name is Helena Prieto. I’m currently doing my master’s degree in eLearning Pegadogy at Open University in Lisbon, Portugal.
For one of the subjects I’m studying I’ve read your article on Growing up Digital, which I found very usefull and interesting because it helped me understand better the way my students work and learn. This is indeed a different generation.
My teacher Morten Paulsen has asked the class to choose a “mentor” to do a one-question interview. And I’ve chosen you.
Would you be kind enough to answer this question?

As the web is changing the way people relate socially, work and learn, do you think online courses are more suitable in nowadays society than face to face courses? Which online teaching teachniques are more sucessful to foster learning and creativity without overloading the teacher?

Thank you very much for your time,

I’ll be looking forward for your answer,
Helena Prieto

Here is finally the answer to my question:

Pls go to my site http://www.johnseelybrown.com/ and view the 2nd video McKay School of Educaton. There are several other videos there you might find useful as well and of course look at my paper Minds on Fire that is also on the site.. jsb

Helena Prieto to John
show details 12:29 PM (1 hour ago)

Hello professor Brown,
Thank you very much for you answer. I’ll follow your advice.
Have a great new year.
Helena Prieto

The article in question ” Minds of fire” is at http://www.johnseelybrown.com/mindsonfire.pdf


Free web 2.0 tools Fevereiro 20, 2010

Filed under: AVA,ppel — helenaprieto @ 7:51 pm

Learning techniques in Higher education – from lectures to the web Janeiro 27, 2010

Filed under: ppel — helenaprieto @ 2:28 pm
Tags: ,

I thought this video could give some insights on students needs and favourite learning techniques. This video shows students’ perspective on the teaching / learning process in Higher Education. Although it takes place in a  face to face learning environment, we can see that technologies that foster group activities and interaction are their favourites.We can also see that teaching and learning is moving out of the campus into web 2.0 based learning.  I think it’s worth watching because it points out some good and bad aspects of teaching techniques.

One other aspects that caught my attention were their awerness of the need to have feedback from other people than their teachers, and the will not to just listen but to act. Instinctly we all know that doing  is the way to learn best.


Review on two learning objects – online teaching techniques Dezembro 2, 2009

Filed under: ppel — helenaprieto @ 11:55 am
Tags: , , ,

To do this activity I’ve chosen Eduarda Rondão and Telma Jesus’s learning objects. What do these learning objects have in common? The capacity to organize information on a very clear and synthesized way and the underlying theme – teacher workload and course management. 

Eduarda Rondão’s learning object is a cartoon produced with toonlet.com creator.

Her learning object is about the role of the teacher in distance education. It presents the challenges any online teacher must face and consider to create a truly online curse, focusing in the most crucial aspects of online education – instructional design, keep track of students progress along with the update of resources, foster learning communities and mentorships, assessment and grading. It also points out the need to consider both teacher and students’ workload. All these aspects are very important to be considered because they are factors of success.

Instructional design is very important because students must understand what they must do clearly, to be more efficient and save time. Not understanding instructions can be very frustrating and lead to failure. It is also time consuming because the student have to ask for clarification and wait for the teacher’s answer . Also important and good to know in advance is how our work is going to be evaluated.

Regular feedback is also a need in online courses. Students feel more at ease if they know that the teacher is there to help them. In spite of being able to resource to other colleagues and group members, it is always good to have teacher’s feedback once and a while, so that we know how we are doing, what could we do better, how can we improve our work ….

The update of resources is also a success factor. Everyone needs to have updated information and this is also a measure of the course quality.

Online courses tend to be more and more interactive and group based work is quite stimulating and helps build up a sense of community. It can be in itself a factor of success because people feel that they belong and don’t feel so isolated in their work. Sharing doubts, learning with their peers is more motivating than being/ feeling alone, though most time online students are bound by their own time and pace.

Mentorships can be a very helpful and useful resources. This might be a success factor because it is good to learn new things from people who clearly know a great deal more than we do about a common interest subject.

Having in mind a reasonable work load is also critical factor of success. Not too much … not too less. This is very difficult to access since students needs and previous knowledge are different from student to student.

Teacher’s workload must also consider students needs. Instructional design must consider both teacher and students’ workload and propose reasonable quantity of tasks.

As a kind of answer and comment to Eduarda’s learning object I made this cartoon: 

Teacher's workload

A comment to Eduarda's LO


Telma Jesus’ learning object is done on readthewords.com and it is very well thought off and neatly structured. It synthesizes an article by Kate Buttler (2003) that is still very much up to date and useful because it is centered on practical tips and advice for the online teacher to organize his/her work in a rational way. These tips also help to create awareness of the teacher and student workload and helps teachers organize themselves more efficiently in the use of technology, time and information management skills, computer skills, organization skills.

Technology usage is an important aspect of online teaching. So, being able to use the CMCs in the most efficient way as possible saves time and avoids problems. Organizing electronic information to support students’ work and progress as well as assessment are crucial for the success of the course.

Teachers workload management strategies are further developed by the teacher experience in online teaching and can be also be subject to the instruction of the institution.

I really enjoyed this learning object because of its presentation and by the fact that combining sound and text not only helps to understand the text better, as it is a valuable learning object for visual impaired people.


Learning object 2 – Online teaching techniques Novembro 28, 2009

Filed under: ppel — helenaprieto @ 9:38 pm
Tags: , ,

This short video aims to present an assemble of online teaching techniques in a very synthetic, simple and non-boring way ( hopefully). This video is meant as an introduction to the theme of this unit and is complemented by  the learning objects of  my other colleagues. As I ‘ve seen , so far , most of them have chosen one or two teaching techniques to research and present on their LO. I thought that an introduction that caught people’s attention to the theme  would be nice and useful. However, it needs some improvement both in the legibility  and some additional explanations of what each online teaching technique is about.


Once again I´ve been to great deal of trouble to come up with a non boring learning object. I’ve been trying several approaches and eventually I ‘ve found animoto.
To make this learning object I used animoto. here is the link:
I also tried the Windows movie maker but it doesn’t work so well. However after a few more trial and error I manage to get it done.
The other adventure was to publish it on youtube. Eventually I got the job done.  

You are welcome to leave a comment.


Annotated bibliography 2 – web 2.0 tools and online teaching techniques Novembro 27, 2009

Filed under: ppel — helenaprieto @ 10:46 pm
Tags: , , ,

In the paper The future of online teaching and Learning, the authors Kyong J. King and Curtis J. Bonk used an anonymous online  survey with the aim of assessing the current state and of predicting the future trends of online education in Higher Education. From this survey done from November 2003 to January 2004 they reached to the conclusion that “the most important skills for an online instructor during the next few years will be how to moderate or facilitate learning and how to develop or plan for high quality online courses”. As for the pedagogical techniques , the three most favoured were group-based solving and collaborative tasks, and problem based learning (PBL) followed by discussion, case based strategies, simulation or roleplays, student-generated content, coaching or mentoring , guided learning and exploratory or discovering. The least favoured were lecturing or teacher directed activities, modeling of the solution process and socratic questioning.  This paper was published in 2006 in Educase Quarterly, nº 4, vol 29

In the paper The Online Report on Pedagogical Techniques for Computer-Mediated Communication, Morten Flate Paulsen makes a comprehensive list of online teaching techniques, defining them and pointing out their plus points to the teaching/learning process online. The interesting aspect is that the innovative aspect of many teaching /learning techniques are group based. This can only be possible with CMCs. This article is complemented by Online Educational Terms, an article that explains ( defines) a wide range of educational terms relating them to each other. It also presents a useful mind map with teaching terms.
 Published in 2006, the article The Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning? by Brian Alexandre , Director for Research at the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE). In this paper, the author intends to present “a diverse set of digital strategies with powerful implications for higher education.”
This article is interesting reading and enhances the fact that most Web2.0 tools imply a new kind of understanding and manipulation of information, always getting updated with the collaboration of many – a community. It presents tips on how researchers, teachers, students, staff can use Web2.0 tools to set up a large variety of tasks involving group work and tracking what other people are doing. It presents a wide range of Web 2.0 tools available that can support teaching/learning activities. It states that Web2.0 also poses a significant challenge to higher education.
In the article E-learning 2.0 (2005) , Stephen Downes from the National Research Council of Canada, points out the pedagogical value of learning communities ( based on blogs for example) to foster both collaborative learning and allow for each individual to pursue his/her own interests. In the article, Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not© (2004) by Brian Lamb, Wikis are presented as a teaching/ learning tool with great potential because they are able to “break down the barriers between content creators and content consumers”. This article is here

Tom Franklin and Mark van Harmelen in The article Web 2.0 for Content for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education(2007) discuss the changes and challenges in Higher Education(HE) that can be promoted and met with web2.0 tools for everyone involve.
“The introduction of Web 2.0 systems into HE is not without problems, as there are ramifications in the areas of the choice of types of systems for institutional use; external or institutional hosting; integration with institutional systems; accessibility; visibility and privacy; data ownership, IPR and copyright for material created and modified by university members and external contributors; control overcontent; longevity of data; preservation; information literacy; staff and student training; and appropriate teaching and assessment methods” –

This article can be found here

In the article Minds in Fire – Open Education, The long tail and Learning 2.0, (2008) , the authors John Seely Brown and Richard P Adler point out how learning is done within learning communities and how study groups that are formed within these learning communities are very powerful in creating  free open validated  resources. They present good and innovative examples of how knowledge is transmitted, produced and validated and how quickly learners become experts on their particular field of studies. These example have some common features  – learning within communities, learning from peers or from experts (scientists /scholars)  in a particular field. They also argue that a hands on approach, dealing with the real thing is both more engaging, motivating and successful for the individual and for the group. They enhance the importance of  critical thinking and doing as key to the learning process and innovating open source resource making, and point out that these achievements  can only be possible through social learning.

Learning techniques are acquired both through legitimate peripheral participation – a more traditional process where “ apprentices begin learning by taking on simple tasks, under the watchful eye of the master” and then progress to more demanding tasks as their skills improve. This a much more slowly and time-consuming  learning process based on knowledge transference. – or by full legitimate participation where learning is based on active participation and “understanding is socially constructed”.

In a full legitimate participation system of learning, learning takes place in more demanding and supportive  environments that allow students to fully take part in the learning community and progress faster as point out in the examples referred in the article.

At Twelve-Essentials-for-Technology-Integration we can find a digital booklet with hints and practical suggestions of sites and web 2.0 tools to be used in teaching/ learning.
Helena Prieto