Daily Bookmarks 06/26/2008

  • Small-scale study of cultural differences in an asynchronous learning environment, focusing on high and low context cultures. Includes a comparison of student perceptions of online learning based on their cultural background. High and low context learners both saw advantages to online learning, but their reasons differ.

    tags: diversity, e-learning, highered, asynchronous, research, context, communication

    • Because computer mediated communications is language (specifically, written
      word) dependant, it is subject to the constraints of low/high context cultural patterns [46]. As indicated earlier, the role of language is to carry meaning, and interpretation is an integral
      part of culture. Language is one means of establishing context among participants of a particular culture group. In low context cultures, language must be specific and well defined, to provide the contextual definition in which to interpret the communication. On the other hand, in a high context culture language may be vague, lacking the specificity of the low context
      culture, as the environment within which communication takes place clarifies the specific meaning of language [36, 41].
      Thus language plays a key role in the communication process. A key issue determining the success of computer mediated communication is the encoding/decoding by which that communication is done. Given that computer-mediated communication is a textual (electronic) rather than a visual (face-to-face) medium, meaning must be carried by the language itself rather than relying on the environmental context as the means of communication and/or interpretation. Given this relationship, because the language of communication is English,
      low context communication is presumed, thus perhaps disadvantaging those whose cultural background relies on high context communication.
    • Interestingly, low context participants concentrate on the participation environment,
      while high context participants concentrate on their individual work/effort and/or skills in the discussion.
    • Noticeably however, the responses indicate that cultural background directly influences
      the priority of perceived benefits received and challenges posed from the same asynchronous communication network. The perceptions are based on learning patterns which are developed as part of a participants’ ethnic/cultural development, and are potentially challenged by participation in an asynchronous communication network, which of itself is implicitly
      culturally based. Further, high context participants in an asynchronously delivered seminar, while assured of higher quality participation through an offline ability to infer meaning through low context communications, are at least initially more likely to be disadvantaged by technology differences as well as the communications norms implicit in their cultural background.
  • 22-page article on designing for diversity in online learning. Examines how cultural differences can affect learning and shares culturally inclusive instructional design models. Table 1 on page 6 compares high-context and low-context learning (such as how formal student-teacher relationships are).

    tags: e-learning, highered, diversity, communication, community, context, instructionaldesign

  • The author argues that constructivist learning environments where multiple perspectives are respected and there is no single “right “answer” are better for encouraging diversity. The ideas for instructional design for diversity are more theory-based than practice-based, but this has some interesting concepts.

    “The major advantage of this learning model is that one of its key design goals is to encourage students to bring multiple perspectives to questions/cases/problems/issues and projects as part of their learning. This approach to learning views diversity as a strength to be exploited rather than a problem to be solved.”

    tags: diversity, e-learning, constructivism, instructionaldesign, highered

  • 7-minute video by Kim Cofino introducing their 21st century literacy program at the International School Bangkok. Shows the library/learning hub setup and technology available, as well as explaining the literacy model they uese.

    tags: 21stcenturyskills, education, k-12, technology, digitalliteracy

  • Wiki for the 21st century literacy efforts at the International School Bangkok, where Kim Cofino works. Their 21st century literacy framework focuses around three major areas: learning, communication & creation, and global collaboration.

    tags: 21stcenturyskills, k-12, education, learning, communication, collaboration

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