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  • Auston Stamm

Thoughts On The Community of Inquiry Framework & Incorporating Educational Technologies

Computer and book open on a desk

Reflect on the week’s readings and online learning tool assignment. Your entry should consist of such things as: points you found particularly interesting, your reactions to what you read, questions that came up as you read and did your assignment, relationships to other things you have learned, your personal judgment of the material and/or assignment, or things you would like to remember.

An issue that I thought about throughout this week’s readings is the importance of providing teachers with the necessary training and incentives to take advantage of these different technologies. I know from working with students with assistive technologies that training is a very important component. When a student does not have adequate training they are more likely to abandon the assistive technology or not take full advantage of its features. The same is true for teachers and I found an article highlighting eight different attributes that are needed for teachers to integrate educational technology effectively (Ely, 1999). Teachers need supportive resources, time, and incentives to integrate educational technology successfully into their courses (Ely, 1999). This is reinforced in the reading at the end of chapter 9 of Ko & Rossen (2017). Ro & Rossen (2017) bring up a lack of institutional support, accessibility, and the perceived benefit of integrating new technologies into the course. Teachers need to weigh the benefits, risks, and amount of effort needed before choosing to integrate new technologies into their courses.

Another important aspect that needs to be considered is accessibility. Chapter 9 of Ko & Rossen (2017) mention how one of the easiest ways to provide reading materials to students is through scanning images and combining them into a PDF. It is important to acknowledge that image-based PDFs are inherently inaccessible. Image-based PDFs are not compatible with text-to-speech or screen reading software. New workflows that incorporate optical character recognition (OCR) and incorporating heading levels into documents should be promoted to make the content more accessible. In addition, a lot of different educational technologies are mentioned throughout both readings. However, teachers need to work with IT to ensure that the platforms they are selecting are accessible for students with disabilities. Teachers should consider incorporating captioning for videos and selecting applications that meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

I enjoyed learning about the community of inquiry framework and how the framework encourages teachers to incorporate different educational technologies. An aspect that stood out to me is that cognitive presence and chapter 11 of Stavredes, which promote critical thinking and problem-solving activities. I have worked with students with disabilities that have difficulties with remembering, which is the first level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, a lot of these students are very adept at the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy including creating, evaluating analyzing. I think it is important for teachers to focus less on recalling content and more on applying the concepts being taught to solve problems. In addition, educational technologies like wikis can be very useful for students with disabilities because they can create comprehensive Google Docs that reduces the cognitive load needed to complete a specific assignment.

Lastly, group projects can be an effective way to blend social and cognitive presence. I find that when I work in a group I learn new strategies about how to apply concepts. In addition, there are more educational technologies being developed to promote group work in synchronous and non synchronous learning environments. I think teachers can create effective learning activities by blending problem solving and group work and leveraging different educational technologies like Google Docs. Overall, I can see the importance of using the community of inquiry when teaching online courses.

Ely, D. (1999). Conditions that facilitate the implementation of educational technology innovations. Educational Technology, 39(6), 23-27

Stavredes, T. (2011). Effective online teaching: Foundations and strategies for student success. Jossey-Bass.

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