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Philip Arnold – Week 6 Reflection – “It has to be easy to use, and it has to work”

by on July 29, 2011

I wear many hats on a given day, but one of the hats I most like to wear is the one that allows me to work with instructors to find solutions that will engage students in active learning and collaboration.  I have the opportunity to work with a variety of web tools and hardware, but one of the mantras our department has adopted after some trial and error is “It has to be easy to use, and it has to work.”  by “easy to use,” I mean that the tool or hardware needs to be intuitive and require a short learning curve.  By “it has to work,” I mean that it needs to be consistently reliable, but that it also must add value to the purpose for which it is intended – not just a replacement to a traditional method or used for the sake of it being the “newest technology” gizmo available.

One tool that I think that has potential to add value to online education is the new Google+ social networking service.  Unlike Facebook where all friends are lumped together, Google+ allows users to group the various communities they interact with into separate and distinct “circles.”  If you want to communicate and share with all circles at once, you can, but you also have the ability to share only with the circle/s you choose.  The potential for online community building and the applications for education seem endless and I’m excited that our group has agreed to try using this tool over the next few weeks to see if it can add value to our collaboration.  I hope it is easy to use, and I hope it works!

A few of the potential G+ applications for education –

http://edte.ch/blog/2011/07/16/interesting-ways-to-use-google-to-support-learning-2/

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