Sunday, November 18, 2012

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Instructional Scenario:

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a "tour" of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

Instructional Needs
1: Interaction with museum curators
2: Virtual tour of the museum
3: Group critique of two pieces of art work

Simonson et al stated that, "The key to effective distance education is correct instructional design, a systematic process that applies research based principles to educational practice. If the design is effective, instruction will also be effective" (Simonson et. al 2012, p.171).

First I would have the teacher research what museums offer virtual tours or online navigation and also have wi-fi available. A good tool to use would be Cisco TelePresence for a virtual tour. Cisco TelePresence is an alternative teleconferencing tool that offers an "in-person" meeting environment. You can meet, work and learn in real time with remote participants (museums in this scenario) together in the same or different virtual rooms without having to travel.

Cisco WebEx Social for Higher Education Collaboration in a Post E-Mail World: Video:

Next I would have the teacher create a wiki space for the student's to collaborate. Blogs, wikis, or discussion boards provide students with meaningful and appealing learning experiences (Beldarrain, 2006). A wiki is a space on the web where you can share work, ideas, pictures, links, videos, and media. The site that I would suggest for use is 

Here are two demonstration video's of



The wikispace will allow students or groups to post their work for review by the teacher and others students and groups. They can include a picture of which piece of art work they chose to critique, why they chose that piece of work, as well as other rationale.

Wikispaces Testimonials:

Being able to embed files, links, html coding, videos and other media so easily has meant that Wikispaces has made a great home for me on the Internet. Wikis can be slowly built up and added to from humble beginnings and grow into something quite wonderful.
— Martin Burrett
Our Wikispace allows my students to have a 24/7 learning environment, and it is being used as such which is an exciting thing to see.
— Craig Kemp
Witnessing the pairs work in class and then communicate using email, wiki discussions, and wiki mail to collaborate with classmates outside their class was invigorating. It also generated conversations about History class outside the walls of my room. It fully utilized the purpose and design of Wikispaces and the outcome was better than I had anticipated.
— Larry Bruce


Beldarrain, Y (2006). Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance Education, 27(2), 139-153. 

Cisco. (2012). Cisco higher education. Retrieved from

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pears

Wikispaces. (2012). Wikispaces education. Retrieved from

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