Our class meeting: Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The class started at six in the afternoon as usual. Jorge and I had had an intense couple of weeks. We can imagine that Yoselyn too, since she has recently moved to the United States and we all know that moving can be a hassle. We talked about our week with the professor, who is always interested  in knowing if we are doing well and understanding what has been established for the course.

One of the agreements we reached in our previous class was to use an application called Hypothesis. It’s an open and free app that gets downloaded into your browser tool bar so that you can annotate and have conversations with anyone in Blogs, web pages and PDF documents. I thought it was a very handy tool. We put it to use when reading Cole Clamplese’s article, My Internet. One Course at a Time and made some comments throughout it.  The professor highlighted some of the most important aspects of the article and mainly focused his attention on the following two points: closed vs. open software architecture with facebook as the main example of a clearly closed and controled virtual enviroment, and secondly the possibilities offered by an enviroment for users to produce meaningful content.

We tooked our time talking about facebook. Its obviuosly under a lot of controversy due to the most recent news about the leaking of personal data used for coorporate and political means.  This discussion really interested me. I went home afterwards, searched for more info about this; couldn’t believe the magnitude of the problem. This whole thing made me think about the importance of creating safe learning enviroments for students and faculty. I asked myself, can learning enviroments be free from the media manipulation and data filtering to which we are subjected as Web users? To what extent can we control and keep out of our learning enviroments  every dangerous aspect of the Web? Should we control our learning enviroments even more? I think we should provide tools to make students, astute Web users. Data filtering and profile manipulation is an ethical dilema that needs to be considered by Web users and educational institutions. The professor said, “the privacy of the students, that’s the price you pay when having a google account, for example, in your institution”. That’s definetly something to think about.

Click to view slideshow.

Another interesting discussion we had was about informal learning enviroments where learning experiences occur that could also be used in formal learning settings. Jorge mentioned a game called Eveonline, a spatial simulation game and the professor talked about World of Warcraft as another example of this. With World of Warcraft we have another massively multiplayer online role-playing type of game that allows thousands of players to enter a virtual world simultaneously through the internet and interact with each other. Players control an avatar within a world exploring the enviroment, fighting against various monsters and players, completing missions and interacting with non-player characters or other players. Completing missions will help players to level up and in this way, they can get equipment that will help them later to fight the different creatures that appear in their path.

Click to view slideshow.

These games have many followers, amongs them people of all ages, which means that the motivational element is really working for them. The immersion aspect has a big influence as well in terms of captivating the player, I think,  and the fact that they offer diverse enviroments within the game in itself, and so many possiblities in terms of what the players can choose to do. About this, we could emphasize the fact that these games have certain characteristics we could put to use in our learning enviroments. We want motivated and delighted learners in our courses and institutions; learners that feel they can work in unison to achieve established goals, that feel the drive to do more. Well crafted games have that ability, they make people feel that way. Plus, with these type of games such as World of Warcraft, you could easily exemplify what a state of government is, what constitutes a society, you could teach the basics of economics, and many other things teachers could bring into their classrooms.

Next, we jumped right into discussing the first draft of our final class proyect. We were supposed to begin working collaboratively on a chart in which we show what are the criteria and the must-do’s of a design of a learning enviroment according to the different learning theories. We worked on this: Primera tabla trabajo final.docx . Jorge and I read everything to the professor and explained every criteria of design chosen for each of the theories. The professor told us we needed more specific examples of the types of learning enviroments you must design in order to accomplish each theories fundamentals. For example, if you’re working with a constructivist approach, you must-do a Lab type of design or even a workshop stations type of design. That’s why we are adding another column to the chart. We must add the learning enviroment example column and provide space in the chart to distinguish between virtual spaces and physical learning spaces.

Based on all this, Jorge and I will make a tour of the university and visit different physical learning enviroments. The aim will be to reach some conclusions about the learning enviroments that exist in campus. We will make observations and document our rounds for the study with photos and videos. Yoselyn could make the corresponding inquiries about the virtual enviroments of the university.

The three of us should have a second draft of the chart with the new data collected from the physical and virtual campus by April 3, 2018. We’ll have the week of the 9th to revise and finish everything. We no longer have to summit a paper, but instead we’ll have the chart already prepared with a summary of the most important aspects of it all and with our final remarks. This will be due Thursday, April 19, 2018; the day of our final class.

The next thing to see will be our documentation on learning enviroments in the university. Do not miss it because it intends to be didactic and entertaining.


The abyss and the abyss invoked by the abyss

Flickr photo: Abyss, by lucyroo.

Sometimes (often, really) we find little gems of text within an already great work of literature. I stumbled in this terrific segment by Writer Gianfranco Garofiglio:


Le cose non esistono se non abbiamo le parole per chiamarle.

Things do not exist if we have no words to call them.

Which can’t but remind of this blog’s lemma,

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” –Flannery O’Connor

Indeed, day in and out I am reminded that thoughts are not just abstract entities wandering in the mind, but objects that materialize in a concrete shape only when written down.

In Garofiglio’s novel Le perfezioni provvisorie (Temporary Perfections in English; Las perfecciones provisionales in Spanish), there is this wonderful quote that literally left me breathless:

«Chi è costei che sorge come l’aurora,
bella come la luna, fulgida come il sole,
terribile come schiere a vessilli spiegati?».
–Cantico dei Cantici 6, 10

Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
–Song of Solomon 6:10 (Canticle of Canticles)

¿Quién es ésta que se muestra como el alba,
Hermosa como la luna,
Esclarecida como el sol,
Imponente como ejércitos en orden?
–Cantar de los Cantares de Salomón

So, I discovered that the same verses were quoted in Umberto Eco’s The Name of The Rose.

Ma chi era costei, che sorgeva davanta a me come l’aurora, bella come la luna, fulgida come il sole, terribile come un esercito schierato in battaglia.
Temevo di essere preda del demonio, il quale sa bene come afferrarti l’anima e illudere il corpo. E poi, capii l’abisso e l’abisso invocato dall’abisso. Mi resi conto che avevo peccato.

(Google Translate does a nice job): I was afraid of being prey to the devil, who knows how to grab your soul and delude your body. And then, I understood the abyss and the abyss invoked by the abyss. I realized that I had sinned.

I understood the abyss and the abyss invoked by the abyss. Wow, the use of metatext.

Flickr photo: Abyss, by lucyroo.

[Featured and above image: Flickr photo – Abyss, by lucyroo. CC-Licensed, BY-NC]

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PR Connection Podcast: Episode Four

Puerto Rico Connection, Image by Alan Levine

Now that Alan and friends (see bottom of post…) are very busy in Guadalajara doing murals and tacos and working breathlessly with the faculty at UdG, I think I can really take the chance to publish our latest (fourth) episode of the Puerto Rico Connection podcast before he does!!

{Elaboration from the poster of the film “Twenty Feet From Stardom”}

Of course it was a pleasure to spend half an hour with him talking about the stuff we like to talk about and then to set up a TapeWrite episode. As always with TapeWrite you have to edit a series of cards that are attached to single moments of time of the recorded audio. Then you search for media, tweets, photos etc. to complement the audio. It’s some work but a lot of fun also. So Alan set up the recording: he included in fact the usual starting and ending music for our podcast and then I uploaded it onto TapeWrite and then did the work that you can see embedded here and hear through the platform.

I’m not going to repeat here the fun things we discussed in the episode. But, like immediately apparent from the episode poster, some thing must be said on the self-imposed 20-minute limit we are trying to stick to. It’s difficult, and at the same time hopefully will allow for some little more control on the episodes.

Alan and I discussed the opportunity to continue doing the podcast with a simpler work schedule. I mean, using TapeWrite is certainly a great thing in that you complement the audio with open Web media; still this editing may add delays in the publishing time. Also in order to be enjoyed, a TapeWrite podcast needs be listened to as well as watched, thus limiting access to it. I mean, I couldn’t view it while driving, could I.

I would like personally to explore the audio-only media affordances, and I think Alan agrees to play along, so we may end up using simply Soundcloud or other tools to publish our future episodes. Like Anchor, which I just came to notice, a nice tool to record episodes directly from a smartphone and push them straight to the distributing channels like Soundcloud or iTunes.

One way or the other I love the idea of periodically get together over the air with Alan and talk about things we enjoy and I’m really thankful for the opportunity to explore the podcast medium with him!

I am closing this by pointing already to our fifth episode which we recorded from Guadalajara itself (a spirited conversation with Alan, Brian Lamb and Grant Potter), and which will be published soon.

[Featured Image: Puerto Rico Connection, by Alan Levine]

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Un día en que la recepción de Internet no nos ayudó pero la vencimos – Clase EDU646

Parece fácil decir que vamos a llevar a cabo una clase a través de Google Hangouts.  Estamos tan acostumbrados a utilizar la tecnología, haciendo uso de herramientas como Google Duo, Facetime, Facebook Messenger video o Whatsapp video, que por alguna razón, la recepción en el Internet falla en medio de una clase que nos brindaba sabiduría… en esos momentos llega la fustración.  Preguntas como: ¿Y ahora qué? ¿De qué me perdí?

¿Te sientes identificado?



[Foto: Victory, por Alon. CC 2.0]


Ayer, 6 de marzo, atravesé esa experiencia durante el curso, tan pronto la recepción nos falló, el profesor decidio hacer una llamada.  ¡Vencimos lo que nos venció! y continuamos el curso sin ningún inconveniente.

El profesor Vantaggiato comenzó la clase mencionando lo feliz y contento que se siente con el curso y los trabajos que hemos presentado hasta el momento.  Tal experiencia, le brindó inspiración para componer una publicación en uno de sus blogs.  Uno de los fragmentos lee como sigue:

First, I liked the way the videos were organized and the interviews done. There is a subtle art in doing interviews to catch the savvy of people/experts and we do not pretend students to manage it nonchalantly from the beginning. But they did a very good job.

Para nosotros (los estudiantes del curso EDU 646), la publicación nos proporcionó inspiración, además de ser retroalimentación positiva.  ¡Gracias profesor, por mantenernos motivados en el curso!

Cada vez el reto de finalizar el curso se hace mayor puesto que estamos por finalizar el semestre, los días pueden contarse con las salidas y puestas del Sol.

Entre lo discutido:

  • Repasamos las fechas importantes y restantes del curso.
  • Se propuso una explicación detallada del proyecto final de la clase.
  • Se recalcó en el estudio de literatura.
  • y, el uso del hashtag #EDU646 en Twitter para propósitos de colaboración.

Fechas Importantesfechas

Aparte de esto, tenemos asignado el desarrollo de un artículo preciso.  Debe contener al menos 4 páginas y bibliografía citada.  La fecha de entrega asignada es el 23 de abril de 2018.

Proyecto Final del Curso EDU 646

Nuestro proyecto consta de tres fases y una parte final:

FASE 1: Estudio de teorías de aprendizaje y cómo estas influyen en los ambientes y espacios de aprendizaje.  Podemos utilizar blogs de expertos, o recursos que nos ayuden a compilar la información necesaria.

FASE 2: ¿Cómo influyen estas teorías a los criterios de diseño? Identificar los criterios que seran utilizado basado en las teorias e información recopilada.  ¿Qué se debe de hacer para cumplir con los criterios identificados? ¿Qué críterios deben presentar los ambientes de aprendizaje?

MUST DO: Aplicar lo recopilado en los espacios de aprendizaje.  Entre los espacios a trabajar, seran escogidos en la Universidad Sagrado Corazón (espacios físicos) y en espacios virtuales.

PAPER – ARTICULO: Realizar un destilado de lo aprendido midiendo el concepto de aprendizaje a través del desarrolló del artículo antes mencionado.

Los temas a escoger serán (A) Espacios Presenciales, (B) Next Generation Digital Learning Environment y (C) La Web como Ambiente de Aprendizaje.  Hasta el momento no hemos seleccionado el tema de interés, pero en lo particular, a mi me gustaría trabajar con el tema C.



[Foto: Tabla de proyecto del curso EDU 646, por Jorge Colón (estudiante)]

Cada curso el profesor nos trae novedades que ocurren en el mundo virtual de la educación.  En esta ocasión nos ha compartido dos recursos que nos han de ser útiles en nuestra carrera.  El primero lo fue Hypothes.is, utilizado para hacer anotaciones o destacar alguna información de interes de las publicaciones que se hayan hecho en la Web.  Además de seleccionar el texto, hypothes.is nos permite compartir, contestar y anotar en grupos.  El segundo recurso fue Mural UDG un recurso de educación abierta e innovación.

Te invito a que sigas el hashtag #EDU646 en Twitter para que leas y comentes sobre las lecturas y los recursos que hemos compartido en la Red.  Para leer los blogs de los estudiantes del curso EDU 646 puedes presionar los siguientes hiperenlaces: Educación Poliedrica por María Josefina, Digital Cognition por Jorge Colón y rodriguezcruzy.com por Yoselyn Rodríguez.


Belated Class Summary! February 20th 2018

On the last episode of EDU-646, Design and Production of Educational Spaces, we had the opportunity to watch some of the interviews we that we conducted to different professionals in the architecture and educational fields.

But, before that, we took the opportunity to discuss the schedule for the coming weeks.  Our meetings will be conducted bi-weekly until the 12th of April which will be our last one. For the month of March, we shall meet on the 6th and on the 20th, and on April on the 3rd and on the 12th .

Afterwards we began to review the interviews.  We began with the interview conducted by Yoselyn Rodriguez to the Architect, Hugo Betancor.  From this, we first discussed the challenges of the interviewing process. Not only can it be a sometimes awkward experience for the interviewee, but also for the interviewer.  It is important to be prepared with a set of guide questions, that will outline and conduct the main topic of an interview.  Also, as an interviewer, you must be attentive to the other person’s remarks and be able to comment or further expand about them.  More importantly, one must be able to maintain some kind of control of the interaction, therefore keeping it concise.

Regarding the interview itself, the architect offered insight when the designing any type of space in general, which is pertinent to educational spaces as well. It’s important to be aware of the practicality and functionality of said space.  Furthermore, make sure that the wellbeing of its participants and the general environment is met.

The second interview that we viewed was the one conducted by María Josefina Gómez to Antonio Delgado, who is an instructional designer and technologist.  He offered insight in regard to personalized learning environments and the benefits of continuing education.  We all learn in different ways. It is essential that we explore the flexibility and opportunities that a unique and fully tailored learning experience offers.

Article related to Personalized Learning Environments


Lastly, we viewed the interview conducted by Jorge Colón to Fernando Montilla, Director of the Creative Technologies Studio in Sagrado.  He offered his thoughts on the importance of knowing the functionality of the purpose that is being designed, very similar to the insight offered in the interview to the architect.  Also, he mentioned the importance of modularity and expandability of a space.  Therefor it will not be constrained to a specific use forever and be able to evolve in time.

More importantly, the idea of how the design of a space itself influences an individuals behavior.  From the decorations displayed in it, to the size of the space itself.  In this case, he mentioned that most visitors when they first come to the studio, they tend to lower their voice.  The studio itself is a very large and open space, and has large ceilings.

It is a peculiar reaction, that we wanted to explain.  As it turns out, it seems that the sense of a loss of intimacy, created by the expanse of the space might be the cause, as mentioned in a small article by Judah Ronch.

Large spaces tend to not promote intimate conversations, and are normally used in large lecture interactions where one person speaks and a large group of people tend to listen.  This engraved cultural dynamic and the loss of intimacy, due to the magnification of sound or how it travels in such a space, might be the main cause of why people just lower they voice.

Article related to Spaces and their influence:


In the end, it can be said that there is a correlation of how a space is designed and how it can influence the individuals participating or interacting in them.  With these interviews we can see, firsthand, that most of the time there is a plan and a purpose in the design of every environment, even if the majority of us just take it for granted.  It’s an invisible art, that even if it can’t be seen at first glance, it can shape our interactions and our capacity to learn in the background.

After this last meeting, we shall take most of the concepts that we have been discussing and sharing, and look at them through a pedagogical looking glass.

Video of our Last Class (In Spanish)



Comentario al texto: Effects of classrooms’ architecture on academic performance in view of telic versus paratelic motivation: a review

Ayer mismo, Sandra Moreta, arquitecta invitada de este Blog, compartió este artículo conmigo. Considero que es pertinente al curso y a la discusión con la que cerramos la última clase. Aquí va mi comentario y al final, el link al PDF.

Click to view slideshow.

Con este artículo, Peter Lewinski, hace una revisión de literatura en la que analiza distintos trabajos de investigación de muchos países sobre cómo la arquitectura de las aulas escolares influye en el rendimiento académico de los estudiantes. Cada uno de los artículos citados por el autor explican ciertas características de las aulas, haciendo énfasis en cómo esas características afectan los procesos de aprendizaje.

Se analizan por apartados factores tales como: la acústica, la luz, el color, la temperatura y el diseño y acomodamiento de los asientos. Se toman estos factores en consideración para determinar si, y en qué medida, mejoran u obstaculizan el rendimiento académico de los estudiantes en el aula.

Es interesante ver cómo enmarca su revisión de literatura dentro del enfoque desarrollado por M. J. Apter, quien desde 1982 describió dos tipos de motivaciones: la télica y la paratélica. Según Apter, la motivación télica está orientada a lograr un objetivo, y las personas que están en este estado de motivación buscan ambientes de baja excitación con un estado final que es la relajación. Por otro lado, la motivación paratelética se centra en la actividad y se activa por el aburrimiento. O sea, que esta teoría se basa en que los estudiantes prefieren entornos que faciliten una experiencia télica porque los estados parateléticos no motivan a los sujetos a enfocarse en los objetivos esenciales.

Para potenciar la utilidad de este artículo, recomiendo echarle un vistazo a las referencias y trabajos citados por Lewinski.

Para leer el artículo: