Recent Articles

New website: publications.wesfryer.com

Please visit the updated & improved version of this site!

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I’ve created a new website using the open source platform “Open Journal Systems (OJS)” to serve as my publications archive for articles, research and books. For now I’m leaving this site online as an example of an Annotum-based WordPress site.

Impact Analysis of Phonecasted Lecture Summaries

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Constructivist learning theory postulates the active creation of content by students encourages higher levels of retention and understanding. Phonecasting, a process involving use of a telephone to record an audio message subsequently shared publicly on the World Wide Web, is a potential constructivist use of technology for assessment currently underutilized by university faculty. The primary goal of this exploratory study was to determine whether academic achievement differs between students taught in an introductory, undergraduate health course requiring the creation of lecture summary phonecasts by students, and similar students not required to create phonecasts. Little academic research has been published to date on the impact of phonecasting in the classroom.

The dependent variable in the study was defined as final student grades in the health course and the independent variable as the nominal variable of summary lecture phonecasting. Pre-existing differences in student achievement were controlled through the use of a covariate (students’ entering composite ACT scores) in an Analysis of Covariance test. The researcher used an ex post facto quantitative study and utilized a quasi-experimental, posttest-only with nonequivalent groups research design. The proposed research sample for this comparative study had 100 students in the treatment group and 257 students in the control group. Results were analyzed to determine if a significant difference in academic achievement existed between student groups in the study when differences in academic achievement were controlled through the use of a covariate.

The researcher did not find statistically significant differences in student grades between those taught in a classroom setting utilizing summary lecture phonecasting assigments and those taught in a traditional setting. When student ACT math scores were used as a covariate instead of ACT composite scores, however, statistical results were very close to statistical significance. Analysis of an instructor end-of-course student survey along with an interview with the instructor suggest multiple ways phonecasting projects and studies could be improved in the future. Summary lecture phonecasting by students is a promising pedagogic intervention and an assignment option which warrants further investigation.

Mobile Digital Storytelling

A November 2007 column for TCEA's TechEdge magazine

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In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, most students and teachers in schools were sharply limited in the potential audience for which they could share their ideas and publications. Gone are the days when the top destination for exemplary student work was the family refrigerator. The potential audience for student work has changed dramatically in the 21st century with the advent of read/write web (web 2.0) tools like blogs, wikis, social networking websites, and video publication venues like YouTube. The ability for anyone with access to a web browser to publish text, audio, and video on the global stage of the Internet is a disruptive, challenging, and empowering phenomenon. In the context of digital storytelling, a variety of tools are available which permit learners of all ages to constructively share their voices and perspectives via the Internet using free website tools, readily available technologies like cell phones, and relatively affordable commercial hardware tools like portable audio recorders. This article explores several options for mobile digital storytelling.

Social Bookmarks 101

A September 2007 column for TCEA's TechEdge magazine

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Content on Internet’s world-wide web continues to grow at a dizzying pace. While a wealth of engaging content for learning is now available online, locating and later RE-locating websites for instructional uses is frequently challenging. As teachers, we’ve all likely had an experience similar to this one: “I know I saw a great website about that topic just last week. How frustrating I cannot find the web address again so I can share this with my students!” Social bookmarking offers a free and compelling way to address the need we all have to locate, record, later RE-locate, and share “good website finds” on the Internet. Regardless of future changes in the Internet and the content it contains, this ability to ably manage website “bookmarks” or “favorites” is likely to be an enduring skill important to both teachers and students alike.

Join the Global Education Conversation

A June 2007 column for TCEA's TechEdge magazine

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While in the past, a teacher had to be blessed to have an educational “Yoda” working next door or across the hall in school, today thanks to interactive technologies it is possible to be mentored and serve as a mentor by and for teachers literally all over our planet. Teachers need to become more aware of these opportunities for positive, constructive social networking with other educators around the world, and join the conversations taking place in multiple virtual venues. The scale of the “sea changes” we face can appear staggering, but challenges can appear less formidible if you have supportive mentors at your side (both literally and virtually) in the 21st century classroom.

Online Research with Google Notebook

A February 2007 column for TCEA's TechEdge magazine

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Despite the proliferation of web 2.0 technologies and more tools for interactive, desktop videoconferencing than you can shake a mouse at, Internet research remains one of the most common uses for computer technologies in U.S. schools today. The process of copying and pasting information, source URLs, and photographs for a report or multimedia presentation is often a laborious process. Multi-tasking between a web browser and a word processor when conducting online research requires a large number of mouse clicks for each piece of information to be saved appropriately. Thankfully, the availability of the free, web-based Google Notebook program (www.google.com/notebook) can dramatically streamline the research process. Instead of multi-tasking, users can conduct all their research from the comfort of their web browser! In this article, we’ll explore ten reasons for using Google Notebook for online research as well as some tips and tricks.

Addressing CyberBullying in Schools

A November 2006 column for TCEA's TechEdge magazine

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The digital environment increasingly provides a window into face to face (F2F) as well as virtual interactions between people. Bullying, which sadly seems to be a timeless activity, has moved into virtual environments as more students have gained access to and knowledge about the Internet. While some educational leaders may prefer to metaphorically “paint over” these windows in schools to hide these negative interactions from public view, schools need to take a more proactive stance than merely banning social networking websites to adequately address issues like cyberbullying.