Traci's Blog

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." ~Goethe

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Scenario: Interactive Tours

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?

The teacher in this scenario is in need of technology that will bring the art exhibits of a distant museum to her students; and a technology that would allow the students to interact with each other to critique the artwork. As the school district’s instructional designer, I would recommend media sharing sites for the students to tour the museum virtually; and discussion technology for students to interact with each other in a group critique. These two types of Web 2.0 technologies will encourage student-centered learning, which “promote active learning , collaboration, mastery of course material, and student control over the learning process” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 123).

Media sharing sites, such as Flickr, YouTube, ans SlideShare can connect the students with the museum through pictures and videos. The curators at the museum can take photographs of the artwork and upload the photos to Flickr or SlideShare, or create a video and upload the video to YouTube. These media sharing sites also allow for comments and feedback, which offers “an increased opportunity to incorporate peer review”, reflect on the work, and “increase critical analysis and communication skills” (McIntyre, n.d. para. 7). The comments on the media sharing sites can also connect the students with the curators at the museum.

Discussion technologies, like discussion forms and chat applications, can allow for the student, instructor, and the curators to collaborate when critiquing the artwork. With the discussion technologies, the students can reflect upon their ideas and the ideas of their peers, which will lead to more reflective responses and in-depth learning (TeacherStream, 2009, p. 2). The instructor and the curators can also provide feedback to the students. Discussion posts can also help build a strong learning community and engage students in active learning.

The use of these technologies will create a blended-learning environment, in which a portion of the class is substituted by the technology. The students will become active participants in their learning process by engaging in the virtual tour and discussion posts, while the instructor encourage learning by offering the resources.


Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The technology of distance education [Multimedia Program]. Retrieved from

McIntyre, S. (n.d.). Using flickr as an online classroom-case study. 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: Pearson.

TeacherStream, LLC (2009). Mastering online discussion board facilitation. Retrieved from facilitation.pdf


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