PIDP 3260 Week 3 Blog

So how about them Olympics? Can ya believe how many sports they have to give medals for? I haven’t even heard of some of the sports. Do you think that the Olympics has become too bloated? But the sideshows are fun. In one corner you have the heroes (Bolt and Phelps for instance), in the other corner you have the newly crowned ass-clown, Lochte the kid. Whatshisname is thrilled. The negative media is temporarily diverted.

A recent development in British Columbia is that apprentices are now able to complete their theory portion of training by distance education. “This will reduce the amount of time apprentices need to be away from work or home to complete their apprenticeships.”

http://commons.bcit.ca/update/2016/07/new-fiatt-piping-trades-program-reduces-apprentice-time-away-from-work/

This affects me as I teach apprentices. There are pros, but there are negatives as well.  One is that the students will not be able to learn from each other as much (study groups anyone?).  Another negative is that since the students will spend less time at school, there is less time to accurately assess them.  A third negative is less work for teachers and support staff (well that is a negative to me anyways).

The actual theme of this week’s blog is dedicated to Chapter 2 of Stephen Brookfield’s “The Skillful Teacher”

“The Core Assumptions of Skillful Teaching” (Brookfield 2015 p. 15)

  • Skillful teaching is whatever helps students learn (dealing with challenges such as diversity and apathy)
  • Skillful teachers adopt a critically reflective stance toward their practice (student assessments, collegue advice, educational literature)
  • The most important knowledge that skillful teachers need to do good work is a constant awareness of how students are experiencing their learning and perceiving teachers’ actions (procedural decisions should be guided by an awareness of how students experience the classroom)
  • College students of any age should be treated as adults (higher education should be preparing young adults for the adult world)

The chapter generalizes the importance of these aspects of teaching. In my opinion, the most important aspects are the last two. They could be summed up into one word: Respect. The skillful teacher should respect the students.

 

Bibliography

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Featured Image Photo by John Powszedny 2015

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PIDP 3260 Week 2 Blog

This blog is dedicated to PIDP 3260 weekly updates, plus a few rants sprinkled in for fun.

Week 2

For me, this is #6 out of 8 courses in the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program (PIDP) through Vancouver Community College (VCC). This is also my 4th online course in this program. My day job is at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) where I instruct industrial instrumentation to technicians and apprentices.

That last sentence had four words in a row that begin with the letter “i”. Interesting.

Anyhoo, enough about my not-that-interesting life. My last blog post was an update of the US presidential election. My long-held prediction  that old whathisname will win seems a bit hasty at the moment. I am sticking with it because, because he is so, so, so whateveryacallit.

In other ironic current events, did you hear about the attack cat who picked a fight with 7 pit bulls? Guess who won. The dogs were peacefully walking with their owners when this ferocious feline ambushed the unsuspecting victims. CBC link here.

Closer to home, when a hiker came across a bear in the woods, he tried to scare it away. But instead of running away, the bear approached the hiker. Note that a 200 pound black bear is strong, fast, and has teeth and claws. So the hiker did what any hiker would do and ran. For 2 kilometers or so, there they went.  The man in front, screaming and running.  The bear behind, chasing the man (for sport, I assume). Admittedly, I chuckled a  bit from the mental picture of the two of them. The hiker got a few scratches and a great story for his grandkids.  The bear’s version of the story may differ. North Shore News link here.

Brookfield Chapter 1

The actual theme this week is Stephen Brookfield’s “The Skillful Teacher” Chapter 1: Experiencing Teaching.

“Passion, hope, doubt, fear, exhilaration, weariness, colleagueship, loneliness, glorious defeat, hollow victories and , above all, the certainties of surprise and ambiguity; how on earth can a single word or phrase begin to capture the multilayered complexity of what if feels like to teach?”(Brookfield 2015)

That is a long sentence to begin a book with. That sentence sums up the difficulty in defining what good teaching looks like. Brookfield discusses the many aspects regarding modern day teaching, and the difference between individual perspectives.

An interesting metaphor in the book was when Brookfield compared teaching to white water rafting: periods of calm interspersed with chaotic turbulence.

I probably dislike a preachy treatise as much as the next guy, but this book seems to have something more to add, and I look forward to continuing reading it. More to follow in the coming weeks.

 

Teaching Perspective Inventory results:

http://www.teachingperspectives.com

TPI graph

TPI legend

It becomes apparent from the above graph that my perspective on good teaching leans towards the apprenticeship and transmission perspectives. Not so much for social reform. Sorry social reformers.

http://www.teachingperspectives.com/tpi/#/reflect-items#reflect-items

Bibliography

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher – On Techniques, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Featured image photo by John Powszedny, 2013 (Los Angeles CA)

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US Presidential Election Prediction – Updated July 31 2016

March 31 2016

The GOP

Donald Trump.  Ok there I said it.  Just once because for the rest of this narrative he is going to be called whatshisname.  Enough has already been said about whatshisname.  whatshisname says he will make America great again. Personally, I did not think America was not great. Now or ever.

Jeb Bush was the initial favorite. whatshisname took over and that’s been about it, you know the rest.

Ted Cruz. Not sure if this guy is presidential material, him being batshit crazy and all.

John Kasich. The dark horse? Nah, this guy wants to be vice president, so will stick it out. Probably the sanest of the three Republican candidates left.

The Democrats

Bernie Sanders is maybe too far left of center for the United States right now.  Don’t think you should rock the boat too hard: You do not want to shake up the rednecks and establishment.

Hilary Clinton seems to have the right resume for the job, but some of her past seems a bit shady. While it would be refreshing to finally have a woman as the POTUS, I don’t think she should become president simply because she is a woman. Is she the best woman for the job?  Without a doubt, she is certainly the most qualified.  The best person? Possibly, but isn’t she a lawyer?

My Prediction

whatshisname is too old, has the biggest mouth, talks without a filter and can lie like a bastard. A serious candidate for sensitivity training. He is blowing smoke up our collective asses when talking about a southern wall on the border with Mexico. Do the math for the engineering, land costs, materials, logistics and maintenance.  And expecting Mexico to pay, which is laughable.

But whatshisname wants to balance trade, wants universal health care and is a natural leader. And whatshisname is not, to the best of my knowledge, a lawyer.

I predict whatshisname will win the 2016 Presidential Election.

This is not  an endorsement for whatshisname.  But he makes me laugh. Out loud.  Seriously, the guy is a comedian.

Finally

As for becoming POTUS, it must really takes a lot of time, money, and luck (?) to get the most stressful job in the world.  I wonder. Maybe it’s for the free vacations on Airforce One or the free rent and meals at the Whitehouse. Or maybe thinking long term: writing a book (“I Bucked the Odds and Survived 8 Years in the Whitehouse” seems like a good title), or the speaking engagements after your gig is up.

Disclaimer

As a Canadian, I cannot participate in the American election.

Update July 31 2016

Well I was dead wrong about Kasich wanting to become vice-president.

And wasn’t Cruz’s convention speech awesome?

Clinton sure dodged a bullet with that email thingy. Instead of being locked up, she locked up the nomination as the first female to make the big show.

I still don’t really like whatshisname, but still predict he will win.  Is it true that a major US network and whatshisname are working on a new show in the fall called Campaign Apprentice?  Could be Fox or The Comedy Network, not sure.

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PIDP 3250 – Assignment 2: Week 7 Self-Assessment of Blog

John Powszedny 2016

Rubic Score for PIDP Blog Assignment

https://powszedny.wordpress.com/ Level 1 2 3 4 Score
Blog postings reflect breadth and depth x 8.5
Links to past students’ digital projects x 8.5
Contributions Weekly x 9.5
Social Media Links x 8.5
Organization x 8.5
Grammar and Spelling x 9.5
Creative Commons Indicated x 7.5
Total 0 1 4 2 86.4/100

average

 

Statistically Speaking

https://powszedny.wordpress.com/

 

# Pages on Blog # of Posts on Blog February 29- April 12 2016 # views of Blog February 29-April 12 2016 # Comments on Blog by Viewers
PIDP 3100 related N/A 9 N/A 0
PIDP 3250 related 1 7 N/A 2
Total 6 16 203 2
cropped-scenery-024.jpg
John Powszedny 2007

Reflective Question 1:

What did you learn about creating a blog?

I started my blog without a clue. Beginning with a free blog site from WordPress, I began my trip down the rabbit hole to blogtown. The first page was ugly. And not just a little ugly. The content was lame and the design was horrible. WordPress graphics are blocky and unless you buy a premium version, you might not get the design capability you are looking for. Next time, I will definitely upgrade to a premium site, or do a better job of shopping around.

My present blog is not too bad: I tweaked the settings and found a color combination that works. I have little control over the font, only the size is configurable. Inserting photos is easy, but you can’t just copy and paste. You have to use their picture insertion menu.

As for content, I have been publishing my assignments for the two courses I am taking concurrently (PIDP 3100 and 3250). I tried to make the content relevant and readable. I paid attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling.  There are many hyperlinks embedded in the text. Things that need improvement are creative writing skills and paring down the length of some posts (they are too wordy at times).

But overall, my blog is decent enough. I like it.

Reflective Question 2:

IMG_20140523_190920 (2)
John Powszedny 2014

Which classmates’ blogs did you like and why?

Suzanne Carlisle’s is colorful and informative. She has an advanced blog with lots of graphics, and obviously put a lot of time and effort into it.  That, or she is secretly a graphic artist.

I also like Melissa Ashman’s blog. Her opinions are well thought out and she is clearly organized. No wonder, she is also the Education Director at theCentre of Excellence in Cancer Prevention, and has prior professional blogging experience.

Reflective Question 3:

cropped-april-30-2012-import-photos-6481.jpg
John Powszedny 2012

What are the strengths and weaknesses in your blog?

I tried to make the content relevant and readable by paying attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling.  I have links to all of my classmates’ blogs (under a page called PIDP 3250 Community).  There are plenty of my own personal photos that are meant to help reinforce themes. I have paid attention to colors and layout, and although it still looks amateur, for a free blogsite I think mine looks not too bad.

Things that need improvement are creative writing skills and paring down the length of some posts (they are too wordy at times). The font on the blog is terrible. I would like to try a different premium version for a template next time, with more customizable features. Like the font. Ug. Lee.

PIDP 3100 Journal 2– Problem Centered Adults

“Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”[1]

This quote by Knowles is part of his assumptions of Andragogy[2],

  • As we age, our self-concept moves from dependency to self-direction (Knowles 1980)
  • An adult’s accumulated experience is a learning resource and is integral to identity (Knowles 1980)
  • Readiness to learn is correlated to social role (Knowles 1980)
    • Roles in society create need for learning[3] and create teachable moments[4]
  • Application of knowledge shifts from future to present as we age. Thus an adult is problem centered in learning (p. 44-45) (Knowles 1980)
    • Adults are problem-centered, not subject centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned[5]
  • Adults are motivated internally by potential for growth, development and self actualization (Knowles & Assoc. 1984)
  • Adults need to know the reason for the learning (Knowles 1984)
    • Knowing importance before beginning learning increases motivation[6]

I have learned that a self-dependent experienced adult who is ready for problem-centered leaning and immediate knowledge application. What caught my attention was the problem-centered learning and its meaning.

 

“Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”

I realized that the traditional method of doling out facts to adults is not engaging them properly. Adults need to see results, not just hear facts.

A teacher should be engaging the students by giving hands on discovery. Showing them the immediate results and letting them try it for themselves. If you show how to solve a problem, whether it’s a calculus equation or a faulty brake line, the adult learner needs to tackle the problem and see the result.

 “Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”

 

My “Aha” moment was when I realized how the students felt when our lectures dragged on for two weeks with no labs. It is my observation that the adult students need to perform the practical part of the learning to really “know it.”  The students were anxious to prove the theories to themselves.

The quote made me think that, as an adult educator, I have to ensure that the students get immediate application of their learning, or as soon as possible.

One analogy could be that you can’t learn to fly an aircraft by watching Youtube.

A key insight is that I have also feel it necessary to apply knowledge immediately after learning it. Often, it is difficult to apply new knowledge to a practical problem unless the knowledge is still fresh in my mind.

“Adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”

This quote has reinforced my preconception that students need immediate practical experience to complete their learning.

As a teacher, I need to keep their learning schedules balanced between practical applications and learning theory. I also need to ensure that my classroom has a positive learning environment and the lectures are meaningful, relevant and of importance.

 References

Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice – (Merriam and Bierema, Jossey-Bass 2014)

Andragogy, not Pedagogy – (M.S. Knowles 1968, Adult Leadership-16[10], p. 350-352, 386)

The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy. (2nd edition) – (M.S. Knowles 1980, New York: Cambridge Books)

The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species (3rd edition) – (M.S. Knowles 1984, Houston: Gulf)

Andragogy in Action: Applying Modern Principles of Adult Learning – (M.S. Knowles & Associates 1984, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass)

The Adult Learner: (7th edition) – (M.S. Knowles; E.F. Holton III; R.A. Swanson 2011, Houston: Gulf)

[1] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 53

[2] Andragogy – from Greek aner (man) + agogus (leader of). Popularized by Knowles (1968)

[3] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 51

[4] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 52

[5] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 53

[6] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 55

PIDP 3100 Journal 3 – Critical Reflection and Learning

 

“Learning from one’s experience involves not just reflection, but critical reflection”[1]

Objective:

What have you learned from reflecting on this particular quote? What has caught your attention?

Image Link

spoon

Critical thinking describes the process by which students become aware of two sets of assumptions:[2]

  1. Students investigate assumptions held by scholars in the particular field being studied
  2. Students investigate their own assumptions and the way these frame their own thinking and actions (Brookfield 2012b)

Brookfield proposes that critical reflection has 3 phases:

  1. The identification of assumptions that underlie our thoughts and actions
  2. The scrutiny of the accuracy and validity of these assumptions in terms of how they connect to our experience with reality
  3. The reconstituting of these assumptions “to make them more inclusive and integrative” (Brookfield,1991, p. 177)

What I have learned from this quote is that the learner should also look inside his or her self and contrast pre-conceptions with real experience. The learner should look at the concepts objectively and without bias.

What caught my attention is the way that one must not just accept hegemony[3]. One should question the generally accepted knowledge with what is actually experienced.

“Learning from one’s experience involves not just reflection, but critical reflection”

Reflective:

What did you realize about teaching as a result of this quote?

photo by john powszedny 2014

IMG_20140523_190920 (2)

The students have the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the experience, and oppose it with their own deep thoughts. As the emotional content of experience is processed before the meaning is processed (see my Journal 4 post), their emotional reaction to the experience may be more accurate than their thinking reaction to the experience.

If the teacher is to foster critical thinking, the teacher should encourage the students to contrast their assumptions to their emotional reactions from the experience.

“Learning from one’s experience involves not just reflection, but critical reflection”

Interpretive:

What was your “Aha!” moment when you read this quote? In what ways did this quote change your mind about being an adult educator? What was one key insight that you now have as a result of this quote?

Image Link

aristotle

My “Aha” moment when I read the quote was “Why should I believe everything I am told?  Isn’t it true that if you want to believe in something, a simple search of the internet will find a site where supposed experts have scientific proof of what you want to believe in?  Isn’t that considered hegemony[3] when one group (scholars and theorists) offers widely-accepted facts for the rest of us to accept as irrefutable?

An adult educator should encourage the method of critical thinking by comparing how the preconceptions with experimental results. The students could compare the predictions with the facts. Also the students and teacher could share their predictions.

The key insight is the fact that we all have methods to solve problems, and at often times the student needs to frame their experiences with their assumptions and actions.

“Learning from one’s experience involves not just reflection, but critical reflection”

Decisional:

How has this quote, and the insight that you have gained from reflecting upon it, influenced your notion of teaching or how you will teach in the future?

Image Linkbrain

The insight I have gained from this quote is that during lectures and labs I will be asking the students questions that require deeper thought. Instead of breeding encyclopedias, the students will be responsible for more thoughtful answers and solutions to greater problems.

In the labs I will be asking the students to explain what will happen under certain physical conditions, then get them to prove it by measuring the results. Then they can compare the results with their predictions.

References

Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice – (Merriam and Bierema, Jossey-Bass 2014)

Using Critical Incidents to Explore Learners’ Assumptions – (S.D. Brookfield – in J. Mezirow and Associates’ “Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood”, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1991 p. 177-193) 

Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions – (S.D. Brookfield, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass 2012b)

My PIDP 3250 forum “Positive Learning”

[1] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 117

[2] Merriam & Bierema 2014 p. 213

[3]  Influence or control over another country, a group of people, etc. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegemony

PIDP 3100/2 – The Impact of Technology on Student Engagement Part 2

Objective:

The objective of this blog post is to consider The Impact of Technology on Student Engagement. My original blog post can be seen here.

My assignment partner, Mr. Craig Lovell, wrote a blog post called Technology and the Adult Learner – Engaged or Distracted.

Technology in the Classroom – How It Changes the Role of the Instructor

california2007 359
photo by John Powszedny 2007

As a new instructor, I want to find out how the trends of technology are impacting student engagement in the modern classroom.

In today’s society, technology is omnipresent. Virtually everybody is impacted by the ubiquitous use of smartphones, computers, and other gadgets. It impacts many aspects of our lives; travel, work, hobbies, and time management. Much of our communication is delivered electronically through emails and text messaging.

In James Bryson’s “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” (2003), he states that while a perfect level of “barrier free learning” is not entirely attainable, continuous improvement of providing education to a diverse population is attainable.  Therefore, continuous improvement should always be considered.

principal based practices
Image from Bryson (2003 p. 14)

Examples of barriers to consider are that some learners:

  • are reluctant readers
  • have become technology dependent (obsessed? addicted?)
  • are transactive (do not memorize, rather they learn to find online etc.)
  • prefer passive learning to active learning

Bryson goes on to say that each barrier is an opportunity for the teacher’s skill development.  

Lovell’s post considers the impacts of technology to the instructor:

  • Wealth of information can also provide both opportunities and challenges for the instructor.
  • Sophisticated learning management systems (LMS), such as Moodle, can supply evidence of a students access to information, resources and learning. This can provide insight to the learners’ engagement
  • The need for familiarity with resources available to students. Guide them to quality resources.
  • Classroom management of acceptable gadget use could include:
    • Audio recording the lesson (with teacher’s permission)
    • Looking up unknown words
    • Adding peers to their contacts list
    • Photographing board work or homework assignments
    • Sharing photos when related to class content (for example, family photos on a family unit or holiday pictures on a holidays unit
    • Doing web searches
    • Using the calendar to schedule meetings with other students

Technology tools available in my classroom to use include:

  • Document Camera. These devices use a camera that projects real time video from a tabletop platform. Similar in size and shape to the traditional overhead projector, they are a welcome improvement.
  • Digital Projector. It can be linked to a laptop (ex. animations, simulators, Powerpoint, Youtube) or a document camera
  • Industrial Controllers. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Distributed Control Systems (DCSs). Real equipment used in the labs.

In their presentation “Engaging Adults Learners with Technology“Saint Mary’s College of Minnesota suggests the following software for using technology in the adult classroom:

Forums are another tool for the instructor to engage students and peers. An example is the forums I administered regarding Positive Learning Environments and Technology: Classroom Tool or Distraction?

My role as a teacher is to:

  • Identify and mitigate barriers to learning ” And each time we find ways to reduce barriers to student learning, we reduce barriers to our own enjoyment and satisfaction as teachers” (Bryson 2003)
  • Accommodate diversity (the students aren’t going to change so I should)
  • Embrace technology (if you aren’t moving with the times then you are standing still)
  • Continuously make improvements

The impact for me as an instructor is that I am expected to be an experienced user of all these technologies. As technology improves, new methods and uses are continuous. The instructor must continuously stay focused on their hardware and software skills. The more skilled use of technology by the instructor, the better the motivation and active learning, and thus the greater the student engagement (active learning * motivation = student engagement)[1]

The Impact of Technology and Students’ Engagement

california2007 063
photo by John Powszedny 2007

The sheer magnitude of information available online is intimidating. The students are impacted immensely through bombardment of information. If we require them to use gadgets to learn, how do we ensure that the students are not distracted by the billions of websites and applications on the everyday smart-phone?

Mr. Lovell postulated one way to reach out to the younger students would be to make a game out of learning.  For an on-line learning example, if students were to earn credits, tokens, or other certification while learning, there would be more satisfaction at achieving progressive levels and tasks.  He theorized that “gamification” would increase satisfaction in the learning.

It has been my observation that younger students are more comfortable with using electronic devices than older students.  They have always been around technology, take information for granted, and are adept at finding out what is relevant (and what isn’t).

My classroom includes a diverse cross-section of society ranging in age from 20-50. I asked them “Do you prefer classroom lectures or online learning?” and the entire class preferred classroom lectures. I also got negative feedback regarding Youtube videos (was called a time waster) but did get good reviews for my powerpoint animations.

From this, I conclude that the students want to make efficient use of classroom time. Recommended links to resources, forums, youtube videos etc. can be posted for non-classroom time study material, but don’t necessarily need to consume classroom time.

 What I Learned From My Assignment Partner:

My assignment partner, Mr. Craig Lovell, has created a blog called Technology and the Adult Learner – Engaged or Distracted

Lovell’s opening remark “With the proliferation of technology these days its hard not to feel like its a smorgasbord” has an interesting food metaphor, including his later references to technology-based learning being “fast food” learning.  If an individual wants information on a subject, he or she can simply “google it.” With “endless information available to us anywhere  at any time in multiple formats on multiple devices” Lovell questions the impact on learning, whether it helps or hinder the process of learning engagement.

The issue is whether the self-directed learner having access to “heaps of information” helps with engagement or distract from the learning. Lovell’s example: “Simply Googling ‘adult learning engagement’ for this post yielded over three million results!  Rather than feeling ‘engaged’ I felt a bit more ‘overwhelmed’…but equally thankful for the wealth of information available.”

In our interview and in his post, Lovell considers elements of “gamifying” learning. Gamifying refers to breaking learning down to small sized pieces that offer rewards (ex. tokens, levels, competition). This is similar to a video game, where there are levels to go through to complete a task or certification. The idea is to increase engagement by making the learning more fun by being progressively challenging.

Lovell’s post considers the impacts of technology to the instructor:

  • Wealth of information can also provide both opportunities and challenges for the instructor.
  • Sophisticated learning management systems (LMS), such as Moodle, can supply evidence of a students access to information, resources and learning. This can provide insight to the learners’ engagement
  • The need for familiarity with resources available to students. Guide them to quality resources.
  • Classroom management of acceptable gadget use could include:
    • Audio recording the lesson (with teacher’s permission)
    • Looking up unknown words
    • Adding peers to their contacts list
    • Photographing board work or homework assignments
    • Sharing photos when related to class content (for example, family photos on a family unit or holiday pictures on a holidays unit
    • Doing web searches
    • Using the calendar to schedule meetings with other students

Lovell concludes with the wisdom that “As educators we need to  set the table and provide a  buffet filled with all sort of options that encourage ‘healthy eating’.   As a general rule for most diets we can also indulge in a few treats along the way; everything in moderation.”

Conclusions

Upon reflecting on the research of Lovell and myself, my conclusions are as follows:

  • The internet has increased the quantity of information available, but it has not increased the quality of information available
  • There are certainly more websites to visit than I personally have time for (an understatement)
  • The source of online information should be vetted for reliability (National Libraries for example)
  • Identify and mitigate barriers to learning ” And each time we find ways to reduce barriers to student learning, we reduce barriers to our own enjoyment and satisfaction as teachers” (Bryson 2003)
  • Accommodate diversity (the students aren’t going to change so I should)
  • Embrace technology (if you aren’t moving with the times then you are standing still)
  • Continuously make improvements
  • Opinions are like armpits; everybody’s got one

Personal Reflections (Bonus Rant)

What a far cry from ancient times, when scholars traveled great distances in caravans to seek knowledge in libraries. The quest for knowledge is now at everyone’s fingertips. No effort required.

Fading away are the mental exercises required for finding the knowledge. If an individual wants an opinion or thought on a concept, he or she can “google it” and voila, there it is.

All this exposure to knowledge has a caveat: You cannot believe everything you read on the internet! There is a lot of information and misinformation out there. You want to find out how flat is the earth?  (207 million hits on google). Did Apollo 11 land on the moon? Is Putin a great president? Are there aliens among us? Who will win the Stanley Cup? You may look for the information with a preconceived notion about it, and using that as a filter, can seek out an opinion that agrees with your preconceived notion.

References and Links

Merriam & Bierema, Adult Learning- Linking Theory and Practice (2014 Jossey-Bass)

Elizabeth Barkley – Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty (2010 Jossey-Bass)

James Bryson “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” (2003) http://northernc.on.ca/leid/docs/engagingadultlearners.pdf

Lovell’s blog https://pidpcraigdlovell.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/technology-and-the-adult-learner-engaged-or-distracted/

My blog https://wordpress.com/post/powszedny.wordpress.com/

Positive Learning Environments http://moodle.vcc.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=148377

 Technology: Classroom Tool or Distraction  http://moodle.vcc.ca/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=148659

Engaging Adults Learners with Technology   http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1236&context=libtech_conf

[1] Barkley 2010 p. 6

 

PIDP 3100 Journal 4 – Feeling Creatures That Think

buddha
Photo by John Powszedny 2015

“We may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think”[1]

[1] J.B. Taylor 2009 “My Stroke of Insight” p. 17 (quoted from Merriam & Bierma 2014 p. 170)

Objective:

What have you learned from reflecting on this particular quote? What has caught your attention?
triune Image Link

J.B. Taylor, a neuroscientist, had a stroke.  She was rendered physically unable to walk, talk, read or write.  During her 8 years in rehabilitative therapy, she was the subject of her own study on how the brain functions and repairs itself.

Her quote, on a scientific level, sums up the fact how the brain has evolved, and how we, as humans, react to stimuli.

MacLean’s[2] Triune Brain map shows the brain divided into 3 layers

  • Reptilian (most primitive, reacts instinctively i.e. feed-mate-fight-flight)
  • Limbic System (Paleomammilian, covers reptilian, takes in sensory data and sends to Neo-Cortex)
  • Neo-Cortex (covers Limbic System, distinct to primates, all learning occurs here, “the mind”)

Reflective:

What did you realize about teaching as a result of this quote?
IMG_20140523_190920 (2)Photo by John Powszedny 2015

The Limbic System controls the basic value system of the brain, which enhances or suppresses short term memory (Merriam & Bierema – 2014, p. 169)

As sensory data is processed by the Limbic System before being sent via synapses to the Neo-Cortex, the emotional content of experience is processed before meaning is processed. In other words, when learning something, it is sensed emotionally before it can have meaning applied.

Humans are subject to overwhelming amounts of memory, and we react to the world with our senses and emotions. What is remembered is subject to our feelings, and the emotional state of the learner at the time of learning has a major effect on how the learning is processed.

When teaching, the educator must be able to set a positive learning environment (see the forum I administrated on Positive Learning Environments here). This helps create positive emotions, and (hopefully) enhances learning.

Positive learning environments include elements of:

  • Classroom management (rules and guidelines set a fair standard)
  • Respect (know student’s names, treat all fairly)
  • Clear communication (no sarcasm or misuse of questioning)
  • Comfort (seating, lighting, etc.)

Interpretive:

What was your “Aha!” moment when you read this quote? In what ways did this quote change your mind about being an adult educator? What was one key insight that you now have as a result of this quote?
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My favorite chapter in Merriam and Bierema’s book “Adult Learning” was Chapter 9, “The Brain and Cognitive Functioning.”  This chapter discusses the hard science of neurology and how the brain actually works. I found Taylor’s story fascinating: how she suffered a stroke, went through therapy, and had the “inside story” of how the brain is resilient and can “adapt to change and recover function” (Taylor 2009 p. xv)

The quote really summed up the science: your emotional state is your reactive state to stimuli. If someone is in a bad mood, they are difficult to reason with. Now it makes more sense to me; how anxious people do more poorly on exams. Their emotional state is interfering with their limbic system to neo-cortex synapse communications and hence do more poorly on their exam.

This quote did not change my mind about being an adult educator. If it did, I wouldn’t be writing this paper right now, I would be looking for a different career! It did, however, provide insight into the intertwined reality of science, psychology and teaching. I have a lot to learn.

One key insight that I now have as a result of this quote is that my personal emotional state when teaching can be a big part of the learning of the students. If the lesson starts off with a personal negative emotional state then the learning will not be optimal. A positive attitude is a key part of classroom management.

Decisional:

How has this quote, and the insight that you have gained from reflecting upon it, influenced your notion of teaching or how you will teach in the future?
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The insight I have gained from this quote has inspired me to look for the most beneficial things I can do to help reach the students.

  • Be attentive to my personal emotions and how they affect the learning.
  • Be vigilant in providing the most positive learning environment for all the students. Many wise people have said “Enthusiasm is contagious.”
  • Learn about psychology and neuroscience. The Triune Brain science is interesting.

And one last thought; teaching isn’t rocket science or brain surgery, but it’s close.

References

Adult Learning – Linking Theory and Practice – (Merriam and Bierema, Jossey-Bass 2014)
My Stroke of Insight – Jill Taylor (2009 New York Plume/Penguin)
Triune Brain
My PIDP 3250 forum “Positive Learning”
[1] J.B. Taylor 2009 “My Stroke of Insight” p. 17 (quoted from Merriam & Bierma 2014 p. 170)
[2] The triunebrain model was introduced in the 1960s by American physician and neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean

PIDP 3100 Lesson Planning Assignment

Introduction to Lesson Planning

buddha

Photo by John Powszedny 2015

Contents:

  • Blooms Taxonomy

  • Creating a Positive Learning Environment

  • Motivational Techniques

  • Media

  • Planning

 

Blooms Taxonomy

Apply Bloom’s Taxonomy into lessons.  Consider the component domains: The Affective Domain, Cognitive Domain and Psycho-Motor Domain.

 

The Affective Domain,

  • Receiving and responding to phenomena, valuing, organizing, internalizing.

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The Cognitive Domain

Stratified into layers (see figure above)

  • Knowledge (remember, recognize, recall)
  • Comprehension (interpret, exemplify, classify, summarize, infer, compare, explain)
  • Application (build, choose, construct, model)
  • Analysis (differentiate, organize, attribute)
  • Synthesis (adapt, combine)
  • Evaluation (agree, assess, judge)
  • Creation (adapt, change, maximize, modify)

The Psycho-motor Domain

  • Covers the cognitive skills used to manipulate a tool or instrument. This especially applies to my teaching of tool use and safety.

 

 

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

In order to create a positive learning environment for the students (and me), the following items should be considered:

  • Classroom management, such as rules and guidelines, sets a fair standard for all the students.
  • Learning the students’ names is a good place to start showing that the educator cars about the students. Treating each student fairly and with respect are also important ways to create a caring connection and trust
  • Use clear communication. Sarcasm and misuse of questioning is not recommended.

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Motivational Techniques

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Humor in classroom video link

 

  • Define the purpose (economic etc.) to the lesson
  • Set guidelines and resources for SDL[1]. Consider aspects of the flipped classroom
  • Students take students take responsibility and accountability for their goals.
  • Incorporate stories and humorous anecdotes into lectures.
  • Stimulate motivation with enthusiasm and humor
  • Avoid unpredictability and misuse of praise.
  • Content must be relevant, practical and useful. Keep on topic.
  • Students are motivated by grades. Regular monitoring and checking with quizzes, exams and assignments are necessary.

Media

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The following must be considered when applying media:

  • Video, often Youtube videos, are sometimes time wasters. I have had some negative feedback and have learned that sometimes it is better to do a personal demonstration on the whiteboard or using the document camera
  • Use real equipment or animation visuals for demonstrations
  • Use Powerpoint more effectively. They can enhance presentations, but do not stand alone well.
  • Our handouts are dated and need improvement
  • Online resources can be added to a blog for the students to link to
  • Concept maps used are schematic representations of the learning

Planning

The following must be considered when planning lessons

  • Objectives must be clear. The content will reflect the learning objectives in a clear concise manner. Rational must include relevance to the real world and applied to the curriculum
  • Time, digital media, slides, and handout content must be organized
  • Co-operating with other faculty and institutional schedules. Be a good team player
  • Collaborative planning[2], such as short-term planning, accommodating special needs, and allocation of resources
  • The curriculum should be divided into units. This could be approached by using backward design

 

Conclusion

I will be using this paper as a guide to plan my lessons in the future. Thanks for reading and please post your comments.

 

References and Links

Adult Learning – Linking Theory and Practice – (Merriam and Bierma, Jossey-Bass 2014)

The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice. Dumont, H. & Istance, D. (Organization for Economic Co-operative Development 2010)

Rethinking Secondary Education: A Human-Centered Approach” (Scherto Gill, Garrett Thomson, Routledge 2013 p. 49)

Blooms Taxonomy

Humor in the classroom link

My PIDP 3250 forum “Positive Learning”

Engaging Adult Learners

Creating a Positive Learning Environment for Adult Learners

Goal setting for teachers

Backward design

——Footnotes ———————

[1] Self-Directed Learning – the process in which individuals take the initiative in setting their learning goals (Merriam & Bierma 2014 p. 63)

[2] http://www.sd71.bc.ca/resources/plc/10%20RESOURCES%20Tchr%20Collaboration/Librarian%20Collaborative%20Planning.pdf

 

PIDP 3100 – 21st Century Competencies

In Chapter 1 of Merriam & Bierma’s “Adult Learning – putting theory to practice”, the concepts of Adult Learning in the 21st century are explored. Topics such as; the social context of Adult Learning, Globalization, The Knowledge Society, Technology, Changing Demographics, The Adult Learner, and Participation in Adult Learning are covered. As an extension of the Knowledge Society topic, the focus of this journal post is 21st century competencies.

21st Century Competencies

The “Knowledge Society”, which has replaced the industrial society, has implications for global learning and educational systems.  Knowledge is directly correlated to economic activity. National education systems must adapt to this economic reality if they are to remain prosperous.

According to Dumont and Istance (2010), the 21 century competencies are:

  • Deep understanding
  • Flexibility
  • Capacity to make creative connections
  • Good team-working

Deep Understanding

Knowledge is cheap, wisdom is priceless             Jay Deragon 2013

The anytime/anywhere access to the internet to get information has benefits, both positive and negative. The market is being spoon fed knowledge by using search engines. However, as Deragon points out, knowledge cannot be found in the dictionary or Google.  It must be learned.

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Flexibility

Hamstring stretch diagramCognitive flexibility is the human ability to adapt the cognitive processing strategies to face new and unexpected conditions in the environment (Cañas, Quesada, Antolí and Fajardo, 2003).

Cognitive flexibility is the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.

In our information world, sometimes concepts contradict one another. One must have the flexibility to think critically and make decisions about the multiple concepts.

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Capacity to Make Creative Connections

Being a good thinker requires a wide range of skills, sensitivities and values. Thinking also involves being able to make creative connections between different areas of knowledge.

In the book “Rethinking Secondary Education” (Gill & Thomson 2013), it is stated “The capacity to make creative connections between different areas of knowledge can generate new understanding for the learner.”  For example the study of optics and graphic design can be inter-related creatively.

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Thus it can be seen that in order to have a capacity for creative connections, one must be a good thinker, be literate (usually a person who cannot read, listen, write and speak well also cannot think well), be knowledgeable in multiple disciplines, and have the capacity to combine knowledge and skills from the multiple disciplines. For instance technical expertise and writing skills combined to write a book.

Teamwork

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Increasingly, work is being done as a committee or in groups.  A necessary skill is to be able to work with your group and the results for the greater good. Teamwork requires a positive attitude, critical thinking, sensitivity, good judgement, and other soft skills.

Conclusion

In the modern working and learning world, one needs to understand the concepts, and be flexible, creative, and work well on a team.

Technology and education are making information available to everyone, but the caveat is that there is a lot of information and misinformation on the Internet, be careful.

References

Adult Learning – Linking Theory and Practice – (Merriam and Bierma, Jossey-Bass 2014)

The Nature of Learning:Using Research to Inspire Practice  Dumont, H. & Istance, D. (Organization for Economic Co-operative Development 2010)

Rethinking Secondary Education: A Human-Centered Approach” (Scherto Gill, Garrett Thomson, Routledge 2013 p. 49)