Thursday, May 24, 2012

Module 6

I provided feedback to Vida Martin and Martha Thibbodeau

Module 6 Post

 I believe the one thing that is critical and non-negotiable in both teaching is that all students be provided with an equal opportunity to succeed. It is the teachers job to provide that opportunity, but it is the learners job to cease the opportunity.

Although some students may come in far below grade level, it is still possible for all students to achieve success when provided the right opportunities. Throughout this course, we have read and discussed various learning theories that imply methodologies and practices that can be applied to promote student learning. If teachers have students who are struggling due to a lack of motivation, the behaviorist theory can be applied in a sense where students recieve positive reinforcement whenever they complete an outcome as desired by the teacher. If the problem stems from a student who appears to be disengaged, the teacher can try integrating Gardner's multiple theories of intelligences to accomodate the students preferred learning style. In the case where a student is simply struggling to grasp a concept due to limited background knowledge, the teacher may want to start off by applying the connectivist theory in which the student is encouraged to corroborate with other students who may be able to enlighten the struggling student in ways in which the teacher wasn't.

All in all, there are so many approaches educators can take to ensure success in all students. As long as teachers acknolwedge that "one size does not fit all" they will be doing their students justice as they incorporate a multitude of theoretical approaches to meet the various needs of their students.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Module 5

I provided feedback to Laura Lee and Vida Martin.

Module 5

Recently, I encouraged my fellow faculty members to utilize Google Docs to facilitate department meetings and collaboratively record meeting minutes. For the most part, the (math) department that I am a part of of was very supportive and willing to try this new approach. However, many of the other staff members appeared to lack enthusiasm and viewed Google Docs as an addition to the technological demands to which they were already trying to adjust and incorporate in daily routines. The behaviors were not rude or pessimistic, but instead, were rather passive and lacking in any visible signs of enthusiasm or willingness to try. Using Keller's Model, the motivation of my colleagues can definitely be changed.

As Driscoll (2005) suggested, I would first want to get the attention of my colleagues. Using a staff meeting as my platform, I could project the creation and participation in a Google Doc so everyone could see how simple it is to do. I could enhance the relevance by explaining how it is difficult for us to travel from classroom to classroom throughout the day - - and this technological tool allows us to communicate and collaborate without being face to face. In addition, when we assign one member of a team to create an artifact such as a lesson plan or a quiz, there is disappointment when the finished product does not reflect everyone's standards of quality. With the use of Google Docs, all members of a team can collaborate in the creation of artifacts together. This is turn builds confidence in each member since they are a contributing factor. Lastly, there is a general satisfaction since the contributors and administrators can view the 'revision history' in the Google Docs to see the contributions that every member of the team made. That way, the administration can be satisfied that every member of the team is on board. And the members of the various teams can be satisfied in knowing that there contributions do not go unacknowledged.

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Module 4

Connectivism Theory takes into account the fact that learning and knowledge are acquired differently today in comparison to past years. I chose to represent my mindmap in this particular fashion due to the fact that many areas encompass other areas as well. For example, when I think of aquiring information, I realize that can be done by accessing resources in isolation. Whereas, acquiring knowledge can also be the result of engaging in cooperative environment in which individuals work togeter or in collaborative environments in which individuals contribute together. Therefore, it was difficult for me to separate the entities into separate categories since there is an obvious overlap in the nature of all areas depicted in my mindmap.

In terms of how my portrayed networks have change the way I learn, I would say the time and quality have improved. The timing has improved in terms of efficiency in learning. Rather than waiting to learn or discover on my own or in isolation, I am able to collaborate with other educators (who are more experienced with technology integration) and discover new ideas through them. My learning is no longer limited to exposure to people in my same enviroment. I am able to access a plethora of ideas via people from different geographic areas with varying level of experience as it applies to educational technology. With this is mind, the quality of my learning is enhanced since it is broader due to the exposure to diverse opinions via modern technologies (Siemens, 2004). The collaboration that is also available online has added to the quality since my shortcomings can be corrected by others and vice versa.

To reiterate the impact that digital technology has had on my learning, I will expound on my use of Google Docs. For the first time, the math department at my school used Google Docs as a platform to facilitate our weekly meetings. I shared the document with my building administrators and district leaders to show them how powerful this tool could be to promote collaboration (contributing together) and decrease cooperation (simply working together). In the past, the math department has always split up responsibilities. The problem with this was quality control and timing. Timing was a problem since some individuals would not complete their assigned task within the specified timeframe. And quality was a problem since there was one person working on each component and there were varying standards of expectations with regards to what quality work should look like. Utilizing Google shared documents will resolve this matter since all members of our team will contribute to the creation and development of the documents (lesson plans,formative/summative assessments, meeting minutes, team goals, etc.) and can address any revisions or editing issues up front in lieu of waiting to see an error filled artifact that was completed in isolation by one member of our team.

When I have questions, I am now able to learn by posting those questions in an open it a social network such as facebook or a educational form such as the Class Cafe in my online course. I can also do a Google search to find the answer to my question as well. I no longer have to spend tedious hours reading through pages of material or waiting to encounter an experience that will help answer my question. Efficiently being able to find an answer via the computer and assess the quality of the answer based on credible sources are two of the benefits that connectivism theory correlates with many of the digital age technologies included in my mindmap.

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Module 3

“Survival of the Fittest” describes the old human mentality according to Howard Rheingold (2008). As I ponder on this, I question whether or not this is still the current human mentality. Rheingold (2008) believes that over time, the human mentality has evolved to one that has lessened in competiveness to make room for cooperation and collaboration. While I agree that 21st century problems, require collaborative-based 21st century solutions, I still believe that the “destroy competition” mentality overpowers the willingness to cooperate in some cases.

Professional Learning Communities are being established in today’s schools in an effort to increase uniformity and collaboration across the board. However, the fact that there are still teachers who cling to the concept of working in isolation leads me to believe that people do not necessarily have a natural inclination to interact and work in groups. For whatever reasons, there are some people who are naturally inclined to work alone. Even those who prefer collaborative work, tend to evaluate their work load as an individual rather than as a member of a larger community. For example, when my boss sends us emails of a list of task he wants completed, considering how “I” will meet all the deadlines is one of the first things I consider. After further processing the assigned tasks, I may consider how a colleague and I can collaborate to get the task done and make efficient use of our time as a cooperative team. But, my initial thoughts were of the course of actions “I” would take to get the tasks done. This is just an example to further elucidate the natural inclination we have to work in isolation in lieu of collaboration.

As I had previously mentioned, I consider collaboration to be effective since it takes multiple perspectives and varying levels of expertise into account. Collaboration enables people to complete task in a more proficient and time efficient manner. One technological resource that I recently used (for the first time) to engage in collaborative work was Google Docs. For my EDUC 7105 course, the members of my learning community took a constructivist approach (2005) to collaborating as we all provided input in responding to 5 questions about our selected learning theory. Rather than each of us simply selecting a question to answer, we all constructed a cohesive and agreed upon response to all 5 questions. We all played a part in the editing and revising for each question included in the table. Utilizing technology in such a manner definitely breaks down the tendency to work in isolation since the productivity of team work is made prevalent.

To read more about the positive effects that collaboration has on learning, please go to the following website:


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

 Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved from

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Module 2

In exploring Bill Kerr's blog page on isms (2007), I must agree with the notion that it is difficult to reject the various isms due to the amount of research and empirical evidence that support them. One one hand, you have tangible proof to document the accuracy and validity of these isms. But at the same time, there is also alot of overlap that almost makes these isms a part of one larger idea rather than them being separate belief systems or theories.

To expound on this, I will focus on some of my own professional experiences in regards to the various isms. An objectivism approach is similar to behaviorism in the sense that both focus on controlling external factors to increase desired responses. As a teacher in a P.B.I.S district, we reward students with Eagle Bucks when they exhibit positive behavior that aligns with one of our 4 major school-wide expectations. Students view these eagle bucks as a tangible reward since they can be used to purchase school spirit wear, school supplies and admission to movie and popcorn events or open gym. In alignment with the behaviorist or objectivist view, yes, external rewards do affect behavior. So in this case, the behaviorism and objectivism views are validated.

However, if you explore this reward system from a different angle, there is essentially proof that the two aforementioned isms are only addressing one piece of the human puzzle. If I shift focus to students who continue to make negative choices that do not coincide with our school-wide expectations, then I acknowledge that there are some students for which the external reward system just simply does not work. This is when it may be necessary to explore some of the other isms that deal with the internal processes taking place within a student's mind. If I decided to approach a student and find out why they were not responding to our P.B.I.S rewards system, the student may inform me that they simply do not see any value in the rewards they recieve. Yes, this is a simple reason. But, it is a piece of information that I would not have known if I kept attempting to elicit a positive student response with  a plethora of rewards that held no value with the student. So in the case, where the external approach was ineffective, I would need to rely on an introspective approach to gain insight to the student's thoughts .

So in this sense, the effectiveness of the behaviorism or objectivism approach is somewhat lessened since a person's mind and internal thoughts were able to be accessed through a simple question and response. This rejects the notion of the mind being an inaccessible black box.

Reading Bill Kerr's blog inspired me to elaborate on my school-wide P.B.I.S approach which is based on two isms (behaviorism and objectivism) and yet heavily relies on constructivisim since we may alter the rewards systems based on student thoughts and feedback.

So, in accordance with Kapp (2007) there is no ism that supercedes the next as there is a co-dependence is which the inadequacies of one ism are made up for by the strengths of another. So in other words, the things that are not addressed within the behaviorism approach are addressed in one of the other isms.


Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Module 1 Blog Post

Prompt: Critique Siemens’s “metaphors of educators.” Which of these metaphors best describes the role you believe an instructor should take in a digital classroom or workplace? Is there a better metaphor to reflect your view of the role of instructors?

According to this week's reading, Siemen's (2008) best describes the role that I believe an instructor should take in a digital classroom as follows:

Educators acting as a concierge must direct learners "to learning opportunities or resources that they may not be aware of" (Siemens, 2008, p. 16). My interpretation of this metaphor is simply that teachers must act as a guide by exposing students to experiences and tools that will enable them to successfully construct knowledge and apply skills in the appropriate context.

When teachers simply spoon-feed information to students, not only are they fostering co-denpendent thinkers - - in which students recurringly rely on others to make sense of problems for them; but in addition, it takes away from student accountability and ownership over learning.

As I whole-heartedly agree with Siemen's metaphor, there is no other metaphor that I see more fitting to describe the role educators must play in the lives of their students. In addition to this metaphor, however, I think it is important for teachers to also consider when it is apprporiate to take a more direct instructional approach; and when to take a step back and let students experience the disequilibrium that is associated with them persevering through making sense of the learning environment their instructor has created.

Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from