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