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


  1. Hi Tawana

    I agree that teachers should possess a variety of pedadogical tools and techniques in order to support a variety of learners of diverse strengths along with different types of learning, whether it be to support the memorization of facts or to support the development of critical thinking skills. Siemens (2008) article makes a case for the non traditional intsructor in the age of digital learning. If we are to engage and motivate our students to learn, we need to adapt our teaching styles to the learning needs of the 21st century classroom.

  2. Please see the reference for Siemens (2008) in the my comment above:


    Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks : Changing roles for educators and designers. Retrieved from http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/Paper105/Siemens.pdf%20

  3. Tawana Stiff: Mittoo’s response to Siemens’ (2008) Concierge Role.

    The concierge assigns the instructor to be a caretaker for students. The learning environment properly prepared fosters learning. The teacher provides the learning tools and resources. One of my popular quotes for Siemens (2004) is his belief in the technological age. He states “… connectivist theory is for the digital age where individuals learn and work in a network” (Anderson 2010, p. 34). This means teachers must become technology savvy to prepare the network environment.

    If students are “spoon-feed’ information, the entire class is at risk in gaining research skills. Dependency is on the teacher. Accountability is certainly lost, and the child loses important skills working with technology tools and materials. Structure and organization of the learning environment should not interrupt students’ expectation with less than what is expected. Siemens (2006) tells us “It is not about controlling. It is about fostering…and guiding.” The concierge must provide a tool to learning, which address the question of “the metrics of success” (p.41). One drawback is faculty inconsistency. Solution can be through teachers’ professional development.
    *Anderson, T. (2010).The theory and Practice of Online learning (2nd ed.) AU Press, Athabasca University.
    *Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Retrieved from www.knowingknowledge.com
    *Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM.

  4. Twana - Thanks for expanding on the concerge role of teachers. I hadn't really thought about the dependency of students on learning in regards to this role. I can see how that would be an issue. How do we balance finding resources for the students and allowing them the time to gather their own resources? Have you ever used a customized search? http://www.google.com/cse/ You can list the sites that you want the students to search and it will only search those sites. I think this is a good mid point between directing them to a particular site, and an all out internet search.

  5. Greetings Vida!

    Yes, certainly educators must have a variation of instructional tools in their repertoire as "one size does not fit all." So ina ccordance with your reply, I agree that we must use the apropriate tools to accomodate, engage and motivate a plethora of learning styles. In addition, it is also important to expose our students to various modalities of learning since they may be required to function in one of these various modes in subsequent courses or within their careers later on in life. If we want our students to be successful, then as a concierge, we must provide them with a wide-range of experiences that will allow them to engage in independent/collaborative thinking so they make sense of and solve problems.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  6. Greetings Mittoo!

    In the quote you included by Siemens, I love the fact that it includes terms like "connectivist and network" since both imply the need for connection and collaboration. As the concierge, instructors must provide students with experiences and tools that will allow them (the students) to discover the connection between things they do in the classroom and things they do in their personal life outside of school. In addition, teachers must encourage students to network by creating an authentic learning context in which students must engage in collaboration and tap into available resources to aquire the information that is needed to be successful.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  7. Greetings Mrs. Thibodeau!

    You raise a valid inquiry with regards to how we develop that independency in our students. In alignment with your suggestion of filtering a list a searchable web sites, I think we must make sure students have the tools they need to be independent before we expect them to be independent. Think about it....we are adults enrolled in Post-graduate courses. Yet, our instructors provide the a list of the resources that we need to successfully complete the task within this course. If our instructors simply directed us to respond to a given discussion prompt without providing us with any resources, our responses would likely be all over the place in there would be no continuity in the learning. Therefore, I think what you suggested is key. Provide students with resources. Provide students with a purpose. Then, let the students use their own brains to determine which resource or tool should I use to meet my purpose. In essence, this is exactly what a concierge does - - provide exposure to resources, tools and experiences that encourage students to see how all 3 components fit together.

    Thanks for your feedback.