301 – Assignment 1.4

Assignment 1.4

How do you see these concepts applying to you as an adult learner?

It is helpful to know, understand and realize that as we mature, our learning process changes. And that change is different for different people. It is helpful for me as an adult learner to understand these concepts as I go forth as a lifelong learner. For example, the idea that I will be in control of my learning and being able to apply it right away to my situation by setting objectives to the learning principles being taught touches on several of the concepts outlined by Malcom Knowles in his book “The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species.”

How do you see these concepts applying to you as one who helps to educate others?

As I read through Knowles’s nine points, I tried to think of situations where this might apply to my workshops and presentations. These will be similar to my answers below and so will highlight them there.

What information from these reading has been the most helpful to you as you begin to look at how you learn and instruct?

Being a problem solver, I caught myself, time and again, thinking of situations where these concepts came up in my own workshops and presentations and trying to think of solutions or ideas that may affect those learners I am trying to affect. Below are some examples of these ideas.

Point 1 – Control of their learning

Topics (p 16. Fogarty) – Provide a list of 21st century skills topics learners could choose from. For example, from the Framework for 21st Century Learning, one could choose from such topics as: Global Awareness topics; Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy issues; Civic Literacy; Health Literacy; Learning and Innovation Skills; Information, Media and Technology Skills; and Life and Career Skills. I could also use any of the other research based concepts to build a “topics framework” around.

Location – Allow several options for participants choosing their location. We have the opportunity to provide onsite workshops held at our ESU, or onsite at the school. We can also use distance learning equipment such as Skype or LifeSize. We have also provided workshops using webinar software such as Adobe Connect. There are also options for those educators wishing to take online courses using the Angel software (like Blackboard.)

Time Frame – Giving educators the option to choose when they take their workshops is very beneficial and I like to give them opportunities that span the entire year rather than just a one time shot. For example, we bring in participants in the summer for a 3 day summer camp that will start the year. Then, throughout the year they can choose to enhance their knowledge in a particular area mentioned above in the Topics section. They can choose their location which will help them be successful throughout the year. At the end of the year, we like them to present their projects to their original group, the new summer camp group, or at a state or national conference.

Mode – The mode can be face to face, distance learning, asynchronous and/or self directed by find websites and other places to learn.

Point 2: Immediate Utility

With this point, I would like to be able to explain more research based topics such as the Horizon Report in the need with connecting with students. The Horizon Report is based on a timeline of technologies that research indicates will affect education in the next year, 1-3 years, and 4-5 years. This shows the immediate impact their choice of learning could potentially have in their classroom.

Point 3: Focus on issues that concern them.

One of the questions I ask at the beginning of workshops and will continue to ask because of this point is, “Why are you here?” It is important to have a personal or professional connection to the content for learning to take place.

Point 4: Test their learning as they go

As I thought about this, I reflected on an activity I have had them do in the past. It has been helpful to break up the day and have a show and share opportunity. Participants can also team up with a partner several times throughout the day and share their project and any feedback.

Point 5: Anticipate how they will use their learning

As a review for a particular concept I am teaching or as an intro to a new concept, I often ask the question, “How might you use this?”

Point 6: Expect Performance Improvement

I will occasionally ask them if they have anything they will “take-away” from the workshop and share with colleagues back at school. If they have improved their performance in the workshop, they are usually willing to share.

Point 7: Maximize available resources

If time allows, it is helpful to organize a mixer of some sort so the participants can learn about one another and their strengths. This help maximize the knowledge each individuals brings to the workshop.

Point 8: Require collaborative, respectful, mutual, and informal climate

One could provide socializing opportunities during lunch or breaks that focus on the content.

Point 9: Rely on information that is appropriate and developmentally paced

Using a framework such as Classroom Instruction that Works by Marzano gives teachers a path to improve their knowlege. The framework provides an effect size for each strategy and could become the outline each participant would have based on prior knowledge and sill level in each. This would also require a pre-assessment of the student of some sort, whether formal or informal.

301 – Assignment 1.3

Assignment 1.3

Which three telltale comments relate to you as an adult learner?

I have the opportunity to attend quite a few workshops and once a year, get to attend a national conference. Through these learning opportunities, I have, over the years, become increasingly picky about what I attend. So, there are quite a few of these telltale signs that relate to me.

#1 I hope this isn’t a waste of my time.

I am part of a statewide organization in Nebraska called TAG (Technology Affiliate Group) that is part of a larger Professional Development Organization. We have several technology trainings throughout the year in which we can partake. Years ago, I would go to every training I could, whether it was relevant to what I taught or not. As I have matured, I realize there is too much for just one person to do and so let my teaching partners take up where I would leave off and vice-a-versa. The three other people I work with on a daily basis and I decide what is important for each of us to fulfill our mission and these are the workshops we attend. They may be together or they may be separate but we make sure it isn’t a waste of our time.

#5 Who says? Who says this is better?

When trying to find new ways to integrate cutting edge technology it is often difficult to find data to support learning growth at the student level. This is why I try to focus everything I teach on research based concepts rather than the latest technology tools. My top three sources I use to back the technology I teach are materials from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Classroom Instruction that Works by Robert Marzano, and the Horizon Report.

Being a big fan of twitter and having a large network of education technology folks, there are a lot of suggestions for new technology discussed that don’t relate to the concepts and are just techy for the sake of playing with the newest, latest or greatest toys. The tools I use and teach must have some relevant education value for me to share.

#8 I want to look this up on my own.

I have to admit that I am a bit ADHD and it is extremely difficult for me to sit through a workshop or presentation without being able to process what it is they are talking about or showing. I am constantly Googling and looking up resources the instructor is talking about. I even found myself trying to find relevant images in a recent workshop that was talking about the RtI process in Math. Not having much background in this area, I was finding Math resources and RtI resources to enhance what the speaker was presenting. I find it extremely useful for presenters to provide other resources for further investigation.

Which two telltale comments do you witness most in those you work to educate?

#1 I hope this isn’t a waste of my time.

I hear this time and time again from teachers in any professional development environment. Teachers have plenty on their plate and they could be doing a lot of other things other than sitting in a training that doesn’t pertain to them. They could be planning or checking papers or whatever it may be. Through the years, I have had a few teachers come to my workshops because they would receive grant dollars or their administration forced them to come. But because they perceived it was a waste of their time, got nothing out of the workshop and did nothing during or after the training with their newfound knowledge.

#3 Can I use this right away?

This is two fold. One side of the coin is they want the time in a workshop to develop a product and so they want time to use the knowledge immediately in the training. The other side is once they have their end product, will they be able to use it right away when they get back to their school.

We used to do a lot of workshops on Digital Storytelling. In the beginning we would have canned projects for them to work on throughout the day to learn the process. And while they learned HOW to create digital stories, we found that letting them come up with their own project was much more beneficial. Not only could they relate to the project on a personal level, they also had a product they could take home and be proud of – maybe using it in the class for instruction or having something to show family.

As an instructor, share with the class some of your “best practices” in dealing with students and these telltale comments.

As I read through the telltale comments, some thoughts popped into my mind in how I have dealt with situations where these come up.

#1 – Although I share learning objectives I want my participants to achieve by the end of the workshop, I always ask them what their expectation is so I have a clear picture and know what they need.

#2 I try to make the workshop presentation relevant or practical for each person. For example, when teaching a WordPress workshop, I ask them how they are going to use their web presence using this software. If they don’t have ideas, I will dig deeper into his/her background and help them come up with ideas or show them examples of how other teachers are using it in their classrooms.

#3 When deciding which technologies support a particular learning concept, I try to choose something that I know the participants will have access to when they get back to their district. For example, lots of districts will censor or block websites such as YouTube. So, I will show them alternatives that are not blocked such as TeacherTube.

#4 Always let them work on projects that pertain to them or their classroom.

#5 Always have something to back up the concept. For example, if I am teaching Google Docs, there might not be any data suggesting it raises test scores. But, if I teach Google Docs with the concept of collaboration as a needed 21st century skill or as one of Marzano’s nine strategies, there is much more research data supporting this concept.

#6 Other than introductory presentations, every workshop has the objective of being able to walk out knowing how to implement a particular skill with the technology that is being shown. Teachers who come in wanting a web presence expect to know how to update their spelling lists or lesson plans. My best practice for this is to have them do it! Hands-on. I also fell it helps them if they use their own equipment and so encourage them to bring a laptop of their own.

#7 I don’t feel comfortable teaching a topic that I don’t know or do myself. I try to stretch myself and try new things. I tend to get to know the ins and outs of anything I am going to teach. I also attend trainings that are relevant and work with others that teach the same concepts and technologies.

#8 I provide resources for further investigation. There has never been a time that I’ve had a lack of material to present and so giving them resources to investigate is easy to do by providing them with a website or handout for them to take home.

#9 Although I have not actively encouraged this in the past, I have really seen how this can be beneficial in my last couple of workshops. I will definitely start to encourage teams of participants.

#10 I need to find some strategies to encourage people to share their expertise. With technology workshops, people feel intimidated by the technology and tend to forget their expertise in the context in which it is shared or integrated (ie: teaching.) I will sometimes have someone share how they are using it in their classroom but it tends to put that person on the spot and may actually discourage others from sharing because the person “knows so much” already. I’ll definitely be looking for strategies to help with this telltale comment.

My Favorite Window

This was an introductory assignement for my AEDU 301 online class. Thought I would share with you!

My favorite windows are in our dining room. Upon entering the room in the morning, the distinct aroma of freshly brewed coffee with a steaming cup sitting on the table engulfs me.  As I sit at the table enjoying my coffee and reading my latest book, magazine or newspaper, Daisy is usually at my feet looking up at me with those adorable brown puppy eyes. Peering out the windows to the south, I see our lake and neighbor’s houses. Just beyond is farmland with bountiful corn turning brown as it starts drying out for the season and, occasionally, cows grazing nearby. Through the windows to the west is again our lake and beach where the kids have so much fun playing in the water and digging in the sand. Summers are filled with friends laughing, splashing and having a good time. To the north is the Platte River with overgrown cottonwood trees, flowing water, sandbars, and all sorts of wildlife roaming by. This fall we have added a flock of 18 turkeys to the neighborhood that visit us on a daily basis but we have also had beavers, raccoons, deer and even a bobcat! We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy the view from our favorite windows.

Weekend DIYer

I am a closet Do-It-Yourselfer. I love doing projects around the yard and house. Here is my trusty home base for projects. It’s a little messy as I have been busy with quite a few projects. Just to name a few – built and painted new shed, living room remodel, new closet and building of custom closet doors, fall dock maintenance, build a wood cart to store wood for projects, repaint landscape lighthouse and replace light and install basketball hoop for Cole’s birthday.


The Element

How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

I finished reading this fabulous book by Sir Ken Robinson this evening. You can find it on Amazon. There are some good take-aways for me. The main idea really supports my ideology that creativity is so important to the learning process and that the current system we have in place tends to squash this by the time we reach the end of elementary school. Unengaged students have no connection to their learning. I like the examples Ken gives of schools systems that are working. I am looking forward to hearing him speak to the Nebraska ESU PDO in November. Check out this great video on TED Talks in which Ken says schools kill creativity.


Therapy Dog Visit

Daisy and I visited Good Samaritan Hospital this evening. We walked around meeting new people and checking out new places to visit throughout the hospital. Here Daisy is sitting in the lobby. It’s amazing the impact she makes on patients and visitors alike.


Moments in Time

Today is one of those days in history that really affected me. It’s one of those days I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when announced our nation was under attack. It was a Tuesday and we had a scheduled LAN Managers meeting at the ESU that day. As soon as word  was out that we were under attack, we had the TV’s in the building tuned in to CNN to watch the horror and devastation of that fateful day.

So eight years has passed and I reflect upon why this event impacted me and what has stuck with me that changes the way I think, interact and carry out my life on a daily basis. When I think about this day, I realize how fragile life is and how easily, in the blink of an eye, our whole lives can change by the actions of another. Changed by the actions of hatred and fanatical ideology. Thousands of people died that day and thousands more are dying even today as a result.

I visited the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon this summer and it was one of the most moving places I have ever been. The power I felt by just standing in the garden was amazing. Being able to see and feel the people in the plane and the people in the building who gave their lives on that day was an experience I just can’t describe in words.


Photo provided under Creative Commons Licensing by:
/ CC BY-SA 2.0

So what have I been able to take away from this tragic event?

  • Live every day like it’s your last.
  • Wake up in the morning and thank your God for what you have.
  • There are bad people out there but don’t let fear of what could or has happened control your life.
  • Our government isn’t always right or have our best interest at heart.
  • We have too much bureaucracy.
  • In spite of the last two statements, we are damn lucky to be Americans.
My challenge for you is to take a few minutes and reflect about what today means to you and share it with someone. You’ll both be better for it!

Skatin’ Machine

The little man learned how to skate today. He has was on his skates from 9:00 this morning until 7:00 tonight. He’ll sleep good!


Well Problems Resolved

We have been having problems with water pressure at our house for the last year. The yard has been crying for more water. I have had the sprinkler guys out several time and they said we need more pressure. After trying to get one plumber out for about a year, I finally called another one and he came out to give us more water pressure. Well, he found out that we weren’t getting enough water to our pressure tank. So, we had to call the well company. They came out and replaced a bad pressure tank. Well, they left for the weekend and we still had water pressure issues. Even worse, as a matter of fact. So I called them up and they came back out on Monday. They ended up pulling the pump out and replacing it. Not after much wrestling with the cottonwood tree that is less than a foot away. Yes, a tree planted less than a foot away from the well. Guess we’ll be cutting that down soon. But, after all of this, we finally have water! And lots of it! The yard is loving it – the checkbook, not so much.