Too Much?

Have you ever felt, well, overwhelmed when taking on a new challenge? My degree program requires taking 9 hours on American history and culture. On top of the hours, there is community service/volunteer hours one has to take part in. That part of the requirement is not the challenge as I routinely volunteer for several causes at a time.  The challenge came in the mail in the form of the two required texts. One of these books has so much text in it I know I am going to struggle. I love reading but there is so much here, I don’t know how I am going to get through it. The second text is the companion reader to help you understand the first. Ughhh… This is NOT one of my strengths! History has always intrigued me, but not to this level. However, I am willing to take on this challenge and vow to do my best. There will be much assigned reading and writing and discussion and so you may or may not see much of me on here in the coming months. Hopefully there will be some nuggets of informative opinion I can share but we’ll have to see.

Until next time!

About Bellevue University’s Center for American Vision and Values

Google Docs Viewer

You can use Google Docs Viewer to display PDFs, PowerPoints, or TIFF files in an online viewer so your audience does not have to download the file and have a third party view to display your files. You only need to put your files in an accessible place on the Internet. Once you have the URL for your file, visit to generate the code you need.  Here is an example of a PDF I have created.

View Podcast Planning Table

What is your favorite EdTech blog?

Some great blogs people suggested when I asked on Twitter and Facebook:

I also have some that I use in my WordPress workshop. You can find them here:

Please share others!

331 – Assignment 1.2

Assignment 1.2

As stated in Chapter 2 of your text, critical thinking involves an integrated set of thinking abilities and attitudes, including thinking actively, exploring situations, thinking independently, viewing situations from different perspectives, and discussing ideas in an organized way. For this assignment, you will analyze a fictional court case with Mary Barnett as the defendant.  First, read the information in Chapter 2 regarding the case. Then analyze the key dimensions of this court case and give a verdict.  Synthesize your thoughts regarding this case in a few paragraphs in which you explain the reasons and evidence that influenced your verdict. Then add your responses to any three of the following analysis questions at the end of your paragraphs.

Continue reading “331 – Assignment 1.2”

331 – Assignment 1.1

Assignment 1.1

Chapter 1 of the text introduces critical thinking as an active process and lays the foundation for achieving goals, making effective decisions and learning to think creatively.  For this assignment, you will analyze a future decision. First, describe an important decision in your academic or personal life that you will have to make in the near future. Then, using the five-step decision-making approach described in Chapter 1, analyze your decision and conclude with your “best” choice. Using your webcam, share your analysis with your colleagues.

Continue reading “331 – Assignment 1.1”

321 – 4.2 The Personal Development Journal

This is a reflective post as it relates to my Learning Styles class. We are using the Strenght, Improvement, Insight model. (Beyerlein & Apple, 2005)

StrengthDescribe the strongest learning experience(s) you had thus far and why it/they were important to you.

I have very much appreciated creating and participating in the blogs in this course. The interaction is much less formal and allows for a more true representation of thoughts and feelings on particular topics. It allows for informal conversation and reflection on topics of interest.

ImprovementReflect on how you could improve your learning in the future.

As I went through the Learning Styles course, I found out much about myself in terms of how I learn and some different applications to help me develop the skills to improve my learning process in the future. As indicated by my Memletics learning styles scores, I can use my strengths in logical, kinesthetic, visual and interpersonal learning preference to bolster my comprehension of the topics. I can also work on weaknesses by combining a weakness with a strength. For example, I might use my visual strength to enhance my linguistic weakness by using tools such as or Inspiration.

InsightWhat new discoveries/understanding did you get in the learning process? How will you apply it to what you are doing in your daily professional or personal life?

Sean Peck’s blog, “My Thoughts on Adult Learning,” really sparked an element in terms of how I can review my preparations for workshops I do in the future. His statement, “we provide a service and we should strive to have people want our service,” made me think about how I could organize and “advertise” my workshops differently and force myself to think about using a balance of learning styles throughout the day. Not every learning opportunity or topic lends itself well to all learning styles but having a mix and balance would engage more students in the learning process.

The other discovery I had while blogging with other students was that to really learn, I feel you need to put yourself out there and be willing to make mistakes. It is too easy to try and “mediate” a blog post to make it just perfect when really you just want an honest conversation. I believe this, too, needs a balance in terms of being able to effectively disagree with or have a debate and still have a sense of professionalism and still honor the other individual’s accomplishments and views. I believe this is a skill every good teacher/facilitator needs in terms of questioning views and opinions and still having a trusting learning environment for the students.

Learning Styles Debate?

After reading Learning Styles theory at controversy? by Victor Hugo Rojas, I was surprised that there is such debate on Learning Styles. Even to the point where some are calling it racism. I believe education is going to change radically in terms of teaching to the individual and not mass producing industrial age, standardized workers. Not only will learning styles be at the forefront of this movement, it may, dare I say, be the tool that helps us individualize information for learning. The only other concept I can foresee being more relevant would be physiological and psychological brain research that is happening in terms of education and how we learn. And really, these go hand-in-hand. We need to teach to the whole person and we are all unique. Diversifying our instruction goes a long way in communicating with and educating our students.

321 Assignment 3.2

Assignment 3.2

To begin, let’s take a look at the environment which you have created to help your learners learn.* Discuss the following (please provide specific details, so that others may borrow or adapt your ideas for their environment):

  • How have you helped develop/create an environment that promotes trust amongst your learners?
  • How do you encourage learners to take risks in your learning environment? And how do you support them so they don’t fear failure in the public eye of their fellow learners?
  • How do you gain a better perspective of your learners’ learning styles?
  • What do you do to expose your learners to the other learning styles?

For any of these, if you answered “you don’t currently engage in such practices,” explain what you feel you could do differently.

Assignment 3.2 – AEDU 321
Jason Everett

In developing an environment of trust, I do several things with my students. The workshops I hold most are one-day on-site workshops at our ESU. I start by sending out an email to all participants letting them know what they can expect when they arrive to the workshop. I also provide a list of items they may need to have beforehand. I encourage them to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns they may have. I believe this first level contact establishes a communication point where they may feel a little more relaxed in knowing what to expect and a little more about me.

When they arrive I personally greet each person and try to strike up a conversation. This is usually from a professional perspective although I am not apposed to getting into personal conversations either. I try very hard to keep things lighthearted and like to joke with my students. When we have two facilitators, we have fun bantering back and forth and this just sets an easy-going atmosphere. I also have music playing the background. It may be seasonal or just some easy pop or jazz to lighten things up a bit. On the overhead I’ll have the day’s agenda and I usually have a whiteboard with a place for students to put information they want to learn that day. If they are not familiar with our labs or have never been to a workshop at our ESU, I help them log in to the systems and show them where they can check their email and that sort of thing.

Once everyone has arrived and we are ready to start the workshop, we do introductions. I have them do some sort of fun (at least I think they’re fun!) opening activity to introduce themselves. I also try giving them opportunities to have small successes at the beginning of the workshop and building on those throughout the day. All of this, I feel, builds trust so they are more likely to take risks and try new ideas as I push them past their comfort zone.

Participants are more likely to take risks and go outside of their comfort zone if they feel they are supported throughout the process. This requires much encouragement from me and help and patience as they make mistakes. It also helps if their peers are also embarking on a new endeavor together or if they have peers in the workshops that have already been successful in a particular task. I encourage these participants to share their experiences.

In most workshops, I don’t actively pursue knowledge of their learning styles. Rather, I try to incorporate many styles throughout the day. For example, I give them all learning objectives at the beginning of the day with an outline of resources they can refer to during the day or after the workshop. I will introduce topics and give them an opportunity to have hands-on experience with the material in each section. I provide graphical examples as I am talking and also give them an opportunity to sketch their projects with paper and, yes, crayons! Although sometimes hard to do in most computer workshops, I do like to get them up and moving. I do try to break often so they can stretch and get their eyes away from the screen. If it is nice outside, I’ll encourage them to go outside with a partner and may give them assignment to discuss as they walk around the building. Not all but most of these happen throughout the day. It is for their sake/sanity as much as mine!

I believe in the future I may try to find a way to pre-assess learning styles so they are more aware of their own and how to be successful during the day. This might entail a creative opener that highlights these somehow. Then encourage them to delve into their learning style as we progress and let them share their results a couple of times during the day. This could be quite fun! For example, have someone explain their website plan by drawing it on the board. For someone else, they might have us walk through a topic by having us do something hands on. For yet someone else, they might have us break up into groups and share what we have learned. And yet another person might show us some resources they found to support a topic. This could truly be a two way street in terms of teaching and assessing where they are in the learning process.

Series: Technology to Support Multiple Intelligences

This is a series of articles on how and which technologies you might use to support the eight individual intelligences as defined in Dr. Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Here is a sequential outline of the articles:

jason-mi•  Introduction
Word Smart (linguistic intelligence)
Number Smart (logical-mathematical intelligence)
Picture Smart (spatial intelligence)
Body Smart (kinesthetic intelligence)
Music Smart (musical intelligence)
People Smart (interpersonal intelligence)
Self Smart (intrapersonal intelligence)
Nature Smart (naturalistic intelligence)

Your comments, thoughts and ideas are encouraged! Thank you – Jason

Adult Learning Theory – Application in K12

Dr. Joel Merenstein, M.D. wrote a piece titled “Does Adult Learning Theory Apply to Children“.

My summation of his article is that we need to focus on two primary goals when working with our students: Learning comes from 1) teaching others and/or 2) practice by doing.

As I think about this, this may very well work for those with learning styles that support these two applications but what about the interpersonal student. The one who likes to read and think – process the information. I believe these two applications are good in terms more of assessment than learning. These are good ways to find out if the student knows what they have learned as it give us a window into their world. Now granted, in his profession of teaching medical students, this is probably more important than, for example, a literature student. I just don’t want to lose site that every student is unique and will learn and show their learning differently.

Nature Smart

What is nature smart?

This intelligence has to do with relating to one’s natural surroundings.


What are some personality qualities of nature smart people?

Naturalists may be good at growing things, have an instinctive ability with animals, know the outdoors and what it takes to survive in the elements and may also have an acute understanding of weather and weather patterns.

What are some activities and technologies that would help nature smart people in a learning environment?

GPS/Handhelds – Naturalists will love handheld devices that have mapping features such as Google Earth or GPS capabilities that allow them to collect data based on natural locations.

iLife – Give the nature smart person a laptop with the iLife Suite and they will take your project or lesson to the next level with the ability to express themselves outdoors with pictures (iPhoto), movies (iMovie), podcasts (GarageBand), or blogging (iWeb). Give them a cause to fight for and let them design a project that incorporates the teachings. Nature smart people are usually very passionate about their beliefs and will go the extra mile given the tools.

Is there a cause you support that you could incorporate into your lessons? Can you work outside or have your students do extra projects where they can engage with nature? Share your ideas….

Self Smart

What is self smart?

This intelligence focuses on the individual and their ability to be self-reflective.

self-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of self smart people?

Intrapersonal people are usually independent, deep thinkers and are skillful at being able to detect ones own feelings and predict reactions to those.

What are some activities and technologies that would help self smart people in a learning environment?

Web Resources – Providing web resources gives people with this intelligence the opportunity to discover and learn on their own. You might provide these resources by providing links using a social bookmarking site like Diigo or by building a website using Google Sites or another website builder. To get them started, you may want to give them skills in Information Literacy and how to find resources effectively. You may also use tools such as Google Custom Search Engine to refine their results to websites you know are valuable to the instruction.

Databases – Databases such as Nettreker can provide self smart individuals a great tool to research and find information on their own. There are also free directories that are similar but don’t necessarily have the education component. You might look at Google Directory, Thinkfinity, Yahoo Directory or even Wikipedia.

Blogging/Podcasting – Giving students the tools to think about topics and express themselves in this manner provides them a way to communicate with the instructor and others in the learning environment. Tools such as Blogger or Edublogs are a good way to get started with blogging. You may also use Garageband or Audacity to get started in podcasting.

It is sometimes difficult to know where a self smart person is at in instruction. They are sometimes quite and introverted. What do you do to assess whether or not a self smart individual is “getting it” or not? Share your ideas…

321 Assignment 2.1

Assignment 2.1

Find at least 2 to 4 resources that discuss other learning style theories. Based on the information you find, discuss the following:

  • How does the information you found compare and contrast to the theories discussed in the book?
  • What new knowledge can you take and apply to your learners or to your approach to instruction from this resource that you found?
  • Be sure at the bottom of your post to include reference information so that your peers can find the resource if it is something they would like to add to their resources as well.

Nature’s Powerful Tutors; The Educative Functions of Free Play

Psi Chi – The International Honor Society in Psychology

Sudbury Model of Democratic Education

The Sudbury Model of Democratic Education is a model that literally does incorporate all learning styles. Even those we don’t think exist or have not thought of yet. This model of learning styles is backwards to everything we have learned so far. Instead of trying to figure out what the learning style is or categorize it, this model let’s the student decide it! The concept has blown me away in thinking how we approach education. This is truly a working model in practice since 1968. The basic premise is that the student decides what they learn, how they learn and when they learn. They have complete and total control over their learning. The reason I chose to investigate this is that it was discussed as a “Response to Intervention” model.  RtI is very popular right now in Special Education circles and working with these folks, I get to hear a little bit about it. One premise that comes out of this is that we don’t have learning disabilities, we just learn differently and at different rates and times throughout our lives.

I will take away something very powerful from researching this model. As we have learned from previous readings and research in this course, we are all motivated to learn. As facilitators we must avoid putting up roadblocks to unmotivated our students. One of the questions I would like to test on my students is “What would you like to learn today?” This puts the motivation back on them in what they come away with from the class or workshop.

GSU Master Teacher Program: On Learning Styles

This article by Dr. Harvey Brightman of Georgia State University is about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The article describes the four dimensions of the MBTI and teaching suggestions for each type. The information in the article was conformative to the theories discussed in the book. By that I mean the MBTI classifies personality traits into groups of people that we can normalize educational situations for. It is somewhat different in that it is all cognitive in relation to preference.  It seems many of the other learning styles theories are based in senses and some cognition where this particular theory is based solely in cognition.

This article will be very beneficial as I review the development of lesson plans in the future. It gives good concrete examples of how I might develop activities suited to a particular learning style. For example, as I think about teaching to the “Perceptive” student, I may create a set timeline through out the day in a full day workshop to keep them on target. On the flip side of this, a “Judging” student will likely learn better having note taking strategies at their disposal. This may mean having a split page outline as a hand out or some other note taking tool I can create for them.


Gray, P. (2007). Nature’s Powerful Tutors; The Educative Functions of Free Play. Psi Chi – The International Honor Society in Psychology, 12(1), Retrieved from

Brightman, H. J. (1998, December). Gsu Master Teacher Program: On Learning Styles. Retrieved from

People Smart

What is people smart?

This intelligence is about people working and learning with others.


What are some personality qualities of people smart people?

People smart individuals like to interact with others either one on one or in group settings. They are usually labeled extroverts and tend to do a good job of judging others emotions and motivations.

What are some activities and technologies that would help people smart people in a learning environment?

Communications Tools – Software that would fall in this category might include Instant Messaging programs like Skype, Google Talk, or iChat. It’s a way to build a list of friends, colleagues and professionals to ask questions of or hold instant conversations individually or in a group setting. Most of these packages let you chat by typing or some also have audio and video capability. Some also let you share your computer screen and have other features to let you share and express your ideas.

Social Networking Tools – There are several web 2.0 tools to facilitate this type of learning style. The important part is remembering to build your network with those that will help you in a particular area. If you are interested in geography, follow/friend those who are in this field. If you want to know more about woodworking, follow master carpenters. The two most popular sites for social networking are Twitter and Facebook. You can learn much by building your PLN (Professional Learning Network.) You may also want to build your own social networking site for those with the same interests. A great site for this is Ning.

Have you worked with any of these technologies? How do you feel technology helps or hinders human communications? Comment here…

Music Smart

What is music smart?

This intelligence covers music, patterns, rhythms and sounds.

music-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of music smart people?

Music smart individuals learn by working with sounds and patterns as it relates to music. They are able to decipher rhythms and tones and can play and create great compositions.

What are some activities and technologies that would help music smart people in a learning environment?

GarageBand – This software allows you to create music and podcasts. It can record audio, play and mix virtual instruments in predefined loops or ones you can create on your own and also has a lessons feature to learn to play different instruments. Using a book like GarageBand Mechanics by Dan Schmit will give you ideas for lessons in many curricular areas. For ideas on using GarageBand with your students, see what others are doing on Apple Learning Interchange.

Guitar Hero/Rock Band – This gaming landscape is taking off in the musical realm. There are many players in this field that bring music to everyone. Games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band not only introduce music to our students, they can teach rhythm, meter, pitch and a host of other musical intelligences. Many others are taking this a step further. Guitar Rising is using a real guitar game ideas from Guitar Hero to teach the instrument and other concepts. Jam Sessions is a unique game that turns the Nintendo DS into a portable guitar that you can use for many teachable moments. Click for Guitar Hero‘s or Rock Band‘s website.

iPod/MP3 Player – Having a library of music is helpful for any facilitator. Need to pick up the pace? Play something jazzy. Need to mellow the room? Play some easy or classical pieces. You can easily set the mood with the music you choose. Not only this but you also have the ability to relate your teaching to different genres, historical instruction and geographic information. Music plays such an important part of everyone’s lives and is great arsenal to add to your toolbox. Done with thought and conviction, you will see engagement and ultimately, better productivity. Click to read more on Apple’s iTunes/iPod.

How do you use musical personally? Is it an important part of your life? Did you pick specific pieces to play at your wedding? Birthdays? When you hear a song from the past, does it create memories of that time and where you were at? How can you start using music for your students? Share your thoughts.

AEDU 321 Class Blogs

Blogs on Learning Styles from my fellow students in the Bellevue AEDU 321 class:


Will edit as more add their blogs to the discussion site! There are some really good ideas!

Body Smart

What is body smart?

This intelligence covers movement and learning by doing. It is the capacity to learn and think by using the whole body or parts of it, such as hands, fingers, etc.

body-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of body smart people?

Body smart people learn best by getting up, moving around, and doing. They think best when moving and working muscles. They enjoy things such as sports, dance, hands-on experiments and building things.

What are some activities and technologies that would help body smart people in a learning environment?

Nike + iPod – This is a great way for those inclined to walking and/or running to track their progress. A teacher/facilitator could have contests or track classroom progress with charts and other tools. It’s also a great way to teach health and wellness and have a virtual PE class. See more at Apple’s Nike + iPod site.

SmartMoves – This DVD provides “Body Puzzles for the Mind.” This highly researched activity improves focus and attention in students as well as calming restless students who can never seem to sit still. I have used it in workshops with adults as a great transition tool. It provides them activity and movement and something unique most of them have not experienced. It is a fun activity that spurs conversation and motivation. Find out more at the SmartMoves website.

Wii – The Wii gaming console is a unique system that gets students off the couch, moving and thinking as they progress through the many challenges the endless games Nintendo and other third party game developers have created. Some games, like Smarty Pants, have an inherent educational component and yet others challenge the facilitator to come up with educational value. One can use Wii Bowling, for example, to teach mathematics and graphing. For more educational games and ideas, visit Super Smart Games.

Mobiles/Handhelds – I add this category because I think the mobile technology allows us to get out in the field and collect data or do experiments. Anything from digital cameras, to GPS units, to cell phones and iPod Touches with the vast array of applications can get the kinesthetic learner moving and learning. See what the Horizon Report – K12 Edition has to say about the implication of mobile devices.

How important is it as facilitators to get our students up and moving? How often should we consider activities for this type of learner? What are some ideas you can implement to engage the body smart individual? Post your comments here.

Picture Smart

What is picture smart?

Picture smart people work well with images and spacial issues. This can cover a range of topics from art to cartography.

picture-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of picture smart people?

Picture smart people enjoy imagery and have a strong sense of artistry. They are often good at building mental models and manipulating images in their mind. Picture smart people have a strong sense of direction and an ease of reading maps. I believe we will see an increasing trend for this intelligence as our students are exposed to more and more media on the television and the Internet.

What are some activities and technologies that would help picture smart people in a learning environment?

Flickr – From the photographer wanting a place to upload pictures to the student browsing for images to match a topic, Flickr is a wonderful resource for exploring, storing and sharing images. Flickr’s section for Creative Commons images that usually has less restrictions on their use. Learn more at

Google Earth – This free application from Google is a 3D model of earth, space, and mars all in one. It is a wonderful resource for most grade levels and any curricular area. Zoom in to see the pyramids or the pool in your friend’s backyard. Plot points of interest and create reports in a visual form. Take a tour of Google Earth.

Animation-ish – This program from Fablevision is a must have for drawing and creating animation. From the beginner to the advanced user, this program has something for everyone. Peter Reynolds also gives video tips and encouragement in your creative journey. To learn more and for a free trial download, visit Fablevision.

Animoto – A web-based application that takes your pictures and makes a dynamic video for presentations, storytelling, or other projects you can do with your students. Add music and text to your projects also. Many teachers are using this tool in their classroom as an easy way to engage the visual learner. Visit their site and learn more about Animoto for Education.

Webspiration – This mind-mapping web software is a great tool to visualize your ideas in a web format and has the ability to collaborate with others on the same project. Create flowcharts, visualize processes, and strengthen organizational skills with this tool. For examples, see the webspiration gallery.

I mentioned earlier that I believe we will have more and more students gravitate toward this intelligence because of the easy of access and the onslaught of visual media we are inundated with on a daily basis. Do you agree? If so, do you feel this is a good or bad for our students? Comment here…

Number Smart

What is number smart?

This intelligence covers logical and mathematical skills. It is working with numbers, abstraction, reasoning and logic.

number-smart.ngPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of number smart people?

Number smart people like to crunch numbers. They enjoy math and games of logic such as chess. They excel in activities such as computer programming and other logic based activities. Number smart people learn best in critical thinking activities and experimentation.

What are some activities and technologies that would help number smart people in a learning environment?

Google Finance – Our budding economists will enjoy having all the tools Google Finance has to offer, from current news to building custom portfolios to discovering trends in the stock market.

Programming – This is a great area to reinforce logic and systematic thinking. There are two very good programming languages that come to mind when thinking in this area. MIT has a program called Scratch which I feel would be a good fit for all ages, young and old. Alice is another language for programming in a 3D environment which is more advanced. There are also the traditional programming languages typically taught in a programming class although these won’t be as conducive to developing a digital story or other project for something other than a straight math or programming class.

Sketchup – This is a 3D modeling tool that every future engineer should use. Sketchup lets you engineer the next mega-bridge or build skyscrapers in 3D. Students will be able to build these 3D models and share them with the world.

Games – I am going to use games again using both mobile handhelds (cell phones, iPods, PSP’s, etc.) and online. There are many resources in this category to challenge the number smart persons. Baingle has brain teasers, games such as Chess and Sudoku, and much more.

Google Docs – This is again a standard tool every student and faculty needs access to. For the number smart person, they will enjoy working with spreadsheets and charts. Click for the standard Google Docs link. I will also again urge the use of Google Apps for Education.

With the Internet resources we have available and the computing resources now in everything from cell phones to super-computers, number smart people have many opportunities to learn and express themselves. What would you do to help support this intelligence from a learning standpoint or maybe harder yet, from an assessing standpoint? Share your comments…

Word Smart

What is word smart?

This intelligence covers verbal/linguistic skills. It is working with words, spoken or written.

word-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of word smart people?

Word smart people like to read, write, talk and/or listen. They revel in words, books, languages and telling stories. People with a preference toward this intelligence learn best by reading, note taking, and lectures.

What are some activities and technologies that would help word smart people in a learning environment?

iTunes U – many lectures on just about any topic from professors and universities all over the country. This could be used for direct instruction or for those that need a place for extra resources on a topic of interest. Click for more information on iTunes U.

Podcasts – Listening to and creating podcasts would be a great activity for word smart individuals. For a great starter resource, take a look at Learning In Hand.

Blogs – Both reading and writing blogs is a way to engage these learners. Edublogs is a wonderful resource for educational blogging.

Stationary Studio – This software is a fantastic way to get reluctant or elementary students writing using theme based stationary. Check out this and other creative software from Fablevision Learning.

Digital Storytelling – Planning and writing scripts. Digitales has great resources for the beginner and the advanced storyteller.

Games – Using both mobile handhelds (cell phones, iPods, PSP’s, etc.) and online, there are many games for the linguist. For a few to try, see Word Games at the Gameroom.

Google Docs – This essential resource should be in any toolbox. With it’s suite of word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, it’s a must have for collaborating for any student or faculty. I am going to post two links because I feel strongly every school should really, really consider having Google Apps for Education. Here is the standard Google Docs link.

The applications and resources for this group are wide and varied. There are tons of tools but putting those into effective practice is the hard part. Please share other technology resources you have used for this group and how you put them into practice by commenting on this post.

Learning Styles and Technology

Over the next week I would like to share my thoughts on how technology might play a role in reaching more learners with different learning styles. I will argue that applying different learning styles to your lessons using technology will elicit engagement and increase achievement. There is already research happening in this field and there will only be more to come. But we don’t need research to know that we are all motivated by different factors and have different preferences for learning and sharing.

This brings up an important point. We need to not only think about how our students prefer the input of information but also how they may best output their knowledge. Given the same information some students will prefer to convey their thoughts on the topic verbally. Some will prefer to write and yet others might like to portray their knowledge with a skit.

As I thought about what I wanted to blog on, I reflected on many learning styles models. From Dr. Felder’s Index of Learning Styles to Dr. Kolb’s Learning Styles Model. But the model that made the biggest impact on me is Dr. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory. Before we get started with this week of, hopefully, fun and spirited discussion on this topic, I would like to have Dr. Gardner share a little bit on his thoughts on the use of technology given his framework in Multiple Intelligence Theory. Click the clip below to view an interview excerpt from Edutopia. Here is a link to the full article and interview: Big Thinkers: Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences


I would also like to introduce you to the eight intelligences I’ll be writing about. We probably see signs of these in ourselves and our students but have preferences for one or another based on our context in terms of our environment or what role we are in when we need to draw on our learning preference.

As you review these areas, do you see signs of preference for yourself and do these change depending on where you are or what role you are playing. For example, are you more prone to linguistic intelligence when you are taking a class or are you more kinesthetic when doing yard work. Or are these just stereotypes that, as we think about them, need to turn on their head! Do you really map out your yard before planting anything? Come on… you can tell me! Comment here…

Overview of Learning Styles

I am intrigued by different learning styles and all the models available to assess your strengths and weaknesses in this area. Of all the online assessments, I am particularly drawn to the Memletics Learning Styles Inventory. I feel this is the most rounded and balanced of the assessments I have taken up to this point. Below are the learning styles Memletics covers.

The learning styles are:

  • Visual (spatial). You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical). You prefer using sound and music.
  • Verbal (linguistic). You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic). You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical). You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
  • Social (interpersonal). You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal). You prefer to work alone and use self-study.

via Overview of learning styles.

After taking the 70 question inventory, you are presented with a graphic that indicates your preferences. Here is what mine looked like when finished.

Memletics - EverettClick image for full size

Have you used an online assessment of your learning styles? Which did you like best? Do you think these are accurate representations of your learning styles? Why or why not?

321 – Assignment 1.2

Assignment 1.2

The book does state that it is not necessary for an instructor to prepare 20 ways to teach the same thing – it would be unreasonable. I believe we can agree with that, but are there techniques you can be using to spice up your instruction? Utilize the internet (not Wiki) and library resources and complete the following:

  • Find at least three resources that discuss learning styles.
  • Provide the reference information for others so that they may find it if they are interested in reading more (continue to try your hand at APA formatting – please include a title page and a reference page).
  • Provide a summary of the articles – comparing and contrasting the information you have found.
  • Based on what you have read in the book and from your articles, analyze the information about learning styles and how they pertain to you, your learning and your teaching.

The resources I found on the Internet were mostly taken from the Google Scholar search with the exception of the Felder resources. These were links provided within the Course Documents in BlackBoard.

As I investigated Richard Felder’s website, I was drawn to his “Random Thoughts” article series on “Meet Your Students.” These articles tell stories about the different learning styles of the characters. The first in the series, “1. Stan and Nathan,” is a story of two chemical engineering roommates with seemingly similar personalities.  Except for the Index of Learning Styles model dimension of Sensor vs. Intuitor. Each article focuses on a particular dimension and is very useful for me to have concrete examples provided in the storylines.

I also came across a video interview with Dr. Felder. This was most beneficial in terms of hearing from him what each dimension in his model Index of Learning Styles. He also provided advice and valuable resources for new teachers. For example, Dr. Felder explained that most people think we need to find out the learning styles of each of our students and teach to the way they prefer for the best results. He explains this is impossible to do if there are two or more students in your class. To be successful professionals, he explains, students must be able to participate on both sides of each dimension. We, as teachers, need to touch both sides of the dimension some of the time in our teachings. Of example, a typical lecture time might include time for lecture, something to do, a question, and/or a brainstorming opportunity. These might happen individually, in pairs, groups or 3 or 4, in a think/pair/share and usually on 30 seconds to 3 minutes time.

I also read an online article from a group of mostly Chinese professors and one Canadian. The title is “The Relationship of Kolb Learning Styles, Online Learning Behaviors and Learning Outcomes.” My interest was in how our topic of Learning Styles relates to online learning and what we might do as online instructors to best prepare our students. As discussed in the article, providing a well-rounded library of electronic documents to support the instruction will satisfy students of Abstract Conceptualization. Students geared more toward Concrete Experience will find a learning environment chalked full of communications tools and resources will be more useful. Although I have not seen any research on our particular class, it would be interesting to do a survey and see how we relate to the online material, usually having both resources available.

The last article I’ll discuss piqued my interest in Learning Styles and how they relate technology. The article titled “An early investigation into factors in student’s choice of technology for e-learning” was beneficial as we see growth from different technologies and mediums of communications to more advanced models of use. For example, students used email 62% of the time to communicate but were more likely to use text messaging given the choice of email, texting, discussion boards, chat, etc. Currently, there are a very low percentage of students who download media (video or audio) of a lecture but given the chance, they are very likely to engage in this activity.

I have learned that as I go forth and provide learning opportunities for my adult students, I need to keep a balanced approach to learning styles. It is beneficial to learners to be exposed to as many opportunities for growth as they can and by providing different teaching/learning styles, we open the doors for them. I also need to take into account my learning preference and, knowing what these are, be aware of any mismatches between my students and myself. As I have matured intellectually, I have noticed that my styles have changed from a more hands on approach to being more comfortable in a “heady” environment.


Felder, R. M. (Interviewee). (2007, February 15). An Introduction to learning styles: how students learn, how teachers teach, and what usually goes wrong with the process [Video]. Retrieved from

Felder, R.M. (1989, Spring). Meet Your Students: 1. Stan and Nathan. Retrieved from

Lynch, K., Debuse, J., Lawley, M., & Roy, S. (2009, July 6). An Early investigation into factors in student’s choice of technology for e-learning. Retrieved from

Lu, H., Jia, L., Gong, S., & Clark, B. (2007). The Relationship of Kolb Learning Styles, Online Learning Behaviors and Learning Outcomes. Retrieved from

321 – Assignment 1.1

Assignment 1.1

It is important to know your own learning style before you begin to assess those of others. In the Course Documents please click on the link to the learning styles assessments. You will see there are a variety of them – each of you much complete the first one, “Rightbrain-Leftbrain Assessment” and then choose at least two others to complete. Once finished, submit a post thoroughly discussing the following:

  • Of the three assessments you completed, which do you feel represents your approach to learning and life the best?
  • What have you learned about your learning style?
  • How do you think you can utilize this information to help yourself as a learner? How about as an educator?

I feel the assessment that best reflected my approach to learning and life best was the Memletics Accelerated learning Styles Inventory. Although a little more complicated and a little longer process, it reflected with more accuracy than the others. Although the others captured the essence of my learning styles, I am so close in visual and kinesthetic that the other two I took reflected different results. I also feel the Memletics assessment covered more areas related to a variety of learning styles instead of just using three categories.

Generally, I have learned that my preference for learning is very visual and very kinesthetic. I also know I have adapted over the years to learn to adapt the other learning styles. I have also learned in the Memletics assessment that aural and verbal can be two very different things. This explains why I can listen to a piece of music and get the beat and notes almost instantly but it takes a concerted effort to remember the words.

I can utilize these assessments to create an environment for myself that is conducive to learning that fits my style. I can also use a combination of my learning styles and mix it up every once in a while without fear that I may miss something or without fear it is outside of my comfort zone. Although I am strong in a couple areas, I don’t have any styles I just despise or cannot learn from.

As an educator, I need to be aware that people do have different learning styles and to not stick to one or two ways of presenting material just because I am comfortable with that particular style(s). It is good to mix it up a bit so everyone gets a boost at some point.

I ended up taking the Index of Learning Styles Inventory as provided by Dr. Felder also. In taking this assessment, I was torn by almost every question of the 44 provided. The instructions were to “choose the that applies more frequently.” My results were very skewed to, yes, my preferential mode of learning but I don’t think it accurately reflected my actual learning styles given the scales used in the results.  I feel a better approach would have been to separate each question into a scale in and of itself and then average the to to come up with a more aligned learning styles assessment.

For example, the first question was:

I understand something better after I
(a) try it out.
(b) think it through.

I really do both of these to different degrees! So I would re-frame this one question into two and average the results:

I understand something better after I try it out: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly agree
I understand something better after I think it through: Strongly disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly agree

If I chose agree, giving me 3 points for the first question and strongly agree for the second question for 4 points, I can then average these on the scale pushing my preference toward thinking vs. trying.

Results of the first way:
<— Thinking (Reflective)  – X – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Trying (Active) —> (very skewed)

Results of the second way:
<— Thinking (Reflective)  – – – – – – X – – – – – – – – – – Trying (Active) —> (more on target with my actual learning preference)

Part of the reason I bring this up is, as I age, I am finding myself sliding in different categories more and more. It is a growing process that doesn’t have a definitive beginning or end.

311 – Assignment 1.4

Assignment 1.4 – Group Project

This assignment will be one that you will work on in an assigned group, and you will work on it all four weeks. The final result will be a presentation of your group’s new and improved theory of learning. Throughout this course you will learn about different learning theories and models – some of them are easy to understand, some are not so easy to understand; some of them contain information that truly applies to adult learners, some of them don’t.

Group Members:

Jason , Nancy , Joy , Paul , Rosia


Welcome to our Concept Attainment Model, “Colorful Paths of Learning” presented by Jason, Nancy, Joy, Paul, and Rosia. Our model uses color to support visual direction of changes in the learning process.  Each change of color represents a new section of concept attainment (guessing, testing, conforming, and changing information).  Please take a casual stroll through our connecting paths of learning, which eventually leads to confirmation, conclusion, and feedback.

Modified Scientific Method Model of Learning

Model Diagram


1) Acquire coded or uncoded input either internally or externally.

2) Ask a question about the input: “How?”, “What?”, “When?”, “Who?”, “Which?”, “Why?”, or “Where?”

3) Do research to find out if the question you are asking has been suitably answered.

4) Ask “Does a suitible answer exist?”

4a) If “Yes”, ask “Were other questions raised in the process of your research?”

If “No”, the Current Behavior Continues. Nothing changes.

If “Yes”, other questions were raised, we can return to the beginning of the cycle of having Aquired Input.

5) If “No”, Construct a Hypothesis, or educated guess about how things work: “If I do ~this~, then ~this~ will happen.”

6) Develop a plan in how you will answer your question.

7) Test your hypothesis. If possible test with all possible scenarios. Also try to test using methods that are measurable and will give quantifiable results.

8 ) Analyze the results of the test to draw a conclusion.

8a) If the conclusion is one that is not expected, rethink the process and return to constructing a new hypothosis.

9) If the conclusion is one that is expected, report the results to others.

10) Obtain external input as feedback.

10a) If there are other questions raised as a result of the external feedback, return to the beginning of the model and restart the cycle.

If there were no other questions raised as a result of the external feedback, continue current behavior.


Example #1

1) Central Campus in Sioux City has closed, ending an entry-level cooking program for high school students

2) Can we replace it and expand it with a cooking program for mainline and at-risk high school students at a different site?

3) There are excellent programs in Des Moines, Omaha, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, and Lakes College with magnet schools for culinary and other vocational arts. All of these are associated with post-secondary culinary/vocational programs at the local community colleges.  There are no Iowa records of successful high school programs (other than the most basic consumer science cooking classes) without a supporting community college to help handle the academic, clerical and lab support work such a programs demands.

4) Sioux City does NOT currently possess any culinary programs in post-secondary education and there is NO high school program for advanced culinary studies.

5) The first step is to create a interest in the high schools and the community colleges.  The next step is to get the correct city organizations involved. The third step is to work as an “expert” in these groups to facilitate the end result of high school and community college culinary programs.  The forth step is to make sure I have all my certifications in line so I can work in these organizations I am helping create.

6) PLAN:

a) Get Community Colleges (Western Iowa Tech & Northeastern College) to do feasibility studies on a Culinary Program – DONE

b) Speak to Sioux City IA high school Superintendent and South Sioux City NE high school Superintendent about starting the high school Culinary Program – DONE

c) Get tri-state educational committies to explore the importance of vocational specialty schools in the Siouxland region. – DONE – Meetings have begun.

d) Find a central location for high school culinary programs – IN PROCESS – Visiting sites and doing feasibility studies for both sides of the river (IA & NE) need sites.

e) Get entry-level community college programs started. IN PROCESS – Nebraska will be visiting a site I have rented and will be visiting my current class to observe.  Iowa is still not proceeding, but I have not given up.

f) Get Vocational Certification Board (American Culinary Federation) group going for Siouxland so we have a licensing body – IN PROCESS – I am collecting names of Chefs, Educators,  Food Service Vendors and Hospitality Professionals to create our own chapter.

7) TEST:My current program in the pilot for the initiative.  The next test will be a feeder program in the Northeastern Community College in South Sioux City to begin feeding students to the big school in Omaha NE.  The next test will be to begin the pilot culinary programs in the two high schools.

8) The analysis to date shows great progress.  The high schools are interested in expanding the program.  The restaurant public want to sample more of the students offering. The Nebraska Community College program is functioning well, but the students are disappointed that they have to go to Omaha for their second year.  The Iowa Community College must get  involved soon for this tri-state effort to be a success.

9) Reporting the Results to the school districts and community colleges.  Reporting the results to community action agencies and Juvenile Court Services.  Reporting the results to the local newspapers.

10) The feedback was that we must expand the program and the Western Iowa Technical Community College in Sioux City Iowa must get on-board.

10a) The city fathers want to know if we can open a student-run restaurant.  Oh my goodness, we are back to the starting point!

Example #2

1) As input, I see a pet therapy team at the local library participating in the “Paws to Read” program. There are many children there and it seems to be a very successful event.

2) I ask myself, “Could I be a pet therapy handler?”

3) I talk to the team at the library. I also look online for information about what it takes to become a pet therapy handler.

4) I ask myself, “Does the research I have just completed tell me I could become a pet therapy handler?” If the answer is yes, there is no need to do anything else I have just answered my initial question. This may raise another question and bring me back to the beginning of the cycle. If the answer is still questionable, I need to for a hypothesis.

5) Hypothesis: If I study and practice, then I can become a pet therapy handler.

6) I develop a plan that consists of reading and participating in training events.

7) I then engage and test the plan.

8) If the results of my test are not what I expected, I will 8a) rethink and determine if I need a new hypothesis. I may keep my same hypothesis or change it and go on to develop a different plan and test.

9) If the results are expected, I will report the results to my peers and institutions that may need my skills.

10) After review of their feedback, I will see if any questions were raised. If none, I will continue on as a pet therapy handler (or not depending on my outcome!) If there were questions, this would be input for a new cycle. For example, the feedback might be: You would be a good tester/observer.

Example #3

1) As input, I am given an assignment to write a research paper about learning styles.  In an effort to successfully execute the assignment I go to the public library to obtain sources.

2) I ask myself, “What books are available at the library that would be relevant to my topic?”

3) I utilize the public library computer system to determine available books, by typing in a variation of “learning styles” in the “subject” search box.  I determine the books available at the library and write down title, author, and call number information necessary for obtaining and borrowing the books.  I also reference the library map to determine how I can reach my chosen books.  Likewise, I communicate with library personnel to understand the layout of the library.

4) I ask myself, “Does the research I have just completed enable me to obtain the books I desire to successfully execute the research paper assignment?”  If the answer is yes, then the initial question is answered.  This may raise another question and bring me back to the beginning of the cycle (1).  If the question is still questionable, I need to continue by creating a hypothesis.

5) Hypothesis:  If I locate and obtain the desired books, then I will be able to successfully execute the assignment.

6) I develop a plan that consists of locating the books in the library, assessing my findings, and checking out/borrowing books from the library.

7) I then engage and test the plan by reading and referencing the books while formulating notes for the assigned research paper.  Writing the research paper ensues.

8) If the results of my test are not what I expected, I will 8a) rethink and determine if I need a new hypothesis.  I may keep my same hypothesis, or change it and go on to develop a different plan and test.

9) If the results are expected, I will confidently turn in my learning styles research paper to the facilitator.

10) After review of the facilitator’s feedback, I will see if any questions were raised.  If none, I will continue my methods when seeking out sources for research paper assignments.  If there were questions, this would be input for a new cycle.  For Example: The facilitator’s feedback includes, “In the future, when writing research papers, you should use a variety of mediums to obtain your resources.  In addition to books, you could offer relevant sources in the form of journals, websites, articles, etc.”


Escoffier, Georges-Auguste. The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery. Translated by H. K. Cracknell and R. J. Kaufman. London: Heinemann, 1979.

Kendall, J. S., & Marzano, R. J. (2007). The new taxonomy of educational objectives. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Mackeracher, Dorthy. Making Sense of Adult Learning. 2nd. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 2004. Print.

“Steps of the Scientific Method”. Science Buddies. 03 May 2007. Science Buddies, Web. 14 Nov 2009.

Understanding Origins of Teaching Methods and Approaches. Britt Tatman Ferguson, Ph. D. Minnesota State University Moorhead. “Reaching Out To Learners Project”. 2005-2006.

311 – Assignment 4.2

Assignment 4.2

Chapter 8 of the text addresses the issue of relationships in learning.  Adult educators should recognize the roles of relationships in learning and how best to facilitate them.  According to the text, good educators need to be able to offer activities that support both relational and autonomous learning.  For this assignment, think about some of the learning activities that you have designed either for this class or that you have created as an instructor or curriculum developer.

Select a topic or subject matter that you have instructed or created curriculum for – using Figure 8.3 and the Learning and Facilitating Principles on pages 168 – 171 discuss the following:

  • Describe an activity you have designed that strongly supports autonomous learners. How could you modify this activity to support relational learners?
  • Describe an activity you have designed that strongly supports relational learners. How could you modify this activity to support autonomous learners?
  • Describe an activity that provides balanced support for both types of learners. If you don’t already have one, create one in addition to the two already discussed.

This is by far the hardest assignment I have had up to this point. In thinking about the two different approaches, I have never (consciously) used one or the other or a stronger approach then the other. Or tried to as I developed them. The approach, I feel, works better as you are providing the instruction. A particular group of people may need a more autonomous approach where another group may need a more relational approach. And, within each group, you may have individuals that will need something different. The only way to be successful is to be flexible up front and get a feel for your audience. This is true in any situation whether it be a learning experience, a meeting, or other encounter.

Strongly Supports Autonomous Learners:
I provide several opportunities for autonomous learners by giving them access to online resources for particular subjects. This works with applications based trainings such as “How to use PowerPoint.” The step-by-step actions (provided in video format, images, and/or text) that may require repetition are provided online so the learner can go over them as much or as little as required.

Strongly Supports Relational Learners:
We have workshops targeted at different curricular areas in which sharing is the central theme of the learning day. For example, we have a Social Studies 2.0 workshop that consists of introductions where each person has to share a success they have had since the last time we met. We then have them share with the group any technology they may be using and the pros and cons are discussed and how others may use the ideas. We will also introduce new technologies (by either invited guest or shared by me) and talk about different ways they may be used.

Provides Balanced Support:
I provide teachers a WordPress account from our organization and in doing so, give them the opportunity to learn how to implement their website as a classroom information portal. For the autonomous users, I provide them with an address, username and password. I also provide for them a collection of print resources, online resources, and informational webinars they can use to learn on their own. For the relational learners, I provide onsite workshops where the learner can get to know others and how they are planning and using their web presence. I give them time to discuss with others what they are planning also time for questions that can be explained one to one or in a group setting.

311 – Assignment 4.1

Assignment 4.1

The concept of “situated learning” is discussed on pages 140 – 141 and pages 201 – 205 of the text. On pages 202 – 203 of the text, the author presents a bulleted list of features that help encourage situated learning.

Share a brief overview of a topic or lesson that you might teach where situated learning would be viable.  Using the bulleted list on pages 202 – 203 as a guide, describe how you could use three of the features to enhance the facilitation of your topic.   Share your ideas with your colleagues by posting your assignment to the Assignment 4.1 Discussion Board.

I am going to stray away from the usual technology workshops I facilitate and write about how I could do this particular assignment as a potential “pet therapy” instructor. I am not, nor have I ever done this, but this assignment struck an interest in how this might work in instructing other people interested in pet therapy.

Part of becoming a registered or certified (depending on the regulating organization) pet therapy team is obtaining the skills necessary to handle the pet, work with all types of people, other animals, various institutions, etc. Not to mention the organizational skills needed to set up visits and activities. To this end, “access to old-timers’ situated knowledge” is an invaluable key to being a successful pet therapy team.

All of the bullet points on page 202-203 would be beneficial in this scenario but three points I would use and will discuss are:

Telling Stories: Given the unpredictability of animals and people in different situations, storytelling is a key component to any learning process in the contexts given as there is no way to effectively convey every situation that may arise. I would having several seasoned veteran’s of the program share stories and answer questions that may arise.

Promoting Collaborative Activities: I would develop activities that would enable the learner to work with others in the field in a non-threatening environment. For example, set up a scenario that would enable the student to bring in their animal and work in the same room with others so they can experience what is like to have other pets in the room. I would also pose questions like: How does your animal act differently around other people/animals. What are some things you can do to calm them or keep them “working?”

Providing multiple opportunities to engage in practice: It is imperative in this type of work to understand different facilities and who you will be working with. I would set up a three stage process that would allow them the opportunity to participate in at least two, if not more, events and locations as [first stage] an observer with no animal, [second stage] as an observer with animal so the animal gets comfortable, and [third stage] as a participant with animal with the instructor for coaching.

Stage One Event One: Visit hospital observing another team.
Stage Two Event One: Visit hospital as a team with pet with instructor team. Not participating but still handling their own animal.
Stage Three Event One: Visit hospital as a team with instructor participating in the pet therapy process and getting coaching from the instructor.

Stage One Event Two: Visit library observing another team.
Stage Two Event Two: Visit library as a team with pet with instructor team. Not participating but still handling their own animal.
Stage Three Event Two: Visit library as a team with instructor participating in the pet therapy process and getting coaching from the instructor.

311 – Assignment 3.3

Assignment 3.3

In chapter 6 of the text, the author examines the role of motives in learning.  As the author points out, motives arise from within the learner, and instructors have an impact on their learner’s motivation. The feedback or reinforcement an instructor offers to his/her learner may indirectly increase a learner’s motivation. It is important for adult learners to identify their educational goals and to develop objectives and desired outcomes.  These objectives guide the learner toward their goals and guide the instructor in providing feedback.

You will first approach this assignment as the learner, then as the instructor – you will be paired up for this assignment.

As the learner, write a brief piece that describes your educational goals and objectives; be sure to include your motives for continuing your education. Post this to the discussion board as “Assignment 3.3”

My professional mission is to help others learn and share 21st century skills.

To achieve this mission, I am committed to expanding my knowledge and providing my students with the best I have to offer in terms of how best to meet their needs.

My goals in taking this program are:

  • Obtain a solid foundation and degrees to be able to provide credit to teachers for course work taken at the ESU.
  • Obtain knowledge to help me in the instruction and understanding of how adult educators learn.
  • Expand my knowledge in providing online coursework for educators.

My motives for undertaking this new endeavor based on two categories, as defined in Mackeracher book “Making Sense of Adult Learning” (p. 131), the drive to bond with others with the same interests as myself and the drive to learn by meeting growth needs in the areas of improving job skills, developing professionally and learning for the pleasure of learning. (p. 132, 133)

311 – Assignment 3.2

Assignment 3.2

For this assignment post a question that you have based on your readings. It could be about something you didn’t quite understand, it could be a question to generate discussion or debate, or it could be regarding a situation that you have encountered that applies to what you have read.

Based on the reading in chapter 6, Emotions and Motives in Learning, I recalled a recent book I read by John Medina called “Brain Rules.” Our reading, “Making Sense of Adult Learning,” states  “Adults learn best when they are stimulated, aroused, or motivated to an optimum level through internal or external sources.” (p 129) Dr. Medina explains a useful technique in chapter 4 (Attention: We don’t pay attention to boring things.) of his book “Brain Rules”. The practice he uses is called “hooks.” A hook has to “trigger an emotion such as fear, laughter, happiness, or nostalgia.” It must also be relevant to the material at hand.

My question is how can we effectively use this technique to enhance the learning process? The typical argument I hear is more information is better. We have so much to information to disseminate we don’t have time to add “fluff” or hooks to the presentation. Is it better to pile on the information and hope some of it sticks or is it better to cut some of the irrelevant content, adding hooks to make the highlights more memorable?

311 – Assignment 3.1

Assignment 3.1

On pages 120 – 121 of the text, the author lists nine conditions which affect cognitive development in adulthood. For four conditions, provide an activity, assignment, or teaching method that an instructor could use to help his/her adult student develop these skills.

Condition Three: Adults must be able to identify and formulate problems before solving them, or invent questions before answering them.

For this condition I might suggest a game of “What If?” Participants would have to come up with questions based on the context of the class or workshop. For example, in a podcasting workshop, participants would have to come up with two what ifs before a break. One would be hardware/software related, the other content related. A hardware/software example might be “What if I wanted to use several computers to make one recording?”  A content question might be “What if I asked my students to write a script using creative writing techniques?”

Condition Four: Live in environments where it is not clear what one’s goals should be.

I would use a blog activity and have each participant write a future scenario depicting what the future looked like at certain stages. For example, I could set up a scene in which the fast forward to 1 year from now and have to journal about what they see. Then we fast forward to 3 years, then 5 years, then 10. At the end of the activity, I would have them reflect on their journal and try to come up with goals and/or objectives that would get them to the point they last wrote about. I would also have other classmates look at and suggest possible goals to comment on the others blogs.

This activity would work well with condition three also.

Condition Six: Managing interactions and conflicts within a system of roles and relationships.

I would have participants participate in a related internship or job shadowing opportunity and have them reflect specifically on the interpersonal relationships encountered and how these might be appropriate or need adjusting and how this might be accomplished. If something like this were not available, I would set up a mock classroom or environment and act out several scenarios they could “judge.”

Condition Seven: Ability to reflect on their own actions.

For this activity, I would have participants journal and evaluate themselves at certain stages of the workshop. It would be useful to have a rubric of some sort they could objectively look at what they had done and compare where they were in the process. Leading questions might be “What have you done up to this point?” “Have you met your objective?” “How did you meet your objective?” “What could you have done or provided to instill the objectives better?” “What do you still need to do?” “Is there anything you thought of in the process that you would like to add?”

311 – Assignment 1.3

Assignment 1.3

In chapter one, pages 8 through 16 there are 8 statements about learning (i.e. “Learning is a Dialectical Process,” Learning is Non-normative,” Strong Emotions Affect Learning,” etc.) select two of these statements and find more information on the statement you selected, either from a journal article, a reliable website, another book, etc. Based on what is discussed in the book and what you find from your other resource, create a narrated PPT presentation that discusses the following (be sure to use your resources – the text and the extra resource you discovered to support your thoughts):

  • In your own words, describe the concepts you have chosen.
  • For each concept outline at least three ways educators can use this information as they work with their learners.
  • Be sure to include a final slide that lists your references.
  • This presentation should only be about 3 to 5 slides long, it needs to be narrated and you need to use other resources in addition to your text.

311 – Assignment 1.1

Assignment 1.1

Learning is defined many ways. Based on what you have learned in chapter one and from other resources found in the Course Documents, discuss the following:

  • What is your definition of learning?
  • How does a learning centered approach compare to a teaching centered approach?
  • Provide examples from either your experiences as an instructor and/or as a learner that demonstrate the use of a learning centered approach and a teaching centered approach.
  • Why would a learning centered approach work best with adult learners?

What is your definition of learning?

Learning is a natural cognitive process of colleting and organizing external and/or internal information into meaning for an individual.

How does a learning centered approach compare to a teaching centered approach?

The focus of a learning centered approach is the process of learning and the individual learner. The focus of a teaching centered approach the expected outcomes of the teacher. The difference is how you rate the outcome. Do you measure the growth and meaning for the individual or do you measure the knowledge of content based on the expectations of the facilitator?

Provide examples from either your experiences as an instructor and/or as a learner that demonstrate the use of a learning centered approach and a teaching centered approach.

I teach a workshop on “Building Your Web Presence with WordPress”. I keep this a learning centered activity by letting students work through the process of planning their own site. They get to build and design it themselves and they walk out with something that is uniquely theirs. This wasn’t always the case. When we first started these workshops years ago, we had a plan for them and the material all packaged up nicely so it was “more efficient.” As I have since learned, it is much more beneficial to let them work with their own material. It sticks with them and has relevance. I now like to say “learning is messy!” The messier it seems, the more the student have the possibility to organize the information how it best suits them.

Why would a learning centered approach work best with adult learners?

A learning centered approach works well in most situations because it provides the opportunity to gather, process and synthesize on an individual level. Each person has unique ways of learning and unique reasons to learn. They are usually starting at different stages with the knowledge they currently have and by affording them chance to reach their individual goals, they are going to collect, retain and use the information in a much stronger and more personal way than other approaches.


I attended the NDE Adult Ed Conference in Kearney yesterday and enjoyed listening to Dr. Mosig from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Dr. Mosig spoke on the topic Stress Management. One of the handouts he gave us was this simple quote:

If you were to fall to your death from a very great height, it would be a shame not to enjoy the view as you fell, or to appreciate the wind in your hair, or the warmth of the sun on your face.

-Ngakpa Chogyam Rinpoche

Dr. Mosig did a nice job of explaining how, really, we are all headed to our death at some point. Why not enjoy the ride while we can?


Social Neworking for Adult Educators


As I explore the topic of using social networking for adult educators, I see many advantages to both the educator and the student.

For the adult educator, this is a wonderful opportunity to find others in your field who are also passionate about this topic (adult education) and maybe even the subject you are teaching. It is a professional development opportunity every time you connect with your social network. Colleagues are sharing resources, participating in discussions and debates, and sharing details as they struggle and succeed in their everyday journey. It’s a place to ask questions and make connections on a global scale. You have access to people and resources that are global, instant and diverse. It can become a rich community of sharing and support.

Additionally, an adult educator who provides social networking opportunities for their students opens the door for an endless learning experiences limited only by the student’s own sense of adventure and creativity. No matter the topic, the abundance of social resources will become an ever flowing river of resources to your students. They will have access to people following the same interests, experts in the field, and social filters only those working with the topic on a daily basis will have. I believe you will also find this is an environment some students will thrive in as they have an opportunity to express themselves in a different, typically non-threatening, medium.

Some important resources to investigate and try with your colleagues and/or students.

As we work more and more in this online collaborative space, what tools do you find most useful and what do you feel are the key advantages of social networking to adult educators? Please comment!

October 2009 – Adult Education Conference PresentationSocial_Networking PDF – 6.6 Meg

301 – Assigment 4.2

Assignment 4.2

Jason Everett

The Personal Development Journal

I enjoyed reading Dr. Beyers message in the announcements forum on Blackboard and how it relates to our class so far.

Strength – Describe the strongest learning experience(s) you had thus far and why it/they were important to you.

My strongest learning experience from this exchange with Dr. Beyers was more about process than content. Although the content is ultimately what you are trying to get across, with out the process, it won’t stick.

Improvement – Reflect on how you could improve your learning in the future.

In the past, I have taking the “dump truck” approach to teaching. Take a ton of information and just unload on my participants and hope some of it stays with them. I can see now the importance of having a structured process for learning. Stages they go through and what the golden egg is in terms of the CBAM process.

Insight – What new discoveries/understanding did you get in the learning process? How will you apply it to what you are doing in your daily professional or personal life?

I liked the three points he shared from Dr. Brookfield: Students will either 1) reject new information, 2) accept new information, or 3) blend what they have learned with previous knowledge.

As I reflected on those three points I wrote Dr. Beyers the following:

… I would be interested to hear your thoughts or resources you have on critical thinking. I feel we focus so much on content (especially in K12) that we don’t have time to teach critical thinking. I would even go a step further and say we don’t spend enough time in the creative thinking realm. I work a little with Information Literacy as it pertains to the Internet and searching. The more I work with teachers and students, the more I realize how much content there is but the skills to wade through it all are not there. And in a global society, what may be an incorrect assumption or assessment of the situation to our culture, may be perfectly normal or acceptable in another. …

As far as using this in my daily professional life I plan to apply these processes to the planning of sustained training programs rather than one shot professional development opportunities.  I would like to take my professional mission to “help others learn and share 21st century skillsand provide a framework for teachers to build their skills and knowledge.

301 – Assignment 4.1

Assignment 4.1

In chapter four and in the article found at: the authors discuss the Concerns-Based Adoption Model. How do you feel these seven phases apply to you and what do you need to do to become a better educator? What phase are you in right now? What will you need to do to get to the final phase? If you are already in the final phase, what did you need to do to get there?

I can see the fingerprints of this model in all of the workshops and training opportunities I provide or have taken. It seems we can all be at different stages depending on the project, experience we have, and mentoring/collaborative opportunities given to that specific project. For most of the workshops I facilitate, I give the opportunity to get them to the consequence stage but fail in the collaboration and refocusing stages. Although some districts I work with have provided collaboration, I could become a better educator by providing those other districts a chance for peer collaboration and expert coaching. I can also see the importance of a needs assessment and objectives outline so participants can be clear on what the district goals are versus their own personal learning objectives for taking the course. I can see working with district administration more in determining what they need in terms of a sustained professional development program, providing them direction in this process, working together to create a needs assessment and putting the necessary items in place to build a successful program.

With the curriculum technology integration workshops, we try to provide sharing time for participants to travel to our building and build relationships with other teachers in the same curricular area.  As the “Bridge” model (Sweeny, 2003) suggests, we are at the point of building trust so participants can feel less threatened as they integration certain technologies into the classroom. I see the collaboration and trust building needing to happen at ALL stages of the process. It is my experience that when an adult learning has a trusted peer to talk to and work with throughout the stages, they are more likely to reach the other side of the bridge (implementation of knowledge, skills, and strategies.) It is important to have this from the awareness stage through the refocusing stage.

As far as the Bellevue Adult Education program goes, I would say I am at the information stage. I am still figuring out how this all works and am ready for the next stage of integrating how this impacts me and my plan to use the material in my everyday workshops. I can see progressing through each stage and what that might look like over time. The management stage of putting my learning into practice. The consequence stage and figuring out if it is working or not. I see this stage cycling with other stages. If it doesn’t work, do I need more practice? Do I need better planning? Do I need more information? Or do I need to start over with new awareness. The next stage, collaboration, like I mentioned earlier, really needs to happen in all the stages. The ability to talk and collaborate with others in all stages brings a rich perspective I don’t think you would get without that experience. And finally, refocusing, or as I see this stage, evaluating your progress and seeing what you need to do next. We often have “retreats” for certain projects at our ESU and I really see this as being that stage.

301 – Assignment 1.5

Jason Everett

AEDU 301

I have always been fascinated with developmental psychology and all that it brings to education. In searching for a suitable interviewee for this assignment, it was a pleasure to find a friend who works with autistic children and is talking a course in Relationship Development Intervention. Marie Sullivan is the Special Education Program Coordinator for Kearney Public Schools and, as an adult learner for much of her post-secondary education, brings a wealth of knowledge to this assignment.

As Marie and I sat down and started talking about her program, I could tell she is passionate about the program she has chosen. I am glad I chose Marie for this interview as she has some unique perspectives and contrasting ideas on some of the introductory material presented throughout this module.

The first question I asked Marie was how she viewed education and learning as an adult learner. Her response was, to my surprise, that she loves the theory and potential of what she is learning, whether it is from this program or another. This fits well with the concepts surrounding the Training Model present by Fogarty and Pete (2004). Marie is not talking this program for anything she can apply immediately at work but knows the knowledge gained will give her foresight and vision to make better decisions.  Marie also states she doesn’t like classes that are “recipes” but rather likes knowing the background and research to help better understand what she is learning. She enjoys the struggle of applying the strategies herself and doesn’t want her instructors to show her how to accomplish tasks but rather work with her in solving problems. This is relevant at the management stage as it pertains to the CBAM model of the stages of her developmental process.

The next question, “What was your role in learning as an adult?,” really drove home the fact that Marie enjoys using her prior experiences and applying them to her situation. She is proud of her knowledge and experiences and it is only natural to apply these experiences to new information. She notes younger students, students who are in college right out of high school, don’t have the diverse experiences in which to compare and contrast new knowledge. Younger students have to store that knowledge for future use where adult learners can apply previous experience to the situation and attach a social or emotional “tag” to help remember. She also feels she knows the kind of person she can learn from and so seeks those individuals when researching a new learning opportunity.

As we dove into the question of what she looks for in curriculum as an adult learner, she didn’t hesitate in telling me that it isn’t as much the curriculum as it is the belief system the instructor has. She feels that if the instructor holds similar beliefs, she is more apt to appreciate the instruction. As a part of this question, I recalled the telltale comment made that adult learners like to have some evidence of expert support that gives them understanding, to which she commented: the more she learns, the more she realizes the research data supporting a particular course can be skewed. Having a belief system supporting the learning objective is more important, in her mind, than having an “expert.”

Marie shared a couple of ideas that are helpful to her in the class setting. She likes when instructors show video of real life examples. She likes having a wide range of examples to help her relate to her experiences. She also likes having the opportunity to discuss her learning with others of similar interest. This touches on a couple of the many points brought out in this module. As far as The Five Critical Qualities of Professional Development presented by Fogarty and Pete (2004), Marie works better in a well integrated environment (p 67-68). She also proves the model of success that can come from collaboration as out lined in the CBAM.

Marie also reveals that building trust is one of the key attributes of successful instruction. This can take on the form of a hindrance or help in the learning process. She talked about “productive uncertainty” and that if the instructor builds a level of trust among his/her learners, they are more likely to take risks. But, she said, on the flip side, there may be too much uncertainty and this creates confusion and frustration and starts to break down trust if not noticed and dealt with. It really becomes a dynamic, one-to-one, trusting relationship with a facilitator and/or mentor that make a learning opportunity successful.

Several telltale comments and other models in the introductory book can back Marie’s comments. Marie wants an expert facilitator. She wants an instructor who knows not only the content but their students as well. She also wants to look information up on her own to verifying the instruction. I felt that building relationships for a trusting learning environment fit with several of the presented models in requiring a collaborative, respectful, mutual and informal climate.

As our time was nearing an end, I ask my final question, “What would be your best advice to educators working with adult learners?” After a moment of contemplation she summarized our interview with the thought that an instructor should be a guide on the side. Someone who helps facilitate learning. She feels they should gain her trust and move to explore topics together as apposed to having a one-way street where the instructor is pushing the information. And lastly, she feels facilitators should tap into her rich experiences and help apply those to her learning.

I enjoyed interviewing Marie and having her share her knowledge and experiences with me. She helped me think about and define some of the early concepts of our initial reading and how I might start the process of applying my new found learning throughout this course.

301 – Assigment 3.2

Assignment 3.2 – Please post your assignment to the discussion board, naming your post “assignment 3.2” (15 pts.)

Joyce and Showers’ research is discussed in chapter three, regarding their findings discussing the critical elements of effective training and how that has an impact on student achievement. Based on this brief discussion and your experiences, discuss the following:

  • What are some of the most common roadblocks you have seen to getting educators to change how they educate?
  • What are some of the practices you have experienced or witnessed that can help educators move beyond these roadblocks?
  • As an educator yourself, rank the five elements (from which you find most important to least important) that Joyce and Showers have indicated are needed. Indicate why you have ranked them as you did.
  • If you had to select only three elements as THE MOST important, which three would you choose and why?

What are some of the most common roadblocks you have seen to getting educators to change how they educate?

This is a complicated question. As I think about this question, I have to ask myself, who are the “educators” in this scenario. I get the opportunity to work with educators on many levels from classroom teachers to school administrators, from district level technology integration specialists to regional and statewide technology trainers. The influence I have in their professional development ranges from presentations to direct coaching and everywhere in between. For this assignment, I will discuss my interactions with typical classroom teachers.

The number one roadblock in getting classroom teachers to change is attitude or TTWWADI (That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It). There are many classroom teachers who do not embrace new technologies or 21st century learning at all. We are in a huge paradigm shift in the way we need to teach and some don’t yet see where they fit into that shift. Classroom teachers, as wells as the other groups I deal with, are also affected by administrators who ultimately decide when to give their teachers the time to participate in effective technology professional development, and providing funding for effective 21st century professional development.

Here is a great video I use in some of my workshops depicting how hard it is for some teachers to change.

What are some of the practices you have experienced or witnessed that can help educators move beyond these roadblocks?

One of the best ways I have found for teachers to embrace teaching in a technology rich environment is using a process I found in the program “Building 21st Century Schools.” Using this program I pose the teachers with a challenge, usually some form of “How can you use technology to enhance learning and engage students using [insert 21st century skill such as “collaboration” here]?” At that point, they write some initial thoughts.  Then I have them review resources previously gathered that would help them expand their initial thinking. This is usually in the form of websites, articles, videos, audio or other material. I then have them write down their revised thinking after reviewing the material in reference to the challenge. After they have completed their revised thinking, they break into groups and discuss (group discussion) the challenge as a whole. It is during this time I have them write down two goals they have in terms of the challenge.

This process has worked SO well in the past that I try to incorporate it more and more into what I do on a daily basis. I am not sure WHY it works but I have a feeling it has to do mostly with them having control over where they want to go with what they have been challenged with. They get to decide their course of action and they get to do it with the comfort of their peers. The key to the process is having a good focused challenge question and having resources that are relevant and trustworthy. After that, just facilitating to make sure they are staying on track and are doing what they are supposed to do makes this a simple but yet extremely effective tool to remove challenging roadblocks.

As an educator yourself, rank the five elements (from which you find most important to least important) that Joyce and Showers have indicated are needed. Indicate why you have ranked them as you did.

5) Theory – Depending on your audience, this may scale a little differently. Generally, this will be important in the whole scheme of things but least important in this list. I see several people may rely on the theory and feel that is most important in deciding what skills it is they need to drive home. One of the reasons I feel Marzano’s (2001) work is so popular in K12 education is his background theory and research. Although this is important data, the real crux is how the teacher implements the strategies and if they are used and when they are used.

4) Demonstration – I have seen this debated several ways. Lots of teachers I work with like to have a couple of examples of how a particular technology might work for them. This gets the wheels turning and they can then run with the ideas and integrate into their own setting. I have also heard several people use the example of an art teacher saying to their class, “Today we are going to be working on drawing a tree. Here is what you do. Blah blah blah. And here is my example.” Then showing the class their work, albeit with years of background experience, it is intimidating and ruins any chance of allowing individual creativity. The trees always end up looking like the teacher’s! There needs to be a good balance of giving possible ideas and allowing for individual creativity.

3) Practice – Hands on practice! Do it in a safe environment. This is what I call “playing in the sandbox.” They need a safe, trusting place to make mistakes.

2) Feedback – In the sandbox, they need feedback. This is a simple concept but very sensitive also. Again, a trusting environment is needed and clear definitions of expectations outlined before a learner can objectively receive good feedback. According to Marzano (2001) in Classroom Instruction that Works (p. 96-97) feedback should be corrective in nature, should be timely, should be specific to a criterion and lastly, is also effective using peers.

1) Coaching – The most important factor of coaching is that this is an on-site, on-going process of real world design. It is getting real world coaching in the field from the experts or peers also working through the process. This is evident in any sporting event. Coaches coach the athletes as the plays happen and the other athletes will pipe in with cheers of joy or correction, whichever is needed. In front of the audience this has a great impact in the learning process and on the scoreboard!

The only downside I see to coaching is the time and resources it takes to effectively accomplish this step. It takes real experts taking real time to work through issues and reassess the learning. It is hard and time consuming and you need a facilitator who is dynamic and trustworthy to pull this off.

If you had to select only three elements as THE MOST important, which three would you choose and why?

I have two answers to this question. The first is what I currently model as most important. That is demonstration, practice and feedback. This is what most of my workshops entail. The reason I using these three most is time and resources. I only get so much time with them and to touch as many people as we do, this is the only way we can effectively give them the training. Money and time aside, coaching would be the first added to the list and then theory.

The next answer is that they all work together so trying to pick any three from the five is unfair to the process.

301 – Assignment 3.1

Assignment 3.1

Select a course, topic, or training module that you currently conduct. This is your opportunity to look at it from outside the box. Using the Five Critical Qualities of professional development, analyze your course, topic, or training module. Discuss the following:

  • Describe the course, topic or training module you have selected to use as your example.
  • How is it sustained over time – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
  • How does it integrate the job-embedded quality – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?
  • How is it interactive – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?
  • How does it make use of groups and team support (collegial) – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?
  • How is the learning integrated to help reach different students – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?

For this assignment, I am using a model we implemented as a statewide group staring in 2004. The project is called “The Learning Web.” I have based many of our other professional development opportunities for teachers around this model as it has worked very well. We have several “Curriculum 2.0” type workshops that have this same feel. By curriculum 2.0 I mean we have “Science 2.0,” “Elementary 2.0,” “Language Arts 2.0,” etc. Although not exactly the same, these still pull on the strengths outlined by the five critical qualities of professional development.

Describe the course, topic or training module you have selected to use as your example.

The Learning Web – ESUs statewide have received funding through the Enhancing Education Through Technology grant to implement a staff development process known as the Learning Web.  A team(s) of five educators from a school or district in each ESU will create a project that uses technology to integrate a proven instructional strategy for increasing student achievement and supports a school improvement goal.

How is it sustained over time – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?

A learning web team attends the NETA (Nebraska Educational Technology Association) conference in the spring of the year to start the process. At this conference they go to sessions that might interest them and are introduced to a myriad of technologies they may choose to use in their project. In the summer, each ESU holds a summer institute for the teams. This consists of time to develop a plan of action for a project they will implement throughout the year. It is also a time for learning different technologies that they may use in their project. Throughout the year the teams implements their plan with the help of a facilitator and will receive training in specific technologies or implementation strategies throughout the year. At the end of the year, teams are encouraged to submit their project as a presentation to the NETA conference for others to share and ask questions.

How does it integrate the job-embedded quality – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?

Each team develops a project independently. The project must meet the criteria of relating to their school improvement goal (usually reading), and also tying in Marzano’s Instructional Strategies. The team’s end product us usually a lesson plan or series of plans that they integrate into their classroom right away.

How is it interactive – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?

Although the teams may be from different curricular areas or different grade levels, they are encouraged to build a project they can all work together on throughout the year. An example of this would be the facilitator may need to help them figure out the best way to use 5th grade writers to help kindergarteners write a podcast script they will record for the school website.

How does it make use of groups and team support (collegial) – if it doesn’t, how can you improve upon that?

Each step in the process is built upon the strengths of the team, from choosing what sessions to attend at the first conference to building the final presentation for the conference session at the end of the year. Each person has a role and is given opportunities to communicate and collaborate with each other and the facilitator.

How is the learning integrated to help reach different students – if it isn’t, how can you improve upon that?

Each learner is introduced to a wide variety of topics using a range of multimodal approaches. At the beginning of the learning web, most topics are the typically “dog and pony” shows. They introduce topics to peak the learners interests. At the two day summer institute, the teams are encouraged to participate in the hands on opportunities to learn new technologies. They are modeled throughout the institute with the thought that they may choose this as a technology to use in their project and may need further training at a later time. Information shared is text based, provided online on a multitude of websites, shown in video and audio formats, and also shared in kinesthetic opportunities. We are trying to arrange the learning web into a website that could using more online discussion and sharing of resources throughout the year.

301 – Assigment 2.1

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.Isaac Asimov

Your heart pounds. Beads rolling off your forehead. Butterflies are floating in your stomach. Your muscles are tense. These might be signs of anxiety you feel all caused by the thought of having to change. Albeit, some of these might be extreme depending on the amount of change we are enduring. All of us go through change on a daily basis. Some change affects us differently than other types.

As a technology trainer working with teachers of an older generation, I see change dealt with on many different levels. Some embrace the changes technology doles upon them at increasing speeds as they know the importance of teaching students how to learn in this environment. Some take the challenge on reluctantly. They are usually resistant to learn a new skill knowing is it just going to be outdated in another year/month/week.  Then there are those that won’t embrace the change at all. They don’t even know where the power button is on their computer!

In reviewing the questions for the assignment, I had to see where I fit in this spectrum. In working with technology, I deal with change on seemingly hyperspeed. I love things coming at me as fast as they can. I would have to say, if I fear anything, it would be a lack of change. My greatest fear is that I become stagnant. That I might become unuseful. That is why I strive to enhance my knowledge and skills so that I might share them with others and help them be productive in the 21st century. So to answer what would I do if I weren’t afraid, I would say I would relax and take more time just doing nothing! I would slow down and just let life happen instead of always trying to push the envelope. In a healthy environment, there is a good balance of relaxation and pushing forward. This is something I try to accomplish but lean toward the push.

The anticipation of change can be stated in so many ways. “Get on the train or be left at the station” is one of my favorites. I’m not one to watch the train go by. I would rather jump on and see where it takes me. I love the adventure of something new. Something unknown. But I realize not all people enjoy this same enthusiasm and so I do have to throttle down at times. This enthusiasm has helped in the past when trying to inspire a group to a new challenge but when working with a new project that requires their involvement, gearing down and making them feel comfortable with the change is most important.

When working with others in a situation that requires change, I feel the single most important technique we can provide is to let them know well in advance that something is going to happen. Then, letting them be a part of the change process so that it does get carried through is essential.

I have two recent examples I’ll share. The first is a change we are implementing at ESU 10 replacing the software teachers use for their web presence. In the past we have used a package called Manila. We trained on this for nearly 6 years and have had probably 3000 teachers go through training and get accounts. Many advances have taken place in these six years and so we started the process to find something more relevant to todays technological pace. In doing so, we did surveys of our teachers to find out what they wanted and needed from their web presence software. We then found several software packages that we felt we could train on and support. At that point, we shared our findings and had them tell us what they felt would best suit their needs from the list we provided. After installing the solution and working out the initial bugs, we started training users and are up over 500 teachers using the new solution after only several months. We plan on getting them all moved over within the year and I feel it has been successful because they helped provided the direction and path knowing we had to move to something different.

My next example is of a school going to a one to one environment. This is a laptop for every student. The school is normally one for much controversy and dragging of feet and so I had a particular challenge in getting them ready for this change. I used a process I learned from Microsoft’s “School Leader Development: Building 21st Century Schools” initiative. The process goes something like this: 1) Pose a Challenge, 2) Record Initial Thoughts, 3) Review select material to learn more, 4) Record Revised Thinking, 5) Discussion among group with sharing and group goals.

I was totally amazed at how the results turned out. The hardest part for me was coming up with a challenge and collecting relevant materials for them to review. My challenge to this group was “How can you use new technologies now available in your district to enhance learning and engage students, specifically in regard to using online collaborative environments?” At that point they wrote their initial thoughts on a discussion site. Then they were instructed to look up several resources from a list provided to them on learning and using online collaborative environments. After reflecting on their initial thinking, they posted their revised thinking on the discussion board again. At this point, they started group discussion and their assignment was to, by the end of the time I had with them, come up with at least two goals for the next year in regards to the challenge. I was amazed at not only the goals they were coming up with but the plan to implement and make sure it was a success. This was a great example of how one can facilitate change having the right tools.

To sum up my assignment, I believe if we simply follow Gandi’s example, we can make an impact on adult learners. Follow his advice and become the change you want to see. Put yourself in your students shoes, change along with them. Grow and be inspired as you journey down the path of life.

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.