Not many of you should become teachers - James 3:1

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Social Networking Sites

LinkedIn is a business oriented social networking site launched in 2003, with membership in excess of 75 million registered users. The purpose of this SNS is for maintaining and expanding trusted business contacts (individually and corporately). Competitors in this niche include Viadeo (30 million registered users) and Xing (9 million registered users), with LinkedIn leading the pack. LinkedIn offers many attractive features and at some point I may open an account to connect with several of my colleagues who have repeatedly invited me to join the SNS.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Refelctions on Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 Article

In response to Steve Hargadon’s Classroom 2.0 article, I’m impressed with several aspects of this article and will comment on tow in particular. Specifically, engagement trumps topic with topic potentially promoting student engagement with WEB 2.0 providing more opportunities for sharing and discussion. Obviously, we are obliged to present course content, but content can only be assimilated through active student engagement in the learning process. Opportunities for student engagement should be interesting and varied in approach in order to maximize learning. Another topic of interest is that a network must fulfill some compelling need. Moreover, there needs to be a sound rationale to utilize a social network for learning. Along this line, implementation of a social network for learning should solve a problem in ways not otherwise possible. Social networks for learning purposes potentially provides an interesting approach for student involvement in the learning process.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Utilizing the Class Wiki

Effective utilization of the course wiki is essential to our learning, so take some time to familiarize yourself with this dynamic tool. We'll be using the course wiki to disseminate lecture notes and encourage you, an all of your classmates, to elaborate on these notes to enhance your learning. You're encouraged to refine these class notes from our lectures, discussion, readings, and related life experiences. These class notes serve as a vital resource, which you'll be allowed to refer to during each of the examinations. Additionally, we'll be utilizing our course wiki for group projects and your reflective journal.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A New Pedagogy

Our author, Will Richardson, in his blog (Weblogged – learning with the read/write web) masterfully expands his original theses presented in our text (Blog, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom, 3rd Ed.; 2010). In particular, his 9/25/10 post on social learning tools and curricular change challenges me to expand my view of technology in education. Specifically, my view of technology going into this course was that of technology being a neutral medium, albeit an effective tool to enhance my longstanding pedagogy

Reading through the 9/25 post and previous posts (and in particular 9/16 & 9/13), together with our reading assignments and various course activities is challenging my pedagogic approach.. I’m now beginning to view technology as vital and active, embodying philosophies and ideology. In Richardson’s 9/16 post the theme of technology transforming schools resonated with me, serving as a catalyst to potentiate my thinking along a new path. After reading and reflection on this post, I began a slight philosophical shift.

Reading through the earlier posts, and in particular the 9/13 post on a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), furthered my philosophical journey. Viewing the video and reading the supportive text really jarred my thinking with respect to successful course structure (networked, decentralized, and participatory), attributes of the successful learner (independent, aware of personal goals, and willing to engage with people and ideas), and knowledge in the course (negotiated, emergent, and rhizomatic). Reflecting on this post further challenged my philosophy of education and I began to see the need to let go of my prevailing ideology giving way to a potentially major shift and expansion in my philosophy of education.

After experiencing these posts, Siemens and Tittenberger’s points in The Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning (2009) are riveted and stimulated me to move beyond my original view of technology as augmentative and supportive of traditional face-to-face instruction. My pedagogic horizons are really expanded as I begin to rethink the course dimensions of dissemination, discussion, discovery, and demonstration.

Moreover, my view of this course has progressed beyond merely learning about various technologies to making a major shift in my philosophy of education.
At this point, I really need some time to reflect and process the ramifications of these pedagogic challenges, then begin to envision my emerging response to same, and finally plan out the best approach to systematically implement pedagogic changes.

Thank you so much for stimulating my thinking and challenging my philosophy of education. I’m really excited about my emerging pedagogic shift and of the impact of same on course development and delivery in the future.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Philosophy of Education

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the magical power of metaphors to promote understanding of otherwise incomprehensible information. In so keeping, I structured the PSY 245, Human Growth and Development, course around the metaphor of a life-long journey. You’re invited to come along with us on our journey, which acquaints you with my philosophy of education specifically applied to PSY 245.

At the outset of our first class meeting we present the class metaphorically as a journey, a life-long journey. We warmly welcome our fellow travelers in our journey and share something of the journey itself (increased understanding, appreciation, and application of life-span development). We share the value in making the journey as we learn more of ourselves (common traits with all mankind, shared familial traits, and unique attributes) and others making the life-span journey.

After sharing about the journey, the participants need to become acquainted with their guide (with a brief introduction of relevant experiences to our journey) and something of the guide’s mindset. Along this line, the guide assumes a personal trainer approach throughout the journey. Specifically, our relationship is a partnership with our sojourners (students) committing to undertake the journey and the guide (instructor) leading and encouraging the sojourners.

Prior to setting out on our journey, we need to make sure everyone is ready to make the journey through team building activities. We share the rationale for engaging in team building activities to promote group cohesiveness, enhance productivity, and increase the likelihood of everyone completing the journey. We engage in team building activities, beginning with a small group ice breaker, followed by introductions to the rest of the sojourners so we can begin to learn the names of all the travelers. Then we present the five randomly assigned learning groups with the Broken Square exercise to promote some understanding of group dynamics. After which, we identify the various task and maintenance roles which promote group functioning, contrasted with the self-serving roles that are detrimental to group functioning. At which point, we express enthusiasm over everyone’s readiness to make the journey followed.

We further define the life-span journey and then identify four distinct trail markers (ages and stages, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, temperament, and attachment/parenting styles). We briefly discuss each trail marker, each of which we’ll become more familiar with in turn along our journey. We explain that we are structuring our journey (the class) around these four trail markers, each of which essentially serves as a hub with related information being spokes off the respective hubs. We encourage the travelers to know the four trail markers well and then link related information to the associated hub.

Right before concluding our time, we distribute the maps (syllabus) encouraging our fellow travelers to familiarize themselves with the map, take the syllabus quiz, and raise any questions at our next stop along the way (our next class meeting). Finally, we encouraged everyone to begin the journey and we’ll catch up along the trail next week. Prior to our next class meeting, we send an e-mail to the group encouraging them in their journey.