Traci's Blog

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." ~Goethe

Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

Scenario: Interactive Tours

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?

The teacher in this scenario is in need of technology that will bring the art exhibits of a distant museum to her students; and a technology that would allow the students to interact with each other to critique the artwork. As the school district’s instructional designer, I would recommend media sharing sites for the students to tour the museum virtually; and discussion technology for students to interact with each other in a group critique. These two types of Web 2.0 technologies will encourage student-centered learning, which “promote active learning , collaboration, mastery of course material, and student control over the learning process” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012, p. 123).

Media sharing sites, such as Flickr, YouTube, ans SlideShare can connect the students with the museum through pictures and videos. The curators at the museum can take photographs of the artwork and upload the photos to Flickr or SlideShare, or create a video and upload the video to YouTube. These media sharing sites also allow for comments and feedback, which offers “an increased opportunity to incorporate peer review”, reflect on the work, and “increase critical analysis and communication skills” (McIntyre, n.d. para. 7). The comments on the media sharing sites can also connect the students with the curators at the museum.

Discussion technologies, like discussion forms and chat applications, can allow for the student, instructor, and the curators to collaborate when critiquing the artwork. With the discussion technologies, the students can reflect upon their ideas and the ideas of their peers, which will lead to more reflective responses and in-depth learning (TeacherStream, 2009, p. 2). The instructor and the curators can also provide feedback to the students. Discussion posts can also help build a strong learning community and engage students in active learning.

The use of these technologies will create a blended-learning environment, in which a portion of the class is substituted by the technology. The students will become active participants in their learning process by engaging in the virtual tour and discussion posts, while the instructor encourage learning by offering the resources.

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). The technology of distance education [Multimedia Program]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

McIntyre, S. (n.d.). Using flickr as an online classroom-case study. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/613077/Using_Flickr_as_an_online_classroom_-_Case_study

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

TeacherStream, LLC (2009). Mastering online discussion board facilitation. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/pdfs/stw/edutopia-onlinelearning-mastering-online-discussion-board- facilitation.pdf

Defining Distance Learning

Defining Distance Learning

Before starting this Distance Learning course, my definition of distance learning was simply learning at a distance. I compared distance learning to virtual classrooms and e-learning. My only experience with distance learning is through the E-learning system my office maintain for our employees, both at headquarters and through out our regional offices, and through my studies at Walden University. From reading the learning resources for this week, I understand distance learning is much more than what I have previously expected.

According to Teaching and learning at a distance: foundations of distance education, Distance learning is defined as “institution-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunications systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors” (Simonson, et. al., 2012, p. 32). The word separated is referencing the distance of the learning, in which the learning group is separated geographically, intellectually or epochally. The learning group consist of the teacher, students, and resources, which are connected through the medium (i.e. technology). Since my profession offers e-learning in which an instructor or facilitator is not involved, I never considered the teacher or the instructional designer in my distance learning definition. However, as suggested by the video Distance education: the next generation, distance education includes distance learning and distance teaching (Laureate, n.d.).

With the knowledge gained about distance education, I have adopted the definition illustrated by our course text; which also illustrate the four components to the definition of distance learning (Institutionally-Based, Interactive Telecommunications, Separation of Teacher and Students, and Sharing of Data, Voice and Video). Without each component, distance learning would be less than what it aims to be. The terms I would use to refer to distance learning will have to change if I am to adopt the new definition of distance learning. E-learning falls in the same boundaries of the distance learning definition. Virtual classroom, however, is a phrase that I will no longer to reference distance learning. Our course text mentions how virtual means something potential an may become actual; however, actual is the opposite of virtual. So virtual classroom, in my opinion, can be used to defined something that is actually present. And see how present distance learning has become!

Distance education is erasing the boundaries of knowledge between people. This type of learning is allowing for people from all over the world and all walks of life to communicate and share knowledge. When distance education began 160 years ago, I don’t think the contributing parties towards its emergence and success realized how the emergence of technology would bring parts of the world closer together. I can imagine that the future of distance learning will lead to changes in traditional education. Traditional classrooms will be joined by distance learners from all over the world , diversifying traditional classrooms curriculum. Since technology is always changing and is very impressive at its current state, I can not fathom how advances in technology will impact the future of distance learning.

References

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Distance education: The next generation [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

text2mindmap

Fitting the Pieces Together: Reflection

In week 1 of my graduate class Learning Theories and Instruction,we were instructed to reflect on our learning styles and how our learning styles relate to the learning theories we were presented with that week, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism. As the weeks moved on, we learned more about learning theories, intelligences and technologies. Now with a deeper understanding in week 7, I believe everyone one possess a certain degree of every learning style depending on the event. Although one may prefer a particular learning style to others, it is possible to use more than one learning style that is fitting to the situation.

From what we learned about Multiple Intelligences, it is said that all human beings posses several intelligences at different levels (Giles, 2003). Because of these different types of intelligences, I am under the impression that each intelligence requires a different learning style. In the article Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles, the authors displays a table summarizing the eight intelligences and what learning style works best with that intelligence. For example, the Interpersonal intelligence requires learning through comparing, sharing, and interviewing; and the Mathematical/Logical intelligence requires learning through touching and moving. One can say the interpersonal intelligence is related to the social learning theory; while the mathematical/logical intelligence is related to the cognitive learning theory.

From studying the different learning styles and intelligences, I was able to have a better understanding of my own learning style and more importantly my 7 year old daughter. Since 2012, my oldest daughter Charlie has been struggling with school. Everyone assumed that Charlie suffered from ADHD due to her behavior. With testing, we discovered that Charlie did not have ADHD, but rather a delay in her Executive Functioning. One’s executive functioning helps an individual to think, solving problems, stay on task, and act in a orderly fashion. From studying the Cognitive Learning Theory, I realized that Charlie lacked in metacognition, and her brain was not processing information that way that it should normally. This revelation was very strange to me since Charlie scored in the high average range on her IQ test. In addition to the discovery of her Executive Functioning delay, we also discovered that she was a strong visual learner. Charlie scored highly in the Visual/Spatial field of her testing than in any other field, which proved useful with her Montessori school’s constructivist learning style (Montessori, n.d.). What was hindering Charlie, however, was me imposing my learning style upon her. I discovered early on in my coursework that my learning style consisted of memorization and relating my coursework to meaningful experiences in my life. I had to realize even though my learning style may be helpful to a certain degree, that is not Charlie’s primary choice of learning. Learning about the different learning styles in this class was important for me in understanding my daughter’s abilities, and how I can use the different styles to assist with her learning.

In addition to learning about learning theories and intelligences, I also learned how technology play a role in my learning. In my previous blog Connectivism: Mapping Your Learning Connection, I discovered through a mind mapping assignment that I get the majority of my information through the internet and social networks. With the use of the computer, tablets, and smart phones, I can access a plethora of information at any given time and anywhere. Not only can I expand my knowledge through technology, but I can add to someone’s knowledge with the use of blogs and social media. I can give my interpretations and perspectives to the learning community, which is already very diverse and massive (Davis, 2008).

With the information learned about learning theories, technologies, and intelligences, I believe I am slowly building the foundation to become an instructional designer.

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.),Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Giles, E., Pitre, S., Womack, S. (2003). Multiple intelligences and learning styles. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/

Johnson, T. (2013). Connectivism: Mapping Your Learning Connection. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://tracijohnsonwiggins.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/connectivism-mapping-your- learning-connection/

Montessori Education. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_education#Self- construction.2C_liberty.2C_and_spontaneous_activity

Connectivism: Mapping Your Learning Connection

Traci's mind map-learning connections

 

According to Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?, connectivism is “the starting point for learning” and “occurs when knowledge is actuated through the process of a learner connecting to and feeding information into a learning community” (Hill, 2008, para. 5). In studying connectivisim, I was able to discover my own learning connections by constructing the above mind map.

How has your network changed the way you learn?

Living in this day and age, my connections to knowledge seem much bigger than someone from the 1920s. I am able to learn from “non-human appliances” in which “learning can rest in a community, a network, or a database” (Connectivism, n.d., para. 5). Because of internet, I am able to connect to a plethora of information and diverse people and cultures. In addition, I am able to have all of this information and people readily available with the technology I have at my disposal (i.e. computer, smartphone, ipad). Learning is made easier and abundant through these connections.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

My smartphone and Ipad best facilitate my learning. I carry one of the two (if not both) wherever I go. Because both devices are connected to a network, I am about to connect to people and information no matter where I am located. I am able to stay abreast on information when knowledge is desired.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

When I have questions, I gain new knowledge through one of my connections listed in the above mind map. My first method is researching information on the internet by typing in information about my questions in search engines and searching through sites that I deem credible. Usually my search would spawn more questions, in which I search for more information. I also post questions on my social networks and see if anyone in the enormous social network have any information or can lead me in the right direction of that information. Because the internet can be information directly to you without having to leave your seat, libraries and books become obsolete. However, since most books that are posted online have a cost to read the book in its entirety, and since reading a lengthy book online does not agree with my eyes, I will do research at a library at times.

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

My learning connections support the principles of connectivism, which explains how learning exist in in non-human appliances; how learning is a process of connecting information sources; and how learning and knowledge comes from diverse information (Davis, 2008). My connections are fueled by use of the internet and the vehicles (technology) that allows me to access the internet. Without the internet and technology, my connections fall apart, hindering me connecting to the websites and social media (which are my prime connections). If you review my mind map and cross out the connections that use the internet and technology, the only connections that will remain are books and family/friends. With just these two connections, information may not be as diverse, my knowledge may be limited, and personal learning network would not be a true representation of connectivism.

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from           http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Hill, A., Kop, R. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past? The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103

Siemans, G. (n.d.). Description of connectivisim. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html

 

The Brain and Learning

learning and the brain pic

This week, I have learned about the human brain, how it functions,  how it process information, and it relates to the cognitive theories of learning. Aside from my course resources, I discovered other sources of information about cognitive learning and the brain.

Does the Cerebellum Contribute to Mental Skills?

In this article, the authors propose that new structures of the cerebrocerebellar loops may contribute to skilled mental performance the same way the older structures of the cerebellum contribute to motor skills. Their proposal  was very interesting because the cerebellum is involved in balance and complex motor behaviors (Ormrod, 2009). This may suggest that there is a relation between the cerebellum and the frontal lobes of the brain, which is responsible for mental activities such as “language, attentions, reasoning, decision making, planning, self-regulation, learning strategies, problem solving, consciously controlled movements, and interpretations of other’s behaviors” (Ormrod, p. 33). The cerebellum is connected to the rest of the brain through the dentate nucleus. Through the dentate nucleus, the authors hypothesize that when incoming data is processed repeatedly, it is possible for the cerebellum to learn a new way for executing skilled activities; resulting in the transmission of signals to the cerebral cortex and the frontal lobe. As stated, “Signals from the phylogenetically older part of the dentate nucleus certainly help the frontal motor cortex to effect the skilled manipulation of muscles, and signals from the newest part could help the frontal association cortex to effect the skilled manipulation of information or ideas” (Dow, 1986, p.443). This article explains how interconnected the different parts of the brain are to each other. The cerebellum in the brain may contribute to functions greater than motor skills. The article also suggest how the contribution of the cerebellum to both mental and motor skills is consistent with information processing in the brain because information is processed constantly in the loops that surrounds the cerebellum. This suggest that the cerebellum in itself is a powerful information processing mechanism.

Cognitive Information Processing Theory

This webpage on cognitive information processing theory further broaden the information presented this week on information processing. Information processing theory has been related to computers in relation to information encoding, storage and retrieval. The webpage introduces me to three phrases that provided me with more insight into information processing. This article introduces me to the new term of chunking,  which “taking individual units of information (chunks) and group them into large units” (Cherry, n.d.).  Chunking is best used for retain information in your short-term memory. This webpage suggest organizing learning tasks so they can be easily chunked together by the student.

The second term I am introduced to is retrieval cues, in which suggest certain cues available can help individuals retrieve information associated with these cues. Of course, the cues are more successful when the information is stored in your long-term memory. The third term I am introduced to is selective attention, which is the “ability to select and process certain information while ignoring other information” (Expert, 2011). There are several factors the webpage mentions as influencing attention, such as the meaning of the task or information to the individual, similarity between competing tasks or information, task complexity, and ability to control attention. Based on this information,  I draw my on conclusion that individuals are active participants in the learning process.

References

Cherry, K. (n.d.). What is chunking? About.com. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/cindex/g/chunking.htm

Dow, R., Leiner, A., Leiner, H. (1986). Does the cerebellum contribute to Mental Skills? Behavioral Neuroscience, 100(4), 443-454. doi:10.1037/0735-7044.100.4.443

Expert Leaners. (2011). Cognitive Information Processing Theory. Retrieved from http://www.expertlearners.com/cip_theory.php

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate Custom edition).New York: Pearson PP.27-47

The Doorway to Professional Learning Communities

doorway

After receiving a MS in Instructional Design and Technology, I hope to become an Instructional Specialist with the Federal Government, in which I ‘m currently employed as a Human Resources Assistant.  An instructional specialist in my organization works with different program areas to develop training curriculum that will better serve their area. The most challenging factor of becoming an Instructional Specialist for the government is being able to develop a program that is engaging to adults. How can you entice adults into taking additional training, and persuading them that this training would be beneficial to their career? I have discovered blogs about Instructional Design and Adult Learning that I found very helpful in my quest for understanding how my future role can better serve government employees.

How to Incorporate Principles of Adult Learning into Training

In this blog, the author introduced the term andragogy, which Malcolm Knowles coined to explain the art and science of how adults learn. Knowles developed core principles of adult learning that will help an instructional designer better understand adult learners, and better create and facilitate training. The core principles are:

  • Self-Direction
  • Experience
  • Time Orientation
  • Relevance
  • Benefit
  • Self-Esteem
  • Participation

When taken into consideration, I believe each principle can help an instructional designer reach the adult student and yield great results in knowledge retention and participation.  The core principles can be used as a blue print creating training.

Applying Instructional Techniques to Connect With Learners
In this blog, the author relates his personal experience of traveling to Bali with his career as a facilitator. He explained how the people of Bali are very interested in getting to know others and making a connection. The author believes that connecting with learners is extremely important in this field because it better assist the facilitator with knowing what the student needs from them. In addition, the author believes this connection fosters more participation.
I believe connecting to your students or organization is key in instructional design. You need to know how to serve the people with which you are working. You need to know the culture of the organization, how the people learn, and what they want/need to learn.

Brain-friendly first impressions can get your learning event off to a good start
This blog combines information on the brain, how it relates to learning, and how it affects students and facilitators. The author explains how different emotions, such as anxiety and fear, can hinder learning. It was stated that it can take only  seven seconds for the brain to evaluate whether a situation may or may not be rewarding; and this fear can block certain parts of the brain that are necessary for learning.  This blog divulges more on how the facilitator emotions can affect successful learning; and give tips to on how the facilitator can use these emotions to create a successful learning environment.
This blog was very interesting of how psychological factors of both the learner and the facilitator play a role in the learning process. I consider psychological parts of the brain to be passive and the learning parts to be active; and it is wise for any instructional design specialist to have knowledge about both.

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