Everything is great here, a bit hectic with the finals at the college and all the work and documentation we have to finish before graduation next week.
About my class at Post University, everything is going great and I’m starting to get very excited about my project. I am a bit frustrated with the software we have been using to launch our project because it is not very user friendly. I expected it to be easier to work with like PowerPoint or even Google slides in which once you publish your work, all the editing is updated as you go. It’s not like that with this software. I have to republish it weekly so the updates take place. I can’t even narrate my slides using the software. I have to record and save it first in MP3 and then upload it. In spite of all that, it has been a great experience, I’ve learned a lot, especially what I think it’s called “coding”. The end result is nice and I’m happy. I’m sure professionals would think it looks pretty primitive, but it’s just my first time.
Something exciting I learned two weeks ago was gaming. At first, video games came to my mind and I started to think how much I did not understand anything about video games and had no patience at all for them. Then, the more I read, researched and learned from my classmates posts and examples, I realized that I do use games in the classroom when I take my students to the lab. There are lots of simple games available for ESL (English as a Second Language) to help them improve their typing, listening, reading and speaking skills. There is also a variety of games to help them internalize vocabulary. You should check this Games to Learning English website. My students really enjoyed playing those games.
Maybe of of the reasons I don't much what is in the market is because adults, but I’m sure secondary and high school teachers use them a lot. I found this game called Crunchy Time that although it is for kids to tech them about science and the environment, I would use it with my intermediate and advanced level students to practice vocabulary and empower them to talk about everyday topics. Click on the picture to go to the link.
One of my classmates wrote a lot about “simulation” and how it can be used in different contexts and situations, especially when users need to master a skill like CPR, piloting a plane, etc. I really like that idea and it opened my eyes to how the word game carries a negative meaning if we don’t actually don’t learn how it can be used. I’ll teach this summer and I’ll definitely do some research on how I can incorporate games and simulation activities in my classes. I’ve noticed instructors who teach basic and beginners here at the college use a site named Learning Chocolate that seems to be very effective not only to help students learn and practice new vocabulary but also to improve pronunciation. It is very simple and, in my opinion, a thin line between game and just practice. Many of the exercises are timed, so I consider it a game. I love to compete with myself and check how faster I can perform a task, so these kinds of games engage me.
I'll leave you with this interesting TED Talk on Gamification that might change your way of thinking about how gamification can help students. Although is too long an a bit off the topic in my area, the first 10 minutes are very informative.
I hope you are enJOYing the beauty and colors of Spring. I’m about to die in the midst of pollen and allergies, but I’m a happy camper!
Well, this week, I’ll talk to you about “Connect” type activities and assessment when planning your e-learning environment or course. Horton (2012) makes an analogy that makes perfect sense to me. He says that "Absorb type activities are nouns, Do type activities are the verb and the Connect type activities are conjunctions" that link phrases or clauses and make the sentences and ideas flow more naturally. The connect activities should prepare learners to deal with the situations they have just learned in their real lives back at work or school.
I have to confess that I had no idea what E-Learning Design actually meant, but it is fascinating to know all the work and thought designers go through behind the scenes. Next time you take a standalone course, have in mind that although it may look simple, there was a lot of work and planning involved in it.
Tests: To give or not to give....
Assessment, without a doubt, is crucial in our learning process. Unfortunately, we all seem traumatized by summative tests that most of the time don’t really reflect our learning and knowledge acquired and skills. However, formative tests are very effective, and they can be given in formats that learners not even realize they are being assessed.
I’d like to present you with a video that really reflects what goes into students minds when it comes to testing, and I think it gets worse in some continents such as the Asian that a number of teenagers have committed suicide over bad test results along the years.
The very word “test” is scary, but let’s start by defining this word. According to Horton (2012), “test is any kind of activity that indicates how the learners met their learning objectives”. He adds to that definition saying that “any activity that provides feedback on performance of an object can serve as a test”.
It is very important to have in mind when tests are necessary. Do your learners need that specific skills? Are you unsure about how much your learners already know about a specific subject? Is a test the best way to provide assessment? If you answered yes for one or all of these questions, so a “formal” test or assessment is necessary. If the answers for these questions is “no”, so you can be as creative as you feel like to assess learning acquisition such as surveys, ungraded or practice quizzes.
I liked the idea of “test and then tell” in the article The Power of “Test Then Tell” in e-Learning Design by Edwards (2016). In fact, I use this practice quite frequently to assess how much my students already know before I start teaching them. It not only saves me time and gives me perspective on which direction my classes should go but also shows my students that I value and respect their previous knowledge. In the e-learning course I’m developing on Refugees, Trauma and Its Effect on Their Ability To Learn, I start my first module with mini quizzes and drag and drop activities that will show my learners how much they already know. I even think I should give them the option to read about what they already know or skip the information and advance in the course. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
I'd like to finish my post today with the video below, because it gives us great suggestions on how to create the best creative and engaging e-learning courses. I’m very far from being at that level of creation, but I hope to get there some day.
I hope you enJOY it!
Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.postu.idm.oclc.org/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook?sid=be273e1c-11b2-4b7e-b610-3c467437fc52%40pdc-v-sessmgr06&ppid=pp_67&vid=0&format=EB
Eduards, E. (2016). The power of “test then tell” in e-learning design. Allen Interactions. Retrieved from http://info.alleninteractions.com/the-power-of-test-then-tell-in-e-learning-design
It’s been a while since I last wrote, and I apologize for that. I was very busy actually, but I have great news: I graduated last week, and it was a great accomplishment personally and professionally. The nice thing is that it happened on Mother’s Day weekend and my mother was able to see me even from miles away via the internet. She was very proud and happy!
However, I still have one class to finish and I’m five weeks from that. As Post University was not offering the last class I had to take, they gave me the option to choose within a selection. I chose E-Learning Design for Diverse Learning because I love teaching online and my students are very diverse.
Horton (2012) defines e-learning as “the use of electronic technologies to create learning experiences." I believe this class will bring me different perspectives and make my practice better.
E-learning can be delivered in a variety of forms such as:
The standalone course is built with three types of activities in mind: Absorb; do, and Connect. Absorb activities not only control and stimulate the learners thinking process but also refresh and or extend previous knowledge. Some common types of Absorb activities are presentations, readings, stories told by teachers, and virtual field trips. Horton (2012) explains that Do Activities are the ones that help learners internalize information presented during the Absorb activities, transforming it into knowledge and skills. Connect activities integrate new learning to our previous knowledge.
When I first started visualizing my project I thought of my final product, however, I read the instructions again and I realized we are supposed to create one e-learning module. I was being too ambitious for a person who has no idea on how to design an e-learning course! If I like the experience and feel confident enough, my ultimate goal is to build a course with three modules: (i) an overview of the past, present, and future of refugees settled in Washington state, (ii) understanding trauma and how it can impair learning abilities, (iii) English Learning Acquisition (ELA) approaches for this target group.
I will use a combination of activities for my first module. I will use slide shows, some short readings, informational films that talk about the past and reasons why the refugees in my demographics fled their countries. I like the idea of hands-on activities in which learners have to answer a question before they can move one. So, I think this will be a good option for my subtopics, especially after presenting short videos. I can present a short video and the learners can answer a simple question such as True/False that would give them access to a short text or further questions about the video. For discovery activity, I’m thinking about “case studies” and I’d present this activity at the end of each module. My project will be about refugees from certain countries and how trauma can decrease their learning abilities. I believe case studies or scenarios would be a great option to close the module.
My project has to be outlined as a storyboard that illustrates my plan, the sequence of activities and images I will be using. I’m struggling with that idea because I can visualize my course but not the step-by-step process. I’m used to creating courses on Canvas, but I just do it, no storyboards necessary because the plan is actually in my mind. I'm sure I will get it sooner or later!
Well my friends, This is my plan on how I’m going to design my standalone course, however, it might change a little bit because I’m not so sure the materials I will have available yet, such as videos, documentaries or what kinds of texts, for example.
I’ll keep you posted! Stay tuned and enJOY your Spring!
Horton, W. (2012). E-Learning by Design. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.postu.idm.oclc.org/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook?sid=be273e1c-11b2-4b7e-b610-3c467437fc52%40pdc-v-sessmgr06&ppid=pp_67&vid=0&format=EB
I just got back from Brazil last Thursday and I had such an enJOYable time with my family! I feel recharged and ready for my new personal and professional endeavors. I’m now in New York and I’ll work at the E.F Academy managing 1200 international students from 8-18 years old that are coming to the US to spend three weeks. Then, I just accepted a full-time position at Renton Technical College in Renton, WA as an English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor, and I start in my new position in September. I’m very happy about all these new opportunities to use all I’ve learned in my EDU 510 and EDU 515.
EDU 510 was the first module in my Master course to discuss my core learning interest. I have a B.A. in Education and Language Teaching and cognitive science theories are like “letter soup” for me. I could have it from breakfast to supper.
We started the module contrasting differences between Pedagogy and Andragogy. Knowles (1980) in a simple way, defines Andragogy as “the art and science of helping adults learn” and Pedagogy as “the art and science of teaching children”. Yes, as simple as that! When I graduated from college in 1998, the term Andragogy was not popular and in fact, I just learned more about it in this class. Understanding the difference between teaching children and adults is very important. There are lots of theories focusing on pedagogy, but not many in Andragogy. I teach (ESL) for adults, therefore, studying this topic has helped me improve my professional skills. According to Knowles (1980), adults are more self-directed, have a reservoir of experiences in their favor, are more problem-centered, and are more motivated to learn by internal, rather than external factors. Understanding these differences and finding methodologies and approaches specific for adult learning will be mandatory in my profession.
In our second week we discussed mental representations such as logic, rules and concepts. That was a challenging week because understanding how “we think” is not an easy task. “The central hypothesis of cognitive science is that thinking can be better understood in terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that operate on those structures” (Stanford Encyclopedia, n.d.). After studying these “concepts” in week two, I got to the conclusion that teaching children and adults has a big difference once children will not have the cultural background an adult has. According to Piaget, it is not until age 11 that children are able to use logic to solve problems, view the world around them, and plan for the future. I honest think I have to study mental representations further so I’m well prepared to help my students. I’ll definitely dedicate some more time reading about it.
In week four, we were introduced to the delightful book written by Perkins (2009), Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education. In the book, Perkins makes an analogy mainly of a baseball match, its techniques and secrets compared to the process of teaching and learning. When playing any game, you have to be aware not only of what is going on during the game but also before and after it. You have to know yourself, the competitors, the rules, the “hidden rules”, anticipate the “hard-parts” so you can win the game. Perkins’s book is inspiring and I’ll go back to it whenever I need to find answers to my practice or a refresher.
Another aspect I loved about this class is that we discussed some of my favorite theorists such as Vygotsky, Piaget and Bronfenbrenner. Vygotsky, Piaget, Dewey and Paulo Freire are very well known by educators in Brazil, I had never heard about Bronfenbrenner until I taught an Early Childhood Education class last year. According to Bronfenbrenner person's development is affected by their surrounding environment, divided into five different levels: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem, and the chronosystem. “Species Homo sapiens appears to be unique in its capacity to adapt to, tolerate, and especially to create the ecologies in which it lives and grows” (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). Based on that, as an instructor, we should dedicate some time to know our students and understand the environments they are coming from. This would help us find effective strategies to teach our students.
This is week seven and we are just discussing Illusions. “Our perception is created by our brain's interpretation of visual information and our mind gets ‘actively’ involved in interpreting the perceptual input rather than passively recording the input” (World Mysteries, 2011). Mirage and anti-solar rays are examples of illusions that could be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. We had delightful discussions on childhood memories and illusions.
The last topic discussed this week was Dynamic systems. Dynamic is characterized by constant changes. Therefore, dynamic learning system may involve situations that can change the way of the mind, and also how the body react/adapt or process information as they work together within certain scenarios (Harman, 2012).
Well, we were exposed to several new concepts that enriched our course. I intend to start an "observation journal" in which I will report what I observe from my students when they are learning. I’ll work on correlating theories to practice. I would like to be able to anticipate the “hard parts”. I also want to spend more time teaching my students how to learn, how to be independent by helping them reflect about their learning process.
How Smart Are you?
Bronfenbrenner’s Microsystems and Mesosystems (n.d.). Retrieved 8/4p/2016 from: http://www.vvc.edu/academic/child_development/droege/ht/course2/faculty/lecture
Harman, A. (n.d). A dynamic systems approach: A revolutionary perspective on childhood development theory. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from http://www.unfetteredmovement.org/resources/articles/a-dynamic-systems-approach-a-a-revolutionary-perspective-on-childhood-development-thoery/.
Pappas, C. (2013, May 9). The Adult Learning Theory - Andragogy - of Malcolm Knowles. E-Learning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles
Perkins, D. N., & ebrary, I. (2009). Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Cognitive Science (Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.3). Stanford Website. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cognitive-science/
This week is a very special week for me because I’m here in Brazil, visiting my mom and enJOYing my family. It was a surprise trip and I got their reactions on tape when they saw me getting to their houses. Love and emotion is everything!
By the way, emotion is one of the topics we studied these past two weeks. We discussed how it influences our learning process, and I believe that emotion is the number one aspect influencing one’s learning. Demetriou & Wilson (2008) states that from early on our emotional development is inextricably intertwined with our acquisition of knowledge (p. 938). Social interaction, class community, student-centered approach, games, projects all make the learning experience meaningful to students. Our reading material for these weeks included David Perkins, a noted authority on teaching and learning and co-director of Harvard's Project Zero who introduces a practical and research-based framework for teaching. He describes how teaching any subject at any level can be made more effective if students are introduced to the "whole game," rather than isolated pieces of a discipline (Wiley, 2009). Perkins (2009) discusses strategies to teach the “hard parts”. He notes that the first time you try to teach anything, teaching smart is almost never smart enough. One just does not know enough initially about what the parts are going to be like. (p. 104). Being aware of the learning process is important to anticipate and teach the hard parts, and at this task, experience comes handy. Elicitation, imaginary, brainstorming and visual aids are key, especially in my field, ESL classes. Extensive practice, whole play and games are also useful techniques to internalization and externalization of content learned.
We also talked about motivation and engagement. Motivation is not only important for students, but also instructor, and research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice higher-level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences. Instructors should adopt student-centered activities and provide plenty of opportunities for engagement. People’s feeling of a real commitment to what they have learned is very important (Perkins, 2009).
We also discussed intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards, that is, what we do simply because we like doing it. Extrinsic motivation is doing something for external rewards or to avoid negative consequences. Rewarding for me is when I convert my students’ extrinsic motivation to intrinsic. What starts as an obligation turning into something pleasurable that they want to do.
How Emotions Impact Learning
Demetriou, H., Wilson, E. (2008). A return to the use of emotion and reflection. Teach
and Learn. Vol 21, no 11. Retrieved from www.thepsychologist.org.uk
Engaging students in learning (n.d.). University of Washington Website. Retrieved
Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education
Perkins, D. N., & February, I. (2009). Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of
Teaching Can Transform Education. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.
This week, I had the great opportunity to come to Boston for a training. What an enJOYable place! I’ve been here for three days in a frantic routine, and finally had the time to dedicate to my blog.
The assignment for this week is for EDU 510 (Cognitive Science of Learning & Teaching) and my task is to tell you what I’ve learned this past three weeks.
We had a very interesting discussion in our first week about artificial intelligence (AI) and what aspect of human thinking would be difficult to be performed by AI.
When we talk about AI, I’m sure many of you think about sci-fi movies and all the technology on them. I was surprised to learn that many things we are already doing such as site recommendations and filter for viruses are considered AI. I was unaware of the use of AI for handwriting recognition, writing assessments, intelligent tutoring systems and computer-supported collaborative learning. I was glad to find out how affordable some of these technologies have become over the years.
As mentioned in the video The Rise of Artificial Intelligence, the brain is one of the most complex organs and there is still much to learn about it. AI has not been able to work in situations that involve vision, natural language, understanding, and speaking. All of us in the class got to the same conclusion: emotions cannot reproduce by machines!
The readings proposed for week 2 were quite challenging. We read articles on rules, logic and concept. Concept formation is defined by Bruner, Goodnow, & Austin (1967) as the search for and listing of attributes that can be used to distinguish exemplars from non-exemplars of various categories. It requires comparison, contrast, and are culture-bound. Logic is the science of reasoning, proof, thinking or inference, and rules are instructions that tell you what you are allowed to do and what you are not. The main topic for discussion was problem-solving differences between adults and kids. According to Piaget, it is not until age 11 that children are able to use logic to solve problems, view the world around them, and plan for the future. So, after taking all these “concepts” into consideration, I got to the conclusion that teaching children and adults has a big difference once children will not have the cultural background an adult has. The difference between the learning process between a child and adult is that the child is in the early process of making connections and building new ones.
Finally, we are having a very nice discussion on learning styles and synapses. We were requested to do our Learning Style Inventory and I scored a nine for active and visual styles, one for sensing/intuitive and three for sequential/global. I was happy to learn that I’m balanced between four styles, what leads me to conclude that it may help me deal with the other two extremes.
If you are interested in taking the test, click here and here.
Interested in learning more?
(2014) Kids Outsmart Grown-Ups : Berkeley Research. UC. Berkeley YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHQ0DemKcEA&feature=youtu.be
Bruner, J., Goodnow, J. J., & Austin, G. A. (1967). A study of thinking. New York: Science Editions.
Smith, M. (2013). Andragogy and Pedagogy: Similarities in Teaching Adults and K-12 Students. Evolllution Website. Retrieved from https://evolllution.com/opinions/andragogy-and-pedagogy-similarities-in-teaching-adults-and-k-12-students/
Hi Everyone! Long time no see!
Are you enjoying the new season?
Well, spring is definitely here in Klamath Falls, OR, and we are having beautiful warm days mixed with blue sky, rainy days. My irises are blooming this week. What a JOY!
It’s been three weeks now in my new modules EDU 510 and EDU 515. Yes, I got brave and decided to take two modules at a time, this time. I’m glad I did because I’m starting a new phase in my life in which I’m changing jobs and moving to a new state, probably Washington, which I considered “the paradise” for ESL teachers. EDU 510 is about Cognitive Science of Teaching & Learning. How not to like it and dive into it? EDU 515 is about Measurement and Metrics – not so exciting, but extremely important for my future position. I've learned a lot of strategies and terminologies I had never heard before. It’s been just three weeks, but I was able to use the new information I've learned to prepare myself for my interviews.
Well, stay tuned because I will start sharing all the good stuff with you in a few days!
EnJOY your spring!
It’s April 28th and can you believe I’m watching it hail from my window? It was 80oF just two days ago! This is definitely Klamath Falls!
Well, I’m sad because this is the last week for EDU 520 module. This module was about Digitally Mediated Teaching & Learning, and I had so much fun with it!
Yes, your Master course can be serious and fun at the same time! For this module, we had to develop our Personal Learning Environment (PLE), a Wiki page, our professional networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a curation page. How not to have fun?
Well, I decided to be brave and take two modules at once, starting next Monday. EDU 510 is Cognitive Science in Teaching and Learning and EDU 515 Measurement & Metrics. Considering I like learning theories, I believe I’ll enjoy all of it.
Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted on my journey for the next eight weeks!
Well, my 2nd module at Post University (EDU 520) is almost at the end. Only two weeks to go and I feel sad, because I loved to be able to do so many projects.
My assignment for this week was to create my first VLOG (video blog). I explored the world of digital multimedia and I’m supposed to tell you my experience in a video blog.
For better view, use full screen.
I hope you enJOY it!
Today, I’m going to talk about something very important: Digital Citizenship.
I had not heard this term before until I started my MEd. Course. I’ve been researching on this topic for a week now and I’ve learned how important it is and I believe everyone should be aware of it.
To start with, let’s review some concepts.
A person who is entitled to enjoy all the legal rights and privileges granted by a state to the people comprising its constituency and is obligated to obey its laws and to fulfill his or her duties as called upon (Business Dictionary, n.d.).
The world where digital technologies is propelled by explosive broadband growth and soaring mobile numbers, digital lifestyle, technologies at home, in the office, in school, on the street, in cars, in trains, in planes, etc. (International Telecommunication Union, 2009).
A discipline taught to prepare technology users for a society full of technology. Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use (Ribble, 2017).
I’ve been part of this digital world since 2009 and I formally learned my rights and responsibilities this week; nine years later. But, I like the saying that states “better late than never”.
As a digital citizen and an educator, it is my responsibility to spread the word about Digital Citizenship and make my stand on my beliefs and actions in the digital world. My philosophy as a digital citizen and an educator is:
Citizen (2018). In BD Business Dictionary Website. Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/citizen.html
n.a. (2009). Living the Digital World. International Telecommunication Union Website. Retrieved from http://www.itu.int/newsroom/features/digital_world.html
Ribble, M. (2017). Digital Citizenship. Digital Citizenship Website. Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/
Hi. I'm Raquel Poteet, an ESL and Spanish teacher. My calling is definitely teaching. That's why I decided to further my education. I'm enrolled in my TESOL M. Ed. program at Post University and loving it!