Categories
education learning students teaching

Posted to Diigo 12/10/2010

    • The zone of proximal development is the area between what an individual can achieve on their own and what they can achieve with assistance
    • A student should constantly be reaching slightly beyond their capabilities rather than working within them
    • students should lead their learning and teachers simply assist and rather than judging students on what they know in standardised tests, learning should be done through looking closely at their zone of proximal development
    • If informal learning is as important as formal learning, then varying the way students are assessed can only work in their favour
    • Relevant, meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know are what help build neural connections and long-term memory storage
    • it’s necessary for learners to attach a new piece of information to an old one
    • If a student acquires new information that’s unrelated to anything already stored in his brain, it’s tough for the new information to get into those networks because it has no scaffolding to cling to
    • a solid amount of research also links personal relevance and emotional engagement to memory storage
    • “the learner’s emotional reaction to the outcome of his efforts … shapes his future behavior,”
    • if [a student] doesn’t believe a particular activity is interesting, relevant, or within the scope of his capabilities, it’s probably not going to sink in
    • too much emotion can be as detrimental to learning as too little: distractions and stress can also block receptivity to new ideas
    • Make it student directed. Give students a choice of assignments on a particular topic, or ask them to design one of their own. “When students are involved in designing the lesson, they better understand the goal…and become more emotionally invested in and attached to the learning outcomes.”
    • Connect it to their lives and what they already know. Taking the time to brainstorm about what students already know and would like to learn about a topic helps them to create goals — and helps teachers see the best points of departure for new ideas. Making cross-curricular connections also helps solidify those neural loops
    • With no reference point and no intrigue, information is fairly likely to go in one ear and straight out the other
    • Happy learners are healthy learners, if students do not feel comfortable in a classroom setting, they will not learn. Physiologically speaking, stressed brains are not able to form the necessary neural connections
    • The amygdala, for instance, processes emotions, stores the memories of emotional reactions, and reacts so aggressively to stress that it will physically prevent information from reaching the centers of the brain necessary for absorbing new knowledge
    • Even feelings like embarrassment, boredom, or frustration — not only fear — can spur the brain to enter the proverbial “fight or flight” mode
    • The amygdala goes into overdrive and gets in the way of the parts of the brain that can store memories
    • it makes sense — on many levels — to cultivate the learning atmosphere as much as the learning itself. “Reducing stress and establishing a positive emotional climate in the classroom is arguably the most essential component of teaching,”
    • Make the classroom stress free. Lighten the mood by making jokes and spurring curiosity; create a welcoming and consistent environment; give students frequent opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussions without judgment; and determine achievable challenges for each learner
    • Encourage participation, not perfection. A classroom in which mistakes are encouraged is a positive learning environment, both neurologically and socially speaking
    • “Students will allow themselves to experience failure only if they can do so within an atmosphere of trust and respect.”
    • This kind of positive reinforcement from the get-go allows students to let their guard down (known in neuro-speak as calming their “affective filters”). Listening to students in general, and listening to their intentions in particular, can help relax anxious brains.
    • Practice active listening. “Focus on what students are trying to say
    • Intelligence is not fixed, it turns out, nor planted firmly in our brains from birth. Rather, it’s forming and developing throughout our lives
    • neuroplasticity is defined as the selective organizing of connections between neurons in our brains
    • neuroplasticity is defined as the selective organizing of connections between neurons in our brain
    • “cells that fire together, wire together”
    • “Practice makes permanent. The more times the network is stimulated, the stronger and more efficient it becomes.”
    • both morale and grade points increase when students understand the idea that intelligence is malleable
    • Practice, practice, practice. Repeating an activity, retrieving a memory, and reviewing material in a variety of ways helps build thicker, stronger, more hard-wired connections in the brain
    • Put information in context. Recognizing that learning is, essentially, the formation of new or stronger neural connections, it makes sense to prioritize activities that help students tap into already-existing pathways
    • “Whenever new material is presented in such a way that students see relationships between concepts, they generate greater brain cell activity and achieve more successful long-term memory storage and retrieval.”
    • Let students know that this is how the brain works. “Especially for students who believe they are ‘not smart,’ the realization that they can literally change their brains through study and review is empowering.”
Categories
twitter feed

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-16

  • Pepsi spill causes sticky mess in science blogging ecosystem http://bit.ly/8XiQ3N #
  • Just started reading “Unseen academicals”. I love Terry Pratchett #
  • Plagiarism Is Not a Big Moral Deal. I teach professional ethics in practice, and I agree with this http://bit.ly/b37kfw #
  • Mobile Phone Learning on the Move in Africa. http://bit.ly/aVpdV3 #
  • Juxio – combine image and text into visual streams. Could be useful for creating small learning resources http://bit.ly/9Vgswz #
  • Comparing Books & E-Books. I’m still not sure where I stand http://bit.ly/9lOtGv #
  • @tony_emerge nice to see I’m not the only 1 still up 🙂 was good to chat at the colloquium on Friday #
  • Do New Tools = New Learning? I don’t think using new tools automatically maps to new learning http://bit.ly/9x4ST6 #
  • What You Need To Know About Data Portability http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=53116 #
  • Social networking and loneliness. See this in some of my students…the pressure of living for an audience http://bit.ly/d1HQOM #
  • @ianuct Wow, I’d love to have a look at how you do it. Maybe I can meet up with u sometime during the week? Do you have the desktop version? in reply to ianuct #
  • @ianuct What are you thoughts on #Prezi I’ve played with it but actually find the lack of linearity hard to work with in reply to ianuct #
  • Thank you. RT @ianuct: Drew the keynote “Experiences in personal learning”. Find a balance between consuming & sharing http://bit.ly/92CwDd #
  • Battery getting low, so in case phone dies before the end…thank you #Maties for awesome #TEDxStellenbosch #
  • Weird…they handed out #vuvuzelas during intermission at #TEDxStellenbosch & are surprised that people are blowing them? #
  • @jpbosman hey man, how come you’re not at #TEDxStellenbosch Thought this would be the sort of thing you’re interested in #
  • @geekrebel where are you? #
  • Vegetarian meals only at #TEDxStellenbosch I’m not a vegetarian but…what a great idea when promoting sustainability #
  • #TEDxStellenbosch We’re moving from an era of “me”, to an era of “we”. Similar ideas in education with social learning #
  • Comment from earlier speaker at #TEDxStellenbosch “Africa isn’t poor, we just don’t have a lot of money” #
  • @geekrebel Thanks for organising access, #Skyrove doing an awesome job again 🙂 #
  • @elodiek I’m going back to obz so can help you guys out if you still looking (i know henk) #
  • @geekrebel I just got here and am 1 of those 4 🙂 I’m right at the back and can’t see any screens #
  • At #TEDxStellenbosch so impressed with setup, thank you #Skyrove for wireless, always appreciated #
  • Just got home from #ipex had a good 2 days, learnt a lot. Leaving in an hour for #TEDxStellenbosch (http://tedxstellenbosch.org/) #
  • Spent most of yesterday marking tests & assignments, same again today…sigh #
Categories
diigo learning research teaching

Posted to Diigo 06/18/2010

    • Salmon’s model moves away from the increasingly dated notion that the effective eLearning can be achieved through static learning objects (Downes 2005), and takes a social learning perspective with particular emphasis on communities of practice, providing a framework to support Wenger’s assertion that “learning cannot be designed: it can only be designed for – that is, facilitated or frustrated” (1998, p. 228).
    • Salmon’s model is also reliant upon scaffolding, extending Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (in Attwell 2006) proposition with the model’s structure implying that the moderator acts as an initial scaffold who gradually shifts responsibility for development to the learning community under their guidance, with learners developing their own scaffolding based on relationships with many within the community, and eventually, beyond the community.
    • Lead by Example
    • It is an essential part of our jobs to model what we would like to see
    • Get Personal
    • Be willing to share of yourself. Share your stories and your life
    • be willing to be open
    • Be Honest
    • you need to be willing to share your thoughts and opinions about things
    • Accept that You’re Human
    • Learn for mistakes and move on
    • Be Knowledgeable and Share
    • Share of yourself and of your passions. Make your presence in a space one that has personality and share what you have
    • Share the things you find online
    • Maintain Consistency
    • Maintaining consistency will allow your students to be comfortable in your space, understanding what happens there and able to concentrate on what they are being asked to do
    • Let it Go
    • Be prepared to see cycles between students and even within the contributions of single students
    • Don’t Give Up
    • How can we change what we are asking them to do in order for them to grow into their roles
    • “My job is to present the material in an interesting and meaningful way,” he would say. “It is the student’s job to learn that material.”

      Implicit in his statement was the idea that it was the student’s role to adjust to the various styles employed by different teachers. Whether the teacher featured a lecture format or a hands-on approach was immaterial – the assumption was that students were the ones who needed to be flexible

    • any failure on the student’s part to master the material was not the responsibility of the teacher
    • students moved along as a group, each doing the same set of assignments, each expected to master the exact same set of learning objectives by a date set forth in the syllabus
    • differentiating for a specific learner was perceived as showing favoritism
    • today’s teacher is expected to adjust to the varied preferences of students so as to maximize the learning potential of each individual in the classroom
    • Personalizing learning involves differentiating the curricula, including expectations and timelines, and utilizing various instructional approaches so as to best meet the needs of each individual
    • The challenge is not so much what those elements consist of but how to piece the elements together to form a cohesive strategy
    • But technology also plays a more important role in the personalization process. Ultimately it is the conduit for teachers to move to a learning approach that features materials developed for each individual student
    • One of the critical elements to a cohesive strategy involves the concept of a learning platform
    • First teachers must have a clear understanding of the learning needs of each student
    • teachers must monitor and assess student progress intently
    • Learning paths must then be created that match the aptitude and learning styles of every individual
    • One of the first elements is increased communication among educators themselves as well as with their individual students
    • That means increased use of email
    • Better yet, it means posting that assignment online for students and parents to access directly
    • No one educator could possibly create unique learning materials for every single student
    • An expectation that all teachers are ready for such steps is destined for failure
    • Whereas in Africa limited infrastructure is producing an information bottleneck, access in the UK is restricted by ‘denial of service’ restrictions placed upon a competent and fast modern system
    • how do we go about managing the risks more effectively to allow NHS staff to access online learning resources and tools which many of us take for granted
    • what processes people perceived as important for knowledge maturing within their organisation and how ell they though these processes were important. The two processes perceived as most important were ‘reflection’ and ‘building relationships’ between people. These were also the two processes seen as amongst the least supported
    • The issue of ‘reflection’ is more complex. e-Portfolio researchers have always emphasised the centrality of reflection to learning, yet it is hard to see concrete examples of how this can be supported
    • the amount of redundant, inconsequential, and outright poor research has swelled in recent decades
    • 40.6 percent of the articles published in the top science and social-science journals (the figures do not include the humanities) were cited in the period 2002 to 2006
    • As a result, instead of contributing to knowledge in various disciplines, the increasing number of low-cited publications only adds to the bulk of words and numbers to be reviewed
    • The avalanche of ignored research has a profoundly damaging effect on the enterprise as a whole. Not only does the uncited work itself require years of field and library or laboratory research. It also requires colleagues to read it and provide feedback, as well as reviewers to evaluate it formally for publication. Then, once it is published, it joins the multitudes of other, related publications that researchers must read and evaluate for relevance to their own work. Reviewer time and energy requirements multiply by the year
    • The pace of publication accelerates, encouraging projects that don’t require extensive, time-consuming inquiry and evidence gathering
    • Questionable work finds its way more easily through the review process and enters into the domain of knowledge
    • Aspiring researchers are turned into publish-or-perish entrepreneurs, often becoming more or less cynical about the higher ideals of the pursuit of knowledge
    • The surest guarantee of integrity, peer review, falls under a debilitating crush of findings, for peer review can handle only so much material without breaking down. More isn’t better. At some point, quality gives way to quantity
    • Several fixes come to mind:
    • First, limit the number of papers to the best three, four, or five that a job or promotion candidate can submit. That would encourage more comprehensive and focused publishing
    • Second, make more use of citation and journal “impact factors
    • Third, change the length of papers published in print: Limit manuscripts to five to six journal-length pages
    • and put a longer version up on a journal’s Web site
    • what we surely need is a change in the academic culture that has given rise to the oversupply of journals
    • Finally, researchers themselves would devote more attention to fewer and better papers actually published, and more journals might be more discriminating
    • the present ‘industrial’ schooling system is fast becoming dysfunctional, neither providing the skills and competences required in our economies nor corresponding to the ways in which we are using the procedural and social aspects of technology for learning and developing and sharing knowledge
    • Personal Learning Environments can support and mediate individual and group based learning in multiple contexts and promote learner autonomy and control
    • The role of teachers in such an environment would be to support, model and scaffold learning
    • Such approaches to learning recognise the role of informal learning and the role of context
    • Schools can only form one part of such collaborative and networked knowledge constellation
    • institutions must rethink and recast their role as part of community and distributed networks supporting learning and collaborative knowledge development
    • the major impact of the uses of new technologies and social networking for learning is to move learning out of the institutions and into wider society
    • This is a two way process, not only schools reaching outwards, but also opening up to the community, distributed or otherwise, to join in collaborative learning processes
    • At the same time new interfaces to computers and networks are likely to render the keyboard obsolescent, allowing the integration of computers and learning in everyday life and activity
Categories
learning

Different views of learning resources

I was just going through this presentation on personal learning from Stephen Downes (2008), and wanted to highlight the point he makes about 3 different approaches to viewing learning resources:

  1. As a thing – books, videos, presentations i.e. a content object
  2. As an event – lectures, workshops, seminars, meetings
  3. As flow – user generated content, networks of interactions i.e. knowledge management (?)

The first 2 approaches are information- and medium-based, and stress content and rules. The third approach stresses experiences and pattern recognition.

Categories
twitter feed

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-07

  • Mugtug | Browser Based Image Editing and Photo Sharing http://bit.ly/ca7pXs #
  • @johncarneyau Only now our tools allow us to do far more creative things than pen and paper did in the past #
  • @johncarneyau Then there’s not much difference betw a traditional teacher and a Steiner teacher? Teachers r teachers, technologies r tools #
  • @johncarneyau Not at all, there’s nothing in their philosophy negating the idea of using technology to explore creative learning experiences #
  • “Technology won’t replace teachers, but teachers who use technology in the classroom will replace those who don’t” – Higham (2007) #
  • Teaching and learning in social and technological networks – presentation by George Siemens http://bit.ly/cVIEQg #
  • Connectivist Learning and the Personal Learning Environment – presentation by Downes http://bit.ly/b5VKnK #
  • Trends In Personal Learning (audio and slides) – Stephen Downes http://bit.ly/cvsBsL #
  • “To ‘teach’ is to model and demonstrate. To ‘learn’ is to practice and reflect. Both imply participation in…an authentic CoP” – Downes #
  • On 7th grader #PLE video (http://bit.ly/9196KL) – amazing work, but don’t forget that the ToS mean she doesn’t own it & also can’t export it #
  • @jeffjarvis If you find yourself in Cape Town, give me a shout (I’m a huge TWiT and TWiG fan) #
  • @Czernie How bizarre, I just read that exact quote (http://bit.ly/9Ylxvb, slide no. 7) #
  • An Important Reminder about Feedback. Not only formal feedback is useful http://tinyurl.com/2udaokl #
  • Star Trek inspirational poster (humour) http://bit.ly/csbofi #
  • RT @allankent: @patrickkayton was killer finally getting to play with #cognician -> Looking forward to seeing what you build #
  • How Augmented Reality Helps Doctors Save Lives http://tinyurl.com/39ptoge #
  • @salfordgareth Can’t imagine not using GReader. Sync it to my phone and other offline readers all the time. Great 4 catching up and sharing #
  • Google Releases CloudCourse, an Open Source Learning Platform http://bit.ly/9rEB2y #
  • Google’s “Learning platform” clarified | John McLear’s School Technology http://bit.ly/c3iFqa #
  • BusinessDay – Software to help critical thinking http://bit.ly/aV8qYT #
  • Cognician – The original thinking guide http://bit.ly/9i0NqT #
  • @cristinacost #AMEE (http://goo.gl/TBYV) is my priority for 2011, but will do everything I can to get to SN & Learning http://goo.gl/SYS1 #
  • @doug_holton We’re enjoying #WPMU with #Buddypress finding it does everything we need it to & plugin ecosystem growing all the time #
  • @cristinacost @gsiemens Social networks and learning in 2011? Would love to play with… #
  • elearnspace › Einztein – company based on providing value to the OER of universities http://bit.ly/cUHgk1 #
Categories
diigo learning teaching

Posted to Diigo 04/11/2010

    • PLEs aren’t an entity, structural object or software program in the sense of a learning management system. Essentially, they are a collection of tools, brought together under the conceptual notion of openness, interoperability, and learner control. As such, they are comprised of two elements – the tools and the conceptual notions that drive how and why we select individual parts. PLEs are a concept-entity. Problem is, however, that we are discussing PLEs as if they were solely an entity – so we compare PLEs with an LMS and other entity-based learning tools…but if PLEs exist at all, they are very personalized and individual
    • if you want to communicate your ideas in a way that makes an impact, then craft messages that embrace storytelling, are simple, concrete, credible, emotional, and have an element of unexpectedness. In the video below, Dan reminds presenters to (1) be simple (without being simplistic), (2) show something, and (3) tease before you tell.
    • Siemens (2007) stresses PLEs comprise of two elements; the tools themselves and the conceptual factors which drive them, such as openness, interoperability, and learner control.
    • First, it isn’t impossible to teach people facts.
    • A great deal of our education today in fact turns on this very proposition: it consists of the teaching of facts, and the testing for recall of those facts.
    • Second, it isn’t wrong to teach facts. Or (perhaps more accurately) to learn facts.
    • Teaching children facts is a great shortcut, the great shortcut, in human development.
    • Third, we need facts to do stuff.
    • To do anything, you need to know stuff.
    • while it is necessary (and possible) to teach facts to people, it comes with a price. And the price is this: facts learned in this way, and especially by rote, and especially at a younger age, take a direct route into the mind, and bypass a person’s critical and reflective capacities, and indeed, become a part of those capacities in the future.
    • When you teach children facts as facts, and when you do it through a process of study and drill, it doesn’t occur to children to question whether or not those facts are true, or appropriate, or moral, or legal, or anything else. Rote learning is a short circuit into the brain. It’s direct programming.
    • We know now – and, indeed, have probably always known – that an education based strictly and solely in facts is insufficient. The reasons are legion, but I will focus on six major points:
    • First. There are more facts in the world than anyone could know, which means that we need to be able to find facts that we do not already know.
    • Second. As time passes, facts change, and so we need the capacity to know when facts change and to be able to update our own knowledge of these facts.
    • Third. And as the number of people, and the amount of information, in the world increases, we need some mechanism for selecting which facts we will be exposed to, and how to filter out irrelevant facts. We need to be able to determine what is salient or important to ourselves and to others.
    • Fourth. Even more critically, not every bit of information presented to you in life will be a fact, and you need some mechansism to detect and reject false representations of facts.
    • Fifth. Additionally, we need to know which, of the many facts we have in our possession, constitute a basis for action. We need some sense of, and mechanism for, agency in the world, a sense that we can not only receive, input and assess facts, but that we can create facts in the world.
    • Sixth. Finally, we need the capacity to act, which may mean some physical activity, or may mean some communicative activity, a set of abilities we can place under the heading of empowerment
    • no library is large enough to hold all the facts. You need a new skill, a way to access the facts you need from an ocean of facts
    • You need new skills to keep track of how what you know has changed, and the skills of a person who simply accumulates facts are insufficient.
    • You need new skills to be able to select and prioritize information, and the skills of a person who just watched and learned are not enough.
    • In the 21st century, there are more types of reasoning, and they must be used by more people.
    • We need to be able to turn our knowledge into these and other sorts of skills very quickly. And more and more people need to be able to learn these skills.
    • The skills we need in order to simply act are far more than what used to be required, and are needed by far more people.
    • Spending a lot of time teaching facts could be justified, because people needed basic knowledge to survive in an industrial world, needed to be able to understand the basics of language and literature, science and mathematics, and – crucially – not much more.
    • Today, the situation has completely turned around because of the six factors identified above. People need such greater capacities in literacy, learning, prioitizing, evaluation, planning and acting. And as their need for these dynamic skills and capacities increases, their need for facts decreases. Indeed, the more these skills are needed, the more the teaching of facts as facts actually impairs the teaching of these skills. The more static our teaching, the less dynamic the learner can be.
    • Think about the problems you’ve created by depending on a library, by depending on an information system in which facts are impressed on a storage medium:
    • – you have to buy new books to get new information, an ongoing and expensive activity

      – your books don’t update, and you have no real way of knowing when any bit of a book is out of date

      – you have no good means of choosing which books to buy; you can handle your local bookstore, but the thought of a library with a trillion books is frightening

      – you have no way of knowing whether something in a book is true or false

      – you have no way to move beyond ‘book learning’, and nothing in the book tells you when you should do something (your actions are underdetermined by your knowledge; should you believe the sceptic, who says there is no floor, or the alarmist, who says the building is on fire?)

      – you can’t develop skills; despite reading all about ‘bicycle riding’ you still fall over

      You need, in other words, need to acquire facts in a format appropriate to your knowledge system.

    • That facts are not beyond questioning, and that facts not only should be questioned, they must be questioned. The common core people want the means and the ability to implant unquestioned truths into the minds of children, and this in an environment where the possession of unquestioned truths becomes to be more and more of a handicap, an impediment, a barrier to personal growth and prosperity.
    • They want to use children to promote their own political agenda, rather than to enable children to have lives, beliefs and faiths of their own.

      What we have learned – what we are understanding, uniquely, in the 21st century – is that the nature of facts is very different from anything we thought before:

    • First. Facts are not simply read, they are not simply expressed in language, and they are not independent of the means in which they are expressed.
    • literacy involves not only reading books, but reading faces, photos, idea, omens and portents, signs, between the lines, and much, much more
    • Second. Facts change. There is no simple hierarchy of facts, with some facts being universally true in all cases (because the same fact, represented differently, becomes a different fact, meaning something different).
    • At any given time, we only have a point of view, a perspective, a way of seeing a fact
    • Third. Some facts are important and some facts are not.
    • And different facts are important to different people, and there is no single set of facts – none – that is important to everybody.
    • Fourth. There is no easy way to determine what is a fact and what is a misrepresentation, but there are ways, and these ways are accessible to everybody.
    • Detecting deception is a skill
    • Fifth. You need to be able to decide.
    • Sixth. You need to have the capacity to act.
    • We are in a period of transition. We still to a great degree treat facts as things and of education as the acquisition of those things. But more and more, as our work, homes and lives become increasingly complex, we see this understanding becoming not only increasingly obsolete, but increasingly an impediment.

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