Signs of Changes in Learning

•March 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Signs of Changes in Learning

Much is anticipated with every wave of technology that reshapes and modifies our society’s navigation of this murky blurry thing called daily life. Learning is one aspect that we reference when asked how we are to prepare for participating in and responding to an unpredictable future. Therefore, it makes an unconvincing case that the industrial age and postwar beliefs about education and the schools that have resulted from them should be the effective models for 21st century relevance.

Ken Robinson was the first source that I latched to regarding this insight (see his TEDtalk re schools destroying creativity). While his talk resounded with observations of daily experience, it was more general in terms of undertaking ideas to pave new paths. Sugata Mitra proposes one such path with having kids create their own learning environment. Through his initial studies, kids are able to integrate with technology to perform well on standardized subject items while also retaining content for a longer period. I suspect motivation and the fulfillment of curiosity have much to do with it.

My first Word Cloud, care of Wordle.Net

•February 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment


This wordle word cloud was generated form the abstracts and keywords of articles from the Journal of Research on Technology in Education (JRTE) vols. 42-2 to 43-1

Wordle: JRTE 42-2 to 43-1 Wordle

When the scientific method does not work as well…

•February 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment

What follows below is a personal reflection entry, a memo, as one of the required submissions for my first class on qualitative methods. Short as the memo is, the reflection made quite clear that if i wished to develop an inquiry about learning and enhancing a drive for it (engagement and motivation), it will revolve around people. And people can not be so simplistically measured (both a point of interest as well as frustration)

My Personal Perspective

To put things in context, let me begin with a brief recount of my academic experience. My undergraduate degree is a bachelor of science in architecture. My masters degree is in building science with a focus on technology and structures. I have been teaching architecture design and technology courses since 1993 (since 2009 in Georgia). Any forays into research has always been enframed in a setting that observed proofs and deduced patterns from them. The simplistic structure of cause-effect logic has been the driving idea in exploring aspects through simple experimental methods. I recognize and appreciate logic that works in this manner, and thus engage in discussions with colleague with this working viewpoint – if things work in this way, what can we introduce to make it work that way? There is a foresighting mechanism that operates as I think. This would be evidence of a practice of generalization and extrapolation.

Suitable as this approach may be with bridges, and lighting, and even acoustics, I find that it is only partially effective in drawing connections between test results and, say, perceptions of aesthetics. In fact, time and again, I have found that understanding human aspects of measurable performance and linking those with satisfaction or fulfillment is a much messier affair. Yet these are the more authentic qualities that people connect to. If I am to question what I am doing experimental setups for, I would always conclude that it is ultimately for contributing to a better standard of living, or as Hostetler (2005) writes in his article, “good” research that associates the purpose of an inquiry to the idea of human well-being.

Human relations are so disorganized and chaotic that they rarely conform to the clinical clarity of a controllable experiment. They muddle my preferred brand of the scientific method. And so I am facing the question : how good can good scientific-style research findings be if its contributions to well-being are hard to define (well-being itself being not so clear cut)? Better yet, I must also ask myself what adjustments or shifts of view must I consider expanding to so that inquiry may be better aligned with being a factor towards human wellness? It seems inevitable that I should learn more about how people define their standards of a good or fulfilling life before I would be able to think of credible yardsticks against which to evaluate.

In terms of an educational research topic, the question would revolve around the dissonances or disconnections between studio and the classroom. My interest would be to find out why engagement and motivation in design studio ranks quite high despite the long hours, the ill-defined structure of tasks, and the self-punishment of fatigue, all in the name of creativity. Contrast this scenario to that of the technology class, where the content is more clearly defined, the hours and structure are much better organized, and the exercises and tasks much better apportioned, yet the engagement and motivation levels are generally fair or mediocre. What is going on, indeed? Finding out more about this contrast must be my obvious priority before I begin to even dare conjure up an intervention.

Just A Pill or Two, Don’t Take the Whole Bottle

•February 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Change, the good kind, comes slow, in bits and pieces, in increments, in small steps. Rarely has evolution occurred so drastically like some desperate makeover. Were we to be witness to such a change, we observe it as quite suspect. Would large scale changes done over small periods of time work? Would it not be akin to re-packaging or re-finishing? Would its sudden turn result in significant scrapes and a fantastic crash? Is sudden change not unlike working from the outside-in?

The same goes for most university faculty (I can speak of my defined experience in architecture schooling) that have the best intentions of instruction for their students’ learning benefits, yet are actually grappling to make their course work better. I find myself in a related situation – trying to figure out a technology course and how instruction can support, not dictate, learning directions of participating students.

This link brings us to another good article by Maryellen Weimer about particular steps that can help evolve teaching towards better success in learning.

Atop My Hill, Under My Mountain

•January 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

BCDytoc – IT 7100 – Fall 2012 – Final Project Draft 5

Attached to this post is my (unfinished) final work for IT7100, under Dr Harmon of GSU COE. The task was to set an instructional topic and expound on it via the Dick and Carey model of systematic design of instruction. I chose the exercise of learning to sketch an observational perspective, what is usually conducted in an afternoon during summer workshop for incoming freshmen. To this day, I still conduct this within a relatively short time frame of an afternoon. Hence,  I considered this to be a manageable choice.

I was quite mistaken.

King of my hill, with the noblest of instructional intentions, I realized this hill was in fact a mountain. Having learned it so easily from a few different demonstrations, I assumed it to be just as easy to teach. Big mistake. Now i realize i learned it well because I had been drawing and sketching since i was in grade school. All those years sharpened my inner eye and drawing hand bit by bit. My mistake was to naturally assume a similar disposition of psychomotor and perceptional skill from my students.

Only when i undertook the detailing of the sketching instruction did it dawn on me that my hill (for me) was a mountain (for students). What i conceived to be perhaps 2 pages of learning tasks set in flowcharts ended up being much more.

As a result, I did not get to finish all the required steps, but the learning from this effort proved no less valuable.

Motivation Online – Must. Finish. Paper…

•January 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

IT8000 – BCDytoc – Paper 2 – Motivation Online – Must . Finish

Related to my earlier post on motivation, this attached paper begins to address the nature and crucial value of motivation when being productive online. The pros and cons? Being online today provides much more access to information and resources. However, because there are so many things (really, that is an understatement) online and possibly onscreen, keeping to focus becomes a discipline unto itself…

learning online, staying on course

•December 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

learning online, staying on course

this one resounds more due to the last paper i just wrote for dr C (motivation in online learning). the overall arc of the suggestions in this article revolve around a stronger application of a caring and available instructor presence online. essentially, just be there. as i wrote in my paper, i find it poignant and poetic that the human touch becomes more critical in the digital world.