E-Portfolio for Master of Education Degree at Uoit 2013 - 2015
The purpose of this portfolio is to show what I learned in the Masters of Education program at UOIT and how I came to form the current model of practice below.
Are you wondering what a Model of Practice is? "Models of practice guide all their decisions and professional acts...[it includes] the representations, values, attitudes and knowledge that guide their professional practice" (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009, p.45).
The audio clip below will give you more detail about my Model of Practice.
Lafortune, L., & Lepage, C. (2009). Professional accompaniment model for change: For innovative leadership. Fusion Collection 5. Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec.
I have been working as an Elementary Occasional Teacher for the Peel District School since 2009.
I started this program in the spring of 2013. One of the main reasons for deciding to earn a Masters of Education degree was that I wanted to know the latest research and evidence based practices to improve my teaching practice. My goal is to be an effective teacher and I felt that this program would help me take the steps necessary to reach this goal. I enjoy implementing the ideas that I am learning in this program and sharing what I learn with my colleagues to improve their practice as well. I value being a lifelong learner and feel that this program has helped me acquire the skills and tools to keep learning.
This program has helped me realize the importance of:
- Researching to find out the latest evidence based practices
- Staying connected with other practitioners and communities of learners to share information and ideas to improve our practice
- Communication, dialogue and collaboration are essential processes for learning
- The cycle of action, reflection, action plans and then starting over again with action is a key process for growth.
- It is important to focus on the interests, needs, goals and strengths of the learners
- It is important to organize information and ideas around key concepts and principles
- Making connections is a key way to process information at a deeper level
As a teacher, I now see my role as being more like a mentor who cares, provides guidance at an individualized level to stretch students to fulfill and reach their full potential.
My hope for the future is that teachers will be open to new ideas, information and tools to reflect and take action to improve their practice and thus impact learners who can help make the world a better place.
My key values that guide my teaching practice are awareness, reflection, dialogue & action.
“Every function in the child’s development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first between people...and then inside the child”(Vygotsky, 1978, p. 57).
As a result of my learning in this program, I have come to the conclusion that the theory of constructivism best explains the process of learning. It consists of having authentic experiences mixed with social interaction (Constructivism, 2012). It involves the process of influencing each other through interaction. Learning is a social process since “Relationships are what enable you to ‘know’”(Wenger, 2000, p. 225). Through conversations, people experience cognitive dissonance when new information does not match what they already know (Lafortune, 2009). “Cognitive dissonance arises when new information contradicts or differs from that which makes up the individual’s cognitive repertoire…[it] forces people to adjustments and modify their ideas, beliefs, representations and practices with regard to whatever they are learning” (p. 50, Lafortune, 2009).
Social interaction is a key ingredient in the learning process. Vygotsky (1978) states that both speech and activity together is essential in developing intelligence. What he means by this is that what he found was that as children engaged in actions to reach a goal, as the complexity of the situation increased, so did the amount of the child’s speech. This suggests that speech plays a key role in achieving goals (Vygotsky, 1978). Interacting with others is the crucial first step to internalize whatever it is that they learn (Vygotsky, 1978).
In addition to dialogue, it is important to observe others and the consequences of their actions. By seeing the results of others’ actions the learner can generalize to other contexts (Bandura, 1978). This falls under social learning theory which “proposes that individuals learn through reinforcement, punishment, and observational learning” (Zydney et al., 2011). Bandura explains that behaviour that children display has to be learned, it is not automatically instilled in them at birth: “virtually all learning resulting from direct experience can also occur on a vicarious basis by observing the behaviour of others and its consequences” (Bandura, 1978, p. 14).
Engaging in dialogue with a more knowledgeable other is very beneficial. A more knowledgeable other is someone with a higher level of competence (More Knowledgeable Other, 2013). Vygotsky (2011) stresses that what one can do alone is good; however, by examining what one can do with the assistance of others shows a better measure of their intellectual development. He reasons that learners will eventually be able to perform independently those tasks they are now doing with assistance. The assistance can include asking questions, demonstrations, or starting it off and letting the learner continue or pairing them up with others (Vygotsky, 2011). The Zone of Proximal development is the “distance between the level of his actual development,with the help of independently solved tasks, and the level of possible development, defined with the help of tasks solved by the child under the guidance of adults or in cooperation with more intelligent peers” (Vygotsky, 2011, p. 204)
There is now a shift in extending the dialogue from face to face to video conferencing via devices and apps such as Skype. Mystery Skype & the release of a new feature of a live translator and chat tools like slack.com enable people to collaborate and share media via their devices. However, there is a shift in focusing on having a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. A study examined how achievement and motivation can be impacted by praising end results (e.g., grades) which helps individuals have a fixed-mindset versus praising the processes involved in achieving a result (e.g., effort) which aids in developing a growth mindset (i.e., the belief that I can grow in my knowledge and abilities) (Good, Aronson & Inzlicht; Dweck as cited in Olson & Dweck, 2008). In addition, the focus seems to have shifted to examine factors such as the belief that one has an abundance of willpower leading to increased self-control (Job, Bernecher & Dweck (2015).
Dialogue: Learning Through Reflection - Artifact - Final Paper for Curriculum Planning & Implementation
This is a paper that I wrote for the Curriculum Planning and Implementation course. I learned that for anyone to change and actually implement a change and sustain it, they need to undergo an accompaniment process which includes being supported by an accompaniment provider who forms a long-term relationship (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). This process involves offering support, encouraging dialogue and reflection as well as working collaboratively as a group.
Lafortune and Lepage (2009) stress the idea that in order for others to make changes, I need to first increase their awareness by exposing them to new ideas and information and then spark them to reflect. Also, I learned that it is important to provide learning experiences that combine a series of active and passive activities (Fink, 2003). Passive activities include the process of presenting ideas and information through various forms of media (i.e., readings, videos and presentations). Whereas, active instruction requires learners to take action and engage in experiences. Another element of active instruction includes observations and then reflecting alone and with the group (Fink, 2003).
With respect to getting learners to reflect together and alone, here is where technology comes in. I think that a new blogging platform called http://buffalo.io is a great way to spark and record reflections and action plans. I have learned that the process of reflection can lead people to have cognitive dissonance (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). When coupled with dialogue and support individuals experiencing cognitive dissonance are lead to make a change in their beliefs or actions to resolve the cognitive dissonance (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009).
The key for me as an educator today is to provide many opportunities for students to reflect. Prior to taking this course, reflection was not a priority either in my personal or professional life; however, I now see the value in reflection as a cornerstone for helping people make positive changes in their lives. I think that my teaching practice which mostly focused on telling and persuading needs to be combined with providing the learners with opportunities to reflect and then create action plans.
Next, I also learned the importance of planning out lessons by beginning with a clear description of the desired learning goals (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). After that is clear, the next step is to then think of the learning experiences and assessments that will enable the learners to meet the learning goals (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). Further, I have learned that I can plan activities that range from more simple to complex in terms of the mental complexity by using the Anderson and Krathwohl’s Taxonomy (Wilson, 2013) which identify key processes that range from remembering, understanding, evaluating and then creating. In my own teaching practice, I have updated my lesson plan template that I use when occasional teaching. I now have the intention to be sure that I use the taxonomy to plan activities that ensure the development of the learners and add in a balance of both passive and active learning experiences
Dialogue: Learning Through Collaboration - Artifact - Creating Naam Nidhaan with the help of others (Principles of Learning)
The inspiration for a lot of the ideas implemented in this board game came from the Principles of Learning course in the M.Ed program at UOIT. The intention was to create an engaging game to help today’s youth learn the foundational principles of the Sikh religion.
One of the main ideas that I discovered in this course is the concept of transfer which is one of the key purposes of learning. To transfer your learning generally means the ability to apply what you have learned in a different context from the one you have learned it in (Transfer, 2010). In order for this to happen, I realized that the learner needs to organize their knowledge like the experts who organize their knowledge around foundational and key concepts (Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, 2000).
In addition, I learned that in order to learn a concept, the learner needs multiple examples of the concept (Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, 2000). Thus, when players land on a space titled with a main concept such as selfless service, the player can get extra points for giving examples of the concept.
In addition, James (2006) stressed that if we want learners to transfer their learning, it is important to consider the idea of anticipating applications. This means that it is important to discuss how and when the ideas can be applied. Therefore, when players receive a chance card such as meditation, they receive extra points for explaining details regarding how and when they meditate. Here are further examples of the chance cards which players can get when they land on a question mark space:
The following are additional chance cards that players can get when they land on a question mark space on the game board.
Furthermore, I applied the theory of positive reinforcement by allowing players to be rewarded with spiritual currency cards. Players get 1 spiritual currency card for just defining the term, 2 for giving an example as well as the definition, and 3 points for doing all the above and giving a personal example of a time where they applied that concept in their life. Positive reinforcement is the idea that if you reinforce a behaviour, that behaviour will be more likely to be repeated in the future (Learning-theories.com). In this game, when players have 10 spiritual currency, they can purchase a small house piece to set up a service organization on the board. When others land on it, they can persuade the player to donate by sharing their plans and projects for their imaginary service organization.
I learned about the importance of finding out the learner's preconceived notions before teaching them. Darling-Hammond, (2003) stresses the importance of starting a learning experience by first activating what they already know which can be done by having them draw, write or act it out so that they can express everything they know about a concept. Thus when players land on a space on the board with a key concept such as self-less service, meditation or sharing, I included a sand timer and within that time, players can explain and demonstrate that concept to the best of their ability. As a teacher I would be able to see their current level of understanding.
Also, Beottcher (2007) stresses that in addition to having them share their preconceived notions, it is important to then connect the new information to what they already know. “‘The more you know, the more you can know’” (p. 4) This means that the more information you have with you, the more easier it is to connect new information to what you already know. Thus, the aim of this game is to build each others’ background knowledge by hearing each others examples and explanations during the game play. Boettcher also stresses that we should make their learning visible and get learners to show what they know “create, talk, write, explain, analyze, judge, report and inquire” (p. 5). Thus when a chance card is flipped over, players get the chance to show what they know and get rewarded with spiritual currency, the better the answer the more spiritual currency they receive.
In How People Learn (2000) the concept of transfer of learning is mentioned, which stresses that the purpose of transferring their learning is so that they can solve real problems with the knowledge they learn. The text stresses the importance of not rushing to teach many topics but instead to teach using these strategies: 1. Activate background knowledge and drow out misunderstandings and tehn elaborate and give more examples (This is done when players explain their answers when they land on a space or get a chance card) 2. When teaching focus on their understanding of the core concepts and give lots of time to practice and process and while they learn get them to think about how and when they can apply this understanding.
Even Lewis et al. (2005) stresses that for transfer to occur we should get learners to know the key principles that can be applied across a diverse range of problems to find a solution. Thus, I consulted many sources to learn what the key principles are of Sikhism the blue spaces are positive principles (e.g., Gurbani (Spritual Hymns written in Sri Guru Granth Sahib), Sharing and Meditation) and yellow ones are negatives such as obstacles on the path of Sikhism (E.g., Laziness, lying, and anger). Please see the image below of the game board and the tags on the image below for more detail.
In addition, in the text called How People Learn (2000) they stressed that the experts organize their knowledge and understanding by big ideas such as the key principles and concepts. In this game the actual game board has the key principles of Sikhism on the board and when players land on it they get the chance to learn the core concepts by expressing what they know and having others correct them or share additional examples. “Drawing out and working with existing understandings is important for learners of all ages” (How People Learn, 2000, p. 15). As a teacher, I would focus on each individual learner and their responses and used to as suggested in How People Learn (2000) track their understanding and growth and progress in understanding of the core concepts by using a padlet and tracking what answers they gave:
Perkins and Salomon (1992) expressed that linking what the learners already know to what they are now learning is a key way to get them to learn for transferring that knowledge. During the game, the other players playing the game can act as more knowledgeable others who can guide players who have a limited understanding about a concept.
Dialogue: Learning Through Reflection - Artifact - Curriculum Unit Plan: Run For Your Life (Curriculum Planning & Implementation)
Please click the blue link below to see the curriculum plan.
This artifact is a curriculum unit plan that was developed collaboratively with three other colleagues. This project gave us all the chance to contribute material and resources that we each felt passionate about. This project is a unit plan consisting of a series of learning experiences aimed at teaching participants how they can implement healthy habits. The habits included in this plan range from goal-setting to having a growth mindset, self-regulation skills (e.g., meditation) and also developing the habit of running. The goal of the unit plan is to help teachers include these habits first into their own lives and then help students do the same. The process of creating this plan began with identifying the overall objectives and learning goals. Next, we then began to focus on what evidence we would need as proof that the participants met the objectives. Lastly, we focused on what learning experiences would help the participants meet the learning objectives (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998).
In this course I learned that awareness is the first step to change (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). In addition, one of the main ideas stressed was to have the courage to get out of isolation and then engage in dialogue with one’s colleagues (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). Next, for long-lasting change to take place, it is important to have an accompaniment provider who supports and guides individuals through a process of change which includes moments of cognitive dissonance (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). Individually and as a group, it is important to reflect by analyzing, questioning and discussing one’s beliefs and practices (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). The next step is to create action plans and then track the actions taken as evidence of progress (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009). It was also stressed that the facilitators of a program should have the courage to model the practices and be willing to make changes throughout the process as well (Lafortune & Lepage, 2009).
Using the website http://buffalo.io to blog is perfect for tracking evidence of growth and progress along one’s learning journey because it lets one post pictures and write about feelings as well as the tips and strategies that are working. As a result of creating this unit plan, I, too, started the practice of tracking a new habit of jogging as a way to model the process of change (http://educ5302yad.buffalo.io/starting-my-habit-of-running)
One of the main lessons I have learned from this course is the importance of reflection in order to trigger the process of change. Before this course, I thought that I could influence people to change by convincing them with persuasive arguments, listing benefits, giving them material to read and engaging in a dialogue about how their life can be changed for the better by implementing a new idea; however, I left out a key component which is reflection.
On the other hand, I now know that it is key to present new information and ideas, and spark the individual to engage in a reflective process, both alone and together with the group to look critically at what their beliefs are and their actions. I now value the importance of investing a large amount of time in working together with people versus isolating ourselves. I have created group chat channels using slack.com to help teams that I work with share ideas and information, and to support one another throughout a project. I have also come to the realization that a one day training is not enough. Therefore, it is important to establish a long-term supportive relationship if people are to change and grow (Lefortune & Lepage, 2009).
In addition, I have also realized that for change processes to be accepted, implemented and maintained, it is important to start with getting the leaders of an organization to buy-in and lead the change process (Altrichter, 2005). Before this course, if I were to introduce new technology to improve the teaching practice of teachers, I would have invested my time and efforts in showing teachers on a one on one basis; however, now my intention is to work with the leaders in the school such as the principal and vice principal.
Dialogue (More Knowledgeable Other ): Punjabble (Course: Social & Cultural Context in Education)
Please hover over the picture of the Punjabble game below to see the tags to learn more about the components of this game such as what is in the corners of each card and why a dry-erase marker is included.
This is a game created with friends and family called Punjabble. It is a punjabi version of the scrabble game to help children and adults learn how to read Gurmukhi (Gurmukhi is the name of the written script for the spoken language of Punjabi). It is a fun way to spend time together as well as to practice and learn how to speak Punjabi.
The letter tiles are laminated which allows players to use a dry-erase marker to write the vowel letters on the tiles. There are point values in the corner of each letter which is awarded to the player for using that letter in the creation of a word. The more uncommon letters that are more challenging to use have higher number values in the corner; where as, the more common letters have lower number values. In addition, each player starts with 7 letters to connect the letters to make a word. Furthermore, if you speak a sentence in Punjabi, using the word you just placed on the board, you get an extra point. Also, if you speak a line of Gurbani using that word you get 2 extra points (Gurbani is the term used for a line of scripture from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji). Players can write their points and keep track of their growth online and get pins for reaching scores of 100, 300, 500, 700, 1000 points. Lastly, there is also the corresponding letter sound it makes in English in the top corner of each letter to help the players who do not know any Punjabi.
In the course Social and Cultural Context in Education, I learned the devastating impact of what happens when you take children from a culture and you try to brainwash them to forget their language, their culture, their traditions and their associations with their family members (De Leeuw, 2009). In the Indian Residential Schools, I learned about Colonial leaders who wanted to expand their territory and confiscate land from the First Nations People. Their strategy was to start with changing the children to forget their culture and everything associated with it. They tried to transform the children by isolating them from anything that was tied to their first nations identity. Also, speaking in their first language was prohibited (De Leeuw, 2009). The results of this project were very negative with the children feeling lonely, having bad memories, and wanting to commit suicide (De Leeuw, 2009). Learning about the consequences of the Indian Residential Schools helped increase my motivation to share this game with the world. I feel that this game create intergenerational connections where the new generation can interact and connect with people in our community. By playing the game together, players can speak Punjabi and even hear stories as they spontaneously arise when players are making words. Also, being rewarded with pins and having a focus on growth, players can be motivated to learn in a fun way. Through dialogue, players can make mistakes and get it corrected from the other players.
I think we should all care about being proficient in one’s first language because there is so much knowledge that comes with interacting with people in our first language and also so much wisdom can be gained by reading the literature written in one’s first language. Chavez et al. (2012) stressed the importance of having children learn social skills and build friendships. Thus, I feel that games such as these give them the opportunities to build their social skills. Chavez et al. (2012) also stressed the importance of providing children with time to engage in family bonding experiences and board games such as these help with providing families the chance to sit together and connect. In addition, in the paper by Cummins (2001) they shared the amazing strategy of teaching pre-schoolers in their first language and starting them on the journey to being proficient in their first language by engaging in dialogue while they engage in creative and problem solving endeavours which will result in them learning english faster later on. The teachers would also collaborate with the parents in their first language, thus getting them involved and making them feel valued. It is all about creating confidence and interacting versus just transmitting information to the learners (Cummins, 2001).
In the Gambell & Hunter (2000) reading, I learned the importance of being a role model for the younger boys, in terms of modelling literacy activities such as reading and writing. The problem addressed in this reading was that many times the boys associated literacy activities such as the ones mentioned above with something that girls do as they see their mothers and female teachers doing. Thus, my growth as a teacher comes from how I seek chances to model the process of enjoying literacy activities such as reading, writing, art and singing.
Please see the screencast below to see how this game is in alignment with the socioconstructivist perspective. Through the website students can track their scores so that they can see their improvement over time and take the growth mindset that I can improve with effort (Great Schools, 2013).
Dialogue: (Subtheme - Collaborating): My Change Story (Course: Dynamics of Change)
This is a paper I wrote in the Dynamics of Change class where I was to describe a change process and apply the theory I learned in class. The change process that I shared in this paper elaborates on my journey of transformation both at an external and internal level. Up to about age 18, I was very social, outgoing and extroverted; however, after a life changing event, a change process began to transform me towards being more introverted.
There were many factors that influenced me in changing and maintaining the new changes. The first of these included knowledge, ideas and information combined with dialogue. Other additional factors included having social support plus the chance to observe role models in the community who were living this new way of life that I was being introduced to. As I started the transformation to become a baptized Sikh by growing my beard and hair, there were many times when I felt overwhelmed with doubt and fear and reverted back to my old ways by cutting my hair. On the other hand, I noticed that the company I kept played a key role in helping me initiate and maintain a change in addition to ideas and information.
As a result of taking the Dynamics of Change course I have learned that people need to participate and be involved if a change is to happen (Levin, 2000). In the early stages of my change process, the priest who stayed at my home to do prayers for my father’s soul, got me involved by waking me up in the early morning hours to meditate with him while he recited the prayers. I also learned that the change process has a set of stages. Change can be triggered by a crisis which can transform the culture of a group including their routines and norms (Burnes, 2004). In my case, the crisis was losing my father to cancer, which definitely changed the routines and culture in our home. In addition, as a part of Lewin’s Felt-Need theory, the first part of the change process is that there is a very strong need or feeling that I need to change or that a change is needed (Burnes, 2004). For someone to start experiencing the felt-need, it is good to present them with the relative advantages of the change (Ellesworth, 2000). It is also good to have respected individuals come and present the change (Hinde, 2003). This explains why I was influenced the most by my Aunt who flew down from Vancouver who had a prestigious administrator position at the Khalsa School there and also from the Gurmat class teacher who I respected for he was my dad’s friend, did martial arts and was teaching everyone how to live the teachings of Sikhism.
After someone realizes that there is a need to change, people then start a scanning process where they search for answers (Schien). Bernard Burnens goes on to say that a person engages in an action research process of Research, Plan, Action and Evaluation. During this process, for change to take place, it is also important for people to see positive role models (Ellesworth, 2000). Social media helps us see positive role models as when one can view tweets of their thoughts and videos which enable us to see examples of their behaviour and thoughts (Joseph, 2012)
I learned that when people go through a change process, instead of doing it all by themselves it is good for them to work with others and collaborate (Fullan, 2010). When people are stuck such as when they are experiencing cognitive conflict (DeLima, 2001), people need a strong support system (Hinde, 2003). The group can also provide support when emotions come up such as survival anxiety (Schein, 1996). With social media and tech, they can get the support they need by connecting with like minded people (Joseph, 2012). Group support can be the key to refreezing new behaviours (Burnes, 2004). The reason for this is that as a group, they can collaborate, solve problems, make goals together, and decisions and share resources as well (DeLima, 2001). This support can also happen and guidance from a “more expert other” (Facer, 2011). It is also key to set up a learning community (Facer, 2011) and get individuals to work together and collaborate (Fullan, 2010). If change is done as a group it is much better (Kurt Lewin’s Theory of Change( Burnes, 2004).
How have I grown since this course?
Some of the main ways that I have grown is that I tend to be more open to working with others and giving the students I work with more opportunities to do group work. In addition, I have created group support systems to help my peers be successful in classes and when doing group projects. The following pictures show two examples of support groups I created on facebook to help share ideas, resources, information and help each other.
Dialogue: Learning Through Collaboration: Using Twitter for Learning (Course: Learning with Technology)
The link below is a screencast describing the key ideas in a paper titled Using Twitter to Learn. In this video you will see how Twitter helps learners develop important competencies as well as allowing users to give each other instant feedback.
Dialogue: Interacting with a More Knowledgeable Other - Artifact: Prezi on Applying Learning Principles to Tae Kwon Do (Course - Principles of Learning)
This is a prezi that I created for the Principles of Learning Class where after I learned all the principles of learning theory I had to think of how I could apply this to making Tae Kwon Do better. One of the big ideas that I learned in this course is the importance of being with, observing, imitating and dialoguing with a more knowledgeable other (More Knowledgeable Other, 2013). Darling-Hammond (2003) shares the idea of cognitive apprenticeships suggesting that teachers share and model their thinking practices and guide learners in their thinking. Thus, the concept of the more-knowledgeable other is a key factor in teaching, especially in tae kwon do with the main instructor taking this role.
Social Learning Theory says that we learn by imitating others, but paying attention is the first step. Thus to maximize learning, it would be wise to first get the attention of learners and then provide learning experiences for learners to watch and imitate.
Next they need someone to help them when they are off course. Metacognition involves seeing, and checking in with yourself whether or not you are understanding the material (Wasilow, 2009). Wasilow (2009) suggests that during the lesson, it is a good idea to provide pauses where the learner can reflect and check in with partners to summarize what they have learned or get help clarifying what they do not understand. In Tae Kwon Do, all students are wearing a coloured belt indicating their level of competence in this martial art. Thus, while teaching, the instructors should give students the chance to talk to each other in order to clarify their understanding instead of stressing a conversation-free dojo.
In addition, Willis (2007) stresses that practice is key in order to get the learning into the long term memory of the learners; however, even more powerful is when learners are given feedback while they are practicing. Tae Kwon Do teaching provides many opportunities to practice the movements required to defend ourselves. Since there is only one instructor, many times the students are practicing without feedback. It would be a good idea for the instructor to guide the partners to each take the role of the instructor and give each other tips while they are practicing just like how an instructor would. In addition, it can be more beneficial to show new moves to be learned in multiple ways (i.e., visually, auditory & kinesthetically). For example, a movie clip can be shown of the moves being performed or learners can discuss what they are observing about the movements.
Hunter (2011) stresses the importance of tracking process and helping them feel like they are progressing. Thus, the process of rewarding students with a belt is a good practice. In addition, instructors can add in other systems such as a tracking chart for students to chart their growth in their ability to do certain exercises such as tracking how many push-ups they performed each class to see their growth over time.
Willis (2007) suggests that in order to help learners process and retain the new knowledge, it is better to teach the new material in chunks. What this would mean in terms of teaching Tae Kwon Do would be to break down a pattern into units of 3 movements instead of teaching the entire pattern at once (Please see the video below to see an example of a pattern in Tae Kwon Do)
Major Theme 2: Active Engagement
Engagement is “the process of keeping students mentally, and often physically, active in their learning through activities that involve them in gathering information, thinking, and problem solving” (Collins & O’Brien, 2003, p. 5 as cited in Edwards, 2015). In addition to dialogue, I have learned that engagement is another key component for learning to occur. Teachers need to capture the attention of learners and make the content relevant to them by relating the content to their goals, interests, and values (Learning Tools). Ipads enable students to learn in a fun way as well as helping them learn vocabulary (Thind, 2013). Publishing their writing to a larger audience than their classroom can motivates learners to put in the extra effort because more people are going to see it (Kajder 2010 as cited in Fuhrken & Bedard, 2013).
In addition, starting with learners’ questions and problem-based learning is a good strategy to engage learners (Edwards, 2015). Tools like TodaysMeet, educanon, padlet.com and educreations engage learners to make their learning visible.
Emotions is also a key component of engagement. It is key to help learners feel good about themselves by showing and tracking their progress so they perceive that they are improving themselves (Callibrain, 2015). Hunter (2011) also stresses the importance of using different methods to keep the learners engaged and focused by changing activities every 15 minutes by combining activities such as having learners talk and listen, move around and use both pictures and images. In addition, Hunter (2011) stressed the importance of helping them feel like they are achieving successes and making progress. Also, it is important to teach in ways so that learners receive the content through visual, auditory and kinesthetic means along with chances to think and explore how the material connection with other ideas (Willis, 2007).
After reading a more recent article by Willis, I am learning that in order to process and remember new information at a deeper level, it is important for learners to manipulate the information they are learning through methods such as the following: Use the information they are learning in an activity, analyze and summarize the information or discuss and write about it (Willis, 2009). In addition, I am coming across new tools such as tackk.com which lets users engage view a video and interact with the content provider by commenting and adding their own content in the form of video, audio and visuals. According to Edwards (2015) there is a shift in the teaching field to use games such as https://www.prodigygame.com/ to help increase engagement and learning.
Engagement: Multimodal Communication - Artifact 1 - Sikhcess Secrets (Authentic Assessment)
This artifact is a brief booklet that I wrote which will continue to be a work in progress. The purpose of writing this booklet was to summarize in a succinct way all the main ideas that helped me overcome obstacles and reach my goals. I learned in the Learning with Technology course, that ideas need to be criticized and refined based on interaction with a community of learners. Thus, the aim with this booklet is to keep the original copy as a Google Word Document which will make it easy to add, delete and refine ideas based on feedback and reflection. These ideas had been acquired by investing countless hours of time, energy and money to learn what I felt passionate about in the field of self-development. This booklet is aimed at condensing the ideas presented in many self-help books and to aid those people who might not have the time to read a thick 400 page book like Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I hope that reading this booklet will provide advice with the reader to help them overcome obstacles and reach their goals. In the Principles of Learning course, I learned that tutoring is one of the best ways of learning and made the connection that having a mentor is just like having a tutor. As a result, I sought to take the role of a mentor by writing this book in the attempt to provide the help and guidance just like a mentor would to a mentee.
In the Authentic Assessment course, I learned the importance of giving the learner a choice in terms of how they would like to show their learning. In the same way, by choosing to write a booklet to show my learning, I noticed that I was motivated to begin and complete the task. Also, in that same course, I learned the benefits of giving learners the opportunity to engage in authentic tasks whereby the products that one creates can be useful to society. Similarly, I was excited throughout the process of writing this book because I thought of the impact it could make on the lives of others. I thought about how this book could be made into an e-book and easily shared through the internet (i.e., social media) with family and friends all over the world. In addition, I am excited about the opportunities this book may give me to hold seminars to share this knowledge with others. Lastly, through this process of writing this booklet, I learned so much about myself in terms of my strengths and what I have really understood throughout my study in the field of self-development. I realized that I really enjoy the process of free-writing where I just surrender and let words flow from my mind through my pen to the paper.
In the Authentic Assessment course with Dr. Wendy Barber, I learned the value of moving away from traditional assessments. Traditional assessments are limited in that they do not help develop problem solving and critical thinking skills (Montgomery, 2002). Traditional assessments have some benefits as they help the teacher see what the learner knows; however, traditional assessments fail to develop other key skills (Montgomery, 2002). To help define traditional assessments, I would say that they are those assessments done by a teacher that are mostly completed by using paper and pencil and include "testing practices that require students to select the correct answer from an array or four or five distractors"(Eisner, 1999, p. 659). On the other hand, authentic assessments are different. These are assessments which aim to provide learners with the chance to show their learning by completing authentic tasks. In other words, the learners "create evidence through performance...in situations that matter" (Eisner, 1999, p. 659). Montgomery (2002) stressed the importance of having learners create helpful products, as well as showing, doing and applying their knowledge and getting feedback throughout the process to improve. In this example of creating this booklet, I feel that this product can be especially helpful to students entering a postsecondary institution because of its focus on many key skills required to succeed in school (e.g., time-management). The next step would be to include pictures in the form of an e-portfolio as evidence that I am practicing what I am teaching through this book. Kohn (2012) shared that it is much better to have learners complete portfolios with narrative comments to show the learning achievements of learners instead of assigning grades.
By writing this book, I was able to show what I had learned in a manner that used my strengths; whereas, I might have had a more challenging time showing my learning if I was asked to fill out a multiple choice test. Since with multiple choice tests, the learner does not get a chance to explain their answer, ask for clarification or show their knowledge through dialogue (Wiggins, 1989). Traditional tests are limited because they promote rote learning, teachers tend to teach to the test and fails to show the true abilities of students and engages them mostly the lower level thinking (Hammond, 1994). The multimodal aspect of adding audio and video components to this e-book are exciting.
As a teacher, it is important to provide learners with chances to choose how to demonstrate their learning because we each have our own way of learning and showing our learning (Wiggins, 1998). When we give students the option to use technology to create an e-book like I did it helps them develop many life skills and core competencies (Hammond, 1994). It takes their learning to the next level as with an interactive e-book they would be able to combine written prose with video and audio as well and provide the amazing opportunity as an e-book to be given to people all over the world and with tools like tackk.com it allows the chance to get people from anywhere in the world to comment and provide feedback! Doing authentic tasks like this helps prepare learners for the world of work (Herrignton, 1998) and be competent and inspired and passionate to learn (Wiggins, 1993).
Theme Of Engagement (Multimodal communication) Presentation on the Educreations app (Course: Dynamics of Change)
This is a research paper I wrote that not only stresses how technology can be used to aid in helping learners learn new words, but also remember them in the long run. In this paper, I argue that the Educreations app is one of the best apps for applying this knowledge as it allows for multimodal expression. Some of the tools this app provides are the following; adding pictures, audio, text as well as being able to draw. Also, a video can be created and then it can be viewed repetitively to aid the viewer in learning the material and processing it at a deeper level (Willis, 2007). I decided to research vocabulary because while sitting in on a staff meeting, the Vice Principal was sharing how developing a good vocabulary is very important for students, especially for comprehension during reading. This is my reasoning for vocabulary as the topic for my research paper.
I sent this paper to a principal who asked me to present at their staff meeting where they were going to introduce the new set of iPads that had been purchased. I agreed and consulted with my Dynamics of Change professor. Together, we created a strategy to ensure that I included the theory that was covered in class. First, I started off by explaining the benefits of using this app in their context (i.e., teaching in an elementary school setting) (Ellesworth, 2000). Next, during my presentation, I included the opportunity for teachers to experiment collaboratively with the app while my colleague and I walked around to support the teachers (Fullan, 2010; Hinde, 2003). Lastly, I learned that in order to bring about a change, it is much better to do it as a group process than alone (Schein, 1996) Please see the picture below.
Engagement - Multimodal Communication - Improving Vocabulary with Technology (Research Methods).
In the Research Methods class I learned that vocabulary is very important for learners to be successful in school. Vocabulary is important because it helps people communicate more effectively (Zhang, Song & Burston, 2011). However, communication becomes an issue when students have a weak vocabulary. Snow et al. (2011) says that a key problem is that a lot of learners are having difficulty comprehending what they are reading at school. This may be due to the fact that having a weak vocabulary is related to learners misinterpreting what is read thus they cannot understand the text (Lin, 2012 as cited in Chih-Ming, 2008). Vocabulary is essential to being successful in each grade and Li (2010) hypothesizes that there may be a connection between low vocabulary, falling behind and eventually dropping out. Vocabulary is also correlated positively with reading comprehension (NRP as cited in Snow et al., 2011). As a result, one of my top priorities while teaching is to continually find ways to help learners develop their vocabulary skills.
After this course, I have concluded that technology is one the most effective tools to help learners develop their vocabulary. One benefit of using digital e-books are that they contain video, pictures, music, and interactive components such as audio of the author reading the text aloud while the text being read is highlighted (Bus, 2010; Korat, 2010). Barcroft (2009) as cited in Zhang, Song & Burston (2011) say that people learn vocabulary more effectively when there are pictures associated with the words. Nation as cited in Zhang, Song, & Burston (2011) also stresses that one of the advantages of technology such as digital e-books are that it lets you review the material as often as you need and in spaced intervals which is key to processing the material in the long term memory for later retrieval. Korat (2010) found that students who read the same e-book five times plus regular classroom instruction experienced growth in their vocabulary. E-books are beneficial because of features like text tracking where the words that are being read are highlighted which helps children who are struggling to decode words as they can now focus their energy in trying to comprehend the meaning of the text (Gough & Tunmer as cited in Snow et al., 2011). One of the key features are that it helps the learner using the e-book by providing scaffolds such as where you can click on a word and the definition comes up and is able to be read aloud. In addition, there is a connection between digital texts and higher comprehension (Xin & Rieth, 2001 as cited in Snow et al., 2011).
Another key insight I learned in this course is that in order to learn new words and expand their vocabulary, students need to see the same word many times (NRP as cited in Snow et al 2011). To aid in vocabulary development, learners need to see the same word many times and have many chances to use the new words (NRP, 2000 as cited in Snow et al., 2011). “To read English articles fluently, a learner must understand at least 2000 commonly used English words” (Nation 1990 as cited in Chih-Ming, 2008). Using technology such as blogging is helpful as it gives learners the opportunity to use new words and see others using the new vocabulary.
To increase the chances that learners will later recall the words they have learned, it is effective to do the following “creating mental linkages, applying images and sounds, reviewing, and, employing actions” (Oxford as cited in Chih-Ming…(2008)). Tech lets you do all this and more. This fact is why I often let students use the Educreations app to create videos to show and discuss what they have learned. The EduCreations app is great because it lets a user do many of the actions that Oxford (2008) stresses is important for vocabulary learning such as the ability to explain their connections, add in songs, pictures, and they can review it as many times as they want as it creates a video link.
Overall, I have learned that using technology can help learners develop their vocabulary. By creating videos using iPads learners get the chance to use vocabulary (NRP, 2000 as cited in Snow et al. (2011) and they can process the words in their long term memory when they repeatedly watch it by viewing it at spaced intervals because a link is given where they can watch it many times over even with their family and friends (Nation, 2001 as cited in Zhang, Song, & Burston, 2011). Then when using the Educreations app, they can add in text, drawings, pictures and audio to share and explain using the vocabulary they are learning which are key components to effectively learning new words (Oxford as cited in Chih-Ming, 2008)
I have grown as an educator where as before I would just give them technology such as iPads to explore, now however I facilitate learning with iPads through demonstration, dialogue and giving them a chance to try and grow by making mistakes. After Robin Kay’s course called Learning Tools, he stressed the importance of not just giving learners tools without some sort of guidance or learning goals to accompany it. After learning that combined with learning about the benefits of tech in terms of improving vocabulary in the research methods course, I now focus more on showing students how to create videos using educreations and get them to experiment and guide and support them along in their process of creation. To conclude, there is so much excitement and engagement when learners use the iPad to create videos using apps such as EduCreation. I see the smiles on their faces when they share what they are learning and viewing it together as a class is phenomenal as the children are filled with pride and are amazed that what they had just created is now on the large screen like a movie playing in a theatre. Lastly, while watching the videos that students have created, teachers can assess the learning by seeing how the learner is using the vocabulary in their explanations.
The link below is a wiki post I created which will tell you all about the Educreations App
Engagement: Problem-Based Learning - Scenario: We need a blueprint for a house (Course: Learning With Technology)
I learned in the Learning with Technology call that a teacher is “someone who creates an environment in which learning can occur” (Roland, Personal communication, Tue. Jan. 28, 2014). This artifact is an example of a lesson where I tried to do just that. I learned that Problem Based Learning lessons can start with a problem based learning object (PBLO) which consists of a realistic scenario that is open ended and is authentic. Thus, I started the lesson with the following scenario that I recorded on the EduCreations app displaying pictures of two students asking the class for help: “We would like to build a house but we need a blueprint from the class, the more different shapes included, the better.
I learned in the Authentic Assessment course that there are many benefits in having learners engage in authentic tasks (i.e., "Applying knowledge to solve real-world problems" (Segers as cited in Cumming, 2010). Authentic tasks involve students engaging in tasks that are important and involve them creating a product to help others (Cumming, 2010). In addition, by engaging in the process, it forces them to really know the material, put it all together and develop mastery of the material to apply it later in life (Newmann &Archbal, 1992 as cited in Cumming, 2010). Another benefit is that it engages them in higher order thinking and solving problems (Cumming, 2010). Lastly, learning increases when we provide learners the chance to collaborate to take on challenges and construct their learning together (Reeves, 2002).
Problem based learning provides many more opportunities for skill development compared to asking students to complete a worksheet. In this lesson, the students had the chance to discuss to figure out the problem and then were given the freedom of who to work with and to use any of the resources in the class. The results were that students asked lots of questions and collaborated by using many of the resources in the class, such as the posters on the wall, the manipulatives and used the computer to search for answers to their questions such as what is a rhombus. It was also amazing to see how eager they were to seek help from others and get clarification. In the course titled Learning With Technology, I learned from Professor Roland vanOostveen that getting learners to problem solve provides a rich learning experience for the learners. The process starts by providing the learners with an open ended scenario whereby the learners can raise questions and identify a problem. Next, they can work collaboratively to find a solution which leads to them engaging in a process resulting in a high level of engagement, learning and competence development. Lastly, learners can present their findings.
Problem based learning is a great way for learners to develop key skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking (Cummings, 2010) and presentation using various technology. As an educator I want the learners that I teach to develop the core skills and competencies that they need to be successful in life. I feel that having students complete worksheets do not help develop a wide range of skills as well as would giving them a scenario where they themselves identify a problem, raise their own questions and seek to collaboratively solve the problem and share what they discovered!
Engagement: Problem-Based Learning - Magazine (Foundations of Leadership)
One of the main components of this magazine is that it includes many problems for the reader to solve.
For example, it includes questions to think about after reading the article about entrepreneurship such as what is your mission? Second, the crossword puzzle and word-searches pose the problem of finding words. Lastly, the question about what is Self-less service also causes the reader to seek and share the solution to that question.
On the cover is Suneet Singh Tuli CEO of Datawind Inc. I believe he has many of the characteristics that I have learned about in the Foundations of Leadership course.
Suneet Singh is effective in terms of completing tasks and getting things done.
He created a tablet which is one of the cheapest to buy in the world and provides tables to students throughout India so they can keep up with the technological advancements. Day & Antonakis (2012) point out that task completion is a key characteristic of great leaders.
I feel that Suneet Singh displays these traits as I remember conversations with him where he shared the importance of setting goals and by the tablets and devices his company are releasing I can see that his company seeks to creatively solve problems of the world, especially if you look at this recent article they are providing free internet browsing for one year. Stogdill (1974) listed key traits of leaders including that they have goals and persist, show initiative and are creative problem solvers.
Avolio et al. (2009) says that servant leadership focuses on making the community stronger. This is what I aimed to do with the magazine, to connect the Sikh community all over the world to share their knowledge and increase their knowledge and skills in the Punjabi language and increase their vocabulary so that we can improve as a group.
Relationships skills are also an important skill that great leaders have. Task completion is a great skill; however, it needs to be combined with having good relationship skills as well. In the Michigan Studies discussed in class, consideration for each member of the team is an important aspect of being a great leader. In addition Rath & Harter (2010) stress that a key component of well-being is having good relationships. Thus, in this magazine we have a relationship section (Please see the picture below) where we pose a problem-scenario that comes up in relationship between husband and wife and invite all the readers to share their solutions and then pose a new problem-scenario to think about for the next edition.
Engagement - Problem -Based Learning - Calendar Time! (Learning with Technology)
Instead of just one student running the calendar routine as was stated for me to do on the lesson plan, I decided to apply what I was learning in the Learning with Technology class about how it is much more engaging for learners to engage in collaboratively solving problems using technology.
I wrote out some questions (similar to the problem statements idea presented in class) relating to the calendar routine and gave them a chance to use iPads to work together and find the answers to questions such as what is the weather? What is today's date?
I learned in the Learning with Technology course that it is important to create a community of learners where learners build on each others ideas, and then help society by solving problems of society (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006). Another insight I gained from this course is that people need to work together to make ideas better through communication. Learners need to work collaboratively in a sort of “collaborative discourse” (Scadamalia & Bereiter, 2006, p. 11). In addition Bereiter (1992) suggests organizing knowledge based on problems instead of by topic (As cited in Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006). This experience gave students the chance to work collaboratively like a community of learners where they shared discoveries and relied on each other to solve problems such as how to find the information to solve the problems about the temperature.
In this example, they also got the chance to learn the learning goals of the calendar routine but in a fun and engaging way where they also developed other competencies. According to the HCHI model (Desjardins, 2005), they learned how to use the Hardware and Software of the iPad such as how to turn on the iPad, swipe, find the internet app which is part of the first order of Technology competence of the HCHI model. Next, the third order of Information order was developed where they learned how to search in google to find the answers to the problems presented and new problems arose such as how to spell Mississauga during the process which was fun and provided an opportunity for additional learning.
Before I took this course, I used to just take the lesson plans of the teachers and tried my best to carry out exactly what was planned; however, now I try to enrich the lessons with opportunities to use technology to solve authentic problems in a collaborative way so that they develop key competencies that are important to them and their future
The next step for me on my growth journey would be to present an open ended situation or problem based learning object instead of me writing out the questions and problems. I learned in this course that this would then lead them to take ownership because they would then need to develop their own questions and identify their own problems.
Major Theme 3: Feedback
After taking courses such as Authentic Assessment in the M.Ed program at Uoit, I now believe that when assessing or evaluating the learning of a student, giving a letter grade or number value is not enough. Kohn (2012) mentions that excessive emphasis on assessment might make learners very self- conscious. Instead, it is much better to give them descriptive and personalized feedback to help them improve (Kohn, 2008). In addition, it is better to have the learners show their learning through other means such as a portfolio, debate, role play or creation of a product where they are applying their knowledge (McTighe, 1997; Hammond, 1994) .
Also, the focus needs to be on having learners engage in building competence in doing tasks and skills that are important (Wiggins, 1998).In addition, he says that we increase students competence by giving them feedback (Wiggins, 1998). Professor Robin Kay used screencasting to provide customized feedback with detailed comments on how to improve my work. In the Learning with Technology course, we used a blogging tool called WebKF to make our learning visible. With this tool, colleagues were able to post questions and comments which prompted me to question my thinking and change my thinking if necessary.
Cummins (2010) argued that instead of traditional assessments (i.e., “testing practices that require students to select the single correct answer from an array of four or five distractors”(p. 659) assessing students for their performances is better to help equip them to be prepared for the world of work. Montgomery (2002) also argued that instructors evaluate students using rubrics along with written feedback. Eisner (1999) also stresses the aim to show how learners are improving at an individual level. Instead, Kohn, 2008 stresses that narrative comments is the way to go. Kohn (1994) says that there would be more enjoyment of learning if students are not concerned about grades. Montgomery (2002) stresses that it is important to note their starting points and then track and show their growth.
New technology such as Ted Ed Lessons are giving instructors the chance to personalize feedback and observe their progress. For instance, Prodigy (An online game for students to practice math in a fun and interactive way) lets teachers determine the level of difficulty of the questions their students will receive based on the feedback the website provides on the level of ease or difficulty students are having with previous questions.
Wiggins (1998) stressed that just giving feedback by assigning a number such as the how many correct responses were made on a multiple choice test is not the best feedback because learners could have copied, or guessed the answers. The trend now seems to be to help learners understand the information and transfer it (Wiggins, 2014; Pearson, 2011). Wiggins (2015) stressed that the purpose of being literate is to transfer what you learn to other contexts. Thus, feedback should be aimed with that in mind to help learners know and get that and think about applying knowledge in different contexts. Feedback should help learners see how well they did compared to the clear learning goal which Wiggins (2015) is stressing should be on understanding and comprehension of the material. Also, Pearson (2011) is stressing the importance of leading students to comprehension. Kohn (2012) is arguing you don’t need to give grades and do tests as the only way to get and share how well students are learning, Kohn is against presenting a number or grade to judge achievement. Grades decreases intrinsic motivation, instead we should put the emphasis on learning instead of wanting a specific grade (Kohn, 2012). When students just want a grade, they avoid risk taking and mistakes which lead learning because it may result in a poor grade, instead they just want to get the grade and so will choose the easier and more familiar thing to do (Kohn, 2012). “A grade-oriented environment is associated with increased levels of cheating, grades promote a fear of failure” (Kohn, p. 9, 2012). Help students not focus so much on evaluating themselves but to instead just enjoy the process of learning: “The more students are led to focus on how well they are doing the less engaged they tend to be with what they’re doing” (Kohn, p. 10). Intrinsic motivation: “a desire to learn for its own sake” (Kohn, p. 10). Extrinsic motivation”which includes a desire to get better grades” (Kohn, p. 10). Kohn (2012) is suggesting to replace grades with a portfolio, not doing a portfolio for a grade, but just for its own sake to show what has been learned.
Goals of education? “Helping them become more enthusiastic about learning” (Kohn, 2012, p. 11). He suggests instructors remove grades so they can start thinking deeply and want to do so. Avoid grades and narrative comments because “when there’s only a comment, they read it” (Kohn, 2012, p. 12). Other better outcomes/goals of school: “Desire for students to understand ideas from the inside out … [enjoy] playing with words and numbers, or be in charge of their own learning” (Kohn, 2012, p. 13).
“Stop putting letters or number grades on assignments and instead offer only qualitative feedback” (Kohn, 2012, p. 14). The aim is to tell how the students are doing (Kohn, 2012). Comments tell what needs to be improved and what is being done well.
To conclude, the above information is suggesting that it is beneficial to provided consistent feedback via oral dialogue and written communication about the learners’ understanding. It might then be a great idea to keep a journal (i.e., e-journal or blog) to keep a journal of insights. We want learners to be curious and enjoy the process of learning and taking the time to think deeply (Kohn, 2012)
Feedback (Progress): Games Event at the Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) (Course - Learning Tools )
I applied the ideas I learned about in the Learning Tools, more specifically the Learning Theories to create the games played at this event based on these two sources https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwjvgv4rykpbejR5cHU1OHNxOWM/view?usp=sharing and http://www.learning-theories.com
Social Learning Theory
This theory stresses that interaction with and observing others is the key to help an individual learn; however, the learner is required to pay attention, be motivated to want to pay attention, put in effort to remember it, and then apply what they learned. The games at this event required the learners to interact with each other, share their thoughts and get feedback from each other
This school of thought teaches that right after someone performs an action, if they receive a positive consequence they are more likely to do that behaviour again. In the Naam Nidhaan game, players get spiritual wealth as a reward for landing on positive spaces and giving detailed answers.
Social Development Theory
Social development theory focuses on pairing a learner up with someone who has more knowledgeable and capability than the learner, what Vygotsky calls the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The two then engage in a collaborative process of learning and interaction. The MKO helps the learner in their zone of proximal development (i.e., where with help and guidance they are able to do more than what they are capable of doing alone). In each game play, it is hoped that at least one of the four players will be a MKO and aim to help and assist others in their understanding especially when they make a mistake such as when playing punjabble a novice player may incorrectly use a letter when making a word.
According to situated learning theory, the best way to learn is to put learners in situations and environments that are very similar to where they would actually need to apply the knowledge they are learning. The key in this is also to be paired up with an MKO who models their thinking and actions so that the learner can eventually gain independence through this process of observation and interaction. In the punjabble game players get the chance to practice speaking sentences out loud to the other players which is practice and similar to a real conversation situation they may have with others outside of gameplay.
I learned that the best way to learn is to get learners to do things and get involved and create products in a hands-on way. This will lead them to learn from their mistakes and see the consequences for their decisions,and reflect throughout the process, this results in an increase of self-confidence and self-efficacy. In the Naam Nidhaan game where players get chance cards that include actions such as exercise and meditation, players can gain extra points by modelling how they do those actions in their everyday life. I have played with players who show how they meditate and exercise.
The ARCS theory proposes that for learning to happen, learners need to be engaged by participating. This theory also stresses the importance for facilitating learning experiences that relate to what the learner is interested in and the goals that are important to them. In addition, it is key for the learning experiences to provide and show their progress thus improving their confidence and self-efficacy that their effort and input is making a difference, Lastly the learning experiences should in a way make them feel satisfied by rewarding them with something or making them feel like they did something very important. The players of Punjabble and Naam Nidhaan can record their scores on the website and see their progress over time which can be very motivating, they can also achieve Punjabble pins for reaching a certain-number of points.
This theory suggests that the best way to have students learn is to start with providing learners with an ambiguous situation that has problems within it. Students need to identify what the problem is and then figure out the next steps as well as what knowledge and resources are needed, they then need to find the solution and answers to their self-identified questions and present the product to the class, students while going through this process develop key learning skills such as collaboration and communication. I find that when learners play punjabble they have a problem based learning situation where they have to figure out how to create words with the 7 random letters that they have received.
Feedback:Personalize & Organize Learning - Leadership Portfolio (Foundations of Learning)
The link above will take you to a website I created to organize what I learned by taking the Foundations of Leadership course. Using a website such as Weebly and having the key objectives of the course as the title of each page was a good way for me to focus and organize and share what I learned.
Some of the main things I learned in this course are to for being a transformational leader and to increase internal motivation is to provide people with individualized consideration meaning to find out about the person at an individual level like their goals and strengths and my growth is that I now when teaching have children create name tags and on them they write about themselves like their goals, strengths and talents (Avolio, 2011).
I also learned that good leaders are competent in both task completion and in relationship development (Michigan Studies, Hoefs & Wilhelm, 2014). in terms of my growth, I feel that I have stressed the development of my task completion abilities and was not really focused on relationship development; however after this course, I am working on being more supportive and more concerned about learners and focus on building relationships with them versus my old mindset of solely focusing on accomplishing the learning goals and curriculum expectations of the lessons for the day, now I focus on developing both.
When I ordered 100 Punjabble games and 500 Naam Nidhaan games it was a huge financial sacrifice because I did not know if I would receive the money back that I had spent in getting the games created and shipped here and if people would like these games. Conger (2004) says that great leaders make sacrifices for the group.
Avolio (2011) great leaders challenge the status quo and show vulnerability. When going to Punjabi classes and playing with Punjabble to help the students learn I was challenging the traditional teaching method and experienced friction with a few traditional Punjabi teachers who resisted this game based approach to learning the Punjabi language. In terms of vulnerability, when playing the punjabble game and I am not sure about the spelling of words, I openly admit it and ask for help from the other players.
Another key I learned is that good leaders create systems for open communication (Northouse, 2010). Thus, my growth now is that I am using tools like slack.com to communicate openly with the groups that I work with to share my thoughts, ideas, and resources and ideas where as before I was much more reserved and did not communicate as much with my team members and would sit alone at lunch where as now I am sitting in the staff room during lunch.
Feedback: Personalizing Feedback - Artifact - Wiki WBLO on Educreations (Course: Learning Tools)
The link above is a wiki web-based learning object that I created for the learning tools class and in it I created a link/section on the Educreations App.
In creating this wiki post I kept in mind the Instructional Design principles that I learned in this course which are summarized in the document link here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwjvgv4rykpbZDM4M3MzZjRsWTQ/view?usp=sharing
I learned the multimedia principle suggesting that it is better to provide more graphics with minimal text to get the idea across or a video with visuals, minimal text and audio narration is better. Thus, in the videos created you will find that there is minimal text and more visuals and audio narration. Contiguity principle teaches to avoid using too much text which will overload the user, instead have minimal text and very close and near the graphics that they relate to. In this wiki post, you will find that the graphics and text are very near by. Modality principle, to get really great gains in learning provide minimal text and graphics plus audio narration which goes through their auditory and visual channel. Redundancy principle which stresses that it is good to only do audio, Text and audio is good, visuals and audio is good, but it is too much if you do text, audio plus visuals unless the audio narration is a slow pace. Thus in the EduCanon video it stops and lets users answer questions which lets the user control the pace as they can rewind the video and replay it if they need further help understanding the material. Coherence Principle - that only have content that relates to the learning goals. Personalization principle, is when there are interactions with the wblt that give it a personal touch as if they are engaged in an informal conversation such as having an avatar who gives you directions and talks to you. The questions that pop up during the EduCanon video (Please see the link below) is one way that I sought to create the personal touch and if when they answer the question indicating a wrong answer then they are provided with a link to then go to the discussion section and post questions there and then get the help they need and also I think this is a great source way to provide help and assistance to those who need it.
In addition, the Segmenting principle suggests the importance of breaking down the major component into smaller segments and parts. One idea at a time instead of flooding the page with everything at once. I did this with the videos which are broken down into different levels and as they progress they get more challenging. Pre-training principle - prepare learners before hand by giving them an intro or insights into what they will learn and what key vocabulary or background knowledge they might need. The survey below is a great way for the instructional designer to gauge what key content they need to provide beforehand based on the answers given on the survey.
In the creation of this Web-Based Leraning Tool (WBLT), I had to keep in mind the following important ideas I learned in this course about the essential components of a good WBLT.
First, they need to have a high of interaction so that the user can get a deeper level of understanding compared to an experience without using any digital technology. Second, the user needs to have the ability to control the pace of the learning. Third, the design needs to be well-organized, and be focused on helping the learner achieve a limited number of specific learning goals. Fourth, good wblts provide feedback to the user and engage the user with a combination of learning tools such as discussion boards, videos and challenging material that matches their level of ability.
I also included a survey (Please see the link below) to get to know the comfort level of people and experience before using the app as well as their level of expertise and their purposes for wanting to use the app, thus when I get their input, if they added their names to it, then I could customize the teaching for that person and provide them with the help and assistance they need.
Major Theme: Feedback Subtheme: Artifact 4: Helping a Friend Learn to Tell Time (Lesson) Course: (Authentic Assessment)
This artifact includes a picture below of a lesson that I modified when supply teaching. The original plan involved asking the students to pair up and use the clocks to practice for a test on time. I decided to apply what I learned about problem based learning and started the lesson by giving the students a scenario which would also achieve the original learning goal intentions but also do much more. This lesson provided the students with the opportunity to work together, use technology to find solutions and demonstrate their learning beyond just a traditional assessment.
what I learned in the Authentic Assessment course about how the traditional methods of assessing students (i.e., paper and pencil tests such as multiple choice tests (Eisner, 1999)) have a number of negative consequences in the long-run as they only develop a lower level of learning (i.e., rote learning (Hammond, 1994), they are disconnected to reality and they only provide one chance for the learner to show what they know (Wiggins, 1998) versus the short-term benefits to teachers that it is quick and easy to mark and report and helps teachers see if the learners know the content knowledge (Madaus & O'Dwyer, 1999).
In addition Davis (1980) stresses that instead of making learners do paper and pencil writing tasks of traditional assessments, we should be giving learners experiences (as cited in Evelyn & Hatch, 1989). In addition, we need to move to more authentic assessments to help learners develop to succeed in life. Dewey (1916) says that the "idea that education is preparation for life" (as cited in Evelyn & Hatch, 1989) thus we need to help learners develop at a "cognitive, social, emotional and physical [level]"(Evelyn & Hatch, p. 603) since traditional assessments are limited in their ability to develop a wide range of skills in the learners (Wiggins, 1993).
Instead of all students being asked to show their learning in the same way, I think we should assess students in a way that matches their strengths. So in the image above, the assessment for each animal should cater to their strengths and to demonstrate tasks that are both relevant and apply to their reality. For instance, for a monkey an assessment could be to have the monkey climb a tree and peel a banana as that is an important skill for its' survival. I have learned in this course that it is much more powerful give students choice in how they want to show their learning and provide feedback throughout the process (Wiggins, 1989).
In addition, it is effective to provide students with authentic tasks that have a real-world connection (McTighe, 1997) where they are required to apply ideas and create products for a key audience to demonstrate their learning in a way that mimics the real world. This is where I think technology is great in that it can allow learners to show their learning in a better way than traditional assessments because they can explain their learning by creating videos, recording audio, taking pictures and writing blog posts to all show their learning and create digital portfolios to show their growth over time (Wiggins, 1989; McTighe, 1997). And from what I have experienced, as I increase the opportunities for learners to use technology to learn, it seems like Kohn's (2008) goal of education of getting students to love learning at an intrinsic level is being met.
Feedback: Customizing Feedback - Artifact: Padlets (Foundations of Leadership)
Great leaders care for each member of the team at an individual level. Transformational leaders provide individual consideration meaning they coach, support, help them grow and track their progress and based on their needs provide appropriate tasks and projects (Avolio, 2004). This artifact is an example of a padlet I created using www.padlet.com which is very helpful for me to focus in on each learner to see what they know before the learning experience, during and after and it can be used to track evidence of their learning and the progress and results as well and can track their progress over time as well as see their goals and it lets you add their pictures too or pictures of evidence that they reached their goals. In addition, in the course authentic assessment, I learned that instead of giving a grade, it is much better to provide written feedback about what is working and how to improve (Kohn, 1994). Learners enjoy the process more when they are not graded as being graded can lead to anxiety and impact their self-esteem when they compare their marks with others (Kohn, 1992; Kohn, 2008). With padlet, it enables the teacher to write comments for each player. In addition, included in this padlet you will see a section where the player and I write down the development plan for the learner to help them reach their next goal, this is an example of written feedback and individualized consideration because the improvement plan is customized to each player.
What I learned is that there are Transactive and Transformational Leaders and this padlet of the punjabble game shows both leadership theories in action. For instance, if the player reached a certain amount of points they can receive the reward of a Punjabble pin (Please see the picture below). Transactive leaders according to Avolio (2004) is that they provide contingent rewards where they make agreements outlining the rewards they would receive if they achieve certain results. Thus, I am demonstrating the transactive leadership style when I reward players for earning a certain amount of points while playing Punjabble.
In terms of transformational leadership, each post focuses in on each individual learner and their goals and progress. Transformational leaders according to Avolio (2004) strive to help individuals meet their needs and improve their goals and skills and at the end of playing a round of punjabble we add in their scores on the sticky note and also determine a goal and make a plan together of what actions they can do this month to improve their score.
Motivation is increased if people feel that their skills are improving (Tracy, 2014). This padlet lets me keep track of each player and enter in their scores to show them how they are either improving or that they need to do something differently to improve their scores.
Before this course, I did not do anything with technology to track and keep notes on students at an individualized level and focus in on each learner and their growth, now I use padlets and evernote app and website to track the goals, evidence of learning of students, their strengths and interests of students to see how they are growing in their learning and abilities.
My Growth after taking the Foundations of Leadership course: I learned that charismatic leaders lead by example and make sacrifices (Conger, 2004). Now, I strive to not only preach and share knowledge and ideas but live by example and take action like I did with this buffalo.io blog to model me taking action on the positive habit of jogging and making action plans:
In addition, a key insight that struck a cord with me is that transformational leaders care, are helpful and want to create leaders. That is my focus when interacting with learners to make them feel cared for and help them increase their skills and knowledge to reach independence to hopefully lead and replace me.
Northouse (2010) says that great leaders are extraverted, are conscientious in that they are dependable, make decisions quickly, are open, curious, creative and informed, low on neuroticism meaning low on depression and anxiety. I am trying to remember this and work on myself to be more extraverted and work on my decision making skills and be more informed by making time to read and working on ways to cope well with my stress and emotions by journaling and taking action and breaking down big tasks.
I think the main growth that has taken place in me after taking this course is that I focus more on the learners and people in my life at an individual level, I want to get to know each of the perople i interact with at a personal level like what their goals are, strngths and needs are and help them reach their full potential and i think this is because of me learning about how transformational leaders provide individualized consideration.
Technology is such a useful tool for both educators and learners as it is filled with the ability to grab the attention of learners and then give them rewards and show their improvement leaving them satisfied (Cite -> Learning Tools about first capturing the attention of learners and then holding it).
Engagement is key: In the learning tools course, I learned the power of creating our definitions of a good web-based learning tool (WBLT) together and then creating a rubric together of the key components that would be required of a good wblt. It felt so good to as a group share our definitions of a wblt and help the professor in creating the rubric so we all felt involved in the process and were clear in terms of what is required of us.
Learning With Technology:
Key Insights From This Course
In the Learning with Technology course, I learned that it is important to create learning experiences where learners get a chance to explore issues that are relevant and meaningful to them and communicate what they find is important. Scardamalia & Bereiter (2006) .
In addition, I learned that the role of teachers needs to focus more on identifying problems and create a community of learners addressing issues that the community finds important, and the focus is on creating knowledge together and to seek knowledge from authorities and use that knowledge, the main thing in this theory is to build knowledge together to help solve problems of society, and disagreement can be helpful to increase knowledge, (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006).
I also learned that it is important to avoid having teacher as a hub to process all information instead have everyone’s thoughts public can we can each work on them together purpose is to think through problems.
My Growth as A Teacher: From Professor Roland, I learned that instead of me forcing my own goals and curriculum expectations on the learner, I need to follow the learner and what they are interested in and while doing so find ways to help them also develop the key skills and competencies of the curriculum.
And that prof taught instead of covering curriculum try to focus on them to get long-term understandings,and create cognitive dissonance to get them to discard or take on new ways of doing things. Prof. Roalnd taught to create a critical community to criticize ideas to make them better. I learend the problem formula . Format for problem based learning - 1. understand teh context and its variables, 2. write out the problem(s) and creat problem statements 3. write out solutions. 4. create timelines and actions that need to be taken. 5. Present solutions with data. 6. Assess ourselves. The process of learning is very important not just the product (Tue. Feb 11, 2014 in class) . Curriculum - map of what the territory looks like, teacher helps them to explore the map (Tue. Feb. 25, 2014). Teacher = “learning environment designer, learning facilitator, learning supporter , conceptual challenger” & the focus needs to be on the learner and on whether he or she wants to learn what is being taught, and to create an environemnt where more learning can happen (March 11, 2014) Create a professional learning communit where the focus is on learning, (Dufour, 2004) . Tue March 18, 2014
Problem based learning is good because they “Learn by doing” (P. 6, Van Oostveen, 2012) and creating knowledge becomes a responsibility that the learners have and provide realistic contexts, let them find problems instead of teacher forcing problems on to students to solve,
“‘The knowledge is acquired through working on the problem itself’”(Hillman, 2003 as cited in vanOostveen, 2012). Get them to do step 1 reflect and express their preconceived thoughts at an individual level and document it to track growth, then 2. learning process - try creating cognitive dissonance by questioning their thinking of showing other ways of thinking and “ideas that others in the field have reached consensus on” (p. 13, vanOostveen, 2012). 3. test out and evaluate their theories of action (Bencze, 2008). The main aim is to get them “learning for the sake of learning or for pure enjoyment”(vanOostveen, 2012, p. 5).
What key insights did I gain from this course Principles of Learning?
Some of the key insights that I learned from this course called principles of learning is that we need the company of a more knowledgeable other and we also need to be like the experts who organize their knowledge based on core concepts and theories and foundational concepts and then add on to that and the concept of transfer of learning and what helps is when we think of when and how to apply ideas and contexts and also i learned the importance of organizing my knowledge and how i have grown is that in my courses i started organizing my knowledge by creating wikis and putting pages for each author and then writing the main ideas, also in making naam nidhaan i seeked help to get clear on what the main concepts are and then for extra points kids need to explain and give example or even share how they even applied it in real life and also i believe in game based learning and learning through interaction now and the power of teaching others in that we learn more when we teach others I also have grown in that I believe in the power of first getting out what people already know and then if the preconceived notions are wrong we need to start there instead of just dumping on extra information, and i believe now the importance of having learners do a wiki posts for their peers because i think people tend to work harder when they know that people are going to see their work beyond the classroom teacher(I need to find a source for this). I have also learned one of the most important key insights which is that tutoring or one on one learning is one of the best ways to learn and thus I strive not only to mentor others but I am open to being mentored however I also like the idea of mentoring and thinking that this would apply there as well and now believe that we each can live more optimized lives if we have a mentor!
In addition, I learned that it is really important to learn in a way as to prepare learners to become experts and what and how to do that, get them to learn deeply and understand the key core concepts and principles and big ideas and to organize their knowledge and information in this manner and build on it, kind of like how bill hunter made the wiki, i am thinking to make it like a mind map that keeps growing, and i think students should carry this mind map and make it grow as they continue to learn. However, i think the most important first step in learning is to make it visible by having students express what they already have within them like their current understandings and preconceived notions and if they have any misunderstandings they should be noted and addressed and create cognitive dissonance to bring about change. I have learned that TRANSFER is the key to have them learn so they can apply the knowledge to real life and hey need to learn to process the knowledge deeply by having elaborations with multiple examples and connect what they are learning to what they already know and I learned that in the how people learn text that the key skills are to problem solve, communicate and think critically and working together is key and so collaborating experiences where they are doing authentic tasks is a great idea as mentioned by darling-hammond (2003) and I think our role as teachers is to help them build their background knowledge so that they can easily grasp new information as “‘the more you know, the more you can know’”(Boettcher, 2007, p. 4).
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