Main Area

Lift the Scales From My Eyes

Posted on February 3rd, 2013

What am I walking away from all this video and text that I consumed this morning in the #edcmooc Week 2 resources? If we are going to fix things in this world, we need to be able to communicate and learn outside our social network. Our learning and interactions needs to extend outside our Personal Leaning Community (PLC). Otherwise we are forcing our learning to be “in-bred”. In order to be able to communicate outside our circle of friends we need to be able to communicate with a common knowledge base.

Why is a common knowledge base important? When we use metaphors, we are using them to communicate ideas.  Unfortunately, people need to have the common experience in order to understand what the metaphors are saying. This brings to mind Ed Hirsch’s book Cultural Literacy < link > where he lists a set of ideas and things that everyone should know. This really flies in the face of personalized learning where students only study what they are interested in.

How is this related to another idea brought to mind by this week’s reading and video is the idea of how effective is social networking. We can interact and collaborate with like-minded people using social media. These people will most likely have the same reference base as we do so they will understand the metaphors. SO I guess as long as we are content with communicating with like-minded people, then we only need to have a localized cultural base.

Bendito Machine III Reaction

Posted on January 30th, 2013

What did I just watch? < link >New technology was replacing old technology and also become more intrusive into people’s lives. The new tech was more destructive, but in an unintentional way. The technology was like a mindless child. Evidently individuals could walk away from it.

What am I walking away from this viewing with? We choose how much to interact with technology and if we are not careful, it can kill us.

What kind of learning do I value most?

Posted on January 8th, 2013

I’m participating in #moocmooc this week, or at least trying to. One of today’s assignments was to answer the question: What kind of learning do you value most? I’m going to use this blog post to semi write a script for the video I’m to make today.

For me, to be a successful learner, I need a goal. I need to be able to do something with the material I’m learning. Goals I remember setting for myself in the past have ranged from doing well on a test, to be able to complete a project I’m working one, or even to impress someone.

One thing I’ve tried to teach myself over the years is more computer programming. I’ve failed miserably. Every time I engage with the material, my eyes gloss over and get heavy. I suspect this is due to lack of time, but really I can’t yet see a short term goal come out of my learning this material. I’m not yet at a point where I can use it to complete a project. I supposed if I was scheduled to teach a programming course, that would motivate me. But that is not on the horizon.

Learning is not easy and some is down right hard. This last summer (2012) I thought it would be good to retake a calculus 2 course since often I’ll have someone show up on eTutoring  who needs help with that material. The first half of the course was a breeze as it is what I’ve been teaching in my HS AP Calculus course. Then I hit the wall and the course required an incredible amount of time. The last 5 weeks of my summer vacation consisted of teaching the online cc courses and doing calculus. I did not get to do much else. Did I value this learning? I saw the point and the goal. I enjoyed interacting with the material again after 26 years but it was not enjoyable. Do we have to enjoy the learning to be able to walk away from it with something of value?

So I guess what I need to get out of this reflection and what I’d like anyone who reads this post or watch the #moocmooc #video I create: I value learning where I have something to show for the time spent. A monetary reward is nice, but not a requirement. If the learning leads to a job well done, that is reward enough. Just sitting and doing nothing with my life is not an option.


Using Google Voice to assess student learning

Posted on January 4th, 2013

About a month ago I attended a BER workshop about using mobile tech to enhance student learning. One thing I walked away from this training with is the idea of having students respond using video/audio instead of writing.

An aside: I can hear my English Dept peers already crabbing that we need to have students do more writing rather than less. My anticipated response will be: They do more writing in my classroom than they do math in yours.

I’ve tried this and have had some success but smartphone access is still a problem for some students. Others are using a data plan that adds charges for data uploads. (so they tell me).

I found that Google Voice allows me to set up a voice mailbox and it transcribes most messages.

I’m trying it out to see how it works.

I’ll  follow up with a later post.

RSA Style Video

Posted on January 1st, 2013

This RSA style of making videos really perked my interest. I found it interesting that RSA is the acronym for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. < link > It brought to mind the STEAM initiative I just found out about from one of the art teachers in my school < link >. I have a group of students who are working hard, but when it comes to a “test” they freeze. (This is not my PC class) Many have only had a year of HS mathematics either because they failed a year or did not take a math course during either their Ninth grade or Tenth grade year (or both). You probably are asking why not two years of math by the end of 10th grade? This is a good question, but I digress.

So I’m brainstorming ideas where these students can show me they have learned some math, but not have the word “test” attached to it. I’ve been heading towards having them complete work on a linear programming problem (graphical solutions only). I’m thinking that making one of these RSA type videos would be a wise use of time. Here is my trial. Sorry that my poor spelling skills are so evident. Skis….

I’ll let you know how this goes working with the students.

QuadBlog Post 1

Posted on December 30th, 2012

How have new developments in the Web 2.0 world changed what I do for the courses I teach? This last semester I began recording my solutions to quiz questions for my community college statistics course. Many of students gave that work a thumb up in the discussion forums. I was just looking at the number of views though and the most watched only had 18 views and there where 24 people participating in the course during the last week.

For my HS courses I also have been using youtube to record video, flipping the classroom a bit. I also have been having students produce explanations. One issue that is arising is that I have just been awarding full credit for all presentations, some should not be and I need to create/steal a presentation rubric.

What am I doing new that has my focus and is related to digital learning? My HS Precalculus is working hard in class, doing what I ask of them but when I ask them to take a quiz on the material, they tank it. How do I fix this? Better quizzes? Maybe.  What I’m going to try this second term is use and create a course portal which is aligned to this new text we have been using . All students in the course have computer/broadband access at home and at school. I’m going to require online HW exercise sets that have embedded video. The exercises regenerate and the students will have multiple attempts allowed to show mastery. Maybe this work will help them to master and retain the skills needed to be successful in the course and as they move onto college they will get out of taking remedial courses.

As far as this Coursera course, I was looking at the description just now and read this line: For example, how is ‘learning’ represented in the film The Matrix, and how does this representation influence our understanding of the nature of e-learning? At this point, my response is: We cannot just “jack in” and download the knowledge. Learning something new still takes hard work and learning new skills requires repetition.  eLearning is no different, people still need practice. It will be interesting to see if the course content changes my mind about this.