Words of wisdom: “Every challenge has become an opportunity to dig even deeper wells of personal integrity and practical wisdom.”
Originally posted on The ART of Business:
Have you ever worked long and hard on a project, only to have a coworker sweep in and be recognized or take credit for what you accomplished? Or perhaps you have been in a team scenario where the team’s success has ridden primarily on your hidden efforts.
I have. More than once.
We may smile and nod, say it’s OK–we understand. Remind ourselves, after all, “There’s no I in team.” But deep inside it is not OK and our trust becomes a little more fragile, our relationships more cautious, our cards more tightly held.
There may be no “I” in team, but there is certainly a M-E. There’s no team without M-E.
Teamwork should be about bringing our best selves to the issues at hand, weaving our gifts together with others creating a synergy of the whole that is far greater than the mere summation of the parts. Synergy cannot…
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As a result of the 6100 course, I have developed a personal theory of learning, applied instructional design approaches employing my personal theory of learning, and created a research proposal exploring teacher STEM perceptions in online and conventional learning environments. I have a deeper understanding of how Piaget’s theory of constructivism connects to Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism to Paper’s theory on constructionism. Prior to this course, I did not have a strong background in learning theory as it applies to instructional design approaches. Also, I was able to create two instructional activities with two colleagues exploring topics associated with alternative energy and fabrication printing employing the 5E instructional model and product based learning instructional model. Both activities included considerations for online instructional delivery. In addition, I was able to improve my ability to provide professional development using the Canvas learning management system (LMS).
I was able to participate as a student in an online course that modeled true social presence, cognitive presence, and teacher presence. Instructors met with students twice a week, coaching students on advanced learning theory topics. Without the consistent feedback and collaborative exchanges received by both peers and instructors, I would possess required skill sets needed to complete a PhD study. My understanding of learning theory was very vague, and the collaborative synchronous meetings helped me fill in the missing gaps. I was redirected to improve my understanding of how to apply learning theory to instructional design models, and began to approach instructional design differently.
During this course, I was able to further my research in STEM and STEAM research initiatives and found that little to no research exists regarding online STEM professional development approaches. This is a huge finding for me, as I now have a clearer understanding on the direction my studies could go as I approach dissertation study. I hope to utilize instructional design activities developed this spring using a professional development STEAM Camp K12 MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), which was released for registration in Canvas’s Open Network yesterday. I would like to compare teacher STEM perceptions in online MOOC professional development to face-to-face professional development and hope to complete a mixed methods study doing so this summer.
Finally, I learned how to overcome obstacles and persevere during this process. The workload required this spring was heavy, but the work load is preparing me for the final dissertation study. My writing process has improved this spring, which is another benefit to blog postings required in the 6100 course. I was able to strengthen my connections with my online peers, through a stronger collaborative exchange. Activities required in this course paired me with three other cadre colleagues in which I had yet to work with. Our products and learning artifacts were strong and I enjoyed getting to know Bob Kaiser, Jarred Vanscoder, and October Smith this semester. Collaborative exchanges and discourse provided additional depth to my learning experience.
To sign up for the Canvas STEAM Camp Professional development MOOC, visit Canvas’s Open Network. Registration is up and the course begins June 2, 2014 and last for a 5 week period.
What do you think the future of MOOCs is? What about mobile learning?Are these things you feel are going to be beneficial or will there be a backlash?
Richard Ferdig’s (2014) insight on how the rapid explosion of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) continues to transform online learning within higher ed and professional development programs is thought provoking. The MOOC K12 phenomenon presents leadership with emerging issues and challenges regarding the quality of online instruction and the rapid need to transform K12 institutions to embrace 21st century learning communities. It is important for K12 teachers and leaders to engage in the MOOC world and enroll in a few MOOCS to gain an understanding and perspective on the future of online education. Ferdig’s (2014) research is correct to point out three findings, which is intended to assist in integrating technology appropriately to meet such challenges.
- Not all MOOCS are created equally. Connected learning principles, cMOOCS , focus on knowledge creation, collaboration, and generation. xMOOCS, however, concentrate on knowledge dissemination. It is highly important that curriculum leaders, who in my opinion should be highly skilled in educational technology, evaluate MOOCS. Does the MOOC employ an instructional model aligning to pedagogical beliefs? Is feedback produced within the MOOC environment? How is learning accessed?
- MOOC participants are self starters, or self directed learners, which means the motivation element exists. How would this look in a K12 environment? Interactivity is a huge consideration. Peer support can assist in providing interactivity.
- MOOCS facilitate conversations, engaging a very diverse audience, which can deepen the learning experience.
Will MOOCS replace face to face institutions or online learning university programs? MOOC completion rates are low, as MOOCS are free. Students enrolled in a for credit course pay to attend school, which includes an economic motivator that is perhaps missing within the current MOOC environment (Billsberry 2013). All 21st century instructors will need to up their game and become top instructors, as students now have options. How can this be accomplished? Improved online instruction can exist with instructors improving conversation, facilitating and providing feedback in a timely fashion. Students will have the ability to preview what they pay for. Will MOOCS hurt postsecondary and for profit professional development organizations? My assessment is that MOOCS will push faculty, K12 instructors and leaders to become better. MOOCS will continue to provide equal access to knowledge and improve the overall online learning environment. This will continue to push the world into a new era, as knowledge will be attainable for the first time in third world counties. This could mean that K12 US education will need to refocus efforts on new ways to improve academic motivation as US students will now compete with a more educated global world. It is very unlikely that universities will begin closing their doors. However, maybe it is time for universities and K12 institutions to hire faculty and teachers who have a strong background in learning theory, instructional design, and ed tech. Serious conversations within K12 institutions on the purpose of why we are really here will need to be continued. Students will now have more options and school choices via online platforms to select a pathway to help them obtain a job, particularly secondary students. MOOCS will push all educational environments to reconsider approaches to meet student needs and skill sets needed in the 21st century.
Billsberry, J. (2013). MOOCs: Fad or Revolution? Journal of Management Education, 37(6), 739–746. doi:10.1177/1052562913509226
Ferdig, R. E. (2014). PREPARING FOR K-12 MOOCS. Tech & Learning, 34(6), 26-27.
Feedback provided to me was very positive and constructive. During this process, I completely changed my theory of personal learning, growing as a student and advocate of improving instructional approaches. As pointed out in my paper, “The “maker movement emphasizes learning through direct experiences, hands-on projects, inventions, and is based on a constructionist learning theory even if members and advocates of the movement are unaware of the theory” (Stager, 2013). As a member and advocate of the maker movement, I realize that the above statement summarizes my personal approach to learning theory. All constructionists embrace constructivism. However, constructionism approaches extend to include a larger social element, highlighting the importance of creation via learning artifacts within an extended community. After improving my understanding of constructionism approaches, I revamped my theory of personal learning and located many articles and studies to learn more about constructionism research approaches. Feedback stressed what I already knew to be an issue, proofing. Considering that I revamped my theory of personal learning completely, I recognize that time spent towards proofing would improve the overall quality of my product. However, instructors also complimented me on the overall paper, which really surprised me and has motivated me to continue and press on. Task two has led me to continue my research towards constructionism approaches, as I have located over 25 articles and research studies surrounding constructionism studies. I have begun condensing my paper. In addition, I plan to include a wider perspective to include research giants of constructivists and constructionism, instead of only emphasizing Piaget and Papert. Also, it was suggested that I should quote the source of important contributions to the constructivist and constructionism field instead of quoting from articles reviewed. For example, I quoted an article that mentioned John Dewey’s personal theory of learning. I have now read John Dewey’s own writings and contributions, which provides legitimacy. Our final major task towards completing CECS 6100 includes creating a research proposal. I plan on utilizing materials from my experiences in CECS 6100 to conduct a study that focuses on constructionism approaches with teachers to compare STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) professional development delivered via a MOOC and face to face. Materials I am developing are very relevant to my real world professional experiences at this time.
Stager, G. S. (2013). Papert’s Prison Fab Lab : Implications for the maker movement and education design, 487–490.
Based on your experience putting your lesson into the Canvas LMS, what do you feel are the benefits of using such a structured space for teaching and learning? How well does the structure of an LMS fit with your theory of online learning?
Creating a professional development spaces within a Canvas LMS supports my approach to online K12 STEM professional development. Canvas is a free LMS system that proves to be user friendly, integrates nicely with third party web tools, and includes excellent multimedia capabilities that are lacking in many other free LMS enviornments. Discussion tools can be used to create a social experience and allow for users to attach video feedback or embed external content and share experiences within a learning community in a very meaningful way. However, the space is only a tool and the content of the instructional activity itself, along with participants, and instructor encouragement must all be present for the lesson to be a productive and meaningful experience. The module component allows for clear organization. Pages offer customization approaches to allow for increased flexibility. The record and upload media feature within Canvas discussion tools will prove to be an effective tool to increase participant engagement. Collaboration tools to include Google Docs and Etherpad provide a layer of collaboration not found in many other LMS environments. Users can use Google Docs, for example, to create reflections or “artifacts”, to share with a larger community within Canvas. It is nice that Canvas works well with other media tools. Media used as a reflection tool provides the learner with the ability to produce a more meaningful perspective in which they can share within the online environment. However, Canvas does lack the embedding of social media tools, which I would find useful. I am embedding links and suggesting a community hashtag to utilize within the course to tap into social media components. The LMS can be utilized within a constructionism approach to online learning as it allows for connectedness. However, teacher presences along with clear directions and organization within the LMS must be present for the lesson within Canvas to be successful. Canvas LMS does have the ability within the learning environment to provide a means for learners to connect, share, and present alternative viewpoints. The ability for media to be incorporated as video to produce such collaboration is an added benefit to employing Canvas LMS. The following websites have assisted me in learning more about features available within Canvas.
How hard is it to develop a research method that both matches your theory and created curriculum? What was simple and what was difficult? It is difficult to consider how to best employ a research method to study a constructionism approach to online learning. The difficulty lies in the ability to provide a flexible or free approach to learning and at the same time foster increased engagement. Ackermann’a (2011) analysis of Papert’s theory of constructionism focuses on the “art of learning.” Improved communication technologies foster an increase in the ability for an audience to feel a sense of connectedness, which provides depth to the overall learning experience. Creating an environment that provokes discourse and produces a variety of perspectives promotes a change in thinking or knowledge transformation, improved cognitive presence. It is necessary that an instructor of facilitator to assist a community in exchanging perspectives or experiences. A mixed methods research approach would best accommodate a study related to my theory of learning. During the last week, I have developed an improved understanding of the differences of constructivism and constructionism. I believe in the importance of community and the role of energy that such a community produces to improve the overall cognitive experience. From a research perspective, measures in frequency of communication within the social learning community, video reflections, and interviews could provide an in depth look into how an online community best serves to meet professional development needs of teachers. Many MOOCS in existence fail a way for learners to express their ideas to a larger community. What are the perspectives of K12 teachers Ackermann (2004) correctly points out that knowledge transformation occurs as learners express or reflect using media to a larger community. Media does matter, and how that media is used within an online course also matters (Ackermann 2004). Papert’s Instructional Software Design Project utilized a mixed methods approach with fourth grade math course. A mixed method approach would best explore how learners create personal meaning through reflections shared within a social environment. The frequency and richness of such artifacts could be explored in greater depth.
Ackermann, E. K. (2004). Constructing knowledge and transforming the world.A learning zone of one’s own: Sharing representations and flow in collaborative learning environments, 1, 15-37.
Ackermann, E. (2001). Piaget’s constructivism, Papert’s constructionism: What’s the difference. Future of learning group publication, 5(3), 438.
Harel, I., & Papert, S. (1990). Software design as a learning environment.Interactive learning environments, 1(1), 1-32.
Stager, G.,S. (2007). Towards the construction of a language for describing the learning potential of computing activities.Informatics in Education, 6(2), 429