Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Psychology of Learning Redux

I wrote this as end of class reflection for Teaching in Higher Education course with Dr. Tomei. At the beginning of the course we were asked to articulate which learning psychology we supported - Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, or Connectivism. At the end we were ask to revisit the original assignment. Here is my response:

My Personal Psychology of Learning Redux
I am now an ardent connectivist. So much so, that it was hard at times to sit through presentations on the other learning theories when they woefully fall short to how I learn now and teach now. 
I floundered in those theories during the 70’s and 80’s as a student and perpetuated them early in my teaching career with great dissatisfaction. It wasn’t until I had enough confidence to start to experiment with class culture and Gardner’s multiple intelligences that I really started to connect with my students and practice. I think the appeal of Connectivism, beyond the common sense aspect, is that a learner can grow and learn exponentially by simply plugging into and connecting with a network of like-minded learners. The power in that simple precept of Connectivism inspires me and propels my philosophical learning belief that anyone anywhere can learn anything – what is more flat than that? A connectivist knows how to find the information and “see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts (Seimens, n.d.).  Moreover, a Connectivist not only can access information and see connections; this is the consumptive part of learning, but the connectivist contributes to the knowledge base through their own perspective by redesigning and redistributing and releasing their understandings for other Connectivists to do the same.  
The shifting economy from an industrial/manufacturing to an information/innovation economy demands we prepare our students for the future (“Building a 21st Century, n.d.. p. 4). Our current practices and pedagogical beliefs are antiquated and underserve our students. According to Microsoft, “our education and workforce development systems are . . . not equipped to meet the needs of the 21st-century economy (“Building a 21st Century, n.d.. p. 7). So what? We have to shift the way we teach to the way we learn. The emergence of Personal Learning Networks and the proliferation of Massive Online Open Resources, and the abundance of Open Educational Resources indicate our demand for this change.
Within our own cohort, I know we still have a wide spectrum of philosophical stances, but I know there is a growing number of Connectivists out there. I hope one or two more of us reveal themselves, for tomorrow’s university classroom needs them.
Building a 21st-Century workforce: Working together to meet today’s skills development challenges (Issue brief). (n.d.). Retrieved

Siemens, G. (n.d.). Connectivism. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tools to Promote: Assessment Communication, Metacognition, Mastery Learning - OH, MY!

I know I am late to this song, but add my voice to the choral success of Doctopus, an add on in Google Drive, and a Chrome extension Goobric. Both in tandem with Google Drive promote a paperless classroom that is rich in communication, metacognition, and mastery learning. 

This post is not a tutorial on  how to install or use it. I leave that to the replete resources below but rather, this post is a testimonial in support of these rich integrations into the classroom. 

ssessment: In short, Doctopus allows you to assign and distribute an assignment to students through shared folders in Google Drive. The program creates an assignment document for each student. Doctopus designates you as the "owner" and the individual student as a full "editor" on the shared assignment. This permits students to work independently within their own document. When it is due, because you remain ownership of the document, you can retract or embargo permissions from the student while you grade the assignment. Afterward, you release or "un-embargo" them for student review and or re-submission.

When creating your assignment in Doctopus, the final step asks if you want to assign a rubric to this document, and this is where Goobric sails in. It is during the grading process when you have embargoed the assignment and visit it in Drive through Chrome when Goobric's magic/visionary programming asserts itself. Select the icon located to the right of the address bar and your rubric is presented in a pop-up window. After evaluating the assignment and you submit the rubric, Goobric embeds a copy of the rubric you just completed into the end of the assignment, and then emails a copy of the rubric and comments directly to the student - Voila!

ommunication: Dismissing the argument of internet access for brevity sake, at the least, these tools easily dismiss the "I lost it." or the "You never gave it to me." excuses. All the information is in front of the students all the time. In addition to distributing assignments, Doctopus automatically creates a class edit folder and a class view folder. The class edit folder allow anyone in your class to edit, delete, or modify anything in the folder. This can be useful but be wary. The class view folders is wonderful. Students can only view the content, so any exemplars or class project information or assignment sheets are placed in here for the students to reference at anytime. 

Metacognition: Using these tools in Google Drive allows you an over the shoulder view while a work is in progress. Since you are the owner and the student is the editor, while working in class or at home you can visit or even be more formal by scheduling a time to work together. Here you can use the comment feature in Google Document to make corrections, provide guidance, and probe thinking. In addition, you can have the students review the assignment history and prompt them to think about the process and the final product. Moreover, you can also track changes and view a history of the document. This provides keen insight into the effort and time put into the assignment, and can be a benefit to your final assessment. 

Mastery Learning: With Doctopus and Goobric combined all rubric data drops into a working spreadsheet of the assignment. One of the data columns is submissions. This keeps count of how may time you revisited and reassessed a student's document. Even if you don't use the Goobric rubric feature, using the comments in Google drive, looking over a work in progress, and providing exemplars in the class view folder, a student is bound to achieve the level of mastery. 

Here are a few tutorials and resources you can use to further delve into these valuable assets to the classroom:

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Stay connected and keep the internet free. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Student Teaching Practicum

Link to the Google Doc: Student Teaching Practicum

Friday, February 1, 2013

From the Teaching Channel: Classroom Management

This is Lori Sinclair from Woodlawn Elementary School in Lawrence, Kansas. Here she demonstrates the ritual and routines of her 3rd grade class. Moreover, she sits down with an instructional specialist to explicate the reasoning. Even though it is 3rd grade, I firmly believe many of these rituals and routines can translate to any level. Enjoy and leave comments.