Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Educational Technology Course Reflection

There is an undoubtedly huge growth in my learning, having completed the Educational Technology Course at Marlboro College of Graduated and Professional Studies. My learning style is clearer to me than ever before. I am more aware of my own biases about learning and learners in general. Knowing these assumptions about the other's mind is critical because it plays into my instructional style and design. Openness is key to helping my students as we journey together towards acquiring knowledge.

Our dive into the big 4 learning theories helped to widen my understanding of how people learn. Here is a brief overview and the one I gravitate towards:

Behaviorism is concerned with observable behaviors, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion. Observable (i.e. external) behavior can be objectively and scientifically measured. Internal events, such as thinking should be explained through behavioral terms.
Cognitivism focuses on how information is received, organized, stored and retrieved by the mind. Learning is not about what the learners do but what they know and how they acquire knowledge.
Constructivism equates learning with creating meaning from experience. Learning takes place when there is an interaction between the learner's experience and their idea or concept, we learn by doing.
Connectivism recognizes how technology has changed the process of teaching and learning. The focus is guiding learners on how to find the information for themselves.
I gravitate to constructivist theory and this is evident in my mini~course. It is designed to support knowledge construction and engage learners in the actual use of Google sites in real world situation.

My instructional design model is based on situated learning where learners become involved in a "community of practice" which embodies the behavior to be acquired. As my learners move from the periphery of creating Google sites to the core of mastering its use, they become more active and engaged and hence assume the role of experts in Google sites.

The assessment I incorporated is performance-based which consists of samples of learner's work on Google sites, It recognizes that the best test is to support the needs of learners which, in my case, is proficiency in Google sites. My mini~course promotes exploration rather than just "getting the right answer". Learners create their sites and customize it in any way, shape or form that best suits their imagination and creativity.

Using Bloom's Digital Taxonomy, I can measure the impact and levels of learning my use of technology tools will have on my learners. Tools like YouTube and Google Apps assist them to remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create a usable classroom website.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mini~Course Reflection


I have always wanted to encourage instructors in my school to create a program website for their classes. Knowing the benefits this would have for the teachers, students, parents and indeed the entire school community, I conducted a survey to know how the idea would be received. I discovered that most instructors welcome the idea but worry that they lack the necessary technology skills to do so. They just do not see themselves able to build and manage a website. Therefore, I decided to use this opportunity to create a mini~course that would be responsive to their concerns by showing them how simple creating a Google site can be. You really do not need advanced technology skills.


My learners will first explore the benefits of Google site as an effective educational tool. They will be able to educate their colleagues on the advantages of using classroom sites. Realizing how effective this tool can be in the classroom will motivate interest in learning how to create it. This is my second goal for this course. Learners will be able to create a classroom website and incorporate rich media such as videos and photos to it. Finally, they would control who can view their class site.


The mini~course is about teaching and learning with and about Google sites, so I consider it appropriate to use it as my delivery platform. Google sites have all the flexibility that I want for my course. The interface is good for collaborating and connecting with learners. Most importantly, it is good practice for my learners to see and connect the theoretical knowledge they are gaining, to a practical knowledge-able experience through learning with Google sites. This is a clear example of "learning by doing". I also incorporated YouTube tutorials so my learners would see and possible practice alongside with it.


In exploring all the big four learning theories, I find myself leaning towards constructivist theory. I am a believer that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. My mini~course was guided by the following constructivist principles:

  1. "Instruction must be concerned with the experience and contexts that makes the student willing and able to learn." This is why I started with examining the benefits of Google sites. If my learners realize that having a class website would actually make their work easier and more effective, they will be motivated to learn more about how to create one. 
  2. "Instruction must be structured so that it can be easily grasped by the student." I already know that my learners are apprehensive because they feel that they lack the necessary technology skills to create a website. My lesson then alleviates this by being simple and ordered so as to make the process smooth and straightforward. I also provided opportunities to practice as we learn because the best way for students to learn is for them to actively participate in the learning process. 

My lesson incorporated the ADDIE model in it's design. Here is a step-by-step breakdown.

Analysis Phase: I identified my learners and proceeded to establish the need for program websites and it's effectiveness as a tool for education. I surveyed my learners for existing constraints and found out their apprehension about lack of technology skills. 

Design Phase: The learning objective is to have my learners create their own Google site. I developed a systematic and specific set of strategies targeted for attaining this goal; first, explore the benefits, then go ahead and show how it can be done with minimal technology skills. 

Development Phase: Here is where I created the course and the individual units aimed at addressing the information I gathered from the analysis and design phases. This becomes my solution to the performance gap uncovered. 

Implementation Phase: The course is then delivered using Google site platform. This gives learners a practical sense of learning. This is the actual training of the staff on Google site because learning is doing. "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand" ---Confucius

Evaluation Phase: This phase has two aspects: Formative evaluation which occurs throughout the process of implementation specifically, at the end of each unit. Summative evaluation comes at the end of the course and measures the new skill gained by learners to determine if the performance objective was achieved. Learners were required to show their new skill by the Google site they created.

Thanks for reading through my reflection and here is the Classroom Google Site Lesson. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Evaluating Yourself

I find this article on tips for evaluating your own teaching very thought provoking.Teachers are always evaluating their students, grading and assessing what the students are able to achieve. But I wonder how often teachers evaluate themselves to determine areas that need improvement. Time always changes and a teacher who evaluates himself is sure to keep up with the changing situation. Remember, "a good teacher, teaches and learns".

In my school, we have a practice of teachers visiting their colleagues classrooms to observe and give input on the teaching methods. I find this helpful because fellow teachers get to help one another to improve their teaching in a non judgmental manner.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Designing My Mini Course

As part of the course on educational technology, we are required to design a mini course using an instructional design theory of our choice. I am designing a mini course on how to create a classroom website for showcasing class activities. My target audience are the teachers I work with at Central Vermont Career Center. I have identified my performance objectives and instructional goals for this course and now outlined the skills a learner need, in order to benefit from this course. Our discussions in class about ADDIE and Dick & Carey models of Instructional Systems Design has helped in shaping my methodology. At the end of the course, my learners are able to create a simple classroom Google site, embed all kinds of media such as podcasts, videos and photos and share it with a targeted audience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The SAMR Model of Instructional Systems Design guides teachers through the steps of integrating technology in the classroom. It describes four various levels of using technology to support learning in order to maximize student's success.

How are you using technology in your classroom?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Instructional System Design

I read an article this week on designing instructional systems and was truly amazed to see the many considerations educators have to take into account as they prepare their lessons. It includes "identifying a problem or goal, analyzing the requirement to solve the problem, creating a design for a solution, and then developing, and evaluating the solution". This is the ADDIE Model.

I guess my school tech trainings will be seeing this model being applied to it. This method also helps the teacher in making learning relevant and the outcomes can be measured.  Consider implementing this to your practice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Instructional Theories

Focussing on how to structure materials for promoting education and how to better help people learn and develop, we were presented with different instructional theories. Among these theories, I was immediately fascinated with action learning and inquiry based learning.

Working in a career center, our students are so much involved with action learning and most of the instruction happens in a hands-on format. We have the students active in the community and what is taught in class is immediately applied to real life outside the school walls. Action indeed speaks louder than words.

Inquiry based learning starts with posing questions, problems and scenarios rather than simply explaining facts and portraying a smooth path to knowledge. Students then researched and develop their own knowledge and solutions. This model increases critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Learning in the digital age

Technology is rapidly changing the way we teach and learn. The traditional way in which only teachers create contents and hand on to the students have given way to learners being actively involved in content creation. "We are all in this together" has become the new approach to learning. The focus now is teaching students how to think and learn for themselves. The ability to find information is more important than the information itself. All these and more, were the highlights of connectivist theory of learning.

As we continue to readjust our idea of learning in the digital age, I must say that education should not be only about coming to school to get the information but should be experiential learning and empowering students voice.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Have you ever thought about how fascinating the mind is? How it grows and develops, and all of the influences along the way? Well, I have been thinking about all that and many more. The mind is full of complexities that we cannot explain all its operations or narrow down its evolution, in the theories that had been posited throughout history. Though I must acknowledge that some of these theories are quite compelling.

Among some of these are the cognitive and constructivist theories that we discussed this week. Cognitive theory explains the incredible nature of the brain in processing and interpreting information as we learn new things while constructivist theory contends that we learn through experiencing things and reflecting on our experience.

Be that as it may, I know that connecting new information with prior knowledge helps me learn effectively. It works like a chain reaction. But to attain mastery, I must translate that knowledge into practice.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Theories of Learning~Behaviorism

This week we had a discussion on theories of learning. Our first stop was the behaviorism theory championed by B.F. Skinner. In his writings, Skinner proposed the use of teaching machine that will enhance the learning process and effectiveness. The teaching machine points a lot to some of the current technologies we use in schools today. In explaining how the teaching machine would work, Skinner contended that it will lead to the formation of correct behaviors, the students learn to be right. That it motivates the students and make learning pleasurable.

Watching my students today create presentations about their passions in Google Slides and Prezi, I cannot but agree with Skinner that “the classroom in which machines(technology) are being used, is usually the scene of intense concentration”. These students were motivated and enthusiastic in the use of these tools. However, the true value of technology for learning lies not in learning to use technology but in using technology to learn.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Influences in Learning

This blog documents my learning process in the Educational Technology course I am taking at Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies. My choice of blogger platform is to distinguish from the wordpress I am using for another course.

Reading an article this week about folk pedagogy by Jerome Bruner, makes me more aware of how our perception of learners can influence the way we teach. Our belief about learners, be it real or imagined, can have a huge impact on our instructional style and design. Just like in written works, the audience guides and dictates your approach for the work to be effective, so also in teaching.

I now question my own assumptions about myself with regards to acquiring knowledge. Keeping an open mind is surely the way to go just as I also keep an open mind about my learners, knowing that we all have our strengths and weaknesses.