Thursday, February 11, 2016

Random Thoughts in EDUC8845

Granted, I have not finished reading the Siemen's article. However, this sentence stopped me in my tracks - " secondary institutions 'have not embraced opportunities for innovation, from new methods of teaching and content delivery to technological advances to meeting the increased demand for lifelong learning." (p.8) I am taking courses from an online university. They got part of the delivery right. But what about innovative teaching methods? Maybe it's unfair that I took the Connectivism course with George and Dave. Maybe it's unfair that I talk on twitter with educators around the world. Maybe it's unfair that I have been involved with the K12online conference and the Global Education Conference. Maybe it is. So maybe my expectations are too high for experiencing innovative techniques in my own doctoral education.
Or is it time to raise the bar?
I posted a query in a class discussion board yesterday morning. No response. I know had I posted on Twitter someone, even @paulrwood, would have responded. And this is the innovative climate to which I have grown accustomed. So do I become discouraged and give up or do I continue to raise the bar and insist that the education for which I am paying drag itself into the global era?
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Photo courtesy of  Stuck in Customs covered under an Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license available at
Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from
Update: This is a reposting of a post from 2010, during one of my doctoral courses at Walden. I would add that I now work with an innovator, an educator, and totally amazing lady who has been in 'my circle of the wise' since 2006  @coolcatteacher

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Erasing Distance and Time - EDUC 8842 Module Two

Siemens (2008) ties the growth of distance education to the increased use of conversational tools and the capacity to increase connections.  He claims it is significant that now anyone can participate with anyone in conversations across boundaries that would have been impossible before the advent of the Internet.
This affects distance education by increasing the amount of global conversations and evaporating the barriers of distance and time.  By increasing the comfort level of students in distance education, the interaction level between participants both inside and outside of courses increases.
Siemens (2004) has written about a learning theory that takes into account this ability of the present technology to disintegrate distance and time thus increasing the ability to have collaborative conversations in Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.
Heather Kanuka states in Chapter 4 of Terry Anderson's book, "e-learning technologies can effectively respond to accelerating global competition, increase the quality of learning experiences, remove situational barriers, and be more cost effective" (2008, p.91).  George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dave Cormier have collaborated using e-learning technologies that did all of those.  Dave Cormier explains how in the following video.

Kratz (2011) says collaboration is important because it emphasizes skills, team-building, and creativity that will be necessary in any student's future.  These skills in connecting, team-building, and creativity are alluded to in Dave Cormier's thoughts on rhizomatic learning expressed in COOLCast - w/ Dave Cormier on Rhizomatic Learning where he categorizes the connections made possible by digital tools and the Internet.  Siemens asks, “Where is distance education heading as a field?”  Extended rhizomatic learning is where I believe distance education is heading.  We each build our learning by connecting conversations in and across networks.  I invite George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Dave Cormier, and others to respond to this question.

Anderson, T. (Ed.). (2008). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Kratz, H. (2011). The importance of collaboration in higher education. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008). Principles of Distance Education. Baltimore: Author.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bookmarks of Note (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Death by -ism

After reading the posts and comments by Bill Kerr, Karl Kapp, and Stephen Downes, I created the graphic combining the learning theories and Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. Karl Kapp suggests that the lower levels could best utilize the Behaviorist theory, while Cognitivism addresses the middle levels and the top levels are best described by Constructionism. This graphic neatly puts Bloom's and the three -isms into place, but leaves out the fourth -ism  Connectionism. Perhaps Bloom's needs yet another revision, adding another level for learning which is best explained by the Connectionism theory. It might say forming PLNs & networks. I have challenged @gsiemens on twitter to define his theory in the allotted 140 characters. He answered me with, "knowledge exists in connections. Learning is growing/pruning those connections." So I see another level may be needed as well, one that says-> Pruning & Cultivating Connections.
I do agree with Karl Kapp that different ways of learning are best explained by different theories and that teachers should not limit themselves to one theory but should be able to use an arsenal of methods (grounded in various theories) to educate students. Bill Kerr also considers each -ism to be valuable for various ways of understanding learning.
George Siemens connects the three first -isms to the three epistemological traditions or ways of looking at informations and knowledge.
Objectivism & Behaviorism
Pragmatism & Cognitivism
Interpretivism & Constructionism
Driscoll contends that Objectivism and Interpretivism are often considered as opposites and Pragmatism ties them together. (p. 13)
Piaget is a prominent cognitivist theorist who addressed the different developmental stages through which children grow. These stages are important to know for designing learning environments. Other cognitivist theorists have posited other useful ideas for teaching, like Vygotsky's ZPD, and Gardner's MI Theory. It should be noted that these theorists could fit into other theories as well.  So while Kerr thinks -isms change, it may be better to change the -ism instead. The above mentioned posts are not so much about Cognitivism but about learning theories in general. All three men were involved in an an open course in 2008 called Connectivism & Connective Knowledge.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Written for coursework during my journeys at Walden.... 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Learning in the Connections

Ever since I took part in the CCK08 (Connectivesm and Connective Knowledge Online Course 2008) I have been intrigued with the learning theory that learning is about connections. It seems both George and Stephen have written reams, which I have barely touched, about this theory.
I learned the basic few in my formal schooling, namely

  • Behaviorism
  • Cognitivism
  • Constructivism
To this I learned during CCK08 to add Connectivism. Now everyone can have their theory, but the idea that knowledge is made up of connections is especially appealing. It makes sense. I listened to a video during the course where George said learning was in the connections and it all clicked. Not that I can express it very well as both gentlemen can. It just made sense. Connecting has to do with pattern making - with schema like Angela Maiers told my 7th graders.
While reading about these learning theories, I found an article by William Cronon. He suggests, "A liberal education is about...the wisdom to connect." [Cronon, W. (2004). 10 Qualities of a Liberally Educated Person. The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Available at id=159 Accessed July 9, 2009.]
Those ten qualities are epitomized in those with whom I surround myself both online and offline:
  1. They listen and they hear.
  2. They read and they understand.
  3. They can talk to anyone.
  4. They can write clearly, persuasively, and movingly.
  5. They can solve a wide variety of puzzles and problems.
  6. They respect rigor, not so much for its own sake but as a way of seeking truth.
  7. They practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism.
  8. They understand how to get things done in the world.
  9. They nurture and empower the people around them.
  10. They connect.

Photo courtesy of dvidal.lorente covered under a Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons license available at
This a reposting from right before I decided to go all out and head down the doctoral path....and I am still in awe of Angela Maiers.....

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bookmarks of Note (weekly)

    • Device of Change #1: Innovation is Done by Innovative People.
    • Device of Change #2: Never Accept Wasted Time.
    • Device of Change #3: Empowered People Have the Power to Make Change Happen.
    • Device of Change #4: Invest in technology and people.
    • Device of Change #5: Invest in Relationships
    • Device of Change #6: Invest in Yourself
    • Device of Change #7: Decide to Be the Device
    • So, according to Greene, an  interview is an opportunity to imagine the realities and experiences of another person
    • An interview is therefore above all about listening very carefully, and responding to three things – what’s said, what’s not said and the silences.
    • It takes practice.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Be Afraid Be Very Afraid EDUC 8845 Module 3

Clay Shirky (2005) claims two hundred years of chaos followed the invention of the printing press. During this time people were trying to figure out how this new technology would affect the ability to collaborate among groups. Rheingold (2005) begins his presentation with the new story of collaboration among humans in order to get things done.  Shirky (2005) himself got his mermaid parade slideshow done through the collaborative platform of flickr.  I think it is evident that both men believe humans are driven to interact and work in groups.

Rheingold (2005) states, “from literate populations new forms of collective action emerge in spheres of knowledge, religion, and politics.” Driscoll (2005) says constructivism describes people acting to make sense of their surroundings. (p.387) Rheingold reminds us that since mastodons roamed the earth, people have formed groups to make sense of their surroundings and to get things done (like sharing a butchered mastodon).
New forms of wealth and new forms of collective action are enabled by new technologies. The printing press precipitated book publishing houses, book distributers, book stores, and authors. Many people have gotten wealthy from being literate in the written work, printing, spreading it, and selling it. One wonders what new form of wealth will be enabled by the new technologies we now have.  
In the atmosphere of open content and the effects of the long tail, Shirky (2005) makes it clear that wealth will not accumulate in institutions. In the Learning to Change-Changing to Learn video it is made clear that the new wealth will be the ability to use the new technologies to achieve the higher levels of the new Blooms Taxonomy. This fits with the constructivist theories we have explored but it also fits with the connectivism theory we have yet to explore.
Shirky used the collaborative platform flickr to make his mermaid slides. I decided I would too. Although I have never been to NECC, I created the Animoto you see with this post with a little help from my friends, on flickr.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
Rheingold, H.  (2005, February). TEDTalks [Video Podcast]. Howard Rheingold on collaboration. Retrieved from
Shirky, C. (2005 July). TEDTalks [Video Podcast]. Clay Shirky on institutions vs. collaboration. Retrieved from

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This a reposting from a Learning Theory course I took at Walden.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We are all Different - EDUC8845 Module 1

Four learning styles correspond with four ways to take in information. These learning styles are visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic. Visual learners prefer reading and writing in order to learn, while auditory learners prefer to hear information, tactile learners prefer hands-on activities and kinesthetic learners learn best through movement. In college, I learned that most teachers are visual learners although striving to teach to all styles is best for students. What I didn’t learn was whether preferred learning styles can change with age. I have noticed that although I will never learn well kinesthetically, I am starting to prefer an auditory learning style. I have found a text-to-speech translator to convert any text to spoken words [ ] and find myself attentively listening to words I once would have preferred to read.
Closely related to learning styles are multiple intelligences listed by Howard Gardner in 1983. He originally listed seven intelligences in his learning theory and since a few more have been suggested. Gardner’s MI Theory describes ways people learn. Schools focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, while Gardner’s theory includes so many other ways of knowing.
The original seven intelligences listed by Gardner were:

1. Linguistic intelligence
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence
3. Spatial intelligence
4. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence
5. Musical intelligence
6. Interpersonal intelligence
7. Intrapersonal intelligence

I like to begin every year by announcing to the students that no matter what anyone has ever told them, they ARE intelligent, it is my job to find out how they are intelligent. Then we create pictures of our intelligence at Is there one best way of learning? I would have to say no, there are many ways to learn and all these ways have value. While I might not personally prefer a bodily-kinesthetic way of knowing, others may not find any value in musical intelligence.
The purpose of aligning with a learning theory for the educational technologist has to do with building on a sure foundation. Whether one aligns with behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, or connectivism, one is joining with major thinkers who have peer-reviewed works published on these theories. One aligns with a school of thought by adopting a learning theory that explains how learning occurs and what influences that learning. The learning theory to which one subscribes will influence how the educational technologist will use the technology and what sites will be recommended.
A behaviorist for example would be more likely to use a site that is at the knowledge level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. A constructionist would be more likely to use a site that is at the creation level of the taxonomy (Bloom’s Revised). In the words of Chris Lehmann, which I first heard him say at Educon, “Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.”
Photo courtesy of ntr23 covered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license and available at
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This is a reposting on graduate work from 2010. I have noticed my learning styles have shifted during this latest degree. I do wonder what the research on learning styles and aging would indicate?