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?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bookmarks of Note (weekly)

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

Friday, January 22, 2016

Student Technology Conference

The second annual Student Technology Conference is a week from tomorrow!  This is a free one-day online event bringing together students, educators and innovators from around the world, will be held Saturday, January 30, 2016 from 9 Am to 9 Pm EST. Anyone can attend.

Deadline to Submit Presentations: the deadline to submit presentation proposals is end-of-day Monday, January 25th. There's still time to get a proposal in and to present!

Presenters with Accepted Proposals: It is important that you join the presenters group HERE and that you have scheduled your presentation time. Information on scheduling your presentation time was sent to you by email. If you cannot find that email, please contact Lucy Gray HERE. You must also watch the recording of or participate in a training session so that you know how the conference platform works, how to upload your slides, and make sure your computer, microphone, and webcam (optional) work in the system. Information on the training is HERE.

Presenters with Proposals Not Accepted Yet: You should also make sure you have joined the presenters group and that you have prepared by taking or attending a training. Any proposals not yet accepted have had notes added to them indicating what you would need to change or improve in order to have your proposal accepted, and those changes need to be made by Monday, the 25th as well, to be re-considered. We hope you will update them and be prepared to present!

Volunteering: One of the best parts of this conference is the incredible volunteer effort to help new (and sometimes seasoned!) presenters. Volunteers gather throughout the whole conference in a special virtual lounge and work to make sure that presenters and attendees are given help whenever they need it. Our volunteers are an elite group of global helpers--come find out why they say being a volunteer moderator is the most fun you can have at the conference. More HERE.

Everyone Else (Those Not Presenting or Volunteering): Get ready for a GREAT conference. Keynote speakers are being announced this weekend, and mid-next week we'll post and email the full schedule of speakers. Be sure to join the conference network at, follow the Tweets at #stutech2016, and let everyone you can know about this free event organized by students.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

MAD about Mattering: A Global Collaboration Among Students To Build Apps that Matter To Our World

ATLANTA, GA — MAD-learn by Crescerance, Choose2Matter, and award-winning global collaborative teaching and learning pioneer Vicki Davis announce the new “MAD about Mattering” global collaborative app development project. This new project will take the best of compassion driven innovation, mobile app development, and global collaboration to create a new model of collaborative engineering between students of all ages.

Students will be asked to consider their heartbreak to create an app that makes a difference to the world.
Following your heartbreak is the single most effective way to help individual and organizations to discover their purpose and find an innovative way to act on it,” says Angela Maiers, author of the best-selling book The Passion Driven Classroom and founder of the Choose2Matter movement.
“Innovation is not an event; it is an invitation to use your genius to better the world.  We are not only inviting students; we are imploring them to create something that could make the world a better place” says Maiers.
This project will happen this semester as teachers develop and share best practices for collaborative app development. A toolkit for teachers will be made available at the end of the 2015-2016 school year as an OER (open education resources), allowing other teachers across the world to follow this method of quad engineering.
“So far, many students have collaboratively written, researched, created video, and even built virtual worlds, but now it is time to engineer together,” says Vicki Davis, author of the award winning Cool Cat Teacher Blog and an original founder of the Flat Classroom Project, winner of the ISTE 2006 Online Learning Award. 

She has founded more than 20 global collaborative projects spanning the globe with thousands of students of all ages participating. “This is truly the next generation of global collaboration and we’re recruiting top classrooms to help perfect this method and share it with the world,” says Davis.
Vicki Davis was one of the earliest adopters to implement the MAD-learnprogram in her classroom, and quickly realized that it was an ideal tool for global collaboration.“We’ve seen students around the country do amazing things in their classrooms when they are given the ability and access to create technology in a simple fashion”, says Crescerance co-founder, Alefiya Bhatia. 

“Just imagine the potential of connecting these bright minds that exist in every country and enabling them to work TOGETHER to solve their heartbreaks!”
The MAD about Mattering project will kick off on February 1 and culminate with an online MAD-shark tank competition the first week of May as students pitch their apps to potential investors and vie to launch their apps to the world.
“We’re eager to create a network where students can not only create amazing apps that help our world, but also get access to mentors, industry experts, and investment to help take their ideas to the next level. We hear about phenomenal entrepreneurs all the time who have received investment from angel investors or VCs, why not a 15 year old?”, asks Alefiya Bhatia, co-founder of Crescerance and creator of the MAD-learn program being used in the project.
To learn more about this project please visit or contact You can also follow the movement on social media with the hashtag #appsthatmatter.
Media Contact:                                                                                             Kathryn Brannen                                                                                             404-913-2737