5) Media

Links to relevant sites:

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A blog from a high school biology teacher offering common sense, practical tips for using various media in the classroom.

Tips on using media in the classroom

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An interesting article that highlights misuses of media (just as important as uses) in secondary school (also applicable outside of secondary schools).

The uses (and misuses) of mass media resources in secondary schools

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Rationale

Media

I selected media because it offers many ways of enriching the learning experience, offering a variety of forms to help acquire and maintain the student’s interest, deliver different perspectives, potential extrinsic rewards (if used carefully), and assist in keeping the content fresh and entertaining.

Understanding the wide variety of media available can help me engage students on different levels and offer multiple means of delivering content. As useful as a variety of media can be in a course, it’s equally important to be aware of the potential for misuse – baby-sitting the class, inappropriate material or inappropriate to the lesson, etc.

Media pic

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4) Assessment

Links to relevant sites:

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An article from Michigan State University on assessment.

Student Assessment

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Although not a formal or standard set of rules, a comprehensive paper detailing the idealized benchmarks for assessment.

Principles for Fair Student Assessment Practices for Education in Canada

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Rationale

Assessment

I chose Assessment because I’m in the process of developing a learning department within the organization in which I’m employed. As part of the development work, I have to decide if the courses are to be scored (must the student pass a course before progressing to the next?) and if so, which courses?

I think my (now) broader understanding of assessment will help me to become a better instructor because I can see that assessment isn’t only used as a means of aiding the student to understand how he/she is doing, but can be used to determine if the lesson itself is well structured and understood by the student.

Assessment pic

3) Motivational Techniques

Links to relevant sites:

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Simple strategies and techniques to motivate students.

Top Ten Ways to Motivate Your Students

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A laundry list of motivational techniques, with clear, easy to understand explanations.

Smart Teaching

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Rationale

Motivational Techniques

Why I chose Motivation Techniques.

Motivation, like everything else discussed in this course, spills into everyday life; it’s not restricted to the classroom. Motivation encompasses more than making the classroom or the lesson enticing, it involves encouraging the learner, making the learner feel valued, and fostering general self-worth.  This relates to the humanistic side of learning and creating a positive environment.

This should help me be a better teacher by creating motivation using my environment (displays, media, varying locales, inviting classroom, etc) as well as appealing to the affective-domain characteristics (positive reinforcement, rewards, relating the learning to the student, showing value, etc).

Motivate

2) Creating a positive learning environment

Links to relevant sites:

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The article on the following site was apparently written with younger students in mind but all of the concepts readily apply to adult and the adult environment.

7 strategies for creating a positive learning environment

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A well written article to guide educators in developing a positive learning environment.

A positive classroom climate/environment for learning

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Rationale

Creating a positive learning environment

I chose “Creating a Positive Learning Environment” because it’s so fundamental to humans to feel valued. This relates back to why I related to Humanistic Learning Theory – the goal is the same. People need to feel purpose, feel that they belong and fit within groups and society, and not fear feeling ostracized.

Recognizing the importance of students feeling secure, confident, and feeling like a member of the group will help guide the development of my lessons and the manner in which I interact with the students on a day-to-day basis. This understanding goes beyond day-to-day lessons and guides me in daily interactions with people, not just students.

 

Positive environment

1) Bloom’s Taxonomy

The following is taken from Wikipedia (Wikipedia. Retrieved August 7, 2013, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxonomy)

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Taxonomy may refer to:

  • Taxonomy (general), the practice and science (study) of classification of things or concepts, plus the principles that underlie such classification
  • Taxonomy (biology), a field of science that encompasses the description, identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms

     

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy, a standardized categorization of learning objectives in an educational context

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In other words, taxonomy is the way we classify and order things into various categories to help us make better sense of things.

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Links to relevant sites:

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Dr. Olenka Bilash on Bloom’s Taxonomy

Dr. Olenka S.E. Bilash
Professor, Department of Secondary Education
Coordinator of Second Languages and International Education
Former Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

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Bloom’s Taxonomy: How It Relates to College Exams

The above link is do a Word doc.  If the link is unavailable, download the document here:  Bloom’s Taxonomy and College Exams

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Rationale

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Why Bloom’s Taxonomy?

I can readily recall a variety of learning experiences that draw from each (or combination) of the three characteristics; affective, cognitive, and psychomotor domains.

The chosen domain would be dependent on the course itself and the student(s) in the class.

An exercise program would require a psychomotor skill, as would instruction for how to kayak, rock climb, etc. A highly technical program, such as creating and managing domain security would rely on cognitive skills.

Understanding the different domains and how they relate to a student’s characteristics will help define how I plan any given lesson.

 

Blooms taxonomy

Web-Conference

Reflection of the web-conference with training partner

My training partner discussed the current and future trends of adult education. She used her current experience as an educator and her students as examples.

In truth, I don’t have specific examples of Diane’s discussion.  The first couple of weeks into the course, Diane was preparing to go on vacation, so she’d requested that, if possible, we complete this Skype conference before she left. At that time, I had done nothing in this PIDP course. I rushed to accommodate her request by performing my reading of some chapters of the text book combined with some online research and prepared to discuss my side of the topic with Diane.

I had taken some notes during Diane’s side of the Skype discussion, but am not now able to find them and drawing upon memory now is not serving me well. Although I felt prepared enough to engage in the dialogue with Diane, in hindsight, I was not. I felt that her end of the discussion was a bit disjointed and I wasn’t able to follow a meaningful, linear series of thoughts. I didn’t feel that I took away any new information.

In my rush to prepare for my own side of the Skype conference, I’ve little doubt that Diane probably felt the same way about my presentation. Although I had read and researched my topic and attempted to present myself in a logical method, I now realize that I didn’t have the necessary knowledge of the topic to discuss it in an intelligent manner.

At the start of this course, I was informed that there was no particular requirements regarding the order in which I completed sections of the course. This particular section, the Skype conference, follows after the essay, the creation of this Blog, and other reading and research tasks.  Because I understood that order was not of prime importance in completing this course, I had no problem with the Skype conference being done first.

In hindsight, my insights and knowledge of the topic are far greater than at the time of the conference and I realize now that I would have been better served to complete the sections of this course in the order presented on the Moodle site. I think the presentation that I would give now would be a much more complete, well-presented discussion than that which I gave during this Skype conference.

 

 

Trends

Trends in Adult Education in my field

I’m in the technology industry,  working for a software development company, QHR Technologies Inc.

One of QHR’s product offerings is an application geared to the healthcare industry. It’s a deep, complex application that covers everything from recruiting, HR, scheduling, and payroll.

The product is a client-side, server-side application that demands a high level of technical (Network and server architecture) skills from our client’s IT department to manage and maintain the system. Additionally, the end-users also require a broad understanding of the application to successfully use the system to perform their day-to-day tasks.

It’s because of the depth of the application itself and the technical aspects to maintain the system, that there are few people that understand how to use the complete system, even within our own organization. This requires constant learning among our various departments, particularly when a new version is released.  The Technical Writing department must learn what the new features are and how to use them in order to be able to update the documentation, the Support department must also understand all of the changes so they can properly support our clients, etc.

Although it’s important for our own organization to stay abreast of changes, it’s equally important (or more so) that we keep our clients educated about our product and its usage. If our clients don’t know how to use our product, we’d quickly lose our client-base.

In previous years, the  majority of our training was performed on-site. QHR has a team of consultants that travel to the client site, offering training in specific modules in a classroom-style environment. This style of training has many limitations.

  • This is the most expensive training available to our clients. They must pay for the trainer’s flight and hotel, daily travel to-and-from the hotel to the client’s site, and the cost of presenting the course itself. This can easily add up to thousands of dollars per course.
  • There is a limited number of trainers, therefore there is a limited number of course times available. A trainer can only offer courses a limited number of times per year and those times must be spread out to try and accommodate as many client organizations as possible. This makes it challenging for the client to arrange to have numerous learners available at the same time.
  • The same limitation exists for the different courses available. Since our application is so vast, training must be broken-up into various sections. A trainer cannot encompass all of the application modules into one training session. Therefore, the same challenge occurs; a trainer can only be in so many places throughout the year and can only offer so many different courses per year. For organizations to try and  get complete coverage of the courses is virtually impossible; cost notwithstanding.
  • When a client has staff turnover, training the replacement staff is limited to the existing, or out-going, staff to train the replacement person(s).  Alternatively, the client must await the next round of training courses offered by us, the vendor.  Again, availability of the trainer, availability of the course, or courses, needed by the new staff, and cost all become factors of efficient, effective staff turn-over.

In recent years, with faster Internet availability and a better selection of available tools, we can now more easily create and offer training videos that are quick and easy to download or stream across the Internet. This style of training offers many benefits:

  • We are able to offer clients low cost access to training videos. A client no longer needs to pay for expensive travel or accommodation.
  • The videos are accessible 24/7 so clients no longer have to work around the QHR trainer’s schedule, nor try to arrange a convenient time for multiple students to all get together for a class. Each student can access the desired training module at their own convenience.
  • QHR can host training videos for all modules of our application, so clients can learn what they want, when they want.
  • Once a video is created, it exists for any client or QHR staff at anytime, anywhere. A trainer doesn’t need to keep going to client sites training the same thing over-and-over.
  • New staff can easily access training videos without relying on other staff to train them.

QHR’s most recent training availability is a personal instructor again, but instead of the trainer traveling to the client site, the course is offered via a remote connection from the client site to our local office. This too, offers benefits to both our own organization and to our clients.

  • We are able to offer our clients personalized training at a reasonable cost. Again, the client no longer has to pay for expensive travel accommodation costs.
  • The training is tailored to the client’s needs. Our application is user-configurable, so no two client environments are the same.  Additionally, each client tends to use the application in different ways.  A video must be general training that covers the application and how to use/configure it in a very generic manner.  Remote training allows the trainer to teach the client how to configure and use the application specific to the client’s own environment.
  • QHR can offer personalized training in a more efficient manner. We can be more responsive to the client’s availability. Since a single four hour course can be offered twice per day (without long travel times between client sites), we can train multiple clients per day, if need be.  Additionally, with remote access, we don’t need to limit a course offering to a single client at a time; we can connect multiple clients to the same training session.

In a few short years, ever-improving technology has allowed more effective, efficient training to clients that wasn’t available or efficient in the recent past. Technology has allowed us to be more responsive to client needs at a fraction of the cost.