Archive for 2011

Fitting All The Pieces Together

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                Fitting all the pieces together is a great title for this particular assignment. At the beginning of this class, I indentified  my learning style to really match that of constructivism. While my opinion has not changed much, I must admit that I think I incorporate a little of each learning style into the way that I process information. I must also admit that I think connectivism is running a close second to my overall pick. I believe I maximize my learning by incorporating the two together. I will not go through all of Siemens principles of connectivism, however, while I can apply all his principles, I will list a few that I believe really relate to my learning.

·         "Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known" I like to believe that I know a little bit about everything. However, I have a drive to always want to know/learn more and more information. The more well versed I am in my profession/content, the more my students benefit from my dedication. Seeking the most up to date instructional strategies, i.e.  game based learning. To keeping it basic simply knowing how to incorporate the knowledge from this course into instruction.

·         " Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions."- This course itself is an example of this statement. While we had to use course resources to back our opinions, it is our opinions/examples/experiences that as a class we were able to relate with and learn things that we would have otherwise not have learned from just the course readings.

·         "Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision."- This is the very thing that I teach my students on a daily basis. You may make your decision now, however be ready to reevaluate when new information is added to the equation.  Because I am a history teacher this really applies to the very content that I teach. Things are constantly changing in history.

                Being an adult learner can times be difficult. There are multiple things that can hinder/affect my ability to learn. No! I really should say affect my ability to maximize my learning. In reading through one particular resource during week five, Cercone (2008) reminds us that adult learners have the cumbersome task of managing multiple careers, fewer stable structures to rely on, living longer, and aging parents while in school. (p. 129) Personally, I found that these tasks can become arduous when trying to find the right balance as well as, being successful as a husband, father, professional, and student. I know that I need positive reinforcement while juggling all of these things. The behaviorism theory really caters to me in this instance. I do not look for the opportunity to be recognized nor do I get upset when I am not from my colleagues or supervisors. I do however, like to be told I am doing a good job from my wife. Standridge describes positive reinforcement "is presentation of a stimulus that increases the probability of a response" (Standridge, 2001). Simply put, it keeps me motivated.


                Technology helps me immensely with my own learning. When looking at my personal learning network, I am reminded of the many different technologies that I incorporate in my day to day operations professionally, and personally. The sheer accessibility to information when I need it, wherever I need it is phenomena on its own merit. I plan to continue to use and incorporate the latest technologies in my obtainment of information as well as in instructional methods to present information to my students.


Cercone, K. (2006). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design, AACE    Journal 16(2), 127-159.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from

Standridge, M. (2001). Behaviorism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Mind Mapping Reflection

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I have been in the field of education now for seven years. In analyzing my personal network, I would be negligent to mention that I am digital native. I was born in 1977, so I must say that I essentially grew up alongside technology. I still remember televisions with the knobs on them and having to turn and tune the television with the knobs. I remember working on a computer for the first time in second grade. I believe it was an Apple computer. I know the screen was black, and the font color was green. I remember the first cell phones and car phones (they looked like mini suit cases). I also remember the my the first time CD's and CD players came out. That was the year Vanilla Ice hit big. Mark Prensky cleverly coined the categories Digital Immigrant and Digital Native. I am almost want to say that he forgot about those who literally grew up and matured as technology evolved. (Timeline of History of Learning)

I realized that the methodology of obtaining information and who I obtained information from has changed since high school. I used to obtain all of my information from books and researching in the local library. I have always been intrigued by technology and the many novel features that each venue has to offer. My personal learning network continues to expand as I learn about new, innovative technologies to incorporated in the classroom, as well as, in my personal life. When I have a question about anything, I can instantly find a set of information that I am searching for by simply using a search engine to obtain it. The only potential downfall to this knowing how to determine if the source is credible. Considering that, "by using these networks - of people, of technology, of social structures, of systems, of power grids, etc. - learning communities can share their ideas with others, thereby “cross-pollinating” the learning environment (Siemens, 2005, para. 21) cited in (Davis, Edmunds, &. Kelly-Bateman, 2008). I am able to acquire the necessary information and I able to learn/expand upon a set of information.

I am determined to become more self-directed in my learning as I move forward as an educator. I look to make internal connections with the material, as well as, learning the technology being used to host the information. This allows me to grow both personally and professionally. I am reminded that "Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same" (Siemson, 2004). Being a life-long learner it is important to keep abreast of new information/technologies, methods, and current research to facilitate the best practices in my profession.My personal learning network falls in line with Siemson's principals of connectivism which are:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions. (The tools shown in my mind map)
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources. (Maryland Historical Society, National Council of Social Studies, etc... professional organiztions relative to my content area.)
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.(Computers, I Pad, Smart Phones, TV, Radio)
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known ( I can place this in the professional realm. As a teacher of Social Studies, just knowing that there is more than meets the eye in a historical context; and that there is more information on a topic.)
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning. (Being an active participant in the communities I am a member. Actively engaged trying new practices in the profession and making the proper adjustments.)
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill. (Linking my knowledge and experience to other content areas, professions, etc..)
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities. (Keeping up with current trends and technology)
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision. (Being flexible and determining what is and isn't credible.)


Flash Media Program "Timeline of the History of Learning"

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging    perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from  

Siemens, G. (2004, December). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal   of  Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved October 8, 2008, from   


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Online Resources

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I found a few interesting sites in the course of my research for this weeks assignment. I truly hope that my contribution is useful to my classmates. Both articles I found on the Walden University ERIC database.

The first article The Effects of Brain-Based Learning on the Academic Achievement of Students with Different Learning Styles. The purpose of the present study is to investigate the effects of Brain-based learning (BBL) on the academic achievement of students with different learning styles. The study group consists of students from the department of Social Sciences Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at Mugla University (N=68). In the study, a pre-test-post-test experimental design was used. Data were collected by using academic achievement tests and the Kolb's Experiential Learning Style questionnaire. The findings of the study revealed that the BBL approach used in the experimental group was more effective in increasing student achievement than the traditional approach used in the control group. However, no significant difference was observed among the achievement levels of the experimental group students with different learning styles. (Duman 2010)

I essentially chose this article because I thought it was appropriate discussion to bring up given the context of this course as well as, my profession as an educator. As an educator, knowing how are students learn is a key component to how an instruction should be delivered. Dr. Ormrod reminded us that “You have to know what people are thinking; not only what they’re thinking, but how they’re thinking about it” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). This study identifies the different learning styles of students and took a practical approach to instruction to maximize student achievement in the classroom. The results speak for itself. It worked. Knowing how the students learned benefitted the instructor as well as, the students in the long run.


Duman, B. (2010). The Effects of Brain-Based Learning on the Academic Achievement of Students with Different Learning Styles. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 10(4), 2077-2103. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Laureate Education, Inc. Dr. J. Ormrod (2009). An Introduction to Learning (Video).

The article Integrating Whole Brain Teaching Strategies to Create a More Engaged Learning Environment. In today's postmodern society, it is getting harder and harder to get the students engaged in classroom instruction and learning. The purpose of this research project was to seek ways to create a more engaged learning environment for the students. The teacher-researcher integrated the most current educational reform "Whole Brain Teaching" method in classroom instruction and management for one whole week of research. It continued on to the succeeding weeks up until the present time. There were 26 fifth graders participated in this study. (Palasigue 2009)

Palasigue integrated what he learned from a seminar class on Whole Brain Teaching formally known as "Power Teaching" into the classroom. He set aside a full week of school to introduce his students to this new concept and Palasigue saw immediate positive results. The same students who he saw week one who doodled, fell asleep, fidgeted, said "I'm bored" were not exhibiting those behaviors we he took over the class during his student teaching experience. As a reflective practitioner I commend Palasigue for his innovative thinking and not being afraid to try something new.


Palasigue, J. (2009). Integrating Whole Brain Teaching Strategies to Create a More Engaged Learning Environment. Online Submission, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Useful Resources

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I am constantly trying to keep with the sheer amount of technology that is being used in the classroom as well as keeping up to date with various methods of instruction when teaching content to my social studies students. The first website that I have come across that I believe is very useful is SAS Curriculum Pathways. The website offers interactive digital lesson plans, maps, tests, quizzes, and art galleries in every core subject area. These include English, Social Studies, Math, Science, and even Spanish taught from grades six through twelve. The teacher can set up an account and then have their students set up accounts as well that are linked to the teachers account. The teacher can then monitor the students progress through the interactive lesson plans with comes complete with an assessment at the end to see if learning has actually occurred.

The next website that I have come across is is a "Edmodo is a free and secure social learning network for teachers, students and schools. Edmodo provides classrooms a safe and easy way to connect and collaborate, offering a real-time platform to exchange ideas, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices" (Emodo, 2011). This technology can be accessed from any mobile (i.e. smart phone application, I Pad). Edmodo offers anytime and anyplace  learning allowing teachers to collaborate with other teachers and their students across the world in real time. I can post discussion topics, grade and post assignments, share ideas with colleagues, store information in the library, and create and award student badges for targeted behaviors.  It is a great tool to use. I use this with all of my classes. The parents love it because they can see the exact time and date that child has turned in their homework assignment, as well as keep abreast of classroom discussions and materials presented at any given time.

Lastly, I came across a blog on that I had to absolutely subscribe to once I read the first post. The website is "TeachPaperless began in February 2009 as a blog detailing the experiences of one teacher in a paperless classroom. It has grown to be something much more than that. In January 2011, TeachPaperless became a collaboratively written blog dedicated to conversation and commentary about the intertwined worlds of digital technology, new media, and education" (TeachPaperless . 2011). Teachpaperless has won numerous awards from Edublog in 2009.  This particular blog has 21st Century classroom idea links section, bookmarks to favorite posts, Teach Paperless Wikis section, a education podcast section, Education Blogs section, upcoming events and webinars section as well as host of other features. Teachpaperless currently has twelve contributing editors to the blog itself. As an educator, this site is useful in that the blogs and information that are posted are credible and useful. The information can be used in my classroom immediately. Whether is a technology based blog, or a blog that covered the SOS rally in Washington D.D. my students and I can make meaningful discussion on the many numerous blogs that are posted to this site.