Monday, August 22, 2011

Learning In a Digital World

Learning in a Digital World

My personal philosophy of learning is definitely tied deeply to collaboration. I have done most of my learning in a virtual classroom. I took my first distance course in 2001 related to my associated degree. From that time to today, I have elected to take any class needed for degree completion online if it was offered in that manner. I absolutely believed that learning is best fostered (online) through peer collaboration and teacher presence and feedback in the distance classroom (Driscoll, 2005). In the traditional classroom, self inquiry and self directedness is a must to compete academically in today’s fast paced educational environment. The teacher is needed as a guide, not as an information giver. We, as students can find our own information. We just need collaboration to help us make sense of that information and to help us apply it to authentic circumstances. Learning at its best happens when I connect with others and veer into the circumstances and perspective to add to my own (Siemens, 2008). I then build a mental model for understanding and add to it through my own and the shared experiences of others.

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education

Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


New Technologies

A friend of mine works for the Department of Defense in Maryland (Aberdeen Proving Ground). He is archaic when it comes to technology. His job furnished him with a Blackberry so that he could receive company messages “on the go”. It was not to “talk” on as he thought. Oftentimes, he would get emails and respond with a phone call and his superiors would tell him to simply respond to the email. They said there was no need to make a phone call. He had a hard time understanding the concept. So, I told him that communication had changed to accommodate convenience and our digital societies. I suggested to him to start the transition on a much smaller scale and get rid of his old, old, Nokia (the one with a literal antenna protruding from it) and buy himself a Blackberry and start the electronic communication on a personal level. He absolutely said that he was not changing to a personal smart phone. But, lo and behold, I received a call with him asking for help in picking out a smart phone. He said he has to get used to the “new wave” of communicating because he was having a hard time adjusting to the digital communication required on his job. His job literally forced him to “get with the program”. I helped him pick out a simple Blackberry phone that utilized the same functions as the one he uses on the job.

My friend exhibited resistance to change because he was not familiar with the technology. He had a phobia based on lack of knowledge. He was forced into the realm. He did not enter willingly. However in relation to Keller’s ARCS Model (Driscoll, 2005), his attention was gained through conflict. The conflict forced him to come face to face with an awareness of lack of skill to do required tasks for his job (job security). Relevance (Driscoll, 2005) was directly connected to his present and future usefulness as it relates to his responsibilities. He wanted to appear competent and not technologically illiterate. As for confidence (Driscoll, 2005), he experienced small steps toward growth which built confidence in his ability to do his job in that area. Lastly, satisfaction (Driscoll, 2005) was experienced when he was able to respond to all communication from his employer in the prescribed manner by superior personnel.

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education

Sunday, July 31, 2011


When I think about the way I have learned throughout my life, many factors have discombobulated the original frame of reference from which I learned. I am from the one room school house where one size “had” to fit all or else you did not absorb information. From that perspective, I learned by memorizing content and steps presented by the teacher in the classroom. Today, I not only learn, from the teacher, but I also learn from my fellow colleagues (they help me explore various ideas that connect to what I already know to expand application of knowledge), collaborative learning (using Skype), social networking (from my virtual community), and even by simply interacting with my fellow scholars in the discussion area.

I am a regular user of digital tools, but wikis, blogs, virtual simulations via YouTube, and discussion forums best facilitate learning for me. When I find myself in situations where I need to learn something new, I search the web for meaning and examples. I use the meaning gathered and the examples to help me construct my project and during the construction phase, I learn how to manipulate through the software or the project environment.

Monday, July 4, 2011



Do you believe that humans have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group,” as Rheingold proposed in his discussion of the evolution of Wikipedia as a collectively developed encyclopedia?

Yes, I do.  This instinct can be taken back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Boeree, 2006).  We have a basic innate longing to not be alone and have someone to connect with or to simply feel a part of something.  Eggen and Kauchak (pg. 282) distinctly provides an example of children playing together and one of them discovering a bug, a bee to be exact.  However, one of the boys said that the insect was a bug, when in fact, the other boy recognized it as a bee (Eggen & Kauchak, 2004).  Children play together and learn from each other as did these boys.  Collaboration or learning together or from each other is a part of social cognitive development (Driscoll, 2005).

How can technology facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles?

Varied technologies are used as mediums for collaboration.  Wikis and blogs are two of the most widely used tech facilitators of collaboration for education, business, and social purposes.  The constructivists theory promotes social constructivism.  Vygotsky argued that “groups of learners co-construct more powerful understanding than individuals can do alone” (Eggen and Kauchak, 2005. p. 298).  Creating forums for group facilitation by using technologies like discussion board, wikis, and blogs creates the environment for an effective collaborative activity.  However, collaborative learning can be done face to face in the absence of technology facilitation (Machin, Harding, & Derbyshire, 2009).  In any collaborative approach, diversity is a variable.  Diversity can serve as a wonderful catalyst to motivate students to dig deeper into self and search for more outside resources to help them further understand the content being presented.  Diversified representations of knowledge can also cultivate new perspectives and promote higher order thinking (Machin, Harding, & Derbyshire, 2009).


Boeree, C. G. (2006). Abraham Maslow. Retrieved from

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2004). Educational psychology: Windows on classroom. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Machin, A. I., Harding, A., & Derbyshire, J. (2009). Enhancing the student experience through effective collaboration: A case study. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 15(2), 145-159.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Learning Theories and Cognitivism

Bill Kerr, Stephen Downes, and Karl Kapp touched on some interesting aspects of both cognition and behavior being intermingled with each other to produce a specif outcome that is manifested overtly in others. Visit the following links for more insight.  After visiting the blogs below, please read my response  to their suggestions and opinions on the topic.

Kerr, B. (2007, January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from
Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussion on educational schools of thought [Web log post]. Retrieved from

My Response:
I do agree that in education there are always isms that fight for attention and validity in learning.  Finding a place for them can be difficult in and of themselves.  There are many times that it seems everything in education is a stimulus response situations.  Therefore, behaviorism is often used to produce the desired outcome in our students.  We teach to the test and we hope to see regurgitated what we have taught to produce the passage of state tests as the outcome. However, do we actually think about how the student internalized the learning in order to achieve the goal of state test passage?  This is the area, such a gray area, that cognitivist venture into and have ventured into with no concrete basis for substantiating the theory that can be systematically followed by anyone (Kerr, 2007).  Kapp reiterates what Kerr says by agreeing that both theories (behaviorism and cognitivism) work hand in hand to produce outcomes (Kerr, 2007) (Kapp, 2007). 

I believe that none of this is new.  It is just that someone has started to think and wanted to create a theoretic reason for the processes of learning.  We have always talked and connected learning with anothers ideas and concepts long before computers, the Internet, blogging, wikis, texting, Skype, Adobe Connect, and any other collaborative technology.  Was connectivism present?  Yes, but in a different form.  Now, we link connectivism to technology.  There will always be isms, but can we find concrete ways to create a science of teaching rather than these theories that lend no basic protocol for use in instruction, but only provide some direction that we have to construct an end to?  Questions, questions, questions...I am left with more of them than answers.  At least, it provokes inquiry.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Module 1 Blog Assignment

Module 1 Blog Assignment

Personal belief on how People Learn…
My personal beliefs about how individuals learn are deeply tied to how one is introduced to new things from early childhood. We can think about the times when rote memory was necessary to retain information up unto the times when memorization is no longer necessary (Siemens, 2008) because information is easily accessible through digital technologies. However, today our students approach learning using a completely new medium, but the learning is tied to the same belief. They grew up with digital media and learn best using what they have become comfortable using. So, to sum it up, I believe people learn best by tying information to the things they are familiar with from their environment (personal frame of reference) and day to day interactions.

Learning Theory in Ed Tec…
Educational technology has had a profound effect on the application of learning theories in education. However, instructional design of ed tech courses must take into consideration the best practices on pedagogy and andragogy research in the field of ed tech. The way we learn has not changed, but the medium that we receive learning from has dramatically changed. The purpose of learning theories in ed tech is to guide the instructional design of content and provide an interface in which students can continue to learn in a student centered environment that promotes self efficacy, individual knowledge construction, and encourages “multiple perspectives and representations” of course content (Koohang, Riley, Smith, & Schreurs, 2009).

Koohang, A., Riley, L., Smith, T., & Schreurs, J. (2009). E-Learning and Constructivism: From Theory to Application. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning & Learning Objects, 591-109.

Siemens, G. (2008, January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from

Listen to John Abbott's Theory on Constructivism...he says every thought is subjective not objective...just listen and see what you think.