Category Archives: Education

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    GRADUATION! Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day.

    Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day

    Category:EducationTags : 

    Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day. Turning 18 is a milestone in any young person’s lifetime. It is a time of celebration and joy. You will have met one of the longest challenges we adults face, K-12 education. You will be able to mark that off your bucket list as DONE! However, the road doesn’t end there. Neither does your bucket list.

    GRADUATION! Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day.

    That list branches off instead. There are so many more roads to travel. Picking that next road right out of high school is often the one that will truly lead us to that person we will eventually become someday. It will be that road that is one of the first adult crossroads you will encounter in your lifetime. Not the last, far from it, but maybe one of the most transformational ones.

    I just went to my 40-year class reunion. Talk about a time warp! Wow! Nevertheless, getting the chance to listen to many of them talk about the paths they had been on over the years was enjoyable. There were a number of successful people in the group, a few sad moments as I learned of those that had passed away, and a few ho-hums. Some never left our hometown, yet here we are; just glad to be back, for this one special day. Together we have one connection, one bond – our youth. We didn’t stop being friends because we went to college, or started working – we were still bonded. Bonded in those friendship sealed years ago.

    Looking back at all those goals we set.

    College is a very short educational journey that helps set us up for the right path – and encourages us to choose better directions for ourselves and our future families. This is a decision that is NOT solely guided by our parents or our peers (friends). They aren’t going to take the tests for us, or turn the corners of pages either – that is left up to us. Only we, ourselves, can make those decisions, and take those actions. It’s a decision we choose for ourselves based on goals we set in K-12. Just having a “goal” back then, that was the first step in our journey. We didn’t know then what we were creating. We were creating our own futures.

    We were creating our own futures

    The time you will spend in college is very short, even if you ultimately go for a master’s degree or higher. When it is over, you will wish those college days were back!

    I get it – not everyone wants to go to college

    I understand that some are just work bound. They can’t wait. There is too much going on in their own heads to spend time in the classroom. To those, I say “good luck”. I’ve known many successful individuals who opted to not go to college, and they have done very well. There are others who are still not getting started in college or work. If you still can’t get started – go back to school! I do not care how old you are, or where you are in your life. Do it for you. Education will change you – for the better. Maybe it’s a certificate program, a construction trade training, associates, or 3-month training. Whatever – just do it for you.

    So much fun to look forward too.

    Did you know that most people develop many of their lifelong friendships while in college? It’s true. Those people, friends, your working network will be established while in college. It was true for me too.

    The things you will be able to do while in college should both astound you and inspire you. There are so many events and fun happenings on campus. I wonder sometimes how much work goes into just keeping events going. There are lots of activities you can get involved in. You just have to be willing to participate.

    Career minded

    AAMAAQDGAAgAAQAAAAAAAAt4AAAAJDM2YTcxMzNjLTIyMDUtNDNmYy05ZjhlLTkyY2EyYzBiZDVkMA Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day

    The best time of your life will be while you are in college. You will be free to be that person you always thought was hiding under the surface. It’s an exciting time! Yes, there is homework – but its more directed toward your career now. That’s the difference.

    The educational experience while in college isn’t like high school. There is freedom on the campus’. It’s the freedom you have been looking for. It’s the freedom to become that person you always wanted to be. Chances are, you may even meet your lifelong partner there. That isn’t such a bad thought when you think about it. Having someone who is just as likeminded as you are about their goals – is a win-win for your both your futures. Think about it.

    Letting go – beyond high school

    Anyone who keeps you from your goal is not your real friend. Your real friends will encourage you to get your education and reach your goals. Go to college, or technical training, and have some fun while you are young! Those college years are the best years of your life – don’t let anyone steal that from you.

    Hopefully, many of your friends will go to college as well! You should encourage them.

    College is a well laid out path. A good path. A fun path. Who doesn’t like fun?

    Some little-trivia about college:

    • 54% of students live at home for the first year while attending college (free food | free rent)
    • The closer you live to campus, the more successful you will be in college
    • Many students don’t even have a car or a computer. They use public transportation and computer labs on campus
    • Meet their lifelong friends and/or partner while attending college
    • Launch some of the most successful careers through networks you build during your college years. Use those networks years after you have left college
    • Make better lifelong decisions | you become better long-term thinkers
    • Enjoy your social life more
    • Are more productive workers | learn discipline
    • Have more money (to buy things like new cars)
    • Family relationships are better – because “YOU” matter in the decision-making process (you have a say)
    • Travel more in the summer when you learn about new places and events
    • Social experiences are more enriched (games and activities) It’s huge at college
    • If you work and go to college – you are amongst 70 or more% of those attending. If you are taking a full load, don’t work any more than 20 hours if you can. I understand that isn’t always the case – but shoot for that number if you can (20 hours). Many college students work on campus, doing campus jobs
    • Internships are available to help place you in jobs outside of campus that meet your degree requirements. So be looking for those opportunities

    The number one thing to remember when you walk into your college or university is that “they were expecting you”! They were expecting you, and you are accepted there with all your faults, dreams, and aspirations. They will help mold you, and fold you into the person you will become.

    At the crossroad. Examples of friends

    Are you a real friend? Then encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Not your dreams – but their dreams. If you do this, you may end up one of those lifelong friendships I spoke about above. Your friend will remember your encouragement to do the right thing. They hopefully should also encourage you to follow your dreams, but regardless, they have to follow the path that leads toward their goals. If they want to be a teacher – their teaching skills are needed now. There is a young student in their future who needs your friend now. So you will be encouraging not only your friend, but helping someone else you don’t even know.

    The reunion

    At your 40-year class reunion remember that you got there because someone in the crowd told you “Follow your Dreams”. That is your lifelong friend. Greet them with open arms, friendship, and love.

    For Taylor. Follow your dreams! Go Mavericks!

    A Maverick!


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    USU Alumni

    Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences- USU Alumni

    Category:EducationTags : 

    I received this great email from my alumni today ..

    I just had to share a blast from the past. When I started out on my own educational journey, I was having, way to much fun. ITLS was the best degree experience ever. Because of this wonderful experience, I have even toyed around with the idea of continuing along those lines with a higher degree (EdD or PhD).

    Just for kicks and giggles!

    Please share!

    A letter from Andy Walker

    Hello, this is Andy Walker, Department Head of the ITLS Department at USU. I need your help (and it’s not even money!) After modernizing our curriculum and energizing our student association we are on the hunt for our next generation of future Alumni. We all have someone in our lives (maybe a family member, a friend, or a co-worker) who we know would make a really good instructional designer, technology specialist, corporate trainer, game or simulation designer, project manager, chief learning officer, UX designer, Library Media Specialist or one of the many other career doors your degree has opened up for you. Maybe they are already working as an instructional designer, maybe they have a love for learning and have always wondered what it is you do for a living. Take some time to think about who is a good fit and either talk to them yourself, or send me their name and contact information (andy.walker@usu.edu) and I will reach out to them. Better yet, if they wind up applying, being accepted to and starting the program we will donate $200 (no cost to you) in your name to a scholarship pool for incoming students.

    What’s new in the department?

    • We have modernized our master’s curriculum (MA, MEd, and MS) after 1) checking with some of you about how you spend your professional time, 2) with our current students about what they like and want to see in classes and 3) with prospective employers about what they look for in a new hire. Students can complete these degrees by relocating to the Logan campus or online anywhere in the world. In fact our online degrees are extremely popular.

    • One example? We have expanded our already strong instructional design classes with a design thinking emphasis. Design thinking gives our students a chance to delve into user experience, interface design, and rapid prototyping. We have also expanded our research, evaluation, and assessment courses and added project management. Paired with our learning theory course and authentic project work throughout the curriculum, students walk away with a strong portfolio ready to advance their current careers or start new ones in the field.

    Do you have someone in mind? I hope so. I would love to talk with them personally (contact info below), or they could chat with our graduate program coordinator (Deidri Nelson, deidri.neilson@usu.edu, 435-797-2694) about our degree programs and how to apply. We are accepting applications by December 8th for a Spring 2018 start or by April 1st for a Fall 2018 start.

    The market for students in our field has never been more competitive. At the same time our graduates have never been in higher demand. Thank you for once again making an important effort in giving back to USU in this important way.

    All the best to you,

    Andy

    andy.walker@usu.edu * 435-797-2614 * Department Head and Associate Professor

    www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-walker-in-logan

    ___________________________________

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Instructional Technology & Learning Sciences- USU Alumni

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.


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    Making The Grade- It's Crunch Time!

    Making The Grade – It’s Crunch Time!

    Category:EducationTags : 

    Making The Grade – It’s Crunch Time!

    Making the Grade – It’s Crunch Time! Anyone who has spent much time at all in education might understand the term Death-Bed Repentance.  I had another teacher spell that statement out for me this week as we were trying to motivate our one shared student to get his work done.  Death-bed repentance, or simply stated:

    • – those last minute adjustments to assignments
    • -picking up on any  late work
    • -actually showing up to class instead of just leaving your recorder there
    • -cramming information into our brains for quick purging

    Loans and scholarships are all on the line now, and for a fraction of the time, all life stops in the fast lane.  It’s death-bed repentance time – we are making the grade baby!

    Making the  grade baby!

    I’m just as guilty as the next student, at least in my undergrad days I was; not so much through my masters.  Taking our bodies and minds to the level of non-functioning, just for a little alphabetic character on a piece of paper – it’s insanity.

    a Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!What makes us do that to ourselves?   Unconsciously or consciously we fought sleep – up until  2:00 a.m. or later – if we slept at all.  We then drug our unhappy selves to class at the butt crack of dawn.  We lived for that college life-  Right?

    We lived for college life!

    I’m a distracted learner through and through.  I can sit in the middle of a room with nothing to do, and I will still be able to distract myself.   I don’t need any outside help to do that either.   If I have assignments in front of me, I will toss and turn any number of concepts around in my mind, making great strides – at least until I see something shiny on the floor.   Focus? What focus? For a few moment’s I am in mental bliss, at least until  I return to the task at hand – namely homework.

    Something shiny on the floor

    I am in the mindset of believing that maybe I am normal after all.  I watch my 9th and 10th- grade students struggling with the same issues I had (and still do).  Sitting in a hard chair with nothing in front of you but a cold table is really not anyone’s idea of a  warm and fuzzy experience.  I am the one with the soft chair, not them.  My experience is different of course.

    The best advice I could give to any teacher new or old –  is to build in distractions.  Don’t wait for your students to find distractive measures themselves, build those key distractive breaks into your curriculum.   Twenty minutes of study equals 5 to 10 minutes of light to mild distraction.  It could still be a learning distraction – just something different, or on a related topic.

    Some would ask how I would assess this distractive learning paradigm.  I look at this way.  If students who do not normally turn in assignments or have at least a passing GPA- all of a sudden start looking like the average student – guess what?  You get to go to the front of the class!

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAWPAAAAJGI0NDgwZTJmLWRlNDgtNDFkMS04MTI1LTU4NzNmNzA5OTk1ZQ Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!Then comes the question, what about those students who can’t refocus?  Or those students who are already self-lead learners and like peace and quiet.  What I have done with my students is to switch out the quiet time with bird sounds, ocean and/or anything peaceful found in nature.  I have obtained good reaction from both pairs of students.   Any group is going to be dynamically different.  You just have to find the right built-in distractions without losing the motivational aspects of learning.

    Sounds are a good distraction, but so are those upbeat pieces of information that help students readjust, recenter, and perform better.  Types of distractive information might include:

    • -Word of the Day
    • -Piecewise brain twister
    • -Notice of an upcoming celebration on how well they have performed
    • -Or just something fun that is about them, and something they take to heart.

    The human mind can learn more than one thing at a time.  If you allow your brain short breaks from the tedious routines of study, it tends to reflect better on items it has just learned.  Use pre-designed breaks as a scaffolding tool for learning.   This following statement is a no-brainer statement – I understand.   But, you retain more when you aren’t stressing out over a problem.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAATzAAAAJDNmODUxMTM2LTMyZTMtNDQ3Yy1iOWFiLTVjOGYzNTE0ODc2Yg Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!

    Experiment with this distractive styles of learning.  If you are already in a quagmire wondering how to motivate your students – this might be a helpful resource.  Back away from the idea that you have to stain and look like a zombie to be successful in your studies.  Look at something shiny on the floor, and then come back to your primary focus.  Come back gently.   The problem isn’t going to go away, but if you allow your brain a short power break, you might find you come back with a solution.   Solutions are always much better than problems anyways.

    Good luck.  I wish all educators success as they venture into the “new”.

    Making the Grade Baby!

    __________________________

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Making The Grade - It's Crunch Time!

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.


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    On the ledge

    Category:EducationTags : 

     On the ledge – Overcoming fears


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    How Technologically Savvy is your Instructor?

    How Technologically Savvy is your Instructor?

    Category:Education,LeadershipTags : 
    How Technologically is Savvy your Instructor?

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    Basic Education – DeLorean Style

    Category:EducationTags : 
    m Basic Education – DeLorean Style

    Basic Education – DeLorean Style


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    Education is a philosophical journey

    Education is a philosophical journey

    Category:Education,Instructional TechnologyTags : 

    Education is  a philosophical journey, this was mine 

    My latest educational experience?  HR of course.  Even at my age, education never fully ends.  There are Certificates and ContinuingEducation Credits, and Licensure.

    A few years ago, a friend who I would say is “in the know” suggested I leave off my education on my resume.  If you keep getting overlooked because of your employment qualifications and education, leave that information off.  Huh? $40,000 in student loans and you want me to do what?

    Huh?

    As much as I love my friend, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that. I don’t know why I should have to do that. We are trying to educate women all over the world to stand up and be accountable. What better way to do that – than to list your qualification on a resume? Would you ask your daughter, wife, or granddaughter to leave her education off her resume? Would you hire your own family, male or female? I would if I knew they had the skills. Being accused of Nepotism doesn’t frighten me at all – since most of my kids wouldn’t want to work for me anyways. But I would consider them if they had the skills. So they better list their qualification on their resumes.

    Unfortunately, it still appears that many do find educated woman threatening.  The truth, however, is that they are only threatening until you hire them.  Then you learn how much you need their education and/or their experience. It’s called making your life easier.

    Education is a philosophical journey

    There is a saying “You can’t always teach a “NEW” dog old tricks”.  The younger crowd tends to view experience in a way that isn’t entirely clear even to them. Experienced individuals aren’t necessarily looking to take your job away from you. Actually, if they are applying at your company, and you are interviewing them – you should look at it as a compliment.  After all, they came to you.  But if you don’t feel safe in your own position you could feel some hesitation when it comes to hiring them. STOP IT!

    Those thoughts that you are thinking are not necessarily in synch with reality.  When you add your own personal bias into the interview, you end up running off talent. If possible, interview on days that you feel okay about your job, and give each candidate a fair chance. Let others in the organization have input into the hiring process. It is a team effort after all – or at least it should be.

    I’ve interviewed all types of people of different ages, race, sex, and belief systems. Some had extensive education and skills. I admit I was intimidated by a couple of them.  I am human too.  However, I was glad I wasn’t making the final decision on my own, and that I had a team to help point out the positives. We hired them, and they were fabulous. Others I’ve interviewed were just getting started on their career paths. In our organization, we hired a combination of personalities with many different backgrounds.  We did it as a team.

    When we didn’t hire as a team, that was reflected poorly upon administration. Those people tend to be disliked to this day. People are creatures of habit – if you try to control the outcomes for them, you only lose their trust. STOP IT!

    Truthfully the hiring process is a discriminatory process. I know HR managers cringe when they hear things like that. But it is true. You are only hopeful that you have selected correctly. You are hopeful you didn’t let the best candidate get away, and might have to go through the process again. You are hopeful it will all work out. I am hopeful it will work out for you too. Be hopeful!

    Be Hopeful

    THEY HAVE PEAKED

    To say that someone peaks at a certain age is a myth. How can you know that? You can’t. Maybe once you have retired and you can reflect back on the many career paths you have taken over the years, you might find the peak wasn’t what you thought at all. Maybe you were in your 60’s or 70’s when it happened. The reality is there is no set age when a person peaks. It might have happened to you while you are in your 20s!

    A lot of times it isn’t the money and prestige, but rather the self-satisfaction of a job well done; that is your true personal peak. It is when you know you did it right.  It might even be a volunteer gig that brought you self-satisfaction, and caused your career to peak in reflection.  Everyone has that moment in their career where they are most satisfied. Everything in life, as well as business, has ebbs and flows. You will have a combination of peaks and valleys along your professional career, we all do. Don’t judge.

    OLD DOGS AND PUPS

    If this old dog could teach a New dog, a few old tricks, it would be to go with your heart. Trust your instincts. Don’t let age, gender or qualifications get in your way. If a company is hiring new graduates they are taking on a risk, especially if you haven’t done some type of internship with them. Don’t disappoint them. Many elite companies hire people who have more education and experience than they do for a reason. It’s called being savvy.  Steve Jobs said it best…

    “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do: we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” ~Steve Jobs

    You can be very smart and not have a college education. Education is something you have to apply to get a benefit out of.  If you don’t apply it – it is just a piece of paper. Some like education for the philosophical journey. I fall into that category. I examined my own educational path years ago, and decided I didn’t want to get an MBA, I already had a BS in Business. I never wanted to go into business, I wanted to be a rock and roll singer, or a photojournalist, or just sit and tinker with computers.

    I wanted to build programs for people to learn from, an MBA wasn’t going to get me there.  I wanted to understand how people learn; so I went into instructional technology and learning sciences. I didn’t regret it. Besides, I already had 30 years of working in the business environment. I wanted to invest my time into something that I could enjoy. I wanted to be happy while learning.   There is nothing wrong with an MBA, it just isn’t for everyone. Many businesses have been built without one. When I tell people I have a Masters in ITLS – they get this look on their face that says “what the hell is that?” I love to tell them, you have an MBA, go look it up – good-naturedly of course.

    Be happy while learning

    SUPER STAR EMPLOYEES

    I recall having two gentlemen under me whose qualifications far outmatched my own. They were the best employees I have ever had; they were 20 to 30 years my senior. They were kind, generous, understanding, dedicated, loyal, and smart. They were just glad to be there, and I was glad to have them there. I am also glad they didn’t judge me for being young and educated. Come to find out, they were my biggest fans. Now I am theirs!

    LIST IT ALL

    For women and men alike, list what you have on your resume that is a true reflection of who you are, your talents, and strengths. That is all you have to offer anyways. If that is not good enough then, by all means, you didn’t need to be there in the first place.  Any place that would ask you to lessen your qualifications is not the place for you. It is not the place for your spouse, your son, or your grandson either. Nor is it the place for you daughter or granddaughter. Don’t dummy down who you are.

    Celebrate your education. When you walk down that isle and they hand you your diploma, by all means, show them you earned it. Good luck to all those who may be graduating in the next couple months. You have my respect; both male and female.

    Celebrate your education

    To the employers, all one can ask is that you give a fair assessment of the talent that will present to your organization, and then make your decisions. Decisions based on need and not fear. If you fear education, then education is done.

     

    __________________

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Education is a philosophical journey

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.

     


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    Generation Z

    Generation Z is upon us

    Category:Education,TechnologyTags : 

    Generation Z is upon us

    Integrating Technology into the Modern Classroom –  Generation Z is upon us. Which generation are you? Are you concerned that the next generation will not value what you worked and lived for? Well, get ready for it, because Generation Z is upon us. They are the true digital natives. Gen Z (born roughly between 1995 and 2010) will turn 20 this year.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAlvAAAAJDE1NDNiYTI3LWExNTEtNDgzZS1hMGQ4LTIwMjhhMWU3YTg3Mw Generation Z is upon us

    Youth on the field

    Largely still growing kids and adolescents, Gen Z members are leaning toward being more self-reliant, and goal-oriented. The big difference between Gen Z and Millennials is that they will not remember a time before social media.

    As more of the digital generation starts to enter into higher education, they present a whole new dilemma for the traditional educator at both the colleges and university levels.  Not every higher education instructors will have the same level of expertise when dealing with technology. Expectations often are high for both the instructor’s ability, as well as the student’s willingness to engage.  A breakdown can occur when the technological divide between instructor, student, and delivery methods are not in synch with one another.   One of the greatest barriers to technology in the classroom is not technology, but the barriers created by the instructors.

    Technology is not new, yet even today, recent graduates of teaching programs lack relevant knowledge, skill sets, and critical thinking abilities necessary to be effective instructors.   While there are many pre-service teacher preparation programs that address the instructional technology barriers, many programs fail to provide pre-teachers with the necessary critical thinking abilities, relevant background knowledge and skills they will need to be successful.   The traditional model of teaching has changed with the advent of technology, and with it – has created shortcomings for new teachers.

    LEAP

    Noting that the major problem with incorporating technology into the classroom falls on the shoulders of the instructors, tenured professors, who do not wish to engage in adapting to new technology. The attitude benefits the digital student very little.  These instructors may challenge change, and/or decide not to engage, or participate only in a minimal level . Instructors who do engage in providing their students with a media-rich learning environment, or at least supplement a portion of the delivery method using technology, in effect help students to learn to better collaborate and network in areas they may not have been able to do in a traditional classroom setting.

    Recent studies and newer instructional methods  are helping pre-teachers develop the skills they will need to successfully bridge the technological gap in the classroom.  These new   approaches to technology are known as the Learning Environments Approaching Professional Situation [LEAPS] model. LEAPS are a model for professional teacher preparation in technology.

    The new generation of digital learners will demand a more participatory and experimental learning environment.   These students are not comfortable with, nor are they willing to learn sequentially, but prefer a media enriched learning environment. Traditional colleges and universities are already feeling the competitive repercussions from other institutions that seek to draw new freshmen students to their institutions by offering students the golden carrot ‘technologically seeped media rich courses’.

    Technology can act as a supplement to traditional classes or function as the main delivery method for instruction. According to a study done by Thirunarayanan and Perez-Prado “there is a growing pedagogy of online and distance learning and more evidence that “good teaching is good teaching” regardless of the delivery mechanism”.  So instructors should not fear technology, but embrace it as another classroom tool.

    Curriculums, the new traditional classroom

    Adults tend to think of a classroom with walls, desks, and a teacher who will lead them in a face-to-face learning environment.  With the increase of technology in the classroom, the definition of a traditional classroom is evolving.  Teachers have more access to online teaching tools and grading books that help to free up their time for more core curriculum planning.  The modern curriculum is being re-designed to incorporate further blended learning environments for the student.  With the use of online technology, instructors can offer a variety of instructional methods for learning.  One day a student may be in the classroom listening to a lecture, the next day they may out in the field, doing surveys or working on experiments.  The next day they may be doing course work online.   These new blended environments give both the instructor and the student opportunity to utilize the best of many educational methods – traditional, online, and self-directed learning.

    Checking the Dip Stick

    It is important that instructors measure where their students are, learning wise.  Instructors need to have well-developed goals along with measurable objectives.  When dealing with distant education students, it isn’t always as easy to measure where your students are, because you are not physically in the classroom with them.  Helpful verbal cues and/or body language are missing.  Having a digital communication system that is dependable, well organized, and allows for both student and instructor feedback, should be a top priority for instructional designers.   When teaching to the distant sites, instructors should also attempt to call on students to engage them in the discussion.  Visiting teaching facilities when the circumstances allow, is also a positive for students.  Getting to know your online student helps to motivate and encourage them to want to engage in active discussion.

    Formative Assessments

    Formative Assessments need to be done in order to maintain a level of student self-efficacy.  As well it helps with planning and development of future curriculum. Assessments need to be measurable to be effective.  When doing assessments or evaluations with distance learners it is good to include student questioning in your assessments.    It is the learner’s feedback that will help the instructor to evaluate his or her planning needs for future classes.

    Curiosity, Interest, and Imagination

    The new generation of learners has a curiosity toward learning that motivates them to stay interested and cognitively engaged to learn. New media technologies provide a mechanism for curiosity, that helps keep learners interested  in  researching  information  and building on ideas;  or  searching out new concept that inspire them.   Learners engage in active learning by researching their interests.

    Social media is another realm where engagement is often spurred by another user’s comments or interests.   Facebook, Twitter, and other similar blogs are all sources of social media that have a large following of digital learners.   Here they are more likely to set up networks of people and collaborate on topics that their individual online groups like to discuss.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAioAAAAJDY4YTk4NDM5LTBiZDMtNGM3Yi05Y2EyLWQ4NWNlYTE0OWMyOA Generation Z is upon us

    Once individuals enter their “Zone of Curiosity”,   a term devised by H.I. Day, way back in 1992. The value that is gained by them is measured in their successfully finding the resources to answer their inquiry.  If they are unable to find those resources online, then they will often seek out collaborators to help find those answers.  These individual learners are innovative in their exploration for information.  When information isn’t obtainable they can become frustrated and their interest will diminish until their curiosity is kindled once again.

    The educational tools and digital models that teachers and instructional designers develop needs to help students stay connected or rekindle that ‘Zone of Curiosity’.  But who are these new digital learners?  How are they different than their traditional cohorts?  Are they more technologically savvy and deserving of a new system of computer-based models of education?

    If we look at the characterizations of these learners we discover two very divergent categories.  One is the Digital immigrant, an individual born or raised before the conventional use of digital technology.  The other is the digital native, an individual born or raised in a society absorbed in digital technology.

    Digital Natives

    Many have heard the terms, Google generation, net generation, or millennials; these all  include the digital natives. These terms  are used to describe  the importance of new technologies in many of our young people in our colleges and university today. Digital natives were born approximately between  1980 and 2000. The last two decades of young people have virtually grown up around technology and are more apt to have a number of technological devices in their everyday lives.

    What is not understood is how these digital natives will develop with the use of technology over time.  New digital natives, especially those using the internet may experience a rise in their self-efficacy, but that quickly fades once they determine that the volume of knowledge is beyond their scope.  Digital natives are less likely to use the internet as a first source for information and have a lower level of self-efficacy when using the internet.  They may have access to more Information communication technology devices (ITC’s) but that doesn’t necessarily equate to a superior knowledge.

    Actually, there is very little empirical data to suggest that  these young people are different at all when it comes to the use of  and ability to process information with the use of technology.  This observation discredits the digital native proponent’s view that they are in some way more radically different in their abilities to process information and utilize what they have learned.

    Within this same study, it was determined that the digital native did not use the internet more than the digital immigrant.  The younger users were more apt to use the internet for social media and entertainment purposes.  They were least likely to use the internet for community participation,  communication, or research.

    Self-efficacy is important, and learners need a positive self-efficacy to be successful.  If learners do not view their experience as positive, the outcome for building upon their knowledge base could be affected.  How their brains interrupt the learning situation and the outcome is unknown, and deserves more investigation.  The proponents of the digital natives might suggest that they are a much more savvy generation of learners, but in fact the opposite may very well hold true.

    In a study by Bennet,  Maton  &  Kervin in 2008,   they determined that  “ the biggest drop in the proportion of Internet users was when users were over 55 years old, which means that the majority of educators and parents of younger children do use the Internet”. This finding makes the digital supporter’s claim seem less reliable, and poses even more questions.  What is the real age of a digital native?  While they may very well support the idea that the older generations have the capacity to learn technology, it fails in comparison to the findings that digitals natives really are not reaching a level of self-efficacy because of technology.

     What is the real age of a digital native?

    Digital natives do not yet have the skills necessary to manipulate all the data they will be presented with. Technology poses a cognitive overload problem that takes away from a student’s self-efficacy.    If technology is to take deeper root, then models for accumulating data will need to be developed to help student’s better multi-task.  Not every student will have prior skill sets and/or cognitive maturity to develop proficiency on their own.   Future models will need to be diverse, open-ended, and allow students to progress in an effective and measurable way.

    How students learn is just as important as who the educators in this technological age will be.  Both student/teacher scenarios need to be evaluated carefully.  With all educational models, they need to be interrupted by a larger body of educators,  before making any determination of what is the best course of action for individual students, communities and districts, states,  and/or our country as a whole.

    Digital Immigrants

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAdFAAAAJGZiZDU2NWYzLWJhYWEtNDllZS04MzI0LWNlYTNkOTRmODg0ZA Generation Z is upon us

    Banana Man

    Baby boomers fall into the digital immigrant category.  These individual’s were most likely born between the years 1951 – 1962.   While they much more  reliant in their ability to process  application knowledge, and more apt to go beyond just the summary of any information given.  As well, these older digital immigrants or baby boomers were much more apt to participate actively than their non-native counterparts and/or digital natives.  Digital natives tend to fair lower than digital immigrants in their ability to apply the knowledge they gained in a meaningful way.

    The chronological age of a learner has a lot to do with the success rate of online students.  The older the chronological age the more likely they are to be successful with online studies.  These older learners generally are  more collaborative in the online classes, and seemed to apply what they had learned better than those who are younger.  It is a simple matter of  locus of control (LOC), a measurement between oneself versus their social reliance.  Social reliance is significantly lower for the digital natives.

    There is another category of learners, the digital refugee.  Basically, this is an older group of  individuals ( The Silent Generation) who tend not to remain current with the latest in technological advances.   However, they are still able to process what they learn at a higher level than the digital native.

    While studies are underway from each side of the digital divide, immigrants and natives – so far everything is leaning away from digital natives as a new class of learners.  Meaning they are not more adept in their thinking, and they failed to retain or use the knowledge successfully that they had acquired.

    Multi-tasking with the aid of technology could be a negative for the digital natives. The cognitive overload from all the information at their disposal may in fact keep the digital natives from adequately focusing and building on their knowledge base.  The older learners have a lifetime of experience and are more apt to be verbally outspoken, and better able to transfer the knowledge they have gained to new tasks and projects.

    Recommendations

    The role that technology will play in the future of education depends on the research and development of future tools and a clear disclosure of findings from those who will be at the forefront of the next technologically digital wave. Global, governmental, charitable, and commercial networks are emerging that will foster our economic stability as well as provide for our basic defenses.   Educational technology will be the catalyst that all of these networks will be connected through.  Education has a responsibility into the vision and role that technology will play in the future.  Substitutes and resistances are also foreseen, as new pedagogies and models will form and challenge the current structures.

    Educators need to adhere to the side of caution when dealing with influences that would break those systems that have lasting and proven success.

    Socio – technical developments  

    As educators in this free country, we need to invest more into exploration of social and cultural contexts that might bring about new technologies and the development of new scenarios leading to better projections of what future cultures may benefit from.  Resistance is always in the way of innovation, as is political persuasion, not everything that is presented will be considered when designing the educational models of the future.

    Conclusion

    On the forefront of education, especially in rural distance education, we now have blended classroom where students split their time in a face-to-face classroom one week, online the next, and in the field doing surveys and/or experiments after that. We need to be diligently watchful for what the new standard  might mean for these learning environments.

    Today’s digital natives are not as able to retrieve, retain, and reuse the information like the generation before them (the digital immigrants – baby boomers). Centralizing education will not help students in the lower poverty areas to be successful either.

    With the current studies surrounding digital natives, it holds that these studies will in fact undermine the proposals asking for a radical change to our education system.  It is not to say that we can’t still study and incorporate new technology into our classrooms.  It just states what is obvious, that the digital natives are not superior to the non-digital natives or digital immigrants. The digital native is by no means brighter or savvier about education, it has been suggested that they actually lag behind in some areas. They can use e-mail, word processing and blogs (like FB). But the core of education has shifted, not necessarily in their favor.

    We now have a second generation of digital natives who not only expect technology in their everyday lives, they demand it. These Google children are able to internally feel self-confident, but they lack an external focus. That external focus is what helps create an innovative society.

    Again we have to be careful that we don’t  “dummy down an entire society”.  It would be better to suggest for the future that we learn to concentrate on innovation and develop more learner-centered pedagogical models that incorporate technology and blended classrooms.

    We should strive to kick the politicians out of the hallways of education and out of our individual classrooms as well as our lives. We need and deserve diversity in education. We need to allow our students to become curious and hope that curiosity leads to interest, and interest to engagement.

    When you give students the technological tools they need to be successful, while removing some of the rigid constraints that traditional education has imposed on students, you encourage self-learning and promote innovation.  

    What’s after Gen Z? Will the Millennials and Gen Z really help save us all?

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAe-AAAAJDQ2MmRhZjkzLTFhMzEtNDViNS05NTUxLTQ5MDBiYWE2NDdjZg Generation Z is upon us

    Generation Z about to become of age

    ____________________

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAoUAAAAJDc3NThiOTViLWFhZWEtNGM3Yi1hZDg1LThjZDhiNTBlZDY3Mg Generation Z is upon us

    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.

     


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    Mad and Weird Science

    Category:Education,Educational Technology,UncategorizedTags : 
    scott Mad and Weird Science

    The Way Forward Starts Here - What Went Right

     

    Let's face it, unless you add some type of entertainment into your science lesson, students are going to wane on you. Dr. Fly's Reviews offers some unique science related games and sims .   You can find more on Edtechteacher .  They have a great list of programs and informative content to keep the busiest of students motivated and engaged.

    Adults too.

    Trying to stay on top of the latest trends in science and mathematics is never ending.   MIT  has a great listing of courses to help keep the old brain frisky to learn.  There are other free online science courses being offered at a lot of different universities across the country.  I was surprised to see my own stomping grounds  Utah State University,  on the list. Go Aggies!   

    Terminology  - say what? 

    I was split-teaching between  the high school  and the middle school science departments last week.   I am not a science major by no means - but I like science.  So filling in for that department is always fun for me.  Just picking up the books and observing the surroundings is fascinating.  I probably couldn't give you an on the spot review of meiosis vs. mitosis, but I get the concepts.   If you can get your students to understand the concepts, you are halfway there.  By the end of the week, I had the terms down to a science (pun intended). 

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPfAAAAJGI2Y2RkODAxLTA0NzAtNDI4YS1hZWYyLTAyYmM0MGNlZTNlOQ-1-214x300 Mad and Weird ScienceSurprisingly there are still a lot of people who envision Science as some stale environment where everyone is wearing white lab coats, donning four inch thick rimmed glasses, while gawking into microscopes, and filling petri-dishes.   Nothing could be farther from the truth.   Believe it or not, learning about the elements can be an adventure all by itself.  Terminology must be taught.  In order to effectively teach science requires a teacher who can get into the hands-on-teaching aspects, and inspire students to pull up their sleeves and get their hands dirty!  

    Science 101!  

    The lesson we were involved with at the high school  had to deal with agriculture science, and the nutrients in domestic animal feed.  Yep, we were learning about all things "Cow". That included elements going into the cow, chewing the cud, and the final excrement process.  I can assure you those students will never forget the lesson on "Cows".  Nor shall I!  Luckily, for this lesson there were no hands on contact with any part of the "Cow".  AAEAAQAAAAAAAATDAAAAJDgxNWFhNGMzLTQ4ZjAtNDEzOS1iYWQxLTZjMTVhMTA3YmIwNA-300x225 Mad and Weird Science

    Cleaning the guinea cage and feeding Mom.

     Somewhere between "Cow" intestines, and gut, there were other classroom duties that needed tending to.  In the back of the classroom  were three furry little guinea pigs.  Butter who is the fat one, and two others who were not hurting in the fat department.  Sorry I'm not  discriminating due to Butter's size, she was just the most lovable.  There was also an oversize fish tank with one slightly older goldfish named "Mom".  One of my duties for the week were to feed and tend the living quarters  of these highly sensitive and not so rare creatures.  

    I quickly delegated the task of guinea pig cage cleaner to one particular student.  He promptly re-delegated the guinea pig cage clean up duties to two other students, who expressed their concern with him dealing with the animals.  He was forthright in his duties of feeding Mom.  However, it did require that we strain the excess goldfish flakes  from the tank.  He dumped a 1/4 of the bottle into the tank.  We moved on from there.  

    When in doubt stick in a movie!  

    The Lecture

    While I don't mind ditto sheets for teaching, there is a lot to be said for leaving the answers for one to be able to teach on the topic.  With a 47 question and answer session in front of me, I spent the better part of three hours researching and preparing for a life science  lecture to help student with an introductory chapter.  Mind you, I'm no science major, so they only got what I was able to research.  There was another science teacher in the room adjacent to me, so I was able to get some of the simpler concepts out of the way, thanks to her help.  

    Yes I opted for the movie option.  But not completely.  I only did a 12 minute movie, and then I took the challenge - I taught science.  Students who didn't have a clue about science, nor were they willing to sit still in class for 10 minutes,  were writing for me!  They were writing and taking notes, they were asking questions.  The kid who over fed Mom, was my main bright and shining star!   His grade just hit a D- I am sure.  He was proud to turn in the 47 questionnaire with all the answers. He exclaimed, I know what "CHONS" stands for!

      Together, I took those students  on a science journey - one that gave them a glimpse of what real MAD COW science really looks like.  It was WEIRD.  They liked WEIRD.  But they learnt that science has value, and that their thoughts matter, no matter how MAD or WEIRD those thoughts may be.

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj6AAAAJGQyNzZjNzA2LTM4ZDMtNGU4My1hZDhjLWEyNmRmNGM1YjEyZQ-300x156 Mad and Weird Science

    If you don't remember  the elements of CHONS from your science years, go look them up.  It's a challenge!  Better yet, create your own puzzle and give it out to your staff  or students to solve.  CHONS has  to do with "Cow", and the nutrients "Cow's" need. 

     

     Middle School

    If you can image 25 to 30 students all between the ages of 12 and 13, each  given a laptop, and told to write about an animal of their choice; hope to God that the choice is not a "Cow". 

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQcAAAAJGVkZWYxMTdlLTJjYmUtNGJjMS04ZDM1LWIxZDdjMTk1YjJlMg-300x195 Mad and Weird ScienceThere are animals I didn't know existed.  But these kids found them.  Just to keep it interesting here is a list of 22 strange animals you probably didn't know existed.   One student chose an animal that was akin to a jack rabbit, because it was her real life name.  For the life of me I can't remember the students name, so I just call her jack rabbit and she laughs.   What parent names their child after a rabbit?  Hers! 

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAj6AAAAJGMwMDk3NTdlLTAwYWMtNGUwOC05NmM2LTk5MmYwMzNkMTEwNw-300x200 Mad and Weird ScienceComputer technology has come a long ways in the halls of education.  These 7th grade students were easily navigating online power point  programming, and linking web addresses for citings and other research materials.  Embedding images in my day weren't taught until I was in college!  Students today are so digitally savvy it is almost bionically creepy.  WEIRD MAD science. 

    Pre-test - whose the real scientists in the group?

    I did give a pretest quiz to the 7th graders.  It was one of those quizzes where you had to look up the answers in the book.  That was a sleeper assignment.  I decided to make it a winner take all event, and hand out treats to those who could answer the questions verbally.  But first they had to do the following:

    1.  Research the topic

    2. They had to spell the word to the class

    3. Read the definition to the class

    Since it was all open book, it allowed those students who weren't hard core academic's to get involved!  They were!   Students after my own heart. I will do anything for chocolate.  Well, almost anything within reason. 

    Science technology has grown over the years.   So have students, in how they learn and acquire science knowledge.  They aren't going to just answer  ditto sheets  and have that  become the building blocks of knowledge.  Who teaches that way anymore?    Actually I would personally like to burn all ditto sheets as a rebellious protest!  Let them learn "Cow".   Hands on! 

     

    AAEAAQAAAAAAAARuAAAAJGMxZDIxMzJlLTNkOWUtNDk3YS1hMzRjLWUyMDk2ZmJiMTIzYg-300x169 Mad and Weird Science


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    Down the Rabbit Hole

    Category:EducationTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZhAAAAJDI3YjZjOGEwLTcyNjItNDI0Ny1iMDM4LTA4YTQ0MjQxMzcwMA-1 Down the Rabbit Hole

    Down the Rabbit Hole

    As teens, we all needed validation for our actions. Especially those actions  that lead to some form of academic success.  The truth, if fully known, was that as a teenager, that path was often riveted with rabbit holes. Many times in the process of learning, our foot would slip and down we would go.  The best thing we could  hope for was  a caring/forgiving teacher  waiting for us at the end of that hole, to help us get back up on our feet again. We also hoped our parents would be there to support us as we tried again to master the tasks we were being asked to do.

     The real teaching starts at the bottom of the hole.  It begins when you have a student or group of students who have given up.  Given up on education; the system that is supposed to be there for them.  They have given up on attempting to better their place in society.  Some have even given up on their families because the home environment is so toxic.  That is where the real teaching begins.  I want to put this out there:   validation – kids you are worth it.

     Validation – kids you are worth it

    You cannot plan for a student to fail - not unless you are a monster.  There is so much going on in a students  world that helps contribute to the process of failing, flunking out, acting out, and not caring about how their behavior affects others.   Sometimes their behavior is off the charts – but a good teacher will not react.  A good teacher knows that you have to slowly bring your student(s) back up the rabbit hole.  It is okay if you  spend a little extra of your time to help them dig out – those kids need your time.  That is what they are missing “time”.

     That is what they are missing “ time”.

     With time comes consistency.  With consistency comes knowledge.  Each student will have a different perspective when it comes to learning.  As with discovery learning which  utilizes the techniques of a variety of instructional methods.  For example: just using the basic terminology of Problem Based Learning (PBL), Discovery  Learning (DL), and Inquiry Learning (IL) you have to have some type of a knowledge base for your student(s) to  start from.  

     Direct instruction or step-by-step learning is good in many cases, but if the students already have a solid knowledge base, then a constructive learning environment with some scaffolding tools can become an effective learning environment.  You have to meet your students where they are. Some are stuck in a rabbit hole, and they keep digging deeper.  It is your job to help them turn back up the hole. 

     Not all learners will be same.  A good instructor and/or designer should be open to the differences and adjust methods accordingly.  You need a good knowledge base within a constructive learning environment for  your students.  A beginner  student, can and will run into cognitive overload very quickly if  they don't have a good knowledge base. That overload is subject to  increase exponentially when the student has already experienced education in a negative way.  

    re Down the Rabbit Hole

    Students who have experienced  overload, can and will form a pack – a disruptive pack if left to their own devices.  Students  will act out alone and/or together, and you will find your classroom out of control because of it.  

    So what can you do to help  as a teacher,  to stop your student from  running down a rabbit hole?  The first thing is to admit that you might have something to do with the problem.  Once you can admit that - then you can start looking for what went right.  That is  the answer - what went right.  When we start to examine the things that went right, no matter how small, that gives us a starting point. What went right  is your strength. 

    I am not a collaborative learner by nature.  A lot of students I know aren't either.  I prefer to work from my own little sphere; minimal collaboration is best for me. But, at the same time I have learned to work with others and collaborate very well.  It took time, and  I didn’t change overnight,  I wouldn’t expect my students to change overnight either. 

    Cognitive overload is such a real concern for me - but if left alone I discover what needs taken care of - and I do it.  Sometimes we need to give our students time to figure out the problem(s) too.  Time – it’s what it takes.

     The scaffolding techniques that I use are of course - are the computer and the internet.  Everything is online. I need to have access to terminology and quick reference definitions. I have to understand what I'm reading.  Take for instance the three basic constructive learning models.  Problem-Based Learning (PBL), Inquiry Learning and Discovery Learning.  One could take a cursory look at these and assume they are the same, but they are not.   Our  students cannot tell the difference  either,  yet many instructors attempt to make them do so right off the bat.   Our student, are all uniquely  different.  They can fall within any  combination of all the learning models listed above. The can also fall down a rabbit hole. 

     Problem-based learning attempts to provide the learner with self-directedflexible knowledge,  and fundamental incentives.  The outcome of PBL is to have students learn the process and content together.   Whereas, Inquiry Learning, which includes PBL, is often a facilitated approach to the investigation of problems or questions dealing with research or projects.  Discovery learning utilizes the techniques of a variety of instructional methods.    The learner already has a knowledge base from which to pull from, and they use that base in more of an experimental capacity to explore and manipulate data or objects.  

    They use that base in more of an experimental capacity to explore and manipulate data or objects   

    Not all environments need to be highly controlled.   Minimal guidance learning environments can be just as effective, especially if given the right scaffolding tools  with the student learned knowledge base.

    While all the models proclaim to do basically the same thing – some models contain more built-in guidance, than the other.    Direct instruction is not always best over PBL, IL or DL.  Scaffolding can make tasks easier, reduce the learners cognitive load, and helps to point out complexity.  A lot still depends on being able to examine the context and students whom you are working with.  Each will have a different perspective.  

     As we begin to help our student climb back out of the rabbit hole – we need to make sure we are back-filling  that hole with a strong knowledge base.  Sometimes back-filling means we have to try a different approach and give it time, while examining what went right - and keep doing it.