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Showing posts from June, 2016

Tell me what you want, what you really, really, want

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Have you ever taught a course thinking it was going great - students were engaged, they were participating, and they completed all their assignments. Then, you receive the course evaluation forms and your heart sinks.

In the depths of your reflection, you drown yourself in questions like "what went wrong?" "what didn't they like?" "were they unhappy?" "what did they think the course was about?" and so on. The surface of the water is nearing, and with this article I will stop you from sinking any further.
My personal teaching philosophy is that satisfying teaching experiences come from designing worthwhile learning experiences. In my research, I have found some who support my position on the student experience. To achieve this, I believe we need to consider the expectations of the instructor, the institution, and the student.

In the book Student Engagement Techniques, Barkley states that there should be an open dialogue between institutions …

and the Survey Says...

Do teachers need more support in using technology in the classroom? Absolutely. Here are the results from a survey conducted by the Samsung Educator Academy (2015). Professional development is key, and more institutions need to get on board with teacher training. The more tools teachers have in their toolboxes, the better the student experience they can build. More thoughts on this topic have been included in my reflection papers for Media Enhanced Learning posted in the side menu of this blog.
Teaching Tech to Teachers: Survey shows need for professional development to power classroom success from Samsung Business USA

But I'm not Funny

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What do you think about using humour in the classroom?

I have mixed feelings about his because I have been in a few uncomfortable situations. First, because I am not very funny, and have been met with awkward silence more times than I can count. Second, because I have failed to be culturally sensitive and accidentally offended people.

If it is used properly, as mentioned by Paul-Emile Chiasson's article,  humour allows studenst to feel like part of the class and possibly contribute without feeling exposed or vulnerable, which is particularly important in a communicative classroom. Humour can be a way of reaching out to those students who are too anxious or afraid of expressing themselves in their second language. Humour plays a major role in our every day social interaction, and as such, it should not be ignored, but embraced as part of our everyday classroom learning.

According this article from Faculty Focus, Eskey talks about preliminary research on use of humor in online learn…

To Use Technology or Not to Use? That is the Question.

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Through taking my Media-Enhanced Learning class, my instructor has emphasized that "it is important to remember that teaching comes first and technology is only there to support it (Cassell, 2015).

Based on my experience, many teachers shy away from integrating technology into their classrooms. I think this may be because they don't know where to start. Until recently, I was not aware that there are models that can help you decide what technology to use and how to use it, making the decision process a lot easier.

One of the models I have learned about is called the "SECTIONS" model. It was developed by Tony Bates and Gary Poole in 2003. Bates has outlined the main components to consider when choosing technology as:
Tony Bates has written and released an open textbook called Teaching in a Digital Age where he aims to explain to teachers and instructors models for making decisions about the choice and use of media, which he believes is not an easy task. The book enabl…

Improving the Student Experience through Learning Actions

If you have been following my blog, you might have noticed that there is a common thread that runs through them. It seems that through the most recent course I have been taking, I have come to realize that improving the student experience is something that I feel passionate about.

I have spent hours looking at research that supports my position, and just as many hours searching for resources to help teachers in this pursuit. One thing I have tried to tackle recently is combining some of the teaching theories to make them more user-friendly.

Below is an infographic I created attempting to do this. Also, posted off to the side, is a podcast I have recorded explaining a bit about the infographic. I encourage you to stay tuned for future resources on this topic.

Learning ActionsInfographic

Why are your Students Talking?

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I cannot count the number of times I have walked by a classroom and have seen students having conversations/discussions as a class task.

When taking the the communicative approach to teaching, this would appear to be a good thing. Right?Well, technically this is right, if the teacher has managed to appropriately design the speaking tasks to "communicate through real meaning"

Jose Bowen (2012) suggests that "leading a good discussion that results in the learning outcomes [teachers] want can be much harder than delivering a competent lecture. A small group of prepared, talkative, and comfortable students and an engaging topic can make preparation easier, but striking a balance between guiding the discussion and letting the students discover their own connections is difficult" (196).

As teachers, ideally we want talk in the classroom to facilitate learning. Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Carol Rothenberg suggest (in their book referenced below) that “if students aren&…

Cole's Taxonomy in Progress

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In previous posts, I mentioned how I thought by combining all 4 of the taxonomies created by Fink, Bloom, Krathwhol, and Simpson educators could build a better student experience in the classroom.

Looking at this summary of the levels within these taxonomies, you can see quite a bit of overlap. They all start with receiving new information, relating the information to what they already know, finding a way to use that information in different contexts in their lives. I believe that the taxonomies can be made more teacher-friendly by combining and simplifying them. If they are made to be more approachable for the average educator, they will be easier to implement as a result. This can be done by focusing on 3 key areas:
KnowCareCreate  I have been working on showing the relationships between the taxonomies visually. I am creating an infographic and podcast explaining this new and more teacher-friendly taxonomy, and thought I would share the first visual.

From this, you are able to see th…