about what centers me…

I was recently asked a very interesting question in regards to my work as an educator and scholar, what centers me. Answering this question first made me think how I understood the question theoretically.

As a learning technologist, finding innovative ways to integrating technology into teaching and learning experiences is at the core of much of what I do. From a constructivist perspective, I believe it is important that learners engage in experiences in such a way that they are creating meaning of their world for themselves. Within the classroom this may mean that although we are having a shared learning experience, we all come into it from different place and with different experiences having shaped our perspective of the current experience. As such, different parts of this shared experience will carry different meaning and impact each of us in very different ways. All of this difference informs, I believe, how individuals construct knowledge and make meaning in ways which may be directly applicable to their worlds.

Identifying as a learning technologist, I do take a critical perspective to how technology in teaching and learning situations impacts the dynamics of power. The ability to use technology tools to access and manipulate information in ways to support learning are a great strength of technology as a resource in learning.

To think about what might center me right now in my development as a scholar and thinker, just makes me realized that I have much to continue thinking about…

about flipped learning

The flipped classroom and flipped learning experiences

bicycle_JPEGIncreasing and varied technologies within the current environment of teaching and learning have turned the attention of many educators to the idea of the flipped classroom and flipped learning experiences. There persists, however, very different notions of what it means to facilitate “flipped” sessions.

A prevailing idea of flipped learning experiences has instructors simply creating video or other multimedia content, uploading it to a course web space for students to “consume” outside of class, then students return to the classroom to complete assignments and work through problem sets. This model of “flipping” does indeed substitute lecture-instruction and homework for each other, presumably freeing instructors to support students completing assignments and preparing for exams. With schools under heavy scrutiny and assessment and measurement being the primary concern, it is understandable that “flipping” this way is popular. Unfortunately for students, this model does little to encourage or support learning.

A flipped learning experience, when imagined more thoughtfully, does offer the opportunity for learners to be more engaged with and demonstrate mastery of course material by applying knowledge rather than simply absorbing information. Considering the learning objectives of any given course or sections within a course an instructor can organize them from basic to more advanced by levels of complexity. This allows for students to tackle less complex ideas and issues outside of class on their own, then build on that knowledge and address more complex ideas within the social environment of the classroom. Doing this does require thoughtfulness and flexibility by the instructor because it may mean re-ordering content and materials from how it is presented in a text to allow learners the space to develop their thinking. This reordering makes it so that instructors can create more meaningful video and multimedia content for students to access outside of class and provide a structure so that in-class sessions can be rich with topical discussions and activities.

Flipping sections or an entire course in a purposeful and intentional way affords learners very rich opportunities to think and develop ideas in ways that are personal, meaningful, and applicable to their worlds. This is learning!

about multiple device workflow

A colleague recently asked me about my “device workflow”. She noticed that I use different devices for different purposed, and am able to use the different devices to produce various types of content. This made me think about how, for example, I use my iPad in my workflow.

I don’t always have my laptop with me, but my mobile devices make it easy to keep working on projects and documents even when I’m away from the desk. Using my iOS tablet, iBooks is great for storing PDF’s I can read even when I don’t have WiFi. I use Neu Annotate to make notes on on PDF when I need to. Evernote is really nice for making notes of ideas I might develop later in a project or paper, while Google Docs and Slides make it easy to keep the work going while I’m waiting anywhere with a WiFi signal (like the doctor’s office, having coffee or lunch, or waiting for class to start).

The flexibility of this mobile device makes it very easy to leave my laptop in the office, but stay productive when I’m in different spots on and off campus.

about AECT 2014

#twitterfeed, #AECT14

November 4-7 I attended the 2014 International Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). This is one the premier conferences in our field put out by the body which publishes one of our handbooks.

Scholars from all over the world came to share how their work bridges Learning, Design, and Technology. I was fortunate be able to present two of my papers at the conference.

I Participated in a fantastic interactive keynote by Johannes Cronje! I think his 2006 article adds a very interesting perspective to the Objectivist-Constructivist discussion in our field. This article has been foundational in my finding my identity within the field.

My colleagues Josh, Engin, Jolie, Angel, Brad, and Tasneem were also there share their brilliance.

Jacksonville was a great host!

Some of photographic highlights!