Final Learning Reflection – CEP810

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“Ipad, Tablet, Samsung-Smartphone” by FirmBee
CC0 Public Domain.

What is learning? How do the learning processes of experts and novices differ? Creating a WordPress blog, working with Google Docs, completing a Networked Learning Project, examining Professional Learning Networks, working with Popplet, Feedly, Flipboard, Twitter, Google bookmarks, Wunderlist, and YouTube, a 21st century lesson plan, A cooking with TPACK activity, and examining the use of Creative Commons together created a remarkable and dynamic learning experience and journey in CEP810!

The Learning with Novices and Experts” essay in Week 1 of the course set the tone for the weeks of learning to follow. My idea of learning and how different groups of individuals learn, changed during the duration of this course and I have already started to look at the courses and students that I teach in a different light. Leo Lionni’s “Fish is Fish” story  (Random House, 1974) taught me that different life experiences can help us to grow and expand our concepts and views of the world so we can look back on “change” and what we once resisted, and see it from a perspective that is more welcoming and positive.

When it comes to the use of technology in education, Dr. Mishra’s statement “a lecture is still a lecture” within the Explore, Create, Share mashup on YouTube, really hit home with me. Whether you listen to a lecture as a podcast, read it within a textbook, or watch it on YouTube, it’s still a lecture. The focus is on the content, not on the device on which it’s delivered.  The way that Dr. Mishra described TPACK as being a “total package” in his Keynote speech at the 21st Century Learning Conference in 2012, where technology, pedagogy, and content are integrated and overlap in different areas, was an eye-opening and “aha” moment for me. I never heard of TPACK before this course and after the “Cooking with TPACK” project, I get it. It’s repurposing at its finest! It’s about using technology and the tools and resources it provides, to help us learn and complete a given task in a different way, to think outside of the box, and “play” – this opens up the door to discovery.

TPACK image
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by tpack.org. http://tpack.org

I had the opportunity in this course to examine my Professional Learning Network using Popplet. Not only was Popplet a fun tool to play with, it also visually made me realize that over 50% of my current PLN is web-based. I realized that I rely heavily on technology for getting information, education, teaching, collaborating, and communication. I don’t see this as being negative in any way; I see it as an opportunity to grow my PLN in different areas.

Current PLN created using Popplet
PLN using Popplet

I also discovered new technologies and apps to add to my repertoire and realized that certain technologies can be used to increase productivity and efficiency. For example, I now use Wunderlist daily to create and organize my to-do lists and Flipboard to keep current with what’s happening in industry and in turn, I can share that information with my students.

Cover stories. Highlights from everything you follow  To-do list, Reminders, Errands!

I really had an opportunity to look at things from a different side of view and dive deep into learning during the “Networked Learning Project” where only online resources were used to learn a new skill. I had one of greatest learning experiences during this project and was able to experience learning as my students would in an online course. This project alone has already made me modify some of the course materials in my classes. I am including more video explanations and more detailed instructions in areas where things may need further explanation.

The information regarding Creative Commons Licensing is huge! I will be implementing what I have learned into my courses where students are creating website projects where copyrighted materials may be being used. This will become a requirement for the student’s projects next semester. In the past I didn’t place much emphasis on this area but after learning what I have in this course, I realize its importance and it will be emphasized going forward in the courses that I teach. It will also make the students more aware of copyrighted materials and the licensing behind them.

Creative Commons Logo

I have been teaching web programming courses for over 13 years and working with technology on a daily basis and the knowledge that I gained in a variety of areas from this course is incredible, learning never ceases to end. I have had an absolutely awesome learning experience, which not only has taught me a lot about myself as an educator but also as a student. I looked at networking, learning, exploring, playing, communicating, and sharing from a different point of view and in so many ways it helped me discover how much more there is to learn and experience in this field. This gained knowledge has opened up so many doors and opportunities; it’s difficult to put into words how this course alone has already transformed my way of thinking and teaching.

How do I better engage students in online discussion forums? How do I get students more engaged and excited about collaborating and sharing via social media without having a grade or points assigned to it? These are few questions that I’m searching for answers to as my journey continues.

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A fruit salad is a fruit salad – TPACK

I had a blast with this week’s TPACK activity! Prior to CEP810, I had never heard of TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge). Since this was new to me, I made it a point to watch Dr. Mishra’s Keynote presentation at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong in 2012 before even starting the activity. Dr. Mishra describes TPACK as a “total package” where technology, pedagogy, and content are integrated, not separate. I watched this on my iPad while exercising on the treadmill because after all, “a lecture is a lecture” (Explore, Create, Share Mashup) regardless if you’re reading it on paper, hearing it spoken, or watching it on a mobile device. Right?

For this week’s assignment, Cooking with TPACK, we were to have someone randomly choose a bowl, plate, and utensil from our cupboards and then select a cooking task from a predetermined list by randomly drawing a number from a hat (a bowl in my case) that corresponded to an item on the list. I had a friend of mine randomly choose a bowl, plate, and utensil from my cupboards and I drew the #3 item on the list–fruit salad here I come! I was thrilled with this random selection because I always have a supply of organic fruit on hand so I used a banana and an apple for this activity.

The following were randomly selected for me:

  • A small, ceramic-type bowl
  • A paper plate
  • An ice cream scoop

The paper plate was repurposed as a cutting board, the ice cream scoop was repurposed as a knife and a peeler, and the bowl didn’t need repurposing because in this case it was being used exactly what it was designed for.

Watch repurposing in action as I create a fruit salad!

Reflecting on the “Networked” approach

This was an amazing experience! I learned how to create a basic iOS app using Xcode and Swift and deployed it to my phone. I have been wanting to do this for over a year now. There were a few reasons for not doing this sooner but two of the major reasons were time (the lack of) and fear of the unknown. I conquered both! And in the process, I successfully created two apps and they now both reside on my phone. Success! Whew!

There weren’t a shortage of online resources, but it did take some time locating the most relevant, quality resources and those that would best suit my needs based on my experience level (beginner). Before starting the project, I spent approximately 2-3 hours searching the web for the exact type of resources that I wanted to use – bookmarking and documenting each of them as I went along.

I originally had planned on creating a single mobile app (but actually created two). I figured it was an attainable goal that I could accomplish within 2 weeks. I used an Apple tutorial located on the Apple Developer website to create my first app. The online tutorial was very detailed and included step-by-step instructions along with screen shots every step of the way. It was a perfect starting point! As I progressed through the tutorial and gained some confidence, I started to tweak things. Quickly I learned that that was not the best idea and parts of the app were not working correctly. I had to repeat several sections of the tutorial multiple times to fix the “bugs”. The positive side of that was that I learned a lot through repetition and having a resource to always refer back to was invaluable.

For the second app, I used only YouTube videos. Being able to watch a coding demonstration and hearing it explained, created a slightly different learning experience than simply reading instructions and viewing screen shots. The YouTube videos were more dynamic, but I learned equally from using both methods. I didn’t realize how much I had learned from the online Apple tutorial until I started watching the YouTube lessons and realized that I actually had a basic understanding of what was being demonstrated. Cue the aha moment! On the flip side, I also learned new concepts and techniques from the YouTube videos that I didn’t get from reading the online tutorial. The bottom line was that each method complimented the other.

I will continue using the “networked” approach for learning. I think that having resources that you can reference repeatedly during the learning process, is very important and helps to reinforce learning. Not only can this approach be used for acquiring a new skill set, it can also be used to update or refresh previous skills as well as teach, share, and collaborate within an online environment.

I currently encourage my students to incorporate and use this approach for their learning and most definitely will continue to do so. I see it as a necessary supplemental approach to traditional learning both online and in the classroom. In the field of technology in which I teach, it moves very quickly and in order to keep current with what’s needed in this industry and the skills and knowledge that it demands, learning new skills and refreshing old skills, never ceases. A “networked” approach supports the industry’s needs. However, I will continue to stress the importance of time management, motivation, self-learning, and patience that this method requires.

A time to reflect…

Since being introduced to Popplet, I have been thinking about how to apply its use into the courses that I teach (web programming). Not only would this tool be great for brainstorming but it could also most definitely be used in website layout. After you go through the conceptualization and analysis steps within a website development life cycle, the next step is the design and layout of the site, enter Popplet. You could easily create a visual representation of a website’s architecture that can be shared with everyone. I will definitely be trying this out with my next website. A big thumbs up for Popplet!Thumbs up emoji!

This week in class, we also examined Twitter and its uses and learned about RSS aggregators. I have been using Twitter since 2009. I invite my students to follow me on Twitter and follow industry experts as well. It’s a fantastic way to stay connected with what’s happening in an industry that you’re interested in. Since I teach in a technology industry, which seems to change every minute, it’s almost a full-time job to keep current on technology trends and the next “new” thing on the horizon. Twitter allows me to stay current, follow what’s going on industry, and connect with industry experts, my colleagues, and peers. Another thumbs up for Twitter! Thumbs up emoji!

A few years ago I was really into using a news aggregator, then it seemed to fall by the wayside because I put my time into growing my Twitter presence and connecting with my students through the Twitter social media platform. Introducing news aggregators this week in class made me realize that I need to incorporate its use into my daily routine again – I need to “reconnect” so to speak. It’s another very effective way to stay current on trends and focus on getting information on a specific topic, or multiple topics, within one location. I registered for Feedly, selected the topics that I want information about, and bam! All the topic news and information in one place. I have also been spending time on Flipboard, which is another topic-focused news site that I can enjoy reading during the morning with a cup of coffee.

Connecting with all of these different social media tools has enhanced my ability to stay current in the industry in which I teach, connect with peers and colleagues (both old and new), collaborate, and connect and share with my students. I recently read an article titled Keeping Up-to-Date on Your Industry and the tagline read “Staying Informed”. I couldn’t agree more!

PLNs using Popplet

I have never heard of the web-based tool called Popplet until it was introduced this week in CEP810. Popplet allows you to visualize ideas in a graphical way –  excellent for mind mapping! You can export or share your Popplet with others or simply save if for your own personal use. Very cool and useful tool! The focus was to examine Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) and use Popplet to visually create our current PLN.

Current PLN created using Popplet

Going through this exercise, I realized the amount of web-based resources that are an integral part of my current PLN (over half of  my PLN is web-based). I now teach 100% online, so the social media and online learning portions of my PLN fit nicely into what I teach (web programming) and also allows me to stay current with what’s going on in the industry in a convenient and flexible way. I refer to a lot of YouTube and online learning resources within the courses that I teach, as well as using many of the same resources for my professional development and assignment/project ideas which I can in turn incorporate into my courses. In fact, just this week I was listening to a Podcast from the “A Responsive Web Design Podcast” website while at school working on course development.

I have expanded my PLN to include my MSU peers since starting the MAET program at MSU, which will complement the industry connections that I have built and maintained while working in the corporate world for over 16 years. I continue to be amazed at the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips and to be able to share, collaborate, learn, and connect with experts and peers in the industry, is so incredibly awesome!

 

Learning with Novices & Experts

During the first week of class in CEP 810 at Michigan State University, I was asked to write an essay based on my reading and understanding of Bransford, Brown & Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn. The Learning with Novices and Experts essay can be found and responds to two key questions:

  1. What is learning?
  2. How do the learning processes of experts and novices differ?

I reflect on the definition of learning and the differences between novice and expert students and how each can complement each other’s learning which in turn, can alter their perceived way of entering into a situation based on their understanding of new ideas. I hope you find my reflection on the topic interesting and I openly welcome comments and feedback. Enjoy!