First Exposure

Curiosity.jpg

Objective:

First exposure to material before class is not a new idea; many of us routinely assign readings, papers or problem sets as preparation for class” (Bowen, 2012, p.59). It is easy to assign reading but it’s hard to enforce it. This is the new millennium, we have a pile of resources at our fingertips. The challenge is figuring out which resources and/or teaching techniques will help motivate our students.

Reflective:

What scares me as an instructor, is to have students that look like deer’s in head lights. This is defiantly not my goal. I try my best to encourage students to do the readings I assign, but as a student myself I fully understand the difficulty in finding the time. If there is no assignment or evaluation tied to my readings, there is no real gain, and it makes it less of a priority in my busy schedule. As adult learners our time is valuable. We are trying to juggle work, family life and school.

On the flip side, as an instructor, I find it real hard if my students haven’t done their readings. I feel like I am delivering a pile of bad news. I don’t want to spend my two-hour class listing off facts and reading from a PowerPoint.  I want to be engaging my students in discussions. I want to target the areas of information where they are struggling the most. I want to enhance their learning with activities to help them apply their new knowledge. My goal is for my student to walk out of class feeling like that have learned something valuable, not with their heads spinning with new information, wondering how they will pass their final evaluations.

I want to create the classroom experience Weimer (2016) describes, “What students need are not hard or easy courses, but course experiences that result in lots of learning- where they master the material, further develop the sophisticated learning skills necessary for lifelong learning, and where the encounter leaves them breathless to learn more.”

Interpretive:

In our program, we have an online platform where our students have access to all the PowerPoint presentations and handouts ahead of time. We encourage our students to read over them before class. When students take the time to do the readings the whole classroom atmosphere changes. Classroom time can be spent working on applying that new information instead of scrambling to take notes and memorizing facts. I am not saying that you won’t need to teach the information, but you can focus on the area of concern, quality, instead of quantity of information. “What research shows is that learners in courses that incorporate online learning in some fashion, often called “hybrid” courses, learn more than people who only have traditional classroom meetings and resources” (Draves, 2014, p.40).  The struggle is finding new ways to encourage and motivate students to use the resources they have, so they can come to class prepared.

Decisional:

Since starting this course on Media Enhanced Learning, I have found lots of great resources to incorporate into my classroom. I am most excited about the learning site Kahoot. I think by using Kahoot’s to create interactive online quizzes/games, I can encourage the students to do their pre-readings. I would use this evaluation tool at the start of every class or every couple of class when new material is introduced. I would base these games on information from their readings and then we can walk through the results together.  In chapter 4 of “Teaching Naked,” they explain the importance of having low stake assessments, with high standards to help motivate our students. “By giving consideration to the format of exams and examples we use, faculty can increase motivation and lower stress” (Bowen, 2012, p.97). These types of games and assessment are a great way to encourage students in a low-stress environment.  The evaluations don’t count for marks but students have an idea of how they are doing. With an online game, the instructor can see what areas most of the students answered correctly and focus on the areas they are struggling in. This can save valuable class time and hopefully provide more time to focus on applying the new knowledge. I am mainly a clinical instructor so I am really looking forward to the next time I get to fill in for a theory class to try out my Kahoot’s app.  I will have to give my students advance notice so they can be prepared with their devices and with their readings.

 

References:

Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom    Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Draves, W. (2014). How to Teach Adults. River Falls: Lern.

Kahoot.www.getkahoot.com,

Weimer, M. (2016, March 16th). It’s Not About Hard or Easy Courses. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from Http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/its-not-about-hard-or-easy-course

Picture was retrieved from:

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Hybrid Course

Objective:

Whether in person or online the emotional power of our subject and its human connection is an important part of what we teach. This means that face-to-face instruction will always have a deep value and that even in an online classroom the art of teaching will still be at a premium”(Bowen, 2012, p. 239).

You might be able to find endless course subjects online but will you find a teacher that knows you as more than just a name? There are some things that are not available in an online course. Creating personal relationships with teachers or students is one of them. What about building bonds with your peers? Online courses offer multiple opportunities to do group projects and collaborations but with so many courses online it can be a revolving door of new peers.

This is where the hybrid course fits in. It combines the increasing demands for online learning with the benefits of face-to-face instructional time.

Reflective:

Being an instructor is a social experience to me.  I enjoy getting to know all my students. I want to find out about their learning styles and what teaching techniques work for them. Lecturing is not an ideal way to connect to your students.  Lecturing is a way to deliver subject matter and a poor way at best. “… the assumption that traditional classrooms are stimulating and congenial learning environments brimming over with interpersonal empathy and intellectual energy, while online classrooms are lonely and isolated, needs hard scrutiny” (Brookfield, 2015, p.170). I feel that hybrid courses are the answer we are looking for. A hybrid course offers you the option to deliver your subject matter online with voiceover PowerPoints or videos, this helps to free up classroom time to focus on group discussions, assignments, and creating personal bonds with your students. I have been instructing part time for three years, I am always learning, always changing and exploring new things. I know that information and technology is always changing too. As an instructor, my job is to deliver the most up to date content, in the most engaging and motivating ways. This means staying current, doing research, understanding my students, and probably most important being flexible to changing with the times.

Interpretive:

Times are changing and so are our students. They need to have a reason to come to class, especially if it is something they can do at home.  With a hybrid course, you can get the best of both worlds. In the Article, How to Successfully Teach a Blended Classroom, by Taunya Tremblay, she explains, “While you remain an expert and important source of instruction for your students, you may find your role shift to more of a learning facilitator.” Isn’t that the goal of a learner centred instructor? Be a facilitator, a mentor.  My goal is to use classroom time to answer questions and help students work through their assignments, to facilitate their learning.

Decisional:

My program is designed with theory and clinical courses. We do our best to use online resources like Moodle, to share articles, PowerPoints and have group discussions. We have also started to post our clinic demonstrations online as a resource for students to use at home. If classes are missed or students are struggling, they have access to these videos whenever they want.

With more new, young, and enthusiastic instructors joining our faculty the goals to change to a hybrid course are in the future.   This is the first year we have used Moodle for more than just student’s grades.  I know that these are just the first steps in changing to a hybrid course, it is not an easy process. It takes lots of planning and organizing and I don’t think it’s something you can do overnight. We have a long ways to go, but from what I have read in Teach Naked by Bowen, it is a slow, time-consuming process, but the benefits to our students are worth the work.

 

References:

Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom    Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Tremblay, T. (2016, February 2nd). How to Successfully Teach a Blended Classroom. Retrieved from https://blog.tophat.com/blended-classroom/

Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Gaming and Essential Skills in Adult Education

games

Objective:

Essential skills are the foundation, or build blocks, to all other skills. They are essential to our growth and development, whether its’s education, work or everyday life.  Higher education is entering into a new era of technology. It’s important to find new and engaging ways to motivate students in the classroom, and still focus on developing our essential skills. Is video games in the classroom the answer we are looking for? “Good video games are challenging, long, hard, and complicated, and they engage the player in active learning” (Bowen, 2012, p.59).

Reflective:

Active learning is about engaging and motivating our students in a variety of activities other than passively listening to an instructor’s lecture. We want to create that spark of interest and feed the flame of curiosity. Introducing apps and games into our classroom might be the way we can accomplish this. Video games have come a long ways from when I was a young. I grew up always thinking of them as just a toy. Something to intrigue your imagination, a way of escaping reality, or to explore mystical worlds for hours at a time. For the past few years, I have noticed more and more games being played in elementary schools. I was so excited the first time my son came home and asked if I could put a math game on his iPad so he could play math at home. That was just the beginning, now it’s reading and typing games, and I am sure the list will continue to grow.

Until reading the first three chapters of Teaching Naked, I still believed video games were for children. I didn’t realize the endless possibility of games for higher educations. There are games to stimulate real situations that you wouldn’t be able to practice any other way, like flight simulators for crash situations (Bowen, 2012).

Interpretive:

What better way to teach our students than with games that help teach essential skills like, problem-solving, thinking skills and continuous learning. In the article How Video Games In The Classroom Will Make Students Smarter, Jordan Shaprio (2015), explains how “Through metacognitive functions, learners recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and adapt or iterate their performance accordingly.”  With ways of customizing games for specific teaching needs, games can be a huge asset to any classroom.  Gaming in the classroom doesn’t just provide cognitive benefits, it also provides emotional benefits. McGonigal explains, “When those emotions activate certain areas of the brain, they also counteract feelings of depression, and for periods of time extending long after the game is ended, McGonigal said. Games encourage a sense of resiliency, and also teach gamers that failure is permitted” (as cited in The Awesome Power of Gaming in Higher Education, 2013). Video games are not just for children anymore. Reading these articles has helped me to understand multiple benefits to gaming in the classroom. I am excited that my children’s school has adapted to adding games to teach but I never could have imagined the full levels of learning that you could get from a game without doing this of research on the topic. My only concern with introducing too much gaming into classroom would be the loss of communication. In my opinion, this is an essential skill most effectively taught in person.

Decisional:

I always try to incorporate different instructional activities into my classroom. I have used different types of media in my teaching but I have not expanded into apps or gaming. I am excited about the new possibilities in education. The list of websites and resources included in Teaching Naked are endless. I actually felt a bit overwhelmed in the beginning because there are so many websites and games to check out. I am going to start slow and visit a few of the websites mentioned in the articles I read, as well as our textbook. I think my biggest challenge with this new information is finding the right resource for my classroom and my students. In   the dental assisting program, problem solving and critical thinking are a very important skills for our students to develop. This is an area I would like to focus my attention on. I have learned from past experiences it’s critical to start slowly when introducing new ideas or activities. Even though student’s levels of technology far exceed mine, using technology in the classroom can still be a new learning curve and change can sometimes be met with resistance.

 References:

Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom    Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Buck, T. E. (2013, October). The Awesome Power of Gaming in Higher Education. EDtech. Retrieved October 8, 2016 from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2013/10/awesome-power-gaming-higher-education

Shaprio, J. (2015). How Video Games In The Classroom Will Make Students Smarter. Retrieved October 8, 2016 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2015/03/30/how-video-games-in-the-classroom-will-make-students-smarter/#1cdbb3aa1828

Image was retrieved from http://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/wp-content/uploads/sites/29639/2015/10/video-game_2141739b.jpg

 

 

Category 1

“There are few educators who would disagree with the principle that lifelong learning is a good thing but the important questions are about the types of learning that the concept promotes, the life that it encourages us to lead, who benefits from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.” (p. 20/21)

Objective:

What has caught my attention from this quote is the idea of being a lifelong learner. I have never really thought much about the types of learning I do beside a formal classroom. I never even realized there was more than one type of learning till now. This quote has really made me take a look at my life and my learning styles. I have been saying lately that I have been in school for 14 years, everything is so new to me again, but now when I really think about just because I haven’t been in school, doesn’t mean I haven’t been learning over the past 14 years.

Reflective:

I have realized that one of my roles of an educator is to be a lifelong learner. By doing my emerging trends and roles blogs, I have learned that there is always some new emerging trend in education. Our job as educators is to be informed, to know what is new and how can it be used in our classrooms, to engage our students but also to help them be as prepared as possible for the work place after they are done their educations.

Interpretive:

My Aha! Moment with this quote would have to be the factor that I am already a lifelong learner. I may only be in my mid-thirties but the career path I have chosen has already had me doing formal, nonformal and informal learning. As a Certified Dental Assistant, it is a prerequisite to get into the program to be trained in First Aid and level 1 CPR, which I would categorize under nonformal learning. Then I went through my formal learning, at Okanagan College, to be become a CDA. After graduation, to keep up my license, I must constantly enroll in continuing education courses, more non-formal learning. All this and I am not even adding in the many hours of informal learning I do every day at my job. In dentistry there is always new material, new instruments, and new techniques to learn, mainly these are learned through experience or taught by a dentist on the job. Now that I am doing my formal learning to become an instructor, I realize there is even more demand to become, or to continue on the path as a lifelong learner. I have to stay current, not just for my license, but to keep my students engaged. I need to constantly be learning how to grow and improve as an educator, so I can give my students the best and most current education.

Decisional:

By reflecting on this quote I have realized so much more about teaching, and learning. Becoming an instructor doesn’t just mean getting a diploma and moving on, it includes constant work and attention. Our roles as educators is to constantly be on top of our game, we need to be current, be informed, be willing and open to self-improvement, at all times. I want to be able to answer my student’s questions about what’s going on currently in the dental office, what skills CDA are using in the field, and how things are evolving in dentistry. We have a committee set up at the college that includes dentist, CDA and educators, from our field, that meet a few times a year to discuss what’s going on in our communities in dentistry. We use their feedback to help us align our courses to the dental field in our communities. This is just one more example of the constant lifelong learning we are doing as instructors.

Category 2

“adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.”(p.53)

Objective:

This quote has opened my eyes to the fact that adult learners are motivated to learn with different goals in mind then children learners. They are driven by a goal, a need for knowledge to apply to an immediate problem.
What caught my attention from this quote was how I can directly relate it to my classroom. How my students on a daily basis ask me “do dentist really use this type of material? Or how am I going to use facial anatomy in a dental office? We want a direct application for our new knowledge learned to help us solidify our learning. I am now starting to understand the process behind the questioning, the learning the students are doing and how they need to have a greater understanding of the outcome for their knowledge to be able to complete their learning.

Reflective:

I realized that by being a Clinical instructor, in the CDA department, at Okanagan College, I am already implementing problem-centered learning. My students get an opportunity to immediately apply new knowledge learned, to hands on skills in the clinic. They can really get an understanding for the reasoning behind a dental dam, (to prevent a filling from getting saliva in it), when they place dental dams on each other and see how much saliva they really have. By learning in a course designed like ours, we teach around goals or skills, students complete steps from classroom theory to clinical skills, these steps helps to solidify the classroom learning with hands on clinical application.

Interpretive:

This quote is me, I am an adult educator and an adult learner. I can relate to this quote on a number of different levels. I see how my students are trying to process new knowledge through problem-centered learning, needing to know the whys and the hows behind new skills, to help them retain their learning. After reading this quote I see myself doing the same thing, I am constantly looking for ways to relate new knowledge to my current instructor position. I want to know how each exercise and skill learned can be directly relate to my classroom. Realizing how different subject-centered and problem-centered learning varies has opened my eyes to my students, to the questions they constantly ask.

Decisional:

It’s hard to say how much growth we can really achieve from a few words in a quote. What the quote has done is drawn me in, into wanting more, to reading over a few pages in my text book for more knowledge, for a great understanding of problem-centered learning. With more insight on what triggers us to learn and expand our knowledge base as an adult, we can develop learning strategies to help us engage adult learners through problem-centered learning. We all need something to get us motivate to do something new, to want growth in life and in knowledge. I can now see how the layout in our CDA program, with one theory day followed by one clinic day, really helps students to get the opportunity to immediately apply knowledge with practice and hands on skills. They can now see how to use facial anatomy as landmarks in taking x-rays and applying topical anesthetic. This important process might be missed if students were just told they need to know this with no really understanding of the relevance behind it. Being a hands on learner I think doing a skill in clinic is the best way for students to really solidify their learning. I know this is what attracts me to being a clinical instructor, I get to see students show their skills, use their knowledge and have their ‘Aha!” moments. That moment when all their learning and knowledge is finally all tied together and the solution to their problem is clear.

Category 3

“…tests and grades are anathema to andragogy, which assumes adults are capable of self-evaluating their own learning.”(p.57/58)

Objective:

As I reflect on the quote, I found myself thinking about a classroom with no grading system and no tests? Is this something that can be done? I believe, that just like anything, there is a time and a place, and maybe an age? In our program, I feel most of my students are ready for the andragogy approach, but there are still a few fresh out of high school and more in pedagogy frame of mind. I am not saying that it couldn’t work. The more I read into andragogy, I realized that according to Knowles (1984) study, “it is flexible and the whole or parts can be applied,” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p.59). Adapting what works for your individual classroom is what’s important. What caught my attention from this quote is how it says “assumes”, we assume adult learners are capable of self-evaluating. It doesn’t mean they all are capable, again I relate this back to our roles as an instructor, to facilitate our learner’s needs and goals as individuals.

Reflective:

What I have realized from this quote is that we are already adapting andragogy into our clinical classroom. Our students do a daily reflection entry, just short form, on how they feel they performed tasks in clinic, what they feel they could use to work on and were they successful in their skills? This is a daily exercise, which we check during our one on one interviews, throughout the year. These evaluations are for both the students benefit, and ours as instructors, we are looking for growth in our students, whether through a grade or a self-evaluation, the end result we want to see is the same.

Interpretive:

My Aha! Moment came more during my reflection process, then reading the quote. What struck me was how I thought so highly of a grading system, that I didn’t think it would be possible to do without, when really it’s the end result that you are looking for. Can each student competently, complete the skills we are going to certify them for? Our students preform skills over and over again in clinical, they our developing and perfecting these skills, yet still we need to stick them in to a stressful situation, with a time line and a set of skills to preform to be able to give them a final mark. I wonder sometimes if this is the best way to achieve the results we are looking for, not all students handle being put on the spot, sometimes working with a student in a hands on activity, we may be able to better understand their level of knowledge. What would our clinic atmosphere be like if students didn’t feel the stress of upcoming finals, would they spend more time relaxing and completing tasks set out on a goal sheet? Could we give them a self-evaluation style assignment to achieve the same end result as a final? I am not sure if all my students have the maturity to complete such a task, during the beginning of the program. I think these type of skills are something that needs to be developed as a student grows and matures, by slowly introducing self-evaluations in our clinic, students are more prepared when they head out on practicums, at the end of our program, and need to self-evaluate their performance while away from the classroom.

Decisional:

Being a student myself, I am starting to understand the benefits from reflecting back on my own work. We need to learn the skills to critically evaluate ourselves. I think that just like being a lifelong learning, and how important it is continue to educate ourselves, being able to self-evaluate to promote growth, is a skill that everyone needs to develop. You can always try to guard yourself from failure, but in the end all you are really doing is limiting yourself from growth. By reflecting on this quote and the insight I have gain, has helped to bring the notion of our role as a facilitator, how we constantly need to be working with our students to understand what type of teaching approach will work best for each student and how we can help facilitate their growth from pedagogy to andragogy.

Category 4

“Persevering at online learning is also affected by computer and information literacy, time management…online communication skills…self-esteem, feelings of belongingness in the online program and the ability to develop interpersonal skills with peers…” (p. 199)

Objective:

By reflecting on this quote, it gives me some understanding of the struggles I have personally had as an online learner. There are obstacles I may not have control over, and a few that just took a while to develop. I never really thought about the challenges I would face by choosing online learning, over a classroom. Of course I figured my biggest challenge would be time management, having a life, a job, kids and juggling school is never easy, but what I didn’t expect was the difference in communication. Having no peers to discuss assignments with, like a standard classroom, or even communication with your instructor is a learning curve. I feel I need to try to work out my struggles before asking for help, which I wouldn’t do in a classroom. I am big on group discussions when instructing my class, if I have multiple students asking the same question in clinic I like to draw everyone’s attention to the topic so we can discuss as a group, it’s not the same online. Once I moved on to my blog assignment it was nice to have a peer to have discussions with. We read over our assignment during a skype call and worked through our issues together. I really enjoyed having a peer again. What caught my attention about this quote is that it’s not just me who is learning how to persevere at online learning but a whole community of online learners, which may be facing similar challenges. It’s reassuring that you’re not alone, that there is group discussions you can join, online coffee shops or even blogs from past and current students working through the same assignments that you can use as guidance.

Reflective:

I have realized that by doing an online course, I wasn’t just having to learn about the “foundations of adult educations” but also about online learning. This brings to my attention that some of my students may be learning more than one thing at a time. If they are an adult learner, with a family, and they are going back to school later in life, they too may have many obstacles to overcome to persevere in the classroom. By understanding the characteristics of your learners you can help plan lessons and activities that fit their diverse needs.

Interpretive:

My Aha! Moment when reading this quote would have to be when I realized that my instructor was using his assignments to help develop skills he knew we would need to persevere in our online course. Assignments like creating a blog helped us to develop our computer literacy skills. By pairing us with a partner to do a web-conference project with, he was helping us to connect our feelings of belonging in the online program and our abilities to develop interpersonal skills with our peers. My key insight from this quote would have to be that there is always more than meets the eye. There is so much thought process put into the design of every course and assignment. It not just one goal that an instructor is are hoping we get out of any assignment but multiple levels of growth as well.

Decisional:

I feel that by reflecting on this quote I have really dug deep down into how I am truly feeling about being an online learner. I have got a better understanding of the detail and thought process that goes into each and every lesson plan and assignment. That there is so much more to considering when you are looking at an assignment, it not just the end result but also how you get to that end result. The levels of personal growth you have gained by working with a partner, or how learning to create an online blog can keep you in touch with new and emerging trends in technology. I am excited to bring this new knowledge to my classroom, and to look at how we are incorporating different levels of learning into our current assignments and lesson plans. My goals as an instructor is to keep striving to achieve more, to bring something new to my classroom from every assignment I do along my way to completing my instructor diploma, and finally to help my students take more than just a grade away from my classroom.