As part of my PIDP 3240 course we have multiple forum based discussions where we share links to articles and online resources. One of the resource that caught my eye was the website Kahoot. For any of you unfamiliar with the site, you can create online quizzes, surveys and discussions. They have 11.2 million public kahoots you can use if you don’t have time or don’t want to create your own. I have had no problem finding quizzes that fit in multiple topics for my certified dental assisting program. I am pretty sure with 11.2 million there is something for almost every topic out there. The hardest part is going to be figuring out which one fits your needs best.

I was so excited to have an opportunity to introduce Kahoot to my students yesterday.  I had been trying to find the perfect class to incoperate an online game/quiz. In my class I was introducing the facial and cranial bones and  I was lucky enough to find a Kahoot that covered the exact same information I was teaching.

I used a Kahoot quiz as a review of what I had taught that class. I wanted to keep it short and pretty basic, nothing overwhelming for their first time.  I decided to play the team mode vs one on one, to make it less intimidating for any struggling students and more of an overall collaborative experience. I have to say Kahoot was a hit! My students loved it! They thought it was lots of fun and the perfect way to end our class for the weekend.To top it off the other instructor in my program could hear all the laughing and asked where she could find the link.

Kahoot was also helpful to me. From the student’s results, I learned that on one question 5 out of the 7 groups answered it wrong.  This feedback shows me what area of the subject matter my students were struggling with and now I have a starting point for my next class.

I would highly recommend this website to new and experienced instructors.

Have fun! Explorer! Learn!



Chain Notes – A PowToon Presentation

I have created a digital project on the Classroom Assessment Technique, Chain Notes.  Its a great feedback instrument to get fast, honest student feedback on their engagement and learning.  I hope you enjoy and learn something new.

Please follow the link below:




The Big “L” Word

child with computer


Yes, I am going to talk about the big “L” word today, Lectures!  Some people love them, some people hate them and some people just deal with them. I have to admit I thought there was only one way to lecture and one outcome from lecturing, sleeping students.  When I say I am a lifelong learner, I really mean it, every day I learn something new. Today I learned there is more than one way to lecture!! Yes it’s true! I just finished Chapter 6 in “The Skillful Teacher”, By Stephen Brookfield’s and he actually can write a full chapter on ways to lecture. I took notes on my readings today and wrote down a bunch of links I wanted share at the end of my post.

I feel like when I try to lecture, I just naturally migrate to a classroom discussion, and then into small group discussions. I am always worried about not keeping my students engaged. I think Brookfield opened my eyes to new possibilities with lecturing. Brookfield (2015) discusses what he calls Lecturing from Siberia which he first learned about from a book by Ira Shor (1996) called When Students Have Power. He explains the zone at the far back of the classroom, sometimes beside the back door, as Siberia. This is an area where students tend to go to avoid being called a pone or to take a nap. Ira describes moving your lecture into Siberia. By doing this he shifts his students focus and in turn can effectively engage them into his lecture.

Lecturing in Siberia leads nicely into the example I am most excited about trying in my classroom. Brookfield’s (2015) next idea is to Use Spartial Separation for “Speaking in Tongue”.  Brookfield explains this as more of an activity, but in lecture form, where he is discussing the same topic but from different points of view. To help students distinguish between the different points of view by He puts up different signs around the classroom. Brookfield then proceeds to move to these different areas and continue his discussion using different voices and different hats to help his students recognize the perspectives. I think this could be a great way to engage your students into lectures. It helps mix thigs up instead of just standing at the front of the class. I feel if the students are curious about what you are doing there is more chance they will be following you instead of drifting off.  I could see myself trying this idea, since I think I could incorporate in some group work with the students, after the initial lecture is done.

I have heard before that keeping your lecture to 10-15 mins is an important part to keeping your students attention and motivation. But what do you do after 10-15 mins, when you still have another 45mins of material to cover in your lecture?  Brookfield (2015) addresses this issue with a few options. You could try doing a one-minute paper, response to the class Twitter feed or TodaysMeet, as mini brain breaks. These are great ways to break up your lecture and to promote classroom discussions. They are also a great way to help you assess where to direct your lecture, based on where your students’ needs are.

Here are some of the links I found helpful in my readings from Brookfield’s The Skillful Teacher.




References :

Brookfield, S.D (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Trust, technique and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Shor, I. When Teachers Have Power: Negotiating Authority in a critical Pedagogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Teaching to Diversity

book tornato

Is it possible to teach to every student’s unique learning style and needs? Even with multiple types of teaching approaches it is still going to be an endless struggle. Classes are always changing, it’s hard to say what dynamic of race, personalities and learning styles, are going to walk into your classroom next.  Now a days there is just so much diversity. You have multicultural classrooms with self- directed learners, and highly teacher dependent learners. Things get even more interesting when you have English as a second language for some students. This is where using a feedback instrument is going to pay a big part in you instructing. It can help you get an understanding of where your students are in their learning and where you may to make some adjustments.

In Chapter 8, of The Skillful Teacher, Brookfield gives some examples of excellent teaching approaches he uses. Brookfield (2015)  states variations and experimentation are always bounded by our personalities, abilities, knowledge and experience. We have limits, as individual instructors. He refers to team-teaching as one of his most successful teaching approaches, especially when the right mix of personalities, teaching styles and racial backgrounds are combined. I am so lucky this is how I get to instruct in clinic everyday, so i know first hand what a great success this can be.


Brookfield, S.D (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Trust, technique and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


My partner, Kusum and I chose the topic, student engagement. I feel this was a perfect topic to gain more knowledge in, since what instructor doesn’t want to keep their students engaged? I think the hardest part of this assignment for Kusum and I, was to find just one article relating to trends and one relating to roles, in student engagement. Doing research online it is so easy to get caught up in the endless articles, easily accessible at our fingertips. I found myself reading an article or blog, then finding some new and interesting trend, and going off and googling the new topic.

While kusum and my articles, had some similar trends and roles, I feel we still had room to learn from each other. What I was really interested in learning from Kusum, was how she related the emerging social trend of personalizing learning with her current mentoring role. She has been in charge of mentoring a group of 3 students, with some projects. She communicates mainly with these students through social media via text or emails. Her students are even using their cell phones to record and document interview while out in the field. I am interested in hearing success stories related to the use of mobile devices in a school setting. So far in the clinic setting at OC, mobile devices are not acceptable, or useful, having currently added new computers to every op it really limits the use or need for cell phones.

While doing a learning project with a partner online, was a learning curve for me, I also found it to be a great experience. I got the opportunity to build a rapport with a fellow student. It was nice to have another student to interact with, and discuss thoughts and ideas on our current assignments. I can see how group projects can help keep students engaged because it can be more interesting working with a partner and have discussion on a topic then just working by yourself.

You can check out Kusum blog at:

New Insight: Roles of an Educator in Student Engagement

If you asked me a few years ago about the variety of roles of an instructor I could have told you two, they present knowledge and they evaluate. That was the depth of my knowledge into instructing. Wow, what a shock it was when I started instructing at the Okanagan College in the spring, and even more when I started the Instructor Diploma Program at VCC, just 2 months ago. What I have already learned in a short few months is amazing, instructors are amazing. I just can’t get enough information; I want to absorb ever piece of knowledge from my co-workers and my mentors. I love hearing about how they are using their roles as instructors to motivate students with fun, interactive learning activities in their theory classes or how they use the internet to find interactive slide show related to their courses to engage their students.

Instructors have control over the learning environment, the course materials, teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessments. The way these are designed and aligned influence student motivation (Ambrose et. al. 2010) and deeper engagement in learning (Biggs, 2003).

It is the role of an instructor to assess the needs and goals of their students. When expectations are clearly outlined by an instructor, students are more likely to be engaged in their learning. I have read this over and over again while doing my research for this assignment. It is my role as an instructor to take the time to build a rapport with my students, learn their goals, and skill knowledge, so I can use teaching strategies that can help me meet my student’s goals as well as my courses content. It is one of my roles to be a planner, to understand the different levels of student knowledge and take this knowledge in to the planning of my course, so I can help all my students be engaged during class.

In the CDA program it is common to have students with past employment in the dental field. We normally have one or two students a year that have taken the dental receptionist course or even a few students that have been working as chair-side assistants, these students are looking to further their skill levels and get certified. It is the role of an instructor to consider this previous experience when try to keep these students engaged. As an educator we are always assessing our students learning, giving feedback and guidance when needed. One of our main roles as an instructor is to facilitate our students in all aspects of learner. It may mean different things for different students.

The knowledge I have gained from my research on roles of instructors to engage students, has given me the awareness that there is no one way to teach students. They come from all different backgrounds of knowledge and have different goals for their outcome. Our roles as instructors varies from a planner, a motivator, an evaluator and a facilitator, this just to name a few. In the end, how we use our roles as instructors, how we design our courses and work to meet our student’s goals will determine how engaged our students are. I truly believe that Clement said it best with her line “it was a true passion for the subject, a desire to learn all about it, and a further desire to share that knowledge.”(Clement, M. 2014) There is nothing more rewarding then having an educator that loves their chosen profession. This may not be a role of an educator, but I truly believe students will be more engaged if they have an instructor who has a passion for their profession.


Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M, Lovett, M.C & Norman, M.K. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass.

Barkley, E.F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.

Clement, M. (2014, November 21). Six Things That Make College Teachers Successful. Faculty Focus. Retrieved From http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/faculty-development/six-things-make-college-teachers-successful/

Isophere, (2014, May 6). Free digital photos. Retrieved from