Thursday, March 01, 2007

Connectivism and Constructivism

Learning Theories - There is much to ponder. I think that the 21st century classroom needs to have technological literate teachers who believe in accomodating students with differentiated instruction to accomodate multiple intelligences. These classrooms need to have foundations of constructivism, perhaps just moderate constructivism, and I also like the discussions revolving around connectivism. Knowledge is rapidly changing; it doesn't last forever.

George Siemens has provided valuable information which I have tried to internalize:

I have been reading about connectivism and I understand this to be a comprehensive learning theory. Learning is network formations; learning focuses on the process and educators can enable the connections (as well as other sources). Today's curriculum courses are "cracking" because they are one dimensional and much of what we are teaching (the knowledge that we are distributing) becomes useless. The knowledge growth is so rapid - knowledge has a shelf life. There are so many new types of connections related to the attainment of knowledge such as Wikipedia (open source applications), rating pages, ... New knowledge and connections are being created so rapidly.

Content is so different today: creating, saving, accessing and sharing has become so different. Anyone and everyone is involved in these simple tasks, tasks that were once so difficult and time consuming. We need a model for teaching that will keep what is important current - this is a challenge. I believe much of this theory of learning, and I especially like his discussions regarding hard and soft knowledge.

In addition, there are factors on perception - belief, emotions and motivation. I firmly believe that these three factors play the largest role in learning. I also favor the theory of multiple intelligences; I believe that there is a genetic component involved in which method of learning works best. Factors affecting perception and multiple intelligences strongly affect my beliefs about learning and teaching. However, I feel that curriculum development needs to be guided by connectivisim and constructivist learning theories. Educators must address this issue of the shift in this definition of knowledge, and students need to become competent in managing the abundance and types of knowledge.

After reading several blogs tonight (
G-Town Talks), I tried making a few connections.... If we could embrace these learning theories: constructivism, connectivism, and multiple intelligences... would there be such controversy about rules regarding cell phones and mp3 players?? Would teachers be more willing to embrace students'personal tech devices, because as we utilize these theories, we would need to be building more safety and security into our daily teaching?

Just a thought to ponder. ..

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Vancouver Sun Run

The Vancouver Sun Run is being held on Sunday, April 15, 2007, and my sisters want me to go with them. I love to run, and I try to run a bit - in my spare time - lol. This is supposed to be one of the biggest charity races, breaking a new record with over 50 000 participants in 2006. I am quite excited about the possibilty, but I have to work out all of the details.

Wish me luck with training! Two of my sisters are 12 and 14 years younger than I am, so I better find some time to do a little! (One sister is older and I know I can keep up with her- Thank goodness!)


I have been researching the use of widgets, which I'm sure most of you will know more about this than I do. Apparently they have been around for quite some time, only they were called badges or modules? Now with Vista, obviosuly they may become more popular. I understand that the new windows comes with already installed widgets (weather and news). I'm supposed to be receiving Vista in the mail; I bought a new computer in January. From the brief reading that I have done, there are two kinds of widgets: web and desktop. I have been tryint to install a couple of web widgets onto my blog, and I think that I have been successful - bookmarking and a calendar. I plan on adding Flickr, but I have to get to my marking and my paper. I am hoping to do more reading and work with these widgets over the weekend.

These widgets may prove to be a very popular and convenient method to manage all the "new knowledge" of this digital era, another step in creating networks.

A Not So Good Day...

If today there is no full moon, I don't want to go back to school. Plain and simple. Today, I had "discussions" with more kids than I think I had in the entire year, or so it seemed. My colleagues tell me that I sometimes tend to exaggerate, but I really don't think I do.

In addition, my laptop is gone with the technician. I hope he drops it somewhere along the way; it has never worked properly from day one, which has only been about seven months. Today, he found that the touchpad does not work properly, so now he is going to blank the entire machine. He took it to repair it about 3 weeks ago, and it worked for perhaps an hour or so. He is an excellent technician; I keep telling him that it is just a dud. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong; my brother works as a computer system anaylst and he tells me that 1 out of every 4 machines do not work exactly they way that they should. Now maybe he told me this when he was having a computer moment; I'm not sure...

What else... My daughter plays hockey on two teams, and one is finished; my son plays for the Midgets and they are done. Anyway, the two teams that should be finished, apparently are not. Everyone now wants to play exhibition games. I admire the organizers and coaches thier energy, dedication and enthuiasm for the sport. But, some of us are ready to move on to the next thing.

Educational issues.. The Education Act states, "Every pupil is accountable to the principal's general deportment at any time that the pupil is under the supervision of the school and members of the teaching staff, including the time spent in travelling between the school and the pupil's place of residence." I have some difficulty comprehending this issue, and I have consistently interpreted this as the time that elementary students are walking to and from school. I have disciplined several elementary students for fighting/bullying incidents on the way to and from school. This could before school, at lunch and after school. I do have concerns over the legalities of students who drive around at lunch hour, before and after school. If senior students are choosing to take alternate routes/methods to and from school what control do I want/need to have over this. I have heard of administrators keeping student keys at the office over lunch hour, but this seems too uncontrollable and risky. I find this a a very "grey" area... I need to write a news article on this subject, so I'm going to remind students that they may be disciplined under this section of the Education Act.