My First Podcast!

For the PIDP 3240 class I have posted my first podcast of my life.  It’s about an Economist article on inequalities in lifelong learning.  Please excuse the stutters and oopsies while I speak.  I recorded it in one take only.  Check it out!


Think-Pair-Share Classmate Digital Project

James Curtis has made a great video on the Think-Pair-Share teaching technique.  I am inclined to try out this technique in my class.  It involves asking the class an open-ended question and pairing off students to discuss their answers.  Then the pairs share their answers with the class.  Give it a watch and don’t miss the hilarious blooper reel at the end!

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Revolutionary Educational Technique? Or Flimflamery?


In a recent PIDP 3250 forum, we talked about some wild type of education techniques.  When I saw it in action, it didn’t sit right with me.  My instinct was, “This is silly and pointless.”  Now, I know that my instincts can guide me the wrong way on occasion, but they are usually right.

So I was inspired to read When Can You Trust the Experts? How to Tell Good Science from Bad in Education by Daniel T. Willingdam (2012).  Wow!  What an eye opener this book is.  I have been taking the PIDP program since the beginning of November and in that time I have been open to many new ideas and perspectives on education.  But there is a danger to being open to new ideas, and that is the danger of purporting bad educational practices just because they are “revolutionary”.

Willingdam does a really great job of explaining a framework that educators can follow to evaluate new educational techniques.  He understands that we can’t all become neuroscientists, interpret complex research or run elaborate experiments of our own.  Instead, he explains a simple framework that an educator can employ to evaluate educational research.  He openly admits that it is a shortcut and fallible, but it is way better than taking new ‘research’ for granted.

It is also great to  be thinking on the side of a person being approached to change or add to the established curriculum.  As PIDP graduates, we will be excited and armed with new teaching techniques that we will want to propose to our educational institutions.  But how can we responsibly recommend them?  Willingdam explains what a responsible educational pitch should look like.

PIDP, please add this book to the reading list!

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Introverted to Extroverted

In researching one of my blog postings for the PIDP 3250 course, I came across an interesting blog posting on changing people from being introverts to being extroverts from Psychology Today.

I really value the benefits introverted behavior brings (thoughtfulness, consideration, structure etc), but sometimes a teacher needs to prepare a student to be successful in some extroverted behavior as part of their job.

The good news is that the blog posting says that if you focus on specific behavior rather than general change, you can change from specific introverted behavior to specific extroverted behavior.  For example, if a student is introverted about giving 5 minute presentations to groups of ten people, with practice presenting for 5 minutes to ten people they can exhibit extroverted behavior.  It’s like the age-old credos, “Fake it until you make it”, but its more like “Fake it till you become it”.

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Digital Project: Learning from mistakes


Jennifer Aarestad  created a wonderful digital project called learning from mistakes.  She used Prezi, a program with impressive visuals and a professional look.

The presentation really reminded me of how I have come to approach students making mistakes.  Student mistakes are learning opportunities and as dedicated professionals, we should be looking for learning opportunities for our students at all times.  I often feel that a student can learn a lot more from a mistake than from a success!

Learning…from mistakes

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Timelines for online class discussion forums

I am participating in online discussion forums for my Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Course, Instructional Strategies.  I was researching about ways to encourage participants to both contribute and stay on topic.  In my searching for ideas, I came across a very interesting article on setting aside points for timely responses to forum postings.

There are expectations for breadth and depth of postings in the Instructional Strategies course, as outlined in a class Rubric.  However, the rubric only asks for postings to be ‘regular’ throughout the week.  In my opinion, this expectation is too subjective and I think that to adhere to an assessment methodology that is specific for students, the expectation of regular contributions throughout the week should be explained in detail.  When students know specifically how they will be assessed it boosts the assessment tool’s authenticity.  “The rationale for any methods used to evaluate learners should be clearly explained, and the criteria used for making judgements should be explicitly outlined.” (Fenwick & Parsons, page 8)

Here is a great article on setting specific timelines and expectations for student forum contributions, How to Encourage Continuously Interactive Online Discussions by Tony Birch.

Fenwick, T., Parsons, J.  (2009). The Art of Evaluation: A Resource for Educators and Trainers(2nd ed.).  Thompson Educational Publishing.

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Digital Project by Roy Fisher


Roy Fisher has made an excellent video on Connected Communities, about creating Learning Communities which can be found here.

Roy shows a lot of the possibility of leveraging the benefits of technology in creating connected learning communities.  I think that the barrier of learning how to use technology for education is lessening as people are interfacing with technology more and more.  I am excited to see how education will develop as technology continues to change our lives.

Motivating Lifelong Learning

I don’t think that a teacher should just get their students to reach course outcomes.  I think a teacher has an inherent obligation to promote lifelong reflective practice in their students.

When I consider how my students will graduate and then work in a professional capacity, my big question is, “How are they doing in eight years?”  Are they espousing the core values of their initial training?  Are they enjoying their work?  Unfortunately, I feel that my knowledge level is deficient in this area.

I need to create ways to contact and query former students.  I  need to check in with them, as I do when they are in my course.  Enthusiastic, newly graduated students is almost a cliché, I think the real innovation in educational practice will be to connect student motivation to a large and long-term view.

Dont make a misstake!


It is a commonly held belief that being comfortable with failure is the only way to engage in critical thinking.  I have seen it in students as well as teachers.  I can say personally that I am at my creative best teaching without being evaluated by my boss in the back of the class.

As teachers of adults, we are in front of a large group who are hopefully taking in our every word and gesture.  It’s funny that our very goal of student engagement creates such a scary situation in which a teacher could make a mistake.  If I say the wrong thing in front of a class, I would rather that my students are disengaged and didn’t hear me.

To be in the space, as a teacher, where we can engage in creative thinking during a classroom, I think it is important that we allow ourselves little mistakes during class time.  We can model behavior for students and create a classroom culture of failure acceptance.

With that in mind, here is a list of mistakes other teachers make during a class to let us know that we are not alone!

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