Week 5 Blog Assignment: Mapping Your Learning Connections

This week’s assignment we were asked to develop a mind map that illustrates network connections of learning.  It is important to think about how your networks provide information and support, and how different people and technologies help in learning.  After posting the mind map, we were asked to reflect on how the connections facilitate learning by answering the following questions:

How has your network changed in the way you learn?  Looking at my mind map, it is so clear that the majority of information resources are made available with technology.  I am still young enough to remember how research and information gathering involved very little technology.  It would involve attending classes and looking up topics in a card catalog (not the digital kind.)  Not only has technology given me the gift of unlimited access to unlimited topics, I can access that information any time of day in any location.   The speed of research has increased exponentially. 

Which digital tools best facility learning for you?  I utilize so many learning networks it is hard to pick just one.  I think it would have to be the internet in general.  Keeping in mind it requires data validation and information gathering should only be done with trusted sources. 

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?  It depends on the topic.  For class work, my first sources of contact are the students and instructor involved in the current class I am taking.  For other topics I generally start with Google and enter a search term related to the topic. 

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?  The way technology is developed and is stored, it is a good example of connectivism.  Taking a topic you need to research and making that topic the central metaphor, you can type information into the search area of study and be presented with many nodes containing information pertaining to the topic.  Most research websites will contain other connections to more data of the same topic and in a way are the very description of connectivism nodes and connections. 

Foley, G. (Ed.). (2004). Dimensions of adult learning: Adult education and training in a global era. McGraw-Hill Education

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Adult_Learning

Week 2 Assignment – Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

By using Google, I located the two resources below that help to expand on the week’s topics: the brain and learning, information processing theory, and problem-solving methods during the learning process.  I have cited the resources and added a few comments on the value of these resources.

The first resource I found at http://www.cainelearning.com/ was developed by Geoffrey and Renate Caine.  These co-authors have written many books and articles that integrate brain research, psychology, small group processes, systems thinking and education.  What I like most about these authors, is that they are dedicated to not only providing tools to help educators help people learn, but also continue their research to provide the most up to date discoveries on how people learn and how to apply those discoveries. 

The second resource is http://www.funderstanding.com/educators/learning-on-our-minds-brain-based-classroom-applications/.  The title of this article says a lot about its value, “Learning on Our Minds: Brain Based Classroom Applications.”  For anyone who is just learning about learning processes, it can be hard to both grasp these concepts and also visualize how to apply the concepts in a learning environment.  This article gives some very good examples of theory in practice.

Week 2 Assignment

This week we are required to select one of the instructional design blogs that either we referenced or one of our classmates referenced and thoughtfully contribute by posting an original entry, or by responding to a previous entry.  The post should contribute original thinking or knowledge to the blog, and not merely agree or disagree with the author.

When I read the requirements for this week I could not stop thinking about the blog I read last week called “Guiding principles to help us be more intentional about our course design.”  This blog can be located at http://coffeeandesign.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/guiding-principles-to-help-us-be-more-intentional-about-our-course-designs/.  I want to start off by saying I am not a political person, nor do I have a specific political affiliation.  When I think about intention and learning, it always reminds me of one of the main learning tools in our society, network news.  With election season upon us, we are inundated with political advertisement and news stories with a specific intention of shaping our affiliation to one candidate.  It sometimes feels like the intention is to manipulate facts in order to cause a negative emotion towards another person or an issue.  These continued tactics really weigh heavy on my heart.  I know that each candidate or issue has both good and bad points.  However, if we could come together and focus on resolving issues instead of trying to obtain personal interests by portraying wrong intentions, we would be able to solve so many of the major issues in the world today.  It seems instead that wrong intentions when providing information cause us to lose focus of the real issues and topics.

In the blog “Guiding principles” blog, it suggests asking yourself specific questions when you are designing learning.  What will the course look like, what content needs to be in the course, and what will the learner do with this content?  These questions and blog are designed to make us more intentional in our instructional design.  I hope that my entry will also make you more intentional to the emotion you are portraying in your course content.  Be positive in your intention and avoid emotion that will overshadow your course content.