Thursday, September 15, 2016

Session 2-The Power of Blogging

Welcome back to Session 2---The Power of Blogging!!

To start your creative juices flowing for S2, please watch this enlightening and entertaining video by Ken Robinson via TED Talks. It lasts for approximately 12 minutes, but it is time well spent!


When you are done, feel free to continue the dialog by commenting below.


If I may just reiterate---I've thrown most of you directly into the fire by diverging from the traditional forms of Learning Management Systems like Sakai and Blackboard for a very important reason.  In order to truly experiment with and learn how to use 21st century learning tools to aid you in your future endeavors teaching adult learners you really have to play in the sandbox.  I subscribe to the teaching philosophy of 'full immersion,'  so don't stress too much during this week's exercises. Mistakes will be made (and expected).  Based upon most of the emails I have been getting, the majority of the class has very little experience with this kind of communication medium.

There were many interesting conversations and comments left under our first two postings.  I've never had a class already know each other so well. Two comments that stood out were addressing the intensity and workload of learning (and teaching) online.  Sharyn said,
Heidi, I think that you and Jason have narrowed in on how difficult it is to take an online course due to the independence it affords. An outsider may think that having more freedom online would result in it being an easier way to learn, but it is just the opposite, especially if you are not an organized student."
Then Paul responded,
You hit the nail on the head when you pointed out the common misconception that online courses are easy. I've found that more time and effort (and discipline) must be used in the online setting. We've been fortunate to be part of a great group of people involved in this program, I have found that working together has been so helpful!"


These are interesting points and both very true. This course is all about using online tools and resources to help you facilitate learning. Whether you are instructing f2f and adding in a few tools, or completely online, adding tech to your lessons can be total 'time suck'. You blink your eyes and hours have gone by and you've gotten lost in this vacuum of cool stuff to explore with not enough time in your life to play with them all.  I've also noticed that the workload to 'prepare' an online course is heavier as well. If any of you become online instructors or if you just do a hybridized course of instruction you'll find that you have to try to anticipate the questions and answer them ahead of time.  Whereas in a f2f setting you can easily go back and forth with Q&A's.  
 

You'll notice a change or two on our blog.  I thought that I would introduce you the first week to a stripped down version of a blog and have it slowly evolve over the weeks, so you could see other tools and abilities.

You'll be spending the bulk of your time this week moving through a number of tutorials that are asynchronous and self-paced.  Each one will walk you through a different element of a blog.  You'll go through these tutorials and experiment.  It is less important that you can envision an immediate use for this tool, but more significant that you get the opportunity to immerse yourself and think about how a tool like this forces participants to think outside the traditional classroom and encourages conversations with a wider audience.  My point with these exercises is not to give you busy work.  My hope is that you try to fit these additions and capabilities into the bigger picture----that big picture is how to use tech to facilitate teaching and learning.  Anyone can have their students play with fun tools,  it takes focus upon the motivation for their introduction to ensure they have merit.

You may recall that we touched upon Creative Commons Licensing and Open Education Resources during our first session. All of the tutorials we'll be using this week are freely licensed.  We'll go into much more detail about CC Licensing and its benefits to you when planning future teaching or PD sessions later this semester.  Let's start by watching this brief video:




Now give this page a quick skim focusing particularly on the license distinctions half-way down the page.  Just try to gain an overall understanding.You don't need to memorize it.  I don't expect you to be well-versed----just aware.



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Below, you will find a list of bulleted links that will take you to the exercises for Session 2. No one is going to force you to use these tools in the future, but please make a sincere effort to try them out.  Blogger, like nearly all online tools, is perpetually evolving, so if any of the directions seem to be off slightly please try to work around them.


  • Setting Up a Blogger Account
  • Adding a new post with a photo
  • Fine tuning your blog
  • Add a hyperlink from text or a photo
  • Changing the template & layout
  • Get rid of the top Navigation Bar
  • Adding a separate page
  • Adding html embed code with an Animoto example
  • Adding your own header photo
  • Editing html
  • Adding Recent Comments to your sidebar
  • Adding a label to group blog posts
  • Adding a gadget to the side bar
  • Adding an email subscription
  • Adding a hit counter or Clustrmap
  • Adding a working link to your email
  • Adding audio with AudioPal
  • Adding a Google Presentation
  • Adding a Google Calendar
  • Adding a YouTube Video
  • Adding a list of links in your side bar
  • Adding a link to class bookmarks
  • Adding a working clock
  • Adding external generated photos
  • Adding a jigsaw puzzle
  • Adding Speakpipe- audio commenting
  • Adding a webnote link to your blog
  • Adding a Photopeach Slideshow
  • Adding a photo to your Blogger profile
  • Add pdf, audio & video with Dropbox
  • Adding a Voicethread to your blog
  • Posting to your blog via email
  • Adding new authors / admin to your blog
  • Blogging from your iPad or iPhone
  • Keeping up with what's on other blogs


  • =======================================================

    Part 2


    Let's start Part 2 of Session 2 by continuing to analyze online teaching andragogy.

    First go through these links and follow the instructions, then view the readings on the 

    syllabus.









    Good Luck and have fun practicing with your new blog this week.  As you create yours, please send me the link and I'll add it to the list in the left-hand margin.

    142 comments:

    1. Another teacher of mine had provided this video to one of my classes in undergrad. I can honestly say that I see how our generations have changed over time, but how we believe that if we keep teaching like we're still in just one generation that we will not expand our future generations learning, we will in fact hinder them from becoming their own smart creative beings.

      From a young age we are told that we will be guaranteed a job, I know when I was little that's what I was told but now looking at the rest of generation, graduates and non graduates we are not much different from each other. The only thing that separates us is a piece of paper that tells us we are, not to say better, but maybe more knowledgeable. I personally don't believe this, I don't believe I am more knowledgeable than my friends who have not graduated or who have even not gone to college.

      As far as looking at children with ADHD, I agree we shouldn't be trying to put their active minds to rest, we in fact should be working with their active minds and working them up to their full potential. They could be the up and coming new ideas we need in our world and we choose to put them on prescriptions to slow their minds and stop them from wandering. But maybe mind wandering is what we need in this country. Now i'm not saying this in a we need to get lost or crazy but maybe just to be more open minded to ideas some crazy some not. Or maybe just more open minded to how people are rather than trying to change them, to what society says is right.

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      1. I have alot of respect for some of these younger kids who let their mind wander and develop some cool app that change the country. We have to stop putting people in a box, do this and that. You are right, we can hinder people.

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      2. Hi Laura,
        This really is the most stimulating time to be a child. We all can see how even infants are infatuated with iPhones and other gadgets, and let’s face it, those electronics are stimulating and fun. I had to laugh when Ken Robinson pointed out that kids today are being penalized for being stimulated – by things that are stimulating! Also the fact that the numbers of children on ADHD medication has grown alongside the spread of standardized testing. Clearly things need to be done differently to “reform education”!

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      3. Many people who have contributed great things to this world did not do well in "traditional school." we need to remind ourselves of this fact. There is a reason for it, and this video explains it pretty clearly.

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      4. I think that sometimes the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" won't work - especially with regards to education. We must always be on the cutting edge, ready to try new things to stay current.

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      5. My opinion on ADHD is that while medication may have to be used in some instances, it shouldn't be the 'go to' solution. My son has ADHD and I want him to learn the tools he needs to enhance his creative thinking and energy. Not medicate him so he can sit quietly and unengaged in school.

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      6. Paula - Good for you. I had the same issue with my son. I did not give him medication. He never enjoyed school and I don't think any amount of medication would have changed that. I have often second guessed that decision, though. Now that I am back in school myself, I have met a great many people who also hesitated to give their children ADHD medication. Hopefully we all made the correct choices for our children.

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    2. I loved the way this video explained how the cookie-cutter way of teaching should be a thing of the past; that it is more important to uncover the strengths each student embodies and present an education package that works for the individual. While the US is ready to embark on a new structure of educating our youth, we also need to focus on what some view as the ADHD epidemic.

      When George W. Bush’s administration initiated the No Child Left Behind education plan, the creation of the standardized test to ascertain how schools were performing took on a meaning that no one could foresee. The great burden teachers and principals encountered put added and undue stress on them as well as the students. When traced, this became the beginning of a highest recorded rate of ADHD being diagnosed.

      When we think of the best way to serve the future educational needs of students, we need to think more along the lines of eliciting their inner creativity and uniqueness and less along the lines of conformity.

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      1. Sharyn, you said it...great burden on teachers and principals.

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      2. Also, the adverse effects on students that don't fit the preset notion of what a "genius" or great student must be. I totally agree that we must embrace and enhance creativity and not be so quick to put a student in a particular box.

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      3. I too think that we should stop making robots of our youth. I get so tired of labels and medications that "fix the problem." How about we deal with the problem and find better solutions for what might be overactive minds and creativity. As Dr. Robinson explains, we are way past the industrial revolution so let's think outside the box that our kids are being placed in.

        Jeanette V.

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      4. It makes me wonder if some of the kids that are defiant in school are just trying to get out of that box but instead are viewed as problematic because they don't want to do things the way they've always been done.

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      5. That's a great way of putting it Luz.

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      6. Luz I think that is spot on. While some kids may actually be defiant, I think many of them are questioning the teacher as a way of learning, not of the teacher themselves. But it's viewed as being defiant and the student gets in trouble rather than encouraged to continue to think for themselves and outside of the box.

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      7. It's great to hear all of you 'thinking outside the box.' I'm at the RI Innovation Powered by Technology Conference today and all the sessions are about using tech. to personalize learning to best suit individual student's needs.

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      8. Many times I think that children are bored with the subject matter because of how some people just understand things and some people take longer. It does make more sense to organize children by ability and comprehension level rather than age.

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      9. I couldn't agree more Luz. Those children could be trying to step out of the box but society tells them its wrong. But who are we to tell them they are wrong, just because their way doesn't fit into society's norm.

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    4. This was a great video, not only was it a great way to present the material but I truly believe what he is saying. My father, talking about him again, always had a pencil in his pocket. Whenever he had to figure something out, out came the pencil and he would start creating or adding something up or just writing it down. He was and still is an independent, life-long learner who to this day is still inventing things. He never obtained a college degree but he could blow away any electrician out there. He just completed the coolest compost bin and solar panel made completely out of recycled cat food cans. It actually produces heat. He is amazing. Long story short, we need to get back to the basics and teach our students so that they want to learn. Spark their curiosity, ask questions and really take the time to listen.

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      1. I couldn't agree more. We feed into what society has made a standard instead of teaching students in ways that interest them. By doing that we are taking away from their want to learn because they are "bored" or "uninterested".

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      3. Hi Chris,

        Totally agree with you! If we don't allow people to invent and be creative we will never progress. Everyone is different and, as stated in the video, collaboration between those individuals can lead to great things.

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      4. Christine,
        I agree 100%. Sounds like your dad was a real forward thinker!! The video's message was so strong and yet it sounds as though we have not taken the necessary steps to change our educational system.

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      5. I loved the video and agree with what all of you have said about learning. Rather than cater to the standardized testing results, lets cater to the learning styles that interest the students. That would be a win win situation. Kids would be engaged and learn and the testing results will go up!

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      6. Chris, you are very lucky to have such an amazing role model. People learn so much better hands on. It's so cool how your dad came up with an idea, worked through it and was successful.

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    5. My husband and I watched this video last night, and coincidentally, we've been having a similar discussion regarding our past educational experiences and our daughter's current education. I agree with Ken Robinson's statement that we should be waking our kids up, rather than anesthetizing them, and that we should step away from the production line mentality of educating our children. It brought to mind Montessori education. While I don't know much about this approach, I do know that it does not follow the traditional ways of instruction and children of different ages are grouped together and encouraged to explore and learn from each other. Perhaps this type of "schooling" encourages children to become divergent thinkers since they are encouraged to look for the answers on their own (with some help) rather than listening to a lecture on the right way to do things?

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      1. I love how you get your whole family involved in your learning which helps them learn too. Your so cute! I too agree about the production line.

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      2. Luz,

        Also, I'm noticing a theme with the word "traditional" as it relates to education. It seems like whenever that term is used, it is stifling to the freedom and creativity needed to grow as a learner. I reflected back to the flipped-classrooms we discussed last week. Clearly, there must be other effective means other than "traditional", or as I like to call it, "the way we have always done it."

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      3. Paul I agree. When someone says 'the way we've always done it' and they are not even willing to entertain a different, more efficient way, it drives me crazy. I understand that it could be because they are intimated by technology or veering from their course, however, with the correct training that includes understanding of that, things could change for the better! Trust me I know, we still use typewriters and index cards in my office as a means of daily work!!!

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      4. Luz,
        I thought of the same thing about the Montessori schools when I saw the video. I wonder if there has ever been a study about the educational "smarts" so to speak in children graduating from a traditional school vs. a Montessori school. It would be interesting to know this.

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      5. Hi All,
        I too thought of Monstessori and other models of non-traditional schools. I have a friend who is working to open a charter school beginning with middle school grades. His idea is to let the children direct their learning by their interests, similar to a Montessori model. He believes the children will be stimulated by the learning of their peers and that will spark interest in a new content area, eventually leading to their attaining a more rounded and richer educational experience. I am curious to see if it will come together for him.

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    6. Very interesting video. The views on ADHD were extremely interesting. Let’s face it, learning can be very boring. Learning needs to be meaningful to students. We cannot simple tell students they need to learn this ….because! Students who cannot make the connections will fall asleep in our lectures and view the class a waste of time. I bet if we interviewed a variety of students, a huge percent would indicated that most do not have a positive view of their learning experience. We need to raise up more ways of creative learning. There is no such thing as smart people and not smart people…..if we are mentored correctly we can take on the world. "tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn...Benjamin Franklin

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      1. Hi Heide,

        I love that Ben Franklin quote. I totally agree that we must help the students to understand the relevance of what is being taught - the "why does this matter to me?" needs to be answered. For adult learners, the question may sometimes be "what's in it for me?", but in either case, if it is boring and the relevancy of the information is not stressed, people will struggle to learn the material.

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      2. Ben Franklin quote is completely accurate. I know there are people who are considered 'book smart' and they can learn by reading, but by doing they gain experience and that is just as, if not as important as the information itself. I think anyone who has a teenager who 'knows it all' will agree with me. I myself am a learn by doing, I can read something 10 times and not have a clue but I can see and do something one or two times and I understand it.

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      3. I absolutely love that quote. I feel like I live by it everyday. I am more apt to learn by being involved than I am by just telling me how to do something. Which some teachers may struggle to see this.

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    7. "Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid”. I don't remember who created this quote, but it seems to fit here. This video reminded me of my son; to the point where it was almost painful to watch. Not everyone can learn by the same instructional methods. We need to make learning interesting for our students. If we see a student cannot understand something we are teaching a certain way, then we need to come up with an alternative method. I can recall a time when people first began stating that learners become ready to learn at different times. This video seems to be branching out from that train of thought. I am happy that educators care as much as they do. We will never stop trying to better understand our students; and we will never stop trying to improve instructional methods.

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    8. 2-1
      • What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?
      I feel that the traits a good facilitator must possess would be those where they are mindful to always contemplate the political, religious, and ethnic conventions that the participants may take part in. Ensuring that all participants in the group recognize that there may be certain topics that might be an emotional trigger for the other students is another trait that a good facilitator must have. They must be able ensure that all students are sympathetic to one another by mediating when needed.
      • The readings addressed a number of issues around online discussions. What other problems (not mentioned already) might arise in discussions in your online course? What are your greatest concerns?

      A concern over a possible issue pertaining to online discussions would be that the facilitator does not fully comprehend the material being discussed which could lead to problems. The most important thing that a facilitator must embow is complete knowledge of the subject for which they are leading discussions. When a facilitator is not fully versed in the subject matter, they might not be able to discern whether or not the conversations are being steered in the right direction. Also, if the subject matter goes off track, they might not be able to direct it back on topic. Above all, a good facilitator is one who embodies the ability to encourage learners to become attentive inquirers, autonomous thinkers, and productive co-learners.
      Sharyn

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      1. Agreed, Sharyn. A facilitator has to be inclusive and understanding of the different individuals that will be involved in their sessions. Good point that certain topics can elicit an emotional response from some of the participants, an in that case the facilitator has to work to avoid conflict and show the value of opposing views in having a healthy discussion. Also, I can definitely see how an unprepared facilitator or one that lacks knowledge will have issues in controlling the discussion. It is also difficult for those involved in the discussion are led by someone that doesn't know what they are talking about!

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      2. In addition, it is easier to "read" someone when you are face to face. You can observe body language, the expression on someone's face.....When you are writing your thoughts to someone else, such as in blogging, or texting, for instance, there is greater risk to misinterpret what someone is trying to say.

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    9. Gail I agree with you. Everyone learns different ways and the education system needs to address that and not create more standardized testing. At least not to judge where a student is academically. I really liked Ken's statement that in school working together is called cheating but outside of school it's called collaboration. That is a sort of glossed over explanation of it but the basis is the same. Whatever age you are, you always have a better chance of learning and understanding something when you discuss it with others. Even with others who hold a completely different view or opinion on something.

      I know that collaboration has helped me immensely in this program.

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    10. I am super excited, I finally, with the help of Leslie, figured out how she got her blog shared with our EDC 525 blog. When you are in your view blog screen, up at the top you will see the MORE button, click on that and email your blog to Dave and he can add it to the sidebar of his page. Thanks Leslie. You can also share your blog with other people that way. I hope this is helpful to some as I probably spent over an hour trying to figure it out. Chris

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      1. I'm sorry it took you so long, Christine. If you want to do it an easier way you can just copy the url of your new blog and paste it into an email to me. I'll then add it to the left-hand margin of our class blog, so you can all view each other's evolving projects.

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      2. We all get by with a little help from our friends....Chris B.

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      4. Chris, I figured out how to center my blog title, and I was sooooo excited! It's the little things, right?

        Luz

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    11. I wonder if we went to a totally online learning venue such as Kahn Acadamy if our youth would totally lose the ability to be empathetic to others, to be curious and to have integrity. I think they would lose out on all of that. Most of those qualities are built by being with others who possess those qualities, you learn from what you observe. If I had not been around my parents and like a sponge absorb some of their qualities, where would I be now. Very sad.

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      1. Christine, I can only imagine what the world would be like if kids went to school completely on line. As you say, they would lose any ability to learn how to be empathic and supportive to others because all they would be dealing with is themselves. I think we are in a ME generation as it is, taking away the social aspect of school - which to me is just as important as academics - would be devastating to the culture we live in.

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      2. Children would still interact with eachother online, it would just be different. Much like when we took our program development and evaluation class, etc. We saw eachother, talked to eachother and interacted. I think what children do beyond schooling would be even more important, however. Much like home schooling. My cousins are home schooling their children. They are very socially awkward and very inclusive of themselves. However, the oldest (of 5) does gymnastics. She interacts the most with people outside of her emediate family. So, based on my smallest of small case studies. I believe sports and other extra curricular activities would be even more important.

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      3. Hi Tai, I have nothing against homeschooling but I do believe that part of a child's growth is learning how to deal with one another in an unstructured environment. I don't mean send them out without supervision, but in my experience, parents are so quick to jump in and try to settle any dispute between children that they are losing out on the ability to do this themselves.

        Going to school, away from one's parents is a way for them to become their own person. While extra curricular activities are important, sometimes the parents are even worse there! And again, it's all structured. I miss the days when kids would find a field and play a game of baseball or football or pickup basketball amongst themselves. Without adults around to supervise and control their every move.

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    12. First off, I enjoyed Ken Robinson's video very much, as I do have some of the same views regarding public education. I have loved everyone's comments so far!

      Because I am a teacher, I have A LOT to say about these topics. When he brought up the ADHD epidemic I had to laugh, at times I have has close to 50% of a class diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Believe it or not, kids make jokes to each other regarding these disorders, it seems as though they think it is the norm. I have had students yell across the room "Johnny, did you take your meds today?" or one time a student raised his hand to tell me (and the rest of the class) he was having a hard time focusing because his mom changed his meds. It seems crazy that students use these disorders as excuses to their teachers and their friends.

      As a math teacher, I couldn't tell you how many times I have been asked, "when am I ever going to use this?" For algebra 2, I might have to agree, BUT, for algebra 1 and geometry I could go on forever on how important they are. As Ken Robinson mentioned, it is unfortunate that we do not have the time to demonstrate. If topics could be a little "more real" those students that struggle and seem uninterested might bloom into something your would never expect. I do my best to bring this to the classroom, but I have expectations to meet and I only have so much time.

      At the same rate, when I try to make things more interesting I definitely get a little bit of student / parent kick back. If I am asking students to think outside of the box or work on an assignment that is different than the norm, I can always expect a parent call or email. I have many different views on public education, I agree and disagree with "both sides" (if that makes sense). While I love my job and think that our school provides a great education I also think there is room for improvement. Education cannot be improved without support from teachers, administrations, students, families, and the community.
      -Jen

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      1. Hi Jen,
        So many people are resistant to change or trying new things out. The epidemic of medicating the creativity out of children has to stop, the fact that the kids themselves are joking about taking their meds indicates how serious of a problem this is becoming. I think you are taking the right approach to getting students to think outside the box, and it is unfortunate (but common) that you will receive complaints from a couple of parents no matter what you do. The key is to keep trying, and continue on working to get the support from all of the stakeholders.

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      2. Jen, I remember struggling through Algebra 1 during 8th grade because I could not grasp the fact that when you add two negative numbers together, it still produces a negative number. I'm a very visual person, and I didn't get it until someone took out a thermometer and showed me and everything else fell into place. It's unfortunate that teachers are required to meet so many expectations because it takes the fun out of teaching and in turn, the fun out of learning for the students.
        Luz

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      3. Jen,
        I am interested to know what your thoughts are about the article "Are Teachers in Brick-And-Mortar Schools Even Necessary" and about Khan Academy and on-line schooling. Also about the cyber charter schools? I actually have not heard much about this and was unaware that they were on the rise in some districts. I could not imagine my kids staying home and learning completely on-line instead of going to school and meeting with teachers and friends, not to mention the sports and extra-curricular activities that they engage in. I am perplexed to learn that communities have already gone this direction for teaching purposes?

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      4. @jeannette, Yes I can see your perspective on the growth of online charter schools. Another perspective however is that they give the students the ability to take courses that aren't offered in the f2f environment. For example, in one local district with only 650 students they aren't able to offer as many specialty advanced level courses, so they offer to have some students take them virtually to expand course offerings.

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      5. @Jeaette and Dave,
        My younger daughter was able to take courses through virtual high school that our district could not offer or did not have enough students to fill the classroom. It was a great enrichment option in that case.

        One thing that concerns me is the lack of social interaction when children are not exposed to peers on a regular basis. Learning is not just academic content. We know home schoolers who are very well integrated and have also observed some who are very awkward with peers.

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      6. Hello all,
        Regarding the virtual classes. I am very torn about this topic. NK offers a few web based classes, they are primarily used as remediation if student fails a course. From what I can see, this is not effective. Most of the students are "technology smart" and can work their way through the system without learning anything. I do not believe this is beneficial. Another issue we have is that many students know how easy they can get through the online program, therefore they choose to fail a class and just make it up online. I understand we are offering these courses to a population that has little to no motivation (for the most part - there are a few exceptions), so the views I have are a little different.

        I would also like to add to Leslie's comment about the lack of social interaction. I completely agree! At this point, my opinion is that technology is a great resource at the secondary level but not a good replacement for a class. Students need to be able to socialize and work with others to prepare them for their adult lives.
        - Jen

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    13. 2-1
      • What do you perceive as the most important function of a facilitator?

      In my opinion, the most important function of a facilitator is to help the group meet the goals of their discussion by allowing the group members to interact and work it out among themselves. It is important that the facilitator does not take over the discussion or attempt to force their opinion on the others. I think the facilitator should as open ended questions to encourage dialogue within the group rather than dominating the discussion and stifling free ideas.


      • What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?

      An effective facilitator must have respect for the group members, everyone’s ideas and contributions must be valued. Also, I think that the facilitator must be a leader, one that is not afraid to keep things on track while not allowing someone to dominate the discussion or bully the other group members. The facilitator must also have the ability to motivate the students that are not comfortable voicing or writing their opinions. All this must be done while maintaining professionalism in all areas, being a facilitator is challenging!

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    14. 2-1 What do you perceive as the most important function of a facilitator?
      I think the most important function of a facilitator is to keep the be well versed in the subject being discussed and be able to keep the conversation going. This doesn't meant take it over or tell someone they are right or wrong, but to provide thought provoking responses or follow up questions, when necessary to engage others and perhaps open minds.

      What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?
      I think an effective facilitator should posses leadership traits, definitely but they also need to know when to allow the conversation to flow and see where it goes. A facilitator should be passionate about the subject and caring enough to draw out those who may have opinions but are not comfortable speaking for fear they will be ridiculed or blasted for their opinions.

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      1. Hi Paula,
        There is no worse feeling than being stuck in a discussion where the facilitator seems to have no clue about the topic. I've been there a couple of times, and it makes you wonder if the actual facilitator was out sick so they just grabbed somebody to fill in at the last minute. The facilitator must know the topic well in order to ask those thought provoking open ended questions to keep the discussion going.

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    15. 2.2 What are some facilitation techniques you'll try when teaching your class next semester, next year, someday??? How much time do you think you'll be spending in the Discussions area of your course (versus editing lessons or returning grades)?
      When thinking this through, I really thought long and hard about what Ramsey Mussallam said in his youtube video about fostering learning and I think it can apply to online learning as well. As the facilitator, I would want to ask questions that would peak the students curiosity, get them to really think about the answers reflect and ask more questions. Students are like magnets, being drawn in by thought provoking questions. A good facilitator should be monitoring the conversation on a regular basis for content as you want to be sure the conversation is relevant and on track but also to see the participation of the students. If a student is not contributing, there may be many reasons why and it is a good facilitator who will take the time to find out why. Maybe the student is shy or intimidated by other posts that they feel are more important then theirs. It is important for the facilitator to pick a few of their posts and comment in a positive way (with others as well as not to single out) so that they feel that what they have to say is important too. Another thing I will try to do as a facilitator is to try and discourage weak posts. There is nothing worse then being in a conversation and getting answers like "Nice" or "I agree" I will try to impart the importance of reflection before response as it can really grow a topic if many people give their opinions on it. You can learn about things that you may not have even thought of prior to reading another persons perspective on that post. Chris

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      1. To expand on the "I agree" and "Nice" comment, I would try to encourage them to elaborate and put more effort into their response. Have them look at their response and think to themselves, what can I learn from this if anything.

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      2. I agree. Nice, Chris!

        You knew that was coming! But I really do agree with your points, especially where the facilitator may have to dig a little to determine why a particular student is hesitant to bring out their thoughts and opinions. Rather than becoming frustrated and dismissing that student, a good facilitator should encourage participation and will often be surprised that the initially reluctant student may have a great deal to offer.

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      3. I couldn't agree with you both more .....:) seriously though, a good facilitator should never dismiss a student for not participating. That's when they need to contact the student privately to see if everything is ok and perhaps draw them out a bit.

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    16. What do you perceive as the most important function of a facilitator?
      I perceive the most important functions of a facilitator are to know the learning styles of your students such as visual, auditory, verbal and kinesthetic. Everyone learns and perceives messages differently so in order to make sure your students are engaging in the learning process you need to take these learning styles into consideration. Also to keep students interested in what you are teaching participation is key to the learning process. This could include opened ended questions in your lesson, shared ideas and experiences. This will help to retain the information and foster knowledgeable and positive feedback from your students.

      What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?
      I feel facilitator’s needs to be flexible, innovative and optimistic. With these traits you will have the ability to build positive relationships, facilitate lifelong learning and understanding the challenges the teaching environment experiences

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    17. 2-1
      What are some facilitation techniques you'll try when teaching your class next semester, next year, someday???
      - I believe it is important to create a comfortable community where everyone involved feels part of. By doing this, I believe everyone will be more involved by asking questions, leading discussions, sharing examples, etc.. I know that when I feel intimidated or out of place I become very shy. It is my goal to eliminate this behavior.
      - I will also encourage critical thinking and have fun with it. Hopefully, this will bring in prior knowledge and lead to reflection.


      What do you perceive as the most important function of a facilitator?
      - I believe the most important role of a facilitator, is to effectively guide the group. This person should ask guiding questions and make sure everyone is working efficiently toward the same task. The facilitator should not dominate, take charge, or "boss" the group members around, they should simply encourage discussion and engage all members. They must also be sure that the designated task is the main focus and is completed in a timely manner.

      -Jen

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    18. I had watched this video in a class a while ago before I had a child. Having a child that will be school ready puts this in a different perspective. Next year our child will be of preschool age. We live in Warwick where the school system is in turmoil. They closed a high school and middle schools and moved middle schools into the highschool. All of this is going on while they are testing new practices in teaching math. A few years ago they were testing a new technique of teaching math that was rolled out with out the teachers understanding it and the parents were told not to help their children. They were told to “let them explore it on their own.” Of course the children had trouble with this if the teachers didn't understand the technique. Now they are changing the math again. It's hard to know what the right decision is on how to educate our child. I have found the idea of an online school very interesting.

      On the other hand we are a music family. We try to teach our son thru music. How to count, repeat, read, dance and be creative. It makes more sense to merge subjects and work through a topic as a whole, because that's how it will be dealt with in life. You have a goal and you use everything you know to accomplish the goal.

      The idea of medicating for adhd and medicating in general makes me nervous. Many times doctors are seen as a higher authority and we just medicate because it is what they say to do. There is no reason to make these children into zombies. Many times it seems the child is bored and that's why they are easily distracted. But in life in general it seems that we must challenge medications. I look at my grandparents and they have a drawer full of medications because they have to take this one because of something little, then another to combat the side effects of the 1st medication and the next for the other side effects. When just like the commercials on tv that the side effects are worse than the problem they are treating.

      One more thought (since I'm on a tangent) how can it be expected that children sit still for hours on end in a sterile classroom . I can hardly do that now and I would like to think my focus is better than when I was little. Teachings should lead children outside to explore the environment, animals and world. Children should be encouraged to pose questions and led to find the answers thru technology.

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      1. Hi Tai. I commend you on your approach to getting your son school ready utilizing such a different learning style. I’m sure he is responding to it and is eager to learn. I agree with you regarding medicating children who are perceived to have ADHD. I feel it should be a LAST resort.
        Sharyn

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      2. Hi Sharyn, I agree completely unfortunately too many people use medication as the first solution rather than the absolute last.

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      3. Hi Tai, Back in 1988 I was approached by my oldest son's second grade teacher regarding his behavior. According to her he was hyper with no focus control. He was 7 years old, of course he was hyper. Mind you, his second grade teacher was my second grade teacher and I'm 18 years older than he is. She had a total of 22 kids in her room without a teachers aid. She suggested that he be held back a grade because he had trouble focusing and paying attention. That was a signal to move him to a private school, which I did. Two years ago he graduated with his masters degree in public administration.

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    19. I enjoyed Ken's video as many of the premises he discussed hit home with my own K-12 experience, that of my children and their peers, and that of many of my adult students. While I agree that the educational system needs to change dramatically, I'm very impatient to see it happen. That is partly why I like working in adult basic education.

      Many of our students without high school diplomas believe they are stupid or incapable of achieving academic success. Within our program is the first time they are unlocking mysteries that have plagued them. It is a spiritual experience to see a grown adult in tears because they "finally get it!!" or because they have passed the GED/HiSET test. For an instructional system, US education has so many barriers!

      The most effective classroom teachers in our program are those who employ multiple modalities for instruction. They use manipulatives and encourage students to move as they learn. They present individual, paired and group activities to further learning experiences. Why? Because as Ken showed us, that is real world, not cheating.

      I found the longitudinal study he cited very discouraging and yet very telling. We are accomplishing the opposite of what I feel we should be accomplishing academically- we are squelching creativity.

      Another concern that I have was not addressed at length which is the use of standardized tests to document proficiencies. Tai, I could go on a tangent about many of these issues! Professioally, I am happy to support our students by recognizing them as individuals with many skills and supporting teachers by encouraging them to try new methods and new materials.

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      1. Isn't that sad that those high school students who don't graduate feel stupid or incapable most likely for a long time. One person can change that for them. Just one person who believes in them.

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      2. The power of one is amazing. When I was a childcare provider, I saw a clinician speak on this topic. He shared a very personal story in which, as a child, he created a project for a class. It was a very detailed drawing of his neighborhood down to including the right colored cars in front of houses, shrubs in detail, the right number of windows on each house, etc. As you can imagine, he had poured heart and soul into this project especially artistically. The teacher hed his project up in front of the class and ridiculed him for some part he had not included. Consequently, he did not draw for 32 years until he was a dad and his daughter asked him to color with her. Through her, he realized how much he missed drawing and began to draw again. One adult 32 yrs ago hurt him deeply with words...it happens more than we ever realize. So the lesson, I learned clearly that night is to think purposefully of what I say to children and now to my adult students. There are ways to be honest and kind without being hurtful.

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    20. 2.1 What do you perceive as the most important function of a facilitator?
      To me, the most important function is to encourage interaction and engagement of all students in the class. One thing I love about our cohort is how much we have learned from each other. Even though we work with adults in different settings, our purposes seem to converge rendering rich discussion and food for thought. Some of us are quieter than others but opinions are just as valuable. While it is important for students to feel comfortable, the facilitator can offer an invitation to each to help engage them more actively. Using a format like you have, Dave, ensures that each will be heard.

      What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?
      The idea of the facilitator being a host and an exemplar resonated with me. In order to be effective in those roles, a facilitator would need to be welcoming, communicative, sensitive and perceptive towards others, have a sense of humor, patience for both humans and technological speedbumps and be willing to offer guidance.

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      1. I agree Leslie, I have learned so much from my classmates. I also love the variety of topics each person brings. I had not really though about that until you mentioned it.

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    21. 2.1
      What are some facilitation techniques you'll try when teaching your class next semester, next year, someday??? How much time do you think you'll be spending in the Discussions area of your course (versus editing lessons or returning grades)?

      I believe my future facilitation techniques will include open-ended questioning to allow my students to reflect on a topic rather than just answering a question with a yes, no, agree/disagree type of response. I also think that I will ask my students to provide their opinion regarding certain topics and make sure to ask they he/she elaborate and provide examples to support their opinion. I think that it is important as a facilitator to encourage my students to offer a different point of view, to challenge themselves, and ask each other questions in order to increase learning and collaboration.

      I think that it is important to integrate the discussion area of my course as part of the grade for the class in order to encourage active participation from my students. In doing so, I know that I will be spending a great deal of time facilitating these discussions, rather than editing lessons and returning grades. As the facilitator, I will be setting the example for my students and need to model what I consider is appropriate and expecting within an online learning platform.


      What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?

      I believe an effective facilitator should be insightful, patient, tactful and respectful. I think that all of these traits are important in a facilitator because he/she should be able to provide insightful and meaningful feedback to a student’s question or response; demonstrate patience by not responding to a negative or controversial comment right away in order to avoid a response fueled by anger; and demonstrate tact and respect during tricky situations that may arise in a discussion area. Someone may make a comment that may be taken the wrong way, and it is up to the facilitator to address these situations in a manner that will not offend or hurt anyone. Lastly, I think that these are the traits that students should also exhibit, and it is up to the facilitator to set the example from the very beginning.

      Luz

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      1. Hi Luz,
        I've been using some of the facilitation techniques when I discuss the day's events with my son. I used to ask, "How was school today?" and would get the one word answer, "fine." So, using some of the techniques we have talked about in the program, I now ask him, "Tell me about your day." Don't get me wrong, he isn't very excited to discuss "boring" school, but at least the open ended question gets me a few words in the response. The same techniques can help the adult learner to open up more and be more thorough in their responses. The other key trait you mentioned is to be respectful. I know that if I feel disrespected, I am much less apt to open up and discuss the topic, and would much rather leave the situation. A skilled facilitator can keep control of the the discussion and navigate those tricky situations so no one feels disrespected.

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      2. Paul,
        I've started to do the same with my daughter and it's so funny how just rephrasing the question leads to a 10 minute conversation about EVERYTHING that happened at school. It really forces a person (of any age) to stop and think and a good facilitator should help them make the necessary connections.
        Luz

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      3. Luz & Paul,
        I too have used so many techniques that we’ve learned in this program in various areas of my social and work life. It’s amazing how adaptable these lessons are!!
        Sharyn

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      4. Hi Everyone! Paul, I too was getting the one word answers from my son when I asked how school was each day. Then I was talking to another coworker of mine and he was telling me that he and his wife ask their kids each night at dinner to tell at least one good thing and not so good thing that happened at school today. He said now he can't get them to stop talking!! I guess this is a good facilitating tool to use if you can't get the conversation going. It's helped me with my son. He isn't like Luz's daughter telling me everything, but I get more than a 'fine' or 'OK!

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      5. We used to use "What good happened to you today?" when we sat down to dinner too. Its amazing how shifting a mindset consciously can make even the most rotten day seem not too bad. As we swapped stories we would often end up in empathetic laughter. Being able to recognize good and even to share frustrations is freeing and empowering.

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    22. Hi All,
      I would like to share a tool that I find helpful in my professional life. It is actually a federal government resource called: The Literacy Information and Communication System. You can find it here: https://lincs.ed.gov/

      What I find very useful in this resource is that there are many topic areas to choose from and facilitators for each discussion that ensues. Adult Basic Education professionals from across the nation engage in discussions, sharing of best practices, offering resources/reviews and occasionally, we have the opportunity to engage with highly accomplished leaders in the field in highly focused discussions.

      This tool is flexible in options for following posts. One can choose to receive emails daily, weekly or not at all. You can also choose how many topic area to follow. When I first signed up, it was a little overwhelming trying to keep up. I have learned to pace myself and read when I can. One useful method for organization is sorting the update emails into a sub-folder of your inbox so that you know where to find them easily. I hope it helps anyone who is interested! :)
      Leslie

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      1. Thank your for sharing, Leslie! I love that it provides resources in so many areas related to adult education. This is really going to be helpful with my research for next semesters practicum. I still don't know exactly what I'll be doing so hopefully this site will give me some ideas.
        Luz

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      2. Hi Leslie!

        Thank you for sharing this. I spent some time on this site, I bookmarked it and and plan to look at it again later. Great ideas!
        - Jen

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    23. Leslie, this is fantastic. I already went in and downloaded from the Learning Portal the Promoting Teacher Effectiveness (Mentoring Guide for Teacher Induction: Guidance for Mentors and Beginning Teachers). This is exactly what I will need for the mentoring program I have in mind for the practicum. It will be very useful to me especially within the research portion. It really amazes me how much information is out there in the unknown. I have bookmarked this link and have a feeling I will use it often. Thank you for sharing. Christine Boettger

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      1. Me to Christine.....I feel I need a bigger binder with all the info we are getting. Or from the movie "Jaws" a bigger boat! :) Thanks for sharing Leslie and Christine

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    24. I had seen this video not to long ago and each time it brings so many memories. Lets face it, part of what it says is how education system today still mirrors same as many years ago without changing much. Learning styles, group age learning, standardize testing etc., many of these have led to why we see many kids being medicated because they simply can't process the materials.

      If we continue to demand specific results from students haven't we learned that many students aren't learning the same way and as a result not likely to produce the same result ? Is this not what led to Montessori's learning style ? You put kids of different ages in a class and teach them together. My point is as long as we expect the same specific results from same group of students there are likely to be ones that will never prevail not because they are not smart but rather they have not learnt the given subject either due to the style of their learning or style they were being thought.
      -Winnie

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      1. Absolutely, Winnie. We keep doing things that don't work well or don't resonate with many of the students and then wonder why the results don't change. Medication does not seem to be the answer, at least not for the majority of the students. I agree that we have to try several different techniques that will fit the different learning styles of the students, and ad we have to take in feedback to ensure that the material is being processed and interpreted correctly.

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    25. One area that I feel is important to learn about is how to set up a developmental network, not only for work but also for everyday life. We all need mentors in one way or another at different times of our lives to help us develop and grow stronger and more knowledgeable. Check out this link http://www.successful-blog.com/1/6-ways-to-build-your-own-personal-developmental-network/ for more insight into this very important topic. What do you think? Have you had a mentor that made a difference in your life. I have. I had the best business teacher in the 10th grade who took me under her wing and guided me, listened to me and helped me to see my potential. Her name was Mrs. Rouleau.

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      1. Mentors are so vital - they can make the difference between a learner feeling empowered, or feeling defeated. With so much importance being placed on persistence, especially for the adult learner, we need to put much more emphasis on mentoring.

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      2. Christine, you are the mentoring development networking queen!!

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      3. Chris, I noticed that as we check out each others blogs we can add the person to our google plus groups. Also, I've been hitting up everybody on LinkedIn. Building my professional/developmental network!

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      4. Did you guys know that URI has a mentoring program for innovative ideas and business ventures? It's called the SPARC program. I have an appointment for 10/26. I'll let y'all know how it goes
        https://urirf.org/uri-sparc-office-hours/

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    26. 2-1
      • What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?

      There are several personality traits a facilitator must exhibit. An interesting trait to show would be humor. Humor goes a long way in diffusing anger, and it may also be used to reach out to someone who is anxious. Humor will assist you in helping people to feel safe. A facilitator would also conduct themselves as the person in charge, or the police, if you will. You will have to have empathy for others. If you see that someone is being bullied, you need to quickly stop that behavior in a constructive manner. Of course, you should be knowledgeable regarding the topic of the blog. Being a facilitator, you have to be able to get a conversation going, and to keep it moving. An important part of this process, is also knowing when to step back and let the conversation go on between the members. You don't want to interrupt people all the time, expressing your own views above others. Patience is virtue! Being cautious with your postings is also important. You are leading by example - don't post something in anger. Think, think, think, before you post!!!

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      1. Gail there is a big difference in expressing your own views above others and having a friendly debate. You are right that a good facilitator needs to be well versed in this allow for others to express their opinions and enter into the discussion without feeling like they will be bulldozed over.

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      2. But what if they are right?!?!! (Just kidding)

        It is a skill to facilitate a constructive debate. Let's face it, we are observing nationally that even those who are professionals are struggling to guide the political candidates to conduct themselves appropriately. Gail, I wonder if the candidates get up the next day and think "Oh man...I really shouldn't have gone there..." You offer sage advice to think before you post and to not post in anger.
        Leslie

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      3. I agree Paula, everyone should have the opportunity to express their views. To clarify, I suppose I was reflecting on how often we, as members of this blog, are commenting, versus, how often the host of the blog (our instructor) is posting.

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    27. I was researching online discussions last night and I came across an awesome blog post regarding this topic.
      learninghttps://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/how-to-get-students-to-participate-in-online-discussions/

      It's a 3 part series that addresses many of the topic Dave has already covered, but also offers examples of questions one may ask to elicit thoughtful responses from our students.

      I went on to explore the blog and I really think it will be a wonderful resource for those who are interested in developing an online learning program. Here's the link to the home page. https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com

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      1. Hi Luz,

        I checked out the article and it had some good pointers. One thing I'm working on is to proofread and review my responses before hitting the submit button. I've done that a few times now and discovered typos. Also, I have a couple of google accounts and responded to posts, only to find that google redirects me to choose which identity to post under. Once I choose the account, I'm returned to the page - with my post gone! Must be those internet monsters that Dave mentioned!

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      2. Lol, I wish we could include images in our posts! I found the cutest internet monster!

        Proofreading is so important. One can be distracted from the point if you get bogged down in grammar or spelling errors. Leslie

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      3. I need to get better at proof reading too, Paul. I think everything looks ok, hit send, and then my eyes decide to work and I finally see my mistake. We need emojis to I can insert my eye roll here.
        Luz

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      4. You see what I mean, 'to' should be 'so'. Grrrr.

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      5. I very often use word and then copy and paste - I find it difficult to proof what I have written in this little box!
        There I go again - showing my age!!

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    28. Hi Everyone. For anyone taking or teaching an online course, I have found a very helpful blog. http://blog.scoop.it/2013/09/25/9-amazing-ways-to-learn-online/
      This blog will be a valuable tool when attempting to obtain correct, current information and want to avoid the plethora of blogs with incorrect or outdated material.

      You can access anything from research, self-enrichment, free books, and videos on how to do just about anything. Hope you enjoy!!

      Sharyn

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    29. What types of personality traits do effective facilitators exhibit?

      First, would be an understanding that many students come to us with a variety of experience and each one has their own personalities and learning styles. Coming in with just one hard nose approach will not be effective in helping students become self-directed learners. As we guide them through the process of learning, it would be helpful to have the students identify their own strengths and weakness in learning to help them move through the process. A facilitator should be organized and have a good understanding of the material they are teaching and communicate that effectively. He or she should be able to resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings that occur. Overall, management of the class should be at the forefront. Having empathy for others is important because each student faces their own struggle coming in. I also think knowing your students names are important and being patient with them is essential.

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      1. Heidi, I think you covered all the aspects of a good facilitator!! I agree with you about coming in with a hard nose approach. Nothing turns off students (or adults for that matter) quicker than that. Either it turns them off or gets them riled and then you could have a battle on your hands. I do think that dissension among the crowd to an extent is good. No one learns from everyone just agreeing with everyone, but it has to be in the right tone and with the right attitude. In other words, playing devils advocate or having a genuine dissenting opinion and being curious as to why others feel the way they do. Who knows, one could either change their viewpoint or at least come to respect the others opinion.

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      2. Funny you should say changing their viewpoint. I can't tell you how many times this is happened over my learning career. I go in to the class with one perceived notation then leave with another. Good point!

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      3. I agree with you both - the bottom line is, we can have differences of opinion - we just need to be respectful of each other; which, from what I have observed, has not been a problem for this class.

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    30. 2.1
      My future includes health and physical education, and I know that a lot of facilitating can be done in health. I could create a discussion forum for my students as an assignment based on the topic of the week in health. Topics like stress and alcohol and drugs are big topics that I could work off of. For these topics I feel that I could give them a scenario and have them write what they think the best way to handle it may be and then have their classmates add in their two cents in a constructive way. They could give advice as to why their idea may not work or even encourage their idea and add to it. Collaboration is never a bad thing in my opinion. I figure I could have a starting forum seeing what my students already know about the topic of each week and then have one discussion per topic covered. I’m curious, do any of you believe that I should have a limit to this? Like maybe only 4-5 per semester? Is 1-2 discussions per topic too much?

      Facilitators need to be open minded especially when dealing with all kinds of different minded people. We may not all agree on things to a certain degree but I believe that the facilitator should be able to see where maybe the people in the discussion connect and bring that to light for them to see. They should also be able to find the shy posters and try to facilitate a discussion around what they may have commented. “Like that’s a great point, what else could we add or let’s expand more on this”. This could help them see that what they say does matter and that we shouldn’t be scared to say our opinion even if it may not be what others agree with. In my opinion being open minded is the most important personality trait for a facilitator to have because if they aren’t they’ll be very one sided in the discussion and not open to what the opposing people have to input in the discussion.

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      1. Laura, I think this is a great idea. I love the health and physical education idea. We so need it. I think that if you post 1 discussion, many more may follow within that one topic. It is like a snowball effect. Keep in mind, you will need to have time to keep topics and discussions in check. If you set the rules and guidelines out ahead of time, you will cut down on issues with appropriateness that may come up. Working with children, sometimes there is no filter so you as the facilitator will need to be watching that too. I have learned in this very short time that blogs are no easy task. They are fun however and can really enrich a teaching environment.

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      2. Laura, When I was researching topics for online discussions, I ran across this one that might be helpful. Netiquette Ground Rules, Etiquette for online discussions. http://teaching.colostate.edu/tips/tip.cfm?tipid=128

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      3. Hi Laura,
        I also think your health and education idea is a good one. As far as limiting a certain number of posts, I think rather than do that, it's important to let the discussion flow and see where it goes. If you find you have a few people dominating the conversation, then you as the facilitator will need to zone in on that and try to bring the others into the discussion. Its hard to do but as a facilitator that is the one of the main focuses is to keep everyone engaged and to make sure everyone is heard.

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      4. Hi Laura,
        I agree with Chris and Paula with regards to just posting 1 discussion question and letting it evolve. From that one questions, you could then ask your students to elaborate on what he/she has said, and go from there, much like you already stated. I don't think you'll have any trouble getting students to join in and post on health related topics. They're very interesting!
        Luz

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      5. Christine I enjoyed that article - we need to know all the "rules" before we partake!! Thank you!

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      6. Thank you for your input everyone! I will definitely keep these things in mind and that article was great!!

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    31. I found this article interesting. How to Promote Critical Thinking with Online Discussion Forums 2013. Nice little PowerPoint at the end to watch with helpful discussion prompts. https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/how-to-promote-critical-thinking-with-online-discussion-forums/

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      1. Heidi,
        That's the same website I mentioned earlier, haha! Great minds think alike! ;)
        Luz

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    32. This website was very interesting to me. It contains a lot of information that I am still going through but what I have seen so far, it will be very useful to me in the future. https://elearningindustry.com/tags/asynchronous-learning-activities

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      1. I thought this was an interesting website. Thank you for sharing it. I am coping down everyone's website to refer back to because there is a lot of good information that I will forget if I don't put it in a nice spot. Thanks for sharing this

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      2. Paula, This was a great website. I particularly liked the one about Synchronous vs. Asynchronous learning. I think that employment training could be set up using both styles and everyone would benefit. I also think you could throw in some F2F time too. Here is the article I read.

        https://elearningindustry.com/synchronous-vs-asynchronous-learning-can-you-tell-the-difference#.V-Mhv1YH6FA.gmail

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    33. Some traits of a good facilitator I found interesting are:
      Good Knowledge of the discussion/topic or event
      People person personality
      Great listener
      Good story teller
      level headed demeanor.

      While I was reading many of the comments, I found each an everyone touch on many of the traits I just mentioned which goes to shows we all agree and understand what makes a good facilitator. It was several years ego during my masters degree program at Northeastern University in Boston while we were discussing the various types of leaders that we researched extensively on the kinds of leaders and skills they posses including how they use it and why they're such leaders.
      As a matter of fact, Facilitators are the most important types of leaders perhaps maybe why teachers are facilitators. I believe that facilitators are leaders/persons who make things happen therefore, often yield the results needed in any given objective.
      We are all playing that role in this class while taking this class online although many of us may not be teachers many of the role we play everyday is teaching one way or the other either through the role we play at our jobs or even at our homes.






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      1. In policing, we often say that leading is teaching. The best leaders prepare their subordinates for any challenge, just as a teacher must prepare their students for the world. Many of us are very fortunate to work together at URI, and I have been able to learn from you and others in grant and research office. You are right that we teach others everyday, whether at the office or at home. We also learn everyday, or at least we try to!

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      2. Winnie,
        You make such a good point about us all being teachers even when we are not conscious of being in that role. Just think of all the opportunity we have when you frame our existence that way!

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      3. Paul, your right about preparing our subordinates. I so often see no mentoring when we hire new people. We throw them into the water and say swim! That is is one think that tugs at my heart is positive mentoring. People really thirst for it. Good point.

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    34. I read an article in thejournal.com. This article discussed the results of a study comparing face-to-face classes with on-line classes. I found it to be especially helpful, because it's results showed that on-line teaching can be just as effective, if not more effective, than face-to-face teaching! A professor was able to match his students with their papers without having their names on them, because he knew them so well! The address for this particular article is https://thejournal.com/Articles/2001/04/01/Teaching-College-Courses-Online-vs-FacetoFace.aspx?p=1. thejournal.com is an excellent resource for further review.

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      1. Gail,
        What an interesting article! Through the years, I have observed and heard for many teachers their frustration at not being able to have dedicated time to each student. We are lucky in MA that our adult basic education classes are limited in class size of 13. Ideally, groups would be homogeneous but we all know that every individual has different strengths and needs. Good teachers want to meet those needs to the best of their ability so it is exciting to think that online experiences may fill a gap felt in the face to face classroom. Thanks for sharing!
        Leslie

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    35. Yes!! I finally got the puzzle into my blog! That has been a mystery to me since last Friday as I thought I was following the instructions and the darn thing was not working. Persistence pays off :)

      If you like jigsaws, check it out!
      Leslie

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      1. Good for you, Leslie. I know how you feel. It took me a 100 tries to get a link attached to a photo... Then boom!... Got it! [air high 5!]

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      2. Woot woot! Right back at'cha, girl!

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    36. What are some facilitation techniques you'll try when teaching your class next semester, next year, someday??? How much time do you think you'll be spending in the Discussions area of your course (versus editing lessons or returning grades)?

      The best thing I think I can do is start using my learnings now and jump right in. recently, I stated a fb page for Babies for Us to find supports and spread the message. I wasn't really sure what I should post to keep people interested. It only makes sense to post some open-ended questions to encourage discussion and challenge thinking.
      It seems pretty intuitive but it is important to talk about leaving positive comments for people whom seem shy and hopefully this will encourage people whom seem absent. I like the idea of soliciting other people (students) to help encourage discussion. It is another way to help people (students) to become self learners and create a strong team atmosphere. Also, asking for elaboration on minimal posts like “good job” or “I agree.”
      Also, I think it would be interesting to suggest that people “cheat” and look at the answer in the back of the book. How do you think this would effect your discussion?
      The online option for teaching has been an interesting adventure because I can take more time to think about my answer. I have been writing my answers in a word document, rereading it then submitting it. Also, I don't have to worry about being the girl that talks too much in class and is taking up all of the class time. I don't know how much time I would spend editing lessons or returning grades but I do know that I obsess a little bit over online social media. So I would be able to “creep” on my students and be able to check their progress with out them really knowing except for my positive or task aligning comments. It seems to be an interesting balance, that would assume takes practice, on when to comment in a timely manner and when to back off and let others answer.

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      1. I got a good laugh from the "creep on my students" bit. There are definite benefits to having a discussion board as opposed to just taking assignments. It is nice when the instructor or classmate can try to "dig a bit deeper".

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    37. Tai,
      I laughed at the "creep on my students" comment. But you are right, this format would give us the opportunity to observe from a distance, as well as giving us the time to think about our responses or the direction we want to steer the discussion. It also allows everyone to go back and re-read responses after a few days and possibly interpret things differently the second time around. This could trigger a different thought or topic altogether.
      Luz

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    38. Hello, I found a really great article below. A teacher set up an educational blog to help her students with learning disabilities. It turns out that this was a really great program and students did see an increase in effective writing especially when they were able to receive real time constructive criticism. If you have time, take a look and let me know what you think.

      Digital Access: "Using Blogs to Support Adolescent Writers with Learning Disabilities"
      By: Jones, Sarah R.. TEACHING Exceptional Children, v45 n2 p16-23 Nov-Dec 2012. (EJ996835)

      http://uri.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&bquery=(blogging)+AND+(disability)&cli0=FT&clv0=Y&type=1&site=ehost-live&scope=site

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      1. One thing that always frustrated me as a student, was the inability to get real time feedback. As a full-time undergrad who was also working, I use to find that I had often forgot my concerns by the time I received feedback.

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    39. Hi Christine, Thanks for sharing this. I had not really given any thought to learning disabilities. Thank you for bringing this up.

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      1. Learning disabilities can be difficult for the student and instructor. Sometimes a certain issue requires more time than a teacher has to give because of all of the other commitments. Fortunately, I have found that technology can help. There are so many resources on the web that were not around when I was a student.

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    40. 2-1:
      1) What are your facilitation techniques?
      Interesting question to consider as I had never really given it much thought. I have found that teaching math offers many challenges, one of which is class participation. The STEM disciplines simply don’t lead to the discussion/debate that one would find in a liberal arts class. With this in mind, I have tried to use the discussion board in my online class as a way in which students can help themselves grasp concepts. One thing which I occasionally ask students to do is pick a problem which they had struggled with and then write-up a textbook quality solution for it. The idea being that they will be helping their peers to understand the problem, but by taking the time to explain it to others, they are furthering their own understanding.
      With that said, I have not made heavy use of discussion boards in my class. I find that I e-mail the class several times a week, but usually with reminders about what is due and when. We use the program called My Math Lab and students are able to complete quizzes and homework, as well as, some of their tests in this program. Because of the nature of the course and to maintain standard of academic honesty, I do require my students to attend in person for the midterm and final exams.
      2) What type of traits do effective facilitators exhibit?
      Speaking for myself, I feel that honesty is the best policy. I find that it’s important to let students know that not everything will go according to plan and that’s ok.
      It also helps to be understanding. Many students who take online classes don’t do so because they want to, but because life offers them no alternative. Many of the students I encounter work full time and have families. I try to be firm with deadlines (i.e. What needs to be done every week) but I am not going to deny a student an extension of a day or two because their kid was sick.
      3) Which roles of a facilitator best describe you?
      Again, based on the nature of the STEM discipline I have found that I am usually a manager/trouble shooter. Most of the class (QBA I… This is essentially Pre-Calculus for business majors) consists of reading the text, watching the videos I post and doing the weekly homework and quiz online. When it comes to pedagogy, I would suggest that I have it easy as a quality textbook contributes immensely to that.
      4) Other issues with online learning/discussions??
      As part of the federal financial aid regulations, we are required to drop no-shows within the first two weeks of class. In an online class, we have to come up with an assignment or some other measure to determine if the student is “attending the class”. Typically, I ask my students to introduce themselves on the discussion board. Now the biggest issue is getting students to do this before the deadline so I am not forced to drop them. Other issues I face are students writing one line responses and or writing a a sob story about how they hate math.
      I address the potential of online bullying/arguing by requiring my students to sign a contract and mail it to me. I make it very clear that any violation of the civility standard will result in an immediate drop from the class. Fortunately I can avoid the political hot potatoes in math!

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      1. Wow Jason, you give me so much to think about. Tell me what grade do you teach? Is it college or high school? It amazes me that teachers have not only to deal with the day to day of instructing our kids but that you have to be mindful of all the other institutional, moral, ethical and parental guidelines too. I guess as a parent, I never really thought about it. Now that I am in this program, I realize just how difficult it is to be a teacher. Very time consuming to say the least. I big thank you to all the wonderful teachers out there. My eyes have been opened and I truly appreciate all that you do. Chris

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      2. Hi Christine,

        I teach college Math. I do genuinely enjoy it, but there are a lot of changes in the pipeline. The biggest issue being remedial education and how to improve the success rates of first year students.

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    42. Paul, Leslie and Heidi - Yes to touch on your response about facilitating and mentoring especially at work. I find often that the role I continue to play is that of mentoring. It is in many ways a way to give back. Some of us with extensive knowledge and experience in what we do always find our self playing that role.
      I for a person enjoy teaching people what I know and also very much eager to continue learning. Just as I cannot seem to get my picture uploaded with this new blog account I opened for this class.
      Never a doll moment they say right ?...........Winnie Nwangwu
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