EDU Rocks

INTRO

What happens when we're not expecting or ready to learn and we witness something amazing, do we learn anyway? Or put another way: If a father is helping his eldest daughter haul a mattress across town and he hears something amazing during a podcast but there is no one around to test him on it has he really learned?

EDU

Some time ago a peer I respect greatly explained how education and training are two different things. Education, as I understood him to say, is foundational systematic learning involving a teacher. Training, on the other hand, is teaching skills or behaviors to someone.

Then and now I'm not so sure education and training are all that different. Both involve a teacher. What does foundational mean anyway? When we learn don't we build on what we know already? One more question to mull over.

ROCKS

Anyway, I get to go to CUERockstar Vegas in 10 more days. I have been anticipating this since CUE15 last March. I feel like a 30 year old again as I pour (drool?) over everything I can find about it.

Today's CUERockstar Aha! moment came to me thanks to @adnanedtech and his The Convergence of Education Productivity & Technology podcast, episode 19. He interviewed CUERockstar's papa, @jcorippo. Several things said brought me up short. I had to stop what I was doing and give a serious listen to him explain:

  • ROCKS is a web domain available for registration
  • Educational research is six years behind what teachers are practicing today
  • How @davidtedu's ideas expressed in his blog make him cry

I have been a little worried the past couple years when I try something I learned alongside teachers at an EdCamp or CUE conference or Twitter chat. Some ideas have worked straight out of the box. Others didn't go over do well at first. I haven't failed outright (given up) just yet though. Maybe it's grit or something else but I love learning about and trying ways to improve my instructional design craft.

Sketch of a researcher six months behind teachers teaching

Hearing researchers were years behind how teachers practice teaching today made me smile. Hearing that someone else gets emotional while learning from others made my face break out in a wide grin.

OUTRO

I think CUERockstar is a learning experience like no other. I am looking forward to all the goofs I'm going to make on the way to mastery. I can't wait!

Oh yeah, one more thing. I registered urbie.rocks. It'll go live August 5th at CUERockstar Vegas.

** I saw Paper Towns yesterday. I like how Margo Roth Spiegelman explained capital letters in the middle of words.

 

Zombie Pedagogy Matters

PROLOGUE

Pedagogy comes before technology when designing learning experiences. Whom are we designing learning experiences for, devices or people? I’m writing this post in response to a blog post by RJ Jacquez suggesting elearning is dead.

ZOMBIE

I work with several devices on any given day: a Dell notebook, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, a Blackberry, and an iPhone. I do different things with each device. I don’t do the same things on all my devices. How would a single instructional experience apply across all devices all the time?

Instructional designers, and the learners we support, are not zombies. Context, where a learner is and what they are doing matters. Squeezing learning content from a laptop screen to a smart phone screen doesn’t extend a learning experience. It constrains it.

PEDAGOGY MATTERS

How do you interact with your mobile phone? I use mine for taking pictures, texting, and making calls. I have a lot of apps that I don’t use often. Mostly they’re there for quick one-off tasks like uploading a photo to Instagram or checking the weather. I tend not to read on my phone. For reading and watching video clips I have my iPad.

My tablet’s form factor enables me to consume a richer variety of information than my phone. iPad, for example, is good for doing research in the field. I have apps that enable me to rapidly produce a range of information types including video clips, spreadsheets, presentations, and documents.

Pedagogy has to come before technology.

EPILOGUE

I started using Plotagon after reading a tweet about it by digital innovation consultant Christy Cate. I think I was accessing Twitter from my iPad at the time. A few minutes after downloading the app I created my first story.

While it’s true the story can be played back on any device that works with YouTube what the learner does with it matters. Are they looking at the clip while finding an emergency exit? Head down while moving down a corridor there’s a good chance they’ll miss it. Maybe the device is running an app that shows them where they are in a building relative to the exits?

Pedagogy, the mindful application of instruction, comes before technology.

Show Your Mousetrap

INTRO

Why not show your work? What do we have to hide? Show your mousetrap.

SHOW

A rising tide lifts all boats. It takes a village. These are two common phrases used to describe how something that benefits one may also benefit many.

YOUR WORK

It to our benefit that we share what we do with others. What we share benefits us because of feedback from peers we may receive. Sharing our work might lead to someone experiencing an AHA! moment that increases their know-how.

OUTRO

Ask yourself, what is really keeping you from sharing your mousetrap? Besides, there’s easier ways to steal ideas: Like zombies eating brains for example.

Road Blocks (To Mobile Learning)

PRELUDE

Like most anything in life if you want to do something right you have to know what you’re doing. Thankfully these days I’m part of a well informed and motivated PLN (Personal Learning Network) so there’s no shortage of ideas or places to look to help.

CREDIBLE

It helps to consult credible sources of information before beginning a learning and development project. With the pace of change in instructional strategies and educational technology I’ve learned research is an important first step towards achieving learning efficacy.

Sketch of three things that an instructional designer needs to design mobile learning experiences
I think based on my experience, education, and conversations with other educators instructional designers have to want to do what they do to ensure a good outcome. It has to have meaning (Roth, 2015, Location 674 of 3773) to you beyond a paycheck. It takes a lot of time, creativity, and effort to stay the course.
Design thinking offers a simple humanistic approach to connect with learners and the subject matter experts I often depend on. How learners will interact with the learning experience that gets created matters greatly (Buff, 2013). I usually ask learners directly what they prefer and then confirm it through prototyping and observations.
Much of what passes for elearning is boring and mostly disengages, rather than draws in, learners (Quinn, 2005, p2). Believing in your project, getting to know as much as you can about learners and how they will experience the learning offers the best chance of achieving your learning objectives.

EPILOGUE

I like drawing out my ideas. I usually figure out what to present to customers by telling stories. Here’s the story I produced on the way to writing this post.

Images of a zombie instructional designer hunting brains
REFERENCES
  • Buff, T. (2013). Top 5 Design Considerations for Creating Mobile Learning. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1I3jJBt
  • Tipton, S. (2015). Lesson from Edutech Australia? Planned Failure. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1JadukA
  • Quinn, C.N. (2005). The Seven Step Program. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1HDkKTA
  • Roth, B. (2015). The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, And Take Command Of Your Life. [Kindle iOS Edition]. Retrieved from Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EdCampLDR Phoenix Reflections

INTRO

#EdCampLDRPhoenix was yesterday. I was mostly there. Mostly? Read on.

EDCAMPLDR

EdCampLDR is a gathering of people involved with and interested in K-12 school leadership. The way I understand it Joe Mazza of the Graduate School of Education at Penn started it as a way to get people talking about the challenges and opportunities facing primary and secondary education today. There were several EdCampLDR sessions held on July 10 and 13 across the United States and China.

MOSTLY

I say I was mostly at EdCampLDR because I recently started reading The Achievement Habit by Bernie Roth. I started reading it last week. It has me reflecting on how my thoughts affect my doing. I have been to a lot of EdCamps the last two years, 23 I think. I’ve met lots of educators and learned tons about educational technology and its application to engage students. In one sentence EdCamps are free meetups of educators where know-how is exchanged.

Periodically during the day my thinking wandered off and made connections with what I was learning and the book. I started reforming some ideas about how I could make my work a little more interesting while helping educators with their professional development.

RELATIONSHIPS

Teaching is about relationships: teacher, students, parents, stakeholders, learners coming together and engaging.

There was a lot of engaging. I got to deepen my understanding of the issues facing educators. Some of what I heard included inconsistent or absent curriculum, disconnects between what was being taught and what would be needed once students graduated, availability of educational technology, and ways of teaching.

I also heard about resources, including the elephant in the room: time. How do teachers develop professionally when they’re as busy as they are? I learned that, in Arizona schools at least, PD (professional development) organized by the schools or their districts happens three times per school year: beginning, middle, and towards the end. That’s one day three times per year.

I had an amazing talk with two teachers during a Teach Like A Pirate session. We talked about ways to engage students andhow to use design thinking to plan lessons. I also got to try out Periscope to stream the EdCampLDR experience out to people following #NotAtEdCampLDR.

NO EXCUSES

One of the classes at Chandler High School, where #EdCampLDRPhoenix was held, had the sign below hanging on a wall.

It brought me up short when I saw it. The thing from the book about meaning came to mind. How things (and thoughts) have no meaning until they’re brought to life by doing something with them.

OUTRO

Anyway, time for me to get busy working on what this meaning means to me.

Like Rabbits

INTRO

I have a lot of ideas. I get exposed to tons of stuff thanks to my PLN (Personal Learning Network) on Twitter, conversations with educators through participation at EdCamps, and presentations at eLearning Guild, and other conferences.

Sketch of three rabbits next to a tree
Sketch of the word idea
I've been thinking about where my ideas come from. I'm wondering, too, where they go? Why do so few of them go anywhere?
GOING PLACES
I learned a few nights ago that the culprit, the idea inhibitor, is me. I came to this realization reading The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life by Bernard Roth.
Sketch of the sun behind mountains

I'm not very far into the book. But I think the problem has something to do with meaning. Roth describes an exercise where students identify something near them and say it has no meaning. He goes on to say that the meaning of anything isn't inherent in the thing. Meaning comes from us. It's like an in the eye of the beholder thing.

DRY HEAT

The way I understand it is my environment is all tumbleweed and sun bleached bones until I decide what is meaningful to me. Take sketchnoting and drawing.

Sketch of a tumbleweed and bleached bones

About half the time I hear you don't have to be an artist to take sketch notes. The other half of the time I hear tips on how my drawing quality can be improved by using better more full featured apps. As far as sketchnoting goes most apps have no meaning for me. The quality of notes I take using Paper is perfect.

WHAT'S IT ALL MEAN?

A few weeks ago, motivated by a new Twitter chat I joined, I decided to try my hand at drawing a webcomic. #webcomicchat has been very encouraging. It comes down to practice.

Right now, when I have an idea for a strip I launch Paper and start doodling. It happens not too long after that I get discouraged and stop. It's like I start out in a garden and the cross over into a desert.

Sketch of a comic panel

OUTRO

My drawing is important to me. It has meaning in my life. I got some good advice from someone on #webcomicchat tonight.

Tweet saying practice makes reality

All that remains is for me to draw like I mean it.

 

 

 

Transformational Learning Experience Design

INTRO

During tonight’s #TLAP chat I got a DM (Direct Message) from someone asking for my spin on transformational learning experiences. This is my short answer. Note that I support adult learners.

TRANSFORMATIONAL

Butts in seats: When I think about learning that’s what comes to mind first.

Teachers talk while learners..

Can you identify with this scenario: A teacher, an overhead projector, slides, and a darkened room? How did it feel to you? Maybe it’s a computer-based training application where the learner reads, clicks, drags, and navigates to the next screen.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE

I think learning has to be experienced for it to stick. It’s moving around a learning space. Maybe it’s using an app on a mobile device to research, draft, and create.

How I like my courses to flow: the teacher shares a story on the thing to be learned. Then there’s a conversation where questions are answered and additional details are shared. Note that the details need not come from the teacher.

DESIGN

We have lots of experience with stories. A well crafted story elicits its own meaning to the person hearing it. This is where context comes in. Given a learning objective wrap a story around it.

The stories I like to use describe something bad that has or could happen. Sometimes the stories are about opportunities. The learner brings their own context or need to the learning space. The learner does or produces something that brings closure to the story. I like to think it ends happily for teacher and learner.

OUTRO

Learning should be about more than butts in seats. Learning should be about movement, collaboration, and making the learning visual. Designing transformational learning experiences means learners are actively engaged, sharing perspectives with other learners, and creating something real that says “See? I got this.”

Suggested reading: Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess, Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation by Don Wettrick, Professional Learning in the Digital Age by Kristin Swanson, and Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager.