Looking Past the Other in Digital Communication

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When reading articles via the internet, it’s probably a good idea to just steer clear of the comments section. This is especially true when reading something that is related to issues of equity or accessibility for all. Trolling in the form of racist, sexist, and other fear-fueled rants can seem like the dominant mode of communication of many participants in this space. It can seem as if individuals are talking over and past one another, and communication is not founded on true dialogue.

Dialogue, Paulo Freire asserts, is an “existential necessity” that is inherently a vital part of learning (1968, p. 89). The act of participating in dialogue is an indicator of humility and the willingness to learn. It can provide participants the opportunity to recognize one another, the essential elect of identity development and respect. The willingness to think outside bias, to critically examine our biases, is at the heart of learning about the other and ourselves. It is our responsibility to one another (Buber, 1937). This may seem frightening, because it essentially places us in the unknown, the uncomfortable place of not being able too easily categorize and identify others. This identification makes life very simple. However, being uncomfortable is the only way we truly grow. The old saying reminds us that moss does not grow on a rolling stone. Stasis equates to a stillness that is not unlike death.

St. Johns River, Jacksonville, 2017


 

Margaret Wheatley expresses the significance of being uncomfortable: “We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. Of course it’s scary to give up what we know, but the abyss is where newness lives. Great ideas and inventions miraculously appear in the space of not knowing. If we can move through the fear and enter the abyss, we are rewarded greatly. We rediscover we’re creative” (2002, p. 37). This discovery can help give meaning to our lives and enrich those with whom we interact. Basically, we learn more about ourselves through others. It sounds simple…and it is…if we are ready to be uncomfortable.


MIT Press, 2017


 

Byung-Chul Han’s most recent English translations, The Agony of Eros (2017a) and In the Swarm (2017b), both discuss the absolute need for our encounter with the other. He warns that the digital medium of expression “is taking us farther and farther away from the other” (2017b, p. 24). Our ability or inability to articulate ourselves is exacerbated in the digital medium, and “nonverbal forms of expression such as gestures, facial expressions, and body language” are lost almost completely (2017b, p. 21). Our inability to plan for this learning leaves us with no “other” with which we may view new perspectives and understandings of the world.The visual images are constructed for us to see ourselves (or our closest analogue), thereby making everything the same. This massive normalization ends the need for an other, and it destroys the possibility for imagination or fantasy (2017a). We must be able to perceive through another viewpoint, one that is truly the opposite of the one we hold, so that we may engage in thinking that is infinitely more complex.

Without confrontation with the other, we are doomed to live empty lives, lonely and incomplete. There is a small piece of a recent poem by Joshua Marie Wilkinson (that is part of his series of poems that begin with a line from Osip Mandelstam, The Easements) that reads:

“as I’ve found in the stars

no friend, the lake

no brother, the current

no story to live with.”

 

I don’t know why my thinking takes this path, but it reminds me of the other as being the source of desire, the source of a true narrative. Without the necessary encounter with the other that produces co-constructed knowledge for the benefit of both participants, our individual life stories are stillborn (Han 2017b).

Perhaps comments and social media posts are not really avenues for actual discussion. If that’s the case, I don’t understand the necessity of providing a vehicle for reader voice if it isn’t to inspire dialogue.

Embrasures at Fort Clinch, Fernandina Beach, Florida (2017)

 


 

Note- The article that prompted this brief line of though is located here. The comments section yielded some replies that were blatantly racist and sadly myopic.

 


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A Partial Record of My Education

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“Those who love wisdom must investigate many things.” – Heraclitus

“I write-and talk-in order to find out what I think.” – Susan Sontag

In 2014, I graduated with my doctorate in education, and this seemed miraculous to me. A sustained focus, logical arguments, and the synthesis of an area of literature were inherent in the task of writing a dissertation, and I didn’t feel like I’d ever be able to live up to this challenge. As a child, I felt most comfortable with image and sound based communication. Music and visual art are such a large foundation for my thinking. I’m pretty certain this had to do with my mother taking me to museums and libraries, playing records in the living room regularly, and encouraging my growing interest in drawing.

Images could convey ideas that were both at the surface of my thinking and buried in my subconscious. Painting or creating something visually interesting and potentially communicative was something that came naturally. The imagery did not have to mirror reality. It could be completely conceptual. I was driven by the need to play with things that had an uncertain end. Not being driven to an actual destination, instead being propelled forward with intuition and curiosity, liberated me from having to make any sense of what I might be feeling in a way that would communicate to another. It was a drive to create.

This drive has pulled me in many directions at once. I have obsessively composed with sound, painted primarily textural (if not always aesthetically pleasing) images, and sometimes incorporated sound with paintings. Notes and small drafts of “diary” or journal entries have always been included as well. The outcome of these experiments was a amalgam of forms. I’m never quite certain how a thing may turn out…what form or hybrid it may take finally. I don’t even know if the outcome is the final version of a thing.

My default thinking is in fragments. If there are connections between the ideas or works, I have no knowledge of it during the process. It is always a dive into the unknown.

The past two months have included more than a few occurrences of fragmented thinking and organization that has not yet solidified into a coherent statement or group of thoughts. My regular lists of reading, listening, and watching have increased. I have rapid and incomplete connections between ideas and forms (text, image, sound, memory, etc.).

notebook march 2017

March-April 2017 Notebook, Thinking in Lists (more)

Recently, I have been reading Sloterdijk’s Spheres trilogy (Bubbles, Globes, and Foams) that have finally been translated, Hito Steyerl’s The Wretched of the Screen (2013), Kate Zambreno’s Book of Mutter (2017), Kafka’s late writings, Wittgenstein’s late writings on culture and aesthetics, Kadinsky, Susan Sontag, a biography on Eric Dolphy, so many disparate essays, and massive amounts of poetry.

Lately, I have been awed by the visual artwork of Rosy Keyser, Titus Kaphar, Fernando Zobel, Hito Steyerl, Julie Mehretu, Rebecca Horn, and Agnes Martin.

As I have written before, my sister told me once that whatever I put into my head must eventually come out. In what form will it arrive?

It eases my mind to know that others seem to have the same attraction to this process of discovery (like Sontag’s diary entry below).

From Sontag’s As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 (with my scribbles)

Probably due to the Sloterdijk, the fact that Eleanor is beginning to trace the letter O, and my attraction to the simplicity of the ensō, circles and spheres have dominated my visual thinking. I seem to find them everywhere. From the Book of Genesis to NASA’s documentation of space trash, I seem to collide with imagery that represents a circular/spherical containment or a cyclical process.

 

Day 5 of Creation (Book of Genesis Illustration, 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle)

From Alberto Manguel’s Curiosity (2015)

Iannis Xenakis- from Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition (1992)

Iannis Xenakis- from Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition (1992)

Quotes re: Phenomenology, Body, & Language

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“Saying that I have a body is thus a way of saying that I can be seen as an object and that I try to be seen as a subject, that another can be my master or my slave.” – Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception (1962)

“This is why I write: to unfold the electrical mat of my nervous system.” – Bhanu Kapil, Ban En Banlieue (2015)

“The enlightened man says: I am body entirely and nothing beside.” -Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883)

“Our own physical body possesses a wisdom that we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense.” -Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch (1957)

“My favorite arts are the ones that can move your body or make a new world.” -Anne Boyer, Garments Against Women (2015)

“Writers…were out there creating a new language, one that I intuitively understood, to analyze our art, our world. This was, in and of itself, an argument for the weight and beauty of our culture and thus of our bodies.” -Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)

“The fluidity of the injured body’s referential direction is here manifest in the verbal habit of evoking all casualties as a single phenomenon once the war is over.” -Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain (1985)

“There is only one antidote to mental suffering, and that is physical pain.” -Karl Marx

Education within the context of oppression includes “teachers talking about reality as if it were motionless, static, compartmentalized, and predictable. Or else he expounds on a topic completely alien to the existential experience of the students. His task is to “fill” the students with the contents of his narration-contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance. Words are emptied of their concreteness and become a hollow, alienated, and alienating verbosity…Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which for the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiqués and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits. They do, it is true, have the opportunity to become collectors or cataloguers of the things they store. But in the last analysis, it is the people themselves that are filed away through the lack of creativity, transformation, and knowledge in this (at best) misguided system. For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot truly be human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.” -Paulo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970)

“Shifting how we think about language and how we use it necessarily alters how we know what we know.” -Bell Hooks, Teaching to Transgress (1994)

“We take the oppressor’s language and turn it against itself. We make our words a counter-hegemonic speech, liberating ourselves in language.” -Bell Hooks, Teaching to Transgress (1994)

“We reconstruct for ourselves the order of the world in an image, starting from limited, countable, and strictly defined data. We work out a system for ourselves, establishing connections and conceiving of relationships between terms that are abstract and for that reason possible for us to deal with.” -Simone Weil, “Forms of the Implicit Love of God” (from Waiting for God, 1951)

“This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.” -James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)

“Let us keep in mind the speech of the depressed- repetitive and monotonous. Faced with the impossibility of concatenating, they utter sentences that are interrupted, exhausted, come to a standstill. Even phrases they cannot formulate. A repetitive rhythm, a monotonous melody emerge and dominate the broken logical sequences, changing them into recurring, obsessive litanies. Finally, when that frugal musicality becomes established on account of the pressure of silence, the melancholy person appears to stop cognizing as well as uttering, sinking into the blankness of asymbolia or the excess of an unorderable cognitive chaos.” – Julia Kristeva, Black Sun (1989)

Brief Reflective Notes on the Leadership of E-Learning, Technology and Creative Services

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Although, this department (ETC) has been a fixture of UF’s College of Education for a number of years, this year has been a year of optimization of services.  Throughout the past year, our department has coalesced into a very agile and forward-thinking group composed of five distinct sub-teams. These teams, usually not found clustered in one department, all work intimately to help our faculty to reinvent online education practice, implement new ways of teaching and learning; build engagement and support for alumni, current, and future students; create web designs that leverage learning, usability, and aesthetic design; and, support the building of collective efficacy and collaboration through internal marketing and awareness. The main pursuit of this office is to become leaders of instructional design for the university and the field of higher education.

Instructional Design for Online Learning in Higher Education

It is generally acknowledged that online educational experiences offered by most institutions of higher education do not reflect identified high-yield learning strategies (e.g., Hattie, 2009; Marzano, 2009), specific strategies (including frequent and specific feedback) for the online environment (Mandernach & Garrett, 2014; Mayer, 2015), or the teacher presence (Ragan, 2015) found in their analogous face-to-face counterparts (Berrett, 2016). A recent national survey conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2016) suggests the problem may rest in multiple areas, including the preparation of faculty and staff to create pedagogically sound digital learning opportunities. The report suggests, “high-impact educational practices are offered by many institutions, but rarely required.” Additionally, the findings indicate that approximately 36% of Chief Academic Officers report that “most of their current faculty members are using digital learning tools effectively in their courses.” This seems to ring true. Incidentally, the UF College of Education (CoE) has earned its first #1 ranking from U.S. News and World Report for our online graduate programs during my tenure. However, “faculty credentials and training” was still cited as an area of need in the scores that make up this ranking.

Our College of Education and its faculty have the greatest experience on campus in planning and implementing innovative pedagogical change in any context, including but not limited to online learning. This wellspring of expertise must inform future University of Florida endeavors in online education. Recent work in the area of multidisciplinary approaches to teacher preparation being offered online include the newly formed Center for Elementary Excellence in Teacher Preparation, the cross-department institution of teacher observation and mentoring through synchronous and annotated video solutions, cutting-edge research agenda (including the exploration of cognitive and social neuroscience methodologies and technologies) of Educational Technology faculty, video-based research conducted in SESPECS, and the digital outreach efforts to communities of learners led by our CoE-based centers. It is imperative that the teaching and learning research ecosystem fostered here at the College of Education is leveraged in support of the growing need for expanded online degree offerings and highly individualized learning environments.

Brief Notes re: Strategies in Redesigning ETC in 2015-2016

Communication and Collaboration

One of the main goals for this past year for ETC has been investing in relationships, connecting departments doing similar or complementary work, and supporting the improvement of all online activities. The first collaborations included the analysis and restructuring of hardware (servers) and the gap analysis of current websites. This massive undertaking (three months) was a change that could happen through collaboration with IT and wouldn’t necessarily impact the ETC staff directly. In effect, this change, and the rebuilding of the relationship between the two offices, allowed the instructional and cultural changes to happen more gradually. This direction allowed for the planning of slower change of “behaviors of people” in our department over time (Deutschman, 2005).

Relationships with key stakeholders of faculty, specifically department chairs, were revisited with renewed vigor and transparency. I led this charge, supported by our administration and instructional design. Additionally, the web design team leader assisted with the “soft sell” of our services, creating digital “profiles” for key department areas.

Employing Research-based Attributes of Highly Effective Online Learning

Our team has led the way for the implementation of attributes associated with effective online learning, backed by the understanding that designing online educational experiences founded in learner motivation and interest rely on shared contextual learning activities that promote the use of technology in service of creating authentic online collaboration and interaction (Sawyer, 2016) while supporting a personalized learning approach (U.S. Office of Educational Technology, 2016).

Specifically, we have worked to offer online learning opportunities that promote explicit articulation of student outcomes, the integration of assessments (formative and summative), learning designs promoting self-directed and collaborative learning, and implementing professional development strategies that assist faculty in embracing and utilizing technology effectively for teaching and learning (U.S. Office of Educational Technology, 2016).

Learning Asset Production and Digital Asset Management

Early on in the transition, it was agreed that investment in high-quality videography and other learning material design was a priority in enhancing and/or redesigning the existing online courses, and we created a mobile video unit and a small studio. Furthermore, the investment in these resources would help other areas of the College of Education, including the Office for Alumni Affairs and News and Communications. The video and photography digital learning assets produced support three main areas of work:

  1. Research-based video observation for learning (e.g., teacher video self-reflection or leader preparation in observation practice to inform instructional improvement). This focus is supported by recent research in video-based teacher observation for reflection on practice (e.g., Gates Foundation, 2010; Stigler et al., 1999), in teacher preparation and professional development support (Guaden & Chalies, 2015), and evaluation (e.g., Kane, Wooten, Taylor & Tyler, 2011).
  2. Classroom video examples, lectures, and expert interviews as digital pedagogical support. The literature informing this work includes the measurement of student engagement in video-rich MOOCs (e.g., Guo, Kim, & Rubin, 2014), the examination of the impact of case-based video assets for instructional design (e.g., Gomez, Zottman, Fischer, & Schrader, 2010), and the review of the impact of teaching video used in professional development courses (Borko, Koellner, Jacobs, & Seago, 2011).
  3. Marketing and awareness video for external stakeholders of the College of Education (including alumni, partners, and legislators).

In addition to video, which has increasingly become vital to our work, our department has employed instructional, user-centric design principals to everything from websites to paper-based marketing material for programs. The team has built and maintains a digital asset management (DAM) system with photography and video archives that may be accessed by media and communications personnel throughout the college. Illustration, animation, graphic design, and branding were all employed to assist in redesigning the aesthetic look of courses, websites, ideas (e.g., STEM Hub and logic models for grant applications), and physical space (e.g., banners, posters).

Cultural Change

In the effort to improve the culture of the College of Education’s Office for E-Learning, Technology, and Creative Services (ETC), we have explicitly engaged in an initiative that has motivated the internal stakeholders of our office to revisit our commitment to improving and supporting online and hybrid instruction for all degree and certification programs. I have worked closely with each of our internal teams (instructional design, web design, creative media production, systems administration, and student support services) to establish attainable but rigorous goals and have provided opportunities to build processes to achieve their goals. We planned a retreat to revisit and explore our identity and better understand our mission, to interrogate our shared beliefs and values as a group, and to plan strategies to build and strengthen relationships across our college and the university (Wheatley, 2005).

Mark Dinsmore (Associate Director for Enterprise Systems) and I targeted staff to take on informal and unofficial but recognized leadership roles, mentoring and reinforcing goals and objectives daily within small groups. We instituted a weekly department huddle with a focus on shared “project-based” discussion. We also created an “on boarding” series of strategic meetings for all new programs and those being redesigned, including every facet of the department. This continuous project/program-based improvement model in group meetings and individual mentoring allowed all teams to engage in discussions.

Implementing Uniformity in Processes of Support and Production

All sub-departments of ETC have been assisted in documenting and codifying processes for production of digital learning assets, courses, websites, reports, etc. This work has been difficult but has provided uniformity to the stages of design and delivery of learning experiences for all courses and programs. Our team has worked to become cohesive and build on strengths associated with assisting faculty, students, and the College of Education.

Some Foci of the Department in 2015-2016

  • Creating innovative CoE course content production that includes video, photography, graphics, animation, software, etc.
  • Designing or optimizing online pedagogy, supported on researched best practices.
  • Refining of data analysis for strategic support for all departments.
  • Supporting faculty innovations, research, and outreach/communications.
  • Supporting student recruitment, alumni and student engagement, and success through effective web strategy (social media, web redesigns, graphic design, illustration, etc.) and student services.
  • Hosting and supporting infrastructure of products as diverse as web applications to large databases used in research or in testing.

 

References

Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2016). Recent trends in general education design, learning outcomes, and teaching approaches. Retieved on April 1, 2016 from http://www.aacu.org.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2010). Measures of effective teaching (MET) project–Working with teachers to develop fair and reliable measures of effective teaching. Retrieved on December, 7, 2012  from http://metproject.org/downloads/met-framing-paper.pdf

Berrett, D. (2016). Instructional design: Demand grows for a new breed of academic. The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 4, 2016.

Borko, H., Koellner, K., Jacobs, J., & Seago, N. (2011). Using video representations of teaching in practice-based professional development programs. ZDM Mathematics Education, 43, 175-187.

Derry , S., Pea , R., Barron , B., Engle , R., Erickson , F., Goldman , R., Hall , R., Koschmann, T., Lemke , J., Sherin , M., & Sherin , B. (2010). Conducting video research in the learning sciences: Guidance on selection, analysis, technology, and ethics. Journal of the Learning Sciences , 19, 1–51.

Derry , S., Sherin , M., & Sherin , B. (2014). Multimedia learning with video. In R. Mayer (Ed.), Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 785–812). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Deutschman, A. (2005). Change or die. Fast Company, 94, 53-57.

Fullan, M. (2009). Turnaround leadership for higher education. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA.

Goeze, A., Zottman, J. Schrader, J. & Fischer, F. (2010). Instructional support for case-based learning with digital videos: Fostering pre-service teachers’ acquisition of the competency to diagnose pedagogical situations. In D. Gibson & B. Dodge (Eds.), Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference 2010 (pp. 1098-1104). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible-learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Kane , T. J., Wooten , A. L., Taylor , E. S., & Tyler , J. H. (2011). Evaluating teacher effectiveness in Cincinnati public schools. EducationNext, 11(3).

Mandernach, B. J. & Garrett, J. (2014). Efficient and effective feedback in the online classroom. Magna Publications White Paper. Retrieved on March 28, 2016 from             http://www.magnapubs.com/white-papers

Marzano, R. J. (2009). Setting the record straight on “high-yield” strategies. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(1) 30-37.

Mayer, R. E. (2015). The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (2nd Edition). Cambridge University Press: New York, NY.

Ragan, L. (2012). Creating a Sense of Instructor Presence in the Online Classroom, Online Classroom, 12(10), 1-3.

Sawyer, K. (2016). The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (2nd ed.) Cambridge University Press: New York, NY.

U. S. Office of Educational Technology. (2016). Characteristics of future ready leadership: A research synthesis. Retrieved on April 2, 2016 from http://tech.ed.gov/leaders/research/

Wheatley, M. (2005). Finding our way: Leadership for an uncertain time. Barrett-Koehler: San Francisco, CA.

Always Asking Questions & Always Learning

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Working on the University of Florida’s College of Education Online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership has provided me a golden opportunity to learn more about Florida’s educational leaders. The last few years of my career have led me into very divergent, but exceptional, learning opportunities. From leading the development of curriculum for online courses to setting up methods for large-scale registration and submissions for district-based inquiry, I have not been able to rest much on what I have learned previously in my career. I am constantly in challenging (but insanely exciting) situations.

With the Online M.Ed., I have been given the chance to search out and interview principals at all levels of career experience to be included in the courses. I believe this “real-world” perspective from leaders in widely varying school contexts provides the students with an extraordinary unique advantage. It has provided me something extraordinary as well. Next to finishing my dissertation and teaching my elementary and high school students, learning from these wonderful leaders has been the best part of my career in education.

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The leaders pictured include (L-R): Hudson Thomas of Pompano Beach High School (Broward County), Roxana Herrera of Palm Springs Elementary School in Hialeah (Miami-Dade County), Dr. Joseph Joyner- Superintendent of St. Johns County Public Schools, Lynette Shott of Flagler-Palm Coast High School (Flagler County), Scott Schneider of Terry Parker High School (Duval County), and Lawson Brown of Charles Duval Elementary School (Alachua County). These are only a few of the leaders we have interviewed.

The cover stars of the flier below are two exceptional leaders: Christy Gabbard and Stella Arduser of P. K. Yonge Developmental Research School at the University of Florida. They are also featured on our website now (https://education.ufl.edu/edleadership-med/).

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Links Related to Poverty & Opportunity in Education- My Notes

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Random links related to my thoughts on poverty and access to opportunity in education. This is completely random, and I collected studies along the way. I will attempt to produce a cogent thought at some other point. For now, here are some notes.

Do you believe that every human being deserves an opportunity to learn, to become an informed citizen of the world?

Do we treat the symptoms of the issue or the issues at the root of the problem?

“To critics of the reliance on standardized testing, the problem is a matter of emphasizing the wrong metrics. Equal access to high quality education, they argue, is the key to improving student learning.’We’ve been focused on test-based accountability, but testing does not equal accountability,’ Linda Darling Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University, said at an event on the results in Washington on Tuesday. ‘Accountability is when you have a system that works for each and every child.'”

– Maya Rhodan (Read the article at this Link) on PISA results in Time, December 2013.

Teachers College Article

October 2013 Washington Post Article on SAT scores and socio-economic status

2009 NY Times Article on SAT and socio-economic status

In her dissertation Linda Ruth Williams Sorhaindo (2003) examined a sample of 9,000 4th and 8th grade student achievement scores in the Miami-Dade Public School system. She compared student scores and tested to see if there was a relationship between degree of poverty and academic achievement test scores. Read more here.

Check out Jeremy Allan Moore’s (2011) dissertation correlating poverty and student achievement scores in Florida here. Hint from his abstract-

“This study was successful in quantifying correlations between poverty and student achievement in Florida by utilizing FRPL as a proxy for poverty and FCAT as an indicator of student achievement. Correlation results ranging from -0.761 to -0.855 demonstrated strong associations between these variables. Over the span of years observed, as poverty levels increased in Florida schools, 76 percent to 86 percent of the corresponding student achievement scores decreased. These connections provided measured relationships between poverty and student achievement.”

Moore (2011)

Creativity and Dr. Dorothea Lasky – Links and Appreciation

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Dorothea Lasky is a force for creativity.

Her poems burst with color and neccessity. Her short lines are full of fire. Earth, water, and wind are present in her most recent book, but there is much fire.

Not only a respected and established poet (her books- Awe, Black Life, and Thunderbird- can all be purchased at Wave Poetry), Dr. Lasky examines the role of creativity in learning. Her dissertation, her articles for academic journals, and her class syllabi all reflect this deep passion for the creative act. She creates spaces in her writing and her teaching that allow others to experience the power of the imagination and the possibility of experiencing something transcendent.

But, you can read for yourself.

Here is a small list of some of her articles, interviews, and her book on poetry in education:

Could Poetry Start an Educational Revolution?

2012 article in The Atlantic

Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry

Making Space for the Act of Making: Creativity in the Engineering Design Classroom

Examining small “c” creativity in the science classroom: Multiple case studies of five high school teachers

Interview w/ Phantom Limb

Interview w/ The Conversant

Thoughts about teaching and learning: Multi-tier System of Supports for Learning

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Thoughts about teaching and learning:

Multi-tier System of Supports for Learning

After teaching in the elementary and high school environments, teaching and creating learning activities online, and spending time teaching adults and pre-K students to read, I have come to reflect on some things regarding instruction and learning. I will start to keep some posts geared toward these ideas. This reflection, which may be insane and unfounded, has to do with  differentiation.

The only “solutions” to the Two-Sigma Problem addressed in Bloom’s research and subsequent articles (listed below) include:

1. Effective teaching/facilitation of learning- There are no magic bullets here. A teacher who knows their students (whether online or face-to-face) and can motivate them, stimulate curiosity, and build their students’ self-efficacy will have a better chance of creating lifelong learners. The differentiation of instruction and the providing of supports for all learners can be called many things. It is referred to as RTI, MTSS, and many more names/acronyms. However, it doesn’t matter what it’s called…one-to-one tutoring is a conversation wherein a student is constantly engaged in a learning discussion. In small groups, targeted to need, the students are reinforcing one another’s learning through the social action that’s taking place. In the whole class/group, teachers must be aware of various indicators of learning from individual learners. The class must be held as a learning community, not unlike Socratic seminars or problem-based learning activities. In these situations, learners are engaged, motivated, and supported by the teacher and other students.

http://www.florida-rti.org/

http://www.ncld.org/disability-advocacy/where-we-stand-policies/multi-tier-system-supports-response-intervention

http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/what/whatisrti

2. Online education with adaptive software only fulfills part of the need of most learners. Most learners need more than a Storyline-based online course wherein they are constantly “moved” back or forward in an online environment based on responses to questions/formative assessments. There needs to be opportunity to discuss, to reflect on learning…to bounce ideas off other learners. Facilitation does this, some online social networking does this, and even forums do this. But, online instruction that is not facilitated can only work with adult learners who are engaged with a learning activity due to a requirement (traffic school) or a personal need (getting a certification for work or to open up opportunities outside of a person’s current situation). This is not stated as clearly as I’d like to state it…but, curiosity and community can’t be forced. There has to be a relationship to the learning.

3. Finally- adults only learn what they find value in learning. Perception of value is the key…more on that later.

Bloom’s Two-Sigma Problem (1984) links:

http://www.comp.dit.ie/dgordon/Courses/ILT/ILT0004/TheTwoSigmaProblem.pdf

http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198405_bloom.pdf

Sontag-like notes taken regarding course design in 2010

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These notes make little sense out of context. However, I save almost everything that I write or think about in writing. These wqere some notes (with lots of attached digital studies to back up my thoughts) in 2010-2011. I originally kept track of all of this, because I was trying to figure out the best way to explain solid course design from the perspective of UI/UX commonly associated with social media and gaming. That was pretty much a failure, but I was able to plant the germ of thought around these concepts with several individuals who had never thought about the motivational or social constructivism that should be a part of learning online (the same way these play such a vital role in face-to-face instruction). When I write things down, I tend to really remember them, even if I don’t return to the notes. Each of the studies or books contained in the notes have been read and considered prior to adding them to my thought process.

“Learning guides” and personal touch in online learning experiences:

Research behind “Learning Guides” showing up to talk to the learner at least five times during a lesson (Big Ideas, etc.)

Important to remember-

Wang, N., Johnson, W.L., Mayer, R.E., Rizzo, P., Shaw, E., & Collins, H. (2008). The politeness effect: Pedagogical agents and learning outcomes. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 66, 98–112.

Mayer, R.E. (2005). Principles based on social cues: Personalization, voice, and image principles. In R.E. Mayer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning (pp. 201–212). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Moreno, R., Mayer, R.E., Spires, H., & Lester, J. (2001). The case for social agency in computer-based teaching: Do students learn more deeply when they interact with animated pedagogical agents? Cognition and Instruction, 19, 177–214.

Component 1: Multimedia Approach (illustrations over text, spken text or narration over printed text only)-

1. Seminal 2007 Study Link- http://www.scribd.com/doc/33972230/Richard-E-Mayer-Applying-the-Science-of-…

2. Novice-level users of technology and multimedia – attached below

3. Last text and cover attachments include a short couple of pages from e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning [Ruth C. Clark, Richard E. Mayer]- Breaking all sorts of copyright rules here…(and this is not a part of our coursework here in ID…but, this is an important book synthesizing these ideas and used at other state universities, like USF and UCF).

Responsive Design and User Interfaces

1. Examples and clear definitions of adaptive/responsive web development templates:

a. A List Apart (One of my favorite web blogs for design- definition of this component…Link)- http://www.alistapart.com/articles/responsive-web-design/

b. Examples using Goldilocks (attached below)

c. These things can be templates for further work-

http://designshack.net/articles/css/5-really-useful-responsive-web-design-p…

d. Defined through image (attached below)

e. Excellent example of a website (other than Boston Globe, which is brilliant) that “knows” what you are viewing it on- www.thinkvitamin.com

f. What I am using for UI wireframing and basic design- Keynote Kung-Fu and hotglue.me

2. Examples of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)…specifically for CSS3:

a. Really cool (examples of how content can live in a variety of amazing style sheets using CSS3)- www.csszengarden.com

b. http://demo.marcofolio.net/3d_animation_css3/

c. http://filamentgroup.com/lab/responsive_images_experimenting_with_context_a…

d. When can I use specific things????- http://caniuse.com/

3. Jason’s favorite UX/UI designer:

http://jamesadame.com/50769/453451/gallery/dunkin-donuts

More information-

Why it’s important and what it looks like-

http://uxmag.com/articles/designing-for-context-the-multiscreen-ecosystem#.…

The Designer’s Rise to Upper Echelons of Business Community-

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mark-c-curtis/the-designers-rise-into-t_b_1…

Really great, innovative design takes lots of work. Simplicity is so complex. These guys rock at it.

http://www.fjordnet.com/

And, when you just want to get “cool”-

http://mrdoob.com/137/Voxels_liquid

Badging:

Social networking can be leveraged as a tool to promote deep communication and learning between learners and as a way to validate accomplishments of those learners. Badging and the curating of shared knowledge within this network (participants’ shared knowledge may be examples of lesson plans, videos, blogs, photos from the field, etc.) is a powerful way to building a structure that allows for meaningful learning in an online environment. This shared responsibility for curating the uploaded artifacts helps to motivate the learner and can be used to help assess the contributions and the outcomes of applied learning for every participant.

I have attached Baker’s 2007 AERA published paper as the “touchstone” document from which a great deal of research has been based.

 

Ease of Use:

IMPORTANT STUDY (as important as Roger’s book, Diffusion of Innovations, IMO):

  • Davis, F. D. 1989. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS Quarterly 13( 3): 319– 340. (attached)

  • Rogers, Everett M. 1962. Diffusion of Innovations. Glencoe: Free Press. Most recently revised 2003 (5th edition).

and, just because I like these books, and I’ve found them to contain a lot of truth:

Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point (1st chapter attached)

http://www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/

Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Design_of_Everyday_Things

Learning activities:

Image