Privacy, West and East

This week LAK12 topic is privacy and learning analytics. Erik Duval presentation made me contemplate on some Privacy ideas.

First, you need to know that I was born in Lebanon, lived all over the world then decided to finish my professional life in Canada. So, I have that cultural mix in me where I continuously shift my values between eastern and western connotations. Something like wearing the right clothes: pajamas to sleep and T-shirt/Pants to go to work. I will call it “value attire”.

Erik asked the question: What you worry about?

Trying to reflect on a good answer made me recognize that my answer depends on the set of “value attire” I refer to.

My Eastern value attire would answer: nothing. There is nothing to hide. I lived my life sharing everything about me and I expressed my opinion freely. I had nothing to hide. Even others were not offended if we were “politically incorrect” and attacked them. Personal judgement is part of life and it never forced anybody to shunt their ideas, identity and expression.

My Western value attire would answer: I am worried that I will be considered an “alien” and lose the privilege of being a “westerner” that I  value.

This made recognize that I am forced to have two faces: the real me who wants to be open and express my feeling the way they are without worrying about my image or my identity. The me who accepts criticism and do not consider them to be politically incorrect.

The other face is the one the forces me to hide my true feeling and shut up because I still do not know what is politically correct or not.

Then it hit me: does the western culture promote privacy because people need an environment where they can be themselves on their own without anyone else judging them?

At this stage I started analyzing further with no prove: do people in the privacy of their home think differently than outside that privacy? Why and how they developed this attitude? Is it education that “programmed” students at early age to react to life in a way that they are not? using two different attire values? What they value in their own privacy is different than the values they express outside? Is this why privacy is so important? More questions than answers.

But to me, I made peace with my privacy rules: I am open and I have nothing to hide. My ideas and thoughts are to be shared with the world openly with no restrictions. And at point, if I am politically incorrect, I will look for the root cause/reasons/values that made me react in that way and eradicate it at the root so it comes out naturally in a politically correct manner without having to sugar coat it unnecessarily.

Other questions that comes to my mind:

– how much lawyer have to do with this privacy culture? Are they promoting it for their own benefit?

– I noticed that the eastern culture has far more wars among themselves than western mentality countries. Does privacy have anything to do with it?

I Learn by Trial and Error

What a synchronicity!

In my doctoral studies, I had a heated discussions about Learning Styles and why I consider them incomplete, and to some extend, useless or counterproductive (the post is elsewhere). One minor argument I used is that my learning style is based on trial and error. I challenged my co-learners to prove that there is any learning style theory that address this type of learning. I did not get a reply to this challenge. I was wondering why? Is it because no one found it, or is it because no one read my reply!

When I formulated that stand point, I was basing it on my own experience in the first place. But more importantly, based on all my male friends who hate to read instructions or guides. They prefer to try it themselves. Our wives (in majority) consider this approach to be a total waste of time. I do the same and survived many arguments with my wife. When I reflected on my habit, I discovered that I find joy going through the discovery process… it gives a thrill. We might make many mistakes, we might have to un-assemble the kit because we assumed one piece goes to the wrong place. But that gives me a joy. Not only that, I discovered that this experience becomes engraved in my personality and I, intuitively, refer to it in the future. It becomes part of me. More than just a knowledge, it becomes an intuitive habit. If this is not learning, what is? So, I learn through Trial and Error… and I find joy doing that. Shouldn’t a learning style theory include such an approach?

Anyhow, I am mentioning this now because yesterday, when I was working on a TEDx project for my community, I discovered a TEDtalk video that supports my argument. What a discovery. Here it is, enjoy. (P.s. if there is a woman who learns this way, please make yourself known to me to rewrite the above post and include you!)

My Philosophy Statements about Teaching and Learning v 4.2

[I have written this in 2010. I will reflect on it to move to v.5 in 2012 based on my learning growth in the last two years. The text in red need to be revised]

In April 2010, I wrote:

Philosophy Statements about Teaching and Learning, v. 4.1 > 4.2

I. Abstract

In my opinion, the best instruction is the 1-1 approach. Not in the traditional sense where a teacher teaches one student. This is not feasible using traditional teaching methods. In an ideal teaching scenario, the learners need to have “customized”, “personalized” and “individualized” teaching that caters for their learning style and talent through the innovative use of technology in all its facets. This applies in the face-to-face setting as well as online teaching.

II. Concepts and Values

This post highlights the set of values and definitions that governs my philosophy about teaching and learning. It includes a set of practices I follow when designing as well as delivering my courses, whether face-to-face or online.

Role of Teachers: Following Entwisted (1990) line of thought, I believe that the primary professional responsibility of teachers, trainers and online courses is to maximise the learning opportunities of their learners. Some would use the term “facilitator” but I still like to use the traditional term, teacher, with added contemporary connotations.

Learning, Information and Knowledge: Information, knowledge and their relation to learning is one of the vaguest concepts in the literature (Fox, 1991). Harris supplied the definition which is closest to my heart:

“knowledge is private, while information is public. Knowledge, therefore, cannot be communicated; only information can be shared. Whenever an attempt to communicate knowledge is made, it is translated into information, which other learners can choose to absorb and transform into knowledge, if they so desire” (Harris, 1995, p.1)

According to this description, I believe that learning is the process of personalizing information and experience thus creating knowledge. Collective knowledge includes skills, attitudes and beliefs. Teachers’ role is to create the desire in the learner to absorb and transform the information and experience into their own knowledge.

Assessment: is defined as “the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs” (Wikipedia, Assessment). I believe that this definition mixes up between knowledge and information. In my courses, I like to define assessment as “the process of documenting, usually in qualitative terms, the incremental knowledge attained during the teaching process”. How to do this? I have few ideas that I hope will be firmed in version 5 of my philosophy.

Curriculum: I like to categories the curriculum into two types: the regulated curriculum where outcomes are clearly quantified and regulated (like army training, government regulated courses, professional tests) and free-form curriculum where the outcomes depends on the learners’ achievement within clear guidelines (example: art classes, architecture and medicine). I believe courses in the regulated curriculum address learning at the information level. Free form courses tackle the learning at the knowledge level. Each of these two types requires different teaching styles and methodologies. The difference is recognized in the design and delivery of each type, although, personally, I avoid handling regulated courses as an online course.

Learning Spaces: Brown (2005) used the term “Learning Spaces” to replaces the traditional classroom term. I like to use the same term to indicate any space that induces learning in individuals: a classroom, my office, a cafe, over the phone, on a forum, blog, wikipage, online, offline, and all the new medium of learning that is available.

Learning Styles: ** This is evolving. My old me said:

My values recognize that individuals learn in multitude of ways. Consequently, the process of creating the desire in learners to learn should match the learners’ style. The literature offers at least 13 different schools of thought in this area (Coffield et al, 2004). Out of these schools, I find that Allinson and Hayes Cognitive Style Index to be the most suitable because it has “the best psychometric credentials” (Coffield et al, 2004, p139). I believe, to use learning styles as motivators to learning, I must include other factors like the set of intelligences acquired by the learner (Gardner et al,1995) and the set of strengths that determines their talent (Clifton & Nelson, 1992). My teaching should include drivers that ignite the learning desire based on the learners’ profile. Technology makes achieving this approach more plausible. I find the 4MAT approach to learning styles (McCarthy, 1990) the most suitable. This approach advocates that teaching should:

(1) Promote self reflecting, analysing, and experiencing.
(2) Inspire transitioning of information into knowledge
(3) Allow the individuals to digest and create content
(4) Encourage learners to express themselves

And I like to add a fifth one:

(5) Facilitate creation of knowledge through collective collaboration and network communication (Tapscott and Williams, 2010)”.

My new me would like to add something related to: “there are different learning styles as much as there are learners. This will come in 2012.

Learning Theories: As outlined by Anderson in his CIDER Webinar of April 2010, effective teaching should apply a mix of learning theories (behaviorism, cognitive, constructive and connectivism). I am a strong believer in this approach.

Generational Differences: Tapscott (2008) coined the term NetGen to describe individuals who were born in the digital age. I agree with him that NetGen learns in ways different than what traditional education is able to offer. Consequently, my delivery will recognize the different learning drivers dichotomies as presented by Coffield, (2004).

Parallel Education: As suggested by Brown (2010) and McGonigal (2010), new learning paradigms are emerging where the younger generation are building their knowledge outside the traditional educational systems. Some refer to this as the parallel education. The learning in this paradigm is naturally motivated and based on discovering personal talents through “virtual-real-life” experiences in areas not recognized in the traditional educational understanding. In my courses, I need to identify learners who are following this approach and encourage them to exploit it in the learning of the material. This is not easy especially that the concept is new. Maybe it will be the core driver for my philosophy version 5!

Technology in Learning: In my educational realm, technology helps to customize, individualize and personalize learning. For many thousand years, human learned based on one-to-one teaching (Toffler, 1980) until the industrial evolution came up with the idea of mass production that shaped our present educational system (West, 2001). This method is becoming obsolete to meet the new challenges (Tapsott & Wilson, 2010). With the advancement of the technology, we can go back to the natural way of human learning, i.e. one-to-one by customizing teaching to satisfy individualistic learning drivers through online courses and activities. [I need to address Cloud Learning, Connectivism and Crowd Learning]

Continuous Improvement: My courses will always contain learners feedback to continuously evaluate means of improvement. This philosophy will continuously evolve based on new discoveries, emerging technologies, my acquired knowledge and interactions with my learners.

III. References

Brown, D., (2010), An Open Letter to Educators, YouTube Video.

Brown M., (2005), Learning Spaces, Educating the Net Generation, Educause eBooks.

Clifton, D. O., & Nelson, P. (1992). Soar with Your Strengths, Dell Publishing.

Coffield, F. J., Moseley D. V., Hall .E & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning: a systematic and critical review. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre/University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Entwistle, N.J. (1998). Improving teaching through research on student learning. In JJF Forrest (ed.) University teaching: international perspectives. New York: Garland.

Fox, S. (1991). The production and distribution of knowledge through open and distance learning. In D. Hylnka & J. C. Belland (Eds.), Paradigms regained: The uses of illuminative, semiotic and post-modern criticism as modes of inquiry in educational technology. Englewood Clifs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Gardner, H., Kornhaber, M. L., & Wake W. K. (1995). Intelligence: multiple perspectives, Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Judi H. (1995). Educational Telecomputing Projects: Information Collections, The Computing Teacher journal, published by the International Society for Technology in Education.

McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world. TED Presentation.

Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, The McGraw-Hill.

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2008). Innovating the 21st-Century University: It’s Time!, EDUCAUSE

Toffler, A., (1989). The Third Wave, Bantam Books.

West, E. G. (2001). Education and the Industrial Revolution, Liberty Fund Inc.

Wikipedia, Assessment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment

Zukas, M., & Malcolm, J. (2002). Pedagogies for lifelong learning: building bridges or building walls? In R Harrison, F Reeve, A Hanson and J Clarke (eds) Supporting lifelong learning. London: Routledge/Open University.

IV. Appendix: History of the versions of My Philosophy

Version 1: articulated in 1981: The focus was on curriculum and teaching.
Version 2: articulated in 1992: The focus was student learning and success.
Version 2.5: articulated in 1996: The focus included the use of Technology.
Version 3: articulated in 2000: Constructivist concepts were adopted.
Version 3.5: articulated in 2008: Web 2.0 concepts were included.

Peace

In a letter to a friend, I mentioned that most of the people use the phrase “Peace Upon You”, “Shalom” and “Salamu Alaykoum” (which all mean Peace) without knowing what the Peace really means. Then a friend of mine statused his facebook with the phrase: “Kindness is to love others even if they do not deserve it”. Then it came to me. I commented on his status with “Peace is to love others without thinking if they deserve it or not”. What an epiphany!

This matches Jesus wisdom: Love Thy Enemy. I need to find reference in other religions!

Split My Life

Yesterday, the first days of my vacation, I decided to organize my Internet presence. I decided to dedicate this blog for my professional life. It will contain articles related to my musings in three areas: education, leadership and technology. I will move my articles related to memories, philosophy, history, politics and everything else to my blogger post on aboluay.blogspot.com, which is the Google blogging site.

I hope this works. Let’s see.

About me: My QR – An image worth one thousand words

 

ABout Me QR

About Me QR

My Contact Information QR

My QR Setails

If you know QR, you know what to do. Let me know if it works.



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Memories: My Parental Grandpa and his garden

I have decided today to move my personal memories from my blogger site to here. I do not know really why? I should one day.

Today, I want to talk about my parental grandpa. The last time I had a major interaction with him was when I was 10 years old. I did not have any major interaction with him until he passed away when I was 22 years. He was 85 or so.

My memory reminds me that everybody loved him. Everyone said he was funny and light hearted person. I did not feel that when I was young. He always ignored me. I felt he favored my other cousins, especially my aunts children. Most my direct interaction with him were negative. Either telling me I am not doing something right, ask me to do a tough chore, or criticizing something I am doing. The only positive memory is when I hard him telling my father that my white skin will make me a successful doctor. They kept talking about me for around 5 minutes and how I will heal people the moment they see. Then he called me and said: “When you grow up, you must become a doctor. You should start reading all medicine xxx”. And he gave me a bunch of them. If I did not hear him complementing me, I would have thought he was punishing me by forcing me to read these xxx!

My indirect interaction with him were lighter. I still remember when we sit around the table with the large family and crack all these jokes. I did not understand them. But everyone was continuoulsy laughing around the table. This gave me a positive feeling. The only joke I still remember it is his saying: “Money is not yours, what is yours is what your mouth own. When you eat, praise the lord”. It rhymed beautifully in his language. It was like a prayer before eating. It was fun.

The other found memory of him is seeing him working in his garden. Since I was living in the city, this memory is the only experience I have about nature. I admire him for giving me this chance. I remember him taking care of every single plant, flower, tree or pieace of grass. Once he allowed me to water a tree. I was around 7. For me, it was boring. So I played with the hose to make the water dance. Obviously he shouted at me forcing me to stop playing and focus on water the tree. I remember he had different set of roses. I loved their smell. I like to go there, pull down the stem to reach down my nose. Inhale strongly so the smell fells my lungs and give me refreshing strength. You guessed it. He will shout at me because I might break it.

Other fond memory about him was during the festivities. He would come to our house and give us money. the moment he walks in, the whole house will become filled with laughter and joy. He was a man who can set the mood. I still remember his bedroom which had a huge mirror attached to a beautiful antique dresser where many items were placed there. One of them contained caramel drops. I used to be thrilled when he gives me one piece. Although I did not know how to eat it until I was 7! I used to think it is a chewing gum and try hard to break it with my teeth instead of sucking it. I can blame my week teeth this incident.

Another memory about him when I was older… maybe aroung 16. When my family talked about his walks. He take 2 pounds of orange and walks all around the city eating these oranges. He ends the day on the beach where he watches the sunset. Then go back home.

I know about his death when I was reading the newspaper. I went directly to my grandma and spend few days with her. She was strong. She told many stories about him.

The last story I heard about him was 3 years ago, when my uncle told me what happened at his death bed. My uncle said that my grandfather held his hand and whispered: “Love Each Other!”. Then he passed away. My uncle still writes this phrase at the end of every email he sends me.

Jido Abousohail, that was his name, had a lot of impact on my life. Ala yerhamou.

Jido Abo Souhail in His Garden
My grandpa, in his garden with my sister (in the middle) and my grandma (on the right)

 

لم تنظر لي الحفيد الخاصة. شعرت أنه كان لطيفا مع أكثر

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About me

My introduction for the CCK11 course. A brief blurb about me.

My Name: Anas Eljamal. In the cyber world, I am known as Aboluay.

My Location: I live in the cold Fort McMurray, Northern Alberta where Oil Sand fields makes it a boom town, with all the good and the bad.

My Job: I work at Keyano College as Director of Learning Innovation and my objectives for this year is introduce measures and standards of excellence that promotes effective learning methodologies.

My Family: I am married to Sana and have one son, Luay, who is touring Europe now.

My Present Courses: I am presently enrolled in Mobile Learning course with University of Manitoba and the EdD with University of Liverpool.

My Passion: Be a catalyst for the people around me to grow professionally and personally. Defy the obvious to understand reality. Develop my inner peace so that I believe in what everyone else believes in.

My present hobby: contribute to Wikipedia in English, Simple English and Arabic (so far, I contributed with more that 15,000 edits and initiated 1300 topics).

My Contact Details:

FaceBook: Anas Eljamal (add me to your list of friends)
Skype and MSN and Wikiepdia: Aboluay
Blog: aboluay.eljamal.com

Disclaimer: this is me as of NOW (17 June 2011, 9 am, Mountain Time). I reserve the right to change myself whenever I find a better belief.

، وحتى الآن (19 يناير 2011 ، 09:00 ، التوقيت الجبلي).
 

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هو “العالم في المدينة اليوم. فالى من تيمبي ،
 

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Detect language » Arabic

Oops… we did an adventure

We always plan a “sunny” trip in December and March to run from the harsh snowy winter of Fort McMurray. Our December trip was supposed to be a beach relaxing trip in Cancun. While my son’s trip would be a real adventure touring Europe with a friend for6 months. Our trip turned out to be more adventure than we really expected!

CBC TV ArticleFirst, Air Canada did its part. Our flight that was supposed to leave Fort Mac to Calgary at 5 got delayed till 9:45. We were told we should report to the airport at 9:30. When we did, they told us the flight already left. Waiting for the next available flight means missing the Cancun flight which is around 9 hours away. As a family, we decided to drive to Calgary. On Highway 63, otherwise known as Alberta Deadliest Highway It was 10 pm. The temperature was -25C. The 700 Km road we are supposed to cross are filled with snow. Only foolish people would do that. They were right… we have not encountered anyone else on the road. Not a single car! We decided to continue. My wife trying to contact our 24/7 tour agent with no avail. My son used his tech wits to see if we can book flights from Edmonton to Calgary and save 300 km from the trip. Nothing materialized. We decided to enjoy the trip.

The first obstacle was I got a sever stomach aches. No stops on the way for the first 300 Km. I had to supress it. We couldn’t find any open petrol station around the airport to fill gas. We had to go back to town and fill it in Fort Mac. With a cup of coffee, my son iPad and his entertaining company. I enjoyed the best trip I ever had with him… although I had to drive at a speed of 30km/hr for more than 50Km because of the heavy fog. My wife slept in the back seat, and my son on my side. He was great copilot! Without him, I would not be able to make it. He was a great DJ. Putting the right songs through his iPod to the car stereo. And opening interesting topics to keep me awake. He offered to drive and I was hoping to switch with him once we reached Edmonton. But his eyes dozed off on Hendey Avenue. I did not wanted to wake him up, although I was a bit too tired!

Later I discovered that what we have done is rarely done by anyone else… ever! We twitted and facebooked our progress through my BB to ensure that our friends are tracking our trip. Fida and Amen in Calgary were keeping an eye on our progress. Our family were on the stand by if they needed to interfere… but everything went well.

I switched driving the car with my Wife at Red Deer (200 km away from destination) around  5 am. I slept in the back seat for the last 2 hours of the trip. We got to the airport 2 hours before our Cancun flight. We checked my son in the airport hotel (for his flight to London was in the afternoon) and we rushed to the airport becuase we were worried that if we slept for few minutes, we will never wake up to catch our flight.

I slept 3 hours on the plane to Cancun. Total sleeping time in the last 32 hours were 5 hours only!

The start of a planned relaxing trip turned out to be an unplanned adventure We did not recognize the adventure until we shared it with our friends and we were desribed as fools and crazy and that no one would do such a trip at night  in December!…

The last leg of our trip was even more adventure than expected. But this is another blog!

Adaptive Cruise Control

Lincoln MKX 2011Due to an adventure that I might explain in another post, I experienced Adaptive Cruise Control in a refreshing way.

My wife and I were forced to drive separate cars for more than 700 Km in a very bad winter weather. She drove Luay’s Ford Focus while I drove my brand new 2011 MKX (showing off!) from Calgary to Fort McMurray during the worst weather conditions Alberta has seen. We were able to get home in 16 hours for a trip that usually takes 8 hours. However, my wife drove for both of us.

I drove the MKX because I do not fit in my son’s car. She drove in front of me to keep an eye on her for the Focus is not reliable to drive in the bad weather. So I set my cruise control on 120km/hr (yes, on the Lincol, you can specify the cruise speed digitally) then enabled the adaptive cruise control (that is, you tell the car to follow the speed of the car in front of yours.) In this way, my car followed the speed of my wife’s car for the whole trip. I mean all I had to do is steer it… no decisions what so ever about breaking or accelerating… my left foot enjoyed the whole trip… the first time it drove 700 km without feeling tired!

An amazing experience! I am looking forward for the day that the car will do its own steering… Would it happen in my days?

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Why I chose Aboluay

In my parents’ culture, it is customary to change a person’s name after the birth of the first boy. A father will add “abo” to the name of his first born son, while the mother adds “Um”. My first born (and only) son is Luay. So, I become Aboluay. My wife is Umluay!

I have rejected many of my ancestors’ traditions and myths. I kept few of them that suited me. This is one of them. Think about it, your name is one of the few things you own that you never choose. With this nice traditional trick, you have a chance to rename your self to a name you choose. Although I like my original name, Anas (which is the name of Adam’s grandson, Anosh), but many of my western acquaintances mispronounce it. So, Aboluay, is a convenient solutions!

Detect language » Arabic

Updated PLE (Dec 2010)

I have chosen to divide my third attempt on my PLE into 3 branches:

(1) My Learning: Sites or Internet Activities that helps me learn. It is part of my lifelong learning activities. You may call this branch: lifelong learning.

(2) Future Learning: The activities I would like to learn in the next 3-6 months.

(3) Trouble Shooting, or what I like to describe as Knowledge-On-Demand. In general, this type of activities does not require me “to learn” as such, but it is essential for my day to day operation.

Details

(1) “My Learning” branch

I recognize the I have 3 levels of learning: the cognitive (i.e. the information I have to retain), Behavioral (i.e. learning that changes my habits and behavior) and Paradigm Shift (i.e learning that changes my values). In my PLE, I havr outlined SOME of the web sites that helps me in each level. For example, playing SIMS helped me (and helps me) analyze daily routines and social interaction that, after playing for a while, help me develop new habits or behavior. As you may have noticed, my life is filled with online cognitive opportunities. This is the real purpose of the internet. Isn’t it?

(2) “My Future Learning” branch

In the next 6 months, I need to learn about mLearning (=Learning using the mobile devices), developing audio-visual materian for online courses (this course gave the push for it) and about Avatars and 2nd Life (my next online course).

(3) Troubleshooting branch

In my life, I face a lot of problems that I need to solve immediately. Due to the nature of my field, most of this knowledge is obsolete and worth learning (eg: programming languages… the moment you learn it, it become obsolete, so spend time learning languages is a life killer.) so, I revert to online friends or resources to find solutions either by searching previous cases, or asking in forums. This is what I like to call Knowledge on Demand.

The PLE (Bubbl.us disabled embedding their chart, so I replaced it with a static image.)

Anas PLN Jan 2011

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Detect language » Arabic

Noosphere

I just got involved in translating Wikipedia articles about the concept of “Noosphere”… I was fascinated to discover that there were people in the early 20th century were prophetically predicting  about the internet… Amazing.

Noospher, according to these prophets, is the 3rd cycle of the evolution of Earth. The first phase was the “Geosphere”, that is the creation of the physical earth. The second phase is the “biosphere” which is the phase were the physical earth evolved to create living forms. The next phase is the Noosphere when the living form evolves to the level of creating awareness. Awareness being the collective concept of knowledge and consciousness.

The first prophet of the concept was Vernadsky who in the 1920’s introduced this concept building on Darwin theory of the survival of the fittest.

The came De Chardin who elaborated the concept and tried to explain it theologically through his Omega Point theory. Obviously, his theory died when the church opposed it although he did his best to show that the Omega Point is the personification of Jesus.

Both ideas suggests that the next level of the evolution of Earth is to create a global awareness… which is the collectiveness and interrelationship of global knowledge!

Isn’t this what the Internet is all about? Interesting concept that requires further contemplation.

One step further: Type of Learning Activities

While driving today, I got some refinement to the idea I presented earlier. This came as a result of some discussion with Ann about her Program Concept restructure. My new idea relates to Blooms Taxonomy. Traditional learning program structure suggests that programs should have objectives. Courses should have a set of objectives that align with the program objectives. The course objectives should use the right frame: an action verb, a quantifiable criteria and an environmental condition. Google Bloom for more details.

My idea builds up on this concept and suggests assigning to each course objective an activity type that comes from one or more of these categorizes:

1. Behavior: is an activity that involves a behavior change based on the instructor’s value set. Examples: soldiers in an army, medical interns, religious followers, wiki users.
2. Experience: is an activity that enhances the knowledge and or skills of the person. Example: learning Math formulas, laws of physics, Social Studies facts, Wiki tools and rules.
3. Creation: is an activity that encourages a student to create their own knowledge. It is experiential activities that creates personal knowledge. Examples: (TBC)
4. Networking: is an activity that that encourages students to create preset knowledge based on group interaction. Examples: brainstorming.
5. Bohemic: is a free form networking activity that allows the group interaction to create new knowledge which does not conform to a predetermined structure.

These are progressive activities. Carrying any higher activity embeds activities from the lowers ones. For example, creation activity includes behavior and and Experience activities.

As you can tell, the terminology have evolved from the previous post. I assume it will continue to evolve as the idea matures.

The next 2 steps:
(1) Create a set of action verb that could be used for each category and a set of classroom and online activities that could be used with each type.
(2) Relate the action verb and sample activities to online courses.

Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic


Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic

Anas’ KWL

I have uploaded my KWL chart in Bubbl.us format on my site because EDDL 514 blog system does not support embedding. Let me know your thoughts by commenting here.

Michelle/Tracy: Is Bibbl.us format acceptable or do you still want me to publish a tabular form?

Berge’s Types of Interactions: Add Intrapersonal Interaction

Berge (1995) identified 2 types of interactions in learning: interactions with content and interpersonal interactions. I think we need to add a third one: intrapersonal interaction (i.e. self-reflection) since reflection is an essential learning activity that leads to understanding and appreciation (Boud, 1985; Schön, 1991). Otherwise, we will limit the learning to rote learning!

As such, I would like to paraphrase Berge’s statement to read:

An educator designs a course that is to promote higher order learning, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, rather than rote memorization, it becomes important to provide an environment in which [the three] kinds of interaction [interaction with content, interpersonal interaction and intrapersonal interaction] can occur. (Berge, 1995, p.22).

Our online courses, like our classroom delivery, should include e-tivities that intice self-reflection as well as presenting suitable content and facilities for interactions among individuals.

Your thoughts?

References:

Berge, Z.L. (1995). Facilitating Computer Conferencing: Recommendations From the Field. Educational Technology. 35(1) 22-30.

Boud, D., Keogh, R. Walker, D., (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning, Routledge Imprints.

Schön, D. A. (1991) The Reflective Turn: Case Studies In and On Educational Practice, New York: Teachers Press, Columbia University.

Customizing Teaching for Personalized Learning

Philosophy Statements about Teaching and Learning, v. 4.1

I. Abstract

In my opinion, the best instruction is the 1-1 approach. Not in the traditional sense where a teacher teaches one student. This is not feasible using traditional teaching methods. In an ideal teaching scenario, the learners need to have “customized”, “personalized” and “individualized” teaching that caters for their learning style and talent through the innovative use of technology in all its facets. This applies in the face-to-face setting as well as online teaching.

II. Concepts and Values

This post highlights the set of values and definitions that governs my philosophy about teaching and learning. It includes a set of practices I follow when designing as well as delivering my courses, whether face-to-face or online.

Role of Teachers: Following Entwisted (1990) line of thought, I believe that the primary professional responsibility of teachers, trainers and online courses is to maximise the learning opportunities of their learners. Some would use the term “facilitator” but I still like to use the traditional term, teacher, with added contemporary connotations.

Learning, Information and Knowledge: Information, knowledge and their relation to learning is one of the vaguest concepts in the literature (Fox, 1991). Harris supplied the definition which is closest to my heart:

“knowledge is private, while information is public. Knowledge, therefore, cannot be communicated; only information can be shared. Whenever an attempt to communicate knowledge is made, it is translated into information, which other learners can choose to absorb and transform into knowledge, if they so desire” (Harris, 1995, p.1)

According to this description, I believe that learning is the process of personalizing information and experience thus creating knowledge. Collective knowledge includes skills, attitudes and beliefs. Teachers’ role is to create the desire in the learner to absorb and transform the information and experience into their own knowledge.

Assessment: is defined as “the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs” (Wikipedia, Assessment). I believe that this definition mixes up between knowledge and information. In my courses, I like to define assessment as “the process of documenting, usually in qualitative terms, the incremental knowledge attained during the teaching process”. How to do this? I have few ideas that I hope will be firmed in version 5 of my philosophy.

Curriculum: I like to categories the curriculum into two types: the regulated curriculum where outcomes are clearly quantified and regulated (like army training, government regulated courses, professional tests) and free-form curriculum where the outcomes depends on the learners’ achievement within clear guidelines (example: art classes, architecture and medicine). I believe courses in the regulated curriculum address learning at the information level. Free form courses tackle the learning at the knowledge level. Each of these two types requires different teaching styles and methodologies. The difference is recognized in the design and delivery of each type, although, personally, I avoid handling regulated courses as an online course.

Learning Spaces: Brown (2005) used the term “Learning Spaces” to replaces the traditional classroom term. I like to use the same term to indicate any space that induces learning in individuals: a classroom, my office, a cafe, over the phone, on a forum, blog, wikipage, online, offline, and all the new medium of learning that is available.

Learning Styles: My teaching recognizes that individuals learn in multitude of ways. Consequently, the process of creating the desire in learners to learn should match the learners’ style. The literature offers at least 13 different schools of thought in this area (Coffield et al, 2004). Out of these schools, I find that Allinson and Hayes Cognitive Style Index to be the most suitable because it has “the best psychometric credentials” (Coffield et al, 2004, p139). I believe, to use learning styles as motivators to learning, I must include other factors like the set of intelligences acquired by the learner (Gardner et al,1995) and the set of strengths that determines their talent (Clifton & Nelson, 1992). My teaching should include drivers that ignite the learning desire based on the learners’ profile. Technology makes achieving this approach more plausible. I find the 4MAT approach to learning styles (McCarthy, 1990) the most suitable. This approach advocates that teaching should:

(1) Promote self reflecting, analysing, and experiencing.
(2) Inspire transitioning of information into knowledge
(3) Allow the individuals to digest and create content
(4) Encourage learners to express themselves

And I like to add a fifth one:

(5) Facilitate creation of knowledge through collective collaboration and network communication (Tapscott and Williams, 2010)

Learning Theories: As outlined by Anderson in his CIDER Webinar of April 2010, effective teaching should apply a mix of learning theories (behaviorism, cognitive, constructive and connectivism). I am a strong believer in this approach.

Generational Differences: Tapscott (2008) coined the term NetGen to describe individuals who were born in the digital age. I agree with him that NetGen learns in ways different than what traditional education is able to offer. Consequently, my delivery will recognize the different learning drivers dichotomies as presented by Coffield, (2004).

Parallel Education: As suggested by Brown (2010) and McGonigal (2010), new learning paradigms are emerging where the younger generation are building their knowledge outside the traditional educational systems. Some refer to this as the parallel education. The learning in this paradigm is naturally motivated and based on discovering personal talents through “virtual-real-life” experiences in areas not recognized in the traditional educational understanding. In my courses, I need to identify learners who are following this approach and encourage them to exploit it in the learning of the material. This is not easy especially that the concept is new. Maybe it will be the core driver for my philosophy version 5!

Technology in Learning: In my educational realm, technology helps to customize, individualize and personalize learning. For many thousand years, human learned based on one-to-one teaching (Toffler, 1980) until the industrial evolution came up with the idea of mass production that shaped our present educational system (West, 2001). This method is becoming obsolete to meet the new challenges (Tapsott & Wilson, 2010). With the advancement of the technology, we can go back to the natural way of human learning, i.e. one-to-one by customizing teaching to satisfy individualistic learning drivers through online courses and activities.

Continuous Improvement: My courses will always contain learners feedback to continuously evaluate means of improvement. This philosophy will continuously evolve based on new discoveries, emerging technologies, my acquired knowledge and interactions with my learners.

III. References

Brown, D., (2010), An Open Letter to Educators, YouTube Video.

Brown M., (2005), Learning Spaces, Educating the Net Generation, Educause eBooks.

Clifton, D. O., & Nelson, P. (1992). Soar with Your Strengths, Dell Publishing.

Coffield, F. J., Moseley D. V., Hall .E & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning: a systematic and critical review. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre/University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Entwistle, N.J. (1998). Improving teaching through research on student learning. In JJF Forrest (ed.) University teaching: international perspectives. New York: Garland.

Fox, S. (1991). The production and distribution of knowledge through open and distance learning. In D. Hylnka & J. C. Belland (Eds.), Paradigms regained: The uses of illuminative, semiotic and post-modern criticism as modes of inquiry in educational technology. Englewood Clifs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Gardner, H., Kornhaber, M. L., & Wake W. K. (1995). Intelligence: multiple perspectives, Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Judi H. (1995). Educational Telecomputing Projects: Information Collections, The Computing Teacher journal, published by the International Society for Technology in Education.

McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world. TED Presentation.

Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, The McGraw-Hill.

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2008). Innovating the 21st-Century University: It’s Time!, EDUCAUSE

Toffler, A., (1989). The Third Wave, Bantam Books.

West, E. G. (2001). Education and the Industrial Revolution, Liberty Fund Inc.

Wikipedia, Assessment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment

Zukas, M., & Malcolm, J. (2002). Pedagogies for lifelong learning: building bridges or building walls? In R Harrison, F Reeve, A Hanson and J Clarke (eds) Supporting lifelong learning. London: Routledge/Open University.

IV. Appendix: History of the versions of My Philosophy

Version 1: articulated in 1981: The focus was on curriculum and teaching.
Version 2: articulated in 1992: The focus was student learning and success.
Version 2.5: articulated in 1996: The focus included the use of Technology.
Version 3: articulated in 2000: Constructivist concepts were adopted.
Version 3.5: articulated in 2008: Web 2.0 concepts were included.

TAP: Subways and Mac’s

Daydreaming

I want my online courses to be like Subway sandwiches and not like MacDonald buns! I want the learner to choose the ingredients of the course. To choose the style of activities that makes them learn. They cannot choose the objectives nor the duration.

Subway and Mcdonalds have the same objectives: to give you calories and nutritions. One style allows you to choose the ingredients that the you want. The other gives you limited alternatives to choose from. At Subway, if you aim is to lose weight, you choose more vegies than bacon. If you want to put on weight, you double the cheese, bacon and mayo’s. At Macdonald, you do not have this flexibility.

I want my online courses to be the same. They should have clear objectives: (1) the learning outcomes dictated by the curriculum; a and (2) a fixed duration by which the learner should complete the outcomes*. The course will offer a variety of activities. Paced and self paced. Traditional sequential reading material and leaping hyperlinked reading material. Videos and handouts. Synchronous and Asynchronous interaction. Learning by doing and learning by observing. Self reflection and networked interaction. Mayonaise and Catchup. Peer learning and self-learning. The list need to be completed.

The one who chooses to learn using my online course should know what they want and how they learn. Like the Subway customer: they know what they like to eat and know how to choose. For the others, let them go to a Mac restaurant (i.e. packaged courses) or to a fancy restaurant (i.e the structuredconstructivistinteractiving course) . Not mine. I want my student to “Learn Fresh”.

… and I woke up!


Questions:

  1. Was it a daydream or something that I can really make?
  2. Do you think there must be more objectives? Like assessment?
  3. Any suggestions for more ingredients I need to add the “menu of the course”?
  4. I know McDonals is far more popular and profitable than Subway around the world! Do you think traditional online/distant course delivery will prevail over my styles?

TAP: Revised Rationale

[Based on what I have learned from you in the last few days, I revamped my rationale about the concept map]!

While developing the philosophy utilizing the concept map, I reflected on myself in different scenarios:

  • A classroom learner
  • An online learner
  • A classroom teacher and
  • An online teacher

I discovered that I react to the teaching and learning in different ways in each case. I use different set of skills, attitudes, values and methodologies in different settings. Thank God. I preserve my personality, identity, knowledge, experience and reality in all, otherwise I would have been a schizophrenic! Maybe I am. So I noted on my map that my philosophy should have the flexibility to treat the online course different than the f2f. At the same time, my teaching should be adaptable to change based on the facilitation medium.

When I went through your contributions I recognized that each one of us react in a different way in each of the above situations. Some of us have the split. Others treat online and classroom experiences as the same. I noted in my map that my classes will have the same diversity of individualities. Being a believer in the Universal Design approach, I made sure that my mind map recognizes this diversity in preparation to have a philospohy that caters for all types. Additionally, my philosophy should recognize the differences between K-12 education, adult education and lifelong learning requirements.

To understand the different types, I embarked on a research about the  traditional learning theories then moved to new emerging ideas and concepts especially the ones that the Internet has recently uncovered. I noted my findings on the map. Then, following the course requirements, I researched the different traditional learning philosophies where I discovered an additional emerging philosophy called Connectivism which I found intriguing. My research led me to believe that none of these philosophies is better than the other. Each one has its own merit when applied in the right environment. I noted that on my map. I noted as well that a new parallel educational society exist where learning happens without teaching. Mind boggling, but it is reality. This is for another post, maybe for another course.

Then I investigated the roles that IT plays in education… and checked ideas about emerging trendsline of thoughts and the future of Post Secondary Education: post secondary education. I noted them on my map. My previous experience drives me to include concepts of multiple intelligences, concepts of personal strengths, positive psychology and individualism in my philosophy. My map grew accordingly.

At this point, I discovered my map is so complicated that crashed my brain and needed a reboot. I thought of total reformat, but decided against it for I convinced myself I am a human and not a machine… yet! So, I took a couple of days to rest.

And my pursuit continues to simplify this complexity!

References:

Most of my references are noted in the body of the post. Below are links to “hardcopy” text I read: