I am stealing this idea from Jane Hart who provided a great summary of her work during 2011. This was my first year blogging, and with 95 posts, I felt it was a success. The journey started with an assignment in a teaching adult learners class. Basically, we were required to keep a journal; I elected to make mine public through a blog. Here are the results from the first year.
In January, I began my class on Teaching Adult Learners. In this class, we were exposed to a number of different resources which certainly resonated with me. During this month, three documents made a particular impact on me: My Pedagogic Creed from John Dewey, Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn by Raymond Wlodkowski, and Lindeman’s book, The Meaning of Adult Education. Each document helped to reinforce my belief that adults need to be led to learn rather than be taught at. Wlodkowski’s book was perhaps the most useful because he outlined 60 strategies to help keep learners engaged and motivated.
Also in January, I put together a number of posts that focused on QR Codes, Dropbox, Diigo, Flipboard, Evernote, and Zotero. These are great resources (free) that will help you work more effectively. Review January’s posts to learn more about these technologies. Finally, here is a presentation I developed for the Downtown Laramie Business Association on Foursquare.
February continued with more analysis of the Wlodkowski and Lindeman texts. Each book was thoroughly reviewed. Wlodkowski provides great strategies for increased engagement.
In addition to the book reviews, I also provided guidance on how to create a cheap photo database for a department using Google Desktop. During this month, I also started to explore the concept of flipped instruction. Basically, this is switching the time you lecture and do homework, there are a number of positive articles exploring this concept.
Finally, I put together three online presentations: Four Cloud-powered Tools: Diigo, Evernote, Zotero, and Dropbox; How Teaching Adults Impacts your Instruction; and Using Evernote to support Farm and Ranch Operations. Here are those presentations:
March began with posts discussing techniques and factors that affect preparing a lesson plan. An important part focused on the learner’s experience and frame of reference. Using unknown references in a presentation could draw blank looks from participants.
I also spent a significant amount of time writing about Twitter; how I managed my feeds, my use of Twitter lists, hashtags, and Paper.li.
This month’s presentation focused on learning objectives. Here is that presentation:
April and May were rather lean months. During these months, I provided a quick summary of a graduate workshop I attended, provided tips for spring cleaning your social media, why it is important to read… a lot, benchmarking organizations, and started to explore game theory.
I also wrote a book review on Joye Norris’ book From Telling to Teaching. Norris provides great tips for asking questions, setting the environment, and structuring the lesson.
Finally, I gave some tips for using Zotero, a citation management program.
June and July were busy months for writing book reviews. During the months, I wrote three of them: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande, Job aids and performance support: Moving from knowledge in the classroom to knowledge everywhere by Allison Rossett and Lisa Schafer, and Reality is Broken:Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal. The first two focused on using checklists and job aids to support job performance, and the last book looked at how to make life more enjoyable through game theory.
In June, I had the opportunity to attend the American Society for Training and Development conference in Orlando, Florida. I spent a few moments writing about the conference, more specifically, how I used my iPad and Evernote to collect and organize my notes.
In September, I knocked out another book review. This book was The Multiplayer Classroom by Lee Sheldon. Sheldon writes of his experiences as he gamifies his class. His book prompted me to read a number of articles on game mechanics and game theory in the classroom. Considering that school is already a game, a poorly designed one; it was interesting to read and write about the experiences others were having with gamification and education.
At the E-volution workshop put on by the University of Wyoming elearning group, I had an opportunity to see how different instructors used Second life in the classroom. It was a treat to watch Rachel Watson demonstrate how she teaches biology using Second Life. This prompted me to put together a list of Second Life resources on Aerospace Education.
Finally, during the last quarter of the year, I completed strong with two book reviews: Game frame: Using games as strategy for success by Aaron Dignan and The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning by Calhoun Wick, Roy Pollock, and Andrew Jefferson. Game Frame was another look at applying game mechanics to work, school, life, etc. Dignan provided a useful framework to develop a game out of routine tasks. The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning on the other hand looks at learning through the success of learning transfer.The others provide sound advice for implementing strategies to help move learning transfer from 15% to the 70 percentile range.
During this past quarter, I was also exploring and writing about RSS feeds and how to use them to get the word out. Using technologies like Twitterfeed and Paper.li, you can increase distribution of articles, podcasts, and videos to a larger market with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media streams.
A little reflection
This was my first attempt at blogging, and I found it to be a rewarding experience. Primarily, it provided me with an avenue to reflect on what I have been reading and try to make some sense out of it. Secondly, it has provided me with a means to share ideas with others. I enjoy being an instructional technologist, I find the ever changing world we live in to be fascinating, and I like to share what I find with others. Finally, I have found it useful to document the changing trends as it applies to learning. My challenge is to improve upon what I have done in terms of quantity and quality. Bring on 2012!