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Finishing up my learning theories class, it is time to reflect on the changes that I have gone through.  My understanding as a learner has changed and will effect the way I interact with my students this coming year.

Originally, I had described the way that I learn best through modeling, (behaviorism) or problem-solving, (constructivism), but processing through the different learning theories has led me to believe that I align most with connectivism, learning through interaction with people and databases.

As far as learning styles go, elaboration is my personal preference.  The most efficient way for me it learn is to elaborate on prior knowledge.  Working in the wood shop, I often have to help students develop unique projects which require a lot of problem solving.  The first thing I do is try to make a connection to any projects or processes that we have done that may be similar.  Using elaboration, the students and I find unique ways to implement foundational practices.

The most useful learning tools for me have come from google.  Google docs allows me to access my document them anywhere in the world, and it also makes backups of all documents so I don’t have to worry about my computer blowing up.

Google has many advanced and irregular search options that allow me to research ideas in different ways.  One example is the wonder wheel.  I type in learning theories and a dot is portrayed with learning theories in the center.  Each leg has different subjects pertaining to learning theories.  From there I chose behavioral learning theories.  I can continue to narrow my search to find more and more relevant content.

http://www.polleverywhere.com/

I plan to use this sweet little web tool to incorporate the cell phone into my 8th and 9th grade wood shop class.  Post a question on the board, students text their responses, and the data is calculated and displayed in real time, WOW.

Spent part of this week at a conference in Spokane and ran into some very useful tools, plus one I found on my own.

http://www.xtranormal.com/index

Xtranormal is an web based movie maker.  You get to choose a setting, how many characters you want in your movie, and then all you have to do is write a script.  You can make the film more interesting by changing camera angles, but it works well and is easy to learn.

http://prezi.com/index/

Another free web based tool, Prezi is a useful for creating some truly unique presentations that remained focused on the content.  The introductory video is captivating, and would be extremely difficult to replicate in PowerPoint.

http://www.pixlr.com/

This last free web tool is one that I found because I needed to get some pictures onto this blog, but I am not at my home computer.  Easily found through google, I was able to push print screen, save the file as a .bmp, upload it to pixlr, edit the image, and save again as a .jpg.  Pretty amazing considering to be able to do just this little bit, but looking at the tools available there is much more I could do.

*Edit, I found that I could install an extension into Chrome that allows me to import directly into pixlr without paint.exe.



http://screenr.com/

I found this one earlier, but this is also my place to compile these free apps.  Screenr allows you to record your screen with audio for free.  Very handy for walking people through a process.  Education made easy.

Enjoy the free web tools!!!!

Developed using http://mywebspiration.com/launch.php

Technology has a habit of working it’s way into my life without me knowing.  This mind map is an exercise to acknowledge the connections that I have made to enhance my ability to learn through technology and people.

Learning about Theories

Through my Master’s program I have new connections that are helping me to learn in specific ways.  The classroom resources have broadened my educational perspective that will drive me through the next year as a teacher.  I have a good start on my curriculum but there is plenty of room for improvement.  Walden has helped me tackle ideas about instruction.

Learning through Examples

My favorite place to learn is through the professional blogs that arrive in my eReader.  These blogs quickly get me thinking about perspectives of education and provide real life examples of effective Instructional Design.  I have all of these ideas in my head of what makes up a good piece of instructional material, these blog posts put those ideas into action in a way that helps solidify them in my own mind.

Where do I find knowledge?

I had a leaking anti-freeze faucet in my backyard.  I needed to understand how the faucet worked so I could devise a solution so my first stop was the hardware store.  Just kidding, I type “fix anti-freeze faucet” in google search.  This is my reaction every time I have a question about a process, fact, phone number, and just about everything else.  Knowledge is at my fingertips.

My Network and Conectivism

Connectivism … I am a believer.  The fact that knowledge on any subject is available anywhere in the world and only a click away stands on it’s on.  My network is a simple example of how integrated a learner can be into the technology networks that surround them.

Understanding in depth functions of the brain is implicitly important when approaching any type of education, as a teacher or as a learner.  Here is a useful resource that discusses real world applications for the relationship between the brain and learning.

http://brainconnection.positscience.com/

The site is developed and maintained by 22 professionals from the field.  Articles, blogs, games, images, and reviews and more can be found at the site.

I played one of the children games where the user clicks on the frog, a letter is voiced through audio, and the user must click on the correct letter out of five.  A full description and rationale on what is happening through this exercise is also explained.

Next I went to the image gallery to find illustrated explanations of how the brain and learning work together.  I found an illustration that explains what part of the brain is at work when a sound is heard and the hearer is attempting to determine direction of the sound.

When developing rationale for instruction this site is full of resources.

I ran into a resourceful website today that provides a description, diagrham, and links about information processing theory.

http://www.istheory.yorku.ca/informationprocessingtheory.htm

The site is a collection of information about the theory from other sites where others are able to submit and discuss the content.

The description is summarized in a concise way that enables quick understanding.

The site is well referenced with links to available resources that describe the theory more in depth.  There is also a list of articles that reference the theory.  Enjoy.

Still on the path to find the holy grail of Instructional Design I feel that I came one step closer today.



http://itcilo.wordpress.com/

Another great resource developed by the people of ITC (International Training Center), to enlighten individuals about practical applications and steps to developing Instructional Design Materials.  In five minutes I was discovering the reasons why a certain Instruction Design approach has flaws, and then I was given a step by step remedy to effectively design my own lessons.

As I continue my career, a constant group of individuals that model and share their knowledge of the field will be extremely valuable.

Again on the search for new content resources for Instructional Design, I ran into a very useful blog.

http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/

The site is managed by Tom, who has 15 years experience in the field and has worked for big names like Captial One, Washington Mutual, and Weyerhauser.

The thing that sticks out to me the most if the graphic design Tom uses throughout his posts.  They are interesting because of his comical overlay of ideas, but they maintain a focus on the learning objective.  Reading his posts have been informational and personally enjoyable.

The site provides tips developing e-learning tools through examples.  I read a post that provided a free powerpoint e-Learning template, which as a noobie of the field provides real-world insight on organization of materials.

Today I stumbled upon a very helpful instructional design website.  Myra, the author, is an Instructional Designer and Adjunct Professor.

http://shetakesnote.wordpress.com/

The site appears to be built with her students in mind, and therefore has many useful tutorials to guide specific actions within programs.

Myra constantly posts useful information about the field and specifically the types of tools that she is using or is excited about.

The first post that caught my eye had a video of the usefulness of using Live for a free 25gb storage space.  Along with the space capacity comes free web-versions of the main office applications; word, excel, powerpoint, and onenote.  The web-versions are not fully functional, but they get the basics done.  I have been a Google fan for a long time, but it seems that Windows is getting back on track.

Being an infant of the Instructional Design field this blog will continually introduce me to new techniques and resources for eLearning.

Hello world!

My blog is up and running with minimal glitches.  After avoiding Facebook for so long, I wonder if I am making a moral decision to join the online community with this blog.  We will have to see.