Inquiry Project

This blog refers to this Inquiry Project.

When deciding on the topic I wanted to learn for my Inquiry Project, I worried that “braiding a horse’s mane” was too easy and wouldn’t take the 5 hours suggested. However, it was something I wanted to learn, so I forged ahead.

This ability to choose my own topic reminded me how important it is to offer choice to my students. Choice promotes motivation and focus. It provides ownership and allows creativity and individualism.

As this was a self discovery project, I realized that sometimes it is essential to ask for help when needed. Frustration can set in as the student becomes lost in the process. This reaffirmed that as I teach I need to offer guidance, and help the students along the way by setting obtainable goals, and breaking the learning up into manageable and achievable sections. Formative assessment (such as a rubric) will assist in keeping the students on track.

 

The more I practiced the newly learned skill, the better I became – so to provide a lab or hands-on opportunity for learning is important for the classroom and learner centered approaches to teaching.

Sometimes learning something new helps you appreciate those who can already do the skill well. However, the sense of accomplishment of learning something new helps build confidence and opens pathways to future learning.

In the end, this project took well over the 5 hours suggested – another realization how time must be considered during the learning process.

By doing this Inquiry Project myself, it helped remind me of the frustrations my own students are faced with, and that time is such a critical aspect to learning. It is important to keep focused, motivated and remain patient during the learning journey.

How did you overcome frustrations you faced during your own learning journey?

 

 

 

 

 

WebQuests -Who Knew?!?

This blog refers to this WebQuest.

I find the idea of WebQuests exciting, and I’m intrigued to use the already existing and developed WebQuests, and whenever time permits, to develop many more into our training programs – especially for our Station Operator training program. The delivery of this program is all self-directed, with assistance when practicing tasks as described in a project format. Currently we use printed manuals, and just this year, developed Computer based multiple choice questions to assess that learning outcomes are met. In the past, there were questions that were done on paper, submitted and marked all by hand.So we’ve come along way!

After perusing the existing topics – I see potential to use many of the current WebQuests (even though they may be geared for High School students, the information is the same) for Power, Electricity, Meters, etc.

In developing a WebQuest for the Station Operator program, one topic could be “Print Reading and Single Line Diagrams”. Three websites that would be useful are:

http://beyourowncontractortraining.com/

http://www.emersonnetworkpower.com/en-US/Services/Market/Industrial/Professional-Services/Engineering-Services/Pages/what-is-a-single-line-diagram.aspx

Single-line diagram of the AC transmission and distribution system

Tasks that could be developed could be of a case study format, asking the students to follow the single line diagram or print, and identifying which equipment would be affected if components of the system were to fail. By using problem solving techniques and critical thinking skills, they could further their knowledge by demonstrating how they would troubleshoot the described conditions in order to solve and repair the problem.

This WebQuest tool may be the bridge to the technological gap in our in-house training program, and for me – it’s electrifying!

Have you developed any WebQuests or used the WebQuest sites? If yes, can you tell me any pros and cons you’ve encountered? If no, are there any specific reasons why you wouldn’t use a WebQuest in your teaching environment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flipping the Classroom

This blog refers to Understanding the Flipped Classroom – Part 1 and Part 2.

When the concept of Flipping the Classroom was first introduced in our class, I asked myself “isn’t this how I’ve been taught all my life?” – What’s so great and new about this? I’ve always had homework to do prior to the next class, usually in the form of reading assignments. So when I read the articles “Understanding the Flipped Classroom – Part 1 and Part 2” by Pamela Kachka, I was relieved to see that I wasn’t too far off in my skepticism. But, although it is not a new concept in itself, it brings new meaning to the idea – ideally flipping the lecture to be the homework, and the traditional homework to be brought to the classroom (at times in a lab environment).

And, in today’s technological world, rather than the traditional reading assignment, we can access youtube videos from home to help present the lectured content in an interesting and engaging manner versus reading black on white words. Then back in the classroom, critical thinking and problem solving tools can now be used to solve any misunderstandings or to search for deeper meaning on the topic and to apply the new knowledge. To support this idea of the youtube video, I watched this clip on The Flipped Classroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQWvc6qhTds

This would definitely be a useful teaching method, especially when teaching classes that benefit from hands-on practice as it would free up time for the teacher and student to interact on a one on one basis, and learn by doing rather than by just listening and hopefully absorbing.

My struggle with it would be that a lot of the classes I teach are one day or less in length. Can you suggest ways I could incorporate the Flipped Classroom with such a short duration of class time and length?

Student-Centered Learning

This reflection refers to this article.

Me Learning – A Student-Centered Learning Model – by Terry Heick

Reflection by D Peech

In this article, the author developed a model to use for Self-Directed Learning (also known as heutagogy), realizing that this type of learning nourishes self-awareness, whereas industrial type of learning is about “getting everyone on the same page”. The model’s goal is to yield self-knowledge.

What I really like about this model is that it follows the STAR approach: Situation, Task, Action, Result and directs the learner to use measurable outcomes. Specifically, the Student Plan incorporates phrases that identify specific goals, targets, measures, and outcomes.

As a student, it would be a useful guide to encourage me to be a mature and thoughtful student; ensuring I get the most out of the classes I attend. By following the model, I could steer the instruction itself by being aware of what outcomes were important to me, and leading questions in the direction to keep me on task.

As an instructor, it would also be a great tool to use when designing curriculum – by using the model, and seeing through the students’ eyes.

Once the student completes the model, student and teacher (or family member/friend/peer/mentor) could then share thoughts on the student’s model to ensure accountability and to provide valuable guidance to the student to be successful in meeting the goals laid out in the model.

I also enjoyed the “Mind-Map” cover picture to help illustrate the model; breaking down the components of the model into an easy-to-visualize overview.

This model is quite intensive however, and for some, incorporating all of its components may be overwhelming depending on the learning outcome being pursued. I believe a student could still find the model useful in this case, by selecting only the relevant components for that student, and modifying the model to fit the student’s needs.

Question: Design a simple study plan (one phrase) for a topic you are interested in learning about.