Some Links from PIDP 3240_ To organize

What is experience-based learning?

Adaptive learning responds to previous knowledge, demonstrated ability

Ten Steps to Using Twitter in the College Classroom

How do students use podcasts to support learning? +

These two last topics (twitter and podcast) are also very well developed in Teaching Naked (2012)

The Basics of Blended Instruction

A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom includes 12 Ways Teachers are Using Social Media in the Classroom Right Now

Running Successful Webinars

Creating a Video

Every time I created a video I was surprised by how much I learned about the topic I was presenting on the video, how much I had to clarify my ideas and to choose my words in order to be precise, clear and succinct.

In the last video I created, I made sure I didn’t put too many words on each slide; I even try to display pictures instead of words every time I could. I also made sure I was not reading my slides because I always find that very boring when I watch a video where the narrator does that.

I found the tips provided by Gary Reynolds very useful so I want to save them here:

Presentation Tips 

Gary Reynolds in ‘The Naked Presenter’ highlights some key points for instructors to consider when designing power point slide presentations. 

  1. Your presentation will be much better if you can create an emotional connection with your audience. Content alone is never sufficient. Start your presentation off with some ‘punch’! According to the ‘primacy effect’, “we best remember what happens at the beginning of a presentation more than any other part” (p. 64). Ask yourself, how can I make my presentation start off with some PUNCH:
    • Personal – A personal story can be very effective!
    • Unexpected – Open with a shocking quote or tap into an emotion with something surprising.
    • Novel – Present a powerful image accompanied with a relevant short story.
    • Challenging – Call on your audience to use their brains. How much would it take to…? How would you?
    • Humorous – If you can start off with a laugh or giggle, you’re audience will be more likely to pay attention 
  2. NEVER read off your slides! Some viewers will find this not only boring but insulting! Garr states that, “putting lots of text on a slide and then reading [it] is a great way to alienate your audience and ruin any hopes you have of making a connection” (p. 81).“If you plan to read Power Point slides, you might as well call off the presentation…because your ability to connect and persuade your audience or teach them anything will approach zero. Reading slides is no way to show presence, make a connection, or even transfer information in a memorable way.” (p. 81)
  3. Reynolds suggests that there should not be more than 9 words per slide – post interesting images or pictures on your slides instead. Why? Text will soon be forgotten but an interesting, shocking or captivating picture will sometimes stay with us forever! Well, at least a lot longer than a stream of text will! 
  4. Don’t start off with an agenda. Show the agenda AFTER you CONNECT with your viewing audience. Remember the ‘primacy effect’! 
  5. When planning your power point, think of your slides as pages of a good book or an interesting story that has conflict, contrasts, problems and solutions. Your viewing audience will form an emotional bond and riveting attention if you can do this!

It helped me build my Digital Literacy skills which is an essential skill to have as a teacher today. This article lists 11 Reasons Every Educator Needs a Video Strategy.

Many of the reasons listed there are directly likned to the different instructional strategies studied in this course such as Gamification (video games for education), Learning Styles (videos are good for Visual Learners). I would add to that Flipped Classrooms.

Tools: everytime I had to create a video, I used Screencast-O-Matic. I find this tool very easy to use and reliable.

Here are the different videos I created for PIDP:

Informal Assessment Strategy: RSQC2

Instructional Strategies (In-Class Portfolio)

Video Testimonial

Flipped Classroom

Summary of the Discussion Forum by Tia Ramos

Thread 1: What topics work best for the flipped classroom?

Subjects that involve psychomotor skills work well with the flipped classroom as suggested by the above participant’s subject matter expertise. To effectively use a flipped classroom, in-class activity must be done face to face while homework activity (out-of-class) is usually done at home with most common flipped classroom models. Lab techniques, role-playing, case studies, demonstration, games, simulations, experiments, community projects and many more are well suited for the flipped classroom concept.

One common theme that continually came up in this thread was “How do you get your students to do the assigned homework?” A flipped classroom would be not be effective if your students showed up knowing nothing while the instructor started the group activity and learners had no clue what was going on. Evidence-based on-line research shows homework that is required to be handed in the next day would confirm to the instructor the student has done the required homework. It could be formal or informal assessment. Homework assignments based from closed-ended problem solving questions would eliminate any frustration or anxiety. Even a reflective journal assignment would show higher levels of thinking about the subject matter. These low-stakes formative assessment tools can make your flipped classroom a success. Prior to starting the in-class activity, the instructor can use CAT’s such as the Minute Paper or what is the Muddiest Point to assess any misunderstandings of concepts and reiterate any potential errors.

Thread 2: Research to Support the Flipped Classroom.

flipped classrooms are trending in the education world but unfortunately flipped classrooms lack the scholarly research to prove its effectiveness. There are many things to consider about before planning your flipped lesson. Some of the things an instructor needs to consider are:

  • Will the learners do their assigned out-of-class homework readings?
  • Do the learners have proper functioning computer hardware that can download video content?
  • Do the learners have reliable internet service in which they can view the on-line video content?
  • Does the instructor have 2-3 hours of extracurricular time outside of their classrooms to create a video for the flipped classroom?
  • Does the instructor need to relearn how to make a digital video and will there be a learning curve?
  • Will all participants speak their voice in the group activity? Will all learning styles be addressed in the group activity?
  • Don’t flip all your classes.

Research Links to Support the Flipped Classroom:
Research Network
University of Wisconsin

Click to access HigherEdWhitePaper%20FINAL.pdf

Click to access flipped-classroom-artikel.pdf taxonomy

Click to access dictionary.pdf

Thread 3: Seven Things You Should Know about Flipped Classrooms

1. What is it? The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed.
2. How does it work? There is no single model for the flipped classroom – the term is widely used to describe almost any class structure that provides pre-recorded lectures followed by in-class exercise.
3. Who’s doing it? Flipped classrooms are trending. The word flipped classroom is a buzz word and everyday a growing number of higher education individual faculty are flipping their classes.
4. Why is it significant? By allocating more time to in-class activities, instructors have more of an opportunity to detect misunderstandings in concepts. Collaborative projects also fosters social interaction amongst students, allowing them to learn from each other and getting support from their peers.
5. What are the downsides? An effective flip requires careful preparation. Digital video lectures take time to create and there is a learning curve to learn if the instructor is new to creating videos. Students complain about the loss of face-to-face lectures and don’t appreciate the value of the hands-on portion of the flipped classroom. Students may skip class as they feel they only need to watch video content to pass the class. They are missing out on the higher thinking processes that the in-class activity fosters.
6. Where is it going? Technology is moving faster than education. New tools such as powerful mobile devices will put a wider range of rich, educational resources into the hands of students, at times and places that are most convenient for them. These new tools will support the out-of-class portion of flipped classrooms.
7. What are the implications for teaching and learning? The flipped classroom is student centered which puts more of the responsibility for learning on the student. Self-directed learning occurs.

What did I get from this discussion

I like the simplicity of this video in the way it explains what Flipped Classroom are and its benefits:

Why I flipped my Classroom

Basically everything I know today about Flipped Classroom I learned it from this discussion forum and the research I did to participate in this forum. However, I really had in mind to start blended courses to teach French with the idea that the time in the classroom would be dedicated to practice only. As I mentioned in the forum, I have a Beginner 3 course that is dedicated to practice only. The way I organized this course is actually the principle of a flipped classroom. This course is meant to provide an opportunity to the students to practice what they have learned in Beg 1 and Beg 2 (because they do a lot of grammar during these two first courses and they don’t have enough time for practice). In the Beg 3, every week, I give them a list of what they have to review, a list of new vocabulary and a text or online conversations they can listen to. They have to come to the next course ready to be able to participate in conversations themselves and the course in class is dedicated to role play activity. So I guess, I can say now that I have been using the flipped classroom technique without knowin it.

I didn’t have any solution to solve the problem of the students coming to the course unprepared. Now I know that it is a good idea to give them some assignment. Although, I have been telling them to learn the new vocabulary and I use different CATs to test them every time. I also ask them to write a conversation if they want and I make sure I always correct it. It doesn’t seem to be enough though. I believe that, more than anything, what motivates students to come to class ready is not to have to feel embarassed when they have to work with other students in the classroom. Also, the idea of quizzes about the video that the learners have to use to learn at home is great.

Even though I have been more or less using this technique, I was not aware of all the benefits. I really believe that it can help learners to learn in a more efficient and effective way. Teachers can identify what was not learned or understood properly at an individual level.

I had never reflect on the fact that “in terms of Bloom’s revised taxonomy (2001), this [FC] means that students are doing the lower levels of cognitive work (gaining knowledge and comprehension) outside of class, and focusing on the higher forms of cognitive work (application, analysis, synthesis, and/or evaluation) in class, where they have the support of their peers and instructor.”  (Brame, C. Flipping  the  Classroom)

I am not concerned about the fact that preparing a video will take more time. I think that, as intructors, we all try to prepare our courses as well as we can that will be part of it. I don’t quite understand why it has to be a video. I believe that there are other ways to prepare the course for students to study at home.

I don’t believe that this technique can be used with any students. It is not possible for anybody to study by himself/herself. Many reasons for that, the first one is not knowing how to study, not having the discipline (because we haven’t been taught), etc. It is even more important to teach our student how to learn and the different “stages” or kinds of FC are very interesting to keep in mind in order to help learners become independant learners (

1. The standard inverted classroom: Students are assigned the “homework” of watching video lectures and reading any materials relevant to the next day’s class. During class time, students practice what they’ve learned through traditional schoolwork, with their teachers freed up for additional one-on-one time.

2. The Discussion-Oriented Flipped Classroom: Class time is then devoted to discussion and exploration of the subjec — this is useful in subjects where context matters, e.g. English and history

3. The Demonstration-Focused Flipped Classroom: Especially for those subjects that require students to remember and repeat activities exactly — think chemistry, physics, and just about every math class

4. The Faux-Flipped Classroom  (useful for early-stage learners) has those students watch lecture video in class — giving them the opportunity to review materials at their own pace, with the teacher able to move from student to student to offer whatever individual support each young learner needs.

5. The Group-Based Flipped Classroom –  The shift happens when students come to class, where they team up to work together on that day’s assignment.

6. The Virtual Flipped Classroom: No real class time. simply require students to attend office hours or other regularly scheduled time for brief one-on-one instruction based on that individual student’s needs.

7. Flipping The Teacher: Students too can make use of video to better demonstrate proficiency. Assign students to their record practice role-play activities to show competency, or ask each to film themselves presenting a new subject or skill as a means to “teach the teacher”.


360 Education Solutions. Disadvantages of a Flipped Classroom.
 All Nurses. Keys to Studying Better Using your Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Talents.
 Centre for Teaching and Learning. What is the Flipped Classroom?
 Family Dictionary Education Terms.
 Henderson, M. Using the Socratic Method in a Flipped Classroom.
 Image. The Flipped Classroom. In Class. Out of Class.
 Image. Flipped Learning,
 Knewton. The Flipped Classroom.
 Oxford Reference.
 Panopto. Blended Learning, Hybrid Learning, and Flipped Classrooms. What’s the difference?
 Ramos, T. Flipped Classrooms are Trending.
 Scientific Psychic. Anatomy and Structure of Human Sense Organs.
 Seven Things You should Know about Flipped Classrooms,
 Teach Thought. 10 Common Misconceptions about the Flipped Classroom.
 TED: Khan, S. Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education.
 The Flipped Classroom
 University of Waterloo. Promoting Effective Classroom Participation.
 University of Waterloo. On-line Activities and Assessment for the Flipped Classroom.
 Vanderbilt University. Getting your Students to do the Reading. Using Pre-Class Reading Quizzes Using Blogs.

How to moderate Online Discussion

Tomorrow I will have to start facilitating the forum discussion about Gamification. As I am researching about this topic and preparing for the forum, my challenge is to write just enough information for the other students to be motivated to participate in the forum but not too much so they still have some research to do and thus learn more about the topic.

As it is mentionned in the article from Contact North “many of the features that are true for developing good discussion in class are also true for online discussion”. Although most of the information in this article is related to how to organize an online discussion (synchronous or asynchronous, graded or not, etc) and this has been done by our instructor already, two pieces of information are helpful:

  • One is about the goal of the discussion. Even though it has been clearly defined in the course assignment description and the students have a great experience in forum discussion, it may be useful to remind it for each specific discussion topic.
  • The role of the instructor is to move students away from opinions based solely on personal experience to evidence-based thinking.
Contact North (2013). Ontario’s Distance Education Network and Training Network. How to Prepare and Moderate Online Discussion for Online Learning. [PDF Document]. Retrieved from:

Self-Directed Learners

This topic about “She Didn’t Teach. We Had to Learn it Ourselves.” is really interesting. One of my students always starts her questions by saying: “I know you are going to tell me that I can find the answer but…”. She is trying to get the answer from me by starting with this statement but it doesn’t work. However, even though I try to apply this principle in my teaching, I don’t find that it is easy. Just like I find it is easier to do something for my child instead of teaching him how to do it. It takes more patience, more guiding instead of going straight to the result, etc. When I teach Digital Literacy, I always tell my students that our ultimate goal is that they become self-directed learners because there is no way we can teach them everything about how to use a computer, for example. So when they are advanced enough, what I teach them is how to figure out something.

I believe that, even thoug it is pretty obvious in the case of computer skills, it is the same for any topic but it makes the role of the instructor much more complicated. Maybe more interesting too but, for sure, more challenging. It used to be that the role of the teacher was: “Listen to this and be able to reproduce it” and now it is:

    • Content resource
    • Resource locator
    • Interest stimulator
    • Positive attitude generator
    • Creativity and critical thinking stimulator
    • Evaluation stimulator

What a change!

To get back to the topic of instructors not answering question, I found this article C3B4Me Policy to Encourage Students to Become Self-Directed Learners. It describes the C3B4Me (meaning “See three before me”) technique. It is very simple: “Before contacting me for assistance, go to three sources to determine if you can find the answer to your question on your own.” Not only can it help students to become self-directed learners but it may help them learn how to cooperate more.

Among the other techniques mentionned in this discussion to help students become self-directed learners, i really like the questions asked to the students in order for them to reflect on a graded exam. These questions are:

      • How to you feel about your grade? Were you surprised?
      • How did you study for the exam? Did you study enough?
      •  Why did you lose points? Any patterns?
      • What will you do differently to prepare for the next exam?

I am definitely planning to use that. Because my French course is informal, I make it very clear that any assessment is for the students to understand what they need to work on (and for me to see what I need to explain better). Using these questions will help them achieve this goal.

I realize now that helping my students become self-directed learners is always my ultimate goal. I don’t think that I do enough to achieve this goal though.

My digital project was about a very simple technique called In-Class Portfolio. This technique is also another step to help students become self-directed learners. Here is the link to this video:

Learning Styles / Adult Learners

Summary of the Learning Styles Forum Discussion 

by Silvia Diblasio

Threads and topics:

  • Are Learning Styles a Myth? (started by Silvia)
  • If “Learning Styles” are a Myth, what are Learning Differences and how can we approach them? (started by Silvia)
  • Learning Styles (started by Doug)
  • Culture and Age (started by Doug)
  • Learning Styles FAQ (started by Silvia)
  • The Marshmallow Challenge forces learners to collaborate

Main ideas discussed with authors:

  • Real factors that impact learning, such as people’s habits (Cindy Bai) or preferences (Elaine Lai) are sometimes wrongly called “learning styles”
  • Cultural beliefs can influence on how learners perceive education and the roles of both learners and educators, as well as expectations (Tanya Tan) and these can as well make the teaching of certain topics (history, religion, etc) very sensitive
  • Internationalization of curriculum (Doug): a trend that strives on embracing differences and being sensitive towards other cultural approaches to learning, how topics are determined and taught, etc.
  • Age differences may also affect how people learn, how they manage technology and expectations about educator and learner’s roles (Jolene Loveday), however, individual differences may override both socio-cultural and generational generalizations and teachers should be aware of this.
  • Fear, more than age, may impact how learners approach and use technology (Katrina Connell) and knowing how to match previous experiences with current ones and encouraging learners may be helpful to understand and engage them with tools they have never experience before
  • Diversity (which is different from learning styles and beyond cultural diversity and include people with disabilities, learning difficulties, addictions and other social or psychological challenges) may also become an “issue” for educators, as when it is a barrier, it can slow down and deeply impact a learner’s progress or even an entire class (Amie Schellenberg)
  • “Learning styles” have been catalogued and classified by different authors in even more diverse groups Linguistic, Math/Logical, Visual/Spatial, Musical, Interpersonal, Intra-personal, Bodily/Physical, Naturalistic Tactile, Active, Reflective , Global Understanding, Analytical Understanding (Tanya Tan)
  • “Rather than determining one specific style or another, the Felder-Silverman model proposes four dimensions of learning styles, and that each of us falls within a scale on each dimension. The four dimensions are:
  • Laughing (while not a learning style) leads to learning and should be encouraging in class through diverse activities as long as they are appropriate for the topic, group characteristics and time when they are applied, such as the Marshmallow Challenge (Talisa Ramos and Katrina Connell)
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT’s) are great tools for educators to fully understand their learners’ needs, expectations, level of learning and motivation (Talisa Ramos)
  • While most educators are aware of the fact that learners come to class with different experiences, motivation levels, expectations and preferences or habits, the tendency is to “teach everybody the same”. Why does this happen?: Why does this happen?
  • As educators, we need to be sensitive and careful about how we address “learning styles” and do this as a team along with our learners (not external labeling) (Avi Sternberg)
  • Finding diversity in the approaches we use to reach out learners is a good strategy: exposing them to different formats and activities. It is also important to be aware of the type of knowledge or skill we are teaching, and adapt the strategy to this (Isabelle Vilm)
  • Ethical issues: how do we see educators who continue perpetuating the myth on learning styles not supported by research or any other credible evidence? (Elaine Lai)
  • Students may benefit from a a team of educators (being taught by a team instead of a single teacher) as each educator will approach the topics in a different way, reinforcing and reaching out to the diverse preferences and expectations of learners (Rhonda Hite)
    • Active vs. Reflective Learners
    • Sensing vs. Intuitive Learners
    • Visual vs. Verbal Learners
    • Sequential vs. Global Learners (by Elaine Lai)
    • the extra time and work involved
    • impracticality, especially in larger classes
    • fossilized ideas of what “good” teaching is
    • standardization (transferability of courses) and ideas of fairness (Jolene Loveday)

Group Conclusion:

While “learning styles” don’t exist, we all agree that a wide range of factors influence how people learn and approach the learning process. People of all ages and cultures come with a complex baggage of experiences, stories and beliefs related to learning, expectations about the process and roles in learning, different goals and different levels of independence, metacognition, etc.

Because of the above, we as educators need to be able to assess these differences, if possible one-on-one and carefully build a “learner profile” along with the learner so we can create environments and activities that help each learner to be the best they can be and to learn how to learn…

 What did I get from this discussion

I am very interested in the part of the discussion related to the fact that “Age differences may also affect how people learn, how they manage technology and expectations about educator and learner’s roles”. Because I completed the Online Instruction program, but  also because the population of learners I teach to includes a wide variety of learners in terms of age, this topic is particularly important to me. I have started designing my own French online courses and I am not sure is the oldest part of the population will be interested in taking the course online or blended as I am planning to offer it. However, I also teach Digital Literacy and I see many people over 70, even 80 years old come to learn how to use their Digital Devices including computers. Does it mean that they would choose these tools in order to learn other topics? I doubt that it would be their first choice. It was mentionned in the discussion that “Fear, more than age, may impact how learners approach and use technology”. When I teach Digital Literacy, I  observe that fear is often related to age. Here is what the literature says about that:

  • People from the Veterans generation “do not like the change” and “they are not very risk tolerant” (United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, n.d., p.5). This is probably why they are afraid of doing something wrong when they use technology.
  • People from the Boomer generation are “either afraid of new technology or just simply do not understand it” (United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, n.d., p.9). However, since they are also “avid learners” (Coates, 2007) and “competitive” (Hart, 2008), they would probably take up the challenge of using technology to learn and do their best.
  • As for the Gen X who still belong to the Digital Immigrant group (Prensky, 2001) “learn – like all immigrants, some better than others – to adapt to their environment”. Therefore, we can expect that the majority should have a level of comfort facing the use of technology to learn higher than the two previous generations. They are motivated also by the possibility of the latest technological advances” (United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, n.d., p.8).

This is about age differences affecting how people manage technology. Now about their expectations about educator and learners’ role, I found that the difference is higher among people with different cultures. In some cultures, the mark of respect towards different people, including the teacher, is very important. For the same reason, people raised with this culture, expect the teacher to tell them what they have to know. (But whatever the differences are between the different learners, I believe that a self-directed approach is new for any adult learner. It needs to be clearly explained in order to be understood and accepted.)

I totally agree that “Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT’s) are great tools for educators to fully understand their learners’ needs, expectations, level of learning and motivation”. I have been using them a lot since I took PIDP 3230 but, maybe not so much to understand my learner’s expectations. I have been using a pre-course questionnaire for that but I guess I could us a CAT to also get better feedback about the course (to see if it meets learners’ expectation) during the course.

Why do we “teach everybody the same” despite the fact that we are aware of learners’ differences and how important they are? I am trying to see how I could take these differences into account during a group class. I believe that I do a little bit: when I ask questions individually, I choose the question according to what I know about the learner. However, this discussion makes me wonder if I could do more.

I am not finding any answer right now but this discussion forum has certainly been a good reminder for me that, even though I don’t like the learning style “classification”, differences among learners are very important to take into account all the time.

Coates, J. (2007). Generation Y – The Millennial Generation. In Generational Learning Styles. Retrieved from—The-Millennial-Generation +

United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund. (n.d.). Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (and Generation Z) Working Together. WHAT MATTERS AND HOW THEY LEARN? How different are they? Fact and fiction. [PDF Document]. Retrieved from,%20Selection%20&%20Talent%20Management%20Model%20tailored%20to%20meet%20UNJSPF%27s%20Business%20Development%20Needs.pdf

A long list of references posted in the forum on this topic

Culture, age and other differences in learning:

Documentation on the myth behind different learning styles:


Tests to “discover your learning style” and more “theories” on learning styles:


Tests and questionnaires:

Strategies and interesting links:


Instructional Strategy_ Digital Project Summary

The Students Engagement Technique that I chose to present for my digital project is In-Class portfolio. It is a SET that is used to help students improve their learning skills.

Basically, students collect their notes in a portfolio and submit them for evaluation. The evaluation can be done by the instructor or other students. In the second case, it can save a lot of the instructor’s time and it can be beneficial for the other students too.

The role of the instructor can be described in 3 or 4 steps: (1) short lesson about note taking, (2) description of the portfolio parameters,(3) creation of a grading rubric and (4) a cover sheet. The instructor then develops his/her lessons including as many other SETs as usual. The role of the learners is to stay focused during the course, take accurate notes, summarize what they have learned, and then collect all these notes in a portfolio. They may also assess their own or other students’ portfolios.

The advantages of this technique are: to teach students to take good notes, it helps them focus during the course, and it forces the instructor to present clear material. The main disadvantages are the amount of additional work that can be required from either the students or the instructor, the danger that students may be so focussed on their notes that they forget to participate, and the tendency it has to make students rely on these corrections instead of being fully responsible for their own notes. For this last reason, this technique shouldn’t be used with advanced learners.

Link to my video:

Isabelle’s Digital Project

Positive Learning Environment

Katrina’s Discussion Board Summary

Thread 1- “Creating and Maintaining that Positive Learning Environment.”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         How little things can make a big impact on the learning environment

·         The learning environment needs to be co-constructed-“It’s a two-way-street”

·         The power of relationship

·         How music can enhance or become a distraction in the learning environment

·         The role of training toys

·         The importance of the physical environment

·         Whole Brain-Power Teaching

·         The role of memory

·         Building community

·         How critical trust is in the learning environment

Thread 2- “Positive Learning Environments”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         How to establish and sustain a positive learning environment

·         Classroom etiquette

·         Curriculum: offering freedom and choices

·         The power and role of humor/laughter

·         Teaching learners how to learn

·         Thinking “outside of the box”

·         The importance of the physical environment

·         Fostering cooperation and acceptance

·         How critical trust is in the learning environment

·         Importance of knowing and sharing information about the services that are available

Thread 3- “Language in the Classroom and Positive Learning Environments”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         The challenges of students speaking their own language in class

·         The “English only” approach

Thread 4- “How to Ruin the Learning Environment”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         Teaching attire

·         Side-chatter: strategies to prevent and stop it

·         Texting and cell phone misuse

·         Creating and implementing classroom rules

·         Checking your understanding of situations before acting

·         The impact of delivering assignments with no explanation

·         Professional image

·         We are all human

·         The power and role of humor/laughter

·         The importance of celebration

·         How food and shared meals can enhance the learning environment

·         Relationships on and off campus. What is appropriate and what is not

·         Facebook and other social sites

Please see appendix 2 for the links posted in this thread

Thread 5- “Cell phones”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         Cell phones and their negative and positive impact in the learning environment

·         Banning cell phones and other technology

·         Controlling the use of technology in the classroom

·         Polices: Do you have one? Do they work?

·         Technology and the self-directed learner

·         Cell phones and other technology as positive learning tools

·         Who is responsible for providing technology in the learning environment?

Thread 6-“How to Kill Learners Online Experience”

Key Ideas Brought Forward and Discussed:

·         How a negative online experience can impact the learner

·         Suggestions on how to prevent a negative experience from occurring

·         Online Instructor Training

What did I get from this discussion

My contribution was related to trust and I find that it is a huge step towards a positive environment. From my point of view, it is the first step that needs to be taken. For this trust to be built, the other factors mentionned in the discussion can help such as classroom etiquette and offering freedom and choices within the curriculum. The former is a way to show the students that we are taking the course seriously and we are expecting respect to be a fundamental rule. The latter is a way to involve the learners in their learning process and respect their needs and expectations.

Teaching learners how to learn is a topic that is totally on my agenda at short term. I do believe that it is a big aspect of the learning environement: learners who know how to learn are mosre susceptible to get along and work towards the same direction all together. This takes me to another important topic that I contributed withtin the discussion: learning communities. Creating a community of learners is not always an easy task especially when the students are very diversified in terms of age, culture, backgroung, etc. It is nevertheless extremely important. I have a challenge right now in one of my courses mainly because the age range that goes from 17 to about 70 years old. Of course taking all the differences into account is important for a positive environment but not always an easy thing to do.

The importance of the physical environment and  the role that music can play in the classroom are two interesting topics that I haven’t consider enough until now; especially music. I want to take the time to think of how to integrate that in my courses (at small dose though).

I have never thought that cell phone could be used in a positive way by learners. I am glad to have learned because it may be very useful for me at the Literacy Center where I want students to feel as comfortable as they would be at home because learning has always been a negative experience for them. For example, I let one of them keep his music on while we are working together (now I realize that do make a place to music in a certain way). I find that allowing them to use their cell phone as a tool to learn is wonderful. It doesn’t mean that they are not some rules to define about it. Being trained as a cognitivist, my perspective as always been Clay Shirky’s one because of the problem of multi tasking.

I have more to say about Thinking “outside of the box” because of an article that I read to late to contribute to the forum discussion. In the part called Taking a chance, the author talks about what Brookfield refered to as “imposter” and here is what she says: “we may not ask questions or provide input that may be outside the what others may be thinkingbecause we do not want others to think that we slid through the system somehow and are notreally supposed to be there in that learning session”. (Creating the same Learning Environement)

A long list of references posted in the forum on this topic

Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 1: “Creating and Maintaining that Positive Learning Environment”

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Effective Learning Environments

Creating a Community of Learners-League PDF

Learning Communities at Ohio University

An Effective Learning Environment is a Shared Responsibility

Training Toys

training toys.pdf

How to integrate music in the classroom  

Does listening to Mozart really boost your brainpower?

Chapter 6: The Psychology of Learning

20 Tips for Creating a Safe Learning Environment

A Positive Classroom Climate

Whole Brain Teaching: The Basics

Power Teaching: 6th Grade Class, Classroom Management

Learning and Teaching: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Long and Short Term Memory

Three basic techniques in whole brain teaching

Power Teaching Rules: Pros and Cons

Whole Brain Teachers of America site

Building Community

Building Trust

How to repair a broken relationship with your students

Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 2-“Positive Learning Environments”

Positive Learning Environments

From the New Zealand Qualification Authority

The LBS Practitioner Training: The Learning Environment

Faculty Focus-Humor in the Classroom: 40 years of research

Chapter 10: Use of humor in the classroom

On Humor and Education-David Low

Memory, Learning and Emotions: the Hippocampus

How Laughing Leads to Learning

Humor in School

31 Signs you’ve been a Teacher Too Long

Modern Day Classroom with the Simpsons

American Psychological Association: How laughter leads to learning

College Humor: Chalk-Stick Cartoons

The Reggio Emilia Approach

The Physical Learning Environment

Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children

Creating and Sustaining an Inclusive Classroom at the College Level

Building Trust

How to Repair a Broken Relationship with your Student

Quotes and References:

“A positive learning environment is one which encourages learners to achieve their potential, identifies and accommodates their individual needs and learning preferences, and deals sensitively with issues that arise within groups.”

From the New Zealand Qualification Authority

“Successful learning is, after all, about teaching learners how to learn, not about teaching content to learners” (Fenwick & Parsons, 2009, p. 169).

Fenwick, T. & Parsons, J. (2009). The Art of Evaluation:  A Resource for Educators and Trainers. Toronto:  Thompson Educational Publishing Inc.

 “Go to a party, and meet a bunch of new people.  Which faces are you going to remember?  The woman who made you laugh, the man who made you feel embarrassed, and your new boss — the ones who had an emotional impact. (, 2003)”. (On-line, 2003), Retrieved from Sept 18, 2014

It is noted that by Haaensen “that students are always motivated, not perhaps motivated to learn something, but to do something.  …it is not possible to motivate students but teachers may be able to create a learning situation, which is stimulating and attractive.” She continues “Creating a positive learning environment enhances learning and the sessions should include exercises which give the students enough responsibility and freedom”

Haagensen, B 2007 (Dialogue Pedagogy and Motivation. A case study in Swedish)

Link to article provided in thread 3-“Language in the Classroom and Positive Learning Environments”

Should ESL Instructors Speak Other Languages in the Classroom?

Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 4-“How to Ruin the Learning Environment”

Professionalism When Teaching in the Classroom

Should Teachers be Funny?

Definition of “Tightrope”


Quotes and References:

“Model appropriate behavior. Students are very sensitive to teacher’s attitudes towards the school and the class in general; therefore, teachers must be extremely self-reflective, making certain that they are modeling positive behaviors for the class. Videotaping several class sessions may make teachers aware of any negative feelings they may be projecting towards their students”. 

Forming Positive Student-Teacher Relationships (on-line, no date avail), Retrieved on Sept 23, 2014,

Links to articles, sites and videos provided in thread 5- “Cell Phones”

Banning cell phones from the class helps students focus

How to use cell phones in the classroom

Board starts pilot to encourage use of handheld devices in class as teaching tools

Cell phones affect the college classroom negatively

Technology in the Classroom: A persistent distraction

How to use cell phones as learning tools

Some schools rethink ban on cell phones

Why Clay Shirky Banned Laptops, Tablets and Phones from his Classroom

Poll every where

Cell Phones in School: Personally Owned Devices

My Virtual Child

Quotes and References:

Faculty Focus (April 2013) states “Once the instructor has a clear understanding of the potential positive or negative impact of allowing cell phone use, he or she must clearly state policies in the syllabus. If the faculty member allows phone use, he or she then must clearly state how the cell phone can be used. If no cell phone use is allowed, this too must be clearly stated and students need to know the repercussions for violating the policy. For example, if my students use their cell phones during class, they must leave class for the rest of the day. If the violation occurs in the clinical area, they receive a formal warning. After the second warning, they are dismissed from the program”.  


Reference: Faculty Focus. Cell phones in the classroom. What is your policy?

Link to site provided in thread 6- “How to Kill Learners Online Experience”

Get Ready for Online Teaching

Student Engagement Technique (SET)

Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Technique. A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Brief Summary of Chapters 1 to 4

“Learning begins with tudent engagement.” (p.4)

Student engagement = Motivation X Active Learning

Motivation and Active Learning work synergistically and, at the far end of the continuum are the transformative peak experiences.


Motivation = Expectancy X Value

Expectancy = the degree to which students expect to be able to perform the task successfully

Value = the degree to which they value the rewards as well as the opportunity to engage in performing the task itself


Self-Efficacy Theory

If a student is confident in her ability to perform a task successfully, she will be motivated to engage in it.

Attribution Theory

Students’ belief is shaped by their perceptions of why they have succedeed or failed in the past.

Self-Worth Models

When students don’t succeed they would prefer to question their efforts rather than their ability.

Four Typical Student Patterns
  1. Success-oriented student: accustomed to success, accept occasional failure
  2. Overstrivers: successful student but anxious
  3. Failure-avoiders: avoid too challenging tasks
  4. Failure-accepting: feel hopeless


Extrinsic rewards = quick fixes but counterproductive to have a student truly engaged

“Flow” = deep intrisic motivation _ may be helped by instructor if:

  • Goals are clear
  • Feedback is immediate
  • the challenge is balanced

Teacher can increase motivation by taking steps to increase the value of the learning to student and helping student hold optimistic expectations about their ability to succeed.

Active Learning

The mind is actively engaged. WHen new learning in readily comprehensible (it makes sense) and can be connected to past experiences (it has meaning) retention is dramatically improved.

Learning is a dynamic process.

Promoting Synergy between Motivation and Active Learning

  1. By creating a sense of classroom community
  2. By helping students work at their optimal level of challenge.
    • Tasks must be sufficently difficult to pose a challenge, but not so difficult as to destroy the willingness to try (p.27)
    • Three broad approaches to helping student work in their optimal challenge zones.
      1. Assessment and feedback
      2. Teaching metacognitive skills
      3. Empowering students as partners in the learning process. (When st have the power to make decisions regarding their own learning, they can take steps to ensure they are working in their optimal challenge zone).
  3. By teaching so that students learn holistically (We cannot seperate emotion, cognition, and the physical body).

My Reflection about this Reading

See Journal 1.

As a student, I would classify myself as an overstrivers. Difficult for me to assept failure because I always think I could have done better. The positive aspect of that is that I try to think of what I could have done better. The negative aspect of this category is to be always anxious.

As a teacher, I consider that I have been working pretty well on building community of learners. I am very interested in working better on the optimal level of challenge. I am aware of this as being important for the students’ engagement and I do try to always make sure my students in French are at the right level; I always take the time to talk to them about it if I have any doubt. I also try to be sure that the learners at the Literacy Center are getting activities that challenge them enough but not too much. Al ot of students at the Literacy Center has a low level of motivation, it try to “hold optimistic expectations about their ability to succeed” by telling them when I think an activity was too easy for them and aks them if they have the same impression.

Regarding the 3 broad approaches to helping student work in their optimal challenge zones, I believe I have made huge progress especially in my French courses in adding assessment and feedback. I still have to work on that at the Literacy Center and this is my short term plan. I have some hesitation doing about how to do that with the tutors I am training because they are volunteers. However, maybe they would feel like their work is more valued if I did  some assessment of their work. My technique now is to reinforce their learning by reminding them important points in the teaching process.

I do have to work more on teaching metacognition to my students. I already work on that in my French courses but it is a difficult taks with the students at the Literacy Center. My Video about instructional strategies is about in-class portfolio, basically helping my students to learn how to take notes. I am really planning to do that soon but helping them to take better notes is my way to help them oragnize the new knowledge they are acquiring and analyse it.

Regarding the holistic aspect of teaching, I think I do cover the emotional and cognitive aspect a lot in my teaching but certainly not the physical aspect. Except maybe when I expalin to my French learners how to pay attention to non-verbal communication.

Why did I choose Gamification?

I have always been interested in this topic but I have never taken the time to research about it. However, last time I was reading a job posting on LinkedIn for a Course Developer/Trainer position at UDUTU, among the desired skills was ” An active interest in gaming or game technologies would be an asset.” I then followed several links related to this topic and I realized that it is a BIG topic today in education so I definitely want ot learn more about it.

Here is the Wikipedia definition of gamification:

Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.[1][2][3] Gamification has been studied and applied in several domains, with some of the main purposes being to engage (improve user engagement,[4] physical exercise,[5] return on investment, flow[disambiguation needed],[6] data quality, timeliness), teach (in classrooms, the public or at work[7]), entertain (enjoyment,[6] fan loyalty), measure (for recruiting and employee evaluation), and to improve the perceived ease of use of information systems.[6][8] A review of research on gamification shows that most studies on gamification find positive effects from gamification.

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