Stop Looking for a Silver Bullet!

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Why, oh why, Dear Reader, do we think we have to find the technological silver bullet for education?

There is no one-size-fits all! Think of it this way: education is a vehicle, a car, let’s say. We never, ever, ever say that the windshield wipers are the car. We do not confuse the tires with the engine. It is the sum of the parts that make the whole, that make the car run, that make it faster, slower, etc.

Some of us blame or praise technology for education’s failures/successes. Or we think that the solution to a problem must be X software.  Educating and teaching is so much more than a technological tool.

Technology is a tool for teaching and learning, not the entire car.

My rant of the day. What do you think?

Frustrated Researcher Part Deux

The three areas that I am interested in studying

  1. Understanding the effectiveness of online/distance learning in the higher education environment with a particular focus on cognition and technology
  2. Understanding how administrative decisions (or lack of) are guiding online education
  3. Understanding how instructor training of online education and instructor identification of his/her personal curriculum theory influences student satisfaction and learning

are varied, which leads me to believe that I will need to distill and define what I ultimately want to research for my EPP. With that said, I will discuss why I have a keen interest in cognition and technology, online administrative decision-making, and instructor training. Before I begin, however, I must first state that although my focus is about the online educational environment, I have found that criticisms and claims can be supported for both online and face-to-face teaching methods. For instance, I typically hear people criticize and compare the worst concepts of online courses to the very best of the face-to-face courses. Rarely, do people openly discuss the failings of the face-to-face methods when bashing the online teaching environment. We tend to create distinct separate silos for online and face-to-face, which I believe is an error in the overall goal to promote innovative education opportunities.

Cognition and technology in education needs to be desperately studied and I am very interested in knowing what works and what does not. When the brain is presented with several levels of sensory input, what does it select to use and retain and why? When we know that there are limits to the brain’s working memory, how can we create environments that support this limitation? How can the understanding of this information help


educators make wise decisions when creating online courses, or selecting software tools to license. We cannot fully trust the marketers of these products to rea

lly know what the student needs. We must have a basic understanding of how our brains function for optimum learning in order to make informed decisions for our students.

Yes….there is a part 3 coming…

Reflections on The Connected Learner in a PLE


Connected (Photo credit: steven w)

My reflections after reading The Connected Learner in a PLE.

Thank you Professor Plourde for posting this on our Pintrest site. I think articles that center around “connected learners” is a great direction for us to start thinking about HOW to use these tools. When I think of the possibilities I am a bit overwhelmed and feel that we need to have our own “Connected Classroom Learning Standards/Rules/Manifesto..etc.”

We need to address these challenges:

1. How do we navigate the infinite choices that change, break, get bought/sold?

2. In what ways should we use the tools of choice? What are the best practices?

3. What privacy issues need to be addressed by the school district, the parent, future stakeholders in this child’s life?

4. How do we address this ending paragraph from this site?

  • “As proponents for the use of technology, we also realize that the noise from myriad digital distractions threatens the cognitive complexity of learning. Learners need to have the skills to know how to self-regulate the use of these tools.”

I hope that we will begin to discuss some of these questions that keep me wondering about web 2.0.