Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Final Reflection for 6711

When looking back at my Week 1 Application, it was hard to believe that I wrote that piece in this course.  Just six weeks ago I had a much more narrow-minded approach to student learning.  While my Personal Theory on Learning has not over gone a radical alteration since that time, it has definitely become more detailed and included more strategies.

It is still my belief that particularly in Physical Educaton that practice and repetition are the foundation by which content becomes instilled in the mind of a learner.  Learning also occurs when the learner makes an emotional connection with the content (Laureate Education, Inc., 2011).  In addition to these prior beliefs, though, the importance of a social component can not be ignored.

Throughout this course, concepts such as social constructionism and Connectivism were introduced and stressed the importance of cooperative learning.  Cooperative Learning is a cornerstone in Physical Education because of the many activities and games that are practiced using partners or teams.  While this is quite beneficial, technology allows for further collaboration.

The ability to incorporate video, either through a collaborative suite or a Virtual Field Trip is a great tool to have at my disposal.  Virtual Field Trips are a great way to provide more accurate and detailed information to the student then ever could be achieved within the confines of the classroom.  At first, I struggled to grasp what VFT could fit for Phys. Ed., but once I realized that exercise workout routines, yoga workouts and other expert-led lessons were possible, I could grasp a wealth of potential trips to plan.

In addition to incorporating more video into my lessons, another immediate adjustment to be made has to do with incorporating of VoiceThread.  I really liked this interface and felt that having students collaborate on videos would be an ideal homework for my content area.  This leads into my long-term adjustments that have come from this course.  Homework has always been tricky for me to implement because so much of what is taught needs activity.  The VoiceThread allows for collaboration and a better understand of how to perform the activities themselves and therefore sometime that I want to maintain for a long time going forward.  By utilizing web video, students can stay active in class but collaborate on concepts when activity is not possible.

The other technological tool that I would like to instill in my FitnessGram and Weight Training units is a spreadsheet.  The data that is available from these units is massive and if I can focus on getting this information back to the student, it can benefit them.  Additionally, if I can uncover the areas where students are lacking, it will help me better construct my lessons to improve on such areas.  Just the other day I found out that FitnessGram has a smart phone Application, and I plan on looking in to how I can utilize that.

In Physical Education, having the students get enjoyment out of an active environment is the best way that they will maintain a healthy lifestyle, but by incorporating the technology discovered in this course, I can further aid these students for memory, cooperation and fitness.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program two: Brain research and learning [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

Cooperative Learning is not just a function by where students must work together to meet a goal, its true intent is that the collaboration will foster deeper learning (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn,, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 139).  The focus becomes cooperating in an effort to excel (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 143), by where students can work cohesively on something that otherwise could not be accomplished as efficiently independently (Orey, 2001).  If done correctly, it forces the student to better think through what they are learning (Orey, 2001).

Through group work, formulated using a variety of grouping methods, cooperative learning builds on the social component along with knowledge.  Items such as positive interdependence, promotive interaction, group processing and individual accountability are strengthened through this technique (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 140).  Motivation will also be fostered from the accountability, which can in turn increase self-efficacy (Orey, 2001).

As is the case in many arenas, new technology provides for exciting new pathways for knowledge to expand and venture off to.  Incorporating multimedia naturally aids cooperative learning (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 141).  It gives students the ability to consult and review professionals (p. 144), use tools such as a WebQuest to dive deeper into an issue without taking as much time to research (p. 145), or building a website together (p. 147). 

As long as clear expectations, rolls and responsibilities are established, the teachers roll in cooperative learning is needed only as a monitor, assistant or as reinforcement (Orey, 2001). There are some potential issues that we must be on the lookout for such poor attendance, vast differences in learning ability and students not taking accountability in their task. (Orey, 2001).  These potential roadblocks could severely hamper a group’s effort, especially on an activity that spreads across multiple class periods.  Personally, when in a team games unit, attendance can definitely effect the flow of the class.

Aside from possible pitfalls cooperative learning is extremely beneficial when working near full power (Orey, 2001). 


Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Childhood Obesity VoiceThread

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Constructivism in Practice

First off, to those of you those are in my blog group that have yet to change the reply settings on your own blog to allow for “anonymous” posting, can you please do that so that I have two blogs I can post to.  Thanks in advance.

The constructivist theory involves the learner being more integrated and active in there own learning.  A great way to accomplish this is to have the students use real-life problems to enhance critical thinking (Orey, 2001).  Problem-based instruction puts students within the conflict and forces them to really connect with the problem to find a possible solution.  Often anchored by an example, this form of instruction can build a sense of community worth, social correspondence and teamwork (2001).

One thing I discovered this week while exploring constructivism and constructionism is that outlining expectations and explaining possible pathways to reach a potential outcome is a strong way to begin within these learning theories (Orey, 2001).  With this in mind, the need for generating, teaching and creating a clear hypothesis is essential.

Having a clear hypothesis will help students consider variables, create a solution set, hold an investigate, create, test and make decisions based off a the foundation with which the activity was created (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhl & Malenoski, 2007, p. 203).  Also, with the incorporation of many technological tools, time that was once spent on testing and gathering data and now rerouted to finding additional data and focusing more on evaluating the hypothesis (p. 203).  When more data is available for collect and inserted into a technological tools, the likeliness of patterns forming becomes more prevalent and more accurate conclusions can be derived (p. 207).

As an undergrad, I had to take an Anatomy and Physiology class online.  As with any science-based course, labs were a major portion of the class.  For the first time ever though, I found the labs working out perfectly, because they were done online.  It was great to expedite the tedious process and get a better understand for the concept at hand.  Sometimes it is just better to keep things simple and make the solution more attainable.

Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page
Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cognitive Note Taking

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski wrote about cues, questions and advance organizers (2007) as a single chapter, and for good reason.  A cue has the ability to preview the experience (p. 73), just like a posing an essential question can do (p. 74).  These lead-off devices help students to get focused on important details.  Because some information outlined in a lesson is simply supporting context that is not significant on a grander scale, these appetizers allow students to cognitively recognize where their focus should be.

Organizers are also a great way to aid students down the correct learning path.  By using structures such as a concept map, ideas can be built of a main idea, outlining the importance of each portion of the unit as well as putting it in context.  A note-taking skeleton, or outline, helps to set up the information in advance for the students and allows them to stay up to speed during a lesson (p. 76).

To organize even further, technological devices foster more organization and can help create things such as brainstorming sessions (p. 75).  Beyond brainstorming, integrating multimedia interface creates a mental picture that students can draw back on when recalling this information down the road (p. 82).  A new way to help build a memorable image is known as a Virtual Field Trip.  This cyber journey brings images to life and gives a student a stronger emotional connection with the topic.

Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn and Malenoski also paired together summarizing and note taking in a chapter (2007).  While note taking in Physical Education classes is rare, it is important to summarize to condense content so that important details are focused on and maintained (p. 119).  As mentioned earlier, it is essential to delve deeper than just the surface when discussing a topic, but some of what is explored must then be forgotten (p. 119).  With this said, bringing the lesson or concept back around at the end of the class or of the unit helps to drive home the important points.  This is why a concept map can be so beneficial, because it has the ability to lend greater weight to a part of the map by making it larger, more central, or higher up, depending on the outline.

Students learn in a variety of ways, and it is important to immerse them in the topic to allow them to connection with the lesson.  However when taking details away from the episode, they must be able to grasp what is the most important and these strategies are a great way to enable that.

Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Behaviorism Still Efficient in Physical Education

The popular trend in education today seems to gravitate towards the belief that behaviorism is washed-up and outdated.  Throughout my time in education, and more specifically, during this week of behaviorism evaluation, I do not see how components are not even more necessary today.  Conversely, the ability to be a 21st Century Learner is needed for students and there are a number of key concepts that must be developed cognitively.
Effort is the foundation of success in Physical Education.  Almost the entire grade a student received is based off of effort.  A student’s ability to throw a ball or lift a barbell has almost no weight in the grade they receive.  The goal in any subject should not be just to get the best grade, but considering that effort will lead to the best grade in Phys. Ed., this should be the focused.  Effort is essential because the reinforcement of it builds a connection between hard work and achievement (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn & Malenoski, 2007, p. 155).  Students need to be encouraged for their effort and because it is intrinsic to seek approval, reinforcement either by a teacher or by data can be very beneficial (p. 161).
Any way that effort can be reinforced is helpful, but when technology can be integrated, it is even more beneficial.  Technological components go beyond a teacher’s suggestion or comment and therefore reinforce and then continue down the path (p. 162).  This leads into the benefit of utilizing the behaviorist cornerstones of homework and practice. 
The best way to build on the concepts or motor skills explored in Phys. Ed. class is to go home and dive into it further (p. 187).  For many years, kids have gone home and played either around their residence or with peers in the neighborhood.  Interestingly, this great physical practice has been hindered by technology with the influx of computers and video games.  Because of this technology takeover and free time revolution, obesity is becoming even more of an epidemic. Thankfully, this epidemic is attempting to be curtailed.
Organizations such as the National Football League have established initiatives such as Play 60 to encourage students to be physical active each day.  Practicing is the only way skills can be learned in Physical Education.  Without actively experimenting with the concepts in their neighborhood that were debuted in class, there is no way they can strike with a club, dodge a ball or maybe even jump a rope.
            There are some concepts taught in Phys. Ed. that do not require physical activity to learn more about.  Proper training techniques, nutritional habits and rules of a sport need to be learned just like history or biology might be.  This means a more traditional “homework” structure can be effective to reinforce what was taught during the day.  PE Central, a leader in the subject area, created a Kids Quiz Page that is an interactive resource with the capability to provide instant feedback.  Websites such as it help students to be more aware of what leads to a healthy lifestyle, the true focus for any Phys. Ed. Teacher.



Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reflection Blog

Let’s face it: technology is changing the way everything is being done.  For quite some time now, I have recognized that in order to properly educate students, incorporating technology has been an essential part in building the 21st century student.  Over the last few weeks though, I have come to realize that it is more than teaching towards 21st century skills because I need to be the facilitator to learning.

The Understanding the Impact of Technology on Education, Work, and Society course has made me recognize that assessment needs to go a whole lot deeper than evaluating a written piece.  The job market is changing and within it new entries are being expected to be more of a collaborator, a creator and revisionist than just one who has a specific roll in a chain of production.

As a Physical Education teacher, standing up in front of the class and lecturing has never been part of my planning, but this class has proved to me that in any content area it is important to distance ourselves from relying on this format.  All of the information that students will uncover in their time in school does not need to come from their instructor.  Moreover, students are discovering and learning more aside from the teacher than ever before.  The Internet makes every answer reachable and allows for more tangents to be explored than before.  The great thing is that we as a teacher do not have to have all the answers, or in my case, perform something perfectly; the key is knowing the pathway that can inhibit learning.

This class has also made me realize that in addition to the way students learning changing, I must keep up with the trends.  It has been an old adage that teachers need to continue learning, but much of that has to do with the content within their subject.  When it comes to 21st century learning, teachers need to stay up to speed with the technological breakthroughs of the day and understand how it can connect to the students to enhance their educational experience.  Examples of this have been the development of blogs, wikis and podcasts, to name a few, that have enabled a more thorough and interactive learning experience.

Students of today get more involved in learning when something seems popular or cool to them.  Incorporating the Internet and collaboration between their friends on the home front takes the negative connotations off of homework and makes their enrichment time more enjoyable.  This is something that needs to be focused on moving forward.

Over the last two months, I have realized that even though we as teachers will never be replaced, our term may, as we are now primarily a facilitator.  This very well could mean that we will work harder, especially for experienced teachers, because more time will be centered on individual instruction than ever before.  The learning responsibility is placed on the student, but we must prepare an environment that encourages them to explore the vast information pool that is available on the Internet.  What also could change is the current school structure, which carries an industrial structure that may be too rigid for today’s digital age.  No matter how  changes will be made, the key is for us as teachers to never stop evaluating our procedures to ensure that our connection to the students never weakens.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Technology in Classroom Podcast

After interviewing three current students, here is a podcast created compiling the data found:

My Podcast

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills Website

Without a doubt, the need to gear our students for skills that in all likelihood we did not focus on in our time in school.  How to get to this point though takes careful planning and construction of a pathway to make the necessary changes.  The Partnership for 21st Century Skills website and initiative is confronting this arduous task and giving teachers and administrators a portal through which they can explore possible solutions on their own.

I think the website has a nice presentation and a load of valuable information, but one of the primary focuses seems to be on a chart I just do not understand: This one-

I understand that the framework for 21st century learning is focused on teaching the core subjects with global and civic ramifications at the forefront, and that collaboration is imperative for the 21st century learner, but I really struggle to see what all of the half-circles below the rainbow-like thing means.  Analyzing this diagram in Route 21 was definitely more insightful, I just did not understand why it was constructed that way.

The fact that only 15 states have taken the initiative is perplexing to me.  It appears that some of the more populated states with stricter guidelines and standards for students and teachers are missing (I.e. New York and California), but on the other end a number of smaller states are also not included.  Why has only about 1/3 of the country jumped on board with this initiative?  Is it because these are the only ones that sought Federal assistance?

There are a number of modern technology interfaces present on the website, like links to Twitter, but there is no blogs or message boards present- really?  It seems almost hypocritical for this website to push such a technology-based agenda and not be completely up to speed on all of the modern interfaces.

Despite missing certain components and having a diagram central to the message that seems confusing, the purpose and message that the website has to offer is not only valid, it is essential.  In order for our students to succeed, they must embrace the new way of learning and the new way that the business world operates and how it will in the future.  Because they must embrace it, we as educators must do the same to properly help them become literate in our new cyber world.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blogging Hours Outside of the Classroom

It has to be pretty tough for the dog to eat this homework! 

When thinking about the ways that a blog can be incorporated in the classroom, the focus of this networking device would be done primarily outside of the “classroom”.  As a Physical Education teacher, the possibility to seek blogs or use them within the confines of a gymnasium just do not add up.

To me a blog is the new and hip teacher webpage that is shrewdly thrown together and may have random links.  If blogging is “in” then why not connect with the students that feel such a way right?

Student’s like videos and colorful stimulation too, do they not?  With the ability to embed videos and photos, blogs can become a great portal to send students to after the school day is over to complete a lesson.  This brings me back to a lesson on how to pitch I used with my baseball team and wanted to show them a really good video; this would be just the pathway.

By viewing these videos through such an interface, the students now have the opportunity to respond on the spot for immediate and more thorough input.  With activity being paramount in Physical Education, this also saves time in the class setting.

For students in grades 6-12, the ability to continue to enhance their literacy through a subject that is taught in a room without desks, pens or paper readily available is undoubtedly a benefit for the student. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hello All

Ah yes, the blog world.  Well this should be interesting so hang on tight and make sure your tray tables are in an upright and locked position.