Reflective Journal Entries (PIDP 3100)

PIDP 3100 Journal Entry # Category 1

21st Century competencies include deep understanding, flexibility and the capacity to make creative connections and a range of so-called ‘soft skills’ including good team-working.” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 4)

Objective

I find this quote as very enlightening as it brings to light what should be the real focus of education for the instructor as well as the learners. Intelligence is not something related to the factual knowledge and higher academic achievement. It is more related in the ability to cope up with the situations. It has been increasingly realized that success and progression in professional, social and personal relationships depends to a large extent on the ability to manage stress and time, interpersonal skills involving good communication and problem solving skills. In the era of globalization where the world is changing at a fast pace with a new invention or discovery adding every other day creating stiff competition in global market, employers prefer such employees who can adapt themselves to this fast changing scenario, achieve favorable results within tight deadlines while maintaining cordial relations with their colleagues and clients. Good academic record (hard skills) may help a candidate to enter into workforce, but to keep up with expectations of the employer in ever changing economy and to retain and thrive in career, one needs to be more adept in soft skills. I constantly keep on one searching for latest job postings and have been amazed by the fact that the employers post a long list of soft skills as a requirement for the job opportunities in addition to the technical skills. Greenberg and Nilssen (Wainhouse Research, 2014) through their study found that the stakeholders in education considered problem-solving and collaborative skills as the two top soft skills on which schools should be focusing while they believed that schools focus too much on “teaching to the test,” solitary (alone) work, and individual achievement, whereas teamwork, group achievement, and collaboration with others outside of the classroom all receive too little focus. This study throws light on how the significance of soft skills is being increasingly realized by the stakeholders.

Reflective

As a teacher, this quote makes me realize that achievement of a student should not be solely weighted upon his ability to give right answers to the questions but rather to apply the skills and knowledge learned according to the needs of a particular situation. Rather than acting as a mere dispenser of information teaching students to achieve good grades in examination aiming at individual achievement, we’ teachers should prepare the students for group dynamics and collaborative learning activities where ‘I’ should be replaced by ‘we’. They should display sensitivity to the views and opinions of their teammates and, desired learning outcomes by working in unison with their classmates. They should also be trained to cope up with stress while their analytic skills can be developed by involving them in problem solving. On the other hand, the teacher should be able to change the teaching style and strategies as suited to the learners with distinct styles of learning. Learners should be taught to participate in team work and class discussions. One recent best example of such collaborative learning was experienced by me in PIDP course where a lot of emphasis is placed on teamwork and activities which allow the adult learners to collaborate and share their ideas and thoughts, initially with their teammates and then with the whole class.

Interpretive

As an adult educator, I feel that since the adult learners are facing the constraints of time and other pressures of life while pursuing their academic goals, flexible teaching learning programs should be framed so that the needs of every learner are catered to. We educators should also constantly upgrade our skills by taking part in continuous professional development programs. The adult learners should be encouraged more for experiential learning whereby they discover the solution to the academic problems themselves. More group activities should be planned for them so that they may get the opportunity to work in collaboration with their peer group. Although during my teaching career as a teacher educator, I had been devising group activities where the teacher trainee students were encouraged for problem solving in which they were given situations to learn from their experience and work of their peers, yet this quote reestablishes the significance of including training in team work and problem solving which should be an integral part of any adult education program.

Decisional

This quote has motivated me to adopt flexibility in my instructional programs. After learning various modes of designing and delivering instruction through PIDP program, I shall prepare my instructional programs on the similar lines. Although being a keen lover of continuous professional development , I have been attending them for my professional growth for long, yet I shall now encourage my students as well to attend such programs so that after passing out through the instructional program, they may keep themselves updated in their field of study and be ready to keep pace with the developments in the field of education. I shall also devise more and more team work and problem solving activities to indulge my adult learners in experiential and collaborative learning.

PIDP 3100 Journal Entry # Category 2

adults are problem-centred, not subject centred, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned. (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 53)

Objective

This quote enlightens me to the fact that adults learn for practical purposes. Most of the time, they feel motivated to learn in order to find solution to an immediate problem they have encountered rather than pursuing that activity purely out of interest to learn. I feel, it is perhaps due to the fact that unlike young learners, they are preoccupied with too many activities of primary concern in life like their family, friends and profession which leaves them very less time only to focus on the things which are of their immediate concern. Since the activities of their interest demand immediate attention, they want immediate results for them as well.

Reflective

The quote brings to light the fact that adults are active knowledge seekers. They need to be given a relevance for the instructional activities they have to follow so that they may feel a strong inclination to learn that concept. Thus the content of the instructional program needs to be carefully related to the application needs of these learners. Teacher should conduct needs assessment strategy to formulate the instructional material. Since they are already self motivated, they need only direction to be involved in self-directed learning whereby they may use their critical thinking and problem solving skills. With this they will discover solutions to their learning problems.

Interpretive

As an adult educator, this revelation means that my learners are already well developed intellectuals bringing with them their own wealth of experience who are adept in solving their problems on their own. Thus I should participate with them in this learning process. In addition to unfolding before them new learning experiences, I should try to learn from their experiences as well. It also makes me realize that since they are problem centered, the learning activities for them should be related to the solving of a problem rather than learning of a concept. Because adults have been dealing with problems of life and have been finding solutions on their own. So the curriculum should be designed in a manner that encourages them to indulge in problem solving activities.

Decisional

Though I have been taking into consideration the needs of the adult learners from varied backgrounds throughout my teaching career, yet this reflection adds further insights into my perceived role in this teaching-learning situation. I will lay more emphasis on collaborative learning since my learners are an active participant in this situation.

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Reflective Journal Entries (PIDP 3240)

Reflective Journal entries based upon the various chapters of the book ‘Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of Your Classroom will Improve Student Learning.’:

 

Reflective Thinking Report for Chapters 1-3

OBJECTIVE

Innovative technologies such as Learning Management Systems (LMS) have made possible document sharing, whiteboard, simultaneous discussions and live content among users from all parts of the world. With the help of these, virtual seminars can be held allowing multiple user video-conferencing (Bowen, 2012).

In a study on higher education by EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (2011) 42% students reported their comfort in using online chats, events and webinars while 27% were comfortable in using podcasts and webcasts. 36% students preferred seminars and other classes with some online component.

Smet et al. (2011) studied the technology acceptation of learning management systems (LMS) by secondary school teachers and investigated the instructional use of LMS, distinguishing between informational use and communicational use. They concluded that informational use was a precursor for communicative use, perceived ease of use of the LMS is the strongest predictor in LMS acceptation. Further, internal ICT support has a direct effect on the informational use of the LMS and on subjective norm.

REFLECTIVE

Yes, I applaud the use of LMS in online seminars and in other online educational material. For me, they are a useful and flexible tool for enabling learners gain access to the educational programs beyond the confines of face-to-face classroom. Learning is now accessible to a wide range of participants crossing the barriers of distance, availability of time and age. LMS facilitate video interaction with the instructor or subject matter expert and enable the participants gain access to the educational material in the form of documents, whiteboards, images and idea sharing by the instructor as well as the participants. The online presence of educational content also enables the participants to gain access to them any time and learn at their own pace right from the comfort of their homes in any distant corner of the world.

INTERPRETIVE

As for me, LMS are a boon to the field of education. The PIDP program of School of Instructor Education is a fine example of the online and face-to-face classrooms modules in which people desirous of upgrading their instructor skills have the facility to join the course while pursuing their jobs simultaneously. Here, apart from the presence of online learning material in a user friendly manner, the participants can hold face-to-face conversations with their instructors through Skype and Oovoo and can seek their much needed guidance and feedback in the learning pursuit. They can even submit their assignments online and receive grades online as well. Besides, I have attended a number of online seminars (webinars) which have immensely enriched me in my professional development. In the teacher education colleges in India where I used to teach earlier, I always encouraged our student teachers to attend such seminars in addition to the seminars and conferences we organized there. We also made them watch educational videos and gave them access to the interactive educational CD-roms. But for me, it was really beneficial to attend the webinars hosted by the British Council, Cambridge University Press, Macmillan Education and EdWeb community. These organizations hold online seminars on a regular basis and moreover participation is absolutely free which encourages a large number of knowledge seekers from all over the world and besides imparting knowledge in the subject matter, they also enable the international participants to share their ideas with the entire group. The subject experts share their expertise and skill with the participants. In these, the organizer and the subject matter expert share their video and educational documents, images and whiteboards. The seminars of British Council are mostly related to various aspects of English language teaching. Besides, certain topics on technology are covered as well. An interactive phonemic chart is also present on the website to teach young children English sounds. Cambridge University Press holds seminars on language skills, their assessment and professional development. Macmillan Education also conducts seminars on various aspects of education. The EdWeb community has in it a number of communities such as those related to educator resources, learning assessment, professional development, open educational resources, incorporation of educational technology in education, game-based learning and many more. In these seminars, the participants can also post their queries and comments in the participant chat area. The videos of the seminars are available on the website in the archives where the participants can access them repeatedly for their educational needs. Participation in such seminars is a really enriching experience for me and I continually keep on adding to my professional development.

DECISIONAL

I would like to incorporate the use of LMS in my educational programs. I would use it to present documents, images, power-point, and films related to English language teaching and topics on education. During my classroom, I would use it encourage pupil-pupil interaction to ensure their fuller participation in the topic. Switching from the lecture hall and seminar table format,will enable me to monitor active participation of my students. Using it for having guest lectures will certainly involve more work like contacting the suitable experts in field, settling a time suitable for the expert as well as the students, seeking permission from department head and arranging funds to pay honorarium but it will undoubtedly give the students access to the in-depth views of the expert. In this endeavor though, cooperation of the department/college is of prime importance. Ensuring proper functionality of online LMS tools during the event is also a key issue. Additionally, I love the idea of leaving a podcast for the students during the time I am traveling. I would certainly use it to prepare some important instructional material online so that the learners may gain access to it as per their suitability. I am not sure to what extent I will be able to utilize the LMS tools but will certainly like to make use of them to the maximum extent possible as it will make my educational endeavors more lively, participatory and learner friendly.

Reflective Thinking Report for Chapters 4-8

OBJECTIVE

Podcasts are audio or video creations of any length that can be used as a useful resource in the teaching learning process. Unlike a captured lecture, they can perform multiple functions which gives them an added advantage. Not only this, they can also be customized according to the needs of the students (Bowen, 2012).

de Villiers and Walsh (2015) conducted a qualitative study to explore the reasons for the popularity of podcasts among students of an African medical school. They concluded that students considered podcasts as a novel way to learn which complemented classroom learning and provided them ease of mind without incurring any negative influence on class attendance during regular lectures.

Kay and Kletskin (2012) evaluated the use of problem based video podcasts to teach mathematics in higher education . From the results it was indicated that a majority of students used video podcasts frequently and considered them as useful or very useful, easy to use, effective learning tools, and also reported significant knowledge gains in pre-calculus concepts.

REFLECTIVE

Yes, I truly appreciate the creation of podcasts- another effective and convenient tool bestowed by modern technology which enables us to access a large body of knowledge virtually from any corner of the world. The barriers of time and place have been transcended by this innovation in education. It is truly amazing that the scholarly ideas of subject experts in one geographical location can be accessed by the learner living in some other corner of the world. Likewise the other online tools of learning, podcasts enable the learner to access topics of their interest in multiple disciplines. They have supplemented classroom learning by providing elaborate description of the academic topics covered in the classroom. Thus if the learner wants to enhance his knowledge about content matter further to classroom lecture, he/she can search for online podcasts available on the topic and can play them again and again to reinforce the new ideas discovered. These can be used for the augmentation in assignments prepared for submission. They provide flexibility in learning as they can be played over and again.

INTERPRETIVE

For me, these podcasts have a special educational value as during my doctorate research work on English language proficiency, I needed more and more material for conceptual clarification about the research topic. Since the topic demanded a thorough familiarity with various aspects of the origin, worldwide spread and present global position of the English language, I wanted to follow the works of pioneers in the field of language. For this purpose, I researched a lot of online literature pertinent to the topic along with printed matter including famous linguist David Crystal’s book ‘English as a Global Language’. But it was his podcast on the same topic that proved to be of immense educational significance for me. The podcast contained a detailed description about the origin, spread and the present global position of the language. Each aspect of English language was elaborated so well that after repeated listening, I developed an in-depth understanding about the topic and subsequently developed my thesis on the topic.

Thereafter, I started exploring educational podcasts relevant to the topics of my academic concern. The British Council has published a variety of educational podcasts to develop language skills of beginners as well as those related to workplace situations thereby giving ample choice to the user to select topics of his/her immediate concern. The Canadian Education Association has published numerous podcasts on topics of educational concern in present times. The best feature of all these podcasts is the ability of the researcher to listen to them as many times as required at hi/her convenience. These are really worth listening. Edutopia has enlisted some best education podcasts on its web page. I particularly appreciate the opportunity that I got in this course on media enhanced learning to prepare an audio podcast and to publish it online. It made me experiment with this innovative technique. Although at the initial stage, I faced difficulty in uploading it online but thanks to the valuable assistance provided in the course page, after some unsuccessful attempts, I finally managed to upload the podcast and also got familiar with this great educational innovation.

DECISIONAL

I would definitely like to make use of podcasts in my educational programs. I will prepare a list of English grammar topics, spoken English topics, topics pertaining to writing skills and will then prepare podcasts on English language topics which ESL learners face difficulty with. To illustrate the grammar topic, I shall incorporate plenty of examples for better comprehension by my students. I will also advise my students to listen to the podcasts available on British Council’s website. In addition to this, I will conduct research on podcasts on the new topics in the field of English language teaching and will post the link of those podcasts to my students. Further, I shall polish my skills to customize the podcasts according to the varying needs of the learners.

Reflective Thinking Report for Chapters 9- 11

OBJECTIVE

The best education of the future will be a hybrid. Physical contact with teachers is valuable but online coursework is also convenient with a lot of potential. Striking a balance between face-to-face interaction and online resources will the question of primary concern for most institutions. (Bowen, 2012)

Tanduklangi, Alberth, and Amri (2014) studied the efficacy of teaching writing through hybrid instruction. They found a significant positive effect of hybrid instructional program on students’ writing performance at Writing I Odd Class at English Study Program in UHO.

Frimming, Bower and Chulhwan(2013) examined academic performance, perceptions, and experiences of participants enrolled in face-to-face classroom and online hybrid learning environments. Pre and Post Content Knowledge Tests and a student evaluation were used to measure perceptions and experiences of participants. The results of the tests indicated that participants in hybrid instruction environment had better experiences from the traditional face-to-face class format.

REFLECTIVE

Truly speaking, in the present age, hybrid instructional mode is more feasible and effective than the traditional classroom communication. The significance of face-to-face interaction of the teacher with the students is undeniable. But it can be effectively complimented with the introduction of online component as well. Since we are living in the age of technology and are constantly surrounded by advanced means of communication, it is reasonable to include teaching learning situations that are online in nature. Whereas a face to face interaction with the teacher holds great value for assimilation of subject matter and clarification of concepts, the online component makes the teaching learning process more flexible and accessible for the learner.

INTERPRETIVE

As per my viewpoint, the introduction of hybrid learning system is a blessing in disguise for the people who are required to pursue their academic and professional interests simultaneously. People moving to different countries need to arrange funds for their sustenance and at the same time are required to pursue their academic goals to seize employment in their desired field. As such, they need a great deal of flexibility in instructional programs so that they may strike a balance between both academic and professional pursuits. Also, many students have to pursue part-time jobs since they belong to disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. For them too, hybrid instructional programs create opportunities to earn while they learn. In normal educational scenario too hybrid learning programs give the learners opportunity to pursue their different interests simultaneously. Again, a great example of hybrid learning environment is the PIDP program which has enabled the immigrants to upgrade their educational qualifications while catering to their financial needs side by side. In this program there are options for joining either in the regular classroom, weekend classes or online instructional mode. So the prospective students can figure out the program type most suitable to their needs. Contrarily, in the absence of hybrid learning option, people would have found it tough to pursue their education and job at the same time. Hybrid educational programs undoubtedly attract a large number of students. Midst this scenario, the significance of teacher contact cannot be undermined. Because it builds up confidence in the learner since he/she knows that he can confide his doubts, fears and queries with the expert. But this face to face interaction between the educator and the educated can be very beautifully blended with online components to make it more convenient for the learner. I personally feel, that a number of courses in different fields should be made hybrid so that people can learn flexibly without the fear of any obstruction in the pursuance of their dreams.

DECISIONAL

As a teacher I would keep it on top priority to encourage as much hybrid component as possible. I would endeavor to develop instructional material that can be delivered through online mode as well. I would consult my department head and colleagues any possibilities to include hybrid learning component in the course structure. Based upon these discussions, a list of possible courses that could be delivered during vacations will also be developed. Another important consideration undeniably will be the provision of adequate funds to introduce the program for which I shall have to seek the permission of the head as well as to collaborate with the government funding agency. But certainly, I will take all possible steps to include hybrid learning programs.

 

Lesson Planning Component – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives is widely used by the educators. For its thorough understanding and application, I have found this useful web link which while delineating the levels of learning illustrates in detail the kinds of questions which can be framed for each of these level by using the appropriate action words (verbs) for them. The information is presented in tabular as well as graphical form which makes it easy to comprehend. I find this information quite simpler and comprehensive and will use it to formulate instructional objectives for my lesson plans.

Lesson Planning Component – Characteristics of Adult Learners

Characteristics of Adult learners

For an educator, it is extremely vital to understand the key characteristics of the target learners as this helps the teacher in devising the teaching style, strategies and educational material as per the needs of the learners. This useful web-link discusses the key characteristics of adult learners while basing them upon the concept of andragogy as given by Malcolm Knowles. Since adult education is based upon the principle of andragogy, I find the characteristics mentioned here extremely relevant. As an adult educator, I will utilize these requirements of my target learners to devise my instructional programs.

Lesson Planning Component – Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Positive Learning environment

Creating a positive learning environment in the classroom facilitates the smooth flow of communication between the teacher and the students. I find the website of university of Saskatchewan very informative because it not only mentions some really useful tips for building a positive learning environment in the classroom, it substantiates them further by bringing about first hand experiences of in-service educators. I will definitely use it as a useful resource to apply effective ways of creating a positive learning environment for my learners so that they may participate and collaborate fully in the teaching learning process.

 

Lesson Planning Component – Motivational Techniques

Motivational Techniques

Motivation is an important tool to make the learners active participants in the teaching learning process. As an adult educator I found this web-link extremely useful as it discusses thirty different techniques of motivating adult learners. It certainly gives a wider choice of strategies which can be selected by the a teacher to involve his students and can altered according to the demands of the situation. It has given me a plenty of novel and interesting ideas through which I can motivate my learners to collaborate fully in teaching-learning activities in my classroom.

Lesson Planning Component – Media

Media

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. When tapped properly, It can be of immense educational value for the educators as well as the students. I liked this website as I it offers numerous fascinating ideas totaling hundred in number by which social media can be used for educational purposes. I would use the ideas myself and would also encourage my students to make use of them for their academic purposes.