Sunday, July 29, 2012

I have separated my Mind Map into 8 categories and gave some examples. Most of my knowledge has come from life experiences. If I do not know what to do, or are learning how; I take to the Internet! However, I never fully trust the Internet since there is so much nonsense on it [not this blog, other stuff]. So I use that knowledge then ask anyone that might have had experience in that field. For instance, I am restaining the bedroom furniture that will go in my daughter's room. My first move was to look it up on Google. I checked about a half dozen websites and found the basic way with some extras. I then checked with the DIY books my family got for me when we moved in. Lastly, I asked some friends and my father about it, hoping one of them has done this before. With this knowledge I purchased everything I needed [or so I thought] and got to work. Needless to say, I had the wrong color for the nightstand, and didn't completely take off the whole finish on the dresser. After going back to the Internet, I realized some miscalculations and went back to work. This time perfection. The desk was restained correctly, but took much longer than I had originally thought. So after some thought, I learned how to prepare for my adventure by using my Connectivist network. Yet, I had to figure out how to do things correctly for my situation by trial and errors.

My network has changed the way I learn from connecting the ideas with different arguments. I cannot just look at one magazine and have a well thought out opinion on it. I read the magazine, watch the news, talk to my family, see what my friends think on Facebook, discuss it on, and argue it with neighbors. My view on a subject my change slightly after each person I encounter, or book/magazine/show I see. Typically, when I am learning how to do something I go to youtube, or whichever website is the authority on the subject. Learning how to stain furniture is DIY or Home Depot. How to get rid of dandruff, go to Men's Fitness. Gaining more knowledge about the Roman Empire I go to When I have questions I look for more research and ask those around me [which has taken on new definition since the social networking sites have exploded on the scene] to give their input so I can make an informed decision.

Overall, this agrees with the connectivist views.  I would be a totally different person if the areas of the above map were different.  Maybe I wouldn't be a teacher if there wasn't so many in my family.  Maybe my views would be different if I didn't view the shows/magazines/books that I have.  This is the idea that nurture overcomes nature.  That you can play the Six Degrees of Learning about yourself.  Things are connected and shape who you are as a person.  Thus shaping the way you learn.  So when attempting to setup instruction for others, I need to know their strengths and weaknesses to help them get the most out of the learning experience. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I found a website called Business Balls []  that deals with decision-making methods.  They list six steps to the process for helping solve business related issues.  It steps sound similar to the 7 Stages of Grief, but are helpful when making an important decision.  The process they go in depth with also happens to be the method I use when making big decisions.  You make a pros and cons chart and see how many facts are on either side, and even give these facts a weighted score.  If there are more pros than cons, you pull the trigger.  If the cons outweigh the pros, do not change a thing ["Not a finga!" from the Christmas Story keeps replaying as I read that].  I immediately saw that this method was flawed.  People make these charts and do the opposite of the result.  Why?  The website suggests that a person has not included all the aspects if they do not agree with the result: 'If you don't like the answer that the decision-making sheet(s) reflect back to you, it means you haven't included all the cons - especially the emotional ones, or you haven't scored the factors consistently, so re-visit the sheet(s) concerned'  The idea of weighting facts brings more focus on the emotional side, and makes the chart more accurate. 

How is this affected by the brain?  People use charts to help them decide on things that the brain cannot fully understand.  Questions like "Should I get married?" or "Do I take that job that requires me to move to Alaska?"  These are emotionally charged questions.  The brain can only compute so many facts before it too becomes stumped.  Emotions weigh facts, and thus skew results.  Furthermore, some of the questions do not have all the facts.  A person has to choose without knowing what the future holds and could unintentionally make the wrong choice. 

Making charts and following the decision-making method helps organize thoughts.  It tries to combine the power of the heart with the power of the mind.  Using the information a person has at hand to make the best possible decision.  How do you know if the right decision is made?  Some answers are immediate, some take time to develop, and some are in the perception of the person.  For example:

Immediate Answer - "Taco Bell was a poor decision!" Says the man with indigestion
Long Term Answer - "Not sure yet." Says the Secretary of War after the decision to remove troops from Afghanistan.
Perception Answer - "Of course I want to lay by the pool, I can get my school stuff done later."
LATER "It's almost 1 and I'm not done...but the pool was fun."  Says me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Educ 6115 - Week 1

I have to be honest, I have known about blogs for quite some time but never wanted to create one. I really do not have that interesting of stuff in my life for me to think that others would want to read about me. So week 1 of this new class for 6115 and here's my first blog.
Of the three blogs given in the optional resources section, only two work properly. Both are explaining different ways to learn and use the internet as a resource. One blog immediately jumped out at me; The Methods and Means to grading Student Participation in Online Discussions ( Since that has been the center of my graduate education thus far, I decided this was a great starting point. I was pleasantly surprised to see this blog was from the instructor's point of view. This would be great insight into how online professors grade my discussion posts. It mentions that rubric is the basis for grading. It spells out in large print what exactly is expected from a student when he or she posts. It also informs the student on what percentage of their grade is posting discussions. Asking questions and responding to others posts are crucial to the creativity of the discussion. Therefore, points are awarded or subtracted based on the students' participation. Lastly, the timing of the posts. If there are tardy posts, thats an easily subtracted point.
Another blog I liked was Social Media in Education: Twitter being used in Arts and Sciences Courses ( This is an area of contention in the building I teach. A new policy is drafted to utilize social media as part of the curriculum. After reading the blog, I would not like to use Twitter in the classroom. I think this way, not because of what the blogger wrote, but when I put myself into the situation, I became uncomfortable. Mixing my social life with my work like is not a good idea. I have a ton of buddies who cuss like sailors, and post some pretty graphic pictures as jokes. If someone were to see that on the same twitter account as I'm asking students to view, that would put me out of a job. I know there is option B; Create a new twitter name and account and keep them separate.
Lastly, I noticed there was a blog about gaming in education, which sounded fun so I read Gaming the First-Year Composition Course ( The blogger describes why he likes to add games to his classroom. Some of the games go so far as to have leaderboards and cheat-code walkthroughs. He also explains how using a portfolio system relaxes tensions about failure.

I always assumed blogs were for nerds and soccer moms, but after viewing several of them, they are growing on me. I see that most are just ideas and people's thoughts in print [not exactly] on the internet. This allows people gain information for free from the comfort of their own home. An interesting concept that has over 35 million users. I am curious about the idea of blogging, and will have my work cut out for me to get rid of my 'Noob' status.