Visiting a Canadian Federal Prison

As an assignment for 3240, I had to create a Pecha Kucha Powerpoint. Learn all about how to visit a Canadian Federal Prison in this short presentation,

Visiting a Canadian Federal Prison

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In a 2013 article in “The Journal”, Dian Schaffhauser does a survey of what educators think about the Khan Academy math program. Here is my podcast about her article entitled “The Math of Khan”.

Talking about Education

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Here’s the answers to all the big questions

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Also referred to as the Last Lecture, this is a lecture x Randy Pausch wrote so his kids would remember him. A computer science prof, a husband and a father, Randy had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer a few weeks before this talk. In it he sums up all the advise he wasn’t going to be around to give to his kids. Have kleenex standing by.

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Gaming can make a better world?

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world (video)

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Really Big Free Education Technology Resources list

The 2013 Free Emerging Education Technology Resources eBook Free Education


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Student Engagement and motivation – a Theoretical Primer

Student engagement is a good predictor of student knowledge acquisition and general cognitive development. Engagement, in turn, is a function of active learning and motivation. Fortunately, much research has been done on understanding motivation.

How can you Measure Student Engagement?  This a strategy you can use to have your students assess their own engagement level.


In order to foster engagement, we may need to increase motivation. And, in order to increase motivation, we have to understand it. Fortunately, much research has been done on understanding motivation.

Motivational Theory

A few points about prevalant motivational theories

  • Maslow Hierarchy of Needs: To understand how to motivate your students, start with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs which documents the order in which students with more than one need will meet them. For example, a student who is hungry, tired and doesn’t understand reducing fractions will try to meet his need for food and rest before asking any questions about reducing fractions.
  • Ariely, Gneezy, Lowenstein and Marr (2005) Suggest that extrinsic motivation only works when an individual deems that the risk and effort result in something achievable and with a great enough reward.
  • Self Determination Theory: Deci & Ryan (1985, 2002) Identifies autonomy, competency and relatedness as intrinsic motivators
  • Self-Efficacy theories: (Bandura 1977, 1982; Corno & Mandinach, 1983): Identifies how a learner’s confidence impacts on their learning outcomes
  • Self-worth models: Speaks to the ego and ones fear of failure and self-preservation.
  • Goals Theory: Speaks of a students learning relationship, fears and ego.
  • Attributions Theory: (Weiner 1979, 1985 & 1986) Speaks of how a student will relate success or failure to a particular reason which is shaped by personal experience and motivation is based on if the student feels it is within their control.
  • Cross & Steadman (1996) suggest that it is 3 theories: Self-efficacy, Self-worth and Attribution that work together to satisfy a student’s needs
  • Expectancy x Values models: One model that makes the important factors in student motivation obvious is the Expectancy x Value model. This model looks at learners in terms of the degree to which they believe they can succeed at the learning task, Expectancy, and the degree to which they value the results of the learning task, Value. (Barkley, 2010, p. 11) Brophy approached this model from the perspective of classifying students by whether they have high or low expectancy and high or low value for a given learning task, and found 4 student types: (as cited in Barkley, 2010, p. 15) Covington found 4 student types (as cited in Barkley, p. 12) which maps nicely to the types Brophy found,

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

Motivating Students – Resources and How-Tos

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Really Big Education Site

Cybrary Man’s Educational Web Sites  The internet catalogue for students, teachers, administrators & parents.Over 20,000 relevant links personally selected by an educator/author with over 30 years of experience.

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Really Big Resource – Public Speaking

This blog is a goldmine of information about public speaking – something instructors do every day. It contains lots of practical advice on such topics as breaking bad presentation habits and dealing with anxiety. I found this especially helpful because even though I’ve been told my presentation skills are good, I still shake when I have to speak in front of a group.

Professionally Speaking.: Kathy Reiffenstein’s Blog on Creating Confident, Persuasive Speakers

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Drywall isn’t done the same way everywhere in the world

In his blog, Adult Learning, James Turner makes an interesting point,

“In construction trades training it is easy to assume that basic construction skills are universal. This is not the case when the student has already begun learning in another country where resources, methods and environments are different from what we have here in Canada. If a worker who has come from Hawaii were to be instructed prepare a wood-framed wall for installation of drywall, he would likely leave out the steps of adding insulation or vapour barrier sheeting, since insulating a structure is not required on Hawaii. Being aware of such differences in the background of our students, is just one portion of the role we play as instructor in our diverse classrooms.”

In our multicultural country, being aware of cultural differences when teaching takes on special significance. Here’s an article he referenced to get you started thinking about becoming “culturally competent”.

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Instructional Strategy – Amber Donovan’s Poker Chip Question Technique

Amber Donovan contributed this questioning technique.

“I learned this technique in another course and tried it out the last time I taught and it worked so well, I was shocked and excited at the results:

I gave each student 3 “poker chips” (you can really use anything) and challenge them, tell them that for each question they answer they need to hand in a chip – your goal is to hand in all of your chips by lunch time (or the end of the lesson, which ever) and once you are out of chips you are no longer allowed to participate until all the others have answered or given their opinions.

I found this really opened up the quiet, introverted students that may have been too shy OR they take a bit longer to think about the answer – I often saw the extroverts taking over the conversation to the point that the introverted students were not able to speak their minds.

It was great to hear the ideas and answers from those that weren’t participating as often as others and it actually opened them up in the following lessons and participation did go up.”

from PIDP 3250 Forum Discussion

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