Author Archives: Hannah Inzko

Learning Philosophy 2.0 – Hannah

Learning Philosophy 2.0

Through my time in this course I feel like my Learning Philosophy has matured and focused and much of that can be attributed to the input and feedback from my classmates here.

At the core, my beliefs are still the same, we want students to learn something new, experience something new and learn to love to learn. How we do this should be and needs to be a thoughtful process with the pedagogical benefits of each tool used being thoroughly assessed.

Encouraging exploration and play will unlock the human potential and will help us make sense of this ever changing world. While I believe that students need to form their own knowledge through relating personal experiences it is their peers and teachers that should be there to push them and challenge them to reach new heights.

One could differentiate between learners and teachers by the level of passion they have for the subject and their ability to inspire others to find their own passion. Each student learns  differently and instead of always trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, as we have done for so long with our “one size fits all” educational system, we should be celebrating these differences and use them as a chance to learn new ways of teaching.  Remaining agile will be the only way we can keep relevant.


Youth Networks

I love the quote from the Brennen article “Being a creator of interactive media enables broader understandings of how these artifacts are created and function, understandings required for full participation in and negotiation of a technologically saturated society.” I wholeheartedly agree with Brennen when she talks about our assumptions that students today come to us with an inherent understanding of technology use. What I see over and over again is that this is just not true, depending on the access and opportunity each student has, their familiarity can be vastly different.

What I’ve learned from all three texts is that all students need is the encouragement to seek out communities all their own. To find the help, support and inspiration they need online. Like Zywica stated in her article, learning networks can be used in various ways. From supplements to existing courses to encouraging participation in discussion groups, they can be both an enhancement to the real-world classroom and a place to exchange information with peers.

When I was growing up I found myself choosing the same hobbies as the kids in my neighborhood because that is where my support system was. If I needed to learn how to do something or to see if what I was doing was correct, I had to find an actual person that knew the answer. Now students need only turn to the internet, and while a glimpse will show you just how big the world is, it can also provide the close community you need. The great thing is that students are now able to anything and get help with just about anything, because there is someone else in the world that has the same hobbies as they do. This in turn can encourage them to experiment with creation because maybe their hobby doesn’t seem so “weird” and they know they’ll have an audience ready to accept them.

Week 10 post – Badges and Learning

I think badges are an awesome way to encourage to dig deeper into the context of their learning and at the same time it rewards students for picking up skills that might not be so obvious to the specific course.
Recently I have been hearing so much about the importance of “soft skills” but also the difficulty in defining and assessing them. To me, badges seem to be the answer to this.
There is a lot to think about considering how new this concept is to education. The genuineness of the badges could be called into question, as could the reason for the achievement. But couldn’t that be said for education of any kind?
Like Sheryl Grant stated in her article on the Digital Media and Learning competition blog, “You can never ensure that any system will be perfect until humans become perfect.”


Within our unit is Educational Gaming Commons and they have done a ton of research into badges and I particularly like how they explain the need:

“A number of factors are paving the way for the rise of the badge. Financial pressures are encouraging more and more academic institutions to take a long hard look at their programs to make sure that students are learning what they say there are. Those same financial pressures are affecting our students, pushing people to look for opportunities to to learn without crushing their savings or incurring extensive debt. And with the support of technology, that means a new era of learning through MOOCs and open educational resources, or the less formal YouTube videos, podcasts, or communities of practice. Add in gamification, the rise of learning analytics, and students perpetually looking for opportunities to  and you’ve created a climate in need of exactly what the digital badges brings to the table. What do individuals know? This is the question badges are here to solve.”

I think this is a giant step towards reorganizing and rethinking education.

Week 8 post – A shift in thinking

  •  What is your perspective on the notion of a ‘fluid’ epistemology as proposed by Dede–that is, that knowledge is collectively negotiated and ratified as opposed to being ‘given’?

Dede starts his article by describing the differences between what our information searches look like now as opposed to what they looked like before the web existed. In some ways, I agree that the initial search is much faster when using Web 2.0 tools, but overall the search for information very much models old school methods. In order to verify truths, one must do some digging, to seek out “an expert” on the subject. And isn’t that what we’ve done all along? Its not always easy to recognize hearsay especially if the person relaying it sounds knowledgeable, but what I think this new movement has done for us is to open us up to questioning that hearsay.

When we exclusively employed the “classical method”, we took the information at face value and didn’t argue with its validity. What we’ve seen is that with all of the inaccuracies and biases in traditional texts, to some degree we’ve bought into the hearsay. The more opportunity we have to challenge traditional thought and teaching the more we may actually do it.

  • How does connectivism relate to the epistemological shift described by Dede?

Dede states that knowledge is collectively negotiated and ratified as opposed to being ‘given’ and this directly corresponds to Landauer and Dumais’ idea that connecting our own “small worlds of knowledge” are apparent in the exponential impact provided to our personal learning. When we collectively negotiate knowledge, the information we contribute contains our own perspectives and additional detail.

Siemens states that “connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.”

Week 7 overview of group 2

This week there was an interesting mix of points and perceptions from group two.

Erika talked about “going public” as an important final step in the learning process which is often overlooked and underrated. She points out that it is important that students have the opportunity to share what and how they’ve learned publicly and be able to reflect on the learning process. There was a lot of talk about understanding the implications and importance of technology.

Melissa echoed a lot of Erika’s thoughts when she talked about changing our thought processes. How change is inherent in this new system, and anyone not willing to change is going to be in trouble. This is where access to and openness for professional development will be crucial. We teach our children through our own actions and words, so this modeling behavior can help them correctly navigate the online waters on their own in the future.

Justin talked about “authentic learning” and how we need more authentic learning experiences. He used World Simulation Project as an example since its’ ultimate goal is to allow students to get real world experiences. He also talked about how important change is and how inseparable technology skills are to that change going forward.

In my blog post, I completely agreed with Justin’s viewpoint on authentic learning and looking at we can most effectively immerse our students in the content that they are learning. How do we keep the learning process alive, agile and interactive for students?

All in all, a great group of posts from a great group in general.


Week 7 post – Participatory Learning

  •    What types of trends do you see in the ways audio and still/video media are being used to support learning?

The shifts that Wiley described as happening because of web and mobile technologies illustrate the trends in how multimedia is being used to support learning. We are moving from analog to digital, we are no longer tethered and free to be mobile, we can come out of isolation and connect with others, things are becoming more personal, we are making more of our own stuff and we are doing it openly. One thing remains the same though, learning both online and offline is still social. Utilizing multimedia to learn and to teach just keeps the process alive, agile and more interactive.

  • Specifically, how do you see these media enhancing participatory learning within the Web 2.0 context beyond that possible by text media?

Students are changing from consumers only to also being creators and need an outlet to reflect and react to the information being presented to them. As a teaching tool, a collection of videos allow us to create our own global classroom with many teachers. This makes for a much more “customized” learning experience. Learning is no longer an event and instead a ongoing process and the ability to learn how to learn is becoming more and more important every day.

  • Richardson & Mancabelli describe six new literacies for 21st century learning environments. Which of the six measure of literacy do you see as the most challenging? Why? Are there any you would add?

The literacy that Richardson & Mancabelli list that I find to be most challenging would have to be “Attending tot he ethical responsibilities requested by these complex environments.” I’m thinking mostly about the accessibility of these tools and online environments. I’ve spent the last couple of months researching and identifying a web-based video editing platform that my students could potentially use for group class projects. The challenge comes in when I try to think about how a student with a disability could have the same learning experience as the other students in the class. These tools, while they are really good at bringing students together, can also make it harder for students to connect at the same time.
The one thing that I see missing assessing the tools themselves in an educational context. To me this is a whole new level of understanding the needs of the students, the capabilities of the tool and whether or not that tool directly addressing those identified needs. I think this is an incredibly important literacy to have considering the frequency of new tools coming on the market. Becoming more efficient in assessing the tools usefulness will allow us to move on the next solution or problem more quickly.

Wiki’s used for learning

Wiki’s have been around for years and when they first came out they did a couple of things really well. As mentioned in “The Power of Wiki’s” article, Wiki’s allow for collaboration, sharing, organization, and instruction. They’ve also simplified what used to be pretty complicated technology into something with a low barrier to entry. What this allowed for was those who used to be intimidated by heavy software tools could now jump right in and get started without much overhead or training.
In terms of knowledge building, I see wiki’s as the “gateway drug” of collaborative technology. They are a great way to introduce the benefits of sharing on the web.

  •    What type of knowledge building activities do you see going on in these different sites?

Because Wiki’s provide an asynchronous learning environment, there are a plethora of knowledge building activities that can happen at any given point. I love the idea that Wiki’s can facilitate conversation between students in other classes both locally and globally. This type of experience wasn’t even dreamed of just a few years ago. I also really like the archival features of a Wiki and the fact that information can be stored and re-purposed as needed. There is so much learning that can happen just from understanding the path that others have taken in the past and building on what they’ve learned.

I thought it was really interesting to see Wiki’s being used for things like professional development and curriculum planning. What a great idea to invite the community to share in the curriculum planning for the students. I’m sure that the parents feel more involved with their children’s education and in turn, the teachers are able to crowd-source some of their work to others. Unlike blogs, where the author is one uneditable voice, Wiki’s provide an opportunity to hear from many perspectives and that can be priceless.

  • How do you see the quality of knowledge building being monitored in large public wikis and the smaller wikis?

I think that the quality of the knowledge being built on both small and large Wiki’s is pretty comparable in a lot of respects. With larger Wiki’s, you have the power of numbers. More people are exposed to the information posted and therefore there is more opportunity for someone to pick up on any mistakes or misinformation. The downside is that it may be harder to discern which voice to listen to since people can post to public Wiki’s anonymously.

Smaller Wiki’s are typically maintained by a handful of invested individuals that care about the information being posted. It is in there own best interest to keep the information accurate and up-to-date. The downside to this method is that when you have one standout voice on a Wiki it can start to sound much like that of a blog and lose the benefit of others perspectives.

Week 5 post – Blogging and podcasting

  • What do you see as the role of blogs for learning as integrated in formal learning environments?

Blogs can be a multi-use tool and can achieve both collaboration and reflection goals set forth by the instructor. with so much opportunity it is critical that the goals for incorporating this technology are thoughtful and intentional. Just plopping a blog into a course and expecting students to engage with it (not to mention understand its benefits) could be far fetched. Bartholomew talks in his article about the “five major factors for successful course blogging” including integration, technology roles, best practices, socialization and collaboration, and continual development. What I get from this is that a course blog is like a living organism and thought should be put in from the start until sometimes beyond the timeframe of the course.
I liked that the article addressed so many of the concerns that folks have when thinking about possibly integrating blogs into their classes. Blogs can, to some extent, force you to give up a little control over the conversation happening “during class”. The anonymity can provide just enough cover for folks to really let loose verbally. It was really reassuring to hear that students respected each other when commenting. Grading was another major concern, as was keeping up with the flow of posts and comments. Along with the tips outlined in this article, my interviewee Bart Pursel shared with me the rubric he uses for his students blogs and I’m sharing it here.

  • What do you see as the role of blogs when self-initiated and informal (i.e., outside bounds of any insitution/formal classroom), especially in the context of learning?

When people keep blogs that describe and inform others on how they teach and the tools that they’ve used both with and without success, it helps the rest of us become better teachers through learning.  It also acts as an incredible support system for those “lone rangers” experimenting with technology for the first time. I have found that no matter what question I’m having or challenge I’m facing, there is someone else out there that has had the same problem. More often than not they’ve even written an entire blog post about it.

  • What do you see as the most important aspects to consider in using blogs for learning?

Blogs, like any web-based information source should be looked at with a critical eye and discerning mind. Unlike major information news sources, blogs are typically written by an individual and can swing from mildly subjective to wildly one-sided. For us as educators, it’s important to keep this in mind when using blogs as a learning tool for ourselves.
When using blogs as a teaching tool there are many things that are important to consider. There are so many benefits associated with keeping a blog for class, but it is up to us to make those apparent and relevant to the student. It can easily become overwhelming in large classes to make sense of individual blogs, so picking one or two behaviors to encourage through blogging is a smart place to start. That was one bit of advice I got from the person I interviewed this week, Bart Pursel, on the use of blogs in the classroom. The rest can be found in the interview itself which is linked below. Enjoy!


bart interview

Week 4 post – Web 2.0

Technology simplification and ease of use has made it possible for instructors to go from the passive consumer to the active producer when it comes to web content.
As we are more and more often are asking students to create their own digital artifacts, sometimes even replacing the traditional written paper, it becomes increasingly important to teach the art of storytelling through that medium. Through the Media Commons we have begun to teach a workshop on digital storytelling which teaches students how to put digital media to work for them. Just with written stories the employment of the 3 act story structure is relevant. It is important to take into account, that while the media piece will take less time in some cases to consume, it can sometimes take exponentially longer to create. Instead of just creating the story in your mind you then have to go out and create the visual pieces and put them in some semblance of order. Keeping in mind the importance of capturing the audiences attention and getting your message across.

I think the tips for teachers highlighted in this article were really well thought out and helpful. The one that stood out to me was choosing the “appropriate” technology for the lesson they want to teach. Using a technology because its trendy is like wearing skinny jeans when they just don’t flatter your body. It will just end up making you look silly and you may lose credit with your students when it comes to fashion advice later on. I think one piece that may be missing is to set your students up for success and providing resources for students to get help with the new technology if it falls beyond their level of expertise. From what I’ve experienced, students don’t really care if you aren’t an expert on how to use Google Docs, but they do need to know where to go when they have questions. I have also found that one of the biggest roadblocks for faculty using new technologies in the classroom is the fear that they need to be experts in whatever tool they want to implement. This is just not the case when there is so much information available to students on campus and on the web.

I thought the table shared in this article was interesting and brought a new perspective to several familiar tools. I currently teach tagging to my students mainly as a practical organizational skill and mostly with content that they themselves create. I also find it helpful to use tags as a way to cite the source of media content as students collect digital artifacts from around the web.
Looking at tagging as a way of constructing knowledge may be better left for a class that is prepared to spend time speaking to the art of folksonomy. For me and my students its important to understand what tools are out there and how they can best help them to complete their assignments, not just in my class but all of their classes.
While I appreciate all that Wiki’s can do for us, I’m much more interested in student created spaces that they can develop and use as they wish.

As far as insights go about the application of technology into the classroom, I have a few that really stood out to me. First, the saying that “change is the only thing that remains constant” is definitely true of technology as well. It seems that as many new tools crop up on the web, just as many are discontinued without notice. It is important to keep on the cutting edge and keep a constant eye open for new tools available and more effective ways to engage students with these tools.
Second, its not enough to just implement the tool and hope that it does its job. As instructors we have to engage WITH the students through these tools and we have to develop a curriculum that reinforces the power of the tool.

Learning Philosophy

My philosophy on learning has changed and mutated over the last couple of years, as have the opportunities and resources that have become available. To this point, I think it is important for us as teachers to remain agile in our thought processes and agile in our methods.
Our job as educators both changes rapidly every year and stays the same. At the core level we will always want students to learn something new, experience something new and learn to love to learn. Encouraging exploration and play will unlock the human potential and will help us make sense of this ever changing world. While I believe that students need to form their own knowledge through relating personal experiences it is their peers and teachers that should be there to push them and challenge them to reach new heights.
Technology is all around us and so much of it can be used for educational purposes, yet we do our students a grave disservice by teaching them in classrooms built a century ago. We need to start looking at technology not only as a tool to engage our students now but as a critical tool they will use in the future.
One could differentiate between learners and teachers by the level of passion they have for the subject and their ability to inspire others to find their own passion. Each student learns differently and instead of always trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, as we have done for so long with our “one size fits all” educational system, we should be celebrating these differences and use them as a chance to learn new ways of teaching.  Remaining agile will be the only way we can keep relevant.