Fitness Coaching Failure

{ …commentary on the traditional over-emphasis on the pedagogy of lecture… }

“I stood in front of that class each day for six weeks and demonstrated perfect form in my workouts. They all took great notes. Why didn’t they get in shape?” -Hypothetical Failing Fitness Coach

Man lifts cats as weights
LOL Cat Fitness Fail Shared by James at FITBODYBUZZ

It is a common misperception about teaching that the educators job is solely to instruct. Placing this concept in the context of an athletic or fitness coach can help reveal the flaw in thinking here. It isn’t that demonstrating good form or good practices isn’t important. Quite the contrary. But if that is all that happens without space and feedback provided for people to practice on their own or with others, the value of that instruction is prone to be wasted in the ether.

Eric Westervelt and Carl Wieman ascertain in this NPR Interview that:

“…undergraduate Higher Ed still worships at the old false idol called the Big Lecture and doesn’t seem to want to ask whether it’s working.”

It is possible to be incredibly in shape and fail at helping others to do so.

Similarly, it is possible to be incredibly smart and unable to impart it on others without a fundamental understanding of how people learn.

Let’s get smarter together on our shared values of teaching & learning as educators.

LearnDAT Farewell Post

Together, each member of the LearnDAT team makes up an amazing pool of talent, creativity, knowledge, skill and experience in the field of distance education.

LearnDAT Holloween Party 2012
LearnDAT Halloween Party 2012

For over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with the incredibly talented instructional and educational media designers at LearnDAT (this is a picture of some of us at our 2012 halloween party). Together, each member of the LearnDAT team makes up an amazing pool of talent, creativity, knowledge, skill and experience in the field of distance education. I will miss them very much.

Friday is my last day in LearnDAT as I have accepted a new instructional design position at Jackson Community College. I look forward to venturing into this new role that is closer to home and plan to stay in touch with my colleagues here at Michigan State. Thank you, for everything!

The team assembled here is so innovative, creative, collaborative and effective. Since being here I have learned so much from each person. There is a rich history here and notoriety not only in the MSU community, but in the field of instructional design and instructional technology in general. It makes me incredibly proud to have been able to contribute to a handful of the ongoing great things going on here.

Reflections on “I Blame Brangelina: the Idea of Celebrity and Human Trafficking” – Brent Cline (Focus 2012)

We don’t want the skills of the celebrity, we want the benefits. We worship celebrity, not excellence. Celebrity gives the illusion of deep connection. We equate reality through the sense of normalcy we develop from multimedia imagry. What is happening to us when we do this?

Celebrity association with massive scale human rights issues pulls us away from engaging and redeeming issues of human justice toward an idea of normalcy portrayed by the actor.

We consume celebrity (dehumanizing).

We associate less with human rights issues (dehumanizing).

These things cause narcissistic behavior.

“When we do something selfish with the veneer of selflessness.”

“Awareness” is not the same as action.

It is not an argument that celebrity should not be doing this, but that we would do well to be aware of what is truly going on when they do.

Is greed that drives human trafficking the same motivation for those who stand against it?

If you engage with all issues around the globe, you will simply burn out and become cynical really quickly.

“Right living in your own community and respecting the other in your own community is not just a drop in the bucket, it is the premise of all other social change.”

Awareness can result in paralysis. The goal should be to identify and respect the other as in the image of God.

No vengeance is allowed in our religion.

-Professor/Sage Brent Cline

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dh00GCRZ3Y]

“Transforming Higher Education with Emerging Technologies” | EDUCAUSE 2012

Chris Dede from Harvard gave an outstanding talk called “Transforming Higher Education with Emerging Technologies” at the recent Educause Learning Initiative in Austin Texas on the morning of February 14th. In vuDAT (where I work), we had the privilege of hosting an online streaming of this talk and host of others for those interested in attending at Michigan State University.

This talk envisioned the transformation of teaching and learning for 21st-century skills and citizenship. The focus highlighted an array of interactive Web 2.0 technologies designed to aid in collaboration, social interaction, and creation. Both formative and summative assessments strategies were described. These strategies were proposed to be able to leverage the holistic data derived from an immersive simulation interfaces such as augmented reality with mobile devices as well as virtual worlds.

One of Dede’s main points was that education has historically been purposefully removed from the chaotic world in order to reflect analytically. He argues that now with these emerging technologies there are opportunities to strengthen links between life inside and outside the classroom.

Video of this session can be viewed here.

What are your reactions to his vision?

How to use google voice for extremely easy on-the-fly podcasting:

Many online course instructors use announcements to communicate on a regular basis with the learners. Some instructors create introductions to modules using video, audio, or presentation tools. Leveraging google voice for “on-the-fly” podcasts allows instructors to be able to quickly and easily record their announcments so that learners can hear the announcement coming directly from their instructor to give the course a more personalized tone.

  • See my tutorial on this here: http://bit.ly/AB3hbe
  • View/duplicate/edit/use my slides from here: How to use google voice for extremely easy on-the-fly podcasting: – Google Docs http://bit.ly/z6xUoE

Chapter 4. Community: The Hidden Context for Learning | EDUCAUSE

These were some highlights I made from this Educause chapter on Community as it relates to teaching and learning:

  • “Why we conduct education as we do is a puzzling question. How to do it better is a big challenge. For us, the idea that learning should be the primary purpose of education has been a beacon—we might all agree that learning is a purpose of education—but is it the primary purpose?
  • A community is a group of people with a common purpose, shared values, and agreement on goals. It has powerful qualities that shape learning. A community has the power to motivate its members to exceptional performance. M. Scott Peck5 defined community as “a group whose members have made a commitment to communicating with one another on an ever more deep and authentic level.”
  • social cognitive learning theory argues for a rich environment in which students and faculty share meaningful experiences that go beyond the one-way information flow characteristic of typical lectures in traditional classrooms.
  • knowledge may be seen as vested in a distributed network across communities of practice, not in individuals.13 In other words, community-centered education will help prepare graduates to live and work in a world that requires greater collaboration.
  • Universities’ fixed costs from the high proportion of labor result in the cost of attending college rising faster than inflation. This creates pressures for cost-cutting, for example, by increasing class sizes.
  • Some commentators have observed an unspoken pact—faculty don’t expect much of students so that they can concentrate on the growing demands of research, and students don’t demand rigorous instruction so that they can concentrate on their social lives.
  • During the mid-20th century, as classrooms became larger, the level of social interaction diminished within the classroom, with the student role becoming increasingly one of a scribe. The sense of community within higher education has become increasingly obscured, with negative consequences for both faculty and students.
    • Suggestions
      • Invite stakeholders to participate.
      • Select and empower a talented leader.
      • Understand and appreciate differences in perspective.
      • Eliminate roadblocks to community learning.
      • Balance patience and performance.
  • Inviting people with different perspectives to contribute to collective decision making can be time-consuming in the development phase but ultimately is less time-consuming than leaving them out.
  • As Margaret J. Wheatley26 pointed out, “It doesn’t work to just ask people to sign on when they haven’t been involved in the design process, when they haven’t experienced the plan as a living, breathing thing.” Involvement, and rewarding involvement (especially cross-unit collaboration), are essential to having people bring their full selves to the task of making change.
  • Creativity cannot be scheduled or commanded. Often, patience is needed to allow new ideas to flourish. On the other hand, extensive discussion and debate in the name of patience, while edifying, can be time-consuming and costly, eroding construction budgets.
  • Replicating what has been done in the past is not the most effective approach when charting a new paradigm; it can lead to designing spaces for yesterday’s needs—ultimately, a very costly mistake. The community needs to find the delicate balance between patience and performance.
  • Faculty frequently struggle over wanting to spend time with active learning methods while covering a prescribed list of topics in the allotted time.
  • Communication tools such as enterprise-level e-mail and calendaring as well as learning management systems are important tools, but there is a surprising lag in the widespread development and adoption of applications that allow the spontaneous and ad hoc teaming that characterize an active community. The potential of peer-to-peer tools such as Virtual Office from Groove Networks show promise for teaming, as does powerful, inexpensive, mobile computing hardware that is always connected to the Internet.
  • A community-centered mission speaks to the importance of working through conflict rather than avoiding it.
  • As we become purposeful and conscious of what makes spaces more supportive of learning, we need to analyze new and existing spaces and ask how community contributes to the learning that occurs.”

Oblinger, D. (2006). Learning spaces (pp. 4.1-4.22). Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE.

On-The-Fly Podcasting Using Google Voice?

How to use google voice for extremely easy on-the-fly podcasting:

  1. Make sure you have a google voice account if you don’t already have one and sign into your inbox area.
  2. Call your google voice number and leave yourself a message.
  3. When the message populates in your inbox, select the “more” option and then select “Embed”:

4. Add a caption for your podcast (this is optional).

5. Copy the embed code into your computer’s clipboard (control + “c” on the P.C. & Command + “c” on the Mac)

6. Go to your course in Blackboard and select to create a new announcement.

7. Give the announcement a title and then select the “Toggle HTML Source Code” button in the rich text editor toolbar and paste in the embed code that is in your clipboard (control + “v” on the P.C. & Command + “v” on the Mac)

8. Hit the “Toggle HTML Source Code” button in the rich text editor toolbar.

9. Hit the “Toggle HTML Source Code” button in the rich text editor toolbar one more time.

10. Make sure that the “width: 100px” is changed to “width: 500px” in the embed code and then hit submit!

*This same process can be followed for a recorded phone call from google voice which can be done by using these instructions.

The end result will have a flash player embedded media player from Google Voice that the learner will see in the announcements page so that they can listen to your nifty podcast:

 

Interview with Shane Hipps – The OAT Podcast

Check out my interview with Shane Hipps for the OAT Podcast!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCh68gAOOBY&w=480&h=300]