Planting Ideas…

growing technology skills for education

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Putting it All Together

How my view on how I learn has changedtechnology

I have found that I am a much more versatile learner than I thought I was but I can get caught up in biases that could get in the way of learning if I do not stay present of my mindset. Much as I hate to admit it, one of my greatest obstacles with starting an online degree program was my resistance to try something quite foreign to me.

My frame of reference regarding social media was that it was just an expensive milieu used for banal chatter and sharing pictures of one’s dinner. I did not see the value of it as a powerful tool for learning. I also could not visualize how people in so many geographical places could come together effectively to have critical and meaningful discussions. However, I have come to know that not only is technology very useful but it can be adapted for learners of any learning style.

What I have learned about the various learning theories and learning styles that further explain my personal learning preferences

I discovered that learning styles overlap. They are not points on a continuum but dynamic, interactive and cohesive tools in helping a single learner acquire new skills or multiple learners acquire a single new skill. Furthermore, while some of the experts disagree about the validity of some of the learning styles, they actually complement one another. As an instructor with a preferred learning style, I can still be effective in other areas. And, as a learner I can be successful by accessing additional resources to help me acquire new knowledge in ways that better fit my style.

One thing I learned during this experience is that I am a different learner than I was when I was working on my undergraduate degree 15 years ago. Because I am now a working professional, I enjoy a greater level of solitude in the learning process than I did when I was younger. I carry a very busy caseload of clients and I enjoy the time to sit, read and focus on my classes.

The role technology plays in my learning

At the beginning of this class I wondered how effective online learning could really be. I knew it required a great deal of motivation and self-discipline but I had no concerns about myself on that front. I was not convinced of the quality of education without class time with other students and face-to-face interactions with instructors. However, I have learned so much from this experience and through my other online course. I have become a believer…and even a fan. I have developed an appreciation for being able to work on accessing research and presenting my thoughts in a more concise and meaningful manner.

I am much more comfortable with public forums and, while do not expect I will ever be an avid blogger, I am grateful that I gave it a try. I am also attracted to the infinite creative possibilities of technology as an instructor as well as a learner. I use creativity as my primary outlet andnow a whole new world has been opened up to me.


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My Mind Map

My-Mind-Map Final


How has your network changed the way you learn?

Looking at my mind map I realize how imbalanced my life is between work and all my other connections. This make me pause to re-evaluate how I am using my personal energy and resources. I really enjoy face-to-face contact with others but I am discovering new value in using digital tools to acquire new knowledge.

I have observed that my stress baseline has been elevated since we entered into a recession. I was fortunate not to be directly affected by losing a house or job, etc. but I began to experience low grade depression for the first time in my life. In the past few years, it has been more difficult to turn on the radio or television, or enter into a discussion with others where there are no “firewalls” available to filter the information I receive. Casual dinner parties or lunch dates easily become discussions about current events that leave me feeling blue. By increasing my personal use of technology, I can decide when I want to access information; and I am able to filter it. I still prefer the company of others but I focus on setting a tone that keeps things stay light and casual.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

Until recently, I have only had internet access at work. My most used digital tool is to follow the resources recommended in my classes and by my classmates; and then conduct searches for additional information on my own. I appreciate the effective use of technology in formal learning environments when they are combined with face-to-face contact.

How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?

I typically Google for information I am looking for and I access a variety of sites to get more multiple perspectives. Email has become an integral part of my work to get and share information quickly, conveniently and consistently with multiple parties at the same time.

In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?

Davis (2008) tells us connectivism is comprised of chaos theory, networking and the ability of the individual to process complex information. I enjoy the challenges and rewards of exploring abstract concepts. Understanding subtleties or assigning alternative meanings to information is exciting. Exposing myself to various points of view and having my perspectives challenges keeps learning fresh and creative. My personal learning style is to interact! I have not developed a relationship with, or interest in, social media milieus such as Facebook or Twitter because I do not see the value. I would rather share a meal with friends and see the light in their eyes as they describe their most recent vacation or talk about their children than to read about it on their wall. I like having the world at my fingertips through the use of technology to get information and research my interests but my best time is playing cards with friends or weeding my flowerbeds.

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology.