LRNT 521 | Digital Learning Environments, Networks, Communities

A course focused on digital learning environments, learning groups, networks, and developing a digital presence.
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Activity
MALAT Virtual Symposium Reflection
After watching multiple webinars from the 2020 MALAT Virtual Symposium, the question of what it means to be open seemed to resonate. In my experience, many people promote being open in their practice and content but rarely indeed are open. This lack of true openness may stem from the problem that we do not have a concrete definition.
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Activity
Map of Resident-Visitor Typology using Technology
I was shocked at how much I had to think about the different reasons I use technology when developing this map. I focused on what tools I use for personal and professional use.
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Activity
Create, Cultivate, and Reflect on your Digital Presence
For the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to explore my digital identity and presence. After much contemplation and internal struggles, I believe I have concluded that I have two online personas, a personal and professional persona. Each version has a specific purpose and mandate that I leverage to meet the needs of the current activity. When looking at the needs and goals that I must meet to be a successful graduate student, I do not believe that either of my current personas is adequate.
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Activity
Visual Network Mapping
As I created this map, revised it, and decided on its scope, I noticed that I tend to keep my networks separate from each other. Out of necessity, I tend to keep my professional and personal lives utterly independent of each other. It is likely that I subconsciously used this categorization in my online networks. I am unsure whether this is beneficial.
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Community of Inquiry and Fully Online Learning Community Reflection
I found this week's readings very intriguing because of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing educators to adapt an online education model. Many of these articles included realistic frameworks, concepts, and models that will have a direct impact on my professional practice and online presence in the future. These articles touched on many "problems that are relevant to [my] real-world experiences" (van Oostveen et al., 2016).
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Activity
Impacts of Digital Learning on Lack of Learning Opportunities in Rural Communities
Below you will find the deliverable for Unit 4, Activity 1. I worked with Vanessa Tran and we utilized an online application called Genially for this activity. We decided to focus on the impact of digital learning on the lack of learning opportunities in rural communities. As a K - 12 teacher that has utilized digital technology for nearly ten years, I had a lot of personal experience that I felt enriched the activity beyond the traditional academic sourcing. I attempted to ground my own experiences with the academic readings and overall consensus. Still, I ended up do some research into rural vs. urban budgeting, focusing on the per capita costs. I was quite shocked by how much more urban school's funding went to classrooms compared to their rural counterparts.
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Assignment
The COVID-19 Legacy in K12 Education: A Path of Transformation
How do schools use the lessons learned from the crisis to create a culture conducive to change, encouraging educators to develop their skills and competencies by exploring and accepting different technologies and methodologies to their pedagogy?
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Assignment 1 Part 2 | Create, Cultivate, and Reflect on your Digital Presence
I still remember the day I decided to become a teacher; it was one of those powerful memories that a person ingrains in their psyche as a foundational moment that helped shape their persona. I made a goal with myself that day, rather than become someone that delivers the material; I was going to create experiences. Not till much later, nearing the end of my bachelor's degree, I found the vocabulary to express this teaching style. In the broadest sense of the term, I was a constructivist. As I gained years of experience, I refined my methodology and developed my approach to teaching as such (MacKay, 2016):

LRNT 522 | Introduction to Research: Critical Reading and Writing

A course focused on social science research, as a consumer, critical reading and understanding articles, and producer, writing in academic prose.
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Activity
What Makes a Good Research Question?
We have been asked to share a few ideas on what makes a good research question. Our readings focused on types of research, paradigms, theories, and areas of focuses for the educational field. The problem itself seems loaded, in the sense that what makes a good research question is dependent on the goal of the study and perspective on the observer. Still, I feel there is a consensus of the methodological approach that should use when crafting a research question.
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Understanding English with Code
Writing has always been a limiting factor in my academic endeavours, but I have struggled to overcome this weakness. Despite being a native English speaker, I often struggle to articulate my thoughts coherently and effectively. It seems like I am attempting to translate my synthesis processes into English rather than thinking in English. My efforts into academic writing struggle from this mistranslation, yet I have improved dramatically in my attempts to understand my thought processes and apply them to my writing.
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Assignment
Cognitive Load, Activity Theory, Motivation Theory, Personality Theory
Together with the other members of Team A we put together this relatively short video on the basics of cognitive load, motivation theory, activity theory and personality theory.
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Activity
Exploring Emerging Technologies and Research
On Wednesday, July 29th, 2020, George Veletsianos held an online meeting in the style of AMA (ask me anything) often found on Reddit and similar platforms. The purpose of this meeting was for new graduate students to ask questions they may have regarding educational research.

LRNT 523 | Foundations of Learning and Technologies

A course focused on the past, present, and future of learning and educational technologies from multiple perspectives.
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Activity
Thoughts of EdTech History 1994 - 2001
While reading the first third of Weller's book, a few items spoke to me. One of the largest things that I identified was the consistent attempt to industrialize and standardize learning content and processes. The chapters on E-Learning, Learning Objects, and E-Learning Standards all focused on this standardization and, honestly, to some extent, is still sorely needed in the modern online learning experience. This process is nothing new in education; publishers have had a stranglehold of educational resources for hundreds of years. Yet, I was somewhat shocked to see the internet, in many ways, the great equalizer of content, being used by the education profession in such ways earlier in its life cycle. Yes, I know this is a naive view, yet I grew up and was engrossed in the educational field during these times, not as a professional, but as a student. I am looking back at this time with a hint of nostalgia and some disdain for modern resources hidden behind exorbitant paywalls with special "educational discounts."
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Activity
Thoughts of EdTech History 2002 - 2011
Weller had some interesting takes on educational technology from the years 2002 to 2011. I completely agree with his argument that much of the issues educators have with the LMS is the institutional "sediment" that accompanies it. In many cases, educators feel forced to use the tool to keep relevant in the current educational landscape. This force participation becomes more absorbing each year, as currently, many of my colleagues are scrambling to develop online videos for students that cannot join their class. To them, this online world is foreign, and being asked to become a producer of content conjures anxiety and fears.
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Hugo Cardoso A.K.A. Code Monkey
When new technologies are introduced, their use tends to focus on old paradigms before novel applications are realized (Weller 2020, p. 64). This process is nothing new in educational technology and in itself is not negative. In many cases, they create rich and powerful learning opportunities. Nevertheless, as Weller states, this should be viewed as the “initial step to greater experimentation” (2020, p. 64). Hugo Cardoso, an independent game developer and educator, has taken this next step in experimentation.
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Assignment Rebuttal
Hugo Cardoso Pedagogy and Clarification
Great question, David. What I mean by “original environments” is not the coding environment, but the context to which the environment is applied in normal operation. So for a game, this would be the game being played. In general, a developer would not want to let an end-user modify and play with a product’s code during runtime. This is where things get really hard for new coders and developers because, outside the language’s syntax, very few things in coding are required to be explicit. To explain this, I will give a simple example, I can write code to move a sprite on the screen, which can be entirely different from another person’s code, and both code fragments could be perfectly viable and functional.
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Activity
The Views of Clark and Kozma
In this EdWeek blog post, Peter DeWitt invites Emily Davis and Brad Currie to talk about a topic that continues along the lines of the “Great Media Debate.” Davis and Currie (2019) state that many schools spend large sums of money on technology, with the hope of improving the quality of teaching. However, without the proper supports in place, such as coaching from technology leaders and experts able to teach other teachers how to properly use this new technology, it goes to waste through underuse, or worse, gets used for the wrong reasons. In an example, Davis and Currie demonstrate that, in one school that gave all students a Chromebook laptop for a 6-month trial, it was found that “the actual work that is being submitted is not requiring students to do anything differently from what they had done before technology, nor is it engaging students in meaningful and relevant tech-enabled learning experiences” (Davis & Currie, 2019, para. 4).
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Assignment Reflection
Are Video Games Appropriate for Education, A Reflection
After reading through quite a bit of research and other content about educational video games, and using some own experience, I would like to share some of my views on educational video games.
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Assignment
Experiencism: A Retrospective
Educational technology, one of the few words that can inspire hope and produce disdain in educators worldwide. The educational field can attribute much of its innovations over the last thirty-five years to this unlikely, perhaps even, contradictory combination of words. It is reasonable to assume that educational technology's uneasy marriage stems from its early integration, where the technology portion walks taller (Weller, 2020, p. 179). However, over the last ten years, the education piece has come into providence by focusing on pedagogy first technologies, the idea that technologies need to be designed and built with the pedagogical implications in mind. One great example of this approach and the focus of this article is Experiencism.

LRNT 524 | Innovation, Design and Learning Environments

A course focused various instructional design models through an innovative lens, how they tie into learning environments and how to apply them in practice.
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Assignment
Learning Models in Virtual Learning Environments
Instructional design models cover a broad spectrum of implementations, goals, and methodological approaches, yet at their core, these models attempt to help educators overcome perceived gaps in the learning process (Dousay, 2017, p. 8). Each model has an intended goal for its implementation; some, like the ADDIE model, focus on systematizing the development cycle (Bates, 2015), making it a flexible framework to be adjusted for a multitude of different learning environments and scenarios. Other models focus more directly on specific affordances that emerge in environments, learners, and emerging technologies. These more scoped approaches to learning design are needed as new technologies enable new learning environments and experiences that were previously inaccessible. A technology-enabled environment requires instructional designers to rethink old ideas on instructional design and learning theory and return to a mindset that encourages the freedom to imagine new methodological approaches and innovations (Morris, 2018).
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Activity
Taking a Look at Practice
I decided to scope this down as much as possible to things I generally use consistently. Typically, my process starts with my philosophical belief on how learning occurs; I use this to develop a methodology to achieve learning using some hybrid model based on some rapid prototyping framework like AGILE. Then I use processes like zone of proximal development (ZoP) as signifiers of student learning and adjust as needed. Despite being a constructivist, believing students achieve learning by constructing their knowledge, I generally follow a framework like Bloom's Taxonomy and ZoP to chunk learning cycles. Following this process, I look for the best tool to achieve this construction of knowledge. Since I teach many computer science-related courses, I augment my developed learning content through computer-based programs or related hardware

LRNT 525 | Leading Change in Digital Learning

A course focused on foundational theories of leadership, project management, and creating change in digital learning environments.

LRNT 526 | Inquiry into Contemporary Issues in Learning Technologies

A course focusing on contemporary issues in learning technologies, weighing the the efficacy, features, benefits, costs, and features.
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