What can we do to ensure that we teach for learning?

Hello and Welcome to the #ExtendEast-ers  – the @ontarioextend Extend East Cohort –  as you begin  exploring the Teacher for Learning module.  I cannot wat to see what you do for, and with, the activities.

You might be wondering (as those who have gone before you have wondered) why a module about Teacher for Learning?  Why else do we teach but for learning? Yet, I am sure we can all find examples of accepted teaching practices that appear to be disconnected from research evidence about what enables learning.

This module is intended to be a starting point for individual reflection about how we learn and for conversations, among colleagues and with students, about what we should know/think/do  to ensure that we design and enable effective learning environments – that we teach for learning.  The seven topics of the module are based on the seven research based principles of learning published by  Susan A. Ambrose, Michael W. Bridges, Michele DiPietro, Marsha C. Lovett, and Marie K. Norman, in  their book How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching.  In the module the principles are briefly discussed and there are suggestions for some specific strategies and activities related to the concepts of the principles.


As you read the information in the module and engage with the activities think about:

What are you doing in your classes?
Why are you doing it?
Are your teaching activities and strategies effective?  If yes, how do you know?  If no, why not?
Based on the research how might you do something that you currently do more effectively, or in a different way?

Enjoy this module, tweet and share what you do for the Extend activities, send a thank you and shout out to @Giuliaforsythe for all the time she spent creating the module and for her fabulous drawings.

P.S – one of your cohortians @Gregrodrigo has created some amazing mindmaps for each of these principles – ask him about them 😊.

Is social media “the” problem?

Rather Than Asking If Social Media Is The Problem, Let’s Ask What The Screen Reflects

This article captures a number of my own thoughts about the “problems” of social media – I especially like the “keeping up with the Joneses” analogy.

Our desire to capture and communicate a positive identity has always existed. Keeping diaries was all the rage for millions of our Victorian era predecessors. Social media is the latest manifestation. It’s something we brought into existence, not something that happened to us. Its skeleton is a vast network of algorithms, built to reflect and take advantage of our desires and behaviours.

One of these behaviours — social comparison — was captured perfectly in 1913, when a US comic strip coined the phrase ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. The comic resonated with millions of Americans, capturing the anxiety and misery of looking over the fence to our neighbors for comparison and benchmarks for success.

Today we can see far beyond that fence. The average Facebook user can see into the lives of 338 friends. Naturally, we’re starting to wonder if our expanded line of sight could be having a negative impact on our mental health.

Kudos to Roxie Nafousi for sharing her story and to the social experiment for the BBC World Service’s 100 World series.

The Web of Influence

I have been thinking about a good way to keep track  of the articles that I collect to possibly use in the courses that focus on “The Web of Influence”.  Recently a colleague suggested that I use a “blog” and so I will give this platform another try.   I have attempted to keep an active blog dozens of times before – let’s see if this time, it will work.  This space will focus on topics for my classes.


Rethinking my digital spaces

Over the past 3 days we have been doing a lot of thinking about our digital spaces on the Internet, the places we “inhabit” online.  We have been exploring this in the workshops about the Domain of One’s Own Project  at the Ontario Extend Summer Institute,