Week 3 Reflections

This week we’ve focused on building our Professional Learning Networks, and of course being a MAET course, we’re building our PLNs digitally!

I’ve had twitter for a few months not, but have used it solely for reading my follower’s tweets (which before this week were mainly news sources, random health sources, and, of course, a few celebrities). Now that I’ve searched several education hashtags, I am really beginning to see how I can begin to learn from other educators from all over! Making these connections will allow me to share ideas but also gain new knowledge and ideas from others to enhance my own teaching.

When it comes to RSS, I’m not feeling 100% confident in my understanding of RSS. I am hoping after signing up for one of the RSS aggregates that I become more familiar with RSS and am able to use it to build my PLN.


Network Learning Project-Post 1

One of our assignments in CEP 810 is the Network Learning Project where we use only YouTube and Help Forums to learn how to do something we currently do not know how to do. My husband and I have recently been watching dancing shows on TV where I’ve mentioned several times that I would like to learn to ballroom dance. We also recently attended our good friend’s wedding where we pitifully pretended to dance on the dance floor in order to fit in. Which lead me to what I wanted to focus on for this project:

I want to learn how to ballroom dance, which will also require teaching my husband how to ballroom dance as well.

After looking at a few YouTube videos, I’ve come across Joe Baker’s videos on basic ballroom dancing that I plan to use. I also found several forums around the topic of ballroom dancing. One issue I did see is that one of the forums hadn’t been used since 2012, because I want to be able to post on the forum to ask for help, suggestions, etc. I need a forum that is still active. This Ballroom Dance Forum seems to be active and will hopefully help me learn to dance!

CEP 810 Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change Essay

          Going into the field of teaching brings about a plethora of challenges, from societal views of education to ensuring the needs of every child is met in the classroom. However, teachers are able to conquer these challenges because teachers should have a deep understanding of how their students learn, how their students comprehend new ideas, and also, teachers use methods to address conceptual change in learners. The importance of these ideas is not only critical for managing a successful classroom, but also vital if one is incorporating technology into education.

          Some may say that student learning is the ultimate goal of teaching. The book, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School, Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (2000) addresses three findings of how learners learn best. First, teachers must engage students’ initial understandings of new concepts. Second, students must have a foundation of facts, understand these fact and ideas within a framework, and also organize this knowledge in ways to be able to retrieve and apply the knowledge. Third, the authors address metacognition—the idea that students need to be aware of their own thinking and their own learning (Bransford et. al., 2000). Teachers must use these findings with their students everyday to better understand how their students learn. Engaging students’ initial ideas will allow the learner to make connections to previous knowledge gained and also assures that the student is not just remembering the information taught for an assessment but instead, has allows the learner to gain a deep understanding of the concept which he or she may eventually build on. When student learning is happening, good teachers make sure their students have the information needed and that it is organized so that students are able to later retrieve and use this knowledge. Finally, getting students to consider how they think allows for students to take control of their learning and realize where there may be gaps in their thinking. Through these findings, teachers are successful when they use their understanding of how students learn in their instruction.

          Similar to knowing how students learn, teachers must also know how students comprehend new ideas. Good teachers recognize that students have beliefs and knowledge that she or he brings to a new concept and then the instructor uses this knowledge to jump-start their instruction, while still monitoring students as their conceptual understanding changes (Bransford et. al., 2000). According to the authors of How People Learn, having a clear understanding of the students’ background knowledge allows the teacher opportunities to relate new concepts to what the student already understands. Teachers are also able to challenge their students’ pre-existing knowledge with new knowledge, which allows the teacher to track their learning growth. This reminds instructors that students do not come into the classroom with no conception of the world around them; instead teachers should use these conceptions to help students comprehend new material.

           While teachers take an exorbitant amount of consideration into teaching new knowledge, teachers also need to recognize and address conceptual change with students.  “Schools of education must provide beginning teachers with opportunities to learn: (a) to recognize predictable preconceptions of students that make the mastery of particular subject matter challenging, (b) to draw out preconceptions that are not predictable, and (c) to work with preconceptions so that children build on them, challenge them and, when appropriate, replace them” (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking, 2000, p. 20). When students are learning new ideas, teachers must address their preconceptions, more importantly if they are misconceptions and either build from them, or exchange the misconceptions with new knowledge of the topic. Teachers then should track student progress as conceptual change takes place throughout the year.

           As teachers implement technologies into their classrooms, addressing how students learn, comprehension of new ideas, and teachers addressing conceptual change with their students are still vital processes of educating youth. Technology in education does not simply mean that teachers disregard the basic understanding of student learning. While technology may be a useful tool to enhance student learning, teachers have to still use what they know about their students to ensure that learning is still occurring. The introduction of technologies does not take away from teachers knowing how their students learn, how their students comprehend new ideas, and how teachers address conceptual change.  




Bransford, J., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.), How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school (pp. 3-27). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309070368