Block 2 - Welcome to the Sandbox

Flickr Creative Commons: abardwell

Objectives of Block 2

This week you will:
1. participate in a synchronous experience scheduled for Thursday, January 15th. Please check the course calendar for information about this experience.
  1. 2. begin to follow the blog of one or more leaders in the field of educational technology
  2. 3. explore who you are as a learner and who the learners are with whom you are working
  3. 4. join this wiki by clicking "join" at the top of this page

This week's Brain Blurt

1. Who are You as a Learner?

In his book, Learning by Heart (Jossey-Bass, 2001), Roland Barth states, “…the most important feature of the job description for each of us educators, is to discover and provide the conditions under which people’s learning curves go off the chart. Sometimes it’s other people’s learning curves: those of students, teachers, parents, administrators. But at all times it is our own learning curve” (p.11).

Under what conditions does your learning curve go off the chart? What is your learning style and what do you know about yourself as a learner?
The following resource developed by the University of Illinois, provides an opportunity for you to think about your learning style and preference for information acquisition. This resource provides links to sites with interactive quizes that assess your learning style or multiple intelligence. What are the implications for you as a learner in this class and in other areas of your personal and professional learning?
What implications does this have for you as an educator working with students, teachers, colleagues, or employees?

Learning Styles and the Online Environment

Additional Resources

(intended for those who
want to explore further):

Surfaquarium Multiple Intelligence Survey (I’ve used this one in workshops before and it seems very good. You will need to either print it off to complete and figure out your MI or keep track of how many statements in each section pertain to you and then plot it on a makeshift graph). (The first one I had here has changed to a pay site - my apologies)

Create your own MI Snowflake - an interactive site which allows you to create and print out your own snowflake as part of learning about your Multiple Intelligences - from

Learning Styles Chart

Learning Styles Explained - Created by the Vancouver Island Invisible Disability Association

Multiple Intelligences Eight Styles of Learning

Decoding Multiple Intelligences - A YouTube video clip providing an overview

Who Are You as a Learner in a Digital World?

Karl Fisch is the Director of Technology for Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado. His popular educational blog, The FischBowl, shares his reflections, opinions and experiences as he tries to help transform his school “to a more student-centered, constructivist approach, and to prepare our students to succeed in the 21st century.” (To read more)
Read Karl's blog posting “Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?” (Sept. 11, 2007). This blog posting won a 2007 Edublogs Award for the most influential post as voted by blog readers.

With the changing landscape in education, much research has been undertaken to examine the skills required by educators to meet the needs of 21st century learners. Read the report, 21st Century Skills Professional Development, which examines some of the work in this area by the 21st Century Skills Organization. This report Pdf and other publication by this organization can be found at 21st Century Skills .Org Publications.

2. Who Else Has a Sandbox and How are They Playing?

Flickr Creative Commons: oddharmonic

One of the ways that many educators are reading, reflecting and publishing these day is through blogs. Perhaps you have read a blog before or have just heard the term and not been to one yet. Read this brief article from Educause that provides an overview of blogging.

To get your feet into others' sandboxes, we will share some popular educator blogs that focus on educational technology and the reflections and work of leaders in this field. Please choose one (or more) of these blogs to follow throughout this course to provide you with “grains of sand” for your sandbox. As we go along you will be reflecting on the blog postings you are reading, and you will share your insights, perspectives and connections to your work in your own sandbox.

Blogs of Interest

Here are some sandboxes created by others in the field of educational technology. If you already follow a blog related to education (and specifically the use of technology to support learning) that is not listed here, by all means, continue following that blog.

David Warlick- Two Cents Worth
About the Author
Clarence Fisher - Remote Access
About the Author
(from Snow Lake, Manitoba)
Will Richardson - weblogg-ed : learning with the read/write web
About the Author
Will Fryer - Moving at the Speed of Creativity
About the Author
Karl Fisch - The FischBowl
About the Author
Konrad Glogowski - The Blog of Proximal Development
About the Author
Lucy Gray - High Techpectations
About the Author
Or perhaps something here will interest you from Top 100 Educational Blogs

3. Who are the Learners in Your Sandbox? How do They Learn?

Flickr Creative Commons: goldberg

“Every learning experience occurs within a context or an environment in which the learner interacts with the knowledge, content or problem.” Judith Boettcher (Ten Core Principles for Designing Effective Learning Environments: Insights from Brain Research and Pedagogical Theory)

"Just as doctors need to be experts about the human body, and lawyers need to be experts about the law, and car mechanics need to be experts about how engines work, and pilots need to be experts about aerodynamics.....teachers need to be experts about learning."
- Anonymous -

Take a moment to reflect on your learners, be they students, educators, or colleagues.
  • From what context do your learners come? How do you honour their cultures, their experiences and their prior learning?
  • What do you know about how they learn?
  • What learning styles and learning preferences are represented by your learners?
  • If you are going to meet their learning needs, what considerations have to be made about the learning environment, the content and the individual learning needs?
  • Think about the world in which we are living. What initial sense do you have about how digital technology is influencing the way people (adults and children) communicate, interact, create, share, work, play and “live” in today's world?

Take a look at these video clips and resources. Think about the changing landscape of teaching and learning. What do these changes mean to students, educators, administrators, curriculum specialists and those individuals facilitating workplace learning? Share your reflections on your learners and the world in which they are growing up in this week's threaded discussions forum.

4. Discussion:

Click on the Discussion tab at the top of this page to participate in this week's discussions as a result of your reading and reflecting on who you are as a learner and who the learners are with whom we are working. Click on the posted discussion topic and reply to that thread.

5. Conclusion:

Make sure you have:
• participated in the synchronous chat on the 15th and asked questions that will help you actively participate and be successful in this course
• chosen a blog of an educational technology leader and have begun to follow that blog
• explored who you are as a learner, reflected on who you are as a learner in a digital world, and who the learners are with whom we are working
• reflected on the changing landscape of education
• participated in this week’s discussions through the Discussion tab

This week we began with an exploration of who you are as a learner and who the learners are with whom you work. It is important for all of us to recognize and appreciate the different contexts from which we come, our unique backgrounds and experiences and the various skills and expertise we bring to our shared learning experience. We hope that as the course develops, we can provide learning experiences and resources that will meet your learning needs. We encourage you to provide us feedback in this area as our goal as we strive to meet the needs of our learners.