Game Over? Not Really!

172814233_1361332471Time flies so fast. Here we are on our “finals week.” Counting back the days we’ve spent in this course may be so little, but the knowledge and understanding we’ve gained are superb. I never imagine Distance Education (DE) will be this great. I can even say that I’ve learned so much more that what I can obtain in one semester of traditional classroom interaction, partly because of the self-regulation learning that I somehow honed in myself. And I’m pretty sure most of my classmates feel the same.

Distance Learning is more than what I used to think of. Before, I was just thinking that DE is a Hands on a globeboring program whereby I just need to read and read the prescribed modules. I also thought that learning and understanding will be fragmented as I won’t encounter my “physical teacher” who can answer me outright should I have queries in mind. However, while I was enjoying the labor of being a De student, I came to realize so many things and subsequently correct my misperceptions. First, I appreciate the fact that I was able to meet many teachers with rich and diverse ideas-my classmates. Not to mention what Teacher Malou did for us to use our critical thinking. Though I haven’t met any physical teacher, well, every time I do my post or entries in the discussion forum, I encounter several teachers in their own ways. I learned a lot from their perspectives which I believe were more plenty than what a single traditional classroom teacher can give me. Thanks so much everyone! Especially to you Teacher Malou for facilitating the class well. 😀

imagesSecondly, thinking that DE program is boring is TOTALLY WRONG! For me, such approach to teaching-learning was indeed exciting (based on my experiences here in UPOU). There were days I consider overwhelming as far as outside conflicts are concerned, but it helped me in organizing my things and plans better than before. I remember what the two students mentioned in the video before we start this class; that self-discipline and proper time management are very essential. 100% agree on that! DE taught me to become more responsible and efficient. And I know I can apply it to everyday living.

Theoretical foundations of Learning are very important. Knowing how students learn best differently is a big factor among learning-theoryeducators towards effective planning and teaching implementation. Considering the diversity of learners, we can always capitalize on their strengths in learning in an effort of mobilizing other aspects of themselves. Personally, these theories provided me a more solid understanding of how should I teach in the future. Though I am an advocate of teaching strategies even before, my belief of creating and integrating something “new” the old classroom has been reaffirmed in this course. If there’s one thought I consider very important learning as of now, that would be empowering my future students to become more active in the pursuit of acquiring knowledge, skills and attitude. Much has been said about the indispensable role teachers do, but I believe that the present time calls for a more “responsible learning” mode.

images (1)Discussion forums and e-Journal entries are great learning tools. Engaging in several group discussions is something I anticipated before I applied in this program. I used to think of this as the heart of DE as a means of facilitating meaningful exchanges in ideas and opinions. And I guess I find myself right. I appreciate the learning opportunities that these forums gave me every time I open up the course site. I can say that the class in general is so smart. At times my beliefs and points were challenged, but it led me to widen my understanding and insights. I met a lot of brilliant people which somehow inspired me to become one of them in the near time. As teacher Malou once said, the class is full of eager and enthusiastic minds. Pretty much because of your mind-stimulating activities Teacher! 😀 Truly, I learned many things from them, and I hope that they also gained even a little from my shared posts.

Likewise, our e-journal served as our “notebooks” in this class. Like a student who is diligent in taking down notes while listening tostudying his teacher, I was also given chance to do the same thing. Admittedly, I encountered some difficulties from the creation of it up to how I can improve its appearance. I am not that superb in computer technology. That explains the simplicity of my blog page. 😀 This was the first time I created my own blog in fact. However, the purpose of it I know served me well. Through that, I was able to extend my points and ideas about the topics that we have just discussed. Further, it also became a tool to know my classmates more. Personal reflections and realizations section gave us ample space to express ourselves as DE students. I just hope my personal schedule provides me more time to read others’ posts. Well, for sure we can still do this even after the course is over. Learning is continuous, as they say.

images (2)When you’re down, remember that your IFC and Classmates are there to support you. Many times I was overwhelmed by the tasks needed to accomplish coupled with the pressures from my other studies/subjects and work, but the unending support from my classmates was so powerful that I was encouraged to continue what I’ve started. Social persuasion as I can remember form Social learning theory is one powerful thing that played vital role in keeping us cohesive and determined.

Studying while working has never been easy for me, but for some reasons, I still find the course enjoying at the end of the day. Not to mention the friendship some of us built within a short period of time. We haven’t seen each other yet, but everyone’s “presence” was really felt so as our Faculty In Charge (FIC) who made the entire learning experience challenging and fun. Thanks Teacher Malou! 😀

The game is not yet over. We just have started. Now that we’ve come to the end of this term (specifically for this course EDS images (3)103), I know we will continuously bear in our minds and hearts whatever it is that we’ve learned. For me, it’s a very good foundation for us who aspire to become noble teachers. I am looking forward to experience same level of enthusiasm and learning spirit in the coming terms. I will definitely miss everyone. I know we will all meet again-maybe not as classmates anymore, but for one surest thing, as professional teachers in our respective fields. Stay positive!

Life-Success-in-3-StepsWe just finished one race but the game is not necessarily over. The road to success is yet to come and I hope each of us will continue until the end. May God bless us all!

 

Cheers! 😀 😀 😀

Fluctuating Practices

adsense-income-fluctuationLooking at Bloom’s taxonomy made me think of how I used to manage my thinking skills. Am I consciously nurturing it or unknowingly neglecting it? Well I came to realize that I am doing both somehow which I labelled “fluctuating practices.” There are times I am so eager to enrich my critical and analytic abilities while there are also times I am not into any of it at all.

On the positive side, especially true when I feel determined to study well, I do devise ways on how Istudying can further advance my understanding of a certain topic. Say for example I am not that aware of the word or term I have just encountered, I won’t just find its meaning from the dictionary but I will do more. I after knowing what it means, I will then use it in a sentence, think of its synonyms, relate some previous experiences I had, analysing it further when it comes to application in certain situations, and so on. I sometimes include such terms in my “vocabulary list” (I had this list since 1st year college).

images (4)On the other hand, I also experience times when all I want is to rest and relax. So, if there is a “need” to study (say deadline for a particular course activity), most likely I will resort to shallow understanding and average output. Just last week, I am reviewing my statistics lessons of which some topics are very hard to capture. One thing I’m pretty sure that hinders me from using my critical thinking skills is when I don’t let myself think for the process of solving the problem situation and immediately go with the answers provided instead. I mean, I could have try and find out “how it is done” but due to some reasons (laziness I guess and being not in the mood) I chose to play the easy game. Well, I know I lost a chance of enhancing my thinking skills. Surely when I encounter similar statistics problem, I might have difficulty arriving at the right answer. But don’t worry because I will be returning to my “determined mood” with this matter. 😀 I know I can do better than that (self-efficacy). 😀

Finally, I can say that even with the choices that we make in everyday living could have an impact in our thinking skills. When it choosing-300x274comes to sports or hobby, choosing between chess and candy crush game distinguishes which one could help us think and analyze better. With the TV programs we used to watch, “teleseryes” and discovery channel show different things. Clearly, there are some practices that we used to do that may significantly affect the way we think. Definitely it’s more fun to enjoy life with these stuffs, but remember that our brains are subject to “disuse syndrome” which I guess nobody wants to experience.  😀 😀 😀

Keep going everyone! God bless!

6 Stages of Creative Problem Solving

images (2)Below is a step-by-step process of solving a problem that employs an individual’s creativity. Like most of the other models around, the process begins with assessment or collection of data to begin with until the best possible course of action is selected out of the many generated alternatives that is hoped to solve the problem. Let’s take a look on this!

In Creative Problem Solving: The Basic Course (1985), authors Isaksen and Treffinger describe critical and creative thinking as a six-stage problem-solving process:

 

eliminate_the_paper_mess1. Mess Finding: identify and acknowledge what’s the mess that needs cleaning up, the situation that demands attention.

This has something to do with knowing where to start if ever there is really a need to. In other words, a person is moved to do something because a break in equilibrium occurs that needs to be properly addressed.

 

images (3)2. Data Finding: “taking stock”–unearthing and collecting information, knowledge, facts, feelings, opinions, and thoughts.  What do you know about the situation?  What do you still need to know?

In order to proceed with the process, examine first those things you are already aware of that may play significant impact in the present problem being handled. Then, advance further by gathering essential information and data relevant to the problem at hand.

 

3. Problem Finding: “problem statement” that expresses the “heart” of the situation.  State the problem in such a manner as to sbpuzzled-300x276invite novel perspectives on it.

This is said to be the heart of the situation as this is the center to which future actions are based. As we all know, those interventions must be in keeping with what the problem poses to the individual that warrants actions.

 

find-ideas4. Idea Finding: brainstorm as many ideas or alternatives as possible. Don’t evaluate. Generate an idea pool of a variety of solutions to your problem.

At this point, it is important to generate much ideas and alternatives as possible relevant to the problem identified  so that judgment at the next step will be applied to each in an effort to generate the best course of action to do. Asking for others’ help will be a good idea.

 

5. Solution Finding: evaluate ideas systematically; identify and evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of possible 14159421-finding-solution-magnifying-glass-with-solutions-word-on-a-white-backgroundsolutions. Generate a variety of criteria and select the most important for your problem. Is it cost? expediency? pleasure? time involvement? etc.

In this step, every generated alternative must be evaluated against the set criteria or standards so that the most likely “best” among all identified options will be considered. Be sure to be objective and fair in judging the said choices. It is important to become open with all the options being considered.

 

enov-about-us6. Acceptance Finding: formulate a plan of action. Determine your need, obstacles or difficulties, and specific short- and long-term steps.

After all the choices have been evaluated carefully and tactfully, then next and last for this model is to accept that course of action and have it carried  out to solve the identified problem.

 

Again, like all other models designed to help solve a problem, the individual utilizing such model must be tactful in being optimistic yet realistic in considering alternatives for a certain problem. For this particular model, the key is to employ creativity in the context of identifying the best solution for the problem.

 

Reference:

Bellis, Mary. Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking Skills. Retrieved July 7, 2013 from http://inventors.about.com/library/lessons/bl_isaksen_treffinger.htm

Bloom’s Taxonomy in my Profession

imagesAs a review lecturer for the licensure examination of graduate nurses, it is imperative for us to prepare our students not only for the upcoming examination but also in the real-life world of being professional nurses. For most of them, getting their licenses is one of the very best things that will happen in their lives as they will become eligible to practice their aspired profession. The empathy is really there as I once experienced dreaming the same. Working on this, I know I have to devote time and effort to make their review stay with us worthwhile and fruitful.

One advantage of enrolling in a review center as I used to say among my students is that they will be test2trained  to answer board-like questions (and not necessarily LEAKAGE of course) which is very different from answering those sample questions that can be found among commercially available books or review materials. For most registered nurses and even those retakers, they pretty know what I mean by this. The way the board of nursing “attack” the pool of questions is really different and should I say complicated. Therefore, questions must be patterned that way to at least expose the students in the battle they will soon engage at.

fx_Bloom_NewFortunately, the examination which is composed of 500 multiple choice items can be viewed as combinations of different levels of questions as far as difficulty is concerned. That is why I have equated it to Bloom’s taxonomy. Because of this, I prepare my review examinations for my students in such a way that the types of questions are of different levels. Though the entire set is on a multiple-choice type, I am pretty sure I’m still able to incorporate the said technique. On the first part for example is simply a test of recall (remembering), followed by items that need interpreting first what the question is really asking for before it can be answered correctly (comprehension). The next part would be application of the learned theories and concepts in the real-world setting (as future nurses in their case). Then, usually on the topics of ethical issues in the practice of nursing, there comes a pool of questions requiring deep analysis and evaluation in order to arrive at the best possible course of action, hence correct answer. Further, when I am discussing the correct answer for very item, I let them think of the reasons why they chose their respective answers in the first place so that comparison can then be made that is hoped to result in consensus.

When it comes to the highest level identified by Bloom which is creation, I think it can’t be appreciated in a multiple choice type of images (1)exam as students need to synthesize and generate “new” concepts or ideas out of what was discussed or presented to them. I believe essays and comparative analysis will better serve this purpose. In general, as I have observed, most of my students commit much errors on the higher level of thinking. As they’ve mentioned, it’s easy to memorize yet very hard to apply in complex situations.

At this point, I have to say that Bloom’s taxonomy can be utilized by educators even in the elementary and high school levels in order to better prepare the students in facing real-world situations in the future. Sometimes, teachers have the tendency to evaluate students’ performance though shallow parameters like using a very objective type of exam requiring only simple recall of the previous topics discussed. I believe that if they will be exposed at a higher order of thinking through complex tasks, they will do PRC-examsbetter in their academic endeavour. Careful balance however is necessary to avoid overwhelming the learners in a sense that is very taxing on their abilities.

TOP 10 MEMORY IMPROVEMENT TIPS

Thinking22As most of us struggle in memorizing lists of concepts and recalling stored information from our “knowledge bank,” I have here posted that top memory improvement tips according to Kendra Cherry which is hoped to bring us comfort in the field of memory. I find this one really helpful and I guess for most you as well. Examination is just one of the things we frequently encounter as students of which good memory is essential before we can proceed to a much higher level of thinking.

These strategies have been established within cognitive psychology literature to improve memory, enhance recall and increase retention of information.

1. Focus your attention on the materials you are studying. Attention is one of the major components of memory. In order Focus-On-Your-Dreamsfor information to move from short-term memory into long-term memory, you need to actively attend to this information. Try to study in a place free of distractions such as television, music and other diversions.

Though others are convenient in doing “multitasking” along with studying or reviewing of lessons, much has been said about the difference of performance when we are studying solely focused on the learning materials compared to one in a multitasking condition.

300_1263282. Avoid cramming by establishing regular study sessions. According to Bjork (2001), studying materials over a number of session’s gives you the time you need to adequately process the information. Research has shown that students who study regularly remember the material far better than those who do all of their studying in one marathon session.

As we all know, it is not advisable to do bounty of course works in a single night. Chances are, we just end up with shallow understanding of the materials we studied, or even worse, not to remember anything the following day. Such an unpleasant situation to experience!

3. Structure and organize the information you are studying. Researchers have found that information is organized in imagesmemory in related clusters. You can take advantage of this by structuring and organizing the materials you are studying. Try grouping similar concepts and terms together, or make an outline of your notes and textbook readings to help group related concepts.

I do this technique personally as I find study materials or contents easier to absorb when they are presented in an outline form. The concepts are easily grouped into clusters which for me helps in facilitating easy recall.

remember-numbers-mnemonics4. Utilize mnemonic devices to remember information. Mnemonic devices are a technique often used by students to aid in recall. A mnemonic is simply a way to remember information. For example, you might associate a term you need to remember with a common item that you are very familiar with. The best mnemonics are those that utilize positive imagery, humor or novelty. You might come up with a rhyme, song or joke to help remember a specific segment of information.

I’ve learned many of these mnemonics when I was reviewing for the board exam. Most of the review centers I guess utilize this form of facilitating easy recall of such concepts especially that in nursing, several of the signs and symptoms of a particular disease can be arranged into a meaningful keyword. In fact, I do create some as I go with my own lecture sessions.

5. Elaborate and rehearse the information you are studying. In order to recall information, you need to encode what you 16899900-cartoon-of-girl-student-studying--reading-bookare studying into long-term memory. One of the most effective encoding techniques is known as elaborative rehearsal. An example of this technique would be to read the definition of a key term, study the definition of that term and then read a more detailed description of what that term means. After repeating this process a few times, you’ll probably notice that recalling the information is much easier.

No wonder many claim that “repetition leads to mastery.” Just read and understand the concepts couple of times, pause for a moment and see if it works in recalling things easier.

3511481396_fa6814a2aa6. Relate new information to things you already know. When you are studying unfamiliar material, take the time to think about how this information relates to things that you already know. By establishing relationships between new ideas and previously existing memories, you can dramatically increase the likelihood of recalling the recently learned information.

It simply encourages us to connect the new information or ideas that we have just encountered to those that already exist in our minds. After all, prior knowledge will help us in easily associating the new materials with a  more meaningful sense.

7. Visualize concepts to improve memory and recall. Many people benefit greatly from visualizing the information they thinkingstudy. Pay attention to the photographs, charts and other graphics in your textbooks. If you do not have visual cues to help, try creating your own. Draw charts or figures in the margins of your notes or use highlighters or pens in different colors to group related ideas in your written study materials.

It’s a bit weird but there are really persons who can be viewed as having “photographic memory.” According to them, they can even recall in which particular part of the page of the book the information is contained. When they have difficulty locating for the answer, they try to go back by imagining the preceding sections of the notes. Somehow I can relate! 😀

teacher_cartoon_blackboard8. Teach new concepts to another person. Research suggests that reading materials out loud significantly improves memory of the material. Educators and psychologists have also discovered that having students actually teach new concepts to others enhances understanding and recall. You can use this approach in your own studies by teaching new concepts and information to a friend or study partner.

As I’ve shared in my previous entry, I do this most of the time. After reviewing my lessons, I used to conduct my mini-lectures in front of the mirror or wall just to make sure I  have absorbed the essential concepts needed.

Attention-Grabbing-Headlines9. Pay extra attention to difficult information. Have you ever noticed how it’s sometimes easier to remember information at the beginning or end of a chapter? Researchers have found that the order of information can play a role in recall, which is known as the serial position effect. While recalling middle information can be difficult, you can overcome this problem by spending extra time rehearsing this information. Another strategy is to try restructuring what you have learned so it will be easier to remember. When you come across an especially difficult concept, devote some extra time to memorizing the information.

If you find yourself typical of this scenario (serial position effect), then try to exert more attention and focus on the middle part of the text or material. Also try to divide the middle section into subgroups to make it more appealing and easy to absorb.

murdoch_study-skills_v210. Vary your study routine. Another great way to increase your recall is to occasionally change your study routine. If you are accustomed to studying in one specific location, try moving to a different spot during your next study session. If you study in the evening, try spending a few minutes each morning reviewing the information you studied the previous night. By adding an element of novelty to your study sessions, you can increase the effectiveness of your efforts and significantly improve your long-term recall.

Basically, I can say that some of the presented tips here are already known for many people yet are not being continuously practiced for a more pronounced effect. These have been proven by many people and I think there’s no images (1)harm in trying. My own suggestion is to work on the tips that are comfortable for us. I mean after trying sessions of every suggested technique, we can always resort to those which we feel can really help us. Remember that it’s easier to recall something if we study with comfort and fun. Don’t stress yourself! However, sometimes, we really need to go out of our comfort zone to maximize our skills in learning. Just learn to balance, and that’s the final key I think.

Happy learning! God bless! 😀 😀 😀

Reference:

Kendra Cherry. Top 10 Memory Improvement Tips. Retrieved July 7, 2013 from http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/memory_tips.htm

No Man is an Island

socialmediaAs I was browsing the previous module discussions, I particularly noticed this entry that is full of wit in explaining man as a social being. It was posted by George Rivera which I quote here as exactly written by him. It was entitled “Man is a social being.

“Every man comes from a certain social structure. Everybody comes from a family, the basic unit of the society. We came into being because of the social interaction of 2 people. How these two people thought of each other, how they felt and how they behaved in relation to the circumstances of their surroundings. Since the time we are about to be made by our parents, to the time we are in our mother’s womb, the time we are born, the time we grow and become old, we belong to a society that influences us in how we think and act accordingly. Where things are determined by the people we interact with, how this society where we belong thinks, accepts, frowns upon, glorifies… its culture and tradition.  How we carry ourselves and how to fit into this complicated structure made by man through its interaction and previous experiences.”social_media_clutter1

“Man is a social being, we thrive to belong. By this wanting to belong, the society, our environment exerts a great deal of pressure on man’s rationality that sometimes, totally defeats one’s way of thinking process and fundamentals. Our decisions change due to what our environment dictates us, we forego decisions because it is not in line to what our family wants, policies change because they are not in accordance to what the society expects. In all these confusion, man is also a thinking man. Man has the ability to change or resist whatever is exerted on him by its environment. Through this self-efficacy man can determine what path he wants to take or whatever the circumstance in life may leads us, we can manage and turn around and do what its best for ourselves.”

joining-handsAfter reading his entry, I came to realize how I form part of the society in general and of others’ lives as well. We used to hear that no man is an island which reflects our inner need for companion and support. However, majority of the decisions we make lie on the very soul of our hearts and intellect. We tend to seek what’s best for ourselves but it should be one that is not at the expense of others. After all, I believe that much of our efforts to build and improve ourselves are also anchored with the goals of reaching out to others.

 

Reference:

George Rivera. Man is a social being. Retrieved July 7, 2013 from http://myportal.upou.edu.ph/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=52616

The Indispensable Role of Teachers

teacher-give-chance-to-studentsIn the context of Social Learning Theory, I found this forum discussion initiated by Ryan Michael Oducado very much interesting. He said that learning occurs within a social context. Its goal, though not explicitly stated, is for learners to develop self-regulatory skills. We don’t only learn from live models (teachers) but also from symbolic ones like books, videos and the likes. He further added that Yarbro (1980) proposed that the primary objective of educators is to foster students’ ability to gain knowledge independently and pursue areas of interest in an educational setting with limited teacher assistance. Working on the ultimate goal of achieving self-regulation, the concern now is whether teachers’ role can be viewed dispensable in the arena of learning particularly in the tertiary and graduate level.

Personally, I think of this as a timely issue as I’m presently pursuing my master’s degree. As I’ve replied in the forum, approach to graduate school studies is very different from that of the undergraduate level. I guess many will agree that it’s more of facilitating independence among the learners whereby outlines and modules are given instead of the conventional everyday lecture and supplemental activities. Somehow, self-regulated learning is being developed as we take control of how we are going to learn as graduate level students.

Further, self-regulated learning is defined as an active, constructive process during which learners set goals for their learning and Teacher-readingthen try to monitor, regulate and control their cognition, motivation and behavior. In case of graduate schooling, still there are evaluative parameters being utilized by the teaching personnel that are used to gauge how the students successfully learned the course materials. Though we can devise our ways of evaluating our own progress, still I’ll go for that being made by others. I believe they will be more objective in measuring our learning and understanding. My point here is that self-regulation cannot be completely achieved by an individual as teacher’s role is still there. In addition, Robenille “Rain” Malit said that being self-regulated doesn’t really come as natural for most people and it is an idea that should either be introduced (for adults) or carefully integrated in the learning process (for children). Once self-regulation is grasped, then the environment provided by school becomes very conducive for learning.

teachersWhen it comes to being self-regulated learners, Brenda Rioja shared that there are some motivational processes to “get studying done.” Also, there are instances of metacognitively powered self-regulated learning. In this changing world, the challenge of teaching is to help students develop skills which will not become obsolete. That is why metacognitive strategies are said to be very essential for the twenty-first century learning. They will enable students to successfully cope with new situations. Teachers capitalize on their talents as well as access for a wealth of resources that will create a metacognitive environment which fosters the development of good thinkers who are successful problem-solvers and lifelong learners. This in turn resulted to an agreement with Ryan who then replied that teachers are indispensable. None can replace human interaction.

Finally Lovely Andres added that teachers are still important to simplify concepts. Also, developing self-efficacy in students to Teacher Appreciation Weekmake them self-regulated learners is difficult considering that self-efficacy depends on the mastery of experience, social modeling, social persuasion, and psychological responses. Not all students are made equal so teachers are still in demand. I really agree with this thought that necessitates teachers’ genuine interventions in the classroom settings. Self-regulation can be learned through practice and integration but individual differences must be carefully considered in order to keep the goal of achieving optimum learning opportunities.

 

Reference:

Ryan Michael Oducado. No More Teachers? Retrieved July 7, 2013 from http://myportal.upou.edu.ph/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=52421