Flipped Learning

By Austin Shaffer

Hello everyone, Austin Shaffer here. Today, I will be giving an overview on the Flipped Learning paradigm through discussing some of the important aspects associated with it. There have been quite a bit of creative solutions introduced into the classroom over the years to try and facilitate in the learning process for our students. Flipped Learning has created quite a bit of buzz in the learning community, so I would like to look at it a little more closely.

Flipped Learning essentially started in 2007 by John Bergmann and Aaron Sams. Although, it was arguably first mentioned and implemented unsuccessfully in 2000 by a couple of professors from the University of Miami. It was known then as the Inverted Classroom (Noonoo, 2012, para. 3). Initially, Bergmann and Sams implemented software into their classroom that would record their live lectures. Stemming from that, they decided to stop lecturing their students altogether, and instead prerecorded all of their lectures for their students to view. Through more practice and other ideologies, this became the Flipped Classroom. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Flipped Learning actually entails. Many members of the learning community think it just entails student work at home. “Flipped Learning is an approach that allows teachers to implement a methodology or various methodologies into their classrooms” (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 2).

Flipped Learning is built upon the foundation of four pillars which include: a flexible learning environment, learning culture, intentional content, and a professional educator. To better understand Flipped Learning, I would like to take a look at each pillar more closely (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 5-8). The first pillar, a flexible learning environment, allows for a variety of learning modes. It is often noted how educators will physically arrange their learning spaces to better integrate a lesson or unit. By doing so, they allow students the freedom to choose when and where they learn (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 5). For the second pillar, learning culture, rather than the traditional teacher-centered model, the instructor centers the model to a more learner-centered approach. By doing so, during class, topics can be explored more fully and as a result students feel more involved in the learning process throughout (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 6). For the third pillar, intentional content, educators must make every effort to help students develop self-centered learning. Educators must determine what materials should be taught by themselves and what materials students should explore on their own to arrive at the appropriate conclusions. By doing so, educators can maximize their classroom time (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 7). The final pillar, a professional educator, entails how an educator must be an expert of their craft. It is argued that a Flipped Classroom is much more demanding of a traditional one. With this in mind, the educator must be very observant and continually provide feedback for their students. Being reflective throughout the learning process is key to the successful implementation of the Flipped Learning Paradigm (“Definition of Flipped Learning”, 2014, para. 8).
Through the implementation of the previously aforementioned four pillars, educators can expect to see a shift away from the traditional classroom. It is important for educators to remember that their role in the Flipped Learning Classroom is as a guide or facilitator to knowledge, rather than spoon-feeding the information to their students (Prensky, 2010, p. 21-25).

You may ask yourself, “Why implement the Flipped Learning Classroom?” It is important to realize that students today are much different than students from the past. With modernized technology, such as the internet, students have the potential to learn much more than in the past. Furthermore, as a result of their upbringing, students today expect much more from their learning experience. While we have discussed the educator’s role in the classroom, let’s now take a look at the student’s role. According to Prensky (2010), the students must take on the role of the following: a researcher, a technology user and expert, a thinker, a world changer, and a self-teacher (p. 18-20). These defining characteristics help to promote the Flipped Learning Paradigm in the classroom. Another role that must be clearly defined in the Flipped Classroom Paradigm, is the role the parents play. Their role is key to successful student learning. Parents should make every attempt to act as an educator would; As a facilitator to knowledge. Parents should also be expected to encourage their students self-learning and be involved in every way possible (Bergmann, 2013). Within the Flipped Learning Paradigm, sometimes parents can be resistant to change. As they expect teachers to teach rather than students teaching themselves. As such, educators must reach out to parents to explore their concerns and remedy any potential issues. Educators must encourage parents to remain active and present within their students education (Bergmann, 2013).

Some other important considerations for the Flipped Learning Classroom Paradigm is technology accessibility. It is important to understand what technological limitations your students may have. What technology is available in the classroom versus what is available to students at home. Depending upon your answers, modification of your curriculum might be necessary to ensure your students are learning appropriately. Another important consideration is exploring what topics your students are passionate about. A cornerstone of the Flipped Learning Paradigm is engaging your students through interesting topics. Be sure to explore what your students are most interested in learning about, and modify your curriculum as necessary. Flexibility is key.

Finally, it is important to understand our own limitations with regards to the Flipped Learning Paradigm. When considering lesson plans and activities for students, be sure to ask yourself whether or not this is something you currently feel comfortable with. If you aren’t comfortable, consider alternative means to deliver the instructional materials. Additionally, utilize the many resources available to build upon your own deficiencies as an educator. Some educators might be intimidated to move to a new teaching paradigm. Prensky (2010) suggests asking yourself some of the following questions before considering implementing this Flipped Learning Paradigm: Do I know how to translate content into guiding questions? Can I make learning real and not just relevant? Do I see alternatives to lecturing content? And am I comfortable letting students take the mainstage? (p. 32) If you answered yes to the previous questions, then it might be time to consider implementing the Flipped Learning Paradigm in your classroom. If you answered no to some or all of these questions, consider what matters most in your own pedagogical thinking. Consider the learning process your students currently use, and how you could create a better learning environment conducive to the learning process.

Through reading through some of the insights on the Flipped Learning paradigm, I hope you have gained a better understanding of how this paradigm works, and how it can show a real positive change in the classroom. I hope any educator would consider implementing this paradigm for the benefit of not only themselves, but most importantly for their students. Thank you.


Bergmann, J. (2013, August 26). What If Your Child Is In A Flipped Classroom? Retrieved April 23, 2017, from http://www.jonbergmann.com/what_parents_should_know_if_their_child_is_in_a_flipped_classroom/

Definition of Flipped Learning. (2014, March 12). Retrieved April 23, 2017, from http://flippedlearning.org/definition-of-flipped-learning/

Noonoo, S. (2012, June 20). Flipped Learning Founders Set The Record Straight. Retrieved April 23, 2017, from https://thejournal.com/articles/2012/06/20/flipped-learning-founders-q-and-a.aspx

Prensky , M. (2010). Teaching Digital Natives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A Sage Company.

Flipped Learning

Self-Paced Learning (SPL)

By Nina Parsons

Self-paced learning (SPL) is a recently proposed learning regime inspired by the learning process of humans and animals that gradually incorporates easy to more complex samples into training. Self-paced instruction is any kind of instruction that proceeds based on learner response (Jiang et al, 1970).

The content itself can be curriculum, corporate training, technical tutorials, or any other subject that does not require the immediate response of an instructor. Self-Paced learning outside the classroom means a student can start and complete learning targets at any time (Jiang et al, 1970).

This model will allow students to have a schedule that meets their individual needs. Students will not have to wait for the beginning of a traditional semester to start work on learning targets. They can complete their learning in any setting, at home, on the road, or anyplace that has internet connections.

There are advantages and disadvantages to Self-Paced learning programs that happen outside a traditional classroom setting. First, learners have the opportunity to learn in their home or a familiar environment. When they are in a familiar environment, the student is more relaxed and can concentrate on their learning. Learners can even participate in courses when they are on-the-go (thanks to mobile phones and tablets) (Two Approaches to Self-Paced Learning. (n.d.).

Learning can also progress at a pace that suits the learner. Learners who work at a fast pace have the opportunity to gain competency quickly. Learners who learn at a slower pace have the opportunity for repetition without being pushed ahead to quickly (Jiang et al, 1970).

Self paced learning is good for permanent content; All organizations have some training content that’s permanent and that needs to be distributed to a lot of people. Common examples include company policies or standard training manuals. Self-paced learning is good for permanent content, because it eliminates the need of live facilitators and scheduling-related coordination (Two Approaches to Self-Paced Learning. (n.d.).
There are also disadvantages to Self-Paced learning programs that happen outside the traditional classroom. Learners who lack time management skills can fall behind easily. If the student is not self-motivated this type of program might be difficult for them (Jiang et al, 1970).

One of the most significant drawbacks of self-paced learning is the absence of a facilitator. This means that there is no opportunity for feedback or assistance from an experienced instructor, unless the learner is able to communicate with the instructor via the Learning Management System (Two Approaches to Self-Paced Learning. (n.d.).
Next, students who need opportunities for collaborative learning are at a disadvantage because when the student is outside the classroom they are working independently. Finally, not all learners cope well working externally through their self-paced materials (Jiang et al, 1970).

For example, learners with English as a second language (or special literacy/numeracy requirements) may struggle and therefore need face to face assistance from a classroom teacher. There are quizzes available for students to take to see if Self-Paced learning outside the classroom is right for them.

Self awareness at a cognitive and emotional level would appear to be the key enabling process in the development of self-regulatory strategies” (McMahon, 2001). However not all students have or are able to develop such self awareness. While learner self-awareness is considered to be the key enabler of successful self-paced learning, organizational self-awareness is also a critical component. This factor is certainly a key consideration in the traditional academic world where colleges and universities seek to expand student access to classes through online courses and resource centers. It is even more important, perhaps critically so, in the business world (Jiang et al, 1970).

Distance Learning in general, and self-paced DL in particular, is often seen by cost conscious organizations as an attractive alternative to expensive instructor led learning. While it is true that many economies can be had in self-paced learning, sufficient attention and resources must be applied to establishing an environment in which it can succeed.

The middle school math teacher Natalie McCutchen showed us how she has converted her pre-algebra class to a completely self-paced system where students work on different skills at their own pace, and how she’s gradually introducing self-paced learning in her other math classes as well. She developed a system through trial and error, here are the steps to her system (Gonzalez, n.d.)

Step 1: select a unit of content: This can be a chapter in a textbook or a batch of skills or content you would typically teach as a unit over a couple of weeks. This unit should have clearly defined learning targets, which are likely dictated by whatever standards your school follows (Gonzalez, n.d.).

Step 2: create the assessment: Decide what students should be able to do by the end of the unit and create an assessment that measures it. The simplest type is a test with clearly identified right and wrong answers, where each item (or small group of items) in this assessment is aligned with one learning target. For skills that require more teacher interpretation to measure, like writing, the assessment could be a writing task, such as an extended response question with a prompt and a rubric. Each skill listed in the rubric would align with a specific learning target (Gonzalez, n.d.).

Step 3: create the chapter guide: set up a guide that shows which assessment question aligns with each learning target, then lists book or video lessons students can follow to learn each skill, exercises that will give students independent practice with the skill, and a brief assessment students can take to test their mastery (Gonzalez, n.d.).

Step 4: give the pre-test and help students identify standards to master: Use the assessment you created in Step 2 to pre-test students on the skills for this unit. Use the results to identify which learning targets each student has already mastered, and which ones they still need to learn.

Step 5: Giving each student a Chapter Guide, have them mark which standards they have already mastered—based on pre-test results—and which ones they still need to learn (Gonzalez, n.d.).

Step 6: provide time, materials, and supervision for self-paced learning: From this point on, students will begin the process of moving through the lessons on their own. Your job is to make sure they have the materials they need to do the work: If you are sending students to videos, make sure they have devices to access them (and earbuds to keep the audio to themselves). Make sure students know where to look for answer keys, and where they can access the mini-assessment when they are ready to take it. Check in with students regularly to make sure they are making good use of their time (Gonzalez, n.d.).

Step 7: Iterate. Keep in mind that this system probably won’t work perfectly the first time you try it. You may want to try it just once with a short unit, rather than attempt to convert your whole year to self-paced learning. You might want to offer it only to students who have the academic skills and maturity to handle it (Gonzalez, n.d.). You may need to tweak it, then tweak it some more. But speaking for the kids who would love a chance to see just how fast they can learn and how far they can go, I’d say it’s worth a serious try (Jiang et al, 1970).

Gonzalez, J. (n.d.). Self-Paced Learning: How One Teacher Does It. Retrieved March 09, 2017, from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/self-paced-learning/

Jiang, L., Meng, D., Yu, S., Lan, Z., Shan, S., & Hauptmann, A. (1970, January 01). Self-Paced Learning with Diversity. Retrieved March 05, 2017, from http://papers.nips.cc/paper/5568-self-paced-learning-with-diversity

Two Approaches to Self-Paced Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved March 09, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/two-approaches-self-paced-learning

Self-Paced Learning (SPL)

Technology in Education

By Alexandra Muñoz

Hello everyone I’m Alexandra Muñoz and I will be discussing technology in education. Before I begin a little bit about myself, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in athletic training education from NMSU in 2013. Currently I am the assistant athletic trainer at Las Cruces High School. I am contracted with them through Mountain View. I actually came about this job on the athletic training alumni group page we have on facebook, so needless to say technology and social media has greatly impacted life. This is my first year in a teaching role, so I’m doing my best to incorporate what I have learned so far in the master’s program into the classroom setting.

What I am finding, just as it has been for me, technology is a huge part of my students’ lives. They are always on their phones using various social sites. The most popular ones are facebook, snapchat, youtube, and twitter. It stuns me to see how much has changed in the last 10 years; when I was in high school smart phones were barely becoming a thing and the majority of these social sites were non-existent. Going forward it will be great to see what new and innovative tools there will be at our disposal.

What is technology in education? According to Richey and the association for Educational communications and technology (2008) it is defined as the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.

We are so fortunate to live in a decade where technology has just taken off and there are multiple tools at our dispense for classroom use. Ranging from student interactive to teacher tools, even tools for teacher self-improvement. An added bonus the majority of them are even accessible on your smartphone. I searched for top educational tech tools and according to the holiday gift for teachers website here are some of the top, most commonly used sites.

Nearpod – is used to create interactive lessons. When studying a specific topic, you can give quizzes, surveys, drawing activities and so much more. As a teacher you are able to view and access all your students progress and also see reports. This tool is great for ensuring that students are truly involved in their learning.

Typeform – is a free site that allows you to create surveys, review the data and reports on their webpage, and export and analyze the data. There are various different formats of questionnaires that can be used. There are already prepared templates or you can get creative and start from scratch. Each question is asked one at a time.

Kahoot – is one of my personal new favorites. It’s like a game show that has music and timers. You can make up any kind of quiz you want and you can track your student’s progress and see where they are in their learning. It even awards points for how quickly they respond and how well they do. This particular tool allows students to play from their phones or even from their computers.

Socrative – is much like Kahoot because it also allows for web-based student responses. The difference however is that it allows teachers to go more in depth with the assessments and their isn’t the pressure of a ticking clock. This makes it more of a traditional assessment tool vs a game. Quizzes, surveys and even exit slips can be created using this tool.

Jing for Screencasting – is a quite simple and free tool to use for creating screenshots or screencasts. It is accessible through your desktop once downloaded. Compatible with both pc and mac any snapshot you take is automatically saved and can even be used to make videos. Any saved can be shared through email, blog, twitter, etc.

Prezi – takes a basic and standard powerpoint and allows you to incorporate movement and energy into your slideshow. This site is also free and students don’t have to worry about having to have licenses to the software when creating presentations. This graphics tool gives any presentation more flare and more life.

Booktrack Classroom – is one that I will definitely be considering in the near future because it allows you to create soundtracks to text or even your own stories using public domain songs, ambient sounds, and sound effects. This tool is extremely beneficial for those students who struggle to stay focused with reading.

Zaption – allows you to upload videos from any site or use one you’ve created and make them more interactive by adding links, questions, surveys and even drawings. There are a variety of topics to choose from and you can access videos that have already been published. There is a basic free account or a paid account that allows for more access.

Piktochart – is a web-based tool that allows students to create infographics. Students can use their own images, visuals from the internet, or icons from the tool itself. By combining images, text, charts and other visuals, students can make information come to life.

Thinglink – is a neat tool in which students can easily add interactive aspects to images they’ve created, maps, photographs and other types of visuals. It really brings more meaning to the statement a picture is worth 1000 words.

Podcast – a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series. Often times a weekly podcast is available to subscribers. This tool is a nice combination of a radio broadcast and blog. They are available in a variety of topics.

The nice part about all these tech tools is that they are all free. Some of them have paid options that offer more perks. As previously mentioned the majority are available on your mobile device. In this ever changing world, tech is the way to go. I have found that it is one of the better ways to engage the young learner and encourages them to take charge in their learning.

The not so great part this new style of learning is that some schools may not have access to fancy tech equipment that would allow them to utilize these tools in their classroom. Areas with greater poverty of course would be at the shorter end of the stick and would have to come up with alternate ways to get creative in the classroom.

The grueling part of dealing with extremely tech savvy youth is that you as an educator would have to be equally as tech savvy. If you as an educator don’t understand how to properly use these tools then the use of them might be poorly executed in the classroom. It is extremely important to get to know your tech before using it with your students.

These are only a few of the tools can be used. There is a wide variety of what is available to us as educators. I encourage you all to visit one or more of these sights and get familiar with them. You might find them useful in your instruction. Kahoot is one I’m using to prepare my students for our state competition. Thank you for your time!


A Holiday Gift to Teachers: My Top 10 List of Free Educational Technology Tools. (2014, December 18). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.catapultlearning.com/holiday-gift-teachers-top-10-list-free-educational-technology-tools/

Booktrack Classroom – eBooks with Soundtrack. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://booktrackclassroom.com/

Free & Beautifully Human Online Forms | Typeform. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.typeform.com/

Get Piktochart on the App Store. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://magic.piktochart.com/

Making Learning Awesome! (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://getkahoot.com/

Presenting the Next big thing in presenting. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://prezi.com/

Richey, R.C. (2008). “Reflections on the 2008 AECT Definitions of the Field”. TechTrends. 52 (1): 24–25. doi:10.1007/s11528-008-0108-2

Share Ideas Instantly with Jing. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html

Studio, B. (n.d.). Annotate images and videos – thinglink. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.thinglink.com/edu

Tools for the most important job in the world. (n.d.). Retrieved May 02, 2017, from https://nearpod.com/

We have lift-off! Socrative PRO is here. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2017, from https://www.socrative.com/

Zaption. (2016, June 30). Zaption Joins Workday. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://blog.zaption.com/post/146724427719/zaption-joins-workday

Technology in Education

Brain Based Learning – Physiology of Learning

Sherry Ann Hair

Brain based learning (neuroplasticity) is founded on the study of how the brain assimilates information and how brain physiology affects learning. We learn based on the ability of our brains to physically change by remapping and reorganizing as new concepts and skills are learned and practiced. Learning improves brain function, resiliency, and working intelligence by storing information in different parts of the brain and is affected by diet, exercise, and stress. The basis of neuroscience relies on the factors of human cognitive development that will indicate how students learn differently as they age, grow, and mature socially, emotionally.

What is intelligence
From research, we find that intelligence is more than a specific IQ number. Genetics and the environment play key roles in neuroplasticity. While once thought that brain development was stagnant after a certain age, new research indicates that the brain has an amazing capacity to create new connections by reorganizing neural pathways or even creating new neurons…some neural connections are strengthened and others are eliminated by synaptic pruning. Yes, younger brains are more responsive to learning, but it doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old brain new tricks. The brains of lifetime learners adapt to new experiences, keeping their brains healthier. This reinforces the need to develop in our students a love for learning.

From research conducted by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, linguist George Lakoff, and cognitive scientist Mark Johnson, eight principles were developed to demonstrate how the whole body of a human being is engaged in the learning process. They are:
1. Learning is physiological
2. The brain/mind is social.
3. The search for meaning is innate.
4. The search for meaning occurs through patterning.
5. Patterning involves the emotions.
6. The brain/mind works with parts and the whole of a subject simultaneously.
7. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception.
8. Learning is both conscious and unconscious.

Why does brain based learning matter?
The demand by industry is for graduates to have skill sets not only in business content but in critical, creative, problem solving. To fulfill the demands of today’s global economy, students will need the ability to synthesize knowledge and develop creative solutions to complex challenges (Pink, 2005). So how can we, as teachers, apply brain based learning into our curriculum to reach a balance between creativity (right brain) and analytical thinking (left brain)? Creative approaches to problem solving requires merging right brained (divergent) thinking with left brained (convergent) thinking. Convergent thinking relies on accuracy and logic while divergent thinking creatively manipulates data to produce alternative solutions to a problem. Developing thinking skills and knowledge should not be seen as an “either or” proposition between right brain and left brain. Curriculum can be developed that assists students in gaining the ability to create new ideas and test their effectiveness by analyzing data. This may include breaking problems down to smaller ones, solving problems by skill building, and brainstorming solutions with their peers. Awareness should be focused on the concept that students will learn better with a variation of activities presented in the classroom and that simple note taking from presented lectures is not always effective.

Creating a Brain Based Classroom
From our own teaching experience, it is common knowledge that students have short attention spans and how the class curriculum is organized ultimately determines the learning environment the student is exposed to. If instructors organize teaching around concepts or key terms, they facilitate the learner’s ability to transfer and apply those concepts. Allow for a new skill to be practiced once new information is presented. In doing so, the instructor creates an opportunity for new brain connections to strengthen and grant corrections for misunderstandings. Practice with a concept assists with learning the concept and activities should be geared to incorporate skill development. As an example, instead of asking: “What year did man land on the moon”, a teacher could ask: “How different would our lives be if a colony was established on the moon?” The learning environment should be such that the student understands that mistakes will be made and seek resolutions to correct those mistakes without ridicule. Curriculum should include physical activity as exercise stimulates the brain and decreases stress. Incorporating activities with music will not only soothe the soul, but enhances creativity.

Instructors can assist students by recalling what they already know from previous lessons. As the instructor, we facilitate the connection of old information to new information so that it can be recalled more easily. “Chunk” information into logical and organized segments. By doing so, an instructor help students encode the information for recall. Content must be meaningful and students need to be emotionally connected to the content for information to be placed into long term memory.
From Marilee Sprenger’s article on Brain Friendly Teaching (n.d.), There are 7 steps for moving information to long term memory:

  1. Reach – grab the student’s attention by introducing the topic in a manner that is meaningful to them.
  2. Reflect – allow students to make connections between new information and prior learning by writing or responding to questions.
  3. Recode – have students put ideas they have encountered in their own words.
  4. Reinforce – provide positive reinforcements to students when recoding is accurate and give informational feedback to avoid lingering misconceptions.
  5. Rehearse – engage students in related activities that demand higher levels of thinking and incorporate multiple memory systems.
  6. Review- offer brain-compatible review activities such as practice tests, games, drawing, writing, mind maps, and acting.
  7. Retrieve – ask students to retrieve newly formed memories and apply them in different ways.

The catch, or con if you will, to using Brain Based learning may be the current learning environment in classrooms and how instructional time is often arranged administratively. If a teacher is given 40 minutes of class time, arranging lectures in 10 minute sections could be challenging. Treadmills for exercising are not commonplace in the classroom or the budget. Hopefully, administrators will never see generating electricity through treadmills as a viable option for supplying power to laptops in the classroom. Seriously, it is even more important for teachers to consider what they are doing and why when developing classroom content.

Sprenger’s article also highlights creation of a brain-friendly classroom.

  • No clear or present dangers – keeping threat and stress low is imperative for the
    brain to function at high levels.
  • Many procedures and rituals – procedures and rituals calm the brain and free up
    working memory.
  • Flexible grouping that encourages a sense of community – Brains work better
    when they are with other brains.
  • Adequate wait time and time on task – some students are slow processors and
    require more time to access information.
  • Choice – choice is the key to brain-compatible classrooms and to differentiation.
    The brain loves choice because it allows it to problem-solve.
  • Curriculum is meaningful – meaningful curriculum that relates to students lives
    will be memorable, not an easy task, but well worth it.
  • Formative assessment with timely feedback is used for ongoing assessment and
    Feedback. It lets the brain know what is expected of it and provides a framework for learning.
  • Attractive and peaceful surroundings – an attractive environment might include
    plants, stuffed animals, colorful posters, student work, and natural lighting. It
    would also provide some climate control because the brain works best in temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees.

Brain based learning is an essential tool in our teaching toolkits. If we can include the theories behind brain based learning into our teaching styles and modify established practices, students will benefit and the benefits will extend beyond the classroom as students become lifelong learners. As I tell my students in in my Biology class ….Life drives toward a state of equilibrium and balance. Understanding the physiology of learning will help guide class content development. Let’s all keep in mind (pun intended)….that without a combination of creativity and physics, Einstein’s theory of relativity would not have existed.

Dale, E. (n.d.). What is Brain based Learning. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from

Goodwin, B. (2013, November). Research Says/The reading Skills Digital Brains
Need. Retrieved March & April, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/nov13/vol71/num03/The-Reading-Skills-Digital-Brains-Need.aspx

Healey, A. (2013, October 23). Our Brains Extended. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar13/vol70/num06/Our-Brains- Extended.aspx

Goodwin, B., & Miller, K. (2013, February). Research Says/Creativity Requires a Mix of Skills. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb13/vol70/num05/Creativity-Requires-a-Mix-of-Skills.aspx

Sprenger, M. (n.d.). Brain Friendly Teaching. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/profdev/profdev156b.shtml

Pink, D. (2005). A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Digital Age to the Conceptual Age. Riverhead Books. doi:ISBN-13: 2901905736545

Brain Based Learning – Physiology of Learning

Implications of Artificial Intelligence in Education

Francisco Javier Serrano Wall

Artificial intelligence, AI for short, can be misunderstood for something that is not, therefore, I am going to start telling you what is not: Artificial intelligence is not a group of robots (Skynet, Ultron or the Matrix) trying to take over the world. That might be a problem that we’ll face in the future if we are not careful, but that is not what AI is. Even more, you do not need any sort of robot to talk about artificial intelligence, you need artificial intelligence for robots, but you do not need robots for artificial intelligence.


I am now going to talk about a little bit of history about artificial intelligence. According to MIT professor Winston (2010) it all started with Lady Lovelace, the world’s first programmer, who wrote programs about 100 years before there were computers to run them. But it’s interesting that even in 1842, people were hassling her about whether computers could get really smart. And she said, quote “The analytical engine has no pretensions to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.” The same idea still persists to this day. After Lady Lovelace, it wasn’t until Alan Turing’s paper in 1950 that he came up with the Turing Test which exhibits intelligent behavior in machines, but Winston stated that “modern era really began with a paper written by Marvin Minsky in 1960, titled “Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence”” (Winston, 2010). I personally found it very interesting that the first programmer was a woman, but moving on from history, I am now going to tell you what AI is.


According to Winston, “Artificial intelligence is the algorithms or methods enabled by constraints exposed by representations that support models targeted to thinking, perception and action (these last three working in a loop)”. A simpler definition by Dr. Rand Hindi who says that, Artificial Intelligence is quote “an autonomous behavior in an artificial agent, so anything that is not biological that you add some sort of behavior to it.” Therefore, an artificial intelligence is an imitation of biological intelligence, some examples of biological intelligence are: from the more primitive intelligence of monocellular organisms like bacteria, all the way to highly sophisticated intelligence of humans.

Again, when we talk about artificial intelligence, we are not talking about a super intelligent, and vicious machine that is trying to take over the world, in fact, we interact with them over a daily basis. An example of this is Facebook, YouTube and Google, which are programmed logarithms that decide based on your search history what you might find appealing. Google adjusts results to users based on location, Amazon makes suggestions based on previous purchases, Siri adapts to your needs and commands, and almost all the ads that appear in your devices are targeted to you, based on your history. But what does this have to do in learning design?

AI in Learning Design

What is AI in Learning Design?

According to Professor Rose Luckin, historically, the focus of AI was:

  1.   “The building of computational models of a school curriculum for a particular subject”, such for example, a program for teaching text structures which is one of the programs that I have been helping to implement.
  2.   The building of models “that would record how learners interacted with the AI and Educational software, and then to use that recording to make predictions about how that child is progressing.”
  3.   And finally, the building of “models of how to teach”.

For example, one of the benefits of using some of the AI technology available today is that it could be applied to reinforce student learning at an incredible scale by providing one-on-one tutoring to every student, in every subject. Therefore, as long as you have enough computers in your classroom, it doesn’t matter how big your class can be, all of them can have individual and personalized instruction. Still, in my experience I can say that AI is still not able to replace teachers, actually it is far from it, it can be used to give individual instruction to each student, while the teacher can also give a superior individual or small group instruction. Also, the assessments could be measured while learning takes place (All the interactions are being monitored, recorded and are useful for the AI to learn better ways to teach and to grade at the same time.)

Student-Centered Education

The one very important part of artificial intelligence in education is that it is student-centered, which is accomplished by adaptive learning programs, games, and software. These kind of programs put greater emphasis on certain topics that students might need, repeating things that students haven’t mastered, and generally aiding students to work at their own pace. Also, students in one classroom can easily work at different levels at the same time.

Artificial intelligence programs can also tell teachers which questions are answered wrong constantly, alerting the teachers so that she can improve their teaching in that specific area.

Pearson is now focusing in three different categories of artificial intelligence educational software: personal tutors for every learner, intelligent support for collaborative learning, and intelligent virtual reality. In my job, actually, I work with teachers and students in teaching them about text-structures in Spanish and English, and we use an AI program with an intelligent tutor. It is very enriching for both students and teachers, and we are all learning from each other. Luckin and Holmes (2016) state that intelligent tutors “simulate one-to-one human tutoring, delivering learning activities best matched to a learner’s cognitive needs and providing targeted and timely feedback, all without an individual teacher having to be present.”

Virtual Reality in AI

Furthermore, according to Luckin & Holmes (2016) virtual reality “provides authentic immersive experiences (the subjective impression that one is participating in a realistic experience) that simulate some aspect of the real world to which the user would not otherwise have access (such as dangerous environments or somewhere geographically or historically inaccessible)” ( p.28). Virtual reality becomes intelligent when complemented with artificial intelligence, as it harmonizes with the user’s actions, making everything feel natural. Also, virtual reality can also be integrated with intelligent tutoring systems as it provides guidance and the learning objectives get embedded.

I would like to add that with artificial intelligence, it would be easier for students that speak another language to have access to tools in their native language, although I still encourage teachers to learn foreign languages. Also, with artificial intelligence, there is no such thing as bias or deficit thinking that would prevent the tool from teaching high level learning. Thank you very much.


We have now seen several ways in which artificial intelligence can be applied to learning design. From sticky gels that turn insect-sized drones into artificial pollinators to self- driving cars, artificial intelligence is playing a major change in our life, and we need to be able to take the most from it.We as educators need to embrace technology, not fear it, and we need to see the different ways in which AI can make our jobs easier, and to focus in our students’ needs guiding them with the digital tools that will help them learn, and empower them and to be ready for the well-paid jobs.


10 Roles For Artificial Intelligence In Education (2016, March 16) Retrieved from        http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/10-roles-for-artificial-intelligence-   in-education/

Hindi, R. & Luckin R. (2015, November 11) What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and what is AI in education? Video File Retrieved from https://www.pearson.com/corporate/about-pearson/what-we-do/innovation/smarter-digital-tools.html

Luckin, R., & Holmes, W. (2016). Intelligence unleashed: An argument for AI in education.

Winston, P. (2010) MIT 6.034 Artificial Intelligence, Fall 2010, Introduction and Scope. Video File  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjZBTDzGeGg&list=PLUl4u3cNGP63gFHB6xb-kVBiQHYe_4hSi&index=1

Why we should take artificial intelligence in education more seriously (2016, April 13) Retrieved from https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/news-events/news-pub/april-2016/New-paper-published-by-pearson-makes-the-case-for-why-we-must-take-artificial-intelligence-in-education-more-seriously

Implications of Artificial Intelligence in Education

Backward Design

By Héctor Guillén

In education today we are in the process of transitioning to standards design to ensure our students will be college and career ready by the time they exit high school.  The College and Career Readiness Standards anchor and define general and cross-disciplinary expectations that must be met for student to be prepared to enter college and workforce training programs ready to succeed.  The K-12 grade-specific standards define end of year expectations in a cumulative progression designed to enable students to meet college and career readiness expectations no later than the end of high school.

The standards will require our teachers to change their technique in educating.  Instructors will need to ensure every student is prepared for the curriculum.  Since teachers have the freedom to create lesson plans and adjust the teaching style to the classroom, it is possible to meet the needs of every child and help the class keep up with the changing educational requirements. Thus, the influence teachers have on the success of students is significant.

While pondering the many instructional approaches to help students meet academic expectations, teachers must also consider environmental influences that may or may not affect student performance including demographic pressures.  These statistical groupings, and the data they generate, tend to become the catalyst for urgent interventions as well as ammunition for attacks on out-dated teaching practices and public education as a whole.  Thus, and educational approach being utilized to address these concerns requires the commitment from the entire school in a group effort.

With respect to ethnicity, recent research into student achievement gaps has regrettably uncovered familiar trends in learning.  In general, Anglo-American youths continue to outpace their African-American and Latino-American counterparts in reading and math – as well as in high school graduation rates.  And although socio-economic factors have historically explained this difference in achievement, there are other contributing factors that are within the control of schools in order to close this learning gap.

The testing mandates of No Child Left Behind generated a plethora of information for researchers to better parse student achievement.  Statistical methods were used to determine the extent to which particular factors had an influence on student learning including class-size, pupil funding, and curriculum – to name a few.  When researchers ran the numbers in dozens of different studies, every factor under a school’s control produce just a tiny impact except for one – which teacher the student had been assigned to.

With this in mind, teachers in collaboration with the school at large, must select teaching strategies and approaches that best provide for their students success.

One such approach is Backward Design.  This simple but effective three step approach breaks down the instruction into the curriculum’s big idea or objective, its culminating assessment or task, and the learning events or experiences students must participate in in order to achieve academic success.

Teachers, as designers in any other profession, must be mindful of their clients in that explicit goals are targeted and accomplished for specific end-users.  Backward Design enables educators to achieve this by beginning with the end in mind teachers can better develop the learning experiences students require to be successful.  Good design then is not so much about gaining a new technical skill as it is about learning to be more thoughtful and specific about our purposes and what they imply.

This shift in instruction means thinking first about the specific learning objectives sought and then the evidence students must exhibit before thinking about what teaching and learning activities will be provided.  In other words, lessons, units of study, and courses should be logically inferred from the results sought and not derived from the methods, books, and activities with which we are most comfortable.

We cannot say how to teach for understanding or which materials and activities to use until we are quite clear about specific understandings we are after, and what such understandings look like in practice.  What is difficult for many teachers to see, but is easier for students to feel is that without explicit transparent priorities many students find day-to-day work confusing and frustrating.

Wiggins and McTighe (2011) refer to two traditional instructions as twin sins of instructional design.  The first is hands-on without being minds-on, which refers to instruction that merely engages students in activities.  The second is refer to as coverage, wherein the teacher attempts to cover a predetermined number of textbook pages while students attempt to take detailed notes.  In both cases there are no clear priorities to frame the learning experience.  Neither learning experience provides students with the point of big idea let alone how it is suppose to help them understand or be able to do.

In stage one of Backward Design we identify the desired results.  This requires ample time to examine learning objectives such as content standards, curriculum expectations, or specific units of study.  Given that there is usually more content to be covered than there is time to accomplish it, choices must be made that clearly identify and establish priorities.

In stage two we determine acceptable evidence.  In other words, how will we know students have achieved the desired results?  What will we accept as evidence of understanding and/or proficiency?  The Backward Design approach thus requires teachers to consider and decide upfront what artifacts, activities, exams will be used to determine academic success even before any activities or lessons are implemented, assessed, or planned.

The third stage in Backward Design is to plan student learning experiences and instruction.  This final instructional design step is strictly guided by the already established learning objectives and predetermined evidences of understanding.  Wiggins and McTighe (2011) draw our attention to several key questions to help select the most effective instruction.  Among them is what enabling knowledge and skills will students need in order to perform effectively and achieve desired results.  What activities will best equip students with the needed knowledge and skills?  These questions, among others, help teachers keep instruction accurate and purposeful.

It is important to understand that when we speak of evidence of desired results we are referring to evidence gathered through a variety of formal and informal assessments during a unit of study or a course.  We are not alluding only to end of teaching tests or culminating tasks.  Rather the collective evidence we seek may well include traditional quizzes and tests, performance tasks and projects, observations and dialogues, as well as students self-assessments gathered over time.

Finally, it is critical to recognize student achievement as an essential indicator on whether or not learning has or is taking place.  However, waiting for this data prior to the implementation of needed interventions is a reactive response and a traditional teaching practice.  Instead proactive planning for academic success should be the center of attention, which includes effective teaching approaches like Backward Design.


Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J.  (2011).  The understanding by design guide to creating high-quality units. Alexandria Virginia:  Association for Supervision and curriculum Development.

Author’s Note:   Due to an unfortunate circumstance the original transcript, which included additional references and visual sources, was lost due to theft.  The above transcript was recreated from the finished Pecha Kucha on Backward Design.

Backward Design

TPACK- Knowledge that Helps Teachers to Teach Meaningfully with Technology

By Suparna Chatterjee

Welcome to the NMSU EDLT 572/672 Podcast entitled TPACK: Knowledge that helps teachers to teach meaningfully with technology. I am Suparna Chatterjee doing my Doctoral studies at NMSU, in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction with concentration in Learning Design & Technology. So I will begin with TPACK stands for Technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge. TPACK is a framework for teacher knowledge for technology integration in education understanding that the three components content, pedagogy and technology interacts to give rise to the strategy appropriate for delivering the content knowledge using technologies.

I view TPACK as wearing gloves in hands that fit, where hands represent content knowledge, gloves represent technological knowledge and the way I wear it is the pedagogical knowledge. This metaphorical way of thinking makes sense that when gloves and hands are together it signifies a special state when hands are needed to keep warm or used for specific purpose. In a similar way it can be understood that content, pedagogy and technology which have specific individual roles when interact together can establish a new dimension of creative, innovative and dynamic context for teaching effectively with technology.

The history of its development dates back to Lee Schulman’s (1986) analysis of the combination of pedagogical and content knowledge (PCK) that teachers should possess. In 2000, technology knowledge was added as another component that teachers need to know, which developed over time and provides a detailed description of the framework in  published work of Mishra & Koehler (2006) and Koehler & Mishra (2008). These provided a theory integrating all three domains, developing the TPACK Framework.

As Koehler (2010) described this approach by stating learning technology by design, that is learning educational technology by designing educational technology which is made possible through  developing theory, teacher, & curricula.

The diagram produced by the TPACK.org showing the interactive domains which gives a comprehensive idea about how critical it is that the different bodies of knowledge interact to effectively integrate technology use in classroom practice.

CK is content knowledge, that is what to teach? It is the teacher’s knowledge about subject matter, concepts, theories, ideas, frameworks, analogies, and proofs. PK is pedagogical knowledge, that is how to teach? It is teacher’s knowledge about the methods of teaching and learning which includes the processes, practices, approaches, strategies, skills, lesson plans, and assessments. TK is technological knowledge, that is tools, software & hardware. Examples: Blackboards & digital computers which are used in educational settings. PCK refers to pedagogical content knowledge, that is how to teach a particular subject matter, common student understandings and misconceptions, etc. (Shulman, 1986, 1987). It explores about knowing the most effective way to teach  the content matter.

According to Koehler (2010) TCK refers to technological content knowledge that is how a subject matter is transformed by the application of technology. TCK designates the ability to integrate technology appropriately with content matter making it a coherent whole. And TPK refers to Technological Pedagogical Knowledge which analyzes how technology can support pedagogical goals (e.g., fostering collaboration) (Koehler, 2010).

From this discussion we can say that content, technology and pedagogy when happening simultaneously can result in effective teaching, consolidating the entirety.

An example of this can be simulation in a nursing laboratory, where the students interact with manikins that have software like Teamviewer that controls the activity of the manikin according to students need for practicing a particular type of disease in human beings. The instructor can control the activities like coughing, or increased breathing or anything from the control system and students need to respond to those symptoms and also to the questions that the patient can ask. The whole session can be recorded in a panopto for future use. It helps towards conceptual knowledge building.

Thus the advantages of the TPACK framework are effective learning using technological tools through collaboration, engagement & motivation. TPACK utilizes technology tools as learning resources with an in-depth understanding of the content, objective and pedagogy where students are active participants in their learning of contents facilitated by the teacher which becomes the foundation of learner centered approach.

Another important aspect of the TPACK model is the idea of “repurposing” the difference digital tools that are available on the Web.  As Mishra points out that most of these tools were not specifically developed for education, but teachers everywhere are figuring out how to use or “repurpose” these tools for teaching and learning.

With this discussion I hope that teachers will have the urge to understand the TPACK framework to be implemented in their teaching practices to meet the challenge of teaching effectively with technology. If you have an idea for developing TPACK lesson plans for conceptual and procedural knowledge building in any content area that can facilitate students learning please leave them in the response below.

Thank you for joining me.


Blanchard, M. R., Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2011, February). Science learning activity types. Retrieved from College of William and Mary, School of Education, Learning Activity Types Wiki: https://activitytypes.wmwikis.net/file/view/ScienceLearningATs-Feb2011.pdf

Harris, J., & Hofer, M. (2009). Instructional planning activity types as vehicles for curriculum-based TPACK development. In C. D. Maddux, (Ed.) Research highlights in technology and teacher education 2009 (pp. 99-108). Chesapeake, VA: Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (SITE).

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teachers’ knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054

Mishra, P. & Koehler, M. (2009). Too Cool for School? No Way! Using the TPACK Framework: You Can Have Your Hot Tools and Teach with Them, Too. Learning and Leading with Technology, 36(7) p14-18.

National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Parra, J. (2016). Adventures beyond borders in learning design, technology and innovation. Educators #Beyond Borders Conference 2016, March 12, 2016

TPACK- Knowledge that Helps Teachers to Teach Meaningfully with Technology