Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wk 4 Publishing_Presentation Project

Growing up I was inspired watching Robin Williams telling students to tear up their books in Dead Poets Society, or Edward James Olmos teaching students to “Stand And Deliver”, or even slacker teacher Mark Harmon in Summer School. I wanted to have a positive impact on lives the way my teachers had a positive impact on me. I want to reach depths that transcended course material and struck to the core of humanity, our passions and our purpose, that special thing that Sir Ken Robinson refers to as “The Element”. I also desperately wanted to wear corduroy blazers with leather patches on the elbows. When I finally became a teacher I was struck by how wrong I was in my assumptions and how difficult my task would be. In the years past this might have been an accurate assumption, however, when I started teaching I became an online teacher. How could I achieve my goals in this virtual world? There are no desks to stand on, no corduroy blazers, and it’s a lot harder to motivate students to tear up their eBooks. One day as I was teaching an online session a student asked “Is this a real person?” In one cursory sentence, I questioned the effectiveness of online education and my own existence.

Exploring this tricky new online universe and motivating students in a purposeful and lasting way through this new technology has been the focus of my 12 month journey through the EMDT program. All too often we look to shoehorn old philosophies into new mediums. This powerful tool has the ability to connect students and instructors in ways never thought possible. This shift in paradigm also requires a shift in thinking. Through this project I have sought to develop a curriculum guided by Self Determination Theory that puts the student in the driver's seat of their academic destiny. While each course must consider the dynamic relationship of instructor and student as well as the material being presented, I believe all courses can benefit from some amount of choice on the student's end. This process necessarily reflects personality responsibility on the student's end and turns their motivations inward causing them to question core beliefs regarding their academic identity. It is a lofty goal and this presentation reflects my experience in giving choice a chance. I intend on submitting this presentation to the AACE in consideration for the E-Learn Conference in Montreal, Quebec.

PPP Think Out Loud Post #1:
PPP Think Out Loud Post #2:
Presentation Project:

MAC Wk4: Comment on Shawn McKeown's Blog

View Shawn's blog at:


I loved seeing your presentation live in the wimba session this week. All of the right elements are in place and it's shaping up to be something really impressive. Please keep us updated on your progress and best of luck in submitting to EduComm. This information certainly deserves a proper forum.

Mike Dunn"

MAC Wk4: Comment on Jennifer Williams' Blog

View Jennifer's blog at:


Thanks for your openness and honesty here. It is a bit easier to relax into the comfort of an assignment free universe but to me you seem incredibly driven, I am sure you'll find something incredible to fill these new hours. It is nice to have that reward of achievement and the visual recognition of the cap and gown but I'm sure your true reward will show in the students you touch. Looking forward to meeting you at graduation!

Mike Dunn"

MAC Wk4: Telling the WE Story

In reflecting on this book by Zander I found myself contemplating an interesting dichotomy. Zander frequently speaks about finding your answers by looking inward but at the same time he talks about having an intense focus on sharing with others, igniting the spark, exhibiting a service orientation and so on. How can we be inward and outward at the same time?

The message is simple but powerful, that by taking responsibility for our choices and attitudes we can positively shape the lives of those around us. I am reminded of a simple technique I use when trying to impart some piece of advice. I find that when I start by admitting how I have failed or fell short in a situation I have a much better chance of reaching someone in their situation.

We have a commonality of experience and also a commonality of failure. When we break down the walls of ego and unrealistic expectation we can get to the core of what it is to share and be part of a community. This is a trait of the evolved human, of civilization and positive regard. When we are able to dissolve those boundaries we are capable of incredible things together.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

MAC Wk3 BP5: Wimba Reflection

This weeks wimba contained a good amount of discussion which I unfortunately could not participate in. However, that is the nature of wimba. I was still interested in the material this week and the reflection upon our reading by Zander. I agree with professor Bustillos reflections on leadership. I have had some leaders in the past who "wore the invisible crown" but I think the tides are changing a bit, at least in my small part of the world. I like the idea that we all have the opportunity to leadership in our circles of influence. This really gets to the core of Zanders work, that we all have an opportunity (and I would say a responsibility) to be aware of our influence, why wouldn't we choose to make that influence positive? His work has really stuck with me, I think it is a fantastic motivator. This wimba session provided a nice time to reflect on these concepts. I liked that the difference between simple "pollyanna" thinking and Zander's message was displayed. Sometimes positive philosophies can be quickly tossed aside as "new age mumbo jumbo". There is much more to it and I think the proof is really in the product. It can't hurt to try it.

On the logistical end it was nice to get a check up on the publishing and presentation project as well as where I should be with these blog posts. My peers had some excellent questions and reflections and I look forward to sharing my presentation as well.

MAC Wk3 BP4: PPP Think Out Loud #2

In exploring possible conferences for my presentation the Association for Advancement of Computing in Education ( particularly stood out for me. They have a number of conferences coming up and I will be looking to submit to E-LEARN 2012 - World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare & Higher Education which takes place in October of next year. They are currently accepting submissions into May of next year. Since my CBR is based in the online world I think this will be a perfect platform to share my findings. It is also a chance for me to return to Montreal, a beautiful city where I proposed to my fiance. I would love to take her as well.

MAC Wk3 BP3: Comment on Michelle Biroulet's Blog

View Michelle's blog at:

Hello Meesh! The conference you found sounds wonderful. I have never been to the UK but it's always nice to combine a bit of travel with hard work. I'm sure you'll find an interesting perspective to share with the attendees. Good luck to you!

MAC Wk3 BP2: Comment on Jennifer Williams' Blog

View Jennifer's blog at:

Jennifer, I am interested in the AACE conference as well. It seems to fit well into my CBR focus and I like how they divided the subtopics. This process is all new to me so I'm sure it will be a learning experience either way. Best of luck to you!

MAC Wk3 BP1: The Art Of Possibility

I enjoyed reading through the work of Benjamin Zander this week and while a number of the concepts seemed commonsensical to me his passion shined through. I have always had a passion for leadership and have long held the belief that real leadership is not a function of position but of attitude and fortitude. When I reflect on the most powerful leaders I have had in my life I find that they had a focus on serving. Everyone has the opportunity to serve and in that sense everyone has an opportunity to lead.

I also reflected upon the idea of change in reading chapter eight. How often do we avoid change in the pursuit of comfort? I often question my own role in this argument. There is certainly place for comfort and relaxation in our lives but if we become too comfortable in the status quo we might avoid a "better way". Many of us have a natural urge to improve our surroundings but we can be stifled by fear.

This book has proved as a powerful motivator and an excellent selection for this point in the program. I am reflecting on the work I have accomplished and I am looking forward to exploring new possibilities in the coming year. Zander's work has primed me to enter this new phase with a renewed positive attitude.

Friday, November 4, 2011

MAC Wk2: Wimba Reflection

This Wimba session was incredibly informative. I think the poll format kept everyone on point. I have to say, above all, the "Fair Use & Creative Commons Resource List" has to be the most useful screenshot I have taken in the EMDT program. This wimba helped clear up some of the murky world of copyright. I feel that I have a stronger understanding of the principles behind copyright law but I think we still hear some interesting situations here and there where we simply have to err on the side of safety. Interesting stuff!

MAC Wk2: PPP Thinking Out Loud

I am excited to enter the final phase of my CBR and bring my research to the educational community. I was amazed and a bit intimidated to see the amount of conferences within the community. There will be some issues regarding submission availability but luckily many conferences are held at our huge convention center in Orlando so hopefully I will be able to find a good fit.

I am definitely leaning towards a presentation. I have thrived in front of a crowd as long as I can remember. My mother put my brother, sister and I in theater at a very young age and I think it gave us a bit of an edge regarding public speaking. I have begun to prepare my research as a Continuing Education event at Full Sail and bringing it to a convention should be a natural step from there.

I am looking forward to researching the possibilities for this presentation though I'm sure it will take a good deal of examination of these different organizations (and possibly some membership dues!)

MAC Wk2: Comment on Jennifer Williams' Blog

"Jennifer, that is amazing! I have an iPad as well. I was a bit confused about how iCloud would work but once I updated to the new iOS I was amazed how seamless it is. This is an excellent example of tech application in education. Glad you have a resilient 5th grader to help with the process!"

View Jennifer's Blog at:

MAC Wk2: Comment On Marc Hunt's Blog

"Marc, I definitely related to the Michelangelo metaphor as well. I love the presentation about artistic identity. With so much standardization in school it's nice to see someone fostering that creative spark. So much of what gets kids into trouble can lie in esteem issues. Art of all kinds has an amazing way of instilling confidence in learners."

View Marc's Blog at:

Wk 2 Reading: Shiny Eyes

Wow! What an entertaining presenter Benjamin Zander is, certainly a multi talented individual with a unique and powerful view of the world. I'm impressed with the choice of text this month because it reaches a message or thesis that is deeper than education or media, a message that speaks to the essence of life and possibility. Through Zander's presentation I was reminded of the universality and unspoken language of music. Musician Bobby Ferrin makes a similar point in the video below:

Zander closes with a heartbreaking story about the power of words but what sticks with me now and possibly forever is the "shiny eyes". Zander comes to the relevation that a conductor is silent and that success lies in the shiny eyes of his or her players. This simple statement hit me like a sledgehammer. We are often selfishly unaware of our influence, as educators we have a powerful responsibility. I immediately related to Zander's example and I have seen those shiny eyes first hand when a subject simply "clicks" for one of my students.

In his book "The Art of Possibility" Zander goes on to speak about different ways we perceive the world and situations around us. Sometimes simply changing a point of view can open up new possibilities. A theme I have found throughout is that the answer often lies inward. How much can we change by simply adjusting our approach? While our answers can lie inward out influence is to those around us and our contributions to others. In this sense Zander offers a practical guide to being a conduit of good to those around you.

Here is a quote I will leave you with by French Novelist Marcel Proust:
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” - Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)