Archives for category: EDCI569

I have had a wonderful time learning with my fellow #tiegrad cohort this term. At times it has been a struggle to keep up with all the wonderful personal adventures everyone has had along with attempting to grow my PLN. I have met a few people via twitter that I have followed and interacted with on a limited basis, but I have come to realize that the community of learners within the #tiegrad program is so rich, diverse, and prolific that I find myself following them more than trying to find new individuals at this point in my PLN journey. The course this term has allowed me to “Shed my Shell” and become more comfortable sharing ideas online. I know there is more to come and I look forward to continued growth in my learning sharing.

As for my learning project this term, I was able to complete a beer brewing process all the way from the initial grain mash in to bottle conditioning the beer. It only has a few more days to go before it is ready to consume and I am excited to see how it turned out. I learned quite a bit about the brewing process over the term, from the different temperatures required to extract sugars from the grains and allow for optimal conditions for yeast to be active to the different reasons you introduce hops at varied times in the boil process. The beer brewed this term is from a recipe called May the 4th be with you and is a C3PAle that will be very aromatic, moderately hoppy, and on the low side of alcohol content (4.9%). I look forward to the first taste.

The creativity of the various #tiegrad learning artifacts has been very inspirational. I feel most comfortable behind the camera and as a result have created a video artifact that demonstrates some of my learning this term as well as a summary of my learning project. I hope you enjoy it.


The other day our Master’s cohort was lucky enough to have a presentation from Audrey Watters. She challenged our group to think of the need for diversity in the technology field in terms of who is creating the tools we use because technology is created to solve problems that we encounter (or perceive to be) in daily life. As a result of the lack of women and minorities within the technology filed, there is a limited breadth and depth to the reasons technology is created which results in limitations towards the type of technology that is created. This idea of limitation in thinking (and doing) led me to question how the education community tends to be focused on how education works with blinders on at times and rarely looks laterally to other professions to access ideas. I recently read an article in the Verdict (2012) that provided lawyers with a summary of how to use social media within their practice. Normally I would not look to a lawyer publication for ideas, but this caught my attention. A few quotes resonated with me.

  1. Create Value”. [the author] urge[d] others to… follow [this] one golden rule. Chris Wejr posted a similar tweet a while back that urged others to provide meaningful content online. This is an important point. Using your social media to provide meaningful content that others find value in is a benefit to your entire PLN. Your social media does not need to be strictly professional in the sense that it should also be an avenue to present personal insights into your life (vacations, activities, and hobbies), but cutting out frivolous comments about the shape of your breakfast pancake might be a step in the right direction.
  2. “…online comments have a long lasting, potentially permanent footprint [due to] the inherently public nature of social media platforms…” While many might think this statement is obvious, some still do not recognize the significance of their actions online and this includes the students (and at times teachers) in our schools. Providing students with activities that promote understanding of this idea and fostering positive interactions online is important.

Another area of investigation outside the education field can come from business. The statement in education that is used frequently is that failure can be a necessary step towards understanding and it should not be thought of negatively. Attempting a challenging task, failing, then trying again is an important educational cycle. In business it could be argued that the synonym may very well be risk taking. The idea of risk taking and resulting reward has been studied in business previously. Individuals who have higher desires to achieve are more willing to take risks and these individuals were also more educated than those less likely to undertake risk-taking behaviours (Chen, Su, and Wu, 2012). Translating this to educational settings it has been noted that gifted students are more likely to retry after failure of a perceived challenging task than average students (Bogie and Buckhalt, 1987). This suggests that it is important to support students through tasks in various ways (Scaffolding, etc.) in order to improve students perception that the task, although challenging and failure may occur, is ultimately attainable. Students need to feel that they are capable of achieving an outcome and this confidence should lead to more frequent risk taking behaviours.

Bringing this direction of thought back to our discussion with Audrey, it is important to provide an educational environment that is not gender restrictive in terms of our pre-conceived notions towards technology. This goes for students and staff. It is important to remove stereotypes from our teaching practices that have traditionally placed an emphasis on technology users being a high percentage male, not female. The way we present courses has to be cognizant that we do not perpetuate the gender inequity currently seen in the technology sector.


Bogie, C. E., & Buckhalt, J. A. (1987). Reactions to failure and success among gifted, average, and EMR students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 31(2), 70-74.

Chen, S., Su, X., & Wu, S. (2012). Need for achievement, education, and entrepreneurial risk-taking behavior. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 40(8), 1311-1318.

The following film summarizes my thoughts on Community, Challenge and Joy.

We were fortunate to have Dean Shareski present to our UVic TIE graduate cohort this past week. There were a number of themes presented during the evening and I wanted to touch on a few of them here.


I am part of many different communities, both online and off. I feel as though the strongest connections I have are with communities I interact with face to face. I love the biking community I am a part of. I can meet someone for the first time on a ride and we have an instant connection based on our sport. I also have a large school community. The teachers, students, support staff and administration all add to the community that makes our school a dynamic and exciting place to be every day. I learn from everyone in our school on a daily basis. Students have shown me how to throw a frisbee better, introduced me to nuances of photoshop, and asked questions in class I can’t answer that pushes me to learn more. The communities and interactions within them challenge me do do more, to be more, and to question more. I love being in the woods and seeing others complete a line on their bike for the first time. It inspires me to ride harder lines and accomplish more on my bike. Communities are vital for learning, a point Dean made many times in our class. When I interact online I am beginning to become more connected with the people I meet, but I admit I struggle to gain as much meaning from my online interactions as I do from my F2F communities. I find many of my interactions occur in isolation (asynchronous) and the banter becomes delayed causing me to loose interest in a particular topic faster than when I am chatting live (video conference or F2F).

Concept of Hard vs Challenging

A discussion began around the concept of high school courses being hard (difficult) and that teachers were heard at a conference discussion the fact that they were impressed with the fact that their courses were hard. Many other terms were lumped into hard (including challenging and rigour). I am not a proponent of making a course hard for the sake of hard, but I don’t agree that the terms hard and challenging are the same, or that challenging is a bad thing. Learners need to be challenged. The challenge will not be the same for all learners. One learner may find balancing on a bike challenging and their focus is to move the bike down a quiet street under their own power without touching the ground. Other may find riding a 5 inch wide log 20 feet above the ground challenging. I think we need challenges in our life. A learning project that is easy can disengage the learner quickly much like one that is far to challenging to complete. This is the same way game designers create games. A game needs to be challenging enough to make the player return and try again, not too challenging to frustrate and not too easy to complete without any effort. This is the same way we run our mountain school programs. There are hiking opportunities for all levels of fitness and we steer students into a hike that will challenge them, keep them interested, and allow them to achieve the outcome at the end of the day. Students who choose hikes that are too easy tend to be distracted and in turn distract others and become a safety issue. At the other end of the spectrum students on a hike that is way to challenging become a safety issue for the group due to their struggles to continue.


I co-taught an intro to outdoor filming course over the weekend and in one discussion a participant said that they would love to come and see what our school is doing. They are a member of the local community, have no children in the school presently, but want to see what is going on. It is important to share what is occurring in our schools. This sharing should not be focused solely on other teaching professionals, but distributed to a wider audience. I think sharing nights for the community and using media to share out what we are doing is important. I have done a very poor job of this so far in my teaching profession and need to be better at it. We discussed the fear around sharing. Teachers may be afraid that what they are doing does not warrant sharing. Others hold on to their practices and do not share because they feel the work they put into their lessons is theirs alone.


I left this topic to the end, not because it is least important, but because it is the take away from the night that I want to leave you with. Joy is so important. I say the joy this weekend in the participants learning new skills, wanting more, and laughing with each. Joy is such an important part of life. I exude joy every turn down a backcountry ski bowl and every jump or berm on my bike. It is that joy that we need to foster in our students. We need to cultivate a community where that is the rule, not the exception. I try to present my joy of the topics I teach in the hopes that my students will see that passion and engage. I would love to hear what others think about how to promote the concept of joy within the classroom.

There is a craft home brewing store in Chilliwack called True North Brewing Supply that i picked my recipe from. The name and the beer type spoke to me – May the 4th be with you – C3-PA. I went down a few weeks ago and picked up all the ingredients for our brew and headed into North Vancouver last weekend to begin my first brew. There are a number of steps involved in brewing and I have summarized them below as well as added a video at the end to provide a visual summary of the process. This specific recipe calls for a dry hop and secondary fermentation process after 7 days. This is not included yet as it has not happened. I will generate a complete video that will include this as well as the bottling process later.

1. Water Boil – Water needs be boiled and Gypsum is added to adjust the pH of your water. The amount of Gypsum will vary depending on your initial water quality. The temperature of water will vary slightly depending on the recipe. Our recipe called for a temperature of 161.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mash In – This step involves adding your grains to your boiled water. This process releases the sugars from the grains in order to provide food to your yeast later on. The mash in step takes 60 mins.

3. Sparge – This step involves adding a higher heat to your mash in order to expel all the sugars from your mash. There are two techniques commonly used (Fly sparging and Batch sparging). We used the fly sparging technique. Once you have drained off your final volume needed into the boil pot you are ready for the next step. You have now collected what is referred to as wort.

4. Boil – This step consists of heating your wort to the boil break (proteins will denature and your wort begins to boil) then timing your boil for 60mins. At specific time points you add your hops to the boil. Our recipe called for 4 different hops to be added at various times. The hops add various elements to your finished beer (first hops are bittering, second are for flavour, and third are your aroma hops) You also add Irish Moss at a specific time (our recipe called for it at 10min left in the boil process) in order to settle out suspended particles at the end of the brew process.

5. Wort Cooling – This process needs to happen as quickly as possible. Some brewers use an ice bath, but for efficiency there are copper coil wort coolers and this is the way we cooled our beer. Once the wort is down to 20 degrees celsius we can then transfer.

6. Carboy Transfer – the carboy is the final point for the wort and the vessel used for the fermentation process.

7. Specific Gravity – Before yeast is added, specific gravity of the wort needs to be established. Once the fermentation process is complete specific gravity is again taken. The difference in the two are put into an equation in order to determine the alcohol content of your beer.

8. Yeast – This process is simply adding your specific yeast you are using to your carboy containing wort. All yeasts will have different properties so each recipe will call for a different type of yeast to be used.

9. Seal – You now seal your carboy and add an airlock in order to allow for release of gasses without contamination of your wort. Our recipe calls for a 2 stage fermentation process where we add dry hops to the mixture at the 7 day mark. A subsequent post will include this process as well as bottling and a complete video of the entire process.

We were lucky enough to have Alan Levine (@cogdog) as a guest presenter in our EDCI569 course this past week. The focus of his presentation was on digital storytelling. I was definitely inspired to introduce some of the concepts he presented with my digital media class as I think it is the best fit given my current teaching load. I needed some space and time after the presentation to think about a reflective write and had a chance to get out on the snow (what’s left of it) and begin to think. I found myself trying to decide what storytelling is and decided I needed to research this first before reflecting on the process of digital storytelling.

Here are a few definitions of storytelling I found.

1. From the National Storytelling Network (

A. Storytelling is interactive.

B. Storytelling uses words.

C. Storytelling uses actions such as vocalization, physical movement and/or gesture.

D. Storytelling presents a story.

E. Storytelling encourages the active imagination of the listeners.

2. From (

“…illustrating an otherwise difficult concept, to drive home a point or to encourage consumer loyalty through entertainment or emotional connection.”

Historically, storytelling utilized verbal communication in order to present the message, but there are other forms of storytelling that have taken place. Although totem poles may not tell a story in the truest sense of the word, they are used by indigenous cultures to document stories and histories of community, family or clan members (Huang, 2009). Poles certainly fulfill some of the aspects of storytelling as they encourage imagination and present a story. Radio, although not interactive (audience and storyteller), the other components of storytelling remain intact.

“The medium is the message” – Marshall McLuhan  

The Marhall McLuhan quote does seem to usher in a new phase in the storytelling saga with the idea that the content of the story becomes secondary to the medium that presents it. With the advent of visual medium (tv, internet), many suggested that the medium transitioned storytelling towards pure entertainment. Arjun Adamson (2011) states that “Great storytelling is ultimately about capturing elegant context to the complexity and nuances of life”. Using Adamson’s summation of storytelling we can argue that any medium may create a strong story and that ultimately digital content may create a more compelling storytelling environment for the audience. Tingöy, et. al. (2006) explain that digital stories provide deep dimension to characters and insights by incorporating music, images and voice together. Helping students become media literate is also a benefit of digital storytelling (Tingöy, et. al., 2006). In our new digital age, what constitutes storytelling vs uploading moments in time. I would argue that storytelling must be thoughtful insights into our lives. Simply uploading a vine video does not necessarily tell a story, but if that upload has been developed to explain some greater meaning in our world in a contemplative manner then it would be defined as storytelling.

Alan Levine presented us with some concrete examples of what Digital Storytelling can be. I would classify some as re-telling and others as storytelling. The following are three examples that he has used, but many more can be found on

After reading a story, come up with 4 symbols that represent that story. Individuals that have read the story should be able to recognize the story based on the symbols you have used.

1. Using

The concept of petchaflickr is based on the petcha kucha presentation style that utilizes 20 seconds to present each of 20 slides. Petchaflickr is used to generate random images from a key word search of (number of slides and slide interval can be manipulated) that you create a story from. The storyteller(s) have no knowledge of what images come up.

3. Silent Film

Take a film trailer and convert it into a silent film. The process makes the creator determine what components of the film can convey the meaning of the film without using any verbal narration.

Digital storytelling has altered the way we perceive the telling of stories, but the use of this medium has generated great educational tools. There are a number of easily accessible tools we can use. Our focus this week is to present a tool to our class. We need to demonstrate the pedagogical use of the tool. I have decided to use instagram and iMovie for iPhone to create a framework for digital storytelling. Use the @oblongsquare handle to view my digital story entitled Godfather pt1 in 15s. The framework is quite simple. Take a story you have read and break it down into 5 distinct sections. It took me about 10mins to do this stage. Determine an image or video 3 seconds in length that will represent each section. This took me a little longer, around 20 mins. Use your iPhone to take images or video for each section. I completed this in about 20 mins. Combine these photos and videos into a 15 second short in iMovie and export it. Upload the video to instagram and share it with the world!

Reference List

Adamson, A. (2011). What is great storytelling? Retrieved from

Huang, A. (2009). Totem Poles. Retrieved from

Tingöy, Ö., Günefler, A., Öngün, E., Demirag, A., & Köroglu, O. (2006). Using storytelling in education. In 4th International Symposium of Interactive Media Design Proceedings (pp. 28-30).

Retrieved from:

During our EDCI569 course with @courosa this term we have been given the opportunity to build/enhance our personal learning network. I have been a twitter user for a few years, but have not done a very good job of using it effectively in professional development until very recently. The community I interact with the most is my fellow #tiegrad cohort I am currently completing my MEd with. I have only branched out in a limited way from tweets that I read from these individuals, but the meaningful connections that must be made to create a useful PLN have not occurred. A tweet that crossed my phone a while ago from @ChrisWejr had me thinking about how I use twitter and stated (to my fuzzy recollection) that individuals need to provide meaningful contributions to the twitter universe. It began my thinking about how I interact with the twitter medium. I use it to post links to blog entries and reposting interesting links or comments from others. I tend to lurk around a few chat groups (#outdoored, #bcedchat), but have found the format to date difficult to engage with in a way that I find meaningful. I recently found a post from Debbie Morrison on how to create a robust and meaningful PLN and her suggestions revolved around engaging with MOOC’s and interacting with a limited number of people within that environment. I see this as a good way to begin engaging with others that are (hopefully) in a similar frame of mind regarding educational practices. I think this is also a good way of tackling a daunting twitter chat where many contributors can leave me feeling overwhelmed. I do like to go back and scan the chat after it has happened because I have troubles with the wealth of information shared in the moment. Maybe this is a result of viewing this on my phone and I need to become better at using a proper app to apply filters to the conversations (if that is possible?). I like the suggestion by Debbie, in her post, to engage in Blog commenting. I find the less dynamic nature of blogs easier to handle. By that I guess I mean the asynchronous nature that allows me to read, digest and respond to the post without feeling pressure to initiate conversation in the moment within the very limited character number that twitter allows. I will continue to venture on and improve my skills in creating my PLN. My goal is to connect with one person this week that has used the #outdoored feed and has posted something that is in line with my thoughts regarding education and the outdoor environment.

I enjoyed the questions that were posed in this video, especially “Do you ever censor yourself online”. This was in the comment section below the video:

“Interesting that none of them considered what others posted about them part of their identity. A simple search will reveal not only what you say online, but what others say about you in much more clarity than in the “in person” world.”

I wonder how many of us equate posts from others as contributing to our own digital identity. I certainly don’t, but I also am interested in who posts comments around videos, images, and tweets I put out and why some don’t.

This video also reminded me of a tweet from the summer. I asked twitter what people they follow. I was interested to see if individuals follow other like minded people, or if some people they follow have very opposing views and may challenge thought processes. Personally I don’t follow anyone that has drastically opposed views on topics from myself. I wonder I followed others that had differing views would change what I posted, or change how I viewed ideas.

My Digital Identity

I currently use the following spaces to interact online.

1. Twitter @oblongsquare

2. Instagram @oblongsquare

3. Facebook

4. Google: Communities and YouTube

5. Untappd (Beer Community)

6. Professional Blog

7. Vimeo

8. Website:

My blog is used for completing assignments in my MEd program. I have not used it for any other purpose. I also use Google Communities for the same ends, with the exception of a community set up for my Biology 12 classroom. Twitter is primarily used to as a PLN tool. I am not extremely savvy in this regard, but I am endeavouring to become better. I also link my Instagram account to twitter and pictures and video I put up there is from both my professional and personal life. Vimeo and Youtube accounts are set up for uploading personal short films I make that I enter into local film festivals. Although I have not used these accounts much for school, I am brainstorming an idea to create an online learning environment that links outdoor education and curriculum (Adventure Learning). My website is a personal project. When my best friend passed away, I vowed to become better at photography and do more with that area as he was a huge influence on my love of that art form. Untappd is entirely personal and is a way to connect with craft beer enthusiasts and learn about new beers. My Facebook account is purely personal. I have friends who post interesting items I have used for research and reposted to Twitter, but I do not use it as a PLN.

During this semester in my MEd, I have been tasked with improving my PLN. My goal is to begin a better network of outdoor education people. I have lurked in the #enviroed chat, but need to do a better job at interacting with individuals who share the same passion for the outdoors as I do.

Jenkins (2009) defines participatory culture as comprising a number of components

  1. Relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement.
  2. Strong support for creating and sharing creations.
  3. Informal mentorship from experienced participants
  4. Members believe that their contributions matter and feel some degree of social connections with each other.

During a presentation by Alec Couros to the UVic EDCI569, participatory culture was described as the connection between an increase in the number of online tools that can be accessed by individuals and the abundance of content that exists online. Web 2.0 (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc.) demonstrates the vast amount of tools that we as individuals can use to communicate and the resulting volume of online content that stems from those tools (video, blogs, tweets, etc.) Jenkins (2009) proposed that “tools available to a culture matter, but what that culture chooses to do with those tools matters more.” This is a poignant quote, especially in the wake of recent events including terror groups using social media to efficiently disseminate political or religious rhetoric intended to influence others.

It has been said that with the advent of increased access to online social structures that people are connected, but becoming increasingly disconnected with each other. Dr. Jim Taylor in a blog post from 2010 writes that technology is becoming an escape from life, rather than immersion in it and you miss out on deeper connections with people and do not engage in anything of personal value. Ujjal Dosanjh was recently interviewed on CBC’s The Early Edition regarding the idea of multiculturalism in Canada. Although he was discussing the idea of immigrant populations and physical spaces, the concept in the quote below is very relevant with regards to the discussion of becoming disconnected. (

“If you are going to a particular church or temple…that’s not a ghetto. If you live your entire life amongst those people and the only connection you have to the society at large is the economy and you don’t take in the cultural value, because ultimately we left other countries to come to Canada because it has better values, not just more money, not just affluence, it’s the values that are more important than the affluence and those values are about freedom, about democracy, about being tolerant of others views, and living with others and communicating with others, integrating into the society…” Ujjal Dosanjh, 2015

In Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown’s book A New Culture of Learning (2011), they make an argument that this new learning culture is comprised of two elements:

  1. Massive information networks that provide unlimited resources for learning on any subject
  2. Structured environments that allow for unlimited agency to build and experiment within the bounded domains.

Personal learning can be found in both elements, but it is with the second element that formalized education can find new growth and direction. While reading an article in Dwell magazine on the building of modern schools in New York, I began to think about the idea of experimentation and building within structured domains. Why do we call the buildings modern schools? I know this is in reference to the architectural design of structure, but if we are to build “modern” school(ing) it is important to look at what the domains of learning are. The new domains of learning are about digital literacy and global citizenship, but this needs to be presented to students not in a flood of unlimited resources with the teacher saying “Go”, but within a structured environment that allows students to interact in a meaningful way with others towards a common goal.

Although this discussion has focused on the digital citizen, it is important to recognize that the concept of participatory culture should be viewed both in the online world as well as the physical space we occupy. Participating in 3D life, movement and interaction with the physical world is as important a discussion as the idea of how to interact in a meaningful way online. We define ourselves ever increasingly by our digital identities, but it is now becoming just as important to look at how we define ourselves within our physical environment.


Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Mit Press.

Taylor, J. (2010). Does Technology Connection Mean Life Disconnection? [Blog post].

Retrieved from connectio_b_623065.html

Tobin, S. (Producer). (2015, January 16). Ujjal Dosanjh on award [Audio poscast].

Retrieved from

Weiss, A. (2015). Building Modern Schools in New York City.

Retrieved from new-york-city

For my current masters course at UVic (EDCI569) we have been provided the opportunity to undertake a personal learning project. I have chosen to learn more about beer and the beer making process. My final project will be to create a vlog entry that will demonstrate the process I went through. This project will have many phases.

1. Research Beer types and determine which beer I would like to brew. This is going to include both reading up on beer types and visiting craft breweries.

2. Read up on the brewing process to better understand what goes into brewing beer.

3. Brew the beer.

4. Bottle the beer.

5. Drink the beer.

I am really looking forward to understanding more about the process of brewing beer. I have been an avid consumer of craft beer for a number of years now, but know little about the process behind the creation of the beer. Let the learning begin!

Hendrickson and Doering (2013) deviated from the traditional expedition style of adventure learning (AL) by targeting a specific region of the country. In this case the state of Minnesota was used to create a local AL environment for students to participate. The nine core principles of AL were used, based on dowering and miller’s (2009) framework, and are as follows:

  1. A defined issue and place
  2. Authentic narratives
  3. Element of Adventure
  4. Curriculum grounded in inquiry
  5. Collaboration and interaction between learners, experts, teachers, and content
  6. Synched learning opportunities between AL content and the curriculum
  7. An online venue to deliver the content
  8. Multiple media that enhanced the curriculum
  9. Scaffolding for teachers and learners

The researchers deduced that this framework wold be conducive to community building. There were two research questions that the study wanted to answer:

  1. “In what way did the AL learning environment, content, and collaboration space actively engage students in the learning process and why?”
  2. “In what way did the AL learning environment, content, and collaboration space spur community building and why?”

Three schools participated in the study. A total of 110 grade 4, 13 grade 5, and 3 classroom teachers were involved. 53% of the participants were girls and 47% were boys. The average time spent on the AL project was between 30-45min per week with an range of participation between classes of 5-9 weeks. 3 classes in the study were designated as gifted. The majority of students had access to the internet at home (97% of the 117 students surveyed prior to the study) and no prior use of any of the study websites had been used by participating students.

Researchers used both initial design and implementation of the design based research  method, while choosing to omit the study, redesign and reimplementation components of this method. Data was collected in the form of 2 student surveys, 6 surveys of teachers, 17 discrete observation times and 6 student focus groups.

Results were grouped into either cognitive (task persistence and focus) or emotional (attitude towards people and tasks) categories.


The ability to share, interact and create something relevant to their lives as well as the variety of components online (photos, video) contributed to both task persistence and focus. Students in focus groups also expressed that the ability to choose tasks rather than have teacher dictated work improved focus. Researchers noted that the use of new technology (novelty factor) may have been a contributing factor for the initial student focus levels.


84% of the post-study respondents expressed an interest in learning more about the content while 77% of the respondents said that they either learned more or had more fun with this project than others they had completed in school. 66% of the respondents said they learned more quickly with this format. Focus groups requested learning games from their teachers as a way of increasing excitement in other areas of school.

Hendrickson, J., & Doering, A. (2013) Adventure learning and learner engagement: frameworks for designers and educators. Journal of interactive learning research. 24(4), 397-424

Reflections and Thoughts

The majority of AL has used extreme excursions, such as the Go North! program (, in which students interact with experts who are based in Alaska. There is synchronous and asynchronous components to the learning environment. In this current study, an online environment was built around people and place of the state of Minnesota. Students from this state were able to learn in both an online environment and in a classroom based situation the same way traditional AL would be. I see a number of benefits to the modified system the current researchers employed.

  1. Students interact with environments that are local. Although an excursion to an extreme environment may appeal to some initially, the connection to place will be longer lasting if that environment is a students local space.
  2. In the current study students are able to add content to the online space related to the area that they live. This allows participants to become experts of their local space. The ownership of the students learning and the engagement in the process will increase.
  3. Interaction: students are going to be able to interact with others and develop pride in both the place they live and the learning and teaching they are performing. Teacher student interactions should become bi-directional as students are able to choose their learning paths.

As a result of reading this study, I think it would be interesting to initiate a similar program in BC. As both a culturally and geographically diverse province it would be exciting to allow students in various parts of the province to interact and teach others about the spaces they live.