MAETEL1: Day 1

MAETEL1: Day 1

Day 1 of the East Lansing MAET Summer Program: The BIG Questions

Michigan State University’s summer Master of Educational Technology (MAET) program in East Lansing welcomed 22 students from across the globe today who were ready and eager to learn and play.

MAET East Lansing 2015

The instructors were excited — and so was Sparty!

Instructor Selfie

After a warm video welcome from Galway by Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf, the #MAETEL1 cohort started our first day by exploring some pretty big ideas.

Who are we as a group? What talents/expertise do we bring to the cohort?

We began by asking the question “What is your sentence?” inspired by this video from Daniel Pink. Students drew from a variety of image-creation tools to put together some beautiful and creative graphics that capture who they are — their sentences.

Lisa, for example, came up with this comic-book inspired graphic describing how she replaced textbooks with games:

Lisa's Sentence
Image by Lisa Musgrave

And Chelsea created this graphic to describe her classroom homage to Dead Poets’ Society:

Chelsea's Sentence
Image by Chelsea Edwards

Expanding on these images, students provided more context in their initial blog posts for the class. Hayley described the image she chose by explaining how bungie jumping sums up a lot about who she is as a person — including her willingness to take risks. David wrote about how he inspires students to better themselves and the world around them.

What do we believe about learning, technology, and learning with technology?How People Learn

We used the Visible Thinking Framework to analyze our reading from How People Learn (by Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 2000) with a sentence/ word/ phrase activity to identify the most powerful, resonant ideas in the first three chapters. Some key ideas emerged, including: engaging students’ background knowledge before introducing new ideas to support learning and understanding; considering learner-specific needs, the role of metacognition, and the importance of promoting deep understanding.

Finally, students explored three connected ideas of learning, understanding and conceptual change. We discussed the ideas about reimagining learning contained in Richard Culatta’s powerful TED Talk before settling into individual writing time. The questions we asked the class to explore were:

  1. What is learning?
  2. How do the learning processes of experts and novices differ?
  3. What teaching methods support learning and its related concepts — understanding and conceptual change?

Alan’s essay reflected the sentiments of many of his classmates: drawing upon the work of John Dewey, he pointed to the need for a dramatic shift in education in recognition that, in Dr. Seuss’ words:

“It is better to know how to learn than to know.”