Capstone Project

For the Capstone Project of the PIDP, we need to record ourselves teaching a 45 – 90 minute lesson. We then submit for grading the digital recording, along with a paper in which we reflect on the lesson. For this project I have designed a 90 minute workshop on the subject of meditation and booked a room at Vancouver Community College to deliver the lesson.

The most challenging part has been marketing the workshop so that it will be an authentic learning experience, and not just a class made up of my friends. To aid in student recruitment I am posting an amended version of the PowerPoint presentation, so that prospective participants can see the content. This may also help beginner – level participants, so that everyone will have the same basic knowledge of terms and concepts related to meditation. In the workshop we will have a discussion and activities including the practice of meditation techniques, as well as some worksheets and hand-outs.


Week 8: Motivation to Learn

Motivation - Golden Key.Raymond Wlodkowski’s motivational framework includes four conditions that enhance intrinsic motivation to learn: Inclusion, Attitude, Meaning, and Competence, (Ginsberg and Wlodkowski, 2009). Inclusion is when students feel respected by, and connected to, a learning community. A positive attitude toward learning comes from having choice to learn what is most relevant to that individual. Meaning comes from, “engaging learning experiences that include learners’ perspectives and values,” (25). Finally, Competence arises when learners are aware that they have, “effectively learned something they value and perceive as authentic to their real world,” (25).

In our class forum we have been discussing Expectancy Theory, which I have written about previously in this blog. Expectancy is a student’s belief that he or she will be able to successfully complete a task. In school this includes the belief that you can do well on a test, understand new concepts, write a good essay etc. If a student comes to your class with low expectancy of success, what can instructors do to help increase motivation to learn?

Here are some ideas from Ginsberg and Wlodkowski;

Screen Shot 2015-02-28 at 5.04.07 PM

(Screen shot from Ginsberg & Wlodkowski,  2009, p. 28)

In this article, Ginsberg and Wlodkowski also describe a method for creating a lesson that incorporates the four elements of motivation, and then testing its effectiveness.

I think Expectancy and Competence go hand-in-hand. If we want students to expect to succeed in the future, we can help them to see when they are learning successfully in the present. This ability to evaluate how you are learning is an important aspect of self-directed learning, as is intrinsic motivation to continue learning.


Works Cited

Ginsberg, Margery B., and Raymond J. Wlodkowski. “Professional Learning to Promote Motivation and Academic Performance among Diverse Adults.” CAEL Forum and News(Nov. 2009). Web. 28Feb2014.

Gamification Example

Here is an excellent example of gamification that does not involve any actual games. The Why’s and How’s of Gamifying Your Classroom

This instructor, Scott Haselwood, teaches high school Pre-AP Precalculus and regular Calculus. As far as I can tell the students are working alone or in groups to learn math, completing assignments and tests like any other class. The gamification is in the incentives/ rewards that the instructor implemented. He created a Character Level Up and a Marketplace that looks impressively creative to me. He posts a link to his Google Doc if anyone wants to read his very game-like descriptions.

He does use a digital classroom management system to keep track of points and grading, a Google Form that students can submit, and a spreadsheet. This is very inspirational to me and seems like a system I could plausibly set up. The missing aspect for me is the storytelling, or epic meaning.

For more information about the concept of gamification, check out this slideshare by Zachary Fitz-Walter:

Week 7: Moderating a Discussion Forum

Debate illustration concept

This week I have been moderating the class discussion forum on the topic of Gamification of Education. It has been interesting to decide what strategies to use in this role. I first studied the subject and uncovered the main aspects I thought were important. We had previously learned about using essential questions as a teaching strategy. I thought it would strengthen our learning of that concept if learners would generate their own essential questions about gamification of education.

I also asked what they already know, and how they feel about games as a pre-assessment of their knowledge in this area. My overall strategy for facilitation was to stay out of it as much as possible and allow the conversations to develop without my intervention. I decided to let the students learn what was most salient to them instead of directing them to the information I had found.

In practice, however, it was very difficult to allow fully self-directed discussion on the forum topic. I felt nervous that students would not be interested in the topic, and checked multiple times during the day to see what had been posted. I felt disappointed when I saw no new posts, and when the learners did not seem to be as excited about this subject as I am. I decided to post a comment to draw their attention to a common misconception on the subject, and guide the learners to some of the concepts that I thought were important. I still feel conflicted about this decision. If I were the course instructor I can see it would be difficult to navigate between promoting self-directed learning and ensuring that required learning takes place.

Week 6: Game-Based Learning


Illustration of the fairy forest at night with flashlights, fireNext week I will be facilitating the class discussion forum on the topic Gamefication of Education. I had thought of this as using games to teach, such as Second Life, or the old Oregon Trail. I have learned that gameification means adding elements that cause people to have fun learning, and persist in overcoming obstacles to educational activities. However, game-based learning, or use of serious games, sounds really fun to me, so I want to share a few serious games that I’ve come across.

In the article, “Learning loops – interactions between guided reflection and experience-based learning in a serious game activity,” Cowley, Heikura, and Ravaja mention a variety of serious games that can be used to teach conflict negotiation or resource management: Science Supremo, Thinking Worlds: Sims, DoomEd, Making History, Colobots, Typing for Racing, IBM Innov8 game, Peacemaker, A Force More Powerful, and façade. They focused their research on the game Peacemaker, which they describe as follows:

“Peacemaker is a point-and-click strategy game, where the player acts as Israeli or Palestinian leader and must choose how to react to the (deteriorating) situation, deploying more or less peaceful options from diplomacy and cultural outreach to police and military intervention.” (351).

Legends of Alkhimia is a multiplayer game that “embeds students in problem solving challenges related to the use of chemistry in realistic contexts. In attempting to solve these problems, students must engage in individual laboratory work using an in-game virtual chemistry lab. The game levels take students through a narrative arc that provides coherence to the entire gameplay experience.” (Chee & Tan, 2012).

Finally, Elegy for a Dead World is an intriguing videogame that teaches users to write poetry. You can read the details here and take a look at the beautiful artwork that was created to support the poems. I can’t imagine the skills needed to create your own digital learning game, but some great options exist already, and they seem to teach more diverse skills and deeper concepts that I imagined.


Chee, Yam San, and Kim Chwee Daniel Tan. “Becoming Chemists Through Game-Based Inquiry Learning: The Case Of “Legends Of Alkhimia.” Electronic Journal Of E-Learning 10.2 (2012): 185-198. ERIC. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.


Cowley, B., T. Heikura, and N. Ravaja. “Learning Loops–Interactions Between Guided Reflection And Experience-Based Learning In A Serious Game Activity.” Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning 29.4 (2013): 348-370. ERIC. Web. 15 Feb. 2015.



Week 5: Questioning Techniques

QuestionsThis week we have been discussing essential questions in education. According to McTighe and Wiggins, essential questions are those that aim to, “stimulate thought, to provoke inquiry, and to spark more questions (3). These questions are open-ended, require justification, and can be asked repeatedly over time, (3). Using essential questions in instruction fits well with other concepts we have been learning in PIDP 3250, such as characteristics of adult learners, and student engagement.

Elizabeth Barkley has defined engagement as an interaction between motivation and active learning, (8). Essential questions can be used to foster both. A stimulating open-ended question can cause students to reflect on what they know, and connect existing and new knowledge; active learning. Allowing or encouraging students to create their own essential questions may increase the value they see in learning about a topic, and important aspect of motivation.

Encouraging students to generate their own questions will also help them to become self-directed learners, and meet the needs of adult learners who, due to their maturity and life experience may value, “ a spirit of mutuality between students and teachers as joint inquirers,” (Knowles, in Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 85).

If you want to read more, check out this link to a great blog article by Jackie Gerstein called, “Learners Should be Developing their Own Essential Questions”. She includes some inspiring quotes, and embedded videos, including this Prezi presentation by Jay Corrigan. In the presentation he explains the Question Formulation Technique, which can be used to help students develop their own questions.


Merriam, Sharan B., and Rosemary S. Caffarella. Learning in Adulthood a Comprehensive Guide. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007. Print.


McTighe, Jay, and Grant P. Wiggins. Essential Questions Opening Doors to Student Understanding. Alexandria: ASCD, 2013. Print.

Week 4: Creating a Digital Presentation

Over the past two weeks I created a digital presentation using the Prezi software. I like that it is similar to PowerPoint in that you can create slides with text, animation, voice, and music. I really appreciate that there is a free version to start with, and you can also pay money to access better features. I found there were enough free templates to meet my needs, and really good product support.

Prezi has many tutorials explaining how to use its features. You can get help by reading text and looking at pictures, or watching instructional videos. In the future, I would like to try imbedding a video in the presentation, experimenting with background music, and creating my own template. The biggest struggle that I found was recording the voice-over.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 3.16.39 PM


I used GarageBand to record the narration, which I like because there are free music loops, and fun audio effects such as “Robot” or “Dance” vocals. I watched some YouTube videos for tips on recording, and recorded separate files for each slide. I found that when put together into a presentation, they each sounded a bit different in tone and volume. In the future I might look for a different program that can equalize the sound across slides.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 3.12.26 PM

Mind-Map in Prezi

Finally, I keep noticing my preference to go into way too much depth when learning, and this project was no different. I really wanted to tie my new ideas about learning logs to ideas about specific learning skills, modern society and citizens, and self-actualization. To resolve this desire to go too far, I decided to add a mind-map to the end of the presentation where I listed ideas that would be fun to learn more about.



Video Tutorial: Podcast with GarageBand 10.0.3, Ryan Palmer, 2014Nov06


Blog Article: The Best Prezi Tips I Found Today