Feel The Force – S17 Wrap-up


As another semester of Grad 5114 (#GEDIVT) comes to an end, we present the final edition of our web digest. In the “Greatest Hits” section below you will find a collection of posts representing our best work on the topics we explored throughout the semester. These posts were chosen by the learning community as a whole and curated by the teaching team.

On behalf of the teaching team, I want to thank everyone for a terrific semester and wish you all the best for a wonderful summer. Use the force to cultivate curiosity, and please stay in touch — you can always find us at #gedivt.

Week 14 – Connecting the Dots

As we race toward the end of the semester, please take some time to reflect on the readings for our final unit (week 14). The articles by Parker Palmer and Dan Edelstein are especially relevant, and if you are only going to read two more things for this class, please, please, please let these be the pieces you choose. Think about how you will connect the dots from this course and your broader curriculum to become the “New Professional” Parker Palmer invokes here:

The word “professional” originally meant someone who makes a “profession of faith” in the midst of a disheartening world. That root meaning became diminished as the centuries rolled by, and today it has all but disappeared. “Professional” now means someone who possesses knowledge and techniques too esoteric for the laity to understand, whose education is proudly proclaimed to be “value free.”

The notion of a “new professional” revives the root meaning of the word. This person can say, “In the midst of the powerful force-field of institutional life, where so much conspires to compromise the core values of my work, I have found firm ground on which to stand—the ground of personal and professional identity and integrity—and from which I can call myself, my colleagues, and my profession back to our true mission.”

Thank you all for sharing this semester with me and for your collective efforts to explore what teaching means in the changing landscape of the 21st-century higher education.  I look forward to reading your final set of posts.

Image: CC0 Public Domain

Critical Pedagogy – Week 9 Guidelines

After the Bath

Next week we will continue to explore inclusive pedagogy with a focus on the tenets of critical pedagogy and work of Paulo Freire. Before seminar, please read the Kincheloe article and go through Dr. Fowler’s PowerPoint slides (on Canvas) to familiarize yourself with Paulo Freire’s pedagogy. Many of you are likely familiar with the often-anthologized chapter two from Pedagogy of the Oppressed, but please read or review that chapter as well as the selections from Pedagogy of Freedom, and come to class ready to talk about them – perhaps armed with a good nugget (or two). If at all possible, please also have a look at Freire’s video on curiosity and June Jordon’s Report from the Bahamas.

As usual you may post about whatever resonates with you.

Questions to keep in mind as you read and prepare for class next week:

  • What does Freire’s approach to teaching and learning emphasize and why?
  • How does Freire define dialogic engagement?
  • What would a critical pedagogical praxis look like in your discipline?
  • What is the difference, for Freire, between being an “authority” vs. being “authoritarian”?

Image: After the bath (Efter badet’), 1971-76, limestone, by Swedish artist Pye Engström, Västertorp, Stockholm, Sweden. From left to right: Elise Ottesen-Jensen, Paulo Freire, Sara Lidman, Mao Tse-Dong, Angela Davis, Georg Borgström and Pablo Neruda. By Boberger. Photo: Bengt Oberger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Inclusive Pedagogy – Week 8 Guidelines

Diversity photo

After spring break we will examine contemporary diversity issues and think about how to use inclusive pedagogy in our classrooms. Just as our learning environments are complex, so are the individuals that comprise them. Everyone has visible as well as “invisible” cultural identities, and inclusive pedagogy attends to those differences. Inclusive pedagogy seeks to engage learners in ways that are inclusive and supports environments that are attentive to diversity. It also helps prepare students to contribute productively to an increasingly complex and globalized society by helping them develop a broader understanding of domestic and global diversity issues.

So, this is a big project. And an important one. Some of us have already thought about and worked extensively in this area, some of us are just dipping our toes in, and many of us are somewhere in between. This is ok. In fact, it’s even a plus.

To prepare for seminar next week, please read the required texts.* Start with the two short selections (on the Hidden Brain and diversity in the workplace). The selections by Claude Steele and the article on Brave Spaces / Safe Spaces are longer, but you need to read them and come to class ready to talk about them and work closely with the texts. (This means you will want to be able to access whatever version of the texts you read during class next week.) As usual, you may blog about whatever resonates most with you.

*If you want more of a deep dive or are already familiar with these texts, please explore the supplemental materials on Canvas and on the supplemental page on the schedule. If there are items you think we should know about, please tweet them out to #gedivt

Image licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

What does Pokemon Go teach me about pedagogy

When I was in primary school, a Japanese animated series named “Pokemon”  caught everyone’s eyes. We wish someday we can have our own pokemon. Thanks to Pokemon go, our dream finally came true. It’s no wonder that Pokemon Go is the most hottest game in the world and millions of people (of course me included) crazy about it.

Image result for pokemon go

Pokemon is not only about catch pikachu or other pokemons, it’s a good example of teaching environment.

Why is Pokemon Go so popular?

  • Explore. Actually, there is no guideline in Pokemon Go. No one teach you how to play this game, they only give you some hints. What you can do in Pokemon Go is involve and get your first hand experience and you will learn from your experience. Pokemon Go is all about adventure. You never know what will happen in the next corner, may be a pokemon you never caught, may be a pokemon with high combating power, maybe a pokemon you don’t like. If you want catch a new type pokemon, you may even need to explore to other places you never went to before. However, I love this adventure, I love the happiness when I encounter something new. I love the process when I explore.
  • Cooperation and Competition. In Pokemon Go, if you achieve level 5, you can choose a team to join, whether red, yellow or blue. There are several Gyms around you, you can combat with other teams to occupy the gym. If you succeed, you team color the your pokemon will appear in the gym and people will see it from a far distance. The combating process needs the cooperation of team members and you should be strategic in deciding which pokemon to use. In addition, even if you successfully occupy the gym, you can use your pokemon to help your own team build the combat power in this gym and lessen the possibility to be beaten by others. I think Pokemon Go provide a good mechanism full of incentives and risks, which makes us enjoy the cooperation and competition in this process.
  • Communication. In my own experience, you may not achieve great success without communicate with others. Since there’s no guideline in Pokemon Go, all you have is the experience from you and others. We all now, the sample size of one person is too limited, you won’t have the energy or time to explore all and identify all the possibilities. With the help of  others, you can enlarge the sample size and easily get the information. Based on the information, you can find some spots where rare pokemon may appear. You can also get strategies in the game. What’s more, in pokemon’s world, items may exhibit positive externalities (A jargon in economics, describes something one does that create a positive influence for others). For instance, if you use lure module in one spot, other nearby players will all benefit from it. With communication, you can know this information and share benefit with others.
  • Decide your own goal. There is no general “success” rule in Pokemon Go. Some people are fans of pikachu, so they may want catch as many pikachu as possible. Some people love combating, so they want conquer as many gyms as possible. Some people may enjoy collection, so they want collect as many types as possible. In this world, all the thing is your call and you can decide all by your personality and interest.
  • Effort based. Although luck may play some role in Pokemon Go, but generally, Pokemon Go is effort based. If you explore more, you have a highly chance to get more pokemons and you can see your progress day by day.
  • Interactive and technology. Technology make Pokemon Go possible and let pokemons enter our world. Pokemon is no longer something in imagination, it’s the cute babies live in your phone and may “interact” with you in the real life.


Image result for 杰尼龟

What we can learn from Pokemon?

  • Education can be a journey with exploration. All the students have the creativity and have the learning experience, they just need some hints help them go through. As a teacher, we need find the way which can lead student’s passion and help them feel the beauty of the materials. We are not the people who teach them knowledge, we are the people who lead them explore the world.
  • We can design some interesting and helpful mechanism that contains both cooperation and completion. This mechanism stimulates students’ enthusiasm and make them feel accomplishment.
  • Help students communicate. Communication is always a good way of learning. Sometimes, you may feel lonely when you study alone. Study teams may help digest knowledge, and you may get a good friendship at end.
  • Don’t push students, let them decide what’s their interest and how can they achieve it. As a teacher, you just provide a healthy environment, but they are the owner of their life.
  • Incorporate technology. Nowadays, cool technology always catch people’s eyes. If we can incorporate cool and interactive technology-based teaching in our class, it would be more interesting.
  • Grow with students together. Like you grow with your Pokemon.

Image result for 杰尼龟

Reposted with permission from weizhe11

Who am I…?

Have you ever had a tough time in classes when you want to say something and the moment is suddenly gone?

Have you ever thought so deeply about the answer to a question that by the time you reach a thoughtful conclusion it is too late?

Have you ever raised your hand in class and slowly lowered it because the professor did not notice or you decided to not say what you had to say anymore?

Well…that is me for sure! I am an Introvert!


And quite frankly I am completely satisfied with it. I believe that it is a part of my true authentic self. Yes! I know you all are getting ready to write your blogs about your authentic teaching self. For the past few weeks spending time with you all in class has been a fantastic experience for me.

As I read your blogs every week, I observe that you are making the connections, that you are trying, that you are putting forth your ideas for us related to the information we present for your perusal. And even though in the moment it may be confusing, disorganized or elusive, you are sharing your thoughts about the concepts presented and I enjoy reading your thoughts SO much. But, something is missing…

Last Spring, when I took GEDI, something was missing for me too till I got to the post about MY true authentic teaching self…you know what it was? My voice…because


Yes they do…and yet, I realized while I wrote this post last year that my voice and being able to communicate my ideas IN CLASS was super important. Not only for the benefit of my professor or my participation but because I needed to hear my voice in the classroom in order to find and be my true authentic self. Some of you may be inspired by my post, some intimidated and some not find it useful…but I know one thing – I want to hear your voice. I want you to speak up, I want you to raise your hand and keep it raised till you are called upon to speak.

You know who you are –


Let us hear you speak!


Week 5 – Imagination and Gaming

Praying Mantis on Tinker Cliffs

Many of the posts about assessment this week circled around issues of incentive and motivation (external vs. internal), as well as the various merits and drawbacks of traditional evaluation schemes and regimes. I’m sure we’ll delve much more deeply into the issue of “Outcomes Based Education” (OBE) and the changing ABET standards this evening, and am excited about what that discussion has in store.

Regardless where we end up — and it’s important to remember that reasonable people can see things differently, and that there is no “one size fits all” solution, just revisiting some of the practices and premises we take for granted will benefit our teaching praxis going forward.

Most people do agree that imagination is an essential component of motivation, and next week is all about firing up the imagination for digital learners. Jean Lacoste will be attending the first part of class to share her multi-modal project for teaching a large statistics class. Please have a look at her proposal before you come to class. And for your posts, please read the remaining materials and write about whatever issue (or set of issues) resonates with you the most. This should be an interesting session, and I am eager to read what you have to say.

Assessment: Third Blogging Prompt

Grading Butter by the Railway Cold Stores (1917) By State Library of Queensland, Australia [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Our topic for this week is “Assessment.” Donna Riley of VT’s Department of Engineering Education will be visiting class to discuss her ongoing work with ABET standards, so please make sure you’ve read her draft paper, “We Assess What We Value” before class.

I’m planning to have us watch one of the Dan Pink videos posted on the Schedule this evening, but if stuff happens and we don’t get there, you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with Pink’s perspective before proceeding further. (Choose between the 11 minute animated version and the 18′ 30″ TED Talk). Then read “The Case Against Grades” (Alfie Kohn) and “Imagination First” (Liu and Noppe-Brandon). If you get to Lombardi’s piece on “The Role of Assessment in Authentic Learning,” that would be great.

You may post about whatever issue (or set of issues) raised in these materials resonates with you the most.  We know from the discussions we have already had that assessment is a complicated topic and that we have complicated (and sometimes contradictory) ideas about how it works (in general and in our particular field.)  This should be an interesting session, and I am eager to read what you have to say.

One more cool thing: We’ll be exploring a relatively new web annotation tool called Hypothes.is over the next few weeks.  To get us started, I will post some questions and annotations on some of the readings.  The links are below.  If you want to respond and play with the tool yourself, that would be great. Just follow the directions on the Hypothes.is site.

Donna Riley: https://via.hypothes.is/http://amynelson.net/gedis16/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/WeAssessWhatWeValue-Submitted-DRAFT.pdf

Alfie Kohn: https://via.hypothes.is/http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/

Marilyn Lombardi: https://via.hypothes.is/https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI3019.pdf  (May have a bug – it’s not you.)

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