Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 1Joshua SheridanDr. ForemanItec 800, Fall 2009December 4, 2009 What Important Skills All Students Should KnowIntroduction: I have learned and remembered many of the learning concepts both during this se-mester and my undergraduate coursework as well. As I have a more complete understand-ing of the various learning theories, I am able to apply the most useful practices from eachdiscipline and strengthen my main idea. I focus on the positive aspects to create interesting,compelling lessons that will be useful for not only a student’s high school education, butalso their future as a productive member of society. I am interested in learning whether or not there is a difference in right or left brainthinking. I’ve heard about right brain thinking being equal to creativity ever since I was inmy teens- my Aunt Lisa gave me a copy of Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right side of theBrain when I was twelve years old. I loved drawing and wanted to improve my drawingabilities. After following the steps in the book I was indeed able to increase my abilities atdrawing, although not as good as some of the examples in the book. I’ve always been interested in how to cultivate creativity, which is one of the reasonsI went into education in the Iirst place. I want to empower my students, letting them see the
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 2future is wide open for those students who blend creativity with skill. I started doing re-search into this topic, read two books, and read countless articles on the internet with thetopic. The books reinforced what I had long suspected although never recorded mythoughts on paper. Daniel Pink proposed that right brain thinking will guide our lives andshape the world. Through his book “A Whole New Mind” he delves into the recent discoveryof brain M.R.I.’s while asking people questions- this technology lets one see how the brainresponds to different questions. it also helps to answer what we have long suspected, thateach part of the brain has a speciIic purpose- there are two sides of our brain that are verydifferent from each other. The left side is analytical and verbal, the right side is creative andspontaneous. Can we cultivate the right side of our brain to improve our creativity? As I researched my central question I quickly realized there is a lot of informationalready available on this topic- the task becomes separating the practical information fromthe interesting information. I am always in the process of reIining and updating my curricu-lum, the knowledge I learned from this class will be incorporated into both my current cur-riculum as well as my future curriculum. I will also share this information with the othermembers in my department as well as with other professional associations I am a memberof. I hope the information will be as useful to others educators as well as being useful tomyself professionally. I will summarize what I have learned about the three major forms of instructionaltechnology during the last 100 years. Some positive parts of behaviorism are instant feed-
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 3back which can be easily accomplished through software. The information is Iirst impartedto the viewer and then tested once again with immediate feedback. This testing lets the in-structor see if the material is understood and mastered. B.F. Skinner is best known for ‘op-erant conditioning.’ Operant conditioning is rewarding of a partial behavior or random actthat approaches the desired behavior. Operant conditioning can be used for shaping behav-ior too. Skinner thought that more complicated tasks could be broken down into smallerparts and taught. Skinner also used the Skinner Box which was used for training pigeons topeck at a light for food. One of the examples from Skinner I use in my class are quizzes onquia.com. Students take a multiple choice quiz and get immediate feedback once they aredone with the quiz. Once information is mastered students can go onto the next task. Gagne had a taxonomy of learning outcomes that included: verbal information, intel-lectual skills, cognitive strategies, attitudes, and motor skills. Gagne broke down the com-ponents of learning into Iive separate outcomes. Much of the information that Gagne classi-Iied is still being used in instruction today. Gagne shed light onto how tasks are learned andincreased everyone’s understanding about learning. Gagne also categorized his events, les-son examples, and rationale as well. His theories are time tested and based on research toimprove both teaching and comprehension. Piaget observed children, created experimentations and interactions with childrento check what they understand. He broke down the learning into four different categories.Sensory motor stage development is 0 to 2 years old. Pre-operational is 2 to 7 years old.
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 4Concrete operational stage is 7 to 11. Formal operation is 11 years and older. New researchsuggests that Piaget’s views are mostly correct. As learners we have to look around andlearn from so many sources. Humans observe the world around them and try out what isobserved. Vygotsky was a pioneering psychologist who had a wide and diverse interest onmany topics including developmental psychology, child development, and education. Hecreated key concepts in psychology such as tools, mediation, and the zone of proximal de-velopment. Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development is a task that is too difIicult for a childto master alone, but can be learned with guidance and assistance of either adults or schoolpeers. Cognitivism or Information Processing Perspective gained approval and acceptanceduring the 1950s through the 1970s- which essentially treated the human mind as being acomputer for the way humans think. The human mind has two essential characteristics. TheIirst characteristic is that human memory is organized rather than random. The secondcharacteristic is that memory is active rather than passive. Memory doesn’t simply receiveinformation, it actively synthesizes information, looking for and Iinding order in new in-formation. Memory as an active synthesizer requires three components: attention- focus-ing on the information from the environment; Encoding- translating information into some-
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 5thing meaningful that can be remembered; and retrieval- the process of identifying and re-calling information for a particular purpose. Constructivism has gained wide acceptance over the last twenty years. The key con-cepts are that learning isn’t pouring content into a student’s head, rather the interactionbetween what information is incoming and what information is already there. Learning isrewiring the brain and adding new connections. Learning comes from doing and learning isimitation. Learning is primarily a social activity and you can’t learn unless you fail are allbeliefs of constructivism. We learn a little by listening, slightly more of what we see, andeven more of what we do. Bloom’s Taxonomy is broken down into six categories. The categories are evaluation,synthesis, analysis, application, understanding, and knowledge. Knowledge of simple recallwas discovered that over 95% of test questions students encountered required them tothink only at the lowest possible level- the recall of information. He identiIied six levels :from simple recall at the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstractmental levels., to the highest order which is classiIied as evaluation. Now that I have summarized what we learned in the class I am going to focus therest of the paper on the tasks I will present to the class.
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 6 After doing much research: reading two books by both Daniel Pink and Howard Gar-dener; online articles by several renowned authors; and current magazines focusing onlearning- I have been persuaded by Daniel Pink’s message. His message is simple: Right-brain thinkers will rule the future. This information can improve our student’s lives, moti-vate our students, and empower our students to change the world. After careful delibera-tion many parts are already being implemented into my district’s curriculum- however thereasoning or explanation was never told to the educators Iighting in trenches. I think theobjectives and goals need to be transparent to the teachers that are advocating thesecauses. Our district is already requiring one year of Career Tech Education classes for allgraduating students in the year 2012 and beyond. Career Tech Ed wants to give all students‘21st Century Skills’ which is one of the themes in Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind.” My Iinal project is a series of mini-lessons each illustrating a separate but vital ideaabout creativity and prosperity in the 21st century. These lessons have been carefully cho-sen and constructed to reinforce the information that was discovered during my research.Together, if all of the skills and related skill-sets are mastered the student will be in a greatposition for future prosperity. The tasks our students need to be trained in are tasks thatcomputers can not do better or faster, that someone in China or India can’t do more cheaply.If a computer can do it faster or your work can be outsourced, you would not be able to be aproductive member of our future, global economy.
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 7 We will learn about ‘Drawing on the Right side of the Brain’ by doing one of the les-sons from Betty Edward’s book. She has students carefully look at a paper that has half of avase on it, the vase is curved and looks like a squiggled line. The idea is to copy the linecarefully onto the empty side. Since the shape is not recognizable, the hope is that one care-fully observes and draws the line from direct observation instead of using the symbols inone’s mind for ‘vase.’ Anyone that can hold a pencil can learn to draw through practice.Some people pick it up faster or easier, but everyone has the potential to draw. Next we learn about C.R.A.P.- which is a design term that Robin Williams has comeup with representing Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. The second worksheetcovers each element brieIly. Contrast is the difference between two elements. Repetition issimply reusing the same element several times throughout the design. Alignment is talkingabout visual weight- is the work balanced or uneven? Proximity refers to how close or howfar the various elements are to each other; How the elements are arranged on the page. For our third lesson I’m going to provide you some sample pictures and you’re goingto create a story and backstory for the image. The back story could be things that are notseen but might be relevant to the story. Our fourth exercise has everyone create a simple 5 line self portrait. Don’t worry ifyou can’t draw well, practice makes perfect. These sketches are fun to do and help get youin a drawing mood. Enjoy yourself and have some fun!
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 8 In our Iifth exercise we’re going to take the Iirst few questions of the Empathy Quo-tient test, The idea is that if you know what kind of person you are, it can improve many as-pects of your life. For our sixth exercise we take some “New Yorker” comic strips and come up withyour own witty captions. This exercise helps you work on In our seventh and Iinal exercise we take the Iirst few questions of the SpiritualTranscendence Scale. I hope through these seven lessons to cultivate a sense of creativity, wonder, imagi-nation, and fun. Hopefully you’ll be able to take at least one idea you like and incorporatethat idea either into your own teaching or your own instructional technology. Although Ithought this class was going to be a lot of theory, I was pleasantly surprised when the exer-cises were lively and engaging. I liked the mix of technology into the classes by using iLearnforums and iLluminate for our online sessions. I can’t wait to continue my future learningand apply even more lessons to my future lesson plans.
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 9Joshua SheridanItec 800 Final Project WorksheetsTuesdays Fall 2009The following documents contain 7 mini-lessons from my Iinal project.Practice by doing exercises that help you use Right side of your brain. Vase/Faces Mini--Exercise 1The Vase/Faces Drawing A side benefit of learningto draw is getting to know your own brain a bit better- for example, how, for you, these two modescompete and cooperate.Here is a quick exercise designed to illustrate themental conflict that can occur between L-mode andR-mode.This is a famous optical illusion drawing, called"Vase/Faces" because it can be seen as either twofacing profiles or as a symmetrical vase in thecenter.Your job, of course, is to complete the second pro-file, which will inadver- tently complete the sym-metrical vase in the cen- ter.From drawright.comhttp://drawright.com/vaceface.htm
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 10Draw what you see. Carefully look at the line drawing on the left hand side and copy to theblank side.
Anal Proja:lResearch Papar Sleridan I IRobinWilliamo- amm.st,Repetition, Alignment,Proximity- mini exercise 2 The four basic principles The following is a brief OCrview of the basic principles of design that appear I n every wcll·dtsigned piece of work.Ahhough. I discuss each one of these prindplesscpar.tt(l"ly, kctp in mind lhC)are r(ally intt>rconnectcd. Rardy will you apply only one principle. Contrast Ihe ide.behind contrast is to :lOid elements on the (Xlge t hat a rc merely s1milar. If the clements (type.color.size, line thickness•.shape,Space. etc:.) are not the sam. them very different. Contrast is often the most importnnt tisual att raction on il page- i ts what makes a reader look at the page i ri the fi rst place-. Repetition Repeat isual elements of t he design throughout the piece. You can rtp("at colOr$, shapg.textures.spatial relatiOn· ships, line chic:;kncsscs. fonts.sizes,graphic:; concepts, etc:;. This develops the org:ani:r.ation a nd strengthens the unity. Alignment Nothing should be placed on the page arbitraril)· very E element should have some visua l connection with another element on the p: ge. lhis crea tes a de:an,sophi$tica ted, fresh look Proximity Jtems relating to e;u;h other should be grouped close together. (hen several items are in dose proximity to e.1ch ot her, the) become one visua l u nit rnther than sever.1l separate units.. lhis helps organi:r.c informat ion, reduces clultcr,and gives the reader a c;lcar st ructure. Umm .•. Whenga thering these (our prindples from che va$t maze c)f design theory, I thooght there must besomeappropriate and memorabacronym wi th.i n these conceptua l idtas that would help people remember them. Well, uh, there i$ a memorable-but r;ather i n:appropriate- acron ym.Sorry.
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 12 Create a mini-ad that either displays all four the principles, or else fo-cuses on one. If you’re creating just one, create the example in more detail and Iill the page.Take a random picture and create a story from it, including a back story (things not seen inthe picture but relevant to the story)- Mini Exercise 3photo taken by http://www.Ilickr.com/photos/aliteratia/4146802232/What back story can you create from the above image? Keep the story brief- a total of Iiftywords (one paragraph) will sufIice.Write your 50 word story here:Learn to Draw- Drawing is about seeing relationships. 5 line self portrait- Mini Exercise 4Your Creative Task:Draw a self-portrait using only Iive lines.The lines can connect. For example a circle is one line that has been connected.The lips can be one continuous line. You can also make your lines wavy.Creativity Tip:Learn to see a great design or a picture within a bigger picture. For example, when lookingthrough a magazine or photos you have taken, use a few pieces of paper to crop a portion ofthe photo.
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 13Lesson discovered at www.marygatling.com Include your 5 line self portrait aboveTest your Empathy Quotient tinyurl.com/dbsd8 Mini Ex #5Fill out the Iirst ten questions
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 14Mini Exercise 6Caption Game- take 2 New Yorker comic strips without captions, try to create funny, inter-esting, and humorous captions Mini Exercise 6Artwork by George Booth Artwork by Al JonesYour caption for Booth Comic Strip Your caption for Jones Comic StripMini Exercise 7Spiritual Transcendence Scale- How much spirituality plays in your well being.http://www.tinyurl.com/5sz7u Mini Exercise 7Answer the 9irst three questions
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 15Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of 7 tasks that you can use/practice to im-prove your right brain thinking. Like many things in life, the more you use your right brain,the easier it becomes. Good luck!
Final Project Research Paper! Sheridan 16BibliographyGardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press,2006.Pink, Daniel. A Whole New Mind. New York: Penguin Group, 2005.Williams, Robin. The Non-Designersʼ Design Book. Berkeley: Peachpit Press, 2008websites / resourcesDrawing faces/vases http://drawright.com/vaceface.htmphoto taken by http://www.Ilickr.com/photos/aliteratia/4146802232/5 line portraits www.marygatling.comTest your Empathy Quotient tinyurl.com/dbsd8Spiritual Quotient http://www.tinyurl.com/5sz7u