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Sub Sandwich? No, Try a Subpage or Sidebar Instead! (Updated Drupal/Work Session Schedule)

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Sub SandwichDo you need to learn how to edit your department’s website?  Would you like to know how to add sub pages, pictures and sidebars?  Our intro class will give you what you need to get started.  We’ll cover the basics of Drupal so you’ll be able to add links, pictures, and a host of other cool things to your site right away.

For you more advanced users who may be tackling needs beyond the basics (such as converting your forms), join us for a work session or two.  We’ll help you get the job done and you’ll leave with the “know how.”

Visit go/techworkshops/ to view the updated tech workshop schedule and sign up for the classes that fit your needs.

What Is Learning?

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
learning1

Daniel Dignan, a first-year student, said, “Learning is something to be enjoyed.”

When challenged to create his own visual essay on the essence of learning, Middlebury College senior Adam Lang put his trust in Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” who said, “We learn best from people who really care about us.”

“Learning is what excites us and motivates us and fills us with compassion,” Lang went on to declare in his video. “Learning is not a privilege; it is a human right and everyone should have access to a good education.”

Another student went to YouTube and pieced together clips of inner-city high school kids dancing and rapping and getting along famously with each other. A third returned to her hometown and visited with her favorite teacher in order to discover an answer to the question, “What is learning?”

All 12 students in visiting lecturer Emily Hoyler’s education studies course, Teaching Elementary Literacy and Social Studies (EDST 305), internalized the assignment and produced their own 5-to-10 minute videos, which they presented to the public last Wednesday evening, Dec. 4, at the Vermont Folklife Center.

While it’s unlikely that any of the films will be shortlisted for an Academy Award, in the aggregate they probed the question “What is learning?” from almost every conceivable angle. There was the Kindergartener on camera who pondered the query, “Who do you learn from?” and responded: “From everybody but statues.” And there was the college student who channeled the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants to help answer the question for him.

The goal of the course is to provide prospective elementary school teachers with the opportunity “to develop the necessary understandings and abilities for effective literacy and social-studies teaching for learners in a K-6 classroom.” It is based on the belief that reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, thinking, and computing are inseparable processes that flourish in supportive communities of learners. As a methods class for Middlebury College undergrads considering a career in teaching, each student was placed in an Addison County elementary school classroom from mid-September to early December to observe, assist, and both plan and carry out literacy and social studies lessons.

Their visual essays on learning, which the students presented publically, were intended to build on the class’s collective understanding of what learning is, and enhance each student’s proficiency with the tools used for digital storytelling.

Hoyler said, “By engaging students in developing the assessment strategy for the assignment” — a rubric that asked 1) whether the video adequately addressed the question and 2) whether it was both entertaining and interesting — “they were able to reflect on the purpose and meaning of assessment, and provide critical feedback to each other prior to the public screening.”

Hannah Root, a junior from Strafford, Vt., discovered in her elementary classroom that “learning goes both ways and learning is connection.” That by being an active participant, “by being part of something, we open ourselves up to learning.” (Watch Hannah Root’s video.)

In a collaborative learning environment each person is both a student and a teacher.

In a collaborative learning environment each person is both a student and a teacher.

To draw viewers into her video, Kaeng Takahashi ’15 made the conscious decision to forgo a narrator. “As a neuroscience major who doesn’t like science,” she made extensive use of text in her digital creation, and although she refrained from propounding a definitive statement on the nature of learning, she did demonstrate in her video that failure is an essential element in the process of problem solving.

Two students working independently found metaphors from their own lives to shed light on the question, What is learning?

For Hannah Staiger, a lanky senior from Wisconsin, the process of learning is akin to completing an arduous six-mile run, and she took viewers on the jog with her over hills, past cowfields, and down to the “Rattlin’ Bridge” in Weybridge to share in her journey. (Watch Hannah Staiger’s video.)

Sofia Silverglass discovered her metaphor for learning while sitting at her potter’s wheel. As viewers watch her spinning a lump of clay into a vessel, only to see it fall over into a useless lump clay again, the junior from Boston said, “Learning is messy and learning isn’t always linear… I don’t know exactly how to define learning and I am not sure there really is a definition. It’s an experience and it’s not the same for everyone,” which was exactly the point illustrated by the class’s 12 talented filmmakers.

Last Chance — LIS Open Workshops Wind Down for the Summer

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

It’s not too late to join us for a workshop (in English!) before Language Schools begin. Visit go/lisworkshops to view the last of our advertised open sessions. Youll find a Drupal introduction that covers basic web site maintenance skills, as well as another opportunity to learn how to access and use lynda.com Middlebury’s fabulous online learning resource that uses short videos to help you acquire new business and technology skills, including photography finesse.

Lynda’s recently added courses include such varied topics as “Managing Teams,” “Designing a Book,” and “Up and Running with Windows 8.” Watch a single video or work through an entire course, but be warned its addictive.

Please note that we do continue to offer “by request” group training during the summer months, staff and classroom space permitting; kindly send your request with details to helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

go/learning Reminders

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Just a quick reminder that we have two upcoming go/learning workshops. Information and registration links are listed below.

Wednesday May 1, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm – Email Writing Secrets

Click here to sign up >> Register. Led by Linda Bland, Cahoots Writing Service

This interactive workshop offers suggestions and tricks for improving your writing and management of e-mails.  The class focuses on how e-mail writing differs from other writing.  Learn the latest recommendations for when to use e-mail.  Identify ways to avoid misinterpretation of your e-mails.  Acquire suggestions to adjust your e-mail writing for better results.  Outcomes:  Learn to use e-mail so it doesn’t dominate your day—and you get the answers you seek. Read more>>

Wednesday May 15, 1:00 – 3:00 pm – Organizing Basics

Click here to sign up >> Register.  Led by: Porter Knight. Includes bound note-taking guides for all participants to use as a lasting resource.

The hours in a day are finite yet the demands on your time seem limitless.  How can you effectively get your work done when you’re pulled in so many different directions?  This workshop will put you back in charge of your day so you can focus on what’s important. 

*Though there is some new material, this workshop includes most of the core components that Porter Knight has presented in past years and in other formats, including:  RRRIPP through paper, RRRIDD yourself of email, TrueTime Planning. Read more>>

Life After Midd & lynda.com video-based learning

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

lynda.com logo

Students…  Interested in skills you can use in Life Beyond Midd?  lynda.com has everything you need!  Just click any of these course links, log on with your Middlebury username and password and you’re on your way.  Work through an entire course or view just the movie segments you need — it’s up to you.

This small sampler of business skills topics is just the beginning — lynda currently offers over 1600 course titles from which to choose.

Need a hand getting started?  Sign up for our lynda.com overview session at noon on March 15.

Friday Links, Feb. 22, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Got MOOCs?  Here are two recent pieces I found interesting:

The first is from Wired: Beyond the Buzz, Where Are MOOCs Really Going? by Michael Horn and Clayton Christensen.  “We believe they are likely to evolve into a scale business, one that relies on the technology and data backbone of the medium to optimize and individualize learning opportunities for millions of students. This is very different than simply putting a video of a professor lecturing online.”

The second is The Trouble With Online College from the New York Times and takes perhaps a less optimistic view. “Courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed.”

Friday Links, Feb. 22, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Got MOOCs?  Here are two recent pieces I found interesting:

The first is from Wired: Beyond the Buzz, Where Are MOOCs Really Going? by Michael Horn and Clayton Christensen.  “We believe they are likely to evolve into a scale business, one that relies on the technology and data backbone of the medium to optimize and individualize learning opportunities for millions of students. This is very different than simply putting a video of a professor lecturing online.”

The second is The Trouble With Online College from the New York Times and takes perhaps a less optimistic view. “Courses delivered solely online may be fine for highly skilled, highly motivated people, but they are inappropriate for struggling students who make up a significant portion of college enrollment and who need close contact with instructors to succeed.”