Welcome to the Fred Davis WaldenU EDUC 8844 & EDUC 8845 (Below) Project Page

Welcome to the Fred Davis WaldenU EDU 8845 Blog Page

Module 1

Blog Topic #1

A Conducive Learning Environment: To Guide or Not to Guide

I can’t say enough about the guided inquiry approach that I’ve used in the classroom over the years at both the college and secondary school levels. A sizable chunk of this pedagogic enthusiasm no doubt stems from a tightly embraced Socratic approach to learning. But as an instructional technologist, with an unwavering penchant for multimedia and digital technology in a perpetual critical thinking and creative environment, I view the guided inquiry approach as a proven pedagogic tool.

That’s why I’m especially intrigued over Siemens (2008) and his provocative but praiseworthy paper on learning theories in the digital age. As a veteran communications instructor, I certainly can see all sides of the issue regarding instructional guidance when it comes to computers, the Internet, and, by extension, multimedia and digital technology. Learners, as I continue to find out, handle and absorb content in the technology environment differently, which requires certain pedagogic adjustments on the part of educators and learners. But I’m not so sold on the concept in the students’ interfacing with multimedia and digital programs and applications that minimal guidance, as Siemens (2008) posited in his Mitra (2007) “hole-in-the-wall” reference, is the most effective approach. Granted, this had to do with a children’s research study in which computer learning was achieved with minimal instructional input involving computers. But my question is, what constitutes “minimal guidance”? Is it having a group of youngsters, in this case ages 6-12, turning on their computers and going to an application or a program, without the instructor making reference to any program nuances or complexities? Or, is it reinforcement of digital content, where and when applicable? As a seasoned communications and technology instructor, I submit that “minimal” at this point begins to take on a whole new aura or meaning, making it not only pivotal but something akin to a concept being in the eye of the beholder.

But regardless of the pedagogy, behaviorism in educational technology no doubt shifts depending on the task or the assignment. I can just imagine what the learning environment was like in the 1960s when Skinner’s (Saettler, 2004) teaching machines and programmed instruction were beginning to make their mark on a skeptical but increasingly technologically-savvy society. From my vantage point, this behavior in multimedia and digital technology kind of ebbs and flows among students depending on the application or program. When a group of my gifted and academically talented middle school students started using their iPods to make videos a few years ago, I literally had to pry them away from my computer lab to go to their next class. I got the same enthusiastic response from the same group when I introduced them to electronic organizer programs such as Inspiration® and Timeliner® that literally involve bells and whistles.

However, class enthusiasm was a little more subdued when the students had to work with graphics and enhanced illustrations in Macromedia’s Fireworks as part of a WebQuest® (WebQuest.Org, 2007), which required constant interaction with me as their instructor using this increasingly popular electronic lesson tool. There was no other choice but to assume a more guided posture as their instructor to spur the kind of requisite engagement necessary to achieve the WebQuest® task.

So to guide or not to guide is a pedagogic dilemma in which educators may often find themselves. My suggestion for a possible solution is not only to monitor learner behavior as technology continues to expand, but to couple the efforts with a heavy dose of engagement to help bring about a more conducive learning environment.


Saettler, P. (2004). The evolution of American educational technology. Greenwich, CT:

Information Age Publishing.

Siemens, G. (2008), January 27). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for

educators and designers. Paper presented to ITFORUM. Retrieved from


WebQuest.Org (2007). The WebQuest Research Forum. Department of Educational Technology,

San Diego State University. Retrieved from http://webquest.org/

Module 2

Blog Tpoic #2

Cognitivism as a Learning Theory

It’s hard to walk away after reading Kerr’s (2007) blog on cognitivism and learning theories, as well as Kapp’s (2007) blog on educational schools of thought, without having a strong sense of one’s own ideals as they relate to learning behavior – and the important adjustments that must be made along the way to accomplish various learning objectives. As someone who embraces the constructivist philosophy strongly, thanks to the learning theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Gardner – among others – I find cognitivism and constructivism pivotal for both learner and educator in problem-solving and collaboration pedagogy. Simply, I just think that having a strong sense of how to make the most effective use of one’s knowledge, based on experiences, collaboration, and, yes, creative ways to augment existing knowledge, adds a dimension to constructivism that is paramount to the learning process.

The collaborative exchanges in both blogs speak volumes about how information involving cognitivism, behaviorism, connectivism and constructivism is processed and used. I’m a firm advocate of the kind of back and forth that ensues in blogging and similar e-learning venues, because it augments the learning process. The more information and ideas exchanged among connected individuals, in my view, the more opportunity there is for a highly instructive and insightful learning experience. What one does with that information from the learning experience, as in the case of the Kerr (2007) and Kapp (2007), has to serve as an enlightenment – if nothing more than the sharing of certain isms or beliefs related to knowledge and behavior.

Finally, a word about pragmatism. While I don’t suggest hoisting a moistened finger to the wind on every decision made, especially in educational technology, pragmatism has served learning theorists and education, itself, well over the years. Dewey’s (1938; 1997) well-documented pragmatic reforms on educational and social change, should serve as a primmer in the ever-burgeoning and ground-breaking world of educational technology. Dewey exhibited the kind of behavior that served as a springboard for much of what we as educators and learners enjoy in education today. One thing is for certain. Like pragmatism, isms -- as detailed in the Kerr (2007)
blog – also must change to help improve the learning process. As such, cognitivism and constructivism are sure to continue to be reliable, if not trustworthy beliefs and components for education overall. Let’s hope these ideals continue to move the learning process forward.

Dewey, J. (1938; 1997). Experience and education.

Kerr, B. (2007), January 1). _isms as filter, not blinker [Web log post]. Retrieved from


Kapp, K. (2007, January 2). Out and about: Discussions on educational schools of thought

[Web log post]. Retrieved from



Module 3
Blog Topic #3

Collaboration as a Precipice for Success

As I auditioned the Rheingold (2008) video, a number of things quickly crossed my mind. I thought about Middle-East politics and the volatile but perpetually explosive dilemma facing Israel and the kind of peaceful coexistence it no doubt will eventually take for lasting peace involving its combative geopolitical neighbors. I thought about the Kruger National Wildlife Preserve in South Africa and the challenges hunters face there each day in trying to bring down the Big 5 involving the elephant, lion, leopard, white rhino, and buffalo as part of the country’s most elusive but challenging wildlife game. And I thought about the late Steve Jobs of Apple and the incredible collaboration it must have taken to position the company as one of the leading technology firms on Planet Earth. In all of these instances, I thought about the insightful examples posited by Rheingold (2008) and the underlying video message of collaboration as a powerful component of advancement and success.

I don’t think there’s much question that collaboration is likely to play a major role in getting more computers into the home. As a communication instructor, I know that television remains the most powerful medium in modern society, but all of that will probably change during the next decade as more computers make their way into homes. Kuriyan and Ray (2008) found in a UC-Berkeley study on information and communication technologies that the power of expansion involving these technologies lies with poor and economically impoverished families. I couldn’t agree more. Like television – and before TV when there was just radio – the more sets that came into homes in the 1940s, the more powerful TV became and the greater its medium reach. It took the collaboration of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in 1948 to form a national television network system, which continues to thrive today, thanks to the subsequent addition of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) in 1953, the Fox Television Network and cable proliferation in 1980s, which has given information and entertainment a major communication transformation.

But the credit must go to collaboration, as Rheingold (2008) pointed out in his praiseworthy collaboration video. Taking the experiences, knowledge, and constructive behavior of people who put this knowledge to effective use is understandably the right way to go about getting something done. While it’s all couched in constructivism and meaningful behavior, it does epitomize not only what works, but what works best.


Kuriyan, R., & Ray, I. (2008). Information and communication technologies for development:

The bottom of the pyramid model in practice. The Information Society, 24: 93-104.

Retrieved from



doi: 10.1080/01972240701883948.

Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved

from http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html

Module 4 Mindmap and Blog (Connectivism ) -- EDUC 8845

Module 5
Blog Topic #5
New Technologies

When I worked with a group of gifted and academically talented middle school students several years ago in a journalism and video production class I was teaching, the last thing I expected was to have to worry about motivation. After all, the widely recognized Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (Silverman, 2012) of a minimum 130 IQ score connotes the brightest among the brightest, and from my vantage point as a teacher of the gifted, working with a group of self-starters was tantamount to an educational godsend. Or, so I thought.

Fact is, motivation for these bright overachievers, who were delving into multimedia and digital became front and center for the new technologies that ensued. Certainly, my pedagogical technologies, was in no way a given. Initially, they seem a bit hesitant, if not apprehensive, about their journalism and video production semester-long mission, until I OK’d the use of personal iPod and MP3s as part of Apple’s iMovie and iDVD software to assemble and complete their class projects. At the time, their high-profile college preparatory magnet middle school had enacted a ban on the use of personal electronics during the school day, and it was only after a request from me for a special exemption to work on their semester-long video projects that there seem to be a rebirth of interest – and energy.

While the Keller ARCS Model ( Driscoll, 2005) was not a paradigm for my class video production project, it easily could have been based on my motivational techniques that quickly strategy was to expose a group of high-performing learners to new and emerging technologies while making above-average videos and having fun in the process. But even after fully laying out the objectives and the time table for the mission, the thing that really got the ball rolling – and their attention – was the accepted use of personal electronics to complement Macromedia and Apple’s much-ballyhooed multimedia and digital software, including iTunes and GarageBand, with which the video production class had become so enamored, their literally begged to forego adjacent c lasses to spend more time in the computer lab to work on various projects.

No question, their personal iPods, MP3s, and in some cases their own digital video cameras, were the prime driver or motivation for the video projects, which went on to receive regional and national distinction. The conditions were certainly right for a class that was encouraged to have limitless creativity through words and pictures. But their videos allowed them to tweak, revise, and collaborate as a unit. I wasn’t wrong about the caliber of student I had in these individual units. They were unquestionably smart and determined self-starters, but they liked the motivation and confidence early-on for challenging video project. Once their hesitancy and apprehensions were jettisoned, their behavior was modified and transformed into a conducive learning environment. Motivation and self-regulation in learning (Driscoll, 2005), in reflecting on this memorable but productive experience, is a fitting model for this kind of pedagogical success.


Driscoll, M. (2005), Psychology of learning for instruction. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Silverman, L. (2012). How to use the new IQ tests in selecting gifted students. Gifted

Development Center. Retrieved from http://www.gifteddevelopment.com/About_GDC/


URLs for other classmates' blogs on "New Technologies" blog:
Debbie Morris

Martha Bless

Blog #6
Learning in a Digital World
Fred Davis
For me personally, technology has affected my learning – and for the better – in so many ways that it is difficult to single out any one factor as the most transformative or important in 21st century education. For, I remain a constructivist and, by extension, I try to make the most me personally, technology has affected my learning – and for the better – in so many ways that it is difficult to single out any one factor as the most transformative or important in of a learning environment based on life experiences, be they in the use of technology or some other instructional tool. However, for the purpose of this blog assignment and the impact of technology on the manner in which I learn in a highly informational and digital world, I credit the learning theories of Piaget (Driscoll, 2005), Vygotsky (Driscoll, 2005), and Gardner (2003) as significant in my ability to understand knowledge derived through cognitive development and multiple intelligences. Saettler (2004) described the 30-year period from the 1950s to the 1980s as pivotal for cognitive science and educational technology because of the focus on “knowledge and constructions” (Saettler, 2004, p.319) for enhanced understanding of what was being taught. While Gardner did not begin shedding light until later in the 20th century on the skills and/or intelligences that I am convinced benefit both a face-to-face learning environment and an online environment, I have no doubt the use of technology has helped to kick my learning and that of my students up a notch – thanks to graphic organizers, conceptualization, connectivisim, and other forms of critical-thinking software in the vast arena of multimedia and digital technology.
Thus, as a constructivist in the realm of learner and educator, who constantly but relentlessly pursues experiential ways of optimal points of learning, a tip of the hat certainly goes to Piaget, Vygotsky, and Gardner, among other constructivists, who have figured prominently in my theoretical learning approach. I also a owe great deal to the pragmatism of Dewey (1938; 1997), whose experiential approach to reform and societal change is often a cornerstone for the kind of solid philosophical and pedagogical foundation I need as an educator to keep my students ahead of the learning curve in a burgeoning digital age. As an educator, Dewey’s theoretical approach to learning, coupled with a firm constructivist philosophy, no doubt have aided greatly in the kind of engagement my students so desperately need to yield requisite learning outcomes. It is this learning approach I view as critical and non-negotiable in my pedagogical missions.
Dewey, J. (1938; 1997). Experience and education. New York, NY: Touchstone.
Driscoll, P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Gardner, H. (2003, April). Multiple intelligences after twenty years. Paper presented to the
American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from
Saettler, P. (2004). The evolution of American educational technology. Greenwich, CT:
Information Age Publishing.

Comments on Additional Blogs for Module 6:
Debbie Morris
Martha Bless