Archive for September, 2010

Sep 20 2010

Reflecting on behaviourism

Published by under Etec 512

Good morning from Frankfurt, Germany!

It’s 6am locally and unfortunately, I can’t seem to sleep. So what better time to think about the behaviourist learning theory? I’ve been trying to find an example in my own teaching practice where I might try to change a behaviour and use some of the reinforcement described in the reading. I did come up with an example from my Accounting class.

When I teach students to move from manual accounting to computerized accounting I begin by insuring they have the correct data to enter. This way, I am measuring their ability to use the computerized system, rather than measuring whether they have journalized the entries correctly (which is an exercise at the knowledge processing level). I show the students how to use the system and tell them to enter transactions using the computer. The stimulus is that they all get 100% to start but each mistake will cost them 10 points. The goal is to teach them to be meticulous and avoid mistakes. Once they have completed their entries, they must compare them to the answer key and if they find mistakes, they must correct them using the appropriate technique. Once the whole process is complete, they put their grade on the printouts and submit them for me to record.

Students have the following responses to this activity:

  1. They do the work correctly and are happy to receive the full mark.
  2. They make a mistake and correct it and submit the corrected version showing their adjusted mark.
  3. They correct a mistake and try to hide it and try to claim full marks. Unfortunately, there is no way to hide the mistake as the journal records all transactions, even the corrections. So I have them adjust the mark and submit the work. They think it’s unfair, but they are more careful next time.
  4. They reprint another student’s work with their own name on it. If I have suspicions (and I am very suspicious), I ask to see the work on their computer to verify it. I also ask all students to put their own initials in the journal descriptions to try to minimize this behaviour.

There you have it! I guess I’ve been subscribing to this learning theory all along but hadn’t realized it. I must say that in order to come up with this system, it was a learning process of my own. Students come up with ways to plagiarize or avoid the unpleasant consequences all the time. Each time they do, that is my stimulus to adjust my behaviour.

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Sep 17 2010

Assignment #1 – etec 511

Published by under Etec 511

Mash-up by Catherine Gagnon

Mash-up (mashup): combining content from various sources to create original work. Other terms used to describe mash-ups are remix, collage, reuse, juxtaposition, derivative work.

In order to create a mash-up, certain applications are now available that allow the user to combine other applications that were once proprietary. Mashups are centered on the consumer as they allow the use of standardized data and access formats such as RSS which could be defined as “Web-accessible”. Creating a mash-up is incumbent on using data sources that require minimal manipulation for the user to make sense of it. (Crupi & Warner, 2008)


In the first iteration of applications (web 1.0), companies usually created software that had to be used with their permission and could not be combined with other applications, examples are Corel Draw and Dreamweaver.

With the advent of the web 2.0, end users are now able to combine various applications to reformulate a product (deriving) or create a new product from a collage of existing data.

Examples of mash-ups in various domains

There are 3 different varieties of Mash-ups – Data, Consumer (end user) and Business. Consumer mash-ups are a combination of different data types, for example audio and video data to create a new Youtube movie.

  • Science: Medical researchers extending their collaborative efforts by comparing and joining public research collections with internal research databases.
  • Business: A investment adviser making decisions based on mashing internal analysis data combined with Web-based financial and news data.

Use of Mash-ups in education

Education focuses on 2 major aspects of Mash-ups – educators sharing resources and students reusing existing work to resubmit as original work (collage). The first is enhanced by the increased use of collaborative applications such Google Docs and self-publishing tools such as WordPress. The second is a hotly debated issue in education as it blurs the lines between creativity, original work, plagiarism and copyright infringement.

References and additional reading

Crupi, J., & Warner, C. (2008, May 16). SOA Magazine – Enterprise Mashups Part I. The SOA Magazine. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

Lamb, B. (2007, July 1). Dr. Mashup; or, Why Educators Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Remix (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE. What is EDUCAUSE? | EDUCAUSE. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

MASHUP in Fiction and Creative Writing. (n.d.). MASHUP in Fiction and Creative Writing. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

Mashup (web application hybrid) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved September 17, 2010, from

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Sep 16 2010

Defining Educational Technology

Published by under Etec 511

Question from the course:

Firstly, define educational technology. Secondly, identify nature and characteristics of a good ET program based on your own field observations and readings. Thirdly, give some examples such as philosophical, psychological, social and cultural foundations of ET.

My answer:

I’d like to take a stab at defining Educational Technology as a step towards answering your 2nd and 3rd questions.

ET is any tool used to enhance learning. We could contrast it to Adaptive Technology, which would be all the tools used in improving accessibility for the disadvantaged, for instance, speech recognition software. Then we have the study of technology or Technology Education – programming, hardware, various applications, web design, etc. (The reading suggest that it is no longer popular to study programming in school, a shift that I have observed personally as our programming/computer science teacher barely gets to teach his specialty anymore.)

I have no trouble defining ET, what seems more elusive is trying to limit the technologies (tools) that we can include as part of that category. It seems that all sorts of tools are now being used in education, whether they be social networking tools, design tools, visual literacy tools, LMS, along with many of the adaptive tools we have begun to adopt more regularly such as touch screens and voice recognition software.

So the lines are now blurred. We cannot simply study ET as technology is pervasive in all aspects of our lives. In order to improve our teaching practices, it is wiser to study and understand how technology has effected change in society, whether it be the way in which we communicate or the way we define the world around us.

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Sep 16 2010

The Benefits of ePortfolios

Published by under Etec 511

As I prepare for my exchange in AU this winter, I’ve been looking over the course content and requirements of an applied learning program called Business Office Administration.  The course is mostly loaded on Moodle at this point (a school requirement) and I am trying to build some interactivity into it.  I started yesterday with a simple quiz.

One of the assessment requirements is what I would define as a portfolio – a folder with examples of completed assignments.  I’ve asked if this portfolio could be in electronic format.  For now, I was told to bring this up at the committee meeting in Feb.  So armed with this document, I will be glad to expound on the benefits of ePortfolios.  I have no idea what to expect in terms of different teaching methods in another country.  However, I am lead to believe that this college will be open to adding more electronic content into their courses.  So I’ll give it a try.  I can certainly use some of my many blogs as prime examples to further my case.

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Sep 15 2010

Return after a long absence

Published by under Etec 511,Etec 512,Uncategorized

Today, I begin using this blog again.  I am now enrolled in Etec 511 and 512 as I complete my journey towards my MET certificate.  I am on leave of absence from work until Feb, when I begin a one year teaching exchange in Australia.

In an effort to make my coursework more accessible, I have organized the blog under the headings of the 3 courses I took that required blogging.  And hopefully, this eportfolio will be used in future endeavours.  I am happy to report that my training in Moodle will already pay off while I work in Australia.  I am hoping to not only exchange positions, but to help my exchange partner improve upon the course structure she has created for her vocational Business Administration course.  I am not sure what I will be teaching in Australia at this time, but I can only hope that it will be some of the courses I am specialized in such as Business and Accounting.

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