All posts by ljtom

Final Lesson Plan and Defense Paper

This lesson has been through an extensive process this quarter. It started out with an outline of a face-to-face course I teach. This course has never been taught through distance education and distance ed was never in our thought process while designing this course. So at the beginning of the quarter I had a course outline. Many of the assignments and discussions are done in class so they aren’t articulated in the same way as they would in distance education. Also, this course has been taught in the traditional lecture and written assignment format. Going through this process with the course and learning about pedagogy and meaningful assessment this quarter, I will no longer teach this course in that format.

Defense Paper:

The lesson I designed for this course engages students in Lummi history. The overall goal of the lesson is to familiarize students with inherent knowledge that has been passed down through the generations in our community. This knowledge is thousands of years old. And our students have a right to learn this knowledge today. At the time of creation the Creator, X’als gifted these knowledges to our people with the understanding that our people would protect this knowledge. This teaching creates an inherent responsibility to this knowledge and that changes methodology in teaching. Most history courses provide large amounts of information throughout a period in time. This particular course has that same goal but it also comes with this responsibility. Students attending Northwest Indian College are predominantly non-traditional tribal students. But over the recent years, we’ve seen more and more younger students coming straight out of high school. After conducting a visioning process in our community from multiple groups of people and talking with our elders, it was apparent there was something missing in the way our leaders conduct business and make decisions. They were missing that key foundational knowledge about their history and homeland. The history and connection to homeland is essential to understanding why we protect these things. This class will give students that background knowledge and hopefully instill a sense of responsibility to their community.

The lesson described provides students with building blocks that will assist them in their final research project. Throughout this lesson, students will be introduced to inherent rights and how inherent rights are present in all aspects of Coast Salish culture. All of these lessons will contribute to the final research project that will be described in the critical inquiry stage of the assessment process. The course is designed to ensure students begin to see how inherent rights are present throughout the culture and see specific examples. The first unit of this lesson is about Creation. The students will be introduced to inherent rights with a video from a Coast Salish elder. And once they are introduced to inherent rights, they will read a creation story and try to identify inherent rights in the oral history. Each of these units asks the students similar questions. Once they begin their research at the end of the lesson, they will be required to talk with family members about their family history. Through this process students will have the ability to identify inherent rights in their own family history.

This lesson takes a formative assessment approach. This is process includes three stages that follow a circular process. The first stage is domain knowledge, this stage is built into the curriculum through the PowerPoint, Prezi, videos, and readings presented to students. All of these resources will provide students with the knowledge they need to move to the next stage. The next stage is critical inquiry and this is predominantly student-led. In this stage it is expected that students will take what they’ve learned in these units and apply them to their life. The final product of this unit is a research project that students will present at a community event. The instructor will give the students a description of the research project. And the instructor will give guidance as needed throughout the unit. But this research project is student-led. Students will be expected to research their family history by conducting interviews with family members. The students will also be required to describe inherent rights from their perspective giving examples from the Coast Salish culture. Then students will make a connection to inherent rights and their own family lineage. At the end of the critical inquiry stage students will have a product. And students will be expected to present their research at a community event. But the instructor will not just send them out to the community without working with them on their presentations. The students will first present their research in class to the instructor. The instructor will give them feedback and ask questions prompting further exploration into their research. The students will revise and present again. Once this process is complete the students will present to the community. This presentation cycle is the third stage of the formative assessment process. The faculty will assess student learning by asking if the feedback and questions influenced the student’s behavior. Did the student show a deeper understanding or growth from their first presentation to their second? The instructor will provide narrative feedback to the students with their feedback and the instructor’s observations for both presentations. That way the student can also see his or her own growth and understanding.

Lesson Plan:


ED655 Unit Lesson Plan

Thank you for the feedback everyone. I’ll try to figure out what is going on with my WordPress site. I don’t remember how to get in there to edit. I would like to add this lesson to that site as soon as I’m able to access it.


Emerging Tools

I chose to examine the emerging tools Moodle, Prezi, and VoiceThread. These tools are a great resource for students and instructors.

I started by examining Moodle. I was unsuccessful in downloading the software needed to create a course. So that link will not be in this post.

The first page I reviewed on the webpage was the Course Homepage:

This page gave step-by-step instructions on how to create a course on Moodle. It also had YouTube videos for How to lay out a course, and What is considered a course.

The links are here:

These videos were helpful and started the learning process from the very beginning. As I stated above, in order to create anything on Moodle I needed to download the program and all the necessary software. This process did not work and I ended up at a dead end. But from prior experience with using Moodle I can say it is fairly easy to use. But instructors have to pay attention to the organization of the course. Each heading that describes where to find Assignments, Resources, Discussions, ect. all have to be inserted into the course. I’ve enrolled in courses as a student in Moodle where instructors just dump all the course resources into weeks but there is no instruction or organization to the course.

The next tool I reviewed was Prezi. Creating a prezi presentation only requires the user to have an account. There are options for different types of accounts. There is a free account but there is no security to these accounts. So all work that is created under a free account can be searched and viewed by the public. I created a Prezi presentation from one of my course powerpoints about traditional villages. The PowerPoint was already created and all I had to do was download the slides from powerpoint to Prezi. From there I was able to drag and drop the slides to the Prezi slides. There are presentations that are already created and all the user needs to do is upload their information to these designs. I chose to create my own design. So I found a picture online and uploaded that as the background to my presentation. This process took a few hours. I think it would have taken longer if the Original Territory presentation wasn’t already created. One interesting and user friendly tool that Prezi has the snapping tool. This tool aligns all of the slides to ensure they are all the same size and aligned with each other. It just makes the presentation look nicer. Another user friendly tool is the autosave tool. Once a change is made to the presentation, Prezi autosaves the changes. That way there is no issues with a student’s presentation disappearing. Here is the link to my presentation:

I also reviewed VoiceThread. VoiceThread is another presentation tool that can be used by students or instructors. Again, I used the Original Territory presentation and created a VoiceThread. This program required the user to have an account. This account can be a student account or instructor account. The instructor account is $99/year and will allow for the instructor to have up to 50 students licensed under this account. If the instructor needs additional licenses, they can purchase them. My account is through another course at UAF and I don’t know if I was technically allowed to create a VoiceThread for another course beside that one. So I may delete this presentation after a few days. There are layers to the process of creating a VoiceThread. These layers were not described to me when I created my first VoiceThread for my other class. I had to figure all of this out on my own. So if VoiceThread is used for lower-division students, these layers should be described at some point to the class. The first step is preparing a PowerPoint. This step is pretty self-explanatory and most students already know how to use PowerPoint. The second step is to figure out to some extend what you are going to say about that slide. I usually script my VoiceThreads. Then you upload the PowerPoint to VoiceThread and record a description for each slide. Overall it is fairly easy to use, but I think students need some direction if they are going to be required to use this software. Here is the link to my VoiceThread:

Preliminary Thoughts: Emerging Tools

How many of the proposed tools are contextualized primarily for teacher presentation (passive learning)?

There are several tools that are designed for the use of teachers. And there are some that can be used by teacher or student. Prezi is a presentation tool that could be used by teacher or student. TeacherTube could be a passive presentation tool if teachers find presentations or videos on that site. It could also be a place where teachers get ideas for interactive learning. Powtoon could be passive or active depending on how teachers use it. If they create a presentation and share it with the class, that would be passive. But teachers could also assign their students to make a presentation.

Which have potential for active learning or afford students opportunity to display a product of their learning?

There are tools that allow students to make videos through video editing. Camtasia and GoAnimate are both tools that allow students to make their own videos to display. There are also tools that allow students to create things other than videos. Prezi allows students to create a presentation via the internet. Powtoon allows users to create animated presentations and Seesaw allows for digital portfolios. There are other tools such as Toontasic that allow users to create storyboards.

Which of the tools have potential for developing or enhancing the community of learners?

Learning platforms such as Moodle and iTunes U have the potential to develop interactive learning communities. These sites don’t automatically have this feature. It is up to the teachers to design the interactive piece and insert it into the class. Socractive is also an interactive tool where teachers can ask questions of students and get real time responses. This allows for the teacher to know instantly where students are in their understandings of the topic. I haven’t looked too far into Seesaw nor do I have any experience with it to know if there is an option to work with another student on this digital portfolio. But that might be another interactive learning opportunity if it has the option. Remind is also another interactive tool where teachers can communicate with parents and students

Which features most actively support learner engagement in a community?

I think the interactive storyboard tools and the video tools could help to engage the community. Students could recreate oral histories and show them at a community event. I think the language learning tools could also be used for community engagement. Students could learn language in class through this tool then participate in community events and speak the language.

Reflections about Learning in Public Spaces

There are many concerns about online learning. Some concerns are valid and require the instructor to address them. Others are created under false pretenses. As Northwest Indian College transitions into offering more online and online/hybrid courses we see more and more of these concerns in the Native Studies department. Though we are trying ensure online learning environments are a place where students feel safe, there are some instances where we feel that we can accommodate every student issue in these courses. So weighing the concerns to determine the value is something we have to do as educators.

One of the main concerns that I see is insecurity. This insecurity emerges in many ways. There are some students who don’t feel they know enough about the topic to create an opinion and post about it. These students are predominately non-Native students and at Northwest Indian College these students are the minority. In Native Studies our topics and discussions in online classes are about Native issues. Non-Native students sometimes feel insecure about posting in a public place when they feel they don’t have enough context about these issues to form an opinion. Some don’t feel its their place to even form an opinion on these issues. Online learning communities are a different space than face-to-face. Sometimes people feel more inclined to voice their opinions in online spaces. Non-Native students sometimes feel like they could get attacked if they voice their opinion.

Another form of insecurity come from Native students. I’ve observed some students feel they don’t know enough about the topic to comment publicly. Students react to this insecurity in different ways. Some students just avoid the situation all together, causing them to not do the assignments. Some students will struggle through, get feedback, and improve. I think both of these examples are valid. These insecurities impact student engagement and success in the course. The instructor should address these issues.

Other concerns that I’ve seen, given we haven’t had much experience with online courses in the Native Studies program, have to do with technical competence. Technical competence isn’t really an issue with dangers in public spaces, but it is really the only one I could think of. This concern  I feel could have easy solutions if they are approached properly. Faculty have reported that some of their students haven’t checked into the course at all. Canvas is new to our campus and  there are many instances where students don’t know the new software. This results in students not knowing how to access the site. At Northwest Indian College we have one person implementing online programming. These  factors should be considered when placing a value on this concern. But overall if a student communicates with the instructor and the the instructor responds to correct the issue, it wouldn’t  be a hinderance on student learning.

Article Review – Transformative Learning

This week I wanted to look further into transformative learning theory. This is a theory that I came across in reading an article for last week’s article review. I was interested in reading more about this theory because I felt that it might align with my original intention for the course that I am developing for this course. I am hoping that as a result of taking this course, students will begin to see how their history impacts their lives today. I would also hope that students begin to see their inherent rights as still relevant in today’s modern world and begin to see their value. It seemed to be a transformative process in my thinking.

According to the author, many scholars have written about the transformative process in the past and their have been some critiques of it. The critique of the theory is that the research scope has always been very narrow and it did not represent enough of a variety of people to be considered a tangible theory. This author was attempting to create a study that validated this theory as being relevant to a larger group of people and environments. The author intended to not only define how this process develops but also how it changes over time. “Because transformative learning is defined as a process in which the ‘meaning perspective,’ including ‘thought, feeling and will’ (Mazirow, 1978, p. 105), fundamentally changes, understanding how these processes evolve over time is crucial.” (Nohl, 2015) The study included 80 interviews of people in different stages in their lives and of different backgrounds. The author than developed stages of transformative learning.

Five stages of transformative learning were identified. The first is described by a non-determining start. The process has to start somewhere. Participants described this stage as happening by an unanticipated instance that introduced them to something that sparked their interest. This stage is followed by a person pursuing this interest in the second stage. The participants describe self-directed inquiry about their newfound interest. The next stage is described as testing and mirroring. In this stage participants described being exposed to new practices and people who are in the environment of their interest. Then shifting relevance occurs where participants describe expansion within their new interest while old habits begin to become unimportant. This is the beginning of the transformation process. The process ends where the participants find a new social environment that stabilizes their experience and new interest into their lives.

I think this is relevant to the learning that I hope will take place in this course. I hope students will not only accept the new information, but begin to see how important it is outside of the classroom. This process is about internalizing the information being presented. And according to this article, it starts with an unanticipated instance or spark of interest. Which tells me that this class could not reach every student in this way. It may reach one student to the point where they feel inclined to move to the inquiry stage. The process also doesn’t occur in 12 weeks. So it couldn’t be included as a course outcome. It might be that one of our program outcomes is reflective of this process. If there were one student in this 100-level course that sparked an interest in this topic and pursued it, they would naturally take the rest of the Native Studies courses. That inquiry pursuit could be part of the process of acquiring a bachelors degree in Native Studies. I am just thinking out loud at this point. But this article was enlightening and I would like to know more about this theory.

Works Cited:

Nohl, A. (2015). Typical Phases of Transformative Learning: A Practice-Based Model. Adult Education Quarterly, 65(1), 35-49.

Article Review – Active Learning in Indigenous Studies

As we move into next week, I wanted to begin reading about active learning in Indigenous Studies. At first I attempted to search the terms, Active Learning and Indigenous Studies. But this came up with 1 article and was not quite what I was looking for. I changed my keyword search to Experiential Learning and Indigenous Studies and found many more articles to chose from. I thought that was interesting and I am not aware of any major differences between active learning and experiential learning.

I found an article written by professors from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This article discusses a course designed with an experiential learning component followed by a reflection in the form of a digital story. In Canada, like many other countries with high populations of Indigenous people, have a lack of awareness surrounding Indigenous issues. “Within the Canadian context, non-Indigenous peoples’ lack of awareness of and misinformation about Indigenous worldviews and lived colonial experiences (e.g., residential schools, the Indian Act, enfranchisement, criminalization of spiritual practices, etc.) are influenced by their systematic exclusion from educational curricula.” (Castledon, et. al, 2013) Not only are Indigenous peoples’ issues not recognized, this is perpetuated by society through the lack of education in public schools. The authors identified this as an issue and developed a course where the goal was transformation. They hoped this course would lead to transformative learning. “Transformative learning is an educational theory that seeks to promote ‘a critical dimension of learning… that enables us to recognize, reassess, and modify the structures of assumptions and expectations that frame our tacit points of view and influence our thinking, beliefs, attitudes, and actions.” (Castled, et. al, 2013) Transformative learning theory is something that I would really like to learn more about as I am developing this course in history. I really believe that Indigenous people who have lost their traditional knowledge through colonial processes could have a transformative experience when relearning it.

The results from this course were so positive, the faculty sought permission to conduct a study with the students from the course. They sent one person out to interview all the students and  once they reviewed transcriptions for accuracy they began to develop themes from the qualitative data. These included, Openness to transformation: students were aware of the importance of including Indigenous perspectives in their work but all agreed Indigenous issues were never taught in school. Transformation through relationships was another theme: the students saw value in relationship building as a way to overcome ignorance. And all students felt a sense of pride in their final digital storytelling project but also felt vulnerable because the project was personal.

This study was interesting to me. It not only gave me ideas about experiential learning to add to my history class. The students in this class went out and learned from the Mikmaq First Nations community. The elders in that community  engaged the students in learning activities that included ceremonies, sharing circles, medicine walks, and eel fishing. They also discussed environmental resource issues with elders and leaders of those communities. These are the types of activities that really make a lasting impact. Hearing from elders about their connection to the environment and beyond that to the spiritual connection is very powerful. Some students, even Indigenous students, don’t hear that in their everyday lives. This example also introduced me to a theory that I want to look deeper into. It didn’t go into detail about what the Transformative Theory is, but it sounds like it might be a good connection to the course I am developing.

Works Cited:

Castleden, H., Daley, K., Sloan Morgan, V., & Sylvestre, P. (2013). Settlers unsettled: using field schools and digital stories to transform geographies of ignorance about Indigenous peoples in Canada. Journal Of Geography In Higher Education, 37(4), 487-499. doi:10.1080/03098265.2013.796352

Loaded Questions

These were really big questions to answer this week. I am going to attempt to answer them all.

Integrated course design: One reflection from integrating course design is how everything is connected. The pieces of a course such as learning goals and assessment cannot be designed or preformed in isolation. Learning goals, feedback and assessment, and learning activities are all connected. They should all be designed with situational factors in mind and careful thought should be applied to developing the situational factors. Defining situational factors is a very important step and it could possibly be one that people overlook at times. But defining the audience and who is going to benefit from these students learning from this course are very important in course design.

Taxonomies: Taxonomies were the hardest for me to learn and reflect on. But after reading all of that week’s readings two and three times, I finally realized that it is because I don’t have a context for western thought. I get lost fairly easily in theory developed for and by western scholars. Bloom’s taxonomy really through me a learning curve but I read that reading over and over. What I learned about taxonomies is that they are very useful for writing standardized learning goals. They are useful when a teacher needs to ensure their students are developing, understanding, and learning at certain levels. The purpose of taxonomies is to define the layers of understanding that students achieve and really it’s a tool for the instructors to gauge student learning. One reflection about taxonomies is that depending on the taxonomy you chose to use, it can really sway the purpose of the course.

Active Learning: I really enjoyed reading about active learning. I find lecture heavy courses to easily sway student engagement. I like how Fink describes active learning as reflecting on the intent of the course. “When you think about the goals for your course, think about what it is that you want students to do with this subject after the course is over: design something, read articles critically, write essays about the subject.’ (Fink, 2013) If there is something you want the students to be able to do when they leave the course, they should be practicing that in the course. That is where the situational factors come in to the classroom. When designing a course the developer needs to define the community that the student will be a part of and how that community will benefit from this student taking this course. How that conceptual thinking is applied is through active learning. Whatever skills were defined in situational factors are the skills the student should be practicing.

Problem-Based Learning: Fink’s examples of problem-based learning were fun to read. I actually went and found another example within my area of study for the article review this week. But problem-based learning allows students the opportunity to learn how to solve problems within an environment that is safe. If the student makes the wrong decision in a problem-based learning experience in the classroom there are no repercussions. If a student makes the wrong decision in the real-world there may be repercussions, jobs could be lost, money could be lost. The Evergreen State College here in Washington State has a database of case studies written by scholars within the Pacific Northwest. These case studies all relate to real world issues in this area and within Native communities. These are a great resource that could be integrated into this new course I will be developing.

For me, online learning comes with strengths and challenges. The strengths really come from the instructor, course design, and other students. I cant function in online courses that don’t have due dates, or that have missing assignment links or missing reading lists. I also can function when the instructor doesn’t present the course in a succinct way. If I get multiple documents describing different parts of the course I loose certain things and there goes my due dates or reading list. But this course is presented in a way that is easy to follow. All assignments are together with readings, assignment, videos, and due dates for that week. That is strength for me. Another strength is when other students are encouraging and help to develop a safe learning environment.

One challenge is the absence of face-to-face contact. Sometimes I really don’t understand the assignment. I do my best and try to grasp these ideas but I can miss the mark. That is where I would like to walk into my instructor’s office and just visit with them. But I work my way through these issues because I have experience with working through these issues. If I were a younger student, say 5 years ago, I don’t know if I would have made it this far.

One thing I learned about myself is that I am always learning new things and stretching my range of thought. Which is great. I want to continue being a lifelong learner. When I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I can sometimes feel vulnerable. But I learned so far in this course that I can push myself past those feelings and stretch my range of thought to really understand new concepts and ideas. This course has been great so far.