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					A Fractal Thinker Looks at Adult Learning: Design for Practical Training and Applications
PACIFIC AETC/NORTHWEST AETC 2009 ASILOMAR CONFERENCE

September 14, 2009
Ed Nuhfer, Director of Faculty Development California State University at Channel Islands ed.nuhfer@csuci.edu

What's possible
The nature of fractals & "Why fractals?" How the brain operates in learning Cognitive development -- classic view The role of affective domain: the feeling of learning XXX Affective fields Patterns of adult development Why adults differ in learning needs Why it's so hard to measure/assess learning & what it takes

Choice Time
– Less in depth or – A whirlwind tour?

What’s a ―fractal?‖

Give us the PG-rated version, please.

The brain learns by building and stabilizing neural connections (see Leamnson, 1999). Practices that clearly promote building and stabilization make sense.

Why fractals?
• The neural networks that we develop through learning are fractal. • Fractal qualities permeate all we think, feel, and do. • Teaching is an exercise in stimulating growth of fractal neural networks in others and often helping others build better replacement networks. • Evaluation and assessment are really exercises in trying to characterize fractal neural networks.

Qui ckTi me™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompresso r are ne ede d to see thi s pi cture.

All learning produces complex interconnected affective and cognitive synaptic “wiring.” The "wiring" seems fractal in all parts of the brain.

For our purpose, consider just the nature of this wiring and nature of the operation of a whole brain, rather than consider the parts.

All learning produces complex interconnected affective and cognitive synaptic “wiring.” (Note-this is just "the wiring"…what happens when it comes alive?)

From: Petersen, S.E., Fox, P.T., Posner, M.I., Mintun, M. & Raichle, M.E. (1989) Positron emission tomographic studies of the processing of single words, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 153-170.

Quiz time!
• How many letters are in the English alphabet? • How many words can those letters produce? • How many ideas can be expressed by those words? • How many stories are possible? • Might these be infinite in a single discipline? • Might these be infinite in a single discipline described in a single language? • Can all human knowledge/experience be accurately described by words?

From: Petersen, S.E., Fox, P.T., Posner, M.I., Mintun, M. & Raichle, M.E. (1989) Positron emission tomographic studies of the processing of single words, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 153-170.

The Listening Brain 2009

QuickTime™ an d a xvid decompressor are need ed to see this p icture .

From: Petersen, S.E., Fox, P.T., Posner, M.I., Mintun, M. & Raichle, M.E. (1989) Positron emission tomographic studies of the processing of single words, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 153-170.

All learning produces complex interconnected affective and cognitive synaptic “wiring.”

Cognitive Domain
• The product of the brain we think of commonly as the substance of learning in formal education such as knowledge, concepts, skills, evaluative thinking based on evidence.

Bloom's Taxonomy
Of the Cognitive Domain
Question type often sounds like... "Who ...?" or "What ...?" ” Explain.” “Predict.” “Interpret.” “Give an example.” “Paraphrase....” “Calculate.” "Solve.” “Apply.” “Demonstrate.” “Given ___. Use this information to….” “Distinguish.” “Compare” or “Contrast” “How does ___ relate to___?”, “Why does ___.” “Design.” “Construct.” “Develop.” “Formulate.” “Write a poem.” “Write a short story…..” ”Evaluate.” “Appraise.” “Justify which is better.” “Evaluate ___ argument, based on established facts.” "What if....?” Reasoning level 1. Recall 2. Comprehension 3. Application 4. Analytical 5. Synthesis 6. Evaluation

Let's go to the movies! But first, an Assignment
• What Bloom level of learning is valued? • Is there awareness of speaking as "touching?" • Daniel Bernard Roumain - we truly "hear" a moment after. See if you can find where true hearing occurs in this clip.

Charles Dickens, "Hard Times" 1994

QuickTime™ an d a xvid decompressor are need ed to see this p icture .

Assignment
• What Bloom level of learning is valued? • Is there awareness of speaking as "touching?" • Daniel Bernard Roumain - we truly "hear" a moment after. See where true hearing occurs in this clip.

Affective domain…
The product of the brain that produces the sense of feelings and emotions that are "complex but internally consistent qualities of character and conscience."
(Krathwohl, Bloom, and Masia, 1964, p.7).

Qualities of thought dominated by affective qualities are many and include attitudes, preferences, selfawareness, biases, ethics, self-esteem, enthusiasm, and emotional intelligence.

Krathwohl/Bloom Taxonomy
Of the Affective Domain
Level 1. Receiving 2. Responding Description
Awareness of the environment, as in listening and being aware of information being received Actively participating, as in engaging in questioning, or in purposely focused attention Possessing personal interest or commitment to action. Reconsideration of old ideas in light of new information to produce a new outlook or attitude. Assimilating a new outlook/value as an aspect of one's internalized values by forming some identification with that value and commitments that involve it. Acting consistently with acquired values and perhaps becoming expert in their further development and use.

3. Valuing

4. Organizati on 5. Characterization by value

Taxonomy of the Affective Domain

From: Petersen, S.E., Fox, P.T., Posner, M.I., Mintun, M. & Raichle, M.E. (1989) Positron emission tomographic studies of the processing of single words, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1, 153-170.

"There would have been good reason to expect that, as the new century started, the expanding brain sciences would make emotion part of their agenda….But that…never came to pass. …Twentieth Century science…moved emotion back into the brain, but relegated it to the lower neural strata associated with ancestors whom no one worshipped. In the end, not only was emotion not rational, even studying it was probably not rational."
Damasio, 1999, p. 39

Number of Citations on "Emotion Regulation"
3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 1 3 10 19861990 111 19911995 19962000 20012005 492 2785

Se ries 1

pre-1981 19811985

From Gross, 2007, Figure P1

Good Popular and Practical Reads

Generators are Fundamental
• Time & attention to good starts saves many times those hours later

An illustration of the power of generators
Ambady’s and Rosenthal’s (1993) "thin slices" studies determined that students arrive at ratings for teachers after watching 30 seconds of silent content-free video that are highly consistent (r = 0.76) with end-of-semester ratings.

Temporal Sequence of Forming a Generator
• • • • Before cognitive awareness… Before articulation is possible… Before any action… Feeling comes first

Connect first with the feelings

Critical Generators in Learning
• First days of classes • First moments with a professional • Syllabi

Movie! With Assignment
• When does true hearing occur? • When does willingness to pay attention take place? • We are witnessing the formation of a new generator here—the proverbial teachable moment. What actions of the instructor might have thrown away the opportunity?

"Freedom Writers" 2006

QuickTime™ an d a xvid decompressor are need ed to see this p icture .

Assignment
• When does true hearing occur? • When does willingness to pay attention take place? • We are witnessing the formation of a new generator here—the proverbial teachable moment. What actions of the instructor might have thrown away the opportunity?

If Ed made it this far in an hour…
He is luckier than he has a right to be.

James Rhem

QuickTime™ an d a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are need ed to see this p icture .

"The affective field"

Quiz time!
1. What is the capital of Kentucky? 2. A rectangle has a base of 4 meters and a height of 3 meters; what is its area? 3. A piece of basalt weighs 6.8 grams in air and 4.5 grams in water; what is its bulk density? 4. Under what criteria might the human population of Earth be considered as excessive? 5. At a campus event to advocate an end to violence and discrimination against homosexuals, some students arrive at school wearing t-shirts with slogans such as "Homosexuality Is Shameful," and “Be Happy, Not Gay.” School officials tell the students they cannot wear the T-shirts to classes. The t-shirt wearers insist on their right to do so. Recommend a resolution.

William J. Perry Jr. (1968) Forms of Ethical and Intellectual Development in the College Years
• Reference to "affect" occurs once: footnote on page 49, • Reference to "emotions" on p. 140. • "Feeling" or "feelings" appears 39 times, usually in the statements offered by students during interviews.

Perry in a Nutshell
• • Level 1 & 2 thinkers believe that all problems have right and wrong answers, that all answers can be furnished by authority (usually the teacher), and that ambiguity is a needless nuisance that obstructs getting at right answers. Level 3 thinkers realize that authority is fallible and doesn't have all answers to all things. They respond by concluding that all opinions are equally valid and that arguments are just what proponents think. Evidence doesn't change this. Level 4 thinkers recognize that not all challenges have right or wrong answers, but they do not yet recognize frameworks through which to resolve how evidence best supports one among several competing arguments. Level 6 thinkers appreciate ambiguity as a legitimate quality of many issues, can use evidence to explore alternatives, and can realize that the most reasonable answers often depend upon context and one’s own value system. Levels 7, 8 and 9 thinkers incorporate metacognitive reflection in their reasoning, and they increasingly perceive how their personal values, act alongside context and evidence to influence chosen decisions and actions.

•

•

•

Such consistent findings seem to indicate that brains of scholars develop in generally consistent ways as result of the collegiate educational process.

Is indoor radon dangerous to the average homeowner?
• How might students respond with a high level answer?

• How might students respond with a low level answer?

The levels of the questions we ask…are not necessarily the levels at which students respond.

Patterns of becoming educated in time

Change in learning

Time

?

Discharge

10 00

10 0

10

1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Events in Time --Random? Chaotic?

ACTUAL DISCHARGE RAPID CREEK, SD

Year #

Some order in the chaos when viewed at varied scales
DISCHARGE VIEWED AT VARIED TIME SCALES
10 00

10 0

Discharge

10

1

1

10

10 0

Recurrence Interval of Discharge

10 00

What looks most complex here?

Change in Levels of Thinking

How long is a coastline?

•Let length of coastline be “L.” •Let divider width used to measure L be “r.”

3rd concept: SURPRISE! Fractals don't have absolute dimensions. A fractal "size" (L) depends on the tool of measure (r).

Fractals don't have absolute dimensions, but they have orde Multiple measures help us understand them.

Beware of thinking: "I measured ALL of the coastline."

MORE HONEST: "The harder I try to measure it, the bigger it seems to get."

VERY HONEST: "The more I study it, the less I seem to know."

A difference between content and learned content
• Content alone is roughly finite and quantifiable. • Once in the brain, learned content becomes part of a network of thought and feeling that is infinite.

How do we diagnose MBTI or Multiple Intelligences?

What might that show about the fractal nature of the brain?

Practical realizations that arise from knowing we deal with fractal systems
• Single measures give limited information • Single instructional methods have limits • Single evaluation or assessment tools can tell us only a little about a person

Knowledge Survey - A fractal thinker's tool

1. = I have insufficient knowledge to answer this question. 2. = I have partial knowledge or know where to quickly (20 minutes or less) obtain a complete answer to this question. 3. = I can fully answer this question with my present


				
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