Summary of Learning


Here is my video:

It has been a whirlwind of a month but here we all are! This is the type of course that you can take what you have learned and easily apply it to your own teaching practice and classroom instruction & assessment. There is not a huge disconnect between theory and practice, which is quite refreshing. I would like to thank everyone who was on this journey with me. Hopefully our paths will cross again!

For my Summary of Learning, I created a PowerPoint then recorded a Zoom meeting while reading my poetry lines that detial my course experience and understanding of the content. I liken my growth over this semester to the Web 1.0/2.0/3.0 and educational evolutions. I began the course with solid Web 1.0 and basic Web 2.0 knowlege, and now feel more comfortable with more Web 2.0 tools while also feeling excited about the possibilities of Web 3.0.

Here are my stanzas just in case:

Here is a summary of my learning from EC&I 833.

I wrote my understandings and reflections in poetry stanzas.

I hope you enjoy it!

Teaching in a pandemic brought me here.

I was only ever using Seesaw and Zoom.

But there are so many other tools out there

For me to use in my classroom.

But wait, I learned ed tech is not just tools

So let’s start with the history.

Technology existed orally and in writing way before schools.

Here’s a little about its trajectory.

Progressing from Skinner’s drill and practice teaching machines in solitaire

To a computer-based and internet-based training combo,

All the way to today’s e-learning and social software.

My new learnings have increased my confidence with the recent Web 2.0.

It’s important to be aware of your content knowledge system.

Epistemology influences your teaching and learning factions.

Does knowledge come from within ourselves instead of from them

Or is it gained through our experiences and interactions?

There are two more parts of intellectualism to check.

According to Aristotle, you need more than yourself to gain traction.

Technology is the how, the production and technique of intellect.

Pedagogy is the praxis, the knowledge into action.

Aristotle taught me that you need all three.

Episteme, techne, and phronesis represent

Working together to integrate technology authentically and effectively.

It’s not enough to have only a tool or knowledge of content. 

Reflections will help to ensure

My knowledge and learning beliefs and strategies for practice

Are aligned to provide effective teaching that’s pure

And to make the best use of technology service.

There are theories that you can’t downplay.

Asking if it’s behaviourism, cognitivism, or constructivism

In your lesson and assessment of the day.

Be sure to align those two to create educational optimism.  

Conditioning the human brain in the behaviour dimension  

Like Pavlov or Skinner before us.

Through responses to classroom events like how to grab attention,

But beware that behaviourist styles can lack freedom to discuss.

Moving on from training the mind,

Let’s now understand it for the sake of knowledge transfer.

With cognitivism like Piaget’s schema combined

Plus using assimilation and accommodation to infer.

Time for the third learning theory troops.

Constructivism is all about the social element.

Vygotsky claims we learn from our environment, individuals and groups

In the more specific social constructivist morcellement.

Bandura is another theorist to preserve.

His social learning theory shows how role modelling affects

Collaborative learning, group work, and experts to observe.

It even has behaviourist and cognitivist aspects.

Taking constructivism and social constructivism one step more.

Siemens uses connectivism to facilitate learning.

From humans to non-humans to more-than-humans to explore

The connections that help us to understand as our world keeps turning.

Practice was the final piece

That’s presentation topics one to six.

We heard about malpractices to decrease.

ClassDojo should not be a behaviour “fix”.                                                           

We heard about the positives of the streams too.

Remember to know who your learner is

And recognize the tech’s value.

Work collaboratively if you want to be a 3.0 tech whiz.

Now let’s recap the group PowerPoint showcases.

Productivity suites and presentation tools came first

With million-dollar industries like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspaces.

If you ask James Hamblin, multiple tabs keep us immersed.

The collaboration and accessibility of these tools at last

Can be found on constructivists’ plates.

That’s how I have used them in the past,

Working on projects with my colleagues and classmates.

The second innovation stream

Was tools for distance and online learning.

The pandemic forced every school team

To gain more experience with them to keep on earning.

Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Seesaw, Nearpod and more

With aynchronous tasks and synchronous meetings to host.

Some would argue the latter provides needed socialization galore

While the former can lack teacher guidance when it is needed most.

Week 3 came by so fast

And it was time to unpack Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 aftermaths.

The three generations of the internet and education caste,

From static pages to dynamic content to interaction among several paths.

Evolving from behaviourism and objective truths

To cognitivism and constructivism questions.

And lastly connectivism and heutagogical cyber sleuths.

I learned that my teaching practices mostly reflect Web 1.0 and 2.0 versions.

Assessment technologies were introduced with some thrills,

Both formative and summative with for/as/of.

21st century teachers can take feedback and flexibility skills

Into the digital world with a gentle shove.

From an oral to written evaluation

And now report card grades and behaviourist standardized tests to profile.

I would rather not construct assessments in isolation

Instead, let’s conduct them in a discussion style.

The last week of presentations already?

This month sure was intense.

Assistive technology was explored in more than one breakout assembly.

AT can be an item, equipment or product system and varies in expense.

Don’t fall for the myth that assistive technology is cheating.

Inclusion means removing barriers and giving students what they need to be successful.

Provide students a voice and choice in a meeting.

And keep in mind that wearable technology can be unknown and/or useful.

Coding and makerspaces concluded this informative road.

Hour of Code, Scratch and Sphero see that logical, ordered thinking persists

As the computers and robots run on code.

I didn’t know HTML is one way it exists.

Makerspaces relate to my favourite classroom projects,

Piaget’s cognitive constructivism, inquiry and STEAM.

Be an active participant looking for prospects

While feeling inspired by Papert’s mathland dream.

New technology used to freak me out so I avoided it.

I know I’m not alone in that doomed reaction to change.

But now I also want to look for the magic bit

That ed tech tools can help arrange.

The medium we choose to get learning across

Is indeed important and speaks to our philosophies.

Bringing in more soft technology is the opposite of a loss,

It allows for more student experimentations and creativities.

No matter what we bring into the classroom to try out,

Ed tech will only suit some students, having its positives and negatives.

This is the trade-off that Postman wrote about.

But whatever you choose should enhance and enrich your teaching perspectives.

Overall, I learned a lot of new technology options

Along with an awareness of their various social and cultural impacts.

I want to work on integrating technology into my classroom actions

Rather than simply adding it on or having an after-thought to sloppily enact.

Week 4: Assistive Technologies


“The system should fit the student rather than making the student fit the system” (John Spencer). Educators should eliminate barriers from the learning environment rather than try to eliminate a student’s individuality and unique strengths. Inclusive pedagogy is a key part of my teaching philosophy, which can be enhanced by digital technologies and connected to social practice theory (Cranmer, 2020). Florian (2004; as cited in Cranmer, 2020, p. 318) argues that, “technology can help create the conditions for equal opportunity to learn and equal access to the curriculum for all.” In line with Universal Design for Learning (UDL), digital technologies can remove environmental barriers while shaping and reproducing social practices to eliminate the focus on a perceived deficit of an individual with a disability.

I have minimal experience with using assistive technologies (AT) in the classroom that are considered to be mid- to high- tech. A nonverbal student with autism at my school (who was in my class three years ago) has his own iPad with Proloquo2Go (an Augmentative and Alternative Communication app). He uses this app both at school and at home to communicate his wants and needs through pictures and audio clips. This example disrupts the misconceptions of assistive technology of adding too much to a teacher’s workload, being used only in the classroom, and “fixing” a student’s disability. Another AT that some of my students have used is speech-to-text on Seesaw to complete writing assignments. I believe this tool fits with the cognitivist theory of learning because students are processing their thoughts out loud. A lot of my current teaching techniques seem to fit the cognitivist approach, which aligns with my preferred learning style as a student myself. Anyways, while I have only directly extended the invitation to use the speech-to-text tool to students with low spelling skills and/or dyslexia, most students around them have eagerly wanted to use the microphone feature too because it aided in quicker work completion. This demonstrates that adaptations can be utilized by everyone to enhance equal accessibility and enjoyment (universal design). However, access and family income can limit the actual equitable use of these tools.  

I need to work on creating more opportunities for all students to communicate what they know outside of writing. Even a choice board that includes various language art skills (i.e., writing, speaking, representing) could be useful. The Council for Exceptional Children (2011; as cited in ACCESS, 2011, p. 3) explains that, “Options are essential to learning, because no single way of presenting information, no single way of responding to information, and no single way of engaging students will work across the diversity of students that populate our classroom.”

Young and MacCormack (2018) explain that assistive technology can support learning by helping students with task completion or by enabling students to work around areas of difficulty. In Daniel’s breakout room, my group talked about the challenge of middle year students tending to be resistant to using AT because they don’t want to be seen as different by their peers. One of Kelly’s strategies to address this issue is to make every student use the technology so nobody looks out of place. She also gives the entire class a tutorial on how to use new technology. Daniel also suggested using the AT outside of the classroom space with an SST/LRT.

There were key takeaways in the other three mini presentations too. Darcy’s point about soliciting feedback frequently (asking if this is or isn’t working, what needs enhancing, and what should stay the same) is something I need to do more with my young students. While I have used Google Forms with their families, and Mentimeter and Jamboard in university course presentations, I have never used these kinds of tools with my students. Secondly, the SETT framework that Janeen shared will help me as a classroom teacher to collaborate with the Student Support Teacher (SST) to diagnose a student’s challenges and decide on a well-suited technology for them. SETT stands for student, environment, tasks, and tools.

Finally, I hadn’t given much thought about wearable technology until Reid’s breakout room. Wearable technology has often been linked to medical or physical reasons (e.g., eye glasses, prosthetics, glucose monitoring, measuring heart rate), but educators must anticipate other ways they may appear in the classroom, such as Muse, Virtual Reality, GoPro cameras and Google Glass (Sandall, 2016). Similar to cell phones, the students bringing the latest technology into the classroom will be privileged by their socioeconomic status. How will teachers police wearable technology like cameras on students’ glasses or clothes? Are privacy laws enough? Will dress codes continue to evolve? I am currently a resister to this type of wearable technology in education (rather than a progressive or status quo).

The video about the use of Aritificial Intelligence in a classroom is very thought-provoking. I had immediate concerns about privacy/surveillance, mental health, and teacher-student interaction. Janeen shared on another blog that she heard Alec Couros speak about the changes of technology at an event years ago. There were feelings of fear and anxiety, which are normal responses to the change process. There is a sense of loss with changes, but also new beginnings and possibilities. Wearable technology is a particularly interesting topic so I viewed a couple of TED Talks about it, which are also embedded below and focus more on its potential medical uses.


ACCESS Project. (2011). Universal design for learning: A concise introduction. Colorado State University.

Cranmer, S. (2020). Disabled children’s evolving digital use practices to support formal learning. A missed opportunity for inclusion. British Journal of Educational Technology, 51(2), 315-330.

Sandall, B. K. (2016). Wearable technology and schools: Where are we and where do we go from here? Journal of Curriculum, Teaching, Learning and Leadership in Education, 1(1), 1–11.

Young, G., & MacCormack, J. (2018). Assistive technology for students with learning disabilities. LD@school.

Week 3 (Part Two): Assessment Technologies


My earliest experiences in the classroom as an educator included a lot of behaviourist assessments (i.e., recall, correct or incorrect answers on written tests). I think a part of that choice was time-management skills as a new teacher; I spent more of my energy on planning engaging lessons. Consideration of Bloom’s Taxonomy (cognitivist approach) continues to be part of my lesson plan template. I have used Kahoot several times as a formal assessment in science and social studies classes (grade 2 and 3). My students add both formative and summative work on Seesaw (an electronic portfolio). I do at least two constructivist project-based or inquiry learnings with my class each year (which is actually the minimum amount at my school). While I believe in the effectiveness of cooperative learning, I have used it far more in my instruction than in assessments.

I continue to work on building my Assessment as Learning toolbox. Moving forward, I would like to use constructivist approaches to assessments more consistently and purposefully. For example, I often focus on self-assessment about language arts, math, and classroom citizenship skills during the three reporting periods of the year (November, March, June) rather than have planned reflections as an ongoing activity. Thomas (2019) discusses interview assessments, which I would like to try more often in order to bring a stronger constructivist approach to my assessment practices. While I engage students in writing conferences with myself and peers (formative) and have done quizzes orally before (summative), I would like to make discussion-based assessments a bigger part of our class routine.  

Christian, Janelle, Laurie, and Ramona shared helpful overviews of some formative tools in their presentation (i.e., Goformative, ClassDojo, Plickers, Flipgrid). I was vaguely familiar with Plickers and Flipgrid before their presentation but had never heard of Goformative before. Elmahdi et al.’s (2018) study of Plickers proved that it improves students’ learning and engagement. I look forward to trying Plickers with my class. The only one of the presenters’ examples of digital tools that I had personal experience in using was Class Dojo (sadly, I know). I fell into the trap of using the points system as a class management tool in my internship. However, upon self-reflection of the negative impacts it was having on students with fewer points, I chose to not use it again in subsequent teaching assignments.

I am interested in trying other digital formative assessments with my students. Timmis et al. (2016, as cited in Nu-Man & Porter, 2018) encourage teachers to consider the four Cs (collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creative thinking). This addresses four of the six Cs of twenty-first century skills: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Using digitised feedback as discussed by Chohan (2021) could have benefited a recent Professional Growth Plan of mine centered around providing students with effective, timely feedback. I would like to explore the Space Race (assessment quiz game) and Exit Tickets on Socrative, as well as Classkick for lessons, which allows for teacher feedback and peer help. What digital assessments do you recommend for primary grades?

The classrooms at my school are fortunate to have access to iPads and Chromebooks, making the use of digital assessments on a regular basis possible. My school division uses MySchoolSask (MSS) for attendance and report cards. My administration directs me to only record summative assessment results and comments on this student information system. Does anyone’s school district use a learning management system (LMS), as described by Nu-Man and Porter (2018)?I like the idea of the LMS having both formative and summative assessments available for all stakeholders to view.


Chohan, A. (2021, June 3). The importance of digitised feedback and assessment. Education Technology.

Elmahdi, I., Al-Hattami, A., & Fawzi, H. (2018). Using technology for formative assessment to improve students’ learning. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology17(2), 182-188.

Nu-Man, M. R., & Porter, T. M. (2018). Assessing learning using technology. In. P. Lombardi (Ed.), Instructional methods, strategies, math and technology to meet the needs of all learners.

Thomas, L. (2019, April 26). 7 smart, fast ways to do formative assessment. Edutopia.

Week 3 (Part One): Web 1.0 & Web 2.0


Katherine, Christopher, Arkin, and Rae shared a couple of interesting videos. In “Canada Gets Wired – Then vs Now,” the example of emoticons evolving into emojis as a new visual language is a simple version of Gerstein’s (2014) metaphor of the evolution of the web. The world is indeed evolving online, as is evidenced by the statistic that 5.5% of Canada’s economy in 2017 was made up of the digital (or Internet) economy (Moreau, 2021).

The presenters broke down the three versions of the web and the related learning theories well:

  • Web 1.0 is a content delivery network (behaviourism, objectivism).
  • Web 2.0 is known as the “participative” and “read-write” (cognitivism, constructivism).
  • Web 3.0 describes the many evolutions of web usage and the interaction among several paths (connectivism, heutagogy).

Education is impacted by the shift to Web 3.0 as it increases screen time and the possibility of global connections. Gerstein (2014) identifies the roles of learners in Web 3.0 as connectors, creators, and constructivists. The second video shared in this presentation, “How Social Media is Affecting Teens,” points out a shift in values in today’s youth, from group belonging to fame. The video also discussed the risk of being cyberbullied on social media.

Katia brought up an interesting point about the possibility of Web 3.0 decentralizing aspects of education (e.g., more democratization of knowledge, different worldviews are allowed and embraced). This would be a major shift in Saskatchewan’s PreK-12 system as we have had increasing levels of centralized policy and planning direction from the provincial government since the amalgamation into 27 school divisions in 2003, as well as the current 100% of provincial funding.

The shift to Web 3.0 privileges students and teachers who have consistent access to electronic devices and a strong internet connection. Independent, self-determined, self-driven, creative students will thrive in a Web 3.0 learning enviornment. Similarly, creative and experienced teachers would excel at developing engaging assignments in this context. The presenters noted that Western, gendered perspectives on the web is the dominant discourse. This means that privileged groups (i.e., White, male) are more likely to excel in a Web 3.0 environment.  

Students and teachers who are disadvantaged by the shift to Web 3.0 are those who lack access, have a conflict of interest because of their culture or religion, those who are concerned about privacy and data issues, and Indigenous peoples (oral, land-based learning and ceremonies are difficult to do online). In 2018, Statistics Canada (as cited in Moreau, 2021) reported that 1.2% of households with children did not have internet, and 4.2% of the families with the lowest income did not.

The quote from Bates included in the presentation stood out to me and demonstrates the need for Web 3.0 knowledge and skills among both students and teachers:

“Since knowledge is dynamic, expanding and constantly changing, learners need to develop the skills and learn to use the tools that will enable them to continue to learn.”


Gerstein, J., (2014). Moving from education 1.0 through education 2.0 towards education 3.0.

Moreau, N., (2021). Internet in Canada. In The Canadian Encyclopedia.

This visual affirmed my understanding of Web 2.0, but made Web 3.0 more confusing. I don’t recognize the names or logos of any of the apps listed underneath Web 3.0. I also had to look up the meaning of DAPPS, or decentralized applications, which ties back to Katia’s earlier comments.

Week 2 (Part Two): Tools for Distance & Online Learning


As a grade 2/3 teacher, I need online tools that are user-friendly so that my young students can access and use them independently. At my school, kindergarten to grade 3 classrooms (the basement floor) have easy access to iPad carts, while the other two floors (grades 3/4 to 8) have Chrome books readily available to each student. When we suddenly switched to remote learning in March 2020, pre-kindergarten to grade 3 teachers used Seesaw for their assignments, while the middle grades used Google Classroom. This aligned with what the students had experience using in the classroom. Everyone also started to use Zoom (i.e., for Guided Reading groups, social gatherings), which was a learning curve for staff and students.

Here are a couple lists of education tools that I was mostly unfamiliar with prior to this course: and

Caruth and Caruth (2013) identify seven aspects for assessing effective learning through online instruction: achievability, believability, measurability, desirability, focusing, motivation, and commitment. The sudden switch to remote learning during the pandemic forced Saskatchewan teachers to instruct differently and students to learn differently. I think this lack of choice played a big role in the large amount of unfocused, unmotivated, disengaged teachers and students during the school closures due to the pandemic. A lot of my colleagues similarly noted the low engagement during remote learning in the pandemic during our group discussion on July 12.  

Technology is not neutral; according to Feenberg (2009, as cited in Migueliz Valcarlos et al., 2020, p. 355), these tools “are implicated in the socio-political order they serve and contribute to shaping.” The tools chosen by educators will help determine the roles of teachers and students in their learning experiences. For example, discussion boards disrupt the traditional view of teacher as the knowledge owner/developer since students and teachers can co-construct knowledge in these kinds of spaces (Migueliz Valcarlos et al., 2020). This “learning among learners” is connected to constructivism (Ananga, 2020). Online learning tools can also have ties to behaviourism, such as multiple choice and true of false quizzes (students are positively reinforced when they answer correctly). Students have the opportunity for more autonomy, flexibility, and resources with distance education. Caruth and Caruth (2013) also point out that along with being a teacher and learning themselves, the instructor is also the technical support person. Thus, it is critical that teachers are given training in technology for effective online instruction.

My school division switched to two weeks of remote learning before the break in April. Similar to last March, we informed the office if a student did not have access to a device at home so they could borrow one from the school (limit of one device per family – this lack of devices was a challenge mentioned on my group’s Jamboard). My principal directed all the teachers in my school to have a 30-minute Zoom session with their class focused on ELA content in the morning, and a 30-minute Zoom session focused on math content in the afternoon. Along with shared lessons on Zoom, I posted videos and examples for students to follow while working on assignments posted on Seesaw. There was very low engagement on Seesaw as opposed to the Zoom meetings. Attendance was still being recorded and most parents/adults were able to make arrangements for their child to get on a device twice a day. Thirty minutes definitely went by too quickly, and I invited students to stay on longer for extra help (which only happened once with two students, while their parents sat with them). On Seesaw, I noticed the academically stronger students were completing their work while struggling learners were not. Had this lasted longer than the two weeks, I would have tried more strategies to work closely with those students and their families to keep them caught up. Overall, it seemed that my synchronous sessions were far more successful than the asynchronous ones.

If I return to remote learning in the future, I would like to explore using other tools to engage my students, such as Nearpod. Does anyone have experience with Nearpod while teaching online, or other suggestions for tools that may prove more successful than Seesaw?


Ananga, P. (2020). Pedagogical considerations of e-learning in education for development in the face of COVID-19International Journal of Technology in Education and Science4(4), 310-321.

Caruth, G. D., & Caruth, D. L. (2013). Distance education in the United States: From correspondence courses to the internet. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 14(2), 141-149.

Migueliz Valcarlos, M., Wolgemuth, J. R., Haraf, S., & Fisk, N. (2020). Anti-oppressive pedagogies in online learning: A critical review. Distance Education, 41(3), 345-360

Week 2 (Part One): Productivity Suites & Tools


James Hamblin’s video titled “Single-tasking Is the New Multitasking” was very relatable. I constantly have multiple tabs open at one time, ranging from course-related resources to personal interests. My use of the internet alternates between being a productivity tool and a mere distraction. When I set my phone aside and have a clean work space, I am better able to focus on my course assignments or my lesson planning, marking, report cards, etc. On the other hand, I am guilty of poor sleep hygiene habits; I sometimes go down a rabbit hole of watching videos, surfing the net, and browsing online shopping sites at bed time. I think the individual and context will dictate how productive or distracting the internet is; it has the possibility to be both.

My initial thought was that I wouldn’t necessarily consider us as being more productive now than we were pre-Internet and pre-Microsoft Office. The media has simply changed. For example, students now type their assignments on a word processor rather than handwrite their good copies on paper. Practically speaking, the speed of the internet should free up time to complete more tasks, but like James Hamblin noted, we are not fully present in the moment when we have multiple tabs or tasks on the go. This relates back to the distractions made possible through electronics and the Internet.

Anyways, I then thought of a change at my school that illustrates how the Internet can increase productivity in a workplace. At my current school, there was an increase in productivity and organization (and a decrease in paper materials) after the new vice principal created a dashboard on Google sites for the staff to use. Resources and important links to shared Google documents are stored on this dashboard (e.g., supervision schedules, Learning Improvement Team plans, year plans, data for reading, writing, math). There is also a feature to enter monthly Recognition of Service hours and Noon Supervision hours, making the requests for an Earned Day Off (or pay-out at the end of the year) easier to stay on top off. This dashboard has saved me a lot of time when it comes to entering data and locating needed documents. The vice principal who created this Google site and continues to update it went to a professional development event about using Google tools effectively in the classroom. He also used Google as a university student himself. Thus, Singleton’s (2021) discussion of preferring tools that you are familiar with matches my vice principal’s implementation of Google at our school. Although, I do think a lot of resistant staff members could have benefited from “robust professional development [to help] make the pedagogical shift easier on everyone” as Sheninger suggests (as cited in Bengfort, 2017).

While my school extensively uses Google to create and share documents, our division uses Office 365 for e-mail. I have not experienced the “either or” mentality in my workplace like some of my classmates spoke about on July 12. As a university student, I have used both Google (Docs and PowerPoint) as well as Microsoft (PowerPoint) to collaborate on group projects. I appreciated that Raquel, Deidra, Allison, and Kelly emphasized in their presentation that a lot of these tools were targeted for businesses to make a profit and weren’t necessarily created with education in mind. It is important to know this history in order to make a more purposeful and explicit connection to pedagogy when using productivity suites and tools in our classroom.


Bengfort, J. (2017, October 17). Schools leverage apps and easy-to-manage suites of learning tools. EdTech.

Singleton, C. (2021, June 23). Microsoft 365 vs Google Workspace- Which is best for your business? Style Factory.

Follow-Up to July 5th Class (EdTech and Theories)


I now understand educational technology as more than just tools, websites, apps, etc. (which I hadn’t prior to this course). There are more mediums than only digital/online/computer (e.g., oral, written, broadcasting). Whatever form it takes, the objective of educational technology is to increase student learning, which many scholars link to a change in behaviour or thinking. All educational technologies have benefits and challenges that can differ from person to person, which connects to Postman’s (1998) first idea of every technological change having a trade-off, as well his second idea of benefits being unevenly distributed among the human population.   

In my own experiences as an elementary and high school student, my teachers utilized mostly behaviourist and cognitive approaches to learning. Many of my primary teachers used an incentive/prize program to encourage us to read more books and follow classroom rules (Skinner’s operant conditioning – positive reinforcement). Rote memorization and providing the desired response (not higher-order thinking) was consistently rewarded on written exams. The nine events listed by Robert Gagne was a very common lesson plan structure that was also suggested by quite a few university professors of mine. I don’t remember a lot of meaningful group work tasks in middle years, and even less in high school. However, I believe many of my university professors (particularly in education courses) have emphasized collaboration and a community of practice (constructivism).

I certainly use a behaviourist approach to condition my grade 2-3 students into following classroom routines (e.g., Katia’s clapping example). Based on Ertmer and Newby’s (2013a) discussion of the three main theories of learning, many of my go-to teaching strategies are grounded in cognitivism (e.g., reasoning, problem solving, acquisition of knoweldge, use of examples and non-examples, making connections, using graphic organizers, concept mapping, self-monitoring and revision). I think this could be tied to my own learning style preference. Thirdly, my belief in the power of the curriculum-as-lived (daily conversations, sharing of personal experiences, discussion) aligns with constructivism. I have been inspired in my Inclusive Education certificate program and M.Ed. program to genuinely engage my students in more constructivist learning approaches. Although, I struggled to incorporate as many group activities during the pandemic as I had in past years. For example, I stuck mostly to table partner activities this year, for the sake of contract tracing had it come up. This unfortunately limited the interactions my students had with multiple classmates on a daily basis. I did continue other practices as normal, such as Math Talks, a problem-based learning activity that involves listening to peers’ thinking strategies. I would like to include more relevant, real-world problems next schoolyear, as encouraged by Barrows (1986, as cited by Ertmer & Newby, 2013b). Going back to my first year of teaching, in a prekindergarten classroom, empiricism (knowledge comes from experience) was a huge focus through my experiential learning centers. I believe one thing holding me back from fully embracing a constructivist classroom is the perception of colleagues who do not like noisy classrooms (which will happen when all students are engaging in dialogue with one another).

Aristotle’s empiricism reminded me of the story The Blind Men and the Elephant. Aristotle’s knowledge theory argues that one can understand something and know what is real through their senses (i.e., sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste). In The Blind Men and the Elephant parable, each of the men feel a different body part of the elephant and declare it to be different objects, claiming that their knoweldge is real based on their sense of touch. For example, one thought it was a snake (trunk), another thought it was a fan (ear), the third thought it was a tree trunk (leg), the fourth said it was a wall (side), and the last man said it was a spear (tusk). Are these men all right, all wrong, or a bit of both? I previously understood the main message here as the importance of having a variety of perspectives and worldviews in our classroom and society, in order to see a fuller picture. I had never connected it to theory before this class. Siemens summarizes this famous parable by stating: “Learning and knoweldge rests in diversity of opinions” (Siemens, 2005, p. 5).

Lastly, George Siemens’ idea of connectivism, specifically that connections to facilitate learning can be made not only with other humans but also with things such as computers, reminded me of post-humanism theory. In EC&I 814, I learned that many posthuman theorists believe that their epistemology is needed in order to ensure human survival on our planet. Posthumanism is the idea that humans are not at the center of the universe; there are also non-humans (e.g., animals) and more-than-humans (e.g., technology) that play vital roles in our world. Fostering a positive, mutually beneficial relationship between humans, non-humans, and more-than-humans is crucial for sustainability.


Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013a). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly26(2), 43-71.

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (2013b). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Connecting “yesterday’s” theories to today’s contexts. Performance Improvement Quarterly26(2), 65-71.

Postman, N. (1998). Five things we need to know about technological change.

Siemens, G. Connectivity: A learning theory for the digital age.

NOTE: Here is a short reading of a version of the blind men and elephant parable, in case you are unfamiliar with it: