Category: 30 Day Learning Challenge

30 Day Learning ChallengeCurious David

What have you learned today?

Lots of (re)learning in my near future as I upgrade my Macs to High Sierra. More learning of an additional kind is occurring in my life as my students and I closely examine the efficacy of brain-training software. In that endeavor I am revisiting some data analysis procedures I haven’t had a need to use in a few decades! And today, while proctoring an exam, I learned from my students a feature of their calculators I did not know.

I enjoy being ignorant in the sense of the original Latin ignorare of “to not know”. Not knowing invites learning, and I find the process of learning exhilarating. Thank you, Howland High Latin teacher Mrs. Bode, for developing in me a love of words and of languages. Because of you I have become quite a wordsmith.

This is Day 5 of my 30 Day Learning Challenge created by Jane Hart. I always find “courses” created by her well-designed, making thoughtful use of materials she has collected, vetted, improved, and shared across the years. I am particularly impressed at how she somehow is able to add a personalized factor, reacting to comments and mentoring. Truly inspiring and worthy of emulation. Thank you, Jane Hart, for over a decade of teaching me. I look forward to your imminent publication of Top Learning Tools 2017.



And of course, I have the dogs as my teachers. Perhaps they can teach me their platform sailing skills.



30 Day Learning ChallengeCurious David

Choosing the Appropriate Technology Learning Tool: Thoughts from a Decade Ago




I am revisiting the 200 blog pieces I’ve written or co-written the past 11 years. The thoughts below still accurately reflect how I shall proceed when Jane Hart releases her Top Learning Tools list next week.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time the past few days thinking through how best and how quickly to proceed in bringing into my classroom the right balance of elearning tools. Just now I have finished examining Jane Hart’s recent overhauling, updating, and reorganizing of her 2010 Learning Tools Directory. More specifically, I have gone through Jane’s category of “instructional tools” identifying which showed promise of immediate use to me. My admittedly idiosyncratic “screening criteria” included the following:

  1. Do I already have the software? Alas in my frenzied attempt to know about such tools I have too often acquired a tool and then never deeply explored its utility.
  2. Does it have a quizzing/testing component? I want to be able better to give students prompt, reasonably personalized and reasonably detailed feedback.
  3. Is the tool free (or, if not, does the cost offset the costs of free software)? I don’t have time to spend with buggy or poorly documented software.
  4. Will, in my professional judgment, the tool truly allow me to teach better or in new ways or will it only provide students with a fun experience? Though there is a place for fun in learning, I am interested in more than entertainment.
  5. Is the tool hosted? Since I move back and forth between a Windows and a Mac environment (and because my personal machines are often more advanced than those available to employees at work) it is important that something I develop be easily portable and accessible for student use.
  6. Will I (and my students) be able to master the tool quickly and use it immediately? I want to avoid frustrating my students with a steep tool-learning curve unless I judge that frustration is a necessary or inevitable component to mastery.