Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn

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Online Learning Challenges

By Barbara Bray      July 23, 2010 -- 07:47 AM

Designing Online Learning Environments that Engage Learners
(first published on OnCUE Summer 2010 Vol. 32 No. 2 p. 10-11 and cross posted on barbarabray.net)

Teaching online is fundamentally different than teaching face-to-face. The design of effective online learning environments requires rethinking teaching practices. The rapid advances of educational technology encourages the growth of collaborative online learning experiences unconstrained by time and space. Even so, students may not learn from technology alone; they learn with the support of competent facilitators ...   more...

Comments: 1   Last Comment By ibrahim betil  February 10, 2011 -- 11:58 PM

Cross-Age Cross-Curriculum Projects Change Teaching Practice

By Barbara Bray      October 12, 2008 -- 10:21 PM
The K12 Online Conference starts with the Pre-Conference on October 13. Each of the presenters are posting their presentations as podcasts 20 minutes or less. I am presenting the findings as an audio podcast and PowerPoint presentation. The teachers and students did all the work. Pat Lusher and Cecelia Nauda are coordinating the EETT grant and provided data, documents, and other information included in the powerpoint or as separate files below. Nancy Kuznicki and Donna Blanton shared podcasts about the projects. This presentation is on Thursday, October 23 (Day 4).


Throwing Away the Box...   more...
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Rigorous or difficult?

By Barbara Bray      October 2, 2008 -- 04:24 PM
I have been reviewing online and face-to-face courses to determine effectiveness. One thing I did notice is the amount of busywork and difficult assignments in both cases that really didnít meet the objectivess.

Let's rethink how we deliver our curriculum so we donít just give work to make sure our students are doing something. A difficult course may be one that provides endless activities that may or may not be relevant because the instructor wants to make sure they touch on multiple products or ideas.

Is this because the instructor wants ...   more...
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Joy in Learning

By Barbara Bray      September 9, 2008 -- 08:40 AM
How many times have you heard from students "School is boring?" That doesn't have to be the case. I read Joy in School in the latest Educational Leadership and it all made sense especially now with the emphasis on testing. We need to bring back Joy and an excitement about what people learn. Not just memorization. My take on the points in this article:

Make Learning Pleasurable
When you were young, why did you learn? Not what you learned in school, but outside of school. Most of the time it was because you were excited about something. You wanted to learn how to ride a horse - not because it was ...   more...
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Are schools ready?

By Barbara Bray      September 1, 2008 -- 08:03 AM
Scott McLeod in his post Dangerously Irrelevant responded to Jeff Utechtís post on preparing our students for the 21st century to be global citizens. Postman & Weingartnerís quote McLeod shared from Teaching as a Subversive Activity is as applicable now as it was in 1969:

What students do in the classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say) . . . Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly, they sit and listen to the teacher. . . . Mostly, they are required to remember. . . . It is practically unheard of for students to play any role in determining what problems are worth studying or what ...   more...

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What does understanding mean to you?

By Barbara Bray      April 26, 2008 -- 08:51 AM
In redefining what learning in the 21st century means, I reflected on what learning means to me. I see each day and moment as a learning opportunity. I just came back from a long walk in a beautiful park where the birds were chirping. It was so peaceful and a great place to reflect. I stopped at a bridge over a lake and stood quiet for ten minutes just looking around and taking everything in.

I saw a colorful male mallard duck with his mate. Some questions popped into my head (even though I already knew some of the answers):
  • Why are male birds more colorful than ...   more...
Comments: 2   Last Comment By small Roxanne Clement  April 29, 2008 -- 05:26 PM

Making and Strengthening Connections

By Barbara Bray      March 20, 2008 -- 08:17 AM
David Warlick is presenting today in Arkansas with Pat Wolfe about what's happening inside and outside of the brain. [2 Cents Worth] Wish I was there but next best thing is to follow David's blog. This quote he wrote is great:

 "You donít grow brain cells.  What grows are dendrites, and Dittos donít grow dendrites!"

Pat shared MRIs of an MRI reading of brains when ...   more...
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Presentation that opens the mystery of the brain

By Barbara Bray      March 18, 2008 -- 10:16 PM
íI am trillions of cells sharing a common mind--I am life!í

ďOh my gosh, Iím having a stroke! Iím having a stroke! And in the next instant, the thought flashed through my mind, this is so cool!Ē

You want a guided tour of the human brain? Follow Harvard-trained neuroanatomist Jill Taylorís extraordinary account of the cranial hemorrhage that shut down her left brain when she was 37 years old. But the talkís value ó its preciousness ó lies less in the plain-language, enthusiastic science it offers us, than in the door it courageously opens to the mystery of the brainís right hemisphere ...   more...

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Being Innovative

By Barbara Bray      January 10, 2008 -- 08:06 AM
Do you ever feel that you have already seen everything? Then I see what artists and animators can do with their computer and Iím amazed. Hereís what an animator (Alan Becker) created using flash and stick figures. Took him three months but he says it was worth it. Click below:



Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART    more...
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Connecting in a Flat World

By Barbara Bray      April 3, 2007 -- 07:50 AM

Two issues I would like to explore:

  1. a desire for authentic learning opportunities
  2. creating learning experiences that are engaging and fun

How do you harness the power of like-minded individuals across long distances to reinforce online training, on-site coaching, learning with engagement, ongoing participation, and encourage them to continue coming back to their online community?

How do you phase in a community-building approac...   more...

Comments: 3   Last Comment By small Linda Ullah  April 28, 2007 -- 06:25 AM

Encouraging Participation

By Barbara Bray      June 21, 2005 -- 03:22 AM
So you built an online course or have a team in My eCoach Online - how do you encourage teachers to login, share ideas, and collaborate?

We built My eCoach Online as a Professional Learning Community focusing on the coaching and mentoring model. However, many teachers are used to the traditional lecture model. Many of us were taught in a traditional lecture mode  providing a syllabus with a timeline of due dates. We only know what we know. Very few of us participated in a coaching situation during our own school situations. We did whatever our teacher asked us to do.

The coaching model ...   more...
Comments: 8   Last Comment By small Barbara Bray  July 16, 2006 -- 01:53 PM

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