Monday, July 21, 2008



The End Of The Beginning

It has been several months since I presented on the Multichronic Classroom at the College Art Association National Conference, however I have finally managed to get the Slidecast/Podcast of the presentation together.

As outlined in the presentation, the term 'Polychronic Classroom' no longer sums up the ideal intentions of my research. So, I went and invented a new term: Multichronic. This new term is intended to accommodate both the polychronic and monochronic students. With it comes a new blog at The Multichronic

After a long hiatus from blogging about technology, web 2.0, and virtual worlds in pedagogy, I will now resume blogging at the new address. Please change your RSS accordingly.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Web 2.Ideology

In my Web 2.0 Learning Community meeting this morning, I mentioned some of the driving ideas behind those web 2.0 apps we're finding so useful in our classes that are actually changing the way we teach and learn. I believe they are important elements in the foundation of a polychronic classroom and any assignment or project that uses this technology.
  1. Creation
  2. Collaboration
  3. Community (Space/ Time)
  4. Interaction (Fun)
Create your own textbook. Invent new ways of working - online or off, from home, the road, the office. Build a virtual classroom or better yet: a virtual campus. Draw your own illustrations, make your own models, or have your students do it.... all of it! We are users but we are also creators. Some of us write code that allows others to create pictures or stories. Learning happens when we make use of information. The cycle of - here's the info, write it down, now repeat it back - is over! Make the student find the info, document it publicly, and then actually put the info to use.

Collaborate with students. Share experiences. Contribute to the collective conscience - share your knowledge. Add value, add purpose, add something! We are at a key point in history where every individual has the ability to contribute to a larger goal. Ideas, knowledge, and opinions are being shared without a price. Add a letter, a word, or a page... We're building - and your students should be too. My students should be working together to give me PowerPoints, not the other way around.

Web 2.0 is about Community. About connections, about Space: Virtual space, private space, myspace, your tube. Mine, yours, ours. We learn what we know from WHO we know. Time online, in RL, on the road, on the phone, the polychronic! Responsible users are questioning the spaces we exist in, the space we release our information into - Is it private? Who can see it? We set permissions based on community relationships and establish relationships based on our level of interactivity. We move very fast on some things and extremely slow on others. Some of my students could probably move through one semester's worth of content in one month. Others may need a few extra months. We must reevaluate our semester/quarter system and install something more individual - more Multichronic! We must not confine ourselves to learning in one place. Connect the dots between spaces by blurring those boundaries.

Interaction is Fun. The value of our time on earth is measured by our pleasure, pride, accomplishments... satisfaction. These things drive our games. We play to have fun, to be pleased. To win, to brag, to be better, to win again. To be satisfied with and share our research, productivity, outcomes, goals, and levels. We block our most miserable experiences out and cherish those that we enjoyed. Your students will do the same. Challenge them.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Paid to Learn

AP Article
Learning is supposed to be its own reward, but when that doesn't work, should students get paid to do it?

That's the question two Georgia schools are asking in a 15-week pilot program that is paying high-schoolers struggling in math and science $8 an hour to attend study hall for four hours a week.

The privately funded "Learn & Earn" initiative, an idea from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, is touted as the first of its kind in the state and one of a few similar programs nationwide.

"We want to try something new," said Jackie Cushman, Gingrich's daughter and co-founder of the group funding the initiative. "We're trying to figure out what works. Is it the answer? No. Is it a possible idea that might work? Yes."

I was blown away when I heard about this! The grading system as economy... think about what that would do to a scholarship system. As it is now, you have to keep a certain grade point average to maintain your scholarship. What if scholarships were awarded post-results? What if students were actually paid for their grades... paid in scholarships.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

OLN Week 3: Learning Communities

This year, I have been involved in two learning communities - one is the OLN Second Life Learning Community in Northwest Ohio and the other is a Web 2.0 LC hosted by BGSU's Center for Teaching and Learning Technology.

As co-facilitator of the SLLC (blog here) we've discussed such things as virtual field trips, office hours, group projects and virtual visiting lecturers - some of which I was able to bring into the classroom. For example: I held regular virtual office hours last semester and was also able to have a artist from Japan speak about his work in Second Life.

I have used my Web 2.0 LC as a springboard for new innovations regarding this technology in the classroom. I've used blogs and wikis for both resource and assignments (remember, I teach 2D art) for several semesters and this semester I've decided to create a Facebook group for my class. So far, we're only using it to keep up to date with what is going on in our School of Art, in our classroom, and with each other.

I would love for my students to be involved in a learning community. The style of exploring, sharing, and understanding that comes from the different levels of experience of everyone involved in an LC is so much different than their regular classroom study. Perhaps many of them would even learn better in such an environment (what works for us might work for them?). However, a lot of my students lack the time and/or motivation to do something beyond their already heavy class/work load.

Perhaps, the polychronic classroom would require and give college credit to student learning communities? If each student was given the chance to participate in an LC for credit, they might be able to investigate other topics of interest. Of course they have clubs for these things (like Martial Arts Club or the Comics and Cartooning Club) but learning isn't stressed or even focused. Upper level students might even be given credit for leading a learning community.

Is this happening at your school?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Question of the week - Week 2 - OLN Learning Communities Initiative

"What's the most useful lesson life has taught you? And if you could pass one lesson on to the class of 2020, what would it be?"

I think being a father AND a teacher and finding the connection between the two was extremely important for me. I was told, 'You never really learn something until you teach it.' I believe this to be very true. I wold suggest that the class of 2020 become educators - and not necessarily in the occupational sense. Share your knowledge... Contribute to the greater consciousness we are building and in turn you will be rewarded by having more help than you will ever need.

What this means to you may differ... Perhaps it means adding or editing Wikipedia or checking the creative commons box when uploading to Flickr. Maybe this means something different - volunteering your time as a tutor or coach, mentoring and sharing your experience; being a role model. Anyway you choose... share.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Q&A at OLN Ning

The Ohio Learning Network has an online learning community of sorts at (it's private for OLN members) and has began a series of "Weekly Questions" on their forums that will no doubt deal with some of the issues I've been thinking about with the Polychronic Classroom. Perhaps I will start posting them here on this blog:

What new advances do you see educational technology making in the next 5 years? 10 years?

What a big question for week 1! I've been thinking about this question a lot at my blog: The Polychronic Classroom. To keep it short and sweet:

5 years from now we will be going to some - not all - of our classes by pulling out the hand held computer in our pocket (which will be a phone, laptop, textbook, virtual world browser, etc...). Our ideas about testing, productivity, and assessment will have changed radically. The essence of the classroom with one teacher and a body of students will be long gone, but probably still upheld by the majority of educational institutions unwilling to adapt. A new model of teaching and learning will have evolved, not by design, but by trail, error, and innovation. Much the same way this Ning community voiced it preference for communication and ended up with this weekly question! :)

10 years... Let's see 1998 to 2008. Wow! Could anyone really have predicted that much change? Classes in virtual worlds.... without goggles! Textbooks written by students... and free for all! At some point in time, if we end up keeping any idea of 'individual accomplishment', it will no doubt be measured by the contributions to the 'digital collective' we are building. Students will probably be out contributing Professors by this time, but will still need guidance and authority. After all, I still hope to have a job in 10 years. Now, 20 years... with advancements in AI, that's another question.