See on Scoop.itHow We Learn

And why everyone hates Comic Sans MS

Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

Is learning affected by typface? Can a lesson, a website or an e-learning program be affected by it’s typeface? This article unearths fascinating research on how people respond to various typefaces and how they can affect what we think about the words we are reading. Though it does not specifically refer to it’s influences on learning, it brings up some important factors to consider when designing learning resources.

See on


Does you wish you had an avatar that could coordinate all your e-mail, twitter and blog posts? Sort of like a personal secretary. I know Siri takes care of a lot of things, but not enough. Well I created this Avatar to do my intro for CLMooc. He doesn’t do much else, but it was easier then having to do it myself. Getting dressed and shaving just takes too much time. I want to look good but I’m too busy minding my PLN to bother getting all presentable. So here’s my introduction by Tommy. I look forward to connecting online with you in the future.

See on Scoop.itHow We Learn

Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

Prof. David E. Pritchard and his team discuss that improving education using computers is the mantra of education in the 21st century. The learning potential of interactive environments, and the associated scalability and economy of internet delivery, beg for creative and thoughtful development. The RELATE program has as its broad objective the improvement of learning and pedagogy in interactive environments. Key to this is the  development of integrated assessment tools with unprecedented reliability. They believe that accurate assessment of all educational innovations – not just electronic ones – is crucial to improving the mixed educational results of educational reform in the 20th century.

Their studies imply that, of the various instructional elements in the course, electronic tutorial – type homework generates by far the most student learning as displayed by score improvement on the MIT final and is comparable to group problems on standard tests of conceptual understanding. They have developed extraordinarily accurate assessmentbased on the process of a student working through a tutorial. Although integrated seamlessly within the instructional activities, it has the power to assess student’s skills on a fine grid of topics, allowing targeted tutoring to improve students’ scores as well as prediction of students’ performances on high stakes tests. They have even developed techniques to measure the learning from individual tutorials. For example, they recently developed ability to accurately measure the amount learned per unit of student time on a single tutorial allows comparison and improvement at the micro level. This will allow them to improve tutoring both by improving the individual tutorials and by determining what pedagogy (e.g. tutorial-first vs. problem-first instruction) works best. They have also found evidence for the effectiveness of hints in arriving at the correct solutions. Further studies on this will help improve the hint structure and would increase their effectiveness in tutoring.

See on

Making Learning Connected

Posted: June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

See on Scoop.itHow We Learn

A Connected Learning Massively Open Online Collaboration

Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

If you are interested in Connected Learning or want to find out what its like to be a connected learner. This MOOC, which they are calling a Massive Open Online Collaboration sounds like a great experience.



Some Background:

It has been proposed that we need new visions of learning better suited to the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of our new knowledge society. We now have the capability to reimagine where, when, and how learning takes place.

Connected learning seeks to tie together the respected historical body of research on how we best learn with the opportunities made available through today’s networked and digital media.


Connected learning environments are populated with people who share interests and are contributing to a common purpose. Today’s social media and web-based communities provide exceptional opportunities for learners in diverse and specialized areas of interest to engage in shared projects and inquiry.


Connected learning environments are designed around production, providing tools and opportunities for learners to produce, circulate, curate, and comment on media. Learning that comes from actively creating, making, producing, experimenting, remixing, decoding, and designing, fosters skills and dispositions for lifelong learning and productive contributions to today’s rapidly changing work and political conditions.


Connected learning environments are designed around networks that link together institutions and groups across various sectors, including popular culture, educational institutions, home, and interest communities. Learning resources, tools, and materials are abundant, accessible and visible across these settings and available through open, networked platforms.




Ito, Mizuko, Kris Gutiérrez, Sonia Livingstone, Bill Penuel, Jean Rhodes, Katie Salen, Juliet Schor, Julian Sefton-Green, S. Craig Watkins. 2013. Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. 

See on

See on Scoop.itConnectivism for Online Learning


Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

Here is a good synopsis of Connectivism with some great visual examples of how the learning process works.

See on

See on Scoop.itConnectivism for Online Learning

Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

Connectivism is not just a theory of how people learn. It can be a process that a student engages to take some action in response to a learning experience that doesnt seem effective. Kevin Stranack calls it Guerrilla Connectivism, and it refers to using Constructivist tools to engage fellow learners in order to overcome the inadequecy or limations of an instructor run class. These tips are great ideas for any student to practice, as well as for instructors when they are looking for ways to make their courses more engaging.

See on

See on Scoop.itConnectivism for Online Learning

The Networked Student was inspired by CCK08, a Connectivism course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes during fall 2008. It depicts an actual projec…

Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

There has been some recent discussion questioning the validity of Connectivism as a learning theory. ( See Keith Wayne Brown) That discussion will certainly continue, but if its not a theory than what? This video shows in simple terms how Connectivism explains the 20th century connected learning process and explains the required behavior of a modern student and Teacher. One could theorize that the ability to incorporate new information into existing knowledge or to synthesize new knowledge from multiple new sources of information derived from a PLN will eventually be a required skill of every student or life long learner.

See on

I realized yesterday that Twitter, what we do on Twitter could be considered to be a Massive Open Online Conversation or a MOOC.


Yesterday I opened up Twitter and discovered a tweet by Bill Clinton. Yes that Clinton, William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States. Clinton just recently came on Twitter and its been interesting to hear what he has to say. The really great thing is because of Twitter I am able to hear his thoughts, instantly, unedited. Something I certainly have never been able to do before except of course possibly filtered through some news source.

The lightbulb really went off in my head though when I read Clinton’s tweet, which said that Warren Buffett was now on Twitter. Warren Buffett who is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century.

So here I am thinking that this is great, I am able to hear the thoughts of some of the most influential and successful  persons in history. I am in the conversation, often just listening to the conversation, but I could jump in anytime. This is unprecedented, could you imagine reading Abraham Lincolns tweets when he was fighting for the 13th amendment, or the thoughts of General George Patton while he was fighting the World Wars.

We live in a time that allows us to have a conversation with the most important people in the world, the rock stars, our idols. A Massive conversation with everybody, Open to everyone Online. A Massive Open Online Conversation not a Massive Open Online Course like in education, but just as significant.

Maybe it’s nothing, maybe I just have MOOC’s on my brain, but I certainly enjoy a good conversation.

What do you think? I’m on Twitter @thomasjokon

See on Scoop.itConnectivism for Online Learning

Stephen’s Web, the home page of Stephen Downes, with news and information on e-learning, new media, instructional technology, educational design, and related subjects

Thomas J Okon‘s insight:

Complete coverage and Historyof the MOOC and Connectivism, from the pages of OLDaily. Commentaries are written by Stephen Downes

See on

This post combines two Mooc’s. At #etmooc we are discussing digital storytelling, and the other Mooc I am participating in is the  MITMedialab course on creative learning, which began with the concept of kindergarten learning. So over the last week I have been using the kindergarten approach to learning, in order to come up with the best way to tell a story about my son and his experiences at kindergarten. I have been creating, experimenting, and exploring with different digital creation tools introduced to me by #etmooc  like Prezi and Mindomo  and also Thinglink and  VUVOX.

I had the opportunity this week to just be creative. No deadlines, requirements or expectations. It’s a bit unsettling to be so irresponsible but I was doing it for science, or at least to learn about the science of learning.

My inspiration for this story is my son Harrison who is now six.


I have taken him to school everyday since preschool. This may seem like a fairly routine task, but with Harrison everyday is an adventure. He has some special needs, nothing too severe, but enough that moving him from point A to point B is a major undertaking. He’s often stubborn and defiant, but sometimes scared and uncertain about how to navigate the world. This makes the task of getting him to school everyday quite challenging.

Last year at the beginning of preschool he didn’t want to enter the classroom or even the building on some days. He refused to line up with the other kids unless he was the first one in line. He became anxious standing there with the other kids until we figured out that giving him something to occupy his attention, like a squeeze toy in his hand, settled him down. We had to work with him for a few months till he was comfortable lining up and would consistently go into his classroom with the other students.

Once he finally got with the program, I started taking pictures of Harrison every day  just before he entered school. It started in preschool, and I have continued this year during kindergarten.

1 Harrison School - 119

The pictures are interesting because they capture Harrison’s wide range of emotions each day, and every photo is from a different location around the school with differnt people in the background.

I think the pictures tell an interesting story about what it’s like to be a young child starting school. You can read the emotions on his and the other students faces as they contemplate the day ahead of them. I’m not sure if Harrison will appreciate this video journal of a small slice of his life, but I wish someone had done it for me.

First day of school

The first tool I used to exhibit the photo’s was  VUVOX.

Here’s he VUVOX version of my story.

You can only put a link to a VUVOX collage in a blog. You also can’t export your collage to your hard drive. They only provide a link to their site if you want to email it or send it to social media. It didnt like that aspect since I like to take ownership of my creations. I also didn’t like the time it took to upload the photo’s to their server. I desktop application that used their technology would be welcome.

I liked the way you are able to make a scrolling collage of your photo’s with VUVOX. You also can place hotspots anywhere on the photo’s that link to websites or other media like audio or video. I wanted to add some video segments I had to the presentation, but Apple quicktime videos would never load correctly. I am still searching for an inexpensive way to convert the .mov movies to flash video.

Since none of the other creation tools met my criteria of being inexpensive, easy to use, and allowing you to keep your project, I moved on to iMovie which I own and know how to use fairly well.

iMovie has its own limitations, but I was able to create a video that properly told my story. I even found time to play with GarageBand to create my own original soundtrack.

Here’s my Digital story about Harrison as he starts school everyday:

Just to finish the story. I continue to take photo’s everyday. So the video is “to be continued”.

Harrison has been adapting well. On days we are late, he is able to enter the school on his own and go right to his classroom. It may seem like a small step for most kids, but its a giant leap for Harrison.

He is getting used to kindergarten and learning. I don’t think kindergarten in his school is exactly like Mitchell Resnick describes it in “All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten”. I feel like his preschool was more about designing, creating, experimenting, and exploring. His kindergarten is more like first grade. More traditional schooling.

I hope he doesn’t stop using the kindergarten approach to learning. I agree with Resnick’s ideas and will make a point to follow those ideals for my own learning and for teaching Harrison in the future. It’s a useful philosophy if your a kid trying to learn the ropes of kindergarten or an adult trying to tell a story.

Whats your story?