Back to School

I’m teaching two sections of an instructional technology course for freshmen education majors. The course runs from now until May. I am hoping that all of the tweeting I am  and will be doing will be useful for my students. I intend to explore each of the nine instructional strategies that are discussed in the book, Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-based Strategies For Increasing Student Achievement.

If my students can learn what the nine instructional strategies are and how to use them this semester, I’ll be a happy teacher.

Feedback Frenzy

I am still carefully crawling through John Hattie and Helen Timperley‘s (2007) article, the Power of Feedback and tweeting the nuggets of wisdom I find. I have found much to share as Hattie and Timperley’s article is extremely well-written and brimming with best practices. My intent is to mindfully absorb this research and apply the authors’ advice in my work with university students.

One of the first steps I’ll be taking is reviewing the goals and objectives for the course. I want to make sure that what I think the students should master is worthy of their time and attention. I thought I did a fair job of selecting and explaining learning goals when I revised my course over the summer. Even so, I think revisiting the course goals again will benefit my learners. I will be focusing on whether our  proposed learning experiences offer specific and challenging goals.


Mind42: Digital Citizen Qualites Concept Map

I’ve been participating in Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) and have benefited greatly from the experience. As I work through the challenges in the P2PU courses, I blog my experiences in a journal-specific blog called The Visitor. My most recent challenge, Badge Maker, has me thinking about developing and using badges. I want to create badges as a means of helping people develop qualities that will guide them into becoming the kind of citizens that help a digital community prosper.

I intend to produce a digital course in which participants acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for entering, acclimating to, and supporting reputable online communities. As they learn what they (at least in my opinion) need to know and do, they will be able to earn badges that attest to their mastery and progress. I order to help me reflect upon and hone my own thinking about what participants must understand and apply, I went looking for an easy-to-use, web-based concept map generator.

Although I know of and use a number or concept-mapping/mind-mapping resources and tools (Cacoo, Cmap Tools, FreeMind, Inspiration, LucidchartMindomo, Mindmeister, Text2Mindmap, Tufts University’s Visual Understanding Environment/VUE, to name a few ), I eventually settled on Mind42. I’m hoping that, as I progress through the P2PU’s Badge Maker challenges, my concept map will help me flesh out my thoughts and insights.

This image is a link to a concept map housed at Mind42. It is guiding my badge creation thinking.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what I created with Mind42. One of the aspects of Mind42 that I really liked was that (in addition to offering so many features for free) the service allows me to export my work out to a number of formats (as a FreeMind version, a PDF, as well as a PNG).

Creative Commons License
Concept Map: Qualities of Digital Citizens by Jeff Giddens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at:

Try, Try, Try Again

Well, here I go again.

I am going to try to return to blogging on a regular basis.

In many ways, I feel like an alcoholic climbing back on the wagon. I’ve been away from this blog since April of this year. Why?


With the economy being what it is and needing to keep my bills paid, I’ve been holding down three jobs (one full-time, the other two, part-time). I all but gave up on sleeping this year. People I know who I run into want to know where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting anything. I wince when they ask and tell them the truth: I have been too damned tired. I seem to have lost myself in any number of one of jobs. On one had, I am grateful I am able to provide for my family. On the other hand, I hate that my work has whittled away what little time I had for blogging. I also know that complaining will do little to alleviate the problem.

So, I am going to try to do this yet again. I recently began working my way through P2PU. I am so glad that I did! The experience required me to create a blog where I can document my progress.  I’m doing it in fits and starts. Creating and posting to that new blog stirred up a desire to come back here and bring Preclectic back to life. I know that consistent blogging will keep my mind and skills sharp so I’m going to try.