The Brain and Learning

When analyzing how I process, retain, and retrieve information, I can absolute state that my greatest challenge lies in the retention of facts.  As a 50-something learner, I find that I can control my atmosphere to maximize focus and comprehension of most information.  The problem lies in retaining not only the information, but where the facts were located.  Being a grad student, it important that I be able to cite text and this problem results in a loss of time efficiency.  After reading this week’s selection, I have begun to understand that this may be due to a combination of two processes.  First, my age could indicate the deterioration of synapses from long periods of time between intense learning opportunities (Ormond, p. 90). Second could be related to the manner in which I process this new information.  For example, time is such a valuable commodity that I rarely take the time to go back and try to draw on previous knowledge, though for me, in this area, there is not a lot to draw upon (Ormond, p. 53).

            As an educator, I often refer to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences which is based upon the notion that different people have different strengths and weakness from birth and identifying these will enable teachers to adapt their lessons to tap in to those areas to make learning more effective (Kornhaber, 2020).  As an instructional designer, creating lessons that engage each of these eight intelligences would increase the overall efficiency of programs created.  While, in actual practice, including all eight might be a problem, addressing as many as possible would certainly upgrade the lesson’s effectiveness.  

            Jensen suggests that the brain is ever evolving from varying experiences of life. He believes that software programs can indeed aid learners particularly in “attention, hearing, and reading” (Jensen, 2008).  This is my future goal – to develop such software that will aid my students who struggle from ADD and ADHD to improve their skills and eventually increase their overall learning.  

            Jensen also provided me with some great advice on how to improve my own memory problems.  By eating for healthy foods, exercising more regularly, and purposefully reducing stress, he suggests that I can grow more neurons and better my mental health (Jenson, 2008).  I am looking forward to implementing my self-improvement program and rewiring my brain for a smarter, healthier me. 

Jenson, E. (2008, October) A Fresh Look at Brain-Based Education. Teachers.net Gazette, vol. 5, No. 10. Retrieved from http://teachers.net/gazette/OCT08/jensen/

Kornhaber, M. L. (2020). The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The

 Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence (2nd ed., pp. 659–678). chapter, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://doi.org/10.1017/9781108770422.028

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Great ideas for deeper learning using Flipgrid: (I found this in my previously reference blog: https://teachersfirst.com/blog/)

As a technology virgin, I am constantly search for new ideas to make learning more fun and interesting; thereby, deepening the student learning experience. The use of the suggested Flipgrid Discovery Library is going to be great way to do just that. The Veteran’s Day clip allows students to not only see the actual location of DDay but hear from a soldier who was there and hear personal descriptions about others. When combining that with the activity of video reflections… ! What fun! Check it out for yourself.

Fabulously Informative Podcast about the use of Google Tools to Support teaching for face to face and virtual learning. Found on: https://shakeup.com/blog/

Shake-up is a fabulous source of information for all types of learning tools that address many different levels of experience and needs.


Hello world!

Hi.  My name is Alisa Jackson and I am a 50-something middle school teacher in the terrific state of Tennessee.  In addition to contributing to the growing knowledge of hormonal adolescence, am enrolled in graduate school with the plan of earning a degree in Instructional Planning and Technology.  I hope to learn to create more effective and interesting teaching formats for students learning both in the classroom and virtually. 

2020 – THE YEAR OF THE CORONA – not the Mexican kind…

In this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching has never been more daunting.  Competing with TikTok, video games, and social media for the student’s attention is increasingly more difficult especially for the technologically challenged such as me.  While I have managed over the last few years to become pretty accomplished at basic lesson planning and the incorporation of various gamification techniques, I realize this is not enough.  I must learn more!


I must admit – right here and now –  have never blogged before in my entire life.  I never created a blog, read a blog, or posted on a blog.  I’m a blog virgin.  BUT…. here I am slowly working my way through blocks and edits to document my learning experience in navigating the field of technology. But that is not all! I am hoping to gain many new friends that will be willing to share their knowledge and contribute to my learning experience.  


Join me in my quest to learn more about Education in the Tech Age! Here are a few blog sites that I have found so far as I try to figure out what I am doing. Check them out and let me know what you think.





Thank you John Pritchett Cartoons and Dan Benge for the illustrations.

Distance Learning 6135 – 11/4/21

What is Distance Learning? How do I see it evolving?

Dr. Simonson defines distance education as “formal education in which the learning group (teachers, students, resources) are separated by geography and, sometimes, by time.”  (Laureate, (nd). I concur with his choice of description. Using his definition, distance learning has been around since the first documented correspondence course of Sir Isaac Pitman in 1840 where he taught shorthand in Great Britain (Freese, 2019).  Through the years it has evolved into a big business if you include self-study e-learning programs.  In my field of education, distance learning was a wonderful tool that saved the day for many educators and students during the last two years of pandemic isolation.  Because of the available online resources, teachers remained employed and students were still educated. However, it has not all been a wonderful experience. 

Along the way, we have learned benefits and pitfalls. Allowing teachers and learners to work from home has brought a more relaxed atmosphere to a sometimes stressful process.  Personally, I loved teaching from my sofa and grabbing a quick snack while petting my three cats.  However, dealing with the distractions and inattention of students is a very challenging task.  Much time and effort was put forth to capture and keep the attention of my group of sixth graders. 

While my school is back to brick-and-mortar classrooms, virtual schools are certainly growing in popularity.  Huett warns that this type of education could turn into a “‘dumping ground ‘ for credit recovery among high school-age students (Huett, 2008). My concern centers around the potential for cheating no matter what age group is participating.  Little or no control is available to prevent students from having others do their work for them.  While cheating is sometimes a problem in the classroom, the opportunities seem to be limitless in the virtual world.

Freese, J. R. (2019, July 19). A History of Correspondence Course Programs. [web log]. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://courses.dcs.wisc.edu/wp/ilinstructors/2019/07/25/a-history-of-correspondence-course-programs/#:~:text=The%20first%20known%20reference%20to%20correspondence%20courses%20dates,eager%20to%20learn%20shorthand%20through%20weekly%20mailed%20lessons.

Huett, J.. Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Coleman, C. (2008).  The evolution of distance education:  Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 3: K12) TechTrends, 52(5), 63-67.

Laureate Education (n.d.).  Distance education: The next generation [Video file].  Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu.

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Reflection of 6015-1

Learning Theories with Dr. Anthony Artino

The most striking thing I encountered about how people learn is the need to increase self-confidence in the learning process.  It seems so logical, but I never really considered it as a requirement of successful achievement.  Even in the classroom, I have always been so focused on the teaching the huge volume of material that is required that I never considered the true benefit of building in confidence-builders. 

As I consider my own learning process, I realize the benefit I receive by confidence builders.  In this class for example, the encouragement of classmates in discussion posts has boosted my overall confidence in being able to achieve my goals as an instructional designer.  I clearly remember reading discussion posts of peers this class for the first time.  I was so impressed by the degree of knowledge and professionalism displayed I felt I had made a huge mistake.  I was questioning my ability to succeed at such a lofty goal especially at my age.  Yet as I strived to meet the expectations of the rubric, submit my assignments on time, and hope for the best, I began receiving positive feedback on my input.  My confidence began to build and researching topics became a doable challenge.  The one thing I never considered as important in the learning process turned out to be the most important part of my learning.   

I learned that cognitivism and connectivism are two theories of learning that I feel are most beneficial in overall learning for most students.  Connectivism is something I knew nothing about yet believe is essential in the learning process.  It is through obtaining many pieces of information and sharing with others for different perspectives that a deeper appreciation for learning is obtained. Blogs have proven to be wonderful source for the exchange of information on many topics.  The only downside (if it really is one) is that I tend to come away with more questions than answers. 

Through my education in this class I have come to understand that Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences is just one idea in the way people learn.  In the beginning of the class I thought that learning styles were the only predominant way to classify the way students learn. Now I have gained a better understanding of the many ways people learn including myself.  I have come to better appreciate educational technology with its many opportunities to increase learning and variables to look for in determining its true worth.  I have also come to see the true importance in providing motivation to students in the learning process.  The most important thing I have learned is how the utilization of various theories combined in educational technology can provide that much needed motivation and encouragement that students need to get the most from a learning experience. 

I look forward to using my new understanding of the Adult Learning Theory to improve my ideas in the development of training programs in the future.  Basing instructional planning on how adults learn will certainly result in more successful employees for my clients and increase my potential for a brighter future.

Technology, Learning Theories, and Me

In the beginning, I saw myself as a visual kinesthetic learner in a cognitive learning world, but then I was educated in this class about different learning theories and in the process learned more about myself.  

My view from my first discussion post is completely different because, honestly, I had no idea there were such a thing as an Adult Learning Theory, a Social Learning Theory, or a Connective Learning Theory. As it turns out, the Adult Learning Theory completely nails me.  I must add Connectivism and Social Learning Theories are highly appealing to me and I am leaning more toward them as my master’s educational program progresses.  I have to admit I never knew what a blog was before this class!  I discovered a wonderful way to stay abreast of the latest and greatest educational apps without doing anything beyond the original subscription. How great is that?  As my knowledge of what is out there grows, I’m sure my preferences will adapt and change in various ways.  

Technology plays a huge role in my online learning both formally and informally.  I spend more and more time every day searching for new and greater information regarding teaching, learning, and this spreads out to even my private life.  My son has been diagnosed bipolar and has been experiencing a very active rapid cycle the last several weeks that has my entire circle of family and friends extremely concerned.  Now that I learned about scholarly sources, I am able to provide more up to date information that I feel is more dependable than general web searches might be providing at least a small portion of comfort to us all.   I am able to research information, quickly compile that information into a readable format and publish for everyone concerned.  I have been able to print paper copies to the internet deprived and email copies of the same booklet to the connected. Learning will never be the same again.

I just posted a discussion yesterday where I talked about the importance of expanding digital literacy knowledge in lower income communities.  It is becoming more obvious that this type of technology knowledge needs to incorporated into instructional design of all types.  Expanding the exposure to various types of technology can only enhance learning of all ages and cultures.  Additionally, research is proving that the incorporation of many types of technological types of communication and collaboration are key to the future success of employee candidates.

Emerging Technology and Adult Learning

According to Adams, Pasquini, and Zentner in the 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study 70% of employers looked for strengths in a prospects ability to work in a team, solve problems, effectively communicate skills, and have strong work ethic.  Considering the talents and abilities needed to be considered an effective future employee, it is crucial to be certain that instructional products train students in these areas.  The group believes that the possibilities exist to include these skills into future digital literacy programs in higher education and adult training. 

Digital literacy has varying meanings to different people but most agree it is the increased ability to interpret, critique, analyze, and synthesize technology in its many forms.  Nichole Pinkard describes a program in Chicago, IL called the Digital Youth Network that was developed around 2008 to increase interest and thereby increase digital literacy beginning with students in the sixth grade.  By making the internet more available to large groups of children in schools and in the public library system, the group created a social networking environment for these kids to share ideas, information, and learning opportunities improving communication skills in the process.  Data gathered has indicated an increase of around 80% over kids in the Silicon Valley in the last few years.  What would happen in the business industry if this digital literacy promotion was tackled in higher education and adult training? What would happen if internet access and adult training were made more readily available across the United States with social networking built in to foster a desire to continue learning?

Vanessa Vega shares statistics from 2011 with respect to internet availability across the US (Vega, 2011).  Of course, these numbers are much higher today; however, I believe that the disparaging differences between high and low income households will still exist.  We could change the future employability of lower income adults if we not only made internet more accessible but created interest-gaining programs like the Digital Youth Network for these adults and inspired them to want to participate in digital literacy programs thereby also increasing their communication skills.  If we created centers for gathering, sharing a glass of tea, and learning more about what is available in the digital world then made that learning accessible, how successful could we be in aiding low income adults with very little hope for the future to become more excited and hopeful about tomorrow?  Could these types of programs make a difference?

As future instructional designers, I believe that we can use our growing knowledge to help create these types of programs.  By implementing collaboration strategies, video training on design and publishing strategies that touch them where they live, we can promote change.  By reaching out into these lower income areas and providing information on how technology can be helpful on a regular basis to their families and communities then appealing to their basic needs, interest and desire can be sparked to tackle other learning opportunities and increase employability in more lucrative enterprises. 

Adams Becker, S., Pasquini, L. A., and Zentner, A. (2017). 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.5, September 2017. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. 

Pinkard, N. (Writer). (2013, February 6). Nichole Pinkard on Digital Literacy (Big Thinkers Series) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/video/nichole-pinkard-digital-literacy-big-thinkers-series

Vega, Vanessa. (2011). Digital Literacy is the Bedrock for Lifelong Learning Digital literacy ensures the birth of new ideas and educated citizens. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-divide-technology-internet-access-literacy-vanessa-vega




The most amazing thing is to see how many connections connect personal and professional. I’m not sure how good that is. Sure it makes me a better worker – staying in touch with the changing world of technology and teaching, but what about my personal life? I don’t seem to have much of that.

A Person’s Personal Life Should Balance with Their Work Life

My Reflection of Connectivity

  • There was a time, not so very long ago that I had email. Just email. No texting, no facebook, just email. My times have changed. I gaze at the mind map of connectivity that I have created and wonder how did I ever get along with just email?
  • My connectivity ranges from the old stand-by of email to blogging sites which are newly discovered. I have favorite webpages that I visit for updates on new technology and regular facebook groups that must be visited at least every few days to stay up on the news from school, businesses, friends, and family. My one-stop-shopping-for-info places are the most valuable to me these days. Schoology and One Note contain most anything I need to know on a daily basis from statistical information to grades to human resources contact information. All of these connections are invaluable to me in my professional and personal life.
  • When asked how to I find new information when I have questions I have to stand by my tried but true google. While I learned new tricks such as google scholar for certain types of information, I have found that my favorite search engine with always cast me in the right direction to answering questions every day.
  • My personal learning network used to be connected by email, text, and phone but no longer. All of those I consider valuable in my life can be contacted through facebook, instagram, twitter, and even a few personal webpages. The same is true of personal and professional advisors. Even in the age of the pandemic, I stay connected to people and information in a big way through all of the branches of my connectivity mind map.
  • What does yours look like? Try bubbl.us and see for yourself!


Teachers spend many hours every week, researching, planning, creating ways to engage students effectively in lessons that they can not only understand and remember, but retain over the years ahead of them.  To accomplish this phenomenal feat to any degree of success, one must have a sense of how the mind and memory work. Cynthia Vinney wrote a very succinct article which breaks down and simplifies the Information Processing Theory put forth by American psychologist, George Miller, and others during the 1950s.  In a nut shell, memory is broken down into three categories: sensory, short term, and long term. Sensory is absorbed through our senses and is retained a mere three seconds. Short-term memory is generally accessible for 15-20 seconds but can be expanded to possibly as long as 20 minutes through repetition.  While long-term memory is generally considered to be stored away forever (Vinney, 2020).  The question for teachers is: What can we do to access that long-term memory? 

The simple answer would be to make the information memorable.  Meriam Webster identifies memorable as something “worth remembering” (Merriam Webster, 2020).  How does a teacher make something worth remembering to a child?  You must tap in to something thing the child can relate to or appreciate as worthy.  The staff at TeacherVision published an article which quoted an excerpt from Anthony D Fredricks’ book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Teacher. Fredericks suggested that providing the student with some of the responsibility for his/her own learning was key.  Teaching a child to problem solve should be accomplished in five steps:  

Making sure the child can…

  • understand the problem and can explain it in their own words
  • recognize anything that may keep them from solving the problem
  • find several solutions to the problem
  • work through proposed solutions
  • assess the various results