Monday, April 29, 2013

Final Blog Post
First I would like to show the infographic that inspired this in the first place:

For my three mini-projects I delved into different aspects of the idea of peer culture and connect learning. In the first mini project I drew stick figure comics depicting scenarios of peer learning based on learning by the examples of your peers. For the second mini-project I talked about the importance of staying connected with the people in your lives and how important it is to share information with each other, not only just for educational purposes, but also holistically for the foundations of all parts of our lives. In the third and final mini-project I did a photo essay that I tried to capture a couple of ideas with. First the relevance of peer culture throughout history and second the relevance a peer culture across different aspects of life from hobbies, to sports, to work, and to education.

The mini project I liked the most was the second one. I feel like I spent the most time thinking about it and while they are things I would probably change about it in the speech, but as far as my though process I feel like it developed the most on peer culture during the second mini-project. I started really thinking outside just the educational system and into every aspect of our lives which is what led to the third mini-project, but in the second one I discovered just how important it all really is. What I learned was that we share these moments with so many people in our lives and we learn from them in all aspects; and that this is very important to our education in all parts of our lives. Also that with the creation of social media and the world becoming such a smaller place that it is so much easier in this modern world to stay connected and induce a much powerful more constructive peer learning experience for everybody.

"Connected Learning Infographic." Connected Learning. N.p.. Web. 1 Apr 2013. <>.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mini Project #3

For my third and final mini project I created a photo essay. Due to a technological shortfall I couldn't put captions on the photos. But here is what they are and how they contribute to peer learning:
  1. The first image is a group of cavemen in a group learning how to create fire.
  2. The second image is a picture of the members of the manhattan project. A group of scientist that worked together during the 1930's and 1940'.s
  3. The third photo is the rock band group known as Black Sabbath sitting together in a studio session discussing music.
  4. The fourth photo is a group of people working reviewing plans over a site.
  5. The fifth picture is the Olympic rowing team for the U.S.A working as a team 
  6. The sixth picture is a picture of a group of students sitting outside studying

I would first like to discuss my photos. My first two photos can be grouped into a common meaning and that is groups have always come together throughout history to teach and learn from each other all the way back into the caveman days to much more modern history. My third, fourth, fifth, and sixth photo's all correlate in the same meaning; they all come together to mean that the peer culture is in many of things from our hobbies, to our work, and to our schools. It is fundamentally important to a lot of things we participate in. I got a lot of  these ideas from this image:
("Connected Learning Infographic")

How the peer culture, the academic lifestyle, and the interests of everyone all interconnect in so many different ways. 

In my first Mini-project I talked about how so often in our lives that in groups we learn to do new things even down to simplest of task. In the second Mini-Project I talked more about how important it was to share our lives, our experiences in order to learn from one another and to how vital it is to stay connected. For this third Mini-Project I've decided to show how important the peer culture has been throughout history and how it impacts aspects of our lives from sports, to work, to hobbies, and to school. I'd also like to say that the peer culture has become much greater over the past few years with internet and social media. It has really progressed the ability for better learning capabilities and allowed people to stay better connected. 

"For peer learning to be effective, the teacher must ensure that the entire group experiences positive interdependence"(Christudason) This positive interdependence is having group interactivity that makes everyone a participant and allowing everyone to learn in the group. In this article it stresses how important peer learning is  but that it has to be managed in led well in order to be properly function in a school like environment. That the peer culture should be emphasized more just because of how much the world is evolving and becoming smaller and smaller with the advances in information traveling more efficiently. The education system needs to adopt these techniques in order for the students to be able to keep up with the modern world.

Christudason, lice. "Peer Learning." Successful Learning. N.p.. Web. 15 Apr 2013. <>.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A New Year’s Toast

Another year, another turn around the sun; here’s to you and here’s to me in all which we've become. May our resolutions be resolute and our remembrance be taken as lessons of truth, and if one thing is to be certain it is that these truths that pave our resolutions are far more intertwined than we can imagine. To be successful through perseverance and achievement may create a path which makes us wanting in a way that in the future perhaps we choose to be more like that person. That person which was able to overcome adversity, was able to make strides to their goals, and was able to create positive notches into their own identity. In juxtaposition may our failures not be a means of quitting but a foundation to be built upon to create success. In example we say this upcoming turn around the sun we make the boring conclusion that this time around we wish to be more physically fit. I said boring which shouldn't be mistaken for not being fruitful. In the past you may have picked up a habit of exercising more or eating less junk food and you wish to expand upon that success. Maybe in your failures you've decided that a few less times eating fast food may be advantageous. Either way your remembrance paves your resolution.

In digression I would like to state this. It seems to me that the generation that was lost in space has also been very adamant in making the world a smaller place. The television brings Vietnam into your living room. A cell phone allows you to be connected to friends, families, businesses, employers, and anyone you may possibly drunk dial tonight. The internet has literally become the fountain of knowledge. Facebook highlights your timeline with a documentation, a bibliography of you, and as nicely as I can say, this bibliography of average boring you is better than most of the greatest thinkers and doers of all of humankind. I think two lessons can be learned from this. That deep down in the root of our identity we wish to be remembered, and that we also wish to share our experiences with others. For the most part, I say good to that. The more connected we become, the more in tune with the outside world, the more we share with each other, the more we learn from others will allow us to grow into a more wholesome members of humanity. From the simple stuff like when John Doe put bleach in his laundry which ruined his clothes and we learned not to do that. The everyday stuff where we took this class and formed this study group because we learned from others that the teacher in that particular class was the best one and that a study group was the best way to learn the things in that class. To the complicated stuff where Jane Doe didn't make it to this New Year’s party because we didn't see her depression.

 That being said I would like to take this time to discuss a resolution that should be resounding to this upcoming year and all the years beyond that. First the admittance of the truth that we cannot do this alone, that we need each other, and that since the dawn of mankind community has always been the institution for success and progress both individually and communally. With that truth we must remain resolute in sharing our experiences. We must more importantly be resolute in listening to the experiences of others so that we may learn to mimic and improve upon their success or learn from their failures. Simply put, we must remain resolute in learning for that is the only way we will truly better ourselves. So cherish the one's around, cherish the one's that were, and cherish the one's that will be. For they are your knowledge, they are your support group, they are your mistakes, they are your successes, they are your lessons learned, they will forever remain what makes up you, and you are just as important to them. 


Trying to dig deeper into the peer culture and into peer based learning/connected learning by going beyond the fact that we do learn a great deal of knowledge from others but that we need to learn a great deal of knowledge from others. That it is essential. Systematically everything we've ever done as a person in this society is based on the knowledge given to you by someone else. Even in the most organic and original ideas that may have came to you individually, they were somewhere somehow built upon by others.

I thought a new year's toast, or speech, would be a good way of capturing this idea because of the whole resolution concept. For instance with the whole cliche' being a more active physically fit person resolution everyone chalks up on their list on January first. It's a pre-constructed idea that a lot of people have around that time of year. You get it from your peers. You know by example of yourself and others (your peers) that bad foods (food you learned was bad from your peers) will not lead you to this goal and that exercise (exercises you learned from others/peers) will lead you to your goals. 

This shows us that peer based learning is not only in school but is in all aspects of life. It shouldn't just be cultivated in school but should be cultivated everywhere. Which is a funny statement in itself because everything we know or learn was conceived by the thoughts of others. Which is why I think we should embrace the whole connected learning ideology just because of how natural it is.

I'm really proud of my closing statement in this speech. "Simply put, we must remain resolute in learning for that is the only way we will truly better ourselves. So cherish the one's around, cherish the one's that were, and cherish the one's that will be. For they are your knowledge, they are your support group, they are your mistakes, they are your successes, they are your lessons learned, they will forever remain what makes up you, and you are just as important to them." It is saying just how connected we are and how important it is to remain open-minded and observant to others. That we are important and that everybody is important to us in some way shape or form. Even if you strongly dislike someone(hate) and think their opinions or knowledge is wrong, it is still a basis of knowledge for you to build upon, and becomes a viewpoint for you on how not to be. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mini Project 1


For my first mini project I decided to draw cartoon stick figures of ridiculous situations depicting a group learning through their peers. The drawing themselves is me attempting to add a bit of humor to the concept due to sleep deprivation and exhaustion which is probably why I find them absolutely hilarious right now and probably will think they're second rate at best in the morning.

           The peer learning idea comes from a multitude of sources I've learned about this ear in class. First and foremost the section of connected learning set we looked at that delved into "peer culture" ("Connected Learning Infographic") on the info graphic and how it represents a large amount of the knowledge we gather on the day to day basis. The other source was from the novel The Wave (Strasser ) which I read for my novel assignment in class. In this book it talks about how a simple idea can spread from person to person and how it can grow from the proverbial mole hill into a mountain. The idea was constructed by the history teacher and the students took the idea and spread it to everyone else. My final source of this information is the games we played in class. On of the games we played called the "Peg game" for lack of better knowledge to what they game is actually called.

           It was a testament to peer based learning. Most of us couldn't achieve the desired results of leaving the board empty with only one peg left. Until a peer, a fellow student, showed us a trick to solving the game.

           My cartoons depict situations where peers are learning from one another, mostly by the harsh example of another, but all the same gaining knowledge to events through one another. I think a lot of learning happens this way. Especially in college where a good study group can make or break your college career.  
           I guess my caution with peer based learning is not to take it as the whole truth. While to me it is one of the most effective methods of humans learning it can also be very negative. In The Wave  the ideology of "strength through discipline" and "strength through community" at first created very positive results for the students, but it very quickly became twisted and corrupt. Peers can be a great learning tool but it can also become very negative.

          "Connected Learning Infographic." Connected Learning. N.p.. Web. 1 Apr 2013. <>.

           Strasser, Todd. The Wave. Dell Publishing, 1981. Print.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

For class on Monday we got together with the Forest View High School students and discussed college readiness. The group I was in was very productive and well organized. The students and I spoke very casually which was nice. I gave what advice I could about college and they seemed to be ready to learn. Ultimately their path to college is all up to them. How they do in school and  what schools they pick all comes down to the choices they make.

When I started talking about the things I enjoy about being in college, apart from the obvious which is an higher education, is the opportunity to achieve greater success later in life. Also the social networking is awesome. All the new people you get to meet and build relationships with is really an exciting thing on the path to adulthood.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It all comes together

For this daybook journal entry we were asked to walk around the building and pick phrases that we seen. The two phrases I found from around the building were "You're not alone" and "Leave your mark". From everyone else's phrases I wrote this poem which seems to be a poem about discovery and exploring the world around you and in the end to be able to leave your mark on others and to come to the realization that no matter where you are, you are not alone.

I thought this was a fun and interesting activity because we were able to come together collectively as a class and all add our own random flavor to the board with this list of phrases, and then individually we could arrange them into our own words while mixing and matching the discoveries of others. I think this is a really good analogy of what happens in reality and how we all learn from each other by what they find out in the world or by what we find out in the world, but ultimately it comes down to our interpretation of how we see it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The demons we face

In this blog post I'm going to continue talking about the things you face in your life in college readiness. On this daybook page I drew a demon thing and a ball in chain labeled adulthood. In the paragraph I describe the people that influenced me and a few of the topics of my college readiness.

In hindsight I don't think I thoroughly thought through the drawing. There are many demons or obstacles along the pathway to going through college. I think the ball in chain is suiting, maybe a weight of the world on your shoulders scenario. I think if I could redraw the image it would be  lot different. It would be an uphill battle with many paths to choose from with many obstacles along the way, and the weight of adulthood would still be there. I think the main change though would be a support system. Family, friends, and people who inspire are there to help with the battles and help carry the weight.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What's a story without a hero? For my quick write I examine the movie Slumdog Millionare. In my day book I define the hero(protagonist) and the villains. Something I noticed in our discussion group, especially in the movies/tv shows we picked that a reoccurring villain was society. I think that is an interesting perspective that we as viewers of this pop culture and the writers of the pop culture itself see society as constantly being corrupting and evil.

To the movie I picked though; I think the hero in the movie is a lot more complicated then previously perceived. Of course the main character Jamar is on the adventure, chases after the girl, and has many obstacles in his way that he is forced to overcome. These obstacles, the villains, like the gang, the tv show host, and poverty all prove to be bad in their own ways. After reconsidering though it isn't that simple, because fate has such a huge role in the movie, the whole concept of "it is written" that everything is already predestined and we are helpless to the outcome. so in reality in the movie fate is the hero, and fate is the villain and while we do have choices on how we handle the cards we are given the fact that Jamar becomes the hero that he is and gets the girl and the glory was all pre-written.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vantage Point

In class we split into two groups. My group was the first to sit in the inner circle. For the second discussion my group sat in the outer circle and took notes on the other group and how their discussion proceeded. In this picture from my daybook I diagrammed the discussion that took place among the other group.

What I noticed is a very interactive discussion much like our own group that took place with many arrows pointing back and forth showing conversation between the members of the circle. Some members had less to say than others and some members had  more back and forth between each other. Just like in our group.

The main thing though was the difference in vantage point. While in the inner group I was way more involved and interactive allowing me to be more focused on the topics at hand. While in the outer group I was more involved with following the actual flow of conversation but not really the topics of the conversation. While it was interesting to watch the interaction and learn about benefits of discussion I feel as if the actual application  of this is somewhat limited. To be involved in the actual conversation made me able to pay attention to the topics at hand and I felt I learned a lot more.

Or maybe I just need to work on my listening skills a little more.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A day late (sorry)

In this writing into the day excerpt I said that the believing game was fundamentally flawed because it is simply a method of stroking the ego of someone before you play (or after) the doubting game so they don't feel so bad when you (hopefully constructively) criticize their paper, work, or assortment of other things along those basis.

In my last blog I was asked to dig deeper into how these things we are learning are ideas that delve upon less tangible ideas. Here I go.

Theoretically this idea of forcing yourself to believe in what somebody is saying, and  even yourself, as Peter Elbow describes can allow you to open your eyes per say and see things through a different perspective and possibly alleviate some of your opinionated biased on a topic. Also in theory, during the Manhattan project the scientist thought that detonating a nuclear device could set the entire surface of the planet on fire (Yikes!). Not advocating the use of nukes, simply stating that theories don't always turn out to be right in proven practice. Back to the believing game. While fundamentally a fun idea, practically in the working model of the American school system/ higher education system as far as I know preaching off of limited experience, the believing game doesn't really work. First off it requires a great deal of understanding, something that a lot of college students are absolutely capable of, but often don't have the patience or interests to follow through in many subjects.

In my last semester English class we played the doubting and believing game with our assigned papers. I got a lot of good contributions to my work when playing the doubting game. I found out which points to clean up, where things were confusing, and great feedback. When we played the believing game, I got a lot of, "Yea I totally agree", "that was really good", and "I believe the point you are trying to make". Really do you? And then I read through blogs now, and I'm totally guilty of doing this, and it seems the first line in most response post is "I agree", "I totally agree". Which is essentially the believing game. I'm not saying you shouldn't agree with someone, and I'm not saying you shouldn't let them know that they are doing something right. But everyone agrees with what everybody is saying? I've got into enough truthful(drunken) arguments to know that is not a truthful statement at all... Maybe it isn't the student's fault though. Maybe it's the content, or the subject. Maybe the students are disinterested with the topic, therefore write generic pieces that make no leaps into learning, make no bounds toward understanding, and most importantly don't ask any good questions.

Back to the main point. A part of me thinks the believing game is necessary. In a country where everyone needs a trophy just for participating, where learning should be more game-like, and failure isn't considered a negative thing but a learning experience instead (why not both); it seems to me people need positive feedback now more than ever, they need to be believed, just so they will push on because thick skin is something our grandparent's generation seem to have held on to and it never passed down the gene-pool.

“If you are pissing people off, you know you are doing something right” John Lydon

Just some food for thought.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Are you "purty smart" or "just plain dumb"?

It worked out almost too perfectly, yet one could tell that situation wasn't orchestrated and was completely spontaneous. As a class we were required to bring in a game. Everyone brought in something, even though it seemed most people just whipped out their phones and went to town on some app (I did). In the midst of all of this we are discussing through our readings certain topics of utilizing games for learning and peer based learning and so on. One of the examples of this was the "peg game". I'm not sure of the actual name of the game, I just know it as the neat little time waster sitting at your table when ever you eat at a Cracker Barrel which I call the peg game. It's in the shape of the triangle, has a set number of holes, and a set number of pegs (golf tee's) which is one less than the number of holes; and the object is to remove all of the pegs by jumping the pegs over each other -like checkers. Ultimately you want one peg left.

Now on to how it worked out perfectly. We all took our turns with the game, I think I whittled it down to 2 pegs left, and others attempted with equal or lesser success, but nobody succeeded in taking it down to 1 peg. Then one of the other students, one of my peers says something along the lines of "there's an easy way to do this, just do this and this and etc.". He successfully beat the challenge. We all continued to pass around the game. We all were victorious. A perfect example of peer learning. A challenge arose and with the help of a game and the advice of a peer, we were able to overcome the obstacle.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Education: Sci-Fi to Fact?

Daybook Entry: 16 Jan 2013

"Super Nerdy. Not the video but my thoughts toward it. I just place myself thinking how the future of learning will be with this system and  I imagine this 
sci-fi setting, one similar to that of the Vulcan school in the new Star Trek. The process is all of these kids get placed into these little individual concave bowls where they are surrounded by computer systems and utilize this to learn. Sci-fi is just imagination of what the future will be." 

When Gee was talking about integrating video games and the philosophy of learning together I envisioned this futuristic setting with a place swarming with computers, where you are more individually paced and setup to learn. I realize that Gee's video was more about the process by which we learn and how it should mirror that of video games, in a way which  allows the players, or in this case students, to play(learn) new things based on levels, interaction, and overcoming failure. 

I agree with this approach, I find it very futuristic, and by futuristic I mean the next logical step in education. We have a system (video games) which entice players in a way a textbook, a teacher, or a classroom can't. "No deep learning takes place unless learners make an extended commitment to self." (add citation). I feel a lot of students just don't find themselves committed to a lot of things in school for multitudes of reasons from disinterest to lack of a challenge to just uncertainty. 

My only concern with Gee's approach is the lack of concern for failure. "In fact, in a game, failure is a good thing" (ADD CITATION). I struggle with this because while yes I agree that learning from your mistakes is vital and happens to everyone, a habit of failing isn't a philosophy that should be preached. I find constructive criticism to be a better approach. Failure isn't good, but here is what you can do to improve.