Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Left or Right?

Left Brain. Right Brain. Visual Learner. How do you learn? Better question? How do your students learn? In trying to embrace 21st Century Skills initiatives, be sure you have the answer!

Any of my former students who happen to be reading this blog will probably smile. If they can think back to a few years ago, they will remember that these questions were presented to them within the first week of school! As their teacher, I wanted to make them aware of how they receive information. I also wanted to know how I could best reach them with my curriculum! In the process of answering these questions, they learned a lot about themselves. I, on the other hand, was able to get a better handle on what type of approach I needed to use when teaching the content of my courses.

When you really think about it, learning styles are pretty interesting. As one common teacher quote puts it… "all students are gifts, some are just opened before others". What does that mean? My personal interpretation is that it takes trial and error, different teachers and different subjects to finally reach a student and help them turn on the personal light bulb that helps them “get it”. Get what, you ask? Get what we are trying to teach them. Some students seem to “get it” immediately. For others, we just need to be patient and figure out which path to take. My personal belief is that ALL students can learn… and learn abundantly. We just have to find out how they best receive the information and how we can make it relate to them. Students are consumers of sorts and as teachers, we have to put some effort into helping them “buy in” to what we are trying to sell… knowledge that they will need and can actually use.

How do you learn? Do some self-reflection. For starters, check out this site and take the quiz. You will be amazed at your results! The quiz only takes about 10 minutes.


  • Logic
  • Sequential
  • Verbal
  • Linear
  • Analytical
  • Rational


  • Recognize and remember names
  • Respond to verbal instructions
  • Dislike improvising
  • Solve problems systematically
  • Logical problem solvers
  • Responsive to logical appeals
  • Deal with one problem at a time
  • Produce logical ideas
  • Seldom use metaphors
  • Give information verbally
  • Depend on words for meanings


  • Intuition
  • Creative
  • Non-verbal
  • Spatial
  • Holistic
  • Artistic, Visual, humorous


  • Recognize and remember faces
  • Respond to visual instructions
  • Like to improvise
  • Solve problems playfully
  • Intuitive problem solvers
  • Responsive to emotional appeals
  • Deal with several problems
  • Produce creative ideas
  • Often use metaphors
  • Give information with movement
  • Interpret body language

(Lists courtesy of

What are some of the “recognized” types of learning styles? Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social and Solitary! Check out this overview for great explanations.

What more information? Check out this site…

This article gives a GREAT explanation of right and left-brain teaching and right and left-brain learning! Want to learn even more? Visit

As the owner/writer of this blog… anyone care which type I am? Last time I checked … I was a pretty even split down the middle between left and right-brained. This has been the case for several years now. But, as I age, I see the scales tipping a bit towards left-brain dominance.

Believe it, or not… learning styles have a huge impact on how your students will receive your curriculum, even with the exciting and engaging incorporation of 21st Century Skills! Project-based learning might just be the best approach to caputure your students' true creativity and talent in expressing what they've learned in your class! Regardless, make sure that your content provides the technological tools necessary for them to succeed in this society... and make sure they understand, fully, what you are trying to teach. Need some ideas to get started? Not a problem! Technology in the classroom can address all kinds of subjects, goals and learning styles! As an Instructional Technologist - I can help you begin that journey.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Definition of a Disc

With the increased output of so much digital media – terminology and technical lingo has grown by leaps and bounds.

How do you figure out exactly which disc you need for what? How do you make sense of it all?

Let’s get back to the basics… check out these definitions to some of the common terms and acronyms seen today for the most common types of media storage.


Compact Disc. Optical storage device, capable of storing around 600-700MB of data. Great for storing data files, music, and photos.


(Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc). An optical disc format which provides sufficient storage space and access speeds to playback entire movies. Great for storing LOTS of data files, music and photos also!


A high-definition DVD format supported by a group of manufacturers led by the popular company... Toshiba. (Mainly for movies)

HD (not a type of storage medium, but a common abbreviation these days!)

High Definition. Usually used to describe any device capable of generating or displaying a signal with a resolution of at least 720 vertical lines. Another accepted definition is any signal containing at least one million pixels of video data in a single frame (vertical resolution x horizontal resolution).


A high-definition DVD format supported by a group of manufacturers led by Sony. Typically holds 25-50 GB of information.

Flash Drive

A device used to store data that can withstand more abuse than a hard drive, ranging in capacities from 32MB to 16GB. Also commonly referred to as a Thumb Drive, Key Drive, or Jump Drive.

Memory Stick

Digital data storage technology with up to 10 times the storage capacity of an (old school!)  3.5 diskette. Sony claims rights to this term and is promoting the Memory Stick as the new way to share and transfer pictures, sound, and other data between different compact electronic devices like digital cameras and camcorders.

All definitions courtesy of the following online resources:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tech Girls

Eileen Collins. Kathryn Clark. Charlotte Barnum. Ada Lovelace. Susan Kare.

Recognize any of these names? Lots of folks probably don’t! Who are they? Women who have made significant contributions to the fields of math, science and technology!

Increasingly, there has been some staggering statistics that show fewer and fewer girls wanting to pursue careers in technology. This statistic must change. And, in your classrooms – you have the power to make this change significant.

Check out a few eye-opening statistics –

· Many more boys than girls take Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science exams. According to the College Board in 2006, 2,594 girls and 12,068 boys took the AP Computer Science A exam, and 517 girls and 4,422 boys took the more advanced AP Computer Science AB exam.

· Although teenage girls are now using computers and the Internet at rates similar to their male peers, they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career or plan on taking post-secondary technology classes” according to Kathleen Melymuka, author of an online article from ComputerWorld.

· Studies show that women view computers as a tool and with much more societal context than men do; they are much more concerned with effect of technology on other disciplines, and how it can be used to improve society. On the other hand, men have a much narrower focus of interest; and do not require a "larger goal" in connection to their interests

· According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women filled only 26.7 percent of computer and mathematical positions in 2006

· Women’s representation in computer and information sciences workforce hovers at about 30%.

(All statistics and supporting information courtesy of Wikipedia, ComputerWorld and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Without going into a lot of depth on the how’s and why’s the lack of interest in technology by girls has happened… we can just begin an initiative to close the gap, in general.

How do we close a specific gender gap? The solution, by default, will close ALL gaps, whether gender, race, economic or geographical. Provide equal access to technology in all schools.

How do we accomplish that? With an open mind, determination, creativity, grant-writing and a lot of hard work.

Do you feel there is, indeed, a gender gap between girls and boys using technology in our classrooms? It is truly something to think about. Check out this teachertube video that shows how girls feel about technology!

The next time you assign a classroom project involving technology – make sure that the boys and girls in your class equally find some part of the project that inspires them. The gap will begin to narrow immediately.

Need an idea? Check out for a glimpse at a programming application that hopes to encourage usage by under-represented populations. Contact our office to schedule a workshop.


The women mentioned at the start of the blog post…

Eileen Collins - The first woman pilot of a Space Shuttle

Kathryn Clark - NASA’s Chief Scientist for the International Space Station Program

Charlotte Barnum - Became the first of three women to receive Ph.D.'s in mathematics from Yale before 1900

Ada Lovelace - Seen/recognized by many as the "first programmer"

Susan Kare - Created many of the interface elements for the Macintosh (Apple) in the 1980s