Predatory practices in the enforcement of Copy Right enfringement

This is an interesting article that my fellow alumnus Andrew Macklin shared in a forum on Pidp 3240.  It speaks to the possible repercussions of not closely following copyright laws.

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Lesson Planning


1.    Characteristics of Adult Learners

For an instructor it is imperative to develop a systematic understanding of the student demographic.  It is essential to understand differences when trying to make and execute lesson plans that work for the whole adult class.

I use this website about Malcolm Knowles to explore the Characteristics of Adult Learners.  Knowles developed a distinctive conceptual basis for adult education and learning via the notion of andragogy.  Just as ballet serves as a good foundation for learning other dance methods, understanding Knowles methodology provides a useful frame of reference for a discussion of the characteristics of Adult Learners.

 2.       Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Creating a Positive Learning Environment is challenging for a new instructor.  I want to foster

A climate in which both learners and teachers are able to engage in genuine exchange. (Merriam and Brockett, p.150)

Considering the large age range (18yrs-36yrs) and different life experiences of the students, it is hard to create a safe and positive environment for everyone.  I find that being prepared and confident and using anecdotes mixed with gentle humour to relate academic concepts to work life helps to accomplish this.  I encourage those who excel to assist their classmates.  I also try to spend one-on-one time with each student.

3.       Motivational Techniques

Educators who wish to work successfully with adult learners need to understand who adult learners are and how they learn.(Merriam and Brockett, p.158)

When I start with a new group of students or with a new topic I will elicit information about the students’ experiences, motivations and goals.  The learner who wishes to support his growing family will have very different motivations than the learner seeking to placate his parents.  Both are motivated by measureable success: grades and feedback.  I tap into this motivation by giving marks for methodical work and implementation.  These attributes are a key part to being a successful electrician.

4. Instructional Process/Strategies

                The electrician’s trade requires both mental acuity and hand-skills. This gives me, as an instructor, an excellent opportunity to break up chunks of academic information with hands-on demonstrations and practice.  These exercises serve to relate academic theory to the future work environment.  In this way I try to encourage a capacity for self-direction (see Mariam and brocket, p.136).  Asking students to help and to teach each other fosters an egalitarian environment, especially as those who may excel academically may not excel when working with tools. These hands’ on exercises also help to deal with limits of attention span.

5. Lesson Planning

As an instructor I am presented with a detailed list of the theory, information and skills that I am to impart to my students.   I am also given a great deal of leeway as to how I am to communicate that knowledge.  With that leeway it is important to have overarching objectives.  These are clearly communicated to my students with the understanding that more or less time may be spent on a topic than originally scheduled as a response to the needs of the class.   I also have a detailed daily lesson plan that I am prepared to modify if needs be.

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Student Engagement: How do we engage the NetGeners? Web Conference

It’s been excellent working with my learning partner Dennis Wilson-Cole.  We are working on our Trends and Roles Blogs as part of course 3100 of the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program. He’s educated and earnest but also quick to laugh and enjoy himself. He’s been a tremendous resource as I embark on my new career.  We Skyped together and discussed our respective topics.  I spoke about “Engaging Net-Geners” and Dennis spoke on his topic of Emerging Trends and the Role of the Adult Educator.

We discussed his interest in Emerging Trends in Workplace Learning and the Role of the Adult Educator in helping learners access Quality Health Information on the Internet.

Dennis was attracted to contemplate Emerging Trends in Workplace Learning as the result of his own experience as a Finance Manager.  He realized that many of his clients needed direction, organization and education.  He viewed his role as incorporating his financial knowledge and his ability to educate and help people access and evaluate resources.

Dennis was attracted to the current zeitgeist of accessing Health Information on the Internet.  He posited that people need an educator to help them locate, access and evaluate Quality Health Information.

We spoke of how growing needs for adult educators in the workplace and in the market would help ensure our future employment!!

My work as an Electrician, while physical, was often technical and and intellectually engaging.  My colleagues and I communicated with each other using trade jargon, schematics and technical documents.  We spoke a language that probably had little meaning for non-Electricians.  We were also very connected, sharing documents, files, net-working applications, and time and materials management software.

Since beginning my teaching career in July I have had to learn how to re-frame my trades knowledge into language and lessons that are effective and accessible.  Dennis brings with him a wealth of knowledge as a business person and andragogue.  He has been most helpful in my efforts to become a better educator.

Dennis came up with some good insights on “How to engage the Netgener”, which is my topic of interest. This topic has direct relevance to me as I have had to strictly enforce the School of Electrical Construction policy on cell-phone use.  Some of my students were aghast at the prospect of spending 2 hours without being in constant touch with their social clicks.  Yet with the technological temptation kept at bay, they are more able to focus and complete complicated wiring schematics.

Dennis reinforced the importance of implementing my new knowledge as an instructor in the classroom.  He also stressed the importance of employer feedback as our Electrical Foundation’s graduates go out into the workforce.  We spoke of how to help students “learn how to learn”. This is especially relevant to Electricians, as the code, technology and wiring methods of the trade are evolving quickly and the actual field of knowledge is vast.

My students are also keeping me engaged.  While I am sometimes bewildered at their lack of knowledge and their seeming inattention I am also impressed by their instant connection to the world around them.  They are fun, energetic and sincere. They recommend movies, net-shows and social media to me.  As I interact with them, I observe moments of connection and disconnection.  I am beginning to learn what works for most students and what doesn’t.  It is hugely enjoyable watching student’s “aha” moments and their pride at their new electrical skills.

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Student Engagement: How do we engage the NetGeners? Trends


In talking to my fellow instructors I have come to realize that the very way the PIDP is delivered now is quite different from the way that they received it just a few years ago.  This blog is an example of it.  It’s clear that Adult Education must evolve as technology evolves.

It’s been frustrating as a new instructor to see student’s absolute marriage to their phones.  Despite a no phone policy they instantly know why one of their classmates is late as they receive texts and updates as to their immediate whereabouts.  It’s hard to engage a student who has been up all night playing the latest Grand Theft Auto.  So I’ve matched a low-tech solution to a high-tech problems.  Get caught with your phone in the shop?  Well then, please pack this bundle of 1″conduit 200′ and back.  A fantastic workout for the legs and back!  It’s also great practice for ferrying materials back and forth on a job-site.

It’s important to consider that the student’s connectedness may also enhance their learning experience.

Instead, participation and involvement are group-specific, selective experiences that contribute to one’s sense of being a part of a larger community. Student engagement includes academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and active and collaborative learning. Social engagement with peers is embedded in the collaborative learning construct, but the context for this connection is academic.(Lester, Brown Leonard, Mathias, 2013)

Social media may be encouraging students to be connected and engaged.  Students know about what is going on in each others lives and keep an eye out for each other.

In my prior job as a Service Electrician I operated in a tech-heavy environment.  We seamlessly shared wiring diagrams, schematics and prints through file-sharing programs.  We checked inventories on-line at various whole-salers and we consulted trades forums on-line for perplexing questions.

Rather than creating dysfunctional brains that can’t focus, the evidence is just as strong that experience being “bathed in bits” is pushing the human brain beyond conventional capacity limitations. So-called multitasking may in fact result from better switching abilities and better active working memory. Young people are likely developing brains that are more appropriate for our fast paced, complex world.(Tapscott, 2010, p.1)

Unfortunately most Electrical Apprentices will have to be counseled severely not to be using their phones constantly.  Employers are more concerned with profitability and safety than with their employees being “connected”.  As of yet smart-phones and tablets are not particularly functional for the low term apprentice in their daily work.

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Student Engagement: How do we engage the NetGeners? New Insights

New Insights

I am a new instructor at a trades school in the Pacific Northwest.   I am teaching the same course that I took some 16 years ago.  Times have changed.  When I took the course a few brave souls had pagers but most of us were not “connected”.  I think that meant that we actually connected to the course curriculum in a different way.  We took notes on the most beautiful pads of lined engineer paper, carefully using green plastic templates to  inscribe electrical schematics.  Now photocopies are handed out, links are given to relevant websites, Motor Control and PLC labs are given on computers.  In their own time students look at videos of electrical work on YouTube and access on-line resources through smart phones and tablets. The very way the information is received and retained is different.

In the trades school where I operate the role of an adult educator is interesting.  All of us instructors are seasoned electricians who’ve trained many apprentices.  It’s quite different instructing in a classroom.  In one class we may have students with substantial trades experience, those who are retraining and those who have just graduated from high-school.  You have to challenge those who are keen, focused and who have some understanding of what a construction environment is like.  You must also engage and direct those students who are unsure of their next step and who might have never worked.

I have also had to consider what my personal understanding of Student Engagement is.

Recently, researchers are asking students and teachers how they would measure engagement, this refocused question is producing both interesting qualitative criteria and differing definitions of engagement in learning, which consequently, has had some impact on how we ‘assess’ learning.  Answers to this refocused question have also surfaced a gap between what teachers consider engagement in learning and what students consider engagement in learning. A move to linking student engagement to learning as opposed to linking it to achievement, lifts the question of measurement to the forefront because it asks us to measure the process and not simply the content of learning. (Parsons & Taylor, 2011, p.4-5)

Not surprisingly my students are very focused and very vocal about getting good grades.  They are often frightened to make mistakes in the shop and are so concerned about perfection that they might actually wind up not practicing enough and not actually getting all that much done.  For myself, some of my greatest learning moments in the trade have arisen out of total frustration matched with a determination to sort my situation out!  My students take a great deal of pride in their installations and at the end of a project photograph them and upload the pictures to various social media websites.  They are literally demonstrating their accomplishments to their acquaintances.

A mark of success for me as an instructor is to see a student graduate with safe work practices, some basic Electrical skills, some working knowledge of Electricity and a great attitude.  I want to hear back from the employers that the students I trained are safe, responsible and hard working.  The Electrical Trade is huge with many different wiring methods and materials and it will take time for any apprentice to be “useful”.

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Engagement is when, not just what or how

Engagement is when, not just what or how.

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