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What I’ve Learned From My PLN (September 1, 2009)

This week was about motivation–both mine and my students’. It started with an #edchat conversation on Twitter about the value of homework. Alfie Kohn (a man decidedly against homework!) shared an article from the journal Theory and Research in Education about self-determination theory as regards motivation. While the article was interesting enough, what really got me excited was discovering that ALL of the articles from the “Symposium on self-determination theory” were available for free download. I particularly enjoyed “Virtual worlds and the learner hero: how today’s video games can inform tomorrow’s learning environments.” In terms of motivation (at least from the self-determination point of view), the qualities that cause engagement in games–relatedness, autonomy and competence–can also create engagement in learning.

(Just in case you’re wondering about #edchat, it’s another way that teachers are making Twitter work as a global teacher’s lounge. It’s the brainchild of Steve Anderson, Tom Whitby, and Shelly Terrell and by using the “#edchat” tag, teachers around the world can participate in the same conversation. There are two each Tuesday (a nod to the various time zones we inhabit). If you want to learn more about them, Shelly has a nice explanation on her blog. Or, if you just want to follow the conversations, Steve created a TweetClub just for EdChat. You’ll find me posting as barbsaka. These discussions always make me think.)

Back to motivation…I remembered a post Chad Ratliff shared from The Edurati Review last May. In Sailing the 7 C’s of Motivation, Lee Rakes adds to the list of factors that create motivation (and renames a couple so they fit with the “C” theme): challenge, choice, control, caring, curiosity, competence and connectedness.  At the end of the day, motivation determines what we learn and how well we learn it.  (Luckily, I used “motivation” as a tag when I bookmarked the post in my Delicious account, so I could find it again.)

I’m personally motivated to learn about ways teachers can use social media for professional development. So when David Kapuler posted about Worldbuilder on Facebook, I was excited. The ning describes itself as “A Fourth Media Educational Community” and seems to be a group of educators trying to figure out how best to use social media. Of course I joined (yet ANOTHER ning!). The video archives alone will keep me plenty busy for awhile. I especially appreciate their learning philosophy: Look, listen and learn. I can do that.

So, that was my week. Now to see how I can put all this motivation to work in my lesson plans!

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