Tag Archives: Lifelong Learning

Guest Blogger

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and this time I’m doing something different!

I’d like to introduce a guest blogger – my husband, Paul.  It’s interesting that we’ve been simultaneously working on our teaching diplomas…only mine was for adult education, and he is focusing on secondary education.  We’ve had lots of great discussions about pedagogy vs. andragogy, how to engage learners, and what makes teachers awesome.  Paul needed to write a few blog posts for his current field experience, and I thought this was a cool opportunity for us to have our teach/learn journeys on the same page.  I hope you enjoy reading what he has to share!


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Meditation for teachers

A PIDP 3240 colleague commented on my recent blog post (Online learning -> brain damage???), thanking me for addressing the topic and shared her views on the importance of meditation.  And she’s absolutely right!  In this world where we are surrounded by technology, our brains will surely benefit from a little bit of meditation and striving for mindfulness.  I discovered this website: The Mindful Teacher, which aims to help teachers reclaim peace and cultivate attention.  The website provides opportunities for discussion, resources, online courses, and even daily morning, midday, and evening guided meditations.  To start your day with a meditation geared for teachers, check out the daily morning meditation here!


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Online learning -> brain damage???

computer-evolutionThe damaging effects that screen time has on individuals has been thoroughly researched and well documented.  However, when studies recommend to limit screen time, they are generally referring to recreational screen time.  So where does necessary (work/school-related) screen time fit into the equation?

Surely our bodies suffer the same health issues whether or not we are logged in for pleasure or business.  So it is interesting to me that with the explosion of online education, no one really speaks about the health concerns associated with this kind of screen time.  I recognize that online courses are more involved than matching various candies in a row, however, our bodies are surely suffering the same health effects.  Sedentary lifestyle, increased risk of obesity, heart attack, stroke, decreased vision, poor concentration, brain atrophy, and the list goes on…  (As I sit in front of the computer typing this, I can feel my pulse rate rising with unease).

Universities need to keep up with the times and offer online learning, I get it.  Learners want convenience, flexibility, and online courses offer all this and more.  Online learning also saves the learner and the school money (no room booking fees, resources available online, etc.).  But has anyone really considered the costs… the ones we cannot put a monetary value on…?

To read about the damaging effects of screen time on the brain, click here.

“Taken together, [studies show] internet addiction is associated with structural and functional changes in brain regions involving emotional processing, executive attention, decision making, and cognitive control.”  –research authors summarizing neuro-imaging findings in internet and gaming addiction”

(Lin & Zhou et al, 2012)


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Nursing: High-tech/Low-tech

home-image-1With all this discussion of bringing technology into nursing, it’s important to remember that there are some essential nursing skills that are very low-tech.  I kind of alluded to this in my post on Virtual Reality…these are the skills that can’t be taught with technology alone.  I’m talking about:

  • intercultural skills
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • caring qualities (kindness, warmth, compassion)
  • etc.

Don’t get me wrong…we need technology to help us learn and advance, but we cannot be nurses without these low-tech skills.  As the American Sentinel University states so clearly, technology may be fine for nurses, but “technology can only work for patients when it’s combined with highly competent, relationship-based care. And this is why nurses must embrace their low-tech skills, as well as develop new high-tech competencies.”

To read more of this article: http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2012/05/30/nursing-skills-high-tech-vs-low-tech/

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Patient Power

Smartphones are just that – smart!  There are new apps being developed to help patient’s take control of their own health.  Apps typically are used to help patient’s track or monitor disease processes that are already in place (e.g. tracking blood pressure readings, glucose phone_b_health_check_2011readings for diabetics, etc.) – but there is a new app that can even diagnose a particular medical condition.  The smartphone is used along with a handheld wireless heart monitor.  The device tracks the heart for 30sec and sends the information to the smartphone app.  The device tracked cases of Atrial Fibrillation that had previously been undetected.  From this result, the doctor was able to follow-up and prescribe the appropriate treatment.  Amazing!

The Patient Power aspect draws into the fact that the general public has access to smartphones and these health-related apps.  Though there will be issues with people inaccurately self-diagnosing, this may be an effective way to help people be well informed and motivated to take charge of their health.

Check out the CBC article and RSS feed here

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Who knew!?

podcastSo…I’m trying to explore different types of media to share on my blog, so I searched for podcasts related to nursing education.  Lo and behold, I found one – created right here in the lower mainland!  The podcasts come from prn Education and Consulting, a group of instructors who provide advanced courses for Emergency Department, Critical Care and Transport nurses.  Their podcasts are informative (and accurate), and very relevant to current health trends.  They post a new podcast every month, and it is broadcast in both English and French.  All podcasts are posted on a separate website, so that users can browse the episodes and also leave comments.  Check it out: http://nursem.org/en/home/

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Book Review

My college is offering an instructional development workshop, and unfortunately I am unable to go.  But it sounded interesting, so I Googled the title of the workshop, and discovered that it is actually discussing the topics from the book “How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching” by Mayer.51b2baegk6pl-_sx333_bo1204203200_

Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the book to provide my own review, but I did find one report that summarized the views of 25 health professions faculty educators.  Being in nursing, this review was very relevant!

The book covers seven topics, discussing them separately in each chapter:

  1. Students’ prior knowledge can serve to help or hinder learning.
  2. Students’ organization of knowledge impacts how students learn and apply what they know.
  3. Motivation determines, directs, and sustains what students learn.
  4. To develop mastery, students must develop the skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply them.
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances learning.
  6. Level of learner development interacts with “course” climate to impact learning.
  7. To become self-directed, learners must be able to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning (pages 4–6).

What I liked about the review was that it assured me that the book is relevant for those teaching in the healthcare subjects.  Quite often, educational resources are geared more towards undergrad students, and not those in trades or vocational programs.  But based on the reviews, this book seems pretty great. I’ll be looking to pick up a copy of this book ASAP!

Click here to read the book review and see if it might be helpful for you too!

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Teach teachers how to create magic

I came across this TedTalk today…I was initially viewing talks about teachers who take risks.  But I found this one held my attention – for the exact reason that the clip is about: the speaker has magic.  He has a way of communicating that captivates listeners, keeps them on the edge of their seat waiting to hear what he’ll say next.  Is he taking a risk by using his magic?  I think so!  Straying from traditional teaching methods tends to get a lot of raised eyebrows.  And how about the way colleagues may react?  (Could be interest, feeling upset, envy, or even jealousy).  But if the outcome is having engaged and interested students, then would it not be a risk worth taking?

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Free Info!


Faculty Focus is a free email newsletter that provides subscribers with various articles and information about aspects of teaching in higher education. (Link to their webpage from my blog!).

If you’re interested in the use of technology in the classroom, they have created a special report entitled Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning.  In their report, they include articles on 13 different topics that contain practical information and links to useful resources.  For those who are wanting some guidance on how to use technology in the classroom (be it online or face-to-face), this may be a useful report (and it’s free)!

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Nursing school today

nursing_simulation_lab_at_hudson_valley_community_collegeA mere 8 years ago, I was finishing up nursing school.  About 2 semesters prior to my graduation, my school purchased 2 very cool, high-tech simulation mannequins.  These were supposed to be the “best” teaching tool that could be offered in a nursing lab.  The mannequins were capable of breathing, going to the bathroom, bleeding, vomiting, even giving birth.  What better way to learn than to practice as close to real-life scenarios as possible without actually practicing on real patients!?  Well, I actually wouldn’t know.

Why?  Because there were no instructors who received training to be able to operate these mannequins.  And so we missed out.  We missed out on skill acquisition, developing of critical thinking and clinical judgment, and also on dealing with complex nursing scenarios.  We got these skills and experiences in our real-life clinical experiences, but our school was putting patients at unnecessary risk by having us practice on them rather than using the new technology at the school.8399337241_52f0280326_b

Technology is a tricky thing….it requires constant learning to be able to keep up.  Unfortunately, my instructors at that time weren’t up to the task.  But instructors especially need to keep up if they want to provide the best learning possible to students.


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