Monday, May 13, 2013

Session 8 Activity

For the past few months I have been a proud member of the MIT MOOC, Learning Creative Learning.  Session 8 focused on motivation and persistence and below was the suggested activity for the week.

Activity: Tell about something you’ve worked on that you felt was meaningful and motivating. Explain what made you feel motivated. If you were designing a learning experience or environment, what would you do to help others feel motivated and engaged?


It could have been November or December when our school's technology coordinator asked me if I would present at a small tech conference he was hoping to organize for teachers. He didn't give very many details and I didn't think much about it. 

Fast forward to January and I was asked once again if I would contribute. I responded with a simple yes and this time I was forwarded some planning documents. The conference was titled "Hack the Classroom" and the goal was to start new conversations about technology and education. After I read the documents, I let my contact know I would love to help in anyway I could. The next Sunday, I was in a Google+ Hangout with two other people trying to plan an organic conference from scratch. I was asked to use any and every skill I had to grow their idea for the conference. I was soon on the founding team. 

My main role was to build our social media influence. I was given absolute freedom to post on the website, the Facebook, the Twitter, and the blog. My opinions and thoughts were not only valued, they were continually reinforced as necessary. This was very exciting to me. Being relatively young, one sometimes feels they are battling for authentic voice. I wasn't here. I was an essential part of the team, yet had a ton of autonomy. 

I also cared a lot for what we were doing. I had a ton of intrinsic passion for the whole idea. I am a huge proponent for authentic conversation of new, innovate, and effective educational pedagogy. I take learning very seriously and believe my job as a teacher is to make sure that my students are learning. I felt that I was part of a movement trying to forge new momentum; a momentum that matches my values. All of this meant a lot to me and led me to spend copious amount of free time devoted to Hack. I suppose you could call this motivation.

I was also given a central role in presenting at the conference, so much so that I gave the closing keynote. After I finished, a lady came up to me and asked for my presentation. As I was transferring her the file, she asked how much we got paid for the day. I told her we did this for free and never considered taking a payment. She said that was nice of us and that we could be considered social entrepreneurs. This made a big impression on me. Every member of the founding team was not motivated by money or prestige. Every presenter was not there for a monetary reward. People were there because they chose to be there. They gave their own time and efforts because they had a passion. This is what really motivates me. People coming together to learn and share about things they are passionate about. 

My takeaways for design a learning environment would be:
1) Match people with their interest and passions. 
2) Allow people to feel connected to a movement or team, but also have a large amount of individual freedom. 
3) Value individual voice and talent
4) Limit extrinsic rewards 
5) Try and be organic. Do things as they come. Roll with the punches. Allow for control to be decentralized and the culture to feel "grassroots". 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Session 8 Notes: Motivation and Persistence

Motivation is probably my favorite topic especially as so much of the conventional wisdom is not supported by empirical research. In order to be an effective classroom teacher, one must really understand motivation and aim to increase intrinsic motivation. Every act should be done with purpose and long term ramifications should be considered when assigning short-term motivators. As I am so passionate about motivation, this week's session is a real treat. As always, I have included my notes and I encourage you to watch the video.


Mitch Resnick

Motivation when designing new technologies
-on many websites there are ways to earn points, badges, or other things, but worried that people are more worried about picking up things than the experience

No matter how you design some people will always view as competition, want to be seen as better than others
-important to show recognition, but more important for people to hone competency and identity

Natalie Rusk

People’s motivation stories in Google+ community
-how overcoming fear is big part
-willing to take risks

Points of Frustration
    -does this lead to avoidance or problem solving?
-if goal is performance based, as in the proving self, then you will avoid because it is based on ability and you don’t want to fail
-if based on learning goals you are more willing to persist

Sources of Intrinsic Motivation

How to encourage motivation in new activity?
-showing successful models, sharing passion, sharing engagement

-some time for introverts, some time for extroverts

-allow time for collaboration, allow time for recognition
-present on occasion, sometimes show gradual work

Avi Kaplan (Temple)

Goals/purpose very important
-quick, efficient, repetitive task require one type of motivational strategy 
-bells/whistle and carrots/sticks are meant for situational interest, short term

-broader, long-term and cognizant developmental outcomes requires another type of motivational strategy
-relational thinking and long-term engagement does not work with carrot/stick framework

-autonomy is not individualism, it is self-endorsement
-reasons for self-endorsement can be many (purpose, sense of belonging, engaging, etc)

-great strategy for encouraging self-determination is simply explaining to another why you want them to do something

How to encourage motivation in new activity?
-Motivation is not one thing, it is a complex system that is always changing
-Beginner’s motivation is different than expert’s
-Initial motivation to spark situational interest and then broaden principals
-Use principals to learn about your context, your situation, always redesigning
-Analyze tensions in your environment

How to start get kids thinking about own motivation? (meta-motivation)
-Regulation of motivation, exploration of identity
-regulate emotions to shift goals

-Safe environments needed so people will engage in things they may not want to or tasks they are reluctant to try
-People need to know voice will be heard and that it will be important

Ricarose Roque

Motivation in Scratch Community
-people came together unprompted to form companies, collabs, etc.
-this process is organic and when prompted by challenges participation actually goes down
-competition leads to motivation for some, but turns many off

Welcoming Committee on Scratch
-emphasize community and roles in community
-find your role, how you can fit into the community?