Week 5 Activities

In Week 5 we introduce the individual differences perspective on educational psychology, including learning and cultural differences. We also consider whether recent discoveries about the brain have implications for the classroom, both in terms of reading assignments and our next controversy assignment. This week’s Derry reading introduces the postmodern critique of science, and we’ve added some additional articles introducing the quantitative-qualitative debate in education.

Once again, it’s a busy week (have we had any weeks that weren’t busy…?). In week 5 you will post an intermediate draft of your ‘final’ RDP, and begin part one or two activities: (a) a digitize the audio interview project focusing on what motivates learners, and (b) the controversy about whether technology is making us more connected to each other. Work hard and enjoy!

Activities / Checklist

Base Group Check-in

For this week, please answer the following questions:

  1. In the absence of any concerns for money, time, and any responsibilities (sounds nice, right?), where in the world would you go and why?
  2. It has been argued that technology in general and computers in particular are needed to create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children (see e.g., One Laptop per Child). What is your opinion of this argument? To what extent is (and is not) technology a universal prescription for raising children out of poverty? What cultural forces might moderate the impact that technology has on raising individual children out of poverty?
Digital Storytelling
Part 1
Digital Storytelling & Making Research Interests Compelling

This is our third (and final!) technology activity.

Your assignment is to make your research interests compelling to others by capitalizing on the affordances of Digital Storytelling – combining the art of storytelling with the power of multimedia technologies.

The timing and deadlines are follows:

  • By Wed night of this week: Review background information about digital storytelling and choose your technologies (e.g., photography, video, iMovie, Moviemaker, Audacity, etc. At the very least, your story should include images and sound.
  • By Saturday night of this week: Storyboard your project and plan how you will go about gathering and editing the multimedia and other information for your story.
  • By Wed night of next week: Complete your first draft of your digital story. Your story should be no more that 3-5 minutes in length.
  • By Saturday night of next week: Finish editing your digital story and post to your website.

For additional details, click here.

Part 1
ISSUE: Do recent discoveries about the brain and its development have implications for classroom practice?

Similar to our face-to-face approach, we are going to to do a constructive controversy. The two key differences are that this one (a) will span two weeks and (b) will be conducted online.

The timing and deadlines are follows.:

  • By Wed night of this week, you must have completed steps #1 and #2 with your partner.
  • By Saturday night of this week, you must have completed step #3.
  • By Wed night of next week, you must have completed step #4.
  • By Saturday night of next week, you must have completed step #5.

To work on the controversy, and see the numbered steps. Select Controversy Number 4 from the “Controversy” Tab at the top of this page. Click “Work on It”.

Read, Process, Post, & Discuss
Part 1
  • Woolfolk, A. (2007). Learning differences and learning needs. In Educational Psychology (10th., pp. 108-159). Columbus, OH: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
  • Woolfolk, A. (2007). Culture and diversity. In Educational Psychology (10th., pp. 160-203). Columbus, OH: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
  • Bruer, J. T. (1997). Education and the Brain: A Bridge Too Far John T. Bruer. Educational Researcher, 26(8), 4-16.
  • (Optional)Bouck, E. C. (2010). Technology and students with disabilities: Does it solve all the problems? In A. Rotatori, Current Issues and Trends in Special Education: Research, Technology, and Teacher Preparation (Advances in Special Education, Volume 20, pp. 91-104). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
  • (Optional) Bruer, J. T. (2002). Avoiding the pediatrician’s error: how neuroscientists can help educators (and themselves). Nature neuroscience, 5, 1031-10333. doi: 10.1038/nn934.

Click when you’re ready to post and discuss these readings

Read, Process, Post, & Discuss
Part 2
  • Derry, G. N. (2002). Questions of legitimacy: The postmodern critique of science. In What Science is and How it Works (pp. 607-636). Princeton, NJ: Princeston University Press.
  • Maxwell, J. A. (1992). Understanding and Validity in Qualitative Research. Harvard Educational Review, 62(3), 279-300.
  • Firestone, W. A. (1993). Alternative arguments for generalizing from data as applied to qualitative research. Educational Researcher, 22(4), 16-23. doi: 10.3102/0013189X022004016.

Click when you’re ready to post and discuss these readings


(more information)

Post online an intermediate draft of your ‘final’ RDP by Saturday, 11:59pm. The goal here is, for the first time, to bring together all of the RDP’s section and begin to create a coherent paper. The RDP’s parts include:

  • Your initial statement of your research interests
  • Your final interest statement with a short commentary on the changes over time
  • A summary of your 3 “experts” with a short rational for why you chose them and how their work informs your research interest
  • An annotated bibliography of relevant research
  • An agenda of further steps to explore and develop your research interest

Reminder: Post on your portfolio site, tell us where your portfolio site is by setting the “website” field of your profile on this course-site.

Annotation of Articles

(more information)

To be coordinated and completed by Wednesday at 11:59 PM by Base Groups #1 (Woolfolk x2 and Bruer x1) and #2 (Derry, Maxwell, and Firestone). Post a summary as the first entry in the discussion. Your entry can be the summary itself, or a link to a summary hosted somewhere else.
Base Group Checkout

Please checkout with your Base Group by answering the following questions:

  1. By now you’re deep into the reading process for your RDP. How are things going? Have you made any exciting discoveries (e.g., an important study, great resource, interesting research, etc.)?
  2. Has your motivation for the RDP changed at all during the past few weeks? Why or why not?


Unless stated otherwise, deadlines for each week are Saturday at 11:59 PM. Base Group Check-ins are due on Wednesday at 11:59 PM. Base Group checkouts are due Saturday at 11:59 PM. All Read, Process, Post, & Discuss activities have two parts: (1) Your own response to the questions associated with the readings are due on Saturday at 11:59 PM; and (2) Your response to at least TWO classmates’ postings are due on the following Wednesday at 11:59 PM. All times are EDT.

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