The Educational Trigger

April 24, 2019
When your teaching a lesson do you factor what part of the experience triggers interest?  I’m sure you think everything in your lesson is interesting.  Your students do not feel like this (I'm sure you know this).  Do you have particular activities that provide a potential trigger for interests?  

Why all the question about triggers?  I recently read The Canalization and Connectedness in the Development of Science Interest by Kimberley Pressick-Kilborn.  This paper had the word trigger 51 times.  So, there is a lot to this word in education. 

I’m going to unpack what I got out of this paper as far as the word trigger.  In the article, “The research focuses on how individual learners create meaning related to particular triggers, in terms of perceived connectedness to the task and topic and to their peers and teacher.”  Well, this got me to think about my students' connection to what I’m lecturing.  Do I have these moments in my lectures?  Do I start examining for triggers?  If all I’m doing is just ranting and raving about a topic, and not create meaning (not for me, for students), then I do not have triggers points.  And it’s not just one of two trigger points, do I have them over time (spanning the semester).  

My Digital Storytelling class is wrapping up the semester. It’s still relatively fresh in my mind. In this class, not all my student had as much interest in the topic as I hoped.  Beyond my role as a teacher, I tried social interactions outside of class to spark interest.  I attempted to have student see a personal significance and value to my teachings. But even though I perceived this as good triggers, just like in the reading, “Importantly, Renninger and Su (2012) highlighted that the presence of supports and intended triggers does not necessarily guarantee triggering.”  In my Digital Storytelling class, I had one goal in mind. But as the course developed, I knew I had to modify my goals.  I had students find meaning for themselves and allowed them to take a little bit of charge shaping final projects.  I didn’t react quick enough and didn't make modification right away.  That was my mistake.  I think if I did that in the earlier phases of interest, I think some of my triggers would of, well trigger more investment.

The lesson for me is to ‘read the room,’ and make a modification to lecture and what I think are triggers for my students to make connections to the content.

My Digital Storytelling class taught me some valuable lessons to incorporate into my other courses. I should have projects that allow students to pursue lines of curiosity that helps them deepen their knowledge-and trigger interest. Could this lead them to a topic, skills, outcome and some self-efficacy?  My trigger leads to self-efficacy?  I'll let you know! 

I do have some of my former students tell me, way after they take my class, that some underlying triggers get them thinking about what I taught them, and they finally have an ‘a-ha’ moment.  Some of these triggers won’t always happen in the semester, sometimes it takes years for students to realize, ‘a-ha!’

Happy Triggering!


What are my students competence needs?

April 19, 2019
What are my students competence needs? I want my students to learn, but be self-determined to learn. I think that I do a reasonably good job making learning enjoyable-so student absorb information. I also think I challenge my students with lectures and in-class projects. In the classroom with lecture and class projects, they get feedback immediately. However, that doesn’t happen on projects. They all turn them in, then wait for my feedback and grade. The immediate-feedback discontinues.  Ar...

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Before the Syllabi, Before Lectures - The Cold Open

April 3, 2019

Did you ever read something that causes you to evaluate how you teach?  I’m in the Masters of Educational Psychological program at The University of Northern Colorado. The class I’m taking now, Motivate in Education, has me rethinking my logic; my delivery of information, and how I assess learning.  

A recent publication called Mindsets That Promote Resilience: When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be Developed has got me thinking I need to open the class in a whole new ...

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Eyes on the Prize - Keeping My Students Interested

February 13, 2019
I recently read a paper, “The Four-Phase Model of Interest Development.” As I read this research, I wondered - am I already incorporating elements based on some of these ideals? What can I change, add or modify to improve my instructions?

Each time I step into a classroom I try and gauge the level of interest in students. I know that I have a significant role in student development, which includes getting them interested in what I present in a lesson. If a student isn’t initially interes...

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Embracing Failure; Not Just a Lesson for My Students

January 20, 2019
I like a failure in the classroom - not in the newsroom. In college you try, fail, learn, repeat. Fail in college instead of failing out there.
Over the years I've created controlled-failure scenarios — lessons explicitly designed for a high failure rate. Yes, I manipulate failure for motivational reasons. From these scenarios students can learn from failure, acknowledge problems and improve the process for the next time. The majority of my students initially hate the lesson, but when it's ...

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Freewrite for students initial thoughts on a class

January 8, 2019

It’s not hard to write, right? We all know words. We're not all sure what order to put words in sometimes. Writing, that’s easy. Editing, that’s hard. I’m trying to polish this very write with elegance.

This semester, I’m teaching media writing. Student will write, a lot. Did I mention they’ll write, a lot? For many, it’s their first opportunity with a media-focused curriculum. I want to know what they’re thinking before we got started. So, if had them write about it. I asked t...

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Their Journey into Writing Begins with Schoolhouse Rock

January 10, 2017

I'm creating visual storytellers.  They learn to shoot.  They learn to edit.  Today, they began their writing career.  Just so we are all on the same page, I wanna make sure everyone understands basic sentence structure.  Subject, predicate, nouns, verbs are basic tools in writing.  Adverbs add spice to sentences. Adverbs are more enjoyable after learning about them from Schoolhouse Rock.

That's right.  I play 'Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here,' in my class.  After that, we do some si...
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The Interview Process and Employment Strategies

December 19, 2016

Why are my students looking so dapper on this day? They've just been through the interview process. My student in the Video Production & Editing Program at Emily Griffith stop producing video for a week.  During this non-production week, they focus on employment strategies. These students are learning vital skills now even though they don't graduate for 7 months. Why?
  • They'll be better prepared for internship opportunities since they have a cover letter and resume ready
  • They'll have the next 7 ...

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Bringing In Former Students as Presenter

December 13, 2016

Do you call on former students as guest presenters? I do.
Do you ask your best and brightest to come
back and share their insight?  I do.  
Do you ask those student that didn't listen, didn't pay attention, didn't perform up to expectations to present? I do.

Anthony Lujan graduated from the Video Production & Editing Program two years ago. This is a profile video his fellow students produced about him in the program.

Anthony is a bright individual.  He simply didn't give it his all while he ...
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Their Journey, just 12 Weeks Old

November 8, 2016
My students are on a journey, I'm simply a guide. We are 12 weeks into the Video Production & Editing Program at Emily Griffith Technical College. The 1st video project student produce is a silent movie. They complete this project after the 6th week. I don't want them worried about gathering sound.  During this 1st project they focus on;

  1. Telling a simple story with a conflict
  2. Aperture, white balance & focus techniques with the camera
  3. Shooting 3-shot sequences with variety (wide, medium & tight)
  4. E...

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