What is E-Learning?

e-learning[1]By Paul Silli

I define e-Learning as the delivery of learning, training or an educational program which is intended to develop skills by use of any electronic means. ELearning involves the use of a computer or some kind of digital device such as a  mobile phone in some way to provide training by an educational institution or corporate setting. ELearning methods use many trendy technologies in which lessons are given to improve skills within a learning community.

How is eLearning evolving in meaning?

+ELearning is more than putting course content on the web, ­ it is about using technology and the Internet to support the learning process. This includes instruction, content, collaboration and assessment.

+ELearning can and should be integrated with other forms of learning such as classroom training, collaboration and using real-life scenarios.

+ELearning should support all processes associated with learning including the management, administration and tracking of trends to improve learning functions. After all, e-learning is constantly changing.


eLearning: Comprehension and Interests

kid volcano modelBy Paul Silli

For my graduate eLearning class I was asked a few questions about my learning style and interests.

How do I like to learn? I am definitely a visual learner. I must see materials or practice the work by example (in graphical form or repetition) to truly learn. Additionally, I enjoy learning through kinesthetic activities. Hands-on work rocks!  

What are some of my interests and hobbies? For fun, I like just about every outdoor activity from scuba diving, saltwater fishing, boating, white-water rafting, working-out, snow skiing, hiking, bun-gee jumping, to camping at Rocky National Park. As for sports I love football! I’m a big fan of the Broncos, Gators, and Buffs.

What is a favorite memory I have of learning? One of the most rewarding learning experiences I had as a child was in Mrs. Fuller’s 6th Grade Science class. She taught us about the mysteries of volcanoes. We were put into three-member groups to research what volcanoes were, and why/how they developed. We then had to give an oral report about what we discovered. She then showed us some lava rocks which we got to study… and later we saw a cool movie about many volcanoes erupting. Finally, we had the opportunity to create a model volcano and present it to the class for peer review. I think this popular project is a great example of kinesthetic learning. I have never forgotten that wonderful, learning experience. 😉

What don’t I like about formal learning experiences? With formal learning often a student is handed an assignment that includes a particular list of every item he or she will need to know and then given the exact steps that will be involved in the process… This type of teaching practice can lead to complacency of learning; it can hinder creativity, block natural inquisitive outcomes, and deter growth in developing self-learning skills. Formal learning can often restrict learning gains because of the boundaries listed within the discipline.

Creating a Good Website Layout

Layout Website DesignHere are a few suggestions you can use to create a well balanced, legible, user friendly website layout design. You should ask yourself or a client some key questions such as:

  • Is the product design theme: (light, friendly & fun), (sleek & professional), (innovative & techie), or (scientific & savvy)? Please describe the “feel” you want from the design. The feel of a site is essential!
  • What colors do you want in the product? (Primary, pastel, or mixed-fresh). Visit this site for some great info and HTML Colors: http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_colors.asp
  • What graphics, logos, images might help deliver the product message? Do you have any on-file images you want in the design?
  • What kind of layout do you prefer? For example, do you want a lot of white space and text block design, white-text on dark backgrounds (text blocks), three columns or two column designs, or maybe a simple one textbox content area?
  • Do you want a custom Header /Banner with your institution name and/or logo? What colors do you prefer?
  • Is there any text content messages you want highlighted in the layout (maybe important titles or communication tools emphasized – near top of site or center zone)?
  • Is there anything important you want to see in the site or product? (You could have them draw a sketch or explain)
  • Is there something I did not ask that you want included within the design or content of the site? (Please be specific)

Three Fundamental Layout Designs (Without getting too busy)

  1. Text block with center navigation bar (Basic)
  2. Two Column with side bar navigation left or right (Traditional)
  3. Three Column with side bar navigations (This site uses three column design)

The more your know about what you or your client wants the better the output. Please let me know your thoughts about layout design.

Educating Students using Twitter

twitter11By Paul Silli

Your students have already gone home for the day, and you forgot to remind them that homework is due tomorrow. A state of frustration runs through your mind knowing this assignment is key for them to turn in because it’s a major component of their final project. What can you do? Twitter them! Twitter has become one of the most popular micro-blogging applications. It is a free Web 2.0 service with near one million users called “twitterers” who can send and receive text messages via the web, short message service (SMS), and by instant messaging through cell phone communications.


For example, if you did forget to inform your students about an assignment, all you would have to do is login to your twitter account, type the message in the text box (you are allowed 140 characters per message), and then send the message directly to your students via cell phone text messaging. As you may know cell phones are a great educational tool – and just about every student has one. Using them as activity reminders is a wonderful, innovative method.


For students to get your messages they would need to subscribe to your twitter “feedwhich is a free application where students are only charged by their text messaging service which in most cases, they already have… I’m sure you’ve seen them texting messages to their friends all over campus. 🙂 


What exactly is Twitter?

According to Wikipedia online, twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets while on the internet or by use of a mobile phone service. Tweets are text-based posts which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.


For the past year many educators as well as popular newspapers, and TV shows have been using Twitter to connect with one another to share ideas and resources.


How to Sign Up for Twitter?

To get an account simply create an ID, password, and have a valid email address. Once logged in you can add pictures to your profile, and customize your color background. Then you can get online to find friends within the twitter network. To broaden your network tell your friends, co-workers and students to create a twitter account, and then they can subscribe to your feed so you can communicate with each other.


→ How else can Twitter be used in Education? Please add your comments.


Why is School Violence Increasing?

school20violence1By Paul Silli

Inquiry Proposal

I am a Nationally Board Certified Social Studies Teacher who works at a middle school with 6th to 8th grade levels, ages 10 to 14, in Urban County, Colorado. Within my schedule I teach a very diverse population of students who range cognitively as well as culturally. For the past two-years because of broadened district boundaries our student body has changed. We have a lot of students who come from different socio-economic situations — and there appears to be a gap in their skills both educationally and in the spoken language (many are Spanish). Through a rigorous effort, I will be researching the causes, trends, and hopefully find solutions to my school’s violence issues. Violence is rising and our current approaches do not seem to be changing matters. Our staff and administration would welcome new methods to decrease violence on campus while maintaining a high quality of education for our students. In the past our school implemented programs to teach our students how to handle themselves as a “deterrent” to violence; it appears the programs were successful, but because of recent budget constraints, we can no longer afford programs such as YES (Youth Empowerment Strategies, video=link) and others…

As I am sure you know school violence is a serious problem. Students often group themselves according to their culture or socio-economic status. Improving the quality of education is difficult without also addressing school violence, since regardless of how good the teachers or curriculum are, violence makes it difficult for students to learn and teachers to teach. For most anti-violence interventions, evidence of effectiveness is either sparse or mixed. Many programs have been imperfectly monitored or evaluated, so few data actually exists. I would like to research the causes – effects, trends, and outcomes of school violence on my campus and attempt to hopefully create a new program to combat the issues (it will need to be helpful & cost efficient). I will be using online surveys (Likert & Shadow) for our student body and staff, interviewing colleagues/administrators, performing Internet research to learn best practices to reduce violence, and other methods to improve our situation.

Note: School violence on my campus wears many faces: It includes gang activity, bullying, intimidation, and assault – just about anything that produces a victim. Violence is mainly perpetrated against students, but sometimes at teachers/staff.

→Any research help or suggestions would be appreciated. Please feel free to comment.

Top 10 Research Topics for Education

research_gameeducation11By Paul Silli

Below is a list of broad research topics. These subjects affect many parties within a school setting.


1. Learning new research tools/methods, Student Access, Internet & Public Libraries: It would be interesting to research the variety of possible solutions, including filtering, online-search, restricted access, blocking software for student’s in class or at the media center, training, parental permission procedures etc… to learn what teachers can do to improve research skills for students and staff.


2. Improved Integration of Technology into Lesson Plans: Learning new ways to incorporate technology into learning across the board for teachers (all school subject areas /grade levels) would be beneficial to education.


3. School Crime: What can your school do to reduce theft, vandalism, assault, verbal harassment, physical harassment, abuse, fighting and other issues that hinder learning for students? Researching the causes, effects and outcomes of this topic — and hopefully finding new ways to reduce crime in your school would be a worthy task.


4. School Safety Improvements: How can your school create new safety methods to better protect your kids & faculty? From running in the hallways – to how your school dismisses students at the end of the day could be reviewed to find new ways to improve safety. 


5. Class Tardiness: Why are students late to class? How are teachers and learning affected by student-tardiness? How can this issue be reduced? What can you do as a staff to deal with tardiness? Learning how to create a “unified tardy policy” for your school would be a tremendous effort.


6. Truancy (Overboard absences): Often teachers have different policies, punishment/consequence, and develop a different overall outlook when dealing with students who are excessively absent from class and/or school. What is the underlying cause of this issue? How can you collectively work toward improved student-attendance?


7. Enhancing Methods to address the Needs of  Diverse Learners: From gifted to non-English speaking students — there are often extreme diverse populations on school campuses. What methods, policies and strategies are in place — and could be created or improved to aid in the learning of your diverse learners? How can using technology shorten this gap and improve learning? 


8. Incorporating More School Community Service Programs & Promoting Parent Volunteering: What can your school do to improve community service programs? How can you attract more parental-volunteer-involvement? What have you been doing… or what can you be doing to enhance the learning for students by showing them the value & need of community service activities?


9. Improved Integration of Web 2.0 Technologies into Curriculum: How can your staff utilize more programs such as implementing Web 2.0 tools within your curriculum to improve learning? Is your school doing “enough” to engage-learners by using a rich variety of methods to teach students?


10. Your School /District /State often has to deal with Censorship Related Issues: It  would interesting to learn the boundaries of Censorship as it pertains to a collection of documents, position papers, research reports etc… It would be beneficial to review how the Privacy Act and the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act” affect learning for students. Are these laws in anyway infringing on certain civil rights to better educate students? You also could broaden your scope by researching  how Censorship comes — as a guide for teachers, librarians, booksellers and others who disseminate the printed word…


Technology In Education Conference 2009

event_logo1By Paul Silli

Hello to all you fellow teachers and techies out there. It’s that time of year again to “plan ahead” for the premier technology conference in the state of Colorado.  Please mark these important dates: June 23-26, 2009 – at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

What is the TIE Conference?

Technology in Education (TIE), is a Colorado-based organization founded in 1986 by a group of teachers with a vision to host a conference focusing primarily on the role technology plays in education (TIE, Online). It is a fun, four-day conference where attendees learn many new,  innovative methods using  technology in the classroom or corporate training setting.

The cost is $315 which includes: Exhibit Hall admission, Keynote & Featured speakers, 200+ interactive sessions, Conference orientation,
Free onsite wireless network for attendees, use in convention center meeting rooms, Complimentary Internet/e-mail stations in the CyberCafe,
TIE Conference t-shirt, Lunch every day of the conference (except Friday) and breakfast on Thursday, and a formal TIE dinner party on Thursday night.
Today, TIE has become the leading statewide conference helping teachers integrate technology tools, technology competencies, and information literacy skills into a standards-based curriculum. TIE is organized and managed by a governing board of nine volunteers. Its major objective is to host the four-day, hands-on technology conference in a beautiful mountain community during early summer that models the use of technology integration in the classroom…  For more info about TIE or to register visit:
http://www.tiecolorado.org/Welcome_312.htm. I hope to see you there!