Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | Controlling Your Digital Footprint

Digital Content is King

Welcome to the 21st Century – where a video recorded in high definition via a mobile device may be uploaded and shared to Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. in just a matter of minutes – if not seconds.

Now, these videos may be anything from a surprise birthday party, service member returning home from deployment, an engagement proposal to a fight at school.

Either way, the speed with which video may be shared with anyone who has access to the internet is incredible when you really take a moment to think about that.

Now, for all of the positive scenarios of sharing video, that may, very well, be a good thing.  However, when considering the negative instances of sharing video, educational institutions need a positive way to control the “spin” factor, as well as, the associated positive/negative reputation that develops from this kind of exposure.

Control Your Digital Footprint

Your “Digital Footprint” is anywhere that information about you, or your organization/company, can be located digitally — especially via the interwebs.  It is important to understand how wide of a digital footprint you generate.  Then, you need to take steps to control your digital footprint.

From an individual viewpoint, this could be as simple as not creating any online accounts.
Or, is it really that simple?  If you don’t have any online accounts, does that prevent someone else from posting an image and/or video(s) where you are “tagged”?

You see …
Not participating in the digital/information age is not really a solution — especially from the viewpoint of a company or an organization.

It is more important to positively interact with and engage with the consumers of your product, service, or information.  Additionally, it would probably be in your best interest to control your digital footprint in the same spaces as the consumers with whom you interact (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, etc.).

This is becoming more and more important for schools across the nation.
The education world tends to be slow in adopting technological advances – including forms of communication.

In the end, it is more important to be proactive and to take action to ensure that the message you want disseminated throughout the interwebs is actually what is getting promulgated.


Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | Book of Bland

We Should All Write A Book

No, seriously.
I believe we all should write some kind of book.
Everybody has something inside of them to contribute to the world around them.

There are those small things that we found ourselves repeating time and time again.
Maybe it’s some kind of quality advice.
Maybe it’s a step-by-step process for doing some kind of task.

  • Achieving a certain kind of style or look with make-up
  • Different way to perform various maintenance requirements for your vehicle(s)
  • Life lessons and how to capitalize on opportunities that stem from “mistakes”

The point that I’m making is that we all have something of value to share.  Maybe it won’t be a book that turns into the next block-buster movie event of the Summer, but who knows?  Maybe it will.

Either way, why not take a chance and just go for it.
I like Mr. Bland’s idea for a book, and I actually think he should write a book.

If you know who Mr. Bland is, and even if you don’t, you should encourage him to follow through with this idea & publish this book.

His youtube channel is: Mr. Bland
You can go subscribe & leave him a comment to get started on his “Book of Bland”.

While you’re at it, I would be most appreciative if you subscribed to my channel:
Coach Pabon.

Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | Digital Principal

Who Are You?

Are you the go to person when it comes to digital media?
Are you staying abreast of how technology can improve what you do?
Are you the Digital Principal for your arena?

Real “job security” comes from creating so much value that you become an asset that others cannot do without.  Be the MVP for your organization. Since this conversation focused around education – if you’re in that arena, be the MVP for your school or for your district.

We’re in the 21st century, and we still have people outright refusing to engage with technology.  It is not a fad. Do not fear the technology – embrace it.  Use technology to simplify your life.

Is there a learning curve?

Sure – absolutely.
But, it should not be as drastic as some people make it out to be. (I know this sentence is grammatically incorrect, but we’re on the interwebs – so loosen up a little, ok.)

You have to get out of your own way.
“You have to get past your old you to get to the new you.”
– Dr. Eric Thomas (ET The Hip Hop Preacher)

Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | The Start

What do you get when two non-traditionally trained educators sit down to have an impromptu conversation?

You get an interesting & refreshing taste of positive thought process, solutions, & recommendations for various challenges experienced by education professionals everywhere. Enjoy the ride.

Mr. Bland and I always seem to have some very thought provoking conversations, and on more than one occasion we have said that we really should record our conversations.  That’s what lead to this first (of many) videos.

Mr. Bland came into my classroom during a planning period that we both share.  We were about to begin having one of our conversations when I said, “Hey we should record this.” I had a student aide in the classroom, and he recorded the conversation for us. It was completely impromptu – which I believe shows through the video.

Anyway, we wound up speaking about several different topics.  I believe we helped come up with some very viable recommendations and/or solutions for various challenges that are experienced by educators everywhere.

We hope our unplanned conversation will help someone out in the interverse, or at least give you some ideas with which to begin.

This was, literally, the beginning — setting up the video recording.
Make sure you check out my “Coach Pabon” youtube channel to catch the rest of the videos in this series, as well as, future videos.

What in the World is a Flipped Classroom ???

There has been much talk – and sometimes debate – over this idea of Flipping the Classroom.

Well, many people – including educators – still do not even understand what a Flipped Classroom truly means in order to be able to take an educated stance in favor of, or against this newer concept.

Instead of trying to write a very long explanation, I came across the following Infographic that explains the concept and its origins very nicely.  I came across the website for this Flipped Classroom Infographic when I was looking at the blog of one of my previous professors – brainmeld.

This Flipped Classroom Infographic was published by Knewton.


Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media


Video Games and Learning

Originally Posted: April 12, 2011

Green 3D Puppet Pulling Another Puppet Out of Laptop ScreenVideo Games and Learning

We are well into the information age, and educators are at the forefront of this paradigm shift.  Additionally, educators must have a concrete understanding of learning theory in order to create successful courses.  Professor Ted Henning asks whether students agree or disagree with the argument presented by Prensky, Gee and other researchers, “…that video games and technology have fundamentally changed the way students have learned how to learn” (Personal communication, April 10, 2011). 


Karen Cator, Director of the Office of Educational Technology, U.S. Department of Education, answers this question best in an interview with ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine where she states, “When you add any new technology…something is amplified, and something is reduced.  Part of being literate in the 21st century…is being able to make careful decisions about technologies and their uses” (2011, p. 20).

Learning Theory

“Learning theories attempt to describe how humans learn….what are the key elements in the process of gaining new knowledge and capabilities and how those elements interact” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008, p. 18).  Fundamentally, the three main learning theories (isms) are still at play even with students‘ increased use of video games and technology.  


The theory of behaviorism is based on physical events that are visually discernible, in other words, a person’s behavior.  Learning takes place when desired behaviors are reinforced or rewarded, and undesired behaviors are ignored or punished; this is called operant conditioning (Medsker & Holdsworth, 2001).  The theory of behaviorism is very much at play in most video games.  There are very specific behaviors that lead to winning, successfully completing quests, and/or developing a following in the online gaming world.


Taking a slightly different approach when compared to behaviorists, supporters of the cognitivist theory focus on that learning which occurs in the mind of the learner.  Supporters concentrate on the visual aspects of content delivery concerning themselves with the learner’s ability to recall the material being conveyed (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008).  This theory is also very much utilized in the video game world – especially when it comes to role playing games, and even first-person shooter games that blend aspects of real time strategy into mission objectives.


In describing Constructivism, it may be easier to begin by confirming that it is neither behaviorism, nor cognitivism.  Medsker and Holdsworth (2001) go on to explain that adherents to this theory believe in granting learners more control and freedom to decide the direction of their learning.  According to this theory, the goal of the instructional designer is to provide an immersive training environment where learners are able to engage in a hands-on approach to learning.  Not to be left out, constructivism is very much  a part of the various role playing games that are available.  Additionally, constructivism is a big part of many immersive virtual 3D worlds such as Second Life.

επιλεκτικής : An Eclectic Approach

From a personal standpoint, the “ism” which I adhere to is “eclecticism”.  When it comes to learning, there is no “one size fits all” approach.  People are different, and as such, people learn in a myriad of ways.  According to Januszewski and Molenda (2008), an eclectic approach combines ideas from the different learning theories without forcing the implementation of an entire “parent theory”. 


Like any other tool, mainstream video games have a double-edge.  When implemented properly as part of the learning process, they truly can bring a subject alive for students and generate enthusiasm like never before.  However, if implemented haphazardly for the sole purpose of “hoping” to connect with students, an educator can quickly lose control and oversight of the original objective(s).

Three for Me

The three games (and their respective genres) that I have chosen to research utilizing the XBOX 360 platform are: Call of Duty: Black Ops (First-Person Shooter), Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution (Real Time Strategy), and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Role-Playing Game).  Both, Call of Duty and Sid Meier’s Civilization have an enormous amount of information that could easily be incorporated into just about any World History/Geography lesson.  Both games provide several opportunities for (a)synchronous class discussions and/or debates.  The Oblivion game may take a little more creativity to implement, but can be used for lessons that involve social interaction skills, economic principles of supply/demand and/or concepts of buying low and selling high.



ASCD. (2011, February). Transforming education with technology: A conversation with Karen  Cator. Educational Leadership, 68(5), 17-21.

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Educational technology: A definition with commentaryNew York, NY: Routledge.

Medsker, K. L., & Holdsworth, K. M. (2001). Models and strategies for training designSilver Spring, MD: International Society for Performance Improvement.

Best Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Originally Posted: March 23, 2011

Woman holding a future digital reportBest Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Dictionary.com defines best practice as “the recognized methods of correctly running businesses or providing services” (World English dictionary section, para. 1).  When based on principles, the same activities that constitute best practices in “traditional education” will, usually, translate well across any medium chosen for course delivery.  For a course to be of value, it has to answer a need – successfully.  This is where Instructional Design (ID) becomes important.  It is the analysis at the beginning that will help determine the “consumer’s” need, and how best to address that need.  Piskurich (2006) states that one of the benefits to employing ID is that it helps to identify the best practices for content delivery, essentially identifying the best manner for the target audience to successfully acquire the intended knowledge.  

Additionally, listing course prerequisites is vital and should, almost always, be mandatory.  Piskurich (2006) further suggests that course prerequisites are important for, both, the instructors, as well as, the students.   With a well-developed set of expected prerequisite skills and knowledge, the instructor(s) have a fair understanding of their students’ ability, and what kind of material they will be able to utilize with their students.  At the same time, potential students have an understanding and fair expectation regarding what information will be covered in their course.  Students that are reviewing course prerequisites can make informed decisions whether or not a course is too basic, too advanced, or just right.

Factors for Success in Virtual Worlds

Andrea L. Foster (2008) reported that educators experienced in utilizing the 3D virtual world, Second Life (SL), for distance education have stated that “…communication among students actually gets livelier when they assume digital personae” (p. 12-13).  Foster also reports that one educator, that teaches a freshman English composition course via SL, suggested that educators getting started in SL should be open to the idea of allowing students to have some control over the course in order to maximize student engagement.  Other suggestions include eliciting feedback and suggestions from other educators and students.  From a personal standpoint, this author believes that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is essential in order to keep the audience engaged.  Having experienced SL conferences where the main means of communication between the presenter(s) and the audience have been either text chat (only), VoIP,  or a combination of both, it is very easy to say that this author found it more engaging to utilize VoIP with the occasional text chat for a side conversation/question.  Additionally, the use of multimedia such as video and/or presentation slides definitely helped to create the opportunities for increased audience participation.

Application Becoming Reality

The Simulations and Virtual Reality course that this author is currently participating in has really expanded the thought process regarding how to approach the final capstone project, and which tools, skills, and objects will be needed in order to develop a successful product.  This author had already settled on creating a course within Moodle, an open-source Learning Management System (LMS), entitled, “Developing Immersive Virtual Learning Environments”.  However, participating within the 3D world of SL has taken the original concepts to a whole new level of possibilities.

For the final project of the Simulations and Virtual Reality course this author intends to create one of the lessons for his final capstone course.  Beginning with basic best practices, this author will develop a detailed syllabus that will contain course prerequisites, course requirements, and technical requirements for the final capstone course.  Within SL, this final project will have to make use of multi-media viewers, a magazine and brochure shelf in order to provide external links to various learning objects, and text and voice chat.  Additionally, this author plans to explore the benefits of possibly utilizing SLOODLE which is an open-source project that has integrated SL with Moodle, and may be found in SL at: SLOODLE TeleHub and Fountain: 128, 128, 22 (SLOODLE, Home section, para. 1).



Best practice. (n.d.). In Dictionary.com’s online dictionary. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/best+practice

Foster, A. L. (2008). Professor Avatar. Education Digest, 73(5), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=28755255&site=ehost-live

Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

SLOODLE (n.d.). In Sloodle.org’s open source project. Retrieved from http://www.sloodle.org/moodle