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Thoughts on Creating a Significant Learning Environments

In my grad school journey, I learned many new things and a few of those I get to revisit regularly. One of those topics was the growth mindset. I was first introduced to Carol Dweck's (2006) book on the growth mindset back in January when we were asked to develop a plan for how we would share the growth mindset with others. Here is my website on Growth Mindset that I created to help others learn about it. I've made some changes to this site since it originally held the slide deck and the references only. Recently I have added more information about the growth mindset with more of my personal thoughts and opinions.

Another topic I learned more about is creating a significant learning environment for my learners. We discussed how technology has changed the way people learn and interact with each other while learning. Thomas and Brown (2011) introduced me to the term collective when referring to my online community of educators. We all contribute to the groups' knowledge when we share our resources through social media. Textbooks are no longer the only way for students to gain knowledge since technology puts much more information at our fingertips and people learn much better when they can talk it out with peers. I know I will be more mindful of this when I hold professional development sessions.

I even created my own learning philosophy after researching different learning theories. Since my bachelor's degree was in mathematics/education and twenty years ago, I never had an opportunity to explore the plethora of theories, let alone create one for myself. Some of the theories are older and some newer but there were three that stood out to me. Constructivism, Social Constructivism, and Connectivism resonated with me the most. I'm a hands-on learner that likes to talk it out when learning and share what I learn with my tribe.

The last thing I explored this past month was two ways to map out or plan for my Innovation Project on Blended Learning for Professional Development. One was using Fink's 3 column table which I used to outline my "course" of professional development and created my Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for my learners. This outline helped me define the big picture for my innovation plan. From there I used the Understanding by Design (UbD) template to create a more detailed portion of my innovation project. Using the UbD template I was able to focus in on the details of how I would guide my learners through their professional development. Both will be vital to me this school year!

Youngston, n.d.

Once I started to focus on creating a significant learning environment for my innovation project, I was able to shift from the behaviorist micro-credentials to a more social constructivist blended learning environment. I realized that teachers don't need badges to motivate learning, they are life-long learners and want to do what is best for students already. They need authentic learning opportunities and time to apply these learnings; that's what I intend to focus on within the professional development sessions I hold by creating a significant learning environment for my learners.


Dweck, Carol S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

Fink, L. D. (n.d.). A Self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Retrieved from

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A new culture of learning. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design, Expanded 2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Youngston, N. (n.d.). Learning. [Image]. Retrieved from

Images created by me using Google Drawings and unless otherwise noted.

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