I learn better by doing; I am a hands on learner

I hear this all of the time and for the most part, I agree with. We all do in a sense. No its not your learning style. We know that learning styles are not real. Its not even your learning preference. Its much simpler than that…so why?

It all comes down to learning taxonomies; the order in which we learn. Doing, is a high order task – meaning when you are doing, you are problem solving, thinking critically. Its high level learning. Its our end goal – to be able to problem solve and use (transfer to new situations/jobs). So shouldn’t we just ‘do’ then and bypass other types of learning? Absolutely NOT! Let me explain…

If my end goal was for you to be able to build a car engine, I couldn’t just say ‘go build a car engine’. You couldn’t do it. This is is especially true for learners with little to no prior knowledge. How can I teach you how to build a car engine when you might not even know what a wrench is? You might not know what a spark plug is? You see, I first need to teach you basic information, think factual information where you learn definitions, learn to identify, etc. Once you learn that information, like what a wrench is and what a screw is, you can learn to use the wrench to turn the screw. Now we know how to use the wrench!

Next we learn how to use that wrench to build a section of an engine…but first we need to lean about all of those parts to the engine. You see, this is how we learn. First we learn the basic facts, then we start learn concepts and how to apply that information. Only then can we really start to do! And once we start doing, we start to really learn the ins and outs – problem solving/high level learning! So you see, its not that you learn by doing, you learn many different ways. Learning by doing is how we perceive learning ‘best’ but only because its high level learning.

See video where I explain this further:

Buying a new computer

This post is for my instructional technology students for Fall 18:

I have had several students ask me about buying a new computer and figured I would post to the group…

When I get a new computer I do one of two things…1) I get one that will last me 2 years or 2) one that will last me 4 years. Obviously the 4 yr one is much more expensive.

So my recommendations…

1. Get a student discount. All of the companies offer them. Now is a great time to get back to school deals.

2. Get a minimum of 12GB of Ram. Ram matters. If you are looking at a 4 yr machine I would really recommend as close to 32GB as you can get.

3. Video card matters. Try to get an upgraded video card if possible.

4. Ram is the first thing I upgrade, video card 2nd, processor 3rd. In that order. I don’t worry about hard drive space at all as I use the cloud to store my files. I don’t worry about other features either except for making sure they have enough ports and an HDMI port.

5. I would get a PC over a Mac. Macs are great and work really well but there is one piece of software instructional designers use and there still isn’t a mac version, this is called articulate. But if you like Macs they are fine I just prefer PCs for many reasons. Chromebook, ipads, etc won’t cut it, you need a real machine.

6. As far as brands, they are all fine for the most part. I prefer Alienware and Dell since that is what I have used over the last few years. I currently have an alienware R17 with max upgrades. I like alienware because they already come with upgraded video cards that you won’t even have an option for with a standard machine. A lot of them are VR Ready.In fact, the only machine in the college of education that runs VR is mine. None of the others will do it.

7. Get a warranty. Get a warranty for as long as you want to keep the machine. Its worth it. I cannot tell you how many machines I have went through. I have had Macs die. I have had PC die. Many times. Just get the warranty. I think I have a 4 yr warranty on my current machine.

If you have other questions, please feel free to ask. – Dr. Pastore

Annual Security Recommendations

I have described computer security a number of times in my blog. Now I am going to discuss some of the tools that I recommend this year for you to use. Here are my recommendations:

Browser: Firefox – Its open source and is the backbone of tor for a reason. I much prefer firefox to any other browser. Chrome is a close second but I do not like that its not open source. I only use Firefox for email and sites where I login otherwise, I use the next site listed as most secure for all of my searching, research, googling, etc. https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/
Most secure browser: Tor. Tor is designed for those times when you don’t want anyone to see what you are doing. TOR blocks your ISP, the government, etc. from seeing what you are doing online. https://www.torproject.org
Mobile Browser – Firefox and Firefox Focus are my preferred when I am connected to VPN, otherwise I use various versions of TOR for mobile which can be found in the app stores for android/ios. Firefox focus is the best but it may be too limiting for some so Firefox is the next best. Focus is really fast and simple. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/focus
Security add on for your browser – uBlock – works for firefox and chrome and keeps away ads and other nonsense. This helps many pages load faster too. It will also prevent youtube ads. https://www.ublock.org/
VPN – Cyberghost. There are tons of good vpns but I like that this company offers a true free version. If you are using a program like Kodi to watch TV/Movies you better be using a VPN. https://www.cyberghostvpn.com/en_US/
Malware/adware – Malwarebytes – its free and very powerful.  https://www.malwarebytes.com/
Antivirus – Avira – Its free! I also think Windows defender that comes free with windows is decent.  https://www.avira.com/
Firewall – Zonealarm – https://www.zonealarm.com/software/free-firewall/

Digital Screen Time Limits and Young Children’s Psychological Well-Being: Evidence From a Population-Based Study

“Digital screen use is a staple of contemporary life for adults and children, whether they are browsing on laptops and smartphones, or watching TV. Pediatricians and scientists have long expressed concerns about the impact of overusing technology on people’s well being. However, new research suggests that existing guidance managing children’s digital media time may not be as beneficial as first thought. “…”Taken together, our findings suggest that there is little or no support for the theory that digital screen use, on its own, is bad for young children’s psychological well being.”

I am not surprised by this finding at all. Moderation is key to everything in life and technology is no different.

Science daily Article – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214140810.htm

Actual Journal Article: Andrew K. Przybylski, Netta Weinstein. Digital Screen Time Limits and Young Children’s Psychological Well-Being: Evidence From a Population-Based Study. Child Development, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/cdev.13007