Tag Archives: Motivation

Has the IBO always gone overboard with criteria?

At the Nanjing International School, we use both the IBO curriculum and we are trying to adopt NoTosh’s ideas about Design Thinking.

I might argue that since we are trying to follow both the IB Design Curriculum AND Design Thinking we ask students to choose from at least one strand in each criterion.  In my teaching career with MYP, I have noticed most times every item from the IBO’s level 7-8 criteria does not make sense for students to complete.  They are not realistic and rather than student being informed by the process, they are bored out of their mind.

A case example:
If students would like to make a website, they might only choose:

Criterion A: Inquiring and analysing
The student:
i. explains and justifies the need for a solution to a problem for a client/ target audience
ii. constructs a detailed research plan, which identifies and prioritizes the primary and secondary research needed to develop a solution to the problem independently
iii. analyses a range of existing products that inspire a solution to the problem in detail 
iv. develops a detailed design brief, which summarizes the analysis of relevant research.

Criterion B: Developing ideas
The student:
i. develops detailed design specifications, which explain the success criteria for the design of a solution based on the analysis of the research (in this case, a website layout)
ii. develops a range of feasible design ideas, using an appropriate medium(s) and detailed annotation, which can be correctly interpreted by others
iii. presents the chosen design and justifies fully and critically its selection with detailed reference to the design specification
iv. develops accurate and detailed planning drawings/diagrams and outlines requirements for the creation of the chosen solution.

Criterion C: Creating the solution
The student:
i. constructs a detailed and logical plan, which describes the efficient use of time and resources, sufficient for peers to be able to follow to create the solution
ii. demonstrates excellent technical skills when making the solution. 
iii. follows the plan to create the solution, which functions as intended and is presented appropriately
iv. fully justifies changes made to the chosen design and plan when making the solution.

Criterion D: Evaluating
The student:
i. designs detailed and relevant testing methods, which generate data, to measure the success of the solution
ii. critically evaluates the success of the solution against the design specification based on authentic product testing
iii. explains how the solution could be improved 
iv. explains the impact of the product on the client/target audience. (IBO, 2014)

Following this idea, teachers would still have something to mark for every criterion, but it would be more succinct and we could enable the FUN back into the learning.  I would emphasize that we would want the students to choose and (verbally) justify why they have chosen those criteria.  Along the lines of Design Thinking, we want the kids to: “be immersed, synthesize, ideate, prototype, and then display” (NoTosh, 2015).

I think it is important that we follow the rules, but as educators we need to realize when the rules should be broken if we are ensuring that our students are not enjoying the subject matter.



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Excellent Song and Music Resources for Parents and Teachers

It has been a while since I posted anything directly to my site.  I thought I would consolidate four of my favourite resources into one post here that are a seemingly endless and FREE collections of excellent online resources for music, singing, dancing, and nursery rhymes.  Without further adieu:

Bus Songs – This one is great for young kids.  It is sortable and searchable.  For example, if I want to find all the songs that are about Transport; of course they have that…and I can see which ones have audio and which have video.

Bus Songs

Cosmic Kids Yoga – Youtube – This channel is neat because the yoga instructor takes you through a story and teaches different moves.  The stories are done with ‘blue screen’ techniques so it seems like she is in far off or imaginary places.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Just Dance – Youtube – I have seen kids in grade 5 (age 10) who all love the videos from this channel.  This means younger ones will like them too.  The teachers are able to sit back and have the video teach the kids the dance moves.  Forget the square dance.  It is time to doh-see-doh your partner over to these fun, hip videos.

Just Dance

Intellidancing – Youtube – When you have had enough of yoga, hip-hop and pop dancing, and nursery rhymes, it is time for a little modern, conceptual dancing and movement.  This is when these videos are for you.  Enjoy.



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Fitbug – Another fitness tracker?!

So, I started using the Fitbug.  It seems simple.  It works with the iPhone + It links to my PingAn insurance company.  What does this mean?  It means that if I do a certain amount of fitness each day or each week I earn points.  These points get me things like: movie tickets, or even cash back rewards when I do online shopping.  How cool is that?  I was going to work out anyway.  Now there is more incentive.  I will tell you how things go here on the blog.  Keep posted.

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Technology


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Instructional Design – Weeding

This video is the next in a series about instructional design and technology integration.  It focuses on “weeding” (Mayer and Moreno, 2003 as cited by Mayer and Clark, 2010, p. 308).  Note the video in this post: where cognitive overload occurs because of the split attention effect.  As a viewer, you are trying to focus either on the writing at the bottom of the screen or the verbal explanation.  The videos are nearly identical; however, in the video in this post most subtitles and music while speaking occurs was removed.  The effect is that it reduces extraneous processing by the viewer.


Mayer, R. E., & Clark, R. C. (2010). Instructional strategies for receptive learning environments. In K. H. Silber, & W. R. Foshay (Series Ed.), Handbook for improving performance in the workplace: Vol. 1. Instructional design and training delivery, (pp. 298-328). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Education, Technology


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Instructional Design – Cognitive Overload

This is the first video in a series involving key ideas in instructional design.  It has technology integrated through authentic means in the lesson.  It is meant to induce cognitive overload, but embeds a lot of information about instructional design in doing so.  Watch this video as a comparison.  This video specifically explores: 

  • Split Attention Effect
  • Cognitive Overload
  • Learning Styles
  • Primacy and Recency
  • Presentation of the Whole Task (Pebbles in the Pond)
  • Searching for Misconceptions
  • Looking for Evidence
  • Multimodal Presentation
  • Prior Knowledge
  • Creating an Atmosphere of Problem-Solving
  • Instructivist and Constructivist Techniques
  • Motivation
  • Choice
  • Differentiation

References and Resources

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

Clark, R. E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 21-29.

Dunn, R., Beaudry, J. S., & Klavas, A. (2002). Survey of research on learning styles. California Journal of Science Education, II(2), 76-98. Retrieved from

Hattie, J. (1999). Influences on student learning. Retrieved from

Hmelo-Silver, C. E., Duncan, R. G., & Chinn, C. A. (2007). Scaffolding and achievement in problem-based and inquiry learning: A response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 99-107.

Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experimental, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.

Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179-212.

Lovelace, M. K. (2005, January/February). Meta-analysis of experimental research based on the Dunn and Dunn model.  Journal of Educational Research, 98(3), 176-183.

Martinez, M. E. (2010). Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Silber, K. H. (2010). A principle-based model of instructional design. In K. H. Silber, & W. R. Foshay (Series Ed.), Handbook of Improving Performance in the Workplace: Vol. 1. Instructional design and training delivery, (pp. 23-52). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

van Gog, T., Ericsson, K. A., Rikers, R. M., & Paas, F. (2005). Instructional design for advanced learners: Establishing connections between the theoretical frameworks of cognitive load and deliberate practice. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 53(3), 73-81. Retrieved from

van Merriënboer, J. J., & Ayres, P. (2005). Research on cognitive load theory and its design implications for e-learning. Educational Technology, Research and Development, 53(3), 5-13. Retrieved from

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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Education, Technology


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