The Stability of Intelligence

In a digital age—that puts a premium on facts, figures, and data—crystallized intelligence has become disproportionately valued over fluid intelligence. This creates a backlash from overemphasizing grades and standardized testing wherein students gain crystallized intelligence at the expense of fluid intelligence.

What is crystallized and fluid intelligence anyway?

Crystallized intelligence is the ability to utilize information, skills, knowledge, and experience in a way that could be measured on a standardized test. Crystallized intelligence represents your lifetime of cerebral knowledge, as reflected through your vocabulary, general explicit knowledge and Trivial Pursuit types of declarative memory of people, places, things…

Students who develop crystallized intelligence often ace standardized tests, become merit scholars and earn the respect and admiration of their peers, teachers and parents (much to the dismay of their lesser-performing classmates and siblings).

Fluid intelligence, on the other hand, is the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge. Fluid intelligence involves the ability to identify patterns and relationships that underpin novel problems and to extrapolate these findings using logic. this type of intelligence cannot be measured by a standardized test. It could manifest in good hand-eye coordination, motor skills and street smarts. These are students who probably did terribly in standardized tests, preferred playing outside, listening to music or just hanging out with friends. parents and teachers would often get frustrated with them for not ‘flexing’ their cerebral muscle and not using their cerebrum .

To a degree, that is probably right, since scientists do acknowledge atrophy which is brought about my disuse.

When I was growing up, my parents and teachers emphasized only one kind of intelligence — the kind that can be measured in periodic tests and are quantified by a grade. That pattern went on all the way until I entered college and found myself taking pre-med where I had to cram my head full of crystallized facts, go on sleepless nights to memorize and take a test which would measure how well I could regurgitate the information I’d crammed in my head in the past few nights. At that point, I started to get disillusioned and longed to go back to my first love, writing. After careful deliberation, I finally mustered the nerve to transfer to the the Creative Writing program where I got the chance to  flex my creative muscles writing poetry and other genres of literature, daydream, engage in physical activity and get a good night’s sleep.

I realised that knowing is not enough. I was still getting crystallized information from learning principles but, more than anything, it taught to to filter that crystallized information through my own unique lens  of experience and connect the dots in new and original ways. it developed my fluid intelligence which is linked to creativity and innovation. Looking back, I realise that the ideal is to engage in a healthy balance of cognitive and physical abilities.

As I am writing this, I am watching American Ninja Warriors where athletes, rock climbers, parkour enthusiasts, gym and fitness rats or anyone with a taste for adventure, young and old alike battle it out in mind-boggling, heart-stopping physical obstacles for a chance to bag the title of the first ever American Ninja Warrior. In this show, I’ve seen young men fall behind their older counterparts in terms of performance. I’ve witnessed 60-year olds complete an obstacle and the younger ones lag behind and fall on the water all on the account of experience in training for the Ninja Warrior and coming back to compete year after year. It’s muscle memory over youth and vigor. Although occasionally, a contender would come and surprise everyone by rising to the ranks, most completers are experienced Ninja Warrior competitors.

Although this is not a illustration of cognitive abilities, I believe we can derive the same conclusion about aging vis-a-vis cognitive abilities in this show. Memory loss or decline may as well be overstimated in older adults, perhaps due to stereotype about aging; but

  1. the pragmatics of intelligence continue to grow
  2. abilities to do daily living functions may suffer with age, but one’s wisdom and ability to solve interpersonal and emotionally-charged problems get better with age
  3. older people benefit from lifelong learning activities to keep themselves mentally alert

Module 1: Adult Learning Principles

Part of being an effective teacher involves understanding your learners and how they learn best. Adult learning posits a set of assumptions about how adults learn. If you’ve had experience teaching adults, you’ll find that it can be a very different experience from that of teaching children. Learning philosophies and certain techniques may overlap, but approaches will differ.

Whereas information seems to be soaked up by children like a sponge, adults may find that they can’t learn things as quickly as they did when they were younger. My friends and I always remark about how our memory retention has ebbed over the years though researchers would probably debate this observation.

Knowles makes these five assumptions of adult learners:

Self-directed:    As a person matures, he/she is less likely to be coerced into participating in learning activities. They are more autonomous and are not going to be dependent on the teacher for the next lesson, the next assignment and the next activity. They have expectations and will most likely have set up their own learning goals.

For the educator, this means less structure and oversight yet still providing the student with the challenge by promoting inquiry instead of just leading them to the answer. Since adult learners have their own goals and are self-motivated, they’re more interested in completing these goals than getting a numerical value to quantify their learning. The teacher must therefore provide regular specific feedback which reflect and acknowledge goal completion. This coincides with Edwards’ hypothesis on using criterion-based as opposed to norm-based measurements.

Experience:        Adults bring to the table a vast wealth of life experiences which they draw from and which help them make sense of new information. This is when it could sometimes be very tricky. Children will readily rely on the experiences of the teacher since they have limited experience as a resource for learning. As such, learning becomes easier for kids because they have no experience to negate whatever the teacher has said. For adults, some would have life experiences which lead to certain notions and biases. In this case, the educator must be able to point out these biases or even allow the student to reflect on these biases in order to move them to allow different perspectives which would help them accept new information. Adults could be very bullish with new information which contradicts with their experiences.

In my case, anything that involves numbers causes my brain to shut down because I’ve had a traumatic experience learning maths when I was growing up. Among my students, I find that their own experiences and backgrounds have led them to grow up thinking that English is only for the elite and learning the language is limited to answering a few worksheets in class and ends in the four corners of the classroom as it has no application to real life. Their exposure in the workplace challenges this notion and makes them realise otherwise.

This hypothesis can also be used to support Vygotsky’s theory of Social Learning which posits for a More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). Though children and adults would benefit from social learning, adults will naturally have a higher degree of prior knowledge owing to his/her breadth of experience.

Goal-oriented and Relevancy-oriented                :               Adults see learning as a means to an end. Whereas going to school is mandatory for kids, adults pursue learning because it helps them meet their goals. Thus, the training has to be worthwhile.       With regard to relevance, both children and adults would like to feel that learning is relevant to their lives, especially as I got to  high school. At that point, I started wondering why it was I needed to learn  certain topics or subjects like math. I felt  complete disdain and a lack of interest for subjects which I believed were not relevant to me in my daily life.

After finding out about these assumptions of the adult learner, andragogy suddenly seems to be quite a daunting task. For one, adult learners rarely see rewards the way children do, and giving them candy doesn’t work. They have a lot of things in their minds, and learning courses is but one of them. Unlike kids who know they move up grade levels, adults learners take learning courses to enhance their skills, keep their job, get a job, switch careers or continue further with their career plans. The goal is loftier and the stakes are even higher.

Proudly Showing Off!

In the past few weeks, I have been bent over working on and crating training decks for a new program that we’re rolling out in a few months. I usually get stumped on verb tenses, but while I was going over the arsenal of activities I had on the topic, I thought of switching the article and the hypothetical I had worked so hard to make up. I replaced it with a portion of a movie. I used “The Pursuit of Happyness” with Will Smith. I don’t have a DVD of the movie, and I don’t know how to download from torrent either, so I stuck with Youtube. I did find a copy of a a portion of the movie, and luckily, it would work well as I try to elicit the past progressive tense.

Poster-pursuithappyness

(image taken from: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/Poster-pursuithappyness.jpg)

So I’ll have the class watch a movie and ask these questions afterwards in order to elicit the past progressive tense.

1.What was Will Smith doing when his landlord knocked on the door?

2.When did the police arrest Will Smith? What was he doing at this time?

3. What was his wife doing when she got the call?

4.What did Will Smith do as he entered the elevator?

5.What was he doing when the secretary called out his name?

Overall, I think it’s a good way to practice verb tenses. But when I was reminded of the guidelines for the video, I realised I fell short because the copy I got was not as clear as I would have liked it to be. The video was dark so I think some students might not catch some students’ attention. The video was relevant and would contribute to the instruction in a positive way, and I made sure to place it effectively right smack center of the slide, but it was not clear and focused, so I’d give myself low marks for that. I think I should learn how to download a movie in torrent in order to improve this.

 

That’s a Wrap!

Now I’m beginning to re-think my decision in taking this course. Instructional Design Technology. When I started this course or even prior to taking this program, the only thing I had in mind was that the field of Training and Development is a very competitive industry, so I needed to stand out and adapt with the times and learn how to incorporate technology and e-learning into my portfolio.

The deeper I immense myself, I am slowly realising what I got myself into. First off, I think I never really kept it a secret that I am a technophobe. I have my IT colleagues at my beck and call at the office to help me out when my machine conks on me or I encounter a message on my machine that I am not familiar with. Don’t get me wrong. I have my own netbook, a portable netbook-tablet hybrid, a smartphone, and a tablet. I can print my own documents provided the printer has been mapped into my machine. (No, I didn’t do the mapping myself.) I occasionally shop online, and check the traffic situation online. I have a Facebook account and I get my daily dose of entertainment and national news from the Web. I know how to use the printer/scanner we have at the office. I download e-books from the Web, and I am equally guilty of Torrent-ing for my TV series fix. But I’m nowhere near comfortable in creating a multimedia material or even creating an educational website. I don’t even know how to Photoshop, and truth be told, I’d rather leave that to the graphic artists and designers.

In addition, I have never really considered myself to be a designer. I don’t notice colours nor pay attention to angles. I probably would not even be able to tell a bad design from a perfect design. I took MMS 173 Photography in Multimedia last term, and I barely came out alive. I learned about the rule of thirds, composition, balance and symmetry. I learned all those things in my head. But when I joined the photowalk, I realised I didn’t have the eye for beauty. While my classmates were content going off on their own and taking pictures of every mundane object they see while coming up with beautiful images, I executed the same things and turned out with such dismal results. I walked out of there with less than a handful of photographs that I could use for my final portfolio (and I needed 30!).

So I don’t have an eye for design, and nor do I have the knack for technology. I should have known it would be a recipe for disaster. But as I was working through the assignments and the activities for this course, I realised a lot of the principles of the design were anchored on organisation and legibility. One does not have to “be an artist to make instructional materials that are visually pleasing.” What matters is there is uniformity among the elements, it’s not crowded and captivates the audience’s/learner’s attention? When I feel like I’m losing it, I can always ask myself these guide questions: “Does this enhance student learning? Will they be motivated to go through this material just by looking at it?” It doesn’t matter whether it’s an audio, a video, a print material, a powerpoint presentation or a poster. As long as I keep myself in check using those guide questions, I shall always find myself.

Maybe in the future, I shall have to work with a team of multimedia experts to help me create a video presentation and even some programmers who can help me put together an educational website. But that would not diminish my role as an educator. They may be able to spot a good design and put everything together, but as an educator, I would have the last say on whether or not this would benefit the student’s learning experience.

Pledge of Commitment

I’ve been a student at UPOU for about a couple of years now. Admittedly, juggling a demanding full-time job and about 6-9 units worth of classes at UPOU is not without its own set of challenges. I’ve had to master the art of multi-tasking, setting and sticking to a schedule and staying on top of deadlines both at work and school. I’ve had to discipline myself to check the portal at the end of the day no matter how tired I am, lest I miss another quiz. Thankfully, I think I’ve got it in check.

Honestly, I have high hopes for this course. I’d been anticipating taking this, along with EDS 112 Principles of Instructional Design because it will really allow me to get to the meat of this IDT program. Even as a seasoned trainer with experience in module development, I must say I am not very confident with my skills as an instructional designer. Most of the things I know are the result of a laborious trial-and-error process.

PLEDGE OF COMMITMENT

  1. I commit to participating fully and getting the most out of this.
  2. I commit to doing my best in all the activities.
  3. I commit to be more learning-conscious than grade conscious.

EDS 151 Artefact Multimedia Material

MM.png

This is the MM I created for Assignment 2. My main challenge was trying to fit all the contents especially for the slides with maps. I wanted to make sure that the map was still readable and visible especially for students who are sitting at the back. I also struggled in deciding which font to use. To be honest, I never really gave it much consideration before, but I eventually settled for a clean, professional/education-looking font — Calibri and Century. I tried to declutter it as much as possible and make it interactive that’s why it’s only composed of activities, but I think the challenge here is that the teacher would have to facilitate to provide instructions for each activity. In hindsight, I think I could have made this better if I had just recorded the instructions.

EDS 151 Artefact Print Material, Non-Projected Visual, Projected Visual

 

NPV.png

This is the NPV I came up with for Assignment 1. This is intended to be used as a flash card. As you notice, there are no frills, and it’s pretty straightforward. In terms of layout, design, content, I think it’s on point.

PM1.png

This is the PM for our Assignment 1. Since it’s a Scavenger Hunt Activity, I wanted to take advantage of the theme and use it as an inspiration for the design so I downloaded a border from the net and just added the content. I tried to make sure that the design was only limited to the sides to avoid clutter. Since this is the Warm-Up activity, I wanted this print material to look fun, that’s why I thought of this. I realize that I don’t exactly have a good eye for design so I’m not sure if this is aesthetically pleasing, but it doesn’t look tacky so I think the design still works. But then, I could be wrong.

PV1.png

This is the revised Projected Visual. I had problems with the initial versions because they were text-heavy, but I think I’m slowly getting the hang of it. I tried to utilize the rule of thirds for slides 2-8. I think it worked because it drew attention to the image instead of the text.