Hello class

My name is Jake Stapleton.  I live in Chatham, Illinois.  My wife and I have some new additions to our family.  Two boys, Wyatt (17 months) and Walsh (3 months).  I currently teach high school art in Springfield, Illinois. (Central Time) Some of the classes I teach are drawing, painting, art history, glassworks and graphic design.  I also coach both golf in the fall and softball in the spring.  I also like to do some of my own artwork, focusing on emotion in sports.  Link attached and a picture of my current drawing.


I look forward to this class and what it will do to enhance my current teachings.  I find it hard to connect with students who are out for long periods of time and hope this course may offer some alternatives. 

I have read all the announcements and enrolled in Learn2Learn.





Reflection of Learning Theories and Instruction

Learning theories is nothing new to me as a high school teacher for the last nine year.  However, this courses approach to each learning theory has deepened my understanding on how students learn and what similarities and differences are formed from adults to younger students.  I liked reading about each of my classmates learning style from the first week and found it intriguing reading their posts and seeing first hand their style hard at work. 

This class has helped me understand my own learning process.  I initially thought that I was a little out there in terms of learning, but now have a better sense of my own personal learning style.  I also see how, at times, I use a variety of styles depending on the situation I am presented with.  I still believe that the constructivism theory best suits my needs as a learner.  Ertmer and Newby (1993) explain, “constructivism is a theory that equates learning with creating meaning from experience” (p.62).  These experiences are the key ingredient for me. 

I see one big connection between learning theories, learning styles, education technology, and motivation.  The connection is that in order to create the ideal learning environment we must understand each area and how to accommodate all of them for each of our students.  This is not an easy task, but it is one that is attainable with hard work and dedication to our main objectives of each course we teach. 

I am not sure that I will ever enter the field of instructional design.  I do know that as I see more and more technology incorporated in the classroom I will have the right tools to create content for students that is accessible from anywhere.  In fact, I plan on working to move more of my lessons online to my classroom website since our district has launched a more mobile friendly webpage design.  I hope that I can pioneer this effort and encourage other teachers to join me in taking advantage of the high percentage of students we teach using smartphones.  Already, I see myself using the material from this class and the leadership material from our previous course to make Springfield High a better place to learn. 




Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4),50-71. Retrieved from








Fitting the pieces together.

After presenting myself with a better understanding of each of the learning theories and styles I still come to the conclusion that the constructive theory bests fits my learning style.  Each theory has multiple aspects that define its creation.  Many of the theories have some sort of overlap, which build on one another. 

Learning occurs

Behaviorism – Observable behavior main focus

Cognitivism – Structured, computational

Constructivism – Social, meaning created by each learner

Connectivism – Network, social, technologically enhanced.

(Davis, Edmunds, Kelly-Bateman, 2008)

These past seven weeks have introduced me to some things that I already understood as an educator.  However, they have strengthened my understanding for the need to provide a variety of theories in order to accommodate all the styles of learners I see each year.  I tend to fall into the trap of using the same theories and approaches over and over again.  This class has given me the information and motivation to challenge myself to come up with new ways to provide information to my students. 

Technology has always played a key role in the way I teach.  From day one of teaching I always incorporated some sort of technology into each of my lessons knowing that it will influence my students.   I now see the need to continue this idea, as well as expand on it using some of the new technologies introduced into this class.  I also see the benefits of discussion boards, which is something I have yet to use day to day in my profession.  I think discussion boards allow students to use the time allowed on the board to provide overall better answers to the questions asked.  All in all, I find that my teaching will improve for next year knowing more about these theories as well as their application. 



Davis, C, Edmunds, E, & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from


          Today our society has grown through the use of complex communication.  We no longer find the need to have face-to-face meetings or even phone calls for that matter.  Social Networking has changed the way businesses advertise and market their product while friends and family stay in touch.  Many of these tools help create both professional and personal relationships. 

            If you look at my mindmap you will see a variety of tools that help me create projects and tutorials for classes I teach at Springfield High.  These tools have not only changed the way I teach but also change many aspects of my personal life.  For example, I try to build or fix anything that breaks in my home.  I hate the idea of paying someone to do it, when I can do it using all the resources the internet provides today.  Youtube has been a huge resource for this and one that I find myself using time and time again.  If I don’t know how to tile a shower wall, I simply hop on Youtube and find out exactly how to do it.  Some videos are simple, while others give very detailed information.   Connections are built through the use of comments below each video.  Can’t seem to get something to work?  Just ask the creator of the video.  Each of the tools on my mindmap serve a unqiue purpose, but the one that I use most are the tools that show me visually how to do it.  If it only explains in text, then I seem to struggle with completing the task.  (I am a visual learner)

            These networks all support the theory behind connectivism.  Stephen Downes explains that connectivism is literally the set of connections formed by actions and experience.  These connections form naturally, through the process of association.  (Downes, S. 2007)  All of these networks listed on the mindmap are formed by me taking the action of setting up an account and gathering information through professional or personal experience. 





Downes, S. 2007.  What Connectivism Is.  Stephen Downes Blog.  Retrieve from 

Two Blogs: About the brain and learning

When searching for two online sites that deal with learning and the brain, I was pleasantly pleased to find two blogs that deal with this, as well as, how technology is incorporated into it.  I figured since we were learning about the blogs for most of this class they would be perfect examples to use. 

The first blog is titled Neurons Firing – Found at

Laurie’s blog has a wide variety of posts including, brain, learning, yoga and as she puts it occasional sidetracks.  Laurie teaches technology in schools and her interests “revolve around the brain, graphic design, organizing and creating professional development for faculty, and changing education to make it more relevant, interesting and experiential for all involved.” (

Neurons Firing has a lot of useful information about the brain, especially in her section called Brain101.  She has stats about the brain, as well as, how different parts function with a huge amount of links to dive further in each subject.  I found her “left or right” post very intriging because it was spot on with the course readings from this past week.  She agreed that Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler (2009) explain, “yet contrary to popular myth, people rarely if ever think exclusively in one hemisphere; there is no such thing as left-brain or right-brain thinking” (p. 35).  Overall, I found her blog, interesting, fun and very creative.  What amazed me the most was how curious she was with so many different things that deal with learning and how the brain works.  I am now subscribed to her blog and look forward to her future posts. 



Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.


The second blog I found is created by Dr. Pamela Rutledge.

Her blog can be found at

Dr. Rutledge is the director of Media Psychology and Research Center.  She is a media psychologist that looks at the intersection between behavior and technology.  Dr. Rutledge helps people and organizations understand how psychology is used to create effective media messaging and experience.  (

Her recent post was really interesting to me, especially since I deal with teenagers daily and all the social media they use.  The post is titled Social Media and Relationships: 7 myths.

Here are the 7 myths:

1.  Social media are destroying our social skills and replacing offline relationships.

(This is something that teachers talk about all the time.  I can’t wait to show this during our next meeting)

2.  You have to be on all social networks – they’re basically all the same. 

(Trying telling my students that, they believe popularity comes by how many friends you have on facebook or how many followers you have on twitter)

3.  You don’t have to be on social media at all to have a full and happy life. 

(She brings up a good point with – If you’re a professional, people expect a web presence.  It is a method of validation.  No presence is what looks sketchy now. People want to get to know you before they work with you.)

4.  People don’t tell the truth on social media

(I like the comment about how you present yourself depending on the situation.  She offers that you don’t dress or act the same at a business meeting compared to a tailgate party for your favorite NFL team.  That’s not fake.  That’s context-appropriate behavior.)

5.  You can’t control your social media presence

(She brings up a good point about learning the privacy settings of each platform)

6.  Online relationships aren’t “real”

(This one is obvious to me.  Why would a site like still be alive today if it didn’t work)

7.  Social media don’t do any good

(Granted they have some negative aspects, but so do a lot of things that are useful in life.  For me, the ability to stay connected with my family all across the U.S. is amazing and in such a fast way)

Information above gathered from


Rutledge, P. (2013) Social Media & Relationship: 7 Myths. The Media Psychology Blog.  Retrieved from


Overall, these two blogs show how the brain works in different ways.  They achieve a lot of things about this weeks course content but also show how technology is wrapped up in it all.  Please take a look.



Breastfeeding – The New Ritalin?

I saw this post from one of my peers (Joan Iglesias) about the possibility that breastfeeding reduces the chance of children having ADHD.  I am glad to see that the post put a question mark at the end of the title “The New Ritalin?” because I think it is a very questionable assessment.  I honestly know nothing about all the medical explanations that the researchers used.  However, when I clicked on the link that directed me to the website that gave much more information about the process of the testing I questioned a few things.  First, the research only used a small sample of parents from Israel. (150 to be exact)  I always have a problem with research jumping to such large conclusions based on such a small sample and from only one specific part of the world.  Even the article states (2013) ” the study and control groups were planned as 50 patients in each group in this pilot study, in order to enable us to calculate the exact sample size of a larger study, if necessary.” (p. 2)  This was a pilot study and I think before we jump to the conclusion that breastfeeding leads to less chance of ADHD we need to gather a much, much larger sample from all parts of the world.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s obvious the advantages of breastfeeding over formula fed babies.  My wife was unable to breast feed and the doctors and nurses were admit about getting it to work.  So much that it caused so much stress in the hospital those first few days after birth.  I finally had to talk to the nurses outside of the room and explain that we are trying and if it doesn’t work that what are the other options.  The nurses didn’t even want to talk to me about other options.  So it’s obvious that medical experts understand the benefits of breastfeeding, but before we add ADHD to the list a larger sample size is needed for me to give it any merit.


Aviva Mimouni-Bloch, Anna Kachevanskaya, Francis Benjamin Mimouni, Avinoam Shuper, Eyal Raveh, and Nehama Linder. (2013) Breastfeeding Medicine. -Not available-, ahead of print. doi:10.1089/bfm.2012.0145. Retrieved from



The first site that I use on a regular basis is titled Concept Cookie.  It has a ton of information and tutorials on various graphic design projects that I use in my art classes.  Whenever I find myself stuck and needing something new for project ideas I always turn to this site.  The site is not a blog but it is loaded with videos showing step by step how to complete each project.  Tim, the site owner and I have spoken a few times about his site as I encouraged him to keep up the good work.  I also asked him for permission to use some of his videos in my own class.  Check out some of his time lapse videos and I think you will be impressed with his work and his dedication to the digital art world.

Website –

The next blog that I came across is Linnea West’s blog that critiques art work.  I use this blog from time to time in my class room because she does a great job in reviewing artists work.  Her views are fresh and interesting and I love showing them to students during our art history contemporary periods.  She has a great sense of humor and that is one thing I use in my own teaching style.  Her blog can be found below

Website –


The next blog I use is titled the Scope Art Show.  The blog shows a lot of photographs that are very powerful and moving.  Photography is a subject that I have always struggled with creating new ideas for projects.  The Scope Art Show helps me in creating new ideas and also help motivate students in what photographs can become.  One big plus with the blog is the fact that it is updated regularly and with the RSS feed option it’s easy to keep up to date with the new photographs the site comes across.  The blog can be found below

Website –

As you can see, most of the websites that I keep an eye on mainly deal with art, and helping me come up with project ideas.  That to me is the most difficult part of my job, which is continually coming up with fresh new projects year after year.  I rarely use the same project each year, I try to come up with new things every semester.  It’s sites like the ones above that help make my job easier. 


My name is Jake Stapleton and I live in Chatham, Illinois which is a small town just outside of Springfield.  Currently, outside all I see is rain.  We have been hit hard the last few weeks with heavy rainfall that has created massive flooding in our area and across the Midwest.  Central time zone. 


I am finishing my 8th year at Springfield High School as an art teacher.  I love my job and the rewards that go along with it.  I do a lot of art work of my own, mainly portraits of sports figures showing emotion.  I’ll attach a link of my art work below.  I also coach both golf and softball which keep me busy during the Spring and Fall months.  My wife and I currently have a 7 month old boy named Wyatt and are expecting another baby in December.  Needless to say, I am very busy and don’t be surprised to see posts at all times of the night.  I look forward to meeting everyone and furthering my education in Instructional Technology.