Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Metaphysics Unit Reflection & Feedback



Ethics Unit Feedback & Reflection

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Ethical Issues Project Self-Evaluation

Screen shot 2012-12-17 at 9.22.09 AM

Below is some of the collected wisdom from the peer/self evaluation questions posted here

What do you think your group did well?


We managed time well, and everyone contributed. Everyone met the deadlines for the different things that they were asked to do (write bring props).

I think our group did a good job of presenting ethics as applicable to an every day life. I also believe we did a good (although not fantastic) job of portraying how there is not always a “right” and a “wrong” way to make certain decisions.

We provided interest real-life examples of how each ethical issue in the movie relates to a real-life setting.

I really liked how everyone had their own distinct skill set to give to the group. Everyone did not only a good job, but a really excellent job on their own part of the job.

Most of our members had a flexible attitude, allowing us not to be bogged down by conflicting opinions.

There was never a moment when someone didn’t have something to do, or people were stepping on each other’s toes. Of course, we weren’t all insanely busy all the time, but we knew what we were to do, and I felt the tasks were well divided to fit our individual strengths.

What could your group have improved on?


Better communication between the writers and people filming, many scenes were changed a lot.

Next time I think it would have been good to chose a different project format that allowed for more focus on actual ethics.

While a flexible attitude allowed us to progress quickly, I feel that some decisions should have made with a larger approval rating.

More congruency in the final product and more sharing the load of work.

 I felt like this is one of those projects where there are lots of people who sit around and do nothing, while a few people carry the team on their backs.

We could have picked stronger, more relatable examples and scenarios for both our scenesand the clips from the movie.

The group was incredibly ambitious, and we did not end up achieving all the scenes which we wished to. I think that, had we been a bit more realistic, we could have made a more, concise, but still effective product.

Highlight the contributions of another group member.


Clayton. My god that guy worked so much. Couldn’t have actually made the video look any good, and thus convey our message, without him.

Misha, was more prepared for her scenes than anyone I’ve ever seen before.

Jonathan worked tirelessly to keep everyone focused and on task. He lacked some harshness of a normal dictator but still always got things moving.

Zoe illustrated all the pictures for the story over the weeks we worked on it.

Clayton was this project’s superhero.

Greg’s guitar skills are unparalleled.

Derek helped a lot with filming ideas, setting up different shots and editing ideas. He also helped a lot with script writing and narration for the explanations of the ethical issues.

Jonathan really stepped up and led our team in a positive direction by filming, organizing and directing.

Iris’s songs were beautiful. I actually love them so much and they’ve been stuck in my head for days.

Stephanie did a lot in our group. She had a lot of acting in our scenes, and she also wrote and recorded the voice-over for manipulation.

Daniel was the main contributor to the video-editing and filming portion of our project.

Misha was very involved in the project, and kept the atmosphere upbeat.

Zoe’s drawings were phenomenal. That book would not have been the same without those wonderful pictures. I know it was a lot of work for her to do, but I think I speak for everyone when I say just how grateful I am that she decided to join us for the children’s book adventure.

Favourite part of the project and why?


I really enjoyed having something artistic layered into a school project. It was great because it was something that I could have fun with, while focusing on some pretty important issues.

The filming. It is one thing to write the scenes, but to see them come alive with the people you know was incredibly fun. As well as its the moment that you feel your efforts are truly coming to build something.

My favourite part of the project was getting to watch it at the end and to see the fruition of our group’s work.

My favourite part of the project was watching the videos at the end, and seeing how all of the pieces of the puzzle came together to form a semi-professional, entertaining piece of work. The plot was fairly believable, the acting convincing, and the movie-making smooth.

You’ve got to love handing out cookies you baked to happy children. 

The freedom we got to choose to do whatever we wanted and really going to town with what we had to work with.

I loved acting in all of the scenes, particularly our classroom hunger games one. It was just so fun to do a project that involved that kind of thing.

Presenting our story to the kids and hearing them join in with singing the song – saw that what we did was really getting through to them, realizing the kids had a lot of fun and understood the ethics we were trying to share with them.

I really liked that people broke somewhat out of their comfort zones and social circles to create a really interesting and effective result.

Can I just say all of it? It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on a school project.

Q: “And did they help him, do you suppose?”
Cutest. Moment. Ever. It basically validated my existence as a human being.



Philosophy Pop Quiz

As it deals with pedagogical reflections that are personal beyond the realm of the Philosophy course, I have cross-posted this on my own blog

I’m grateful to Dr. Gardner Campbell of Virginia Tech for letting me bring his daily pop-quiz into #Philosophy12 this semester, as it creates a context for learning that highlights behaviours that are congruent with the philosophical mode and constructivist’s approach as well.

The five questions of the quiz aren’t assessments of any specific understanding, but rather inquiries into habits that will lead to a conducive learning environment in the physical classroom. Our open online participants, I would guess, are the types of learners that are engaging in these behaviours (they otherwise wouldn’t likely be participating with us).

Dr. Campbell’s daily check in goes as follows (score yourself with the numbers supplied):

  1. Did you read material for today’s class meeting carefully? (No – 0, Once – 1, Yes, more than once – 2)
  2. Did you come to class today with questions or with items you’re eager to discuss? (No – 0, Yes, one – 1, Yes, more than one – 2)
  3. Since we last met, did you talk at length to a classmate, or classmates about either the last class meeting or today’s meeting? (No – 0, Yes, one person – 1, Yes, more than one person – 2)
  4. Since our last meeting, did you read any unassigned material related to this course of study? (No – 0, Yes, one item – 1, Yes, more than one item – 2)
  5. Since our last meeting, how much time have you spent reflecting on this course of study and recent class meetings? (None to 29 minutes – 0, 30 minutes to one hour – 1, Over an hour – 2)

Gardner talks about how the quiz is a predictor of how ‘productive’ his classes will be, and in a quick show of hands to reflect today’s scoring, I can see how the class’ honest reflection and response to these questions is potentially a very accurate picture of the engagement at the outset of the day. But more than that, I appreciate what Gardner might call the ‘meta-message’ contained in the brief assessment, and what GNA Garcia described as, “thinking about how [learners] are thinking about what they think about and when,” and thus creating “habits of mind.”




Metaphysics Unit Assessments

Higgs Boson!

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Lala Lands

After covering an introduction to Metaphysics through text reading and digital summaries, the unit’s study will revolve around individual inquiry and research into the lives and minds of philosophers who have waded into the discussion of just what there is, and what it is likeIn blog posts and presentations, the intended learning outcome in the next week is to create a variety of biographical and critical information on various metaphical philosophers.

For Credit Learners

Blog Post – Demonstrate research and introduction to a philosopher of Metaphysics in a blog post submitted no later than Wednesday October 24th. Look to answer the following questions in your introduction:

  • How did the philosopher’s life or biography influence their personal philosophy?
  • What ideas or concepts are they credited with or notable for?
  • How have these ideas been built on or incorporated into our modern zeitgeist or mindset?
  • What personal response do you have to the topics your philosopher explored?

Presentation – Beginning next week (Monday October 29th), for credit participants will be hosting Pecha Kucha style presentations of their evaluation of one of their philosopher’s arguments, or contentions on a metaphysical topic. These presentations should adhere to (approximately) this structure:

  • Slides 1 – 5:  You and your Philosopher – How do you differ, what do you hold the same?
  • Slides 6 – 10: What they are saying – Outline a single argument / proposition from your selected philosopher.
  • Slides 11 – 15: Truth, Validity & Soundness – How would you evaluate your philosopher’s argument?
  • Slides 16 – 20: Metaphysics in the Modern World – Where do you see the influence, or evidence of the ideas expressed by your philosopher?

Open Online Participants

As always, you are invited and encouraged to take on either of the assignments, or propose and submit an alternate response to the topic that you feel compelled to share. We value your input wherever you have the time to offer it, and look forward to your engagement with the blog’s comments, and on our class wiki site for this unit.