November 2015 Calendar - *November 5: Eastern Idaho Technical College Merit Badge Pow-Wow. Meet at the church at 6:30. We will be at EITC from 7-9 pm. WEAR YOUR SCOUT SHIRT, as a...
1 year ago
How my patterns of learning are shaping a fledgling teaching philosophy.
Learner-centered learning, according to Bransford et al., includes awareness of the unique cognitive structures and understandings that the learners bring to the learning context. Thus, a teacher makes efforts to gain an understanding of students' pre-existing knowledge, including any misconceptions that the learner starts with in their construction of new knowledge. . . . Learner-centered activities make extensive use of diagnostic tools and activities, so that these pre-existing knowledge structures are made visible to both the teacher and the student.In Anderson’s definition of learner-centered learning, I see a connection between this tool and my desire to find a teacher who demonstrates the four desirable teacher attributes I outline above. Thus learner-centered learning becomes a key component of my teaching philosophy.
According to Bonk and Reynolds (1997), to promote higher-order thinking on the Web, online learning must create challenging activities that enable learners to link new information to old, acquire meaningful knowledge, and use their metacognitive abilities; hence, it is the instructional strategy and not the technology that influences the quality of learning. . . . However, it is not the computer per se that makes students learn, but the design of the real-life models and simulations, and the students' interaction with those models and simulations.From Ally, I receive reinforcement in finding advice to teachers who would follow the first three attributes. I also find evidence to support my student desire for exploration before synthesis. In this kind of exploration, the teacher, once he or she has ascertained what the students know, presents material to supplement and complement student knowledge and stands back as students explore links between old and new, stepping only occasionally with questions or clarifications in order to aid the process of synthesis.
Constructivism is a view of learning based on the belief that knowledge isn't a thing that can be simply given by the teacher at the front of the room to students in their desks. Rather, knowledge is constructed by learners through an active, mental process of development; learners are the builders and creators of meaning and knowledge.Recalling countless hours of classroom time, both on- and off-line, beginning in high school and extending through my undergraduate and graduate years, it is clear to me that teachers who took the constructivist approach in classes I took from them are the ones I recall with the most fondness. More importantly, it’s from those classes that I recall the most knowledge and synthesis of knowledge on which I’ve based and will be able to base further synthesis upon. It’s in those situations where I, the learner, was “the builder and creator of meaning and knowledge” (Gray) and where I, the learner, found the most value. Applying the constructivist approach in any future classroom in which I may be the leader, teacher, or facilitator, then, is of primary importance to me as I attempt to build a pedagogy, curriculum and technological approach that will be of most value to my students.
Although I was a bit cynical at first, I am (rather quickly) being converted to constructionist theory. Because I had been so used to the traditional f2f environment where reading is assigned, students read material, and are asked to synthesize, I had not much thought about the possibilities of constructionist based learning. I look forward to being able to design a course where synthesis/assessment takes place only after students have had a chance to collaborate and interact. This collaboration, I believe, is where the most learning happens no matter what the subject. This may seem odd, but I had never realized this idea was a part of my pedagogical philosophy before thinking in terms of online environments.Add to Nate’s analysis of the pedagogical advantages of collaboration an analysis of the societal benefits of collaboration offered by David Crowsert, another fellow USU student:[
S]imply knowing something can be done does not make it possible for an individual. I believe the dependency on each other is a good thing. I would not be able to do many of the valuable things I do if I had to worry about making my own clothing—nor would anyone want to see me.Nate, David, and I, like Babbitt and Catsello from the Warner Brothers cartoon, may have taken a few failed, humorous approaches to arrive at the final destination of constructivism, but our ability to apply new knowledge to what we have already experienced and to collaborate on the analysis of how old and new may fit together is what got us here. Constructivist thinking obviously leads to an overall teaching theory centered in constructivism.
Since the first hunter-gatherers, we have depended on each other and this dependency has grown. Yet look at what it has given us. I am glad I live in a world developed through cooperative dependency. And the problems we face—mostly as a result of our own actions—require greater cooperation and mutual dependency not less.
The objectivist learning theory that grounded early courses is characterized by teachers' tendency to use declarative instructions (lecture, recitation, drill, and practice) and highly-structured activities. . . . Instructors who hold this theory of learning believe that they or the textbooks from which they teach possess the knowledge students need to learn and that their job is to impart this knoweldge to students. . . . Another important assumption of objectivist learning theory is that the expert instructor can adequately assess novice learning through summative evaluation of their final written products or test results (52).It is the emphasis on novice student assessment that is a particularly appealing part of objectivist theory. I need to know, within the first week or two, where my students stand in their ability to meet class expectations in order to help the majority thrive, rather than dive – a critical task in online courses. The practice, assessment and imparting of knowledge through readings, video and audio assignments, will continue as the course progresses. Novice students will continue to build their nascent scaffolds, while more advanced students can act as peer models and participate at a deeper level in some assignments than the novices will, helping to merge the objectivist and constructionist theories in a harmonious pedagogical blend.
Displaying all the content in a single window minimizes the distractions caused by windows popping up in the learner's field of view. Displaying content in this main window lets you control that display (Horton 499).As many of the videos I use in my course are found on YouTube, I became concerned over the possibility of distracting my students by providing links to YouTube videos, rather than embedding the videos in my own site. Viewing videos in YouTube also lets students view the comments attached to the videos, other similar videos and a gigantic range of other distractions. Some videos on YouTube forbid embedding. I use one such video in my course, and had to resort to providing a link to the video because I viewed its pedagogical value higher than the possible distraction in sending students to YouTube to view it.
[C]onsider what technical support you can offer. If students must master collaboration tools on their own, they may become discouraged. If you (or the tool's vendor) provide tutorials and phone support, the task is less daunting” (Horton 420).Blogger does offer technical support, but at times the support is confusing and incomplete. I have learned much more through experimentation and long exposure to the product than I have from Blogger's online help files. Students will need such help because as part of the classroom process, they become managers of their own blogs, posting content, replying to comments, and, if they wish, adding elements to common classroom areas such as shared video tips, links, and other areas. This ties in with an assertion that Crowsert makes in a YouTube video he posted in our class. His points are that technology is part of the collaboration and that technology becomes part of the knowledge development process (Crowsert, Post_Week_6).
When used everyday, technologies become transparent until they are virtually invisible or unrecognizable as technologies. Everyday . . . technologies often become so transparent, in fact, that their uses are regarded simply as facts or means of production, not as experiments tied to theory or a practice open to inquiry (Cook, 57).
Use . . . film to explain a subject in a definite logical order, especially where the subject is visual but may be difficult for the learner to imagine (57).In the first week of “Public Speaking and Everyday Speech,” students are asked to produce a video of themselves delivering a “bag speech,” in which they talk about three items (which they could pull successively out of a bag) to introduce themselves. Because the term and the format of the speech may be unfamiliar, I provide a video example of such a speech. The example offers the students substantial scaffolding on which they can build their own experiences. Video, like chat and discussion forums, is also a familiar sight to even the occasional World Wide Web surfer.
With the proliferation of online learning providers and the challenges presentedI agree with her. Buyer beware may be the best overreaching measurement we have to gauge quality in education, online or not, at least until the Internet revolution stabilizes.
by the distance education sector to state regulators and accrediting bodies, it
is not surprising that “buyer beware” is the watchword for students,
institutions, and public agencies alike.
Because of increasing student interest in Internet-based distance education atMaybe to some this sounds scary – going to work immediately without making sure the full plan is in place. But to me, it makes an awful lot of sense. I’ll frame my argument this way:
some of the institutions in the case study, administrators revealed that
policies are being developed to catch up with practice. One administrator said
simply that the institution is moving ahead without all of the answers. While
some institutions were farther ahead in their planning than others, some
institutions that are struggling to keep up with the demand for Internet-based
courses have made a conscious decision to serve students immediately and plan
Many faculty and administrators recognized the potential for the Internet toBut I like that benchmarks are part of the conversation. Overplanning is a rigid thing. Underplanning leads only to chaos. Let me plan enough that I can experiment within a framework that guarantees a balance between dynamic and static quality elements.
transform the teaching/learning process and any benchmarks that inhibited their
ability to innovate and experiment were rejected.
At the vanguard of this digital revolution are teenagers. While their habits will obviously change (especially when they start employment), understanding their mindset seems an excellent way of assessing how the media landscape will evolve. To this end, we asked a 15 year old summer work intern, Matthew Robson, to describe how he and his friends consume media. Without claiming representation or statistical accuracy, his piece provides one of the clearest and most thought provoking insights we have seen. So we published it.