Saturday, 5 July 2014

Reflections From Reading 1

Blog Posting #1

My own personal journey for obtaining a doctorate in education comes from a deep desire to be part of the solution of improving the education model that will drive our schools to meet the needs of learners.  Our society is rapidly evolving from both technological and social standpoint and educators need to address and embrace these changes in a thoughtful manner so as to better prepare students for the 21st century.

Whereas traditionally learning was believed to take place in a classroom and students would reinforce their learning outside, technology has provided a catalyst to facilitate the expansion of the learning environment to move beyond the traditional classroom.   Hoadley and Haneghan recognize and discuss this in their article, The Learning Sciences: Where they came from and what it means for instructional designers, and comment on the importance of educators committing to build solutions for learning to take place both in and out of the formal school setting (Hoadley & Van Haneghan, 2011, p. 11).  Technology is providing new tools to allow learners to become more active and in control of their learning.  A student can sit on a bus and review audio notes from the mobile MP3 players, watch a YouTube video from the comforts of his/her computer or watch an educational television show on a number of school topics for example.   Technology is helping to drive a learner’s curiosity to learn by providing the method to obtain knowledge.

I agree with their belief that the education model of requiring students to be able to regurgitate copious amounts of facts needs to be replaced with one that facilitates students obtaining a deeper understanding of knowledge and skills.  I can’t help think how more districts are adopting the American model of standardize testing rather then moving towards students developing their ability to problem solve, seek knowledge and being more in control of their learning—I don’t believe standard testing facilitates this.

Another area that needs to be recognized is the role of the educator and the skill level that she/he bring to the learning process.  In Bransford, Brown, Cocking’s article, How people learn, they recognize the role that successful teachers have on learning.    The adoption of technology as a teaching tool needs to be based first on the learning/teaching process or there is a risk of the technology becoming more of a toy rather than that as a tool (Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R., 2000 p.6)

Technology has the opportunity facilitate a deeper learning for the learner as the memorization of facts isn’t is as important as he/she can Google facts when necessary.  As discussed by Bransford, Brown, and Cocking, technology not only has affected how learners are learning but the high literacy skills needed in society today.  Another benefit or effect from the adoption of technology is that learners want more freedom and control over their learning.  They are using their tools to seek answers and solutions in a just in time manner.  I see this as an important benefit that helps facilitate developing passionate life long learners.  As discussed in the article, it means that we need to change that is working with students—we need teachers to view themselves as facilitators that work with students rather than pushing knowledge on to learners.  By moving towards guiding students, we can guide students towards a deeper understanding of any given knowledge. 

In the past five years, I have been taking on a great role as a PD trainer.  I offer workshops in a variety of web based learning tools.  At the beginning of my workshops I always like to give the analysis that each WBLT is very much like a pencil crayon in a pencil case:  sometimes we need a red pencil crayon and sometimes we need a purple one.  The important part is being able to recognize and identify the correct tool/technology for the job.  Our readings so far definitely confirm the importance for both the learner and educator to be able to do this.


Works Cited

Hoadley, C. & Van Haneghan, J. (2011). The Learning Sciences: Where they came from and what it means for instructional designers. In R. A. Reiser & J. V. Dempsey (Eds.) Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (3rd ed., pp. 53-63). New York: Pearson.  Online: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/uploads/006/742/Hoadley-VanHaneghan-draft.pdf

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Expanded edition). Washington, DC: National Research Council. PDF copy downloadable at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9853#toc  (Chapter 1 and selected pages).