Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Obsolete Teacher

Both responses by Della and Lisa were most I tried to go on and research this out a bit. 
I found the most interesting talk by Prof. Sugata Mitra.  His theory of MIE (Minimally Invasive Education) endorses both of your comments, but in a provocative way.  His experiments include grandmother types giving praise and encouragement behind the children learning.(Lisa)  His study also states that "if children have interest, then education happens."  They will learn what they want to learn.(Della)  His study (The Hole in the Wall) is about children learning in a unsupervised environment.  It supports a lot of what we have been reading about - with children's collaboration being an important element of it's success.  His study promotes the fact that every child has a different learning style and pace and so reinforces my IEP theory for everyone.  This is most interesting...and I realize that the video is about 17 will be 17 minutes well spent.  I am really hooked on this concept and the use of technology as a tool.  The Hole in the Wall project would definitely substaniate that  technology tools (such as a computer) can help us build knowledge, and
that unsupervised use of computers can lead to accelerated learning of skills in children. It also shoots down my former statement involving children of poverty, as the study involves the poorest of India.  Most interesting - I am sure that this will not be the last of my blogging on this subject.  Enjoy the video.

This is an interesting article from Teacher Magazine - open-ended ed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Still pondering the "Win" thing!!! I think I am stuck on this!!!!

I just read Professors post on video games...and what if school was a video game?...When I think of winning something...I think of a game..or race...or?????  I know an awlful lot of kids that would love to tap into that.  I think that "pleasure" is only possible if the learner is engaged..and wants to be engaged.  Everyone has "something" that they are into...and that interest and investment makes something worth "winning?" Accomplishment of the task..could be a form of winning...but again I do I convince them of the worth of the task to begin with?  How do I I lure them into the den to fight the lion?  Perhaps the TOOL could be the bait of interest. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I would like some feedback on this quote please

"Understanding is not something that comes free with full databanks and thorough practice; it is something won by the struggles of the organism to learn - to conjecture, probe, puzzle out, forecast, and so on." ( p.51)
I find the word "won" most interesting here.  What is the learner does not want to interest in the content?  What motivates the learner to "want" to learn?  Any thoughts?

Duffy, T & Jonassen, D. (Eds.). (1992). Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wanted input...

Okay I was going to share my thoughts and excitement about this new project that I told you guys about.  My obesity project through constructivism....I am soooooooooooo excited about things so far...but need and want some input...BUT...I have already been on the computer for four hours now...and...
Americas Got Talent is coming on   (Priorities you know)  Let's talk tomorrow!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


When I posted earlier on Instructional design - I mentioned how designers must "talk" the same language as the learners.  I have done "some research" on gaming - in reference to it being a negative habit forming activity that occupies children's time instead of true physical activity.  But the more I read on the subject - the more I believed that all disciplines should be tapping into the concept.  It has been proven that "excitement" is addicting..not only pyschologically, but physically as well.  The physical release of adrenaline, endorphines -  dopamine promotes that feeling of well-being and thrill that all humans crave. The psychological addiction is that escape of life..  A virtual life is better than a real one.  I can see that this is a basic selling point of Second Life...come join us and meet the man of your life??? ( husband #2???) Meet others - go to exciting places, etc. etc.  The same is true of takes us to exciting allows us to do what we never dreamed we could do. So there why not tap into the concept.  JASPER seems to do that..Dance Revolution seems to do that..Zoo Tycoon seems to do that. 
We have a product to we had better reach our audience - or they are not going to buy into it.  Not all gaming appeals to everyone...but you find the interest and you can build around it. 
I must share that I have seen students addictive to reading..but again they are reading what interests them...
You know of many people that are addicted to exercise...when they are doing something they are interested in.  Instructional designers will have to keep up with the growing array of "interests" to hook our learners...and see them expand. 
I am a perfect example.  I read something, which leads me to something else...which leads me to another site...the possibilities here are endless...and before I know it I look at the clock and I have spent four hours just surfing and learning.  The quest actually becomes addictive!  So we need to make the quest for reading...math...history...interesting and tapping into "INTERESTS."  Interest breeds excitement...that does lead to addiction..  Designers will have to consider the ENDLESS variety and complexity of personal choices.  I guess that is why there are games that are so diverse for our diverse learners who have diverse interests.  Perhaps designers will become specialists in an area...let's say physcial education for example.  They will take their expertise..that they learned because they were addicted to the subject matter...and design in that area of content.  I do not think that one instructional designer could be successful in every subject matter.  Specialization will spur it onto excellence.  If you have passion  - it generates motivation and excitement...which catches others "INTEREST" try.  Learning is like a  smorgasboard...learners will be excited to try something (some they will like - others they will not), but eventually they will find that "thing " that excites them enough to continue pursuit.  Just some random thoughts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My struggle through Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction

Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction was honestly very difficult for me. Once I waded through epistemological, empirically, priori and an inordinate myriad of vocabulary words, I was met with some comprehensive difficulties. There was often no coherency in the references made to other dialogues. After five days I noted several comments that could lead to discussion or a fuller understanding for me.

Duffy and Jonassen state that knowledge is believed to exist independently of instruction (p.3).

Kember and Murphy (1990) state much of current instructional design is based on the presumption that we can give individuals plans of action, and success is simply a matter of following the plans (p.4).

Cunningham argues that skills cannot be considered independently of the problems to which they are applied (p.7).

Vanderbilt shares that the learner has the information available in memory, but simply never recognizes it when it is relevant. The learner must be immersed in the environment (p.8).

Spiro and his colleagues emphasize that if we focus on only the critical features of a concept – we will have limited understanding (p. 8) We cannot simplify the context by removing the complex environment, experiencing (exploring, evaluating) the complex interrelationships in that environment that determine how and when the concept is used (p.8). Spiro’s chapter also highlights that perhaps the greatest difference between designers and constructivists is that designers focus on skills to be learned and constructivists focus on learning a “domain” of knowledge (p. 9)

Perkins argues that a constructivist approach need not be discovery learning (Without the Information Given WIG), but can also focus on more direct instruction as long as the emphasis is ongoing “Beyond the Information Given” (BIG) (p.7).

Cunningham shares that the most distinguishing feature of constructivism is its emphasis on argument, discussion, and debate, because from that debate emerges some socially constructed meaning (p. 11)

Does this have a familiar ring to our class?

The evaluation section of Chapter Two had particular interest to me, especially with the problem-solving approach. Evaluation in the constructivist perspective must examine the thinking process. Instruction is the act of providing student with these tasks and providing them with the tools needed to develop the skills of constructing an informed response and for evaluating alternative responses (29). Examples were given where students might be asked to address a problem in the field of content and then defend their decisions. (This brings me back to my thoughts on the Obesity project). Another example was to have the learner reflect on his or her own learning and document the process through which they have constructed their view of the content (p. 29)

I end with Cunningham’s indication that the teacher should be the judge as to whether a task has been successfully completed (learned). Reigeluth replies that putting the teacher in the role of judge is an industrial-age mindset that establishes an adversarial relationship between the teacher and the learner (p.153). He goes on to state that to meet the needs of learners in the information age are calling for outside evaluators – often a panel of evaluators that include community members and other students, as well as teacher – so that the teacher assumes the role of coach or facilitator, someone who is on the learner’s side (153).

I found this concept fascinating, but wonder the practicality of application. Most schools would have a hard time with the time constraints. What qualifies these people on the panel to evaluate the process? I see this application from a doctoral committee of experts – but for middle school students ? We cannot always be in real-world situations. Limited access to technology tools that could take us there are often not in place. Is there never a time when we need to “test” for individual learning? I would like to continue a discussion on these aspects.

Bednar, A. K., Cunningham, D., Duffy, T., & Perry, J.D.. (1992). Theory into practice: how do we link?Duffy, T.M. & Jonassen, D.H. Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Duffy, T.M & Jonassen, D.H. (1992). Constructivism: new implications for instructional technology. Duffy, T.M. & Jonassen, D.H. Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Reigeluth, C.H. (1992). Reflections on the implications of constructivism for educational technology. Duffy, T.M. & Jonassen, D.H. Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Constructivism by Chris

Constructivism is student centered learning with real life (authentic) situations and circumstances. Student-centered, learner-centered environment provide interactive, complimentary activities that enable individuals to address unique learning interest and needs, study multiple levels of complexity and deepen understanding (Hannafin & Land 1997, p. 2)

Constructivism relates to how individuals think and learn. One of it’s key components is that learning is personal – how learners view their reality is based on their own foundation of experiences, beliefs, prior knowledge, culture, and environment. So when diverse learners come together - there are many perspectives – many opinions – many answers. Rather than applying standard equations to problems involving only a single correct solution, students create unique approaches to addressing complex problems involving multiple perspectives and solution paths (Savery & Duffy 1996 p. 13). Traditional learning is concerned with one answer – the right answer (according to the teacher????)

Many programs providing open-ended questions were introduced in Chapter One such as CSILE and Model-It. Being a middle school teacher, I took specific note of Ergo Motion. We take our eighth grade students in May to Indiana Beach to ride roller coasters and associate force and motion concepts. Zoo Tycoon is one of the favorite technology applications at my school. So many kids were interested in this, that an after-school club was created. It correlated to one of the theories presented in Chapter One. According to Perkins, given opportunities to make choices and pursue individual interests, learners evolve greater responsibility for their own learning (Perkins 1993 p.12). Of course my favorite (big guess here) would be Virtual Human. I am going to be all over this one. (More residual benefits – I am stoked!!!)

In Chapter Two of Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments, I felt validated as Brown, Collins, and Duguid argued that "knowing and doing are reciprocal – knowledge is situated and progressively developed through activity" (p.28). These “activities” are enriched in practice fields where there are no boundaries between the learner and the world; instead learning, thinking, and knowing are relations among people engaged in activity in, with and arising from the socially and culturally structured world (Lave 1997 p.29). An essential goal presented was to move from practice fields to a community - where the learner can become “a part of something larger” (p.41)

The reciprocal teaching approach and the jigsaw method was MOST interesting to me. My colleague and I are currently “constructing” an open-ended study on the problem of obesity in middle school students. As I looked over our current outline, it matched up with both of these models. I see the need to expand this beyond the classroom and the task if we wish to go beyond the practice field. After reading and further consideration, we need to consider the question of how can we as a community prevent the rise of obesity in middle school students? (Wow more residual benefits!) I certainly met the goal of this chapter “to further thinking on the characteristics of communities of practice, the advantages of learning from them, and the approaches used by educators to develop them in schools” (p.49).

Duffy, T.M & Jonassen, D.H. (1992). Constructivism: new implications for instructional technology. Duffy, T.M. & Jonassen, D.H. Constructivism and the Technology of Instruction. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Treading water to save my life....

It seems that the swimming and wading  has now gone to another level for me.  I am treading like crazy with this Constructivism and the Technolog of Instruction.  I have been looking at it for five days now...and can't seem to really get into the meaning. They all seem like snippets - I cannot seem to grasp the big picture.  Am I even getting the meaning of Constructivism?  I am seeing it based on the idea that we all "construct" our own sense of reality????  That the learning is different for each person because each person has had their own experiences and their own perspectives - so this effects the way that person learns?  The way they have lived their life and the way that life has impacted them influences the way that person learns and sees the content?  It is more about problem solving problems that they are not really engaged in?  It is an abstract world?  I give my statements with question marks, because I feel that I am actually still struggling with the definition itself.  I know that we are supposed to be talking about the articles...but I need to back the boat up...and really grasp the meaning of the term first. (Get it -backing the boat up - sticking to the water theme). Someone throw me a life jacket...and talk to me about this!