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Friday, October 17, 2008

Web Based Learning...Pedagogy and shifts in thinking

This is not an assault on direct instruction more and observation of a shift I see in my classroom and school.
One of the major problems I have with directed instruction is that it limits the students in developing creative responses or questions that apply to their lives. I think that an awesome way of looking at it, Jennafer Dickey, says, "One major flaw with the directed instruction argument is that teachers are able to transfer knowledge to their students. This would be true if knowledge from someone’s brain could be downloaded into another person’s. Since that cannot occur, teachers cannot transfer information to students. The best a teacher clinging solely to a directed instruction approach could hope for was that their students were listening during the presentation and constructing their own meaning from the information being presented."
The constructivist model bases its philosophy on the fact that it is more important for students to become self-directed truth seekers or challengers of knowledge. Web Based Learning (WBL) is the future and direct instruction will not meet the needs of today's learners. This is one reason why I LOVE wikipedia and many are scared to death of it. I love the opportunity for students to read something and then challenge or verify the source; this is what active, authentic, learning is to me.
If someone today asked me what the capital of Argentina is, I would not think back to my high school professor's dissertation about capitals of the world; I would pull out my laptop or cell phone and find the information. This is what the world is, here is a great link to a video that a local Colorado instructor, Karl Fisch "put together" called shift happens. Most if not everyone has seen the original this is just an updated presentation. It is an example of this and other changes in our culture that we must embrace or get out of the teaching profession.IMO.
Making the Online Classroom a Learning Organization is a virtual online reference, but it applies to brick and mortar as well. “Personal mastery entails an on-going struggle, a creative tension, between personal goals and objective reality. Personal mastery lies at the heart of generative learning. Generative learners are more than skilled problem-solvers; they become goal-seeking visionaries as well.” Edward Volchok, Ph.D, Queensborough Community College/CUNY and Stevens Institute of Technology
I am also including a link to another article about how digital technology or WBL is used as best practices and constructivist modeling, The Demand-Driven Learning Model as a Standard for Web-Based Learning. “WBL grounded within the constructivist theoretical paradigm engages learners in active learning and encourages them to participate in, and interact with, the environment to construct their own personal meaning of knowledge.” “Sensitivity to what motivates learners: Content is challenging, yet within the learners' abilities. Material is aesthetically pleasing and technology facilitates learning.”
I don’t pretend to know everything, but I do know that I agree with these studies more and more each day as I implement the necessary tools and pedagogy that my students need in today’s learning environment.
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