Friday, 14 March 2014

More than a tool

Technology is more than just a tool.   It directly influences anticipated learning outcomes and how learners engage in learning.   Before selecting a teaching strategy, teachers need to consider how technology impacts existing pedagogical approaches to construct informed integration decisions.  This understanding supports facilitating insights into how to meet student aims and needs in creating knowledge for specific learning contests.
     The whiteboard, CD player, and overhead projector are the only technology tools that I currently employ in the classroom.  Sitting here writing that, I feel regret that my students have not been able to tap into the available new, exciting, interactive technological learning resources.   Instinctively, I would love my students to be able to reap the benefits from a constructionist implementation strategy.  Such an approach seems to be in line with rudimentary tertiary pedagogical goals: creative problem solving and metacognition, building mental models and increasing knowledge transfer, fostering group cooperation skills and allowing multiple distributed intelligences.  Connectivism and its core emphasis of focusing on links between fields, might its ideas and concepts be a theory that could help my learners somewhere in the future?   Due to my preferred teaching style and learning background, its attention to knowing where to access information has an intuitive attraction.  It is a theory that requires further investigation in order to comprehend how it could be of value in my students’ learning.

     At RMUTK, learning objectives are rooted in objectivist learning principles.  The depth of technology as a tool ends with it being solely viewed as a research resource for students to access and utilize in their individual study.  The essential conditions for integration which Roblyer and Doering (2013) highlighted do not exist and engrained barriers exist.  The potential of technology in motivating students, to optimize scarce resources, to remove logistical hurdles to learning, to develop information and visual literacy skills have been ignored.  

     My students’ learning needs and the Department’s course description objectives has me believing that a constructivist approach is beyond their current scope.  In light of my students’ rather poor skill set, in order to promote skill fluency and automaticity, a directed integration approach is more likely to support a self-paced learning model which is more in line with their real needs.

     Before drawing a matrix of the learning theories and technology integration theories, I do need a little more time to allow them to penetrate my brain.   Of interest might be the site which a friend recommended for it is relatively ease to manipulate and looks to hold potential in such a connective task (and/or some other task in the future?).  This bubble map links ideas to the main learning theories to give you an idea of the kind of output the tool can create.


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