Technology’s Impact on Learning
The readings for this week continue to enforce my vision for teaching and learning. After reviewing the variety of learning theories, my vision is still strongly rooted in the constructivist approach and technology is an enhancement to this approach. We as teachers should be the facilitator by providing the topic and core information, and then the learning process should be multifaceted. Not all students absorb knowledge and learning in the same manner, so we as teacher must develop a variety of approaches, environments and experiments to allow the learning to take place. “The knowledge that each student constructs is not predictable from the individual pieces of information in the information landscape or the curriculum but emerges from the sum of the encounters and from the relations established by the student within the knowledge domain.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 116) Our students may have access to the same information however, it is how they engage the knowledge will determine their individual learning outcomes.
Through the use of technology, we as teachers are allowed to develop a variety of learning environments which are multi-faceted to meet the student’s needs. These learning environments are developed to meet learning styles, varied path and pace, and provides student a voice in the development of these environments are well. Personalized learning environments are further developed through the use of technology in creating engaging and student centered learning experiences. “The question, however, is not if tools can contribute to learning but how instructional materials in various forms can enhance learning and allow the manipulation of the properties of instruction that impact learning (Lumsdaine, 1963).” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 106) Teachers must create learning environments with proper materials to ensure students have the ability to be self-directed learners in these authentic and engaged learning environments.
“Instructional design theories typically contain a taxonomy of learning outcomes, which makes it possible to classify the desired outcomes and then to select the most suitable instructional method or methods for helping learners to reach these outcomes.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 186) I wonder though do we have a set outcome beyond basic information, would all students have the same outcomes if their learning experience was individualized? Not all experiences would be the same so would not all outcomes be the same?
In moving to student centered approach, teachers allow students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills in a collaborative environment. The need for students to think and work creatively, develop problem solving skills, work in collaboration and communicate as outlined in the P-21 Framework to be prepared for life and work environments of the future, technology contributes and enhances to this learning. Technology enhanced learning environments allow students to actively seek resources for knowledge, tools and resources.
However, in a constructivist approach, students are part of the design process of their learning and their experiences to gain the knowledge. “Teachers and learners are co-designers of their learning processes which affect knowledge-construction and management as well as products that result from collaboration in distributed knowledge environments.” (Spector, Merrill, Elen, Bishop, 2014, p. 152) The P-21 Framework and the ISTE Standards for Students provide a design, support and expectations for these learning environments. While the material fully supports a constructivist approach, is does ask the same question I have which is: In the design approaches ranging from path and pace, voice and choice, inquiry and problem based learning where does the control start or stop?
International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-students
Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (n.d.). Framework for 21st Century Learning - P21. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework
Spector, J. M., Merrill, M. D., Elen, J., & Bishop, M. J. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (4th ed.). doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5.
Christa Evans Heath