Monday, June 17, 2013

Assessing Assessments and Constructing Them in Constructivism

Measuring outcomes in a constructivist learning environment would certainly be different than outcome measurements from within a traditional approach to teaching. Constructivism is a learning theory that, when put into practice, leads to many varied approaches. Dr. Elizabeth Murphy explores the characteristics of constructivism and how the learning theory has been put into practice at her website, Constructivism from Philosophy to Practice. As she discusses, constructivism holds the belief that "learners actively construct knowledge in their attempts to make sense of their world" and "learning will likely emphasize the development of meaning and understanding." In regard to assessment, one key word used by Dr. Murphy is "development." Assessment of constructivist learning requires continuing assessment.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Keeping it Real with NTeQ

The ten components of NTeQ Instructional Design for Information Technology allow the teacher to integrate technology using either a cognitive or constructive approach to learning. The components instruct the teacher to specifically consider how he/she will integrate the technology depending on the specified objectives, along with practical considerations, such as the learning environment, availability of technology, time constraints and class composition. How the teacher designs the instruction using this model will play a large part in determining the learning approach.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rapidly Considering IT in ID Models

Considering a number of Instructional Design models, I think essential components for design would include:
  • Analysis or learners' needs and skills
  • Determining objectives/goals
  • Selection of resources and materials
  • Creating a roadmap, blueprint (the essential design)
  • Developing a prototype
  • Implementation 
  • User feedback
  • Evaluation - formative and/or summative
  • Possible revisions 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Assumptions, Coexistence, Learning Theories, Rapid Prototyping, Technology and Instructional Design

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The taxonomy that is provided in table one of the article "Revisioning Models of Instruction Design" presents three different instructional development perspectives/models with a list of characteristics to compare and contrast how each model relates to each characteristic. The three models are "classroom orientation," "product orientation," and "system orientation." One purpose of the taxonomy is to consider how different characteristics of Instructional Design models will change depending on the assumptions made about the characteristics.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Applying Learning Theories to Application Software

When I think of application software, I keep returning to a paragraph in the article "Learning with Technology: Using Computers as Cognitive Tools" which describes the technologies "given to learners to use as media for representing and expressing what they know." Jonassen and Reeves continue by describing the learners as functioning "as designers using technologies as tools for analyzing the world, accessing information, interpreting and organizing their personal knowledge, and representing what they know to others."

This, in a nutshell, is how an educator would approach the use of application software from a constructivist's approach. Granted, a lot of software in the application stream can also be used from a directed instruction approach, but I would agree with Jonassen and Reeves that a directed instruction approach can result in students "failing to perceive the relevance and value of such programs within...their own lives."

Take for example the use of video editing software. There is no doubt that some direct instruct is most likely required for students to become familiar with how the software works before they might engage in a constructivist activity. However, I am always amazed with how quickly most students are able to figure out how an application software operates.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Flexible Mind-Melding with Mind Tools

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Over the years, technology has slowly crept into many of the courses I teach. Just a few years ago, a Journalism 120 educator could sleep soundly if he/she covered the basics of newspaper writing, the development of interview questions, some basics on layout/design and photography and throw in a few discussions on ethics and responsibilities for good measure. But that has all changed, and it has changed in an incredibly small amount of time. Today most journalists are expected to not only write copy and take a few photos, but they are required to produce video and create audio for a society that is consuming more and more of their news in a digital format. The required toolkit is a whole lot bigger, and it is still changing.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Media, Messages and Grammar Rules

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As an educator who once worked in journalism and advertising sales, and now teaches high school courses like media studies and journalism, I am always elated when students gain some understanding of the famous statement: "The medium is the message." To be honest, it is a statement that I sometimes struggle with myself, especially as the speed of change in technology appears to outpace my energy. Nevertheless, when I read over Donald P. Ely's article "The Medium is Not the Message," I found myself sometimes nodding vigorously in agreement and other times shaking my head in confusion. In discussing "delivery systems," Ely argues that many times they actually "get in the way of attaining the learning objectives." I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Using technology for the sake of using technology can risk attaining learning objectives, and using outdated or poorly designed technology tends to not only deter learning, but causes a lot of frustration and hair pulling for everyone involved.