Welcome to Joseph K. Vermeille’s blog on Educational Technology, a forum dedicated to brainstorming Teaching, Learning, and Technology in the Twenty First Century!
I am very delighted to initiate this blog with an affirmation of my beliefs that Educational Technology holds the key to better teaching and learning in the digital era. This first post will cover my beliefs about how people learn best and the purpose of learning theory in educational technology.
A summary of learning theories:
In an effort to define the field of Educational Technology, (Hlynka & Jacobsen 2009) stresses on the definition adopted by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (retrieved from http://www.aect.org/newsite ) which claims that “Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources”. This definition propels me to look back at my experience as a learner in order to better express my position on this matter.
My journey as a learner goes back to the classroom of Madame Abel in Leogane, Haiti, where I was educated accordingly to the fundamentals of the behaviorist learning theory. At the menu of the learning agenda were three key elements: the learning tools, the methodology, and the teacher.The tools included textbooks, notebooks, fountain pens, pencils, blotting paper, ink, blackboard, and white chalk, and yes, the belt, the ruler, or other tools the teacher will use for physical punishment of students.
The methodology was a combination of memorization, constant threats of physical punishment in the classic sense of reward and punishment, and stimuli response operands which define behaviorism. The teacher was the master knowledge holder who had the power to distribute fear, punishment and the happiness of not being insulted, beaten up, severely punished unruly students and repress unacceptable behaviors. As a learning theory behaviorism has been widely used in Education. The video link below offers a brief summary of its use as a learning method.
Behaviorism in the Classroom:
As I traveled from Secondary School, to High Schools, to America, to College, to Graduate School, and now to doctoral studies, I have come to experience new learning principles, develop and adopt a pedagogical mindset which is more compatible with the realities of the classroom of the Twenty First Century. Learning Theories serve are used to guide the learning process from practical perspectives.
My Beliefs on How We Learn are grounded on the attributes of the opportunities favored by the cultural and educational landscapes of theTwenty First Century. This new environment is primarily influenced by the proliferation of new digital gadgets conceived under the guidelines of the Learning By Doing
philosophy which is based on the constructivist principles pioneered by
Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, Jerome Bruner, and others.
The Developmental stages of Jean Piaget, the Zone of Proximal Definition of Lev Vygotsky, and the Spiral Curriculum of Jerome Bruner definitely constitute the rationale which led (Brouwer, Muller, & Rietdijk, 2007) to claim:”This sort of learning is typically what the MicroWorlds designing tool kit (available from http://www.MicroWorlds.com ; usable on both Mac and Windows computers) can encourage. Based on the programming language Logo designed by Seymour Papert (1980) and the Logo philosophy (Papert, 1999), it enables children and student teachers alike to create worlds of their own, in which they can explore and develop mathematical ideas”. t
The lessons and knowledge captured and embedded in educational software via the use of simulation, microworlds (Almala, 2006), virtual tours, artificial intelligence, and other methodologies support the vocation of the constructivist learning theory as a more favorable venue to teaching and learning in the Twenty First Century as illustrated by the video link below.
Among other things, this learner centered pedagogy favors communication, collaboration, critical thinking, literacy in general, and technology literacy which The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington State (retrieved December 10th, 2012 from http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.655.075 ) defines as “The ability to responsibly, creatively, and effectively use appropriate technology to: communicate; access, collect, manage, integrate, and evaluate information; solve problems and create solutions; build and share knowledge; and improve and enhance learning in all subject areas and experiences”. It is in context Driscoll (2005) defines learning as occurring through “ interaction with the world” .
I conclude this section with a video presentation which illustrate the essence of constructist teaching and learning in the 21st Century.
Almala, Abed H. 2006. “Applying the Principles of Constructivism to a Quality E-Learning Environment” Distance Learning 3, no. 1: 33-40. Education Research Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 20, 2010).
Bruner, Jerome (1973) The Relevance of Education.
New York: Norton Publishing
Bruner, Jerome (1984) Beyond the Information Given:
Studies in the Psychology of Knowing.
New York: Harper Collins Publishing
Bruner, Jerome (1962) On Knowing
Cambridge Harvard University Press
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Piaget Jean (1971). The Construction of Reality in the Child
New York: Ballantine Books Inc.
Piaget Jean (1971) The Child and Reality
New York: Grossman Publishers.
Piaget Jean (1972) Science of Education and the Psychology of the Child
New York: The Viking Press, Inc.
Vygotsky Lev (1980) Thought and Language
Cambridge: M.I.T. Press