Monthly Archives: February 2017

Finding One’s Place Through Inquiry

Edelson’s (2001) writing on the framework of Learning for Use (LfU) model requires the teacher and learner to situate inquiry-based learning within a context of technology use and relevant future use. LfU is designed with three processes of learning, each incorporating the use of technology and causing the student to recognize the “usefulness of the content beyond the learning environment” (p.373). These three processes are defined as motivation, construction and refinement.

Edelson goes into significant depth about the LfU design strategies and elements contained within the Create-a-World Project, as well as a reasoning description of the purpose for including technology into the LfU model. For each strategy supporting a learning process, Edelson states the purpose behind the technology. These purposes include: a way of affording constructive learning , “improv[ing] upon the real world for discrepant events [i.e.] phenomena that are too small or too large, too fast or too slow, too hot or too cold for direct observation can all be reproduced using recording or simulation technologies” (p.376),  offering students participation in “guided discovery by allowing them to conduct investigations with data … [and] by providing simulations of physical phenomena that students can directly interact with” (p.377). Furthermore, technology provides “[t]he ability to present information in a wide variety of formats …  [i.e.] text, graphics, audio, and interactive computational objects” (p.378) as well as support the act of record keeping during inquiries for student reflection. Edelson’s intentional use of technology within the LfU framework, offers a standard for designers when considering the inclusion of technology within a learning framework. Does the technology enhance knowledge construction by affording practical tools for inquiry? Edelson’s inclusion of technology is extended in necessitating use and application: “Because knowledge application requires meaningful, goal-directed tasks, the technologies that can support knowledge application are the technologies that will allow learners to conduct meaningful tasks” (p.380).

Within both Edelson’s example of students using Create-a-World Project and Perkins, Hazelton, Erickson and Allen’s (2010)  study on students using a GIS (Geographic Information Systems), there is a connection to what David Sobel (2004) refers to as place-based learning. Sobel describes place-based education as “the process of using the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts … emphasizing hands-on, real-world learning, enhanc[ing] students’ appreciation for the natural world, and creat[ing] a heightened commitment to serving as active, contributing citizens” (Sobel, 2004).

The connection between LfU and place-based learning is worth consideration as GIS tools afford the opportunity for students to interact initially within their community and then beyond. Interestingly, the practice of place-based learning is promoted within the BC Ministry’s curriculum in relation to indigenous learning. Combining place-based learning with GIS tools offers opportunity for indigenous and western learners to gain a deeper understanding of their local world, and intuitively of the world beyond them. Inquiries related to physical environmental changes, population increase or decline of species, migration patterns and weather patterns are all relevant areas of situated learning for both indigenous and western learners.

In Perkins’ et al (2010) study, there is support for the inclusion of place-based learning with GIS tools as middle school students participate in mapping their school yard using My World GIS curriculum. Perkins et al (2010) find a significant increase in students’ spatial skills after only three days of working with the GIS and GPS tools. They partially attribute this increase in skills to the inclusion of place-based learning: “Introducing GIS and GPS in the students’ familiar and immediate surroundings more easily bridges the gap between the real and digital worlds. Each student has tangible experience with their schoolyard and, therefore, some sense of that space that will allow them to construct new knowledge in the context of a place that they know”(p.217).

In closing, the LfU model requires highly structured inquiry-based processes such as “hypothesizing, collecting and evaluating evidence, and defending conclusions based on evidence” (Edelson, 2001, p. 362). Furtak (2006) describes guided scientific inquiry as inquiry when the teacher knows the answer, but is cautious with the power of suggestion. In Linn, Clarke and Slotta’s (2003) article on WISE, a more structured approach to inquiry is also suggested: “If inquiry steps are too precise, resembling a recipe, then students will fail to engage in inquiry. If steps are too broad, then students will flounder and become distracted. Finding the right level of detail requires trial and refinement and, in some cases, customization to local conditions and knowledge” (p.522). Through the explorations of various technology-based inquiry environments, it is evident that the teacher and/or designer is an expert in processes and in content, allowing for processes of inquiry to be experienced and developed, while supporting inquiry problem-solving and refinements through in-depth knowledge of content.


Aboriginal Education, (n.d.). https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/sites/curriculum.gov.bc.ca/files/pdf/aboriginal_education_bc.pdf
Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385.
Furtak, E. M. (2006), The problem with answers: An exploration of guided scientific inquiry teaching. Sci. Ed., 90: 453–467. doi:10.1002/sce.20130
Linn, M. C., Clark, D. and Slotta, J. D. (2003), WISE design for knowledge integration . Sci. Ed., 87: 517–538. doi:10.1002/sce.10086

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Wise Instruction – Inquiry, WISE and Model-Based Learning

The following posting is guided by the the following process questions:
  • What broader questions about learning and technology have provoked WISE research and the development of SKI?
  • Describe the authors’ pedagogical design considerations that shaped the development of “What’s on your Plate?” How and where was WISE integrated into a larger sequence of activities?
  • Analyze the evidence and author’s conclusions. Are the conclusions justified? In what ways does WISE support the processes commonly associated with “inquiry” in science? How might these processes be used to support math instruction?
  • What might be the cognitive and social affordances of the WISE TELE for students? Use “What’s on your Plate?” as an example to support your hypotheses.

 

Inquiry is the newest trend in pedagogical design and curriculum and infiltrates BCs New Curriculum established for K-9 students. As described in the following video on the BC Ministry of Education website, inquiry requires students to ask questions, hypothesize, investigate, experiment, create, reflect and revise. These actions are intended to help students to learn the processes of science, and not solely the content, while building skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, vocabulary building and analysis.

Linn, Clark and Slotta (2003) offer a deeper definition of inquiry and describe it as “engaging students in the intentional process of diagnosing problems, critiquing experiments, distinguishing alternatives, planning investigations, revising views, researching conjectures, searching for information, constructing models, debating with peers, communicating to diverse audiences, and forming coherent arguments (p.518). The designers of WISE (Web-based Inquiry Science Environment) have taken this latter definition, placed it into the Scaffolded Knowledge Integration network (SKI), while asking questions of how to design a technology-based learning environment that “scaffold[s] designers in creating inquiry curriculum projects and designing patterns of activities to promote knowledge integration for students and teachers” (Linn et al., 2003, p.518). The designing of WISE is an evolving inquiry as the design team, including science teachers, pedagogical specialists, scientists and technology designers, engage in inquiry processes through its continuous designing and revising. The designers of WISE are not simply interested in inquiry, but in the intersection of inquiry and technology and the enhancement of learning as a result. A considerable statistic cited by Linn et al. (2003) describing the participation level of students through asynchronous communication in comparison to face-to-face discussion is convincing: “Online asynchronous discussions enable students to make their ideas visible and inspectable by their teachers and peers and give students sufficient time to reflect before making contributions. Hsi (1997) reports that under these circumstances, students warrant their assertions with two or more pieces of evidence and over ninety percent of the students participate. In contrast, Hsi observed that only about 15% of the students participate in a typical class discussion, and that few statements are warranted by evidence” (p.530). Other WISE related studies also reveal enhanced learning as a result of students learning through a technology-based environment. One such design study is conducted by Gobert, Snyder and Houghton (2002) using a WISE project entitled, “What’s on your Plate” – a geology focussed project.

Gobert et al. (2002) pursue a design study “to investigate the impact of decisions about curricular materials with the express goal of redesigning them in accordance with the findings obtained” (p.7). More specifically, they ask, “[I]n what ways does model-building, learning with dynamic runnable visual models in WISE, and the process of critiquing peer’s models promote a deeper understanding of the nature of science as a dynamic process?” (p.7). The two areas of SKI that are focussed on in this study are: 1) making thinking visible and 2) learning from others. Gobert et al.(2002) are also interested in observing changes in students’ epistemologies as they work through the WISE project. Specifically, they asked these questions: “How can we use the technology effectively to promote deep learning in line with epistemic goals? and How can we identify change in students’ epistemic understanding?” (p.2). In order to measure these epistemic changes, pre and post tests are conducted indicating significant increases in student understanding and reasoning related to model-based learning. Student post test responses include significantly more detail, scientific vocabulary and accurate knowledge, while peer critiques include reasoning and communicative understanding. Gobert et al. (2002) state established research for integrating model-based learning within science education, both models to learn from and model construction assignments. Positive effects of model-based learning integration are described here: “It is believed that having students construct and work with their own models engages them in authentic scientific inquiry, and that such activities promote scientific literacy, understanding of the nature of science, and lifelong learning” (Gobert et al., 2002, p.3). These positive effects of model-based learning are evidenced in the conclusions of the design study by Gobert et al. (2002). While model-based learning through WISE indicates significant growth in the students’ understanding of the use of dynamic visual models and the nature of science,  can this model-based learning also be effective in the acquisition of mathematics?

WISE supports the processes of inquiry through the “What’s on Your Plate” project including diagnosing, planning, researching, constructing, critiquing, revising, communicating and reasoning. Through these inquiry processes, students successfully make their thinking visible through the construction of models which are then critiqued by peers, and then revised through reasoning. Model-based learning in mathematics could be structured similarly using inquiry processes that require students to diagnose a problem, research the information necessary to solve the problem, construct a model using software or hands-on materials, and share their model with an explanation for peer critique. {This process is evident in The Jasper Series.} Reasoning and further research follow the critique leading to a revised model construction. In essence, model-based learning affords the student to become a “teacher” through the construction of a teachable model. In mathematics, model-based learning could predictably enhance understanding in areas of geometry, patterning and problem solving. Models could include simulations, diagram representations, symbolic data, or three-dimensional constructions.

After brief research, this following resource seems valuable in inquiring further inquiry into model-based learning: Model-Based Approaches to Learning: Using Systems Models and Simulations to Improve Understanding and Problem Solving in Complex Domains by Patrick Blumschein, Woei Hung, David Jonassen, and Johannes Stroebel (2009).

 

References
Blumschein,P., Hung, W., Jonassen, D., & Stroebel, J. (2009). Model-based approaches to learning: Using systems models and simulations to improve understanding and problem solving in complex domains. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.
Gobert, J., Snyder, J., & Houghton, C. (2002, April). The influence of students’ understanding of models on model-based reasoning. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a conference paper. Retrieved conference paper Saturday, October 29, 2013 from: http://mtv.concord.org/publications/epistimology_paper.pdf
Linn, M. C., Clark, D. and Slotta, J. D. (2003), WISE design for knowledge integration . Sci. Ed., 87: 517–538. doi:10.1002/sce.10086
McAleer,N. (2005, June 21). Getting started with student inquiry in science. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYGawWpiDOE

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Plate Tectonics: Reshaping the Ground Below Us

Web-based Science Inquiry Environment (WISE)

Project: Plate Tectonics – 

Renamed: Plate Tectonics: Reshaping the Ground Below Us – ID 19738

WISE is theoretically based on the Scaffolded Knowledge Integration network (SKI) which includes the following four tenets: 1) accessibility to science, 2) making knowledge visible, 3) learning from others and 4) promoting autonomy (Linn, Clark, & Slotta, 2003). In piecing together a unit study for middle school students (grade 6-8), incorporating these four tenets of SKI into the non-technology based areas of learning is intentional to enhance visibility of knowledge and opportunities for peer review and critique. The WISE Plate Tectonic project is being used as a final assignment within a geology unit based on the structure of the earth, the surface of the earth, plate tectonics, and earthquakes and volcanoes. A few authorship changes have been made to the Plate Tectonic project mainly to include a Canadian perspective. These changes include the addition of Canadian map images showing placement of volcanoes, earthquakes and mountain ranges, along with appropriate text. As well, small alterations have occurred in the subtitles of the lesson outline.

The geology unit includes three resources, two non-technology based texts and one project from WISE. The two non-technology based resources that have been chosen are faith-based resources as the school that I work for is an independent religious school. The Geology Book by Dr. John D. Morris is a textbook, but includes detailed and colourful diagrams illustrating the inside of the earth and side views of how the earth’s surface is formed. A Child’s Geography: Volume 1 by Ann Voskamp includes conversational style writing, hands-on activities, real world extensions and a living book list of extension readings. Talking about thinking is incorporated into both of these resources through oral narrations, discussions and the sharing of written work for peer critique. Learning is made visible through notebooking and hands-on model making.The table below illustrates the order of the unit with how resources will be completed in conjunction with each other.

In designing this unit, the four tenets of SKI are intentionally incorporated in addition to, or through the use of each resource. These four tenets provide a framework for students to work through an inquiry process as described in Inquiry and the National Educational Standards with students thinking “about what we know, why we know, and how we have come to know” (Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education, 2000, p.6). Linn, Clark and Slotta (2013) more specifically define inquiry “as engaging students in the intentional process of diagnosing problems, critiquing experiments, distinguishing alternatives, planning investigations, revising views, researching conjectures, searching for information, constructing models, debating with peers, communicating to diverse audiences, and forming coherent arguments” (p.518). The following table analyses each of the three resources and aligns them with the four tenets of SKI as well as the inquiry processes described by Linn, Clark and Slotta in the above definition.

Scaffolded Integration Knowledge Network Processes of Inquiry Geology Unit Resource
Accessibility to Science – {content, relevancy, real-life application} Diagnosing problems

Planning investigations

Revising views

Researching conjectures

Searching for information

WISE Plate Tectonics
Researching conjectures

Searching for information

Revising views

The Geology Book
Revising views

Researching conjectures

Searching for information

A Child’s Geography
Making Thinking Visible Constructing models

Communicating to diverse audiences

Forming coherent arguments

WISE Plate Tectonics
Constructing models The Geology Book
Constructing models A Child’s Geography
Learning From Others Diagnosing problems

Critiquing experiments

Distinguishing alternatives

Revising views

Debating with peers

WISE Plate Tectonics
Critiquing by peers

Revising views

The Geology Book
Critiquing by peers

Revising views

A Child’s Geography
Promote Autonomy Diagnosing problems

Critiquing experiments

Distinguishing alternatives

Planning investigations

Revising views

Researching conjectures

Searching for information

WISE Plate Tectonics
Researching conjectures

Searching for information

Critiquing by peers

Revising views

The Geology Book
Researching conjectures

Searching for information

Critiquing by peers

Revising views

A Child’s Geography

Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education. (2000) Inquiry and the national science education standards. Washington, DC: Author.
Linn, M. C., Clark, D. and Slotta, J. D. (2003), WISE design for knowledge integration . Sci. Ed., 87: 517–538. doi:10.1002/sce.10086
Slotta, J. D. & Linn, M. C. (in press). WISE Science: Inquiry and the Internet in the Science Classroom. Teachers College Press. Retrieved from https://edx-lti.org/assets/courseware/v1/634b53c10b5a97e0c4c68e6c09f3f1b6/asset-v1:UBC+ETEC533+2016W2+type@asset+block/WISEBookCh1-30209.pdf
Web-based Inquiry Science Environment.(1996-2016). Retrieved from https://wise.berkeley.edu/

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Thinking Out Loud – A Conversation on Anchored Instruction

Alongside the writing on The Jasper Series by Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992) Shyu’s (2000) research on implementing video-based anchored instruction in Taiwan, and Vye, Goldman, Voss, Hmelo and Williams’ (1997) research on middle school students and college students working through The Big Splash, are considered in the following response.

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Anchored instruction is based on the theories of situated learning, cognitive apprenticeship and cooperative learning with the aim to enhance student problem-solving skills (Shyu, 2000). Anchored instruction largely involves generative learning. CTGV (1992) describes generative learning, by quoting Resnick and Resnick, as necessary for effective learning. Concepts and principles “have to be called upon over and over again as ways to link, interpret, and explain new information” (p.67). Anchored instruction situates “the instruction in meaningful problem-solving contexts that allow one to simulate in the classroom some of the advantages of apprenticeship learning (CTGV, 1992, p.67).  As well, anchored instruction focuses on cooperative learning which allows for the construction of ‘communities of inquiry’ – a space for students to grow understanding through discussion, explaining, and reasoning or argumentation (CTGV, 1992; Vye et al., 1997).

One of the important nuances of anchored instruction specifically evident in the research of Vye et al. (1997) is the effectiveness of thinking out loud. In their research, two experiments were completed, the first with individual students and the second with dyads or partner groupings. In both experiments, the students were asked to perform their thinking out loud. In the first experiment, the student did not participate in any dialogue with another student, instead verbalizing ideas in monologue style. In the second experiment, the students participated in reasoning, or arguments, to reach a solution, consisting of both agreements and disagreement. The success of problem-solving through reasoning in a dyad setting is attributed speculatively to the active expressing of ideas and thinking verbally, and the monitoring of reasoning and problem solving ideas by the partner. Furthermore, the data showing goal and argument linkages indicates that “goals tend to be followed by arguments and argumentation often leads to new goals” (p.472). Interestingly, the data related to the types of arguments indicated that 33% of the arguments were positive in agreement, while 67% were negative, or disagreements, both of which often lead to a new goal (Vye et al., 1997). Considering this thinking out loud aspect of anchored instruction is transformational for math instruction in general, as math problem solving traditionally is completed visually on paper, on a technology screen, or mentally – in silence.  One math resource by Sherry Parrish (2014) that I have recently acquired is entitled Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies. Although digital technology is not a component of this K-5 curriculum {except for a CD-Rom with number talk sessions to instruct teachers on how to implement number talks), the physical act of talking, communicating ideas, reasoning and recognizing that there are many ways to solve a problem are premised throughout. A similar resource for grades 4-10 by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker (2015) is entitled Making Number Talks Matter. Both of these resources do incorporate problem solving, but not in the same way as the video-based anchored instruction highlighted in the readings – problem solving is very much computational, rather than real-life scenarios and these math talk conversations and problem solving are dependent on access to previous knowledge, rather than generating knowledge through the problem solving. However, both math talks and anchored instruction do include ‘talking about math’, allowing for misconceptions to come to light and for students to better understand the whywhen and how of mathematics. When a student is able to speak their understanding, that understanding becomes theirs to own, and becomes a tool through which they are now learning.

In closing, Vye et al. (1997) mention other problem solving enrichments that have been established by others. Following is a collected list of further inquiry readings. These readings are referenced on p.479.

Problem Solving Reading List

References

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992). The jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, (40), 1, pp.65-80.

Humphries, C. & Parker, R. (2015). Making number talks matter: Developing mathematical practices and deepening understanding, grades 4-10. United States of America: Stenhouse Publishers.

Parrish, S. (2014). Number talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies. Sausalito, California: Math Solutions.

Shyu, H.-Y. C. (2000). Using video-based anchored instruction to enhance learning: Taiwan’s experience. British Journal of Educational Technology, 31: 57–69. doi:10.1111/1467-8535.00135

Vye, N., Goldman, S., Voss, J., Hmelo, C., Williams, S., & Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1997). Complex Mathematical Problem Solving by Individuals and Dyads. Cognition and Instruction, 15(4), 435-484. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3233775

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Reshaping Instructional Design: A Tale of Jasper Series Inspiration

Upon initially exploring the video-based anchored instructional tool entitled The Jasper Woodbury Problem Solving Series, skepticism on the necessity and the effectiveness of this resource as an enhancer of student learning through problem solving presented itself: Couldn’t effective complex problem solving exist without the use of contrived video-based scenarios? Even after recognizing the intricate seven design features highlighted in the article by the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992), the effectiveness of the Jasper series wasn’t convincing. It was only through the actual viewing of video samples from the series, as well as reading through a storyboard version in the Vye, Goldman, Voss, Hmelo and Williams study (1997) that the ingenuity of this anchored instructional design tool became pronounced. CTGV (1992) defines anchored instruction as situated learning that occurs in an “engaging, problem-rich environment that allow[s] sustained exploration by students and teachers” (p.65). The Jasper Series is a problem-rich environment as problem-solving is initiated with a proposed challenge, and the proposed challenge can only be solved through a minimum of fourteen steps, thus requiring a prolonged inquiry and exploration period. In order to solve the problems, the initial problem and the problems posed along the way, the student is required to find embedded clues, pose new problems, and seek alternative solutions (CTGV, 1992). The complexity of the problem solving within the problem solving is unfounded in traditional math curriculums, ensuring that the Jasper Series is an instructional design tool worthy of consideration.

Through the ETEC 533 discussion, one posting has inspired me to move forward with the learning acquired through the Jasper series related viewings and readings. Allison Kostiuk, an elementary teacher, began designing and writing complex problems reflecting realistic and relevant narrative for her students. Kostiuk chose to complete this type of narrative by “incorporating the names of … students throughout the problems, investigating daily issues that arise for … students, and further personalizing the problem by using pictures of… students encountering the problem” (Kostiuk, 2017). This idea of designing personalized problems for students resonates with me as the thought had previously crossed my mind while working through the readings and viewings on the Jasper Series. However, I had not taken time to act upon it. Although designing complex video-based instruction is not plausible at this time, a dramatized audio story or simple dramatic retelling could be viable in presenting students with many of the similar design features as evident through the Jasper Series. Incorporated design features would include video-based or audio-based formatting to increase motivation, narrative with realistic problems, generative formatting, embedded data design, and links across the curriculum (CTGV, 1992). A designed storytelling video-based problem solving scenario is planned to be shared with students at the beginning of this upcoming month. Once completed, it will be available within this posting.

Originally, my TELE design was founded on the concept of reciprocal interaction involving direct input from the student and reciprocal output from the technology. To read the definition of my initial TELE design, please visit here: Reciprocal Interaction: A TELE Design.  Through the readings, viewings, discussions, and considerations related to the Jasper Series, it has become evident that the video-based anchored learning does not fit my original TELE design. Within the Jasper Series, the technology was outputting information while the learner acted as a recipient, inputting information into the mind and then outputting learning into the surrounding environment to work towards solving problems. Following is an altered version of a reciprocal interaction design model with the option for the student to interact through input and output with the surroundings, rather than solely inputting back into the technology. Although the concept of reciprocal interaction continues to be an important feature in my TELE design, interaction with the surrounding environment is essential in bringing relevance to the learning as well as offering the opportunity for collaborative learning and reasoning.

 

Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (1992). The jasper experiment: An exploration of issues in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology Research and Development, (40), 1, pp.65-80.

 

Kostiuk, A. (2017, February 10). Problem solving with anchored instruction [Weblog message]. Retrieved from  https://blogs.ubc.ca/stem2017/2017/02/10/problem-solving-with-anchored-instruction/
Citation in text (Kostiuk, 2017)
Vye, N., Goldman, S., Voss, J., Hmelo, C., Williams, S., & Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1997). Complex mathematical problem solving by individuals and dyads. Cognition and Instruction, 15(4), 435-484. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3233775

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Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Pro-D

During Module A discussion, the need for educational technology related professional development for teachers was highlighted as necessary in equipping teachers for technology use in their classroom. The specifications of professional development were not thoroughly described in the discussions, which welcomes Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) detailed explanation of effective professional development using a “learning-technology-by-approach design” (p.1035). This approach incorporates TPCK and focuses “on learning by doing, and less so on overt lecturing and traditional teaching. Design is learned by becoming a practitioner, albeit for the duration of the course, not merely by learning about practice (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p.1035). TPCK encourages professional development in an alternative process than is typical through workshops; professional development needs to be an integration of learning about the technology (content) and learning to use the technology in an authentic learning context (pedagogy). “Standard techniques of teacher professional development or faculty development, such as workshops or stand-alone technology courses, are based on the view that technology is self-contained and emphasize this divide between how and where skills are learned (e.g., workshops) and where they are to be applied (e.g., class- rooms)” (Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p. 31). Also key to TPCK, is the learning not of specific programs – software or hardware, but of the underlying principles of technology use. This is essential as “newer technologies often disrupt the status quo, requiring teachers to reconfigure not just their understanding of technology but of all three components [i.e. content, knowledge, pedagogy]” (Mishra & Koehler, 2016, p.1030). Developing a repertoire as described by Wasley, Hampel and Clark (1997) and quoted by Mishra and Koehler (2006) as ‘‘a variety of techniques, skills, and approaches in all dimensions of education that teachers have at their fingertips’’ (p. 45) helps to equip teachers to move from a professional development experience into their classrooms and choose the technology tools that will best meet the needs of their students. This supports Petrie’s (1986) extension of Schulman’s aphorism, “those who can, do; those who understand, teach” (Shulman, 1986b, p. 14) as he describes understanding as needing to be “linked to judgment and action, to the proper uses of understanding in the forg­ing of wise pedagogical decisions” (as quoted in Schulman, 1987, p.14).

The term “transformation” that Schulman (1987) uses to refer to the experience that occurs as content knowledge is passed from teacher to student provides an effective visual image. He describes this transformation as “the capacity of a teacher to transform the content knowledge he or she possesses into forms that are pedagogically power­ful and yet adaptive to the variations in ability and background presented by the students (p.15). This transformation offers opportunity for individualized learning, teaching for the student rather than at the student, and aligns well with my teaching experience at present:

One example of incorporating PCK in my own teaching is in constructing individualized student learning plans for each of my students. As a distance learning teacher, I work with each student individually rather than offering a standard course or program. Conversations are held prior to the start of the learning year to design a student learning plan that consists of curriculum, resources, activities, etc. that cover the content area prescribed for the student’s grade level, but also adheres to the student’s interests, abilities, learning environment and effective ways of learning. Throughout the year, the student learning plan evolves as necessary, but again with the individual student’s needs guiding the changes. As students share their learning with me throughout the year, I provide specific feedback often suggesting areas that they can grow in their representation of ideas, as well as designing or recommending specific assignments to further their learning experiences. Although the forms of transformation may look different in a distance learning context, the process of moving from “personal comprehension to preparing for the comprehension of others” (Schulman, 1987, p.16) still occurs through preparation, representation, instructional selections, adaptations and tailoring (Schulman, 1987).

 

Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. The Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4 -14.
Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching. The foundations of a new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1)1-23.

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Reciprocal Interaction

Aligning closely with my personal definition of technology as interactive affordances, is Jonassen’s (2000) thinking on technology as “cognitive affordances”. Jonassen supports constructivist methods of learning and suggests that technology use requires students to think purposefully about how and why they are using technology while inquiring, knowledge building, problem solving, collaborating and self assessing. In addition to Jonassen’s perspective, technology defined as interactive affordances requires students to actively participate with technology through an actual relationship established through processes of input and reciprocal output. Generally within the interaction, the student is required to provide input while the technology responds with output. This type of interaction augments the learning experience for the student, creating a reciprocal environment; the student and technology participate in a dialogue experience, rather than the student passively receiving a technological monologue. 

In designing a TELE (technology enhanced learning environment), incorporating the following five areas of learning is ideal: planning, collaborating, creating, sharing and reflecting. Each of these five areas requires an interactive approach with technology, along with an engaging relationship with varied digital tool possibilities. Designing spaces that allow for individual and collaborative learning provides opportunity for students to synthesize and articulate their own ideas, and then join together with others to receive feedback and new ideas. Collaboration and feedback also include teacher scaffolding through questioning, comments and formative assessment. Interactive affordances and the reciprocal nature of learning within this TELE occurs because of relationship with both the technology and other individuals

 

Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar:  http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Jonassen+mindtools&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Search

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