Distribution and Acceleration of Learning

How can learning be distributed and accelerated with access to digital resources and specialized tools and what are several implications of learning of math and science just in time and on demand?

I found the study by Carreher et al. very interesting.  I have travelled to many countries around the world and I am always impressed with the Math skill (English skills also) of children that have none or little formal schooling. The children used in this paper, “tended to be accomplished by strategies involving the mental manipulation of quantities while in the school-type situation the manipulation of symbols carried the burden of computation, thereby making the operations ‘in a very real sense divorced from reality’” (pg.28)  This proves that knowledge can be constructed in informal ways.

As for learning being distributed ad accelerated, access to digital resources and specialized tools allow students to explore regions of the world as well as phenomena that would never be accessible to them in real life. GLOBE allows students to interact with scientists as well as analyze data from various locations around the world.   All my students know are deserts, so to open teir minds to other regions of the world with other topographies would be great to accelerate and deepen their learning.

His’s paper explores informal learning institutions; such as, museums and zoos, that are creating freely available educational resources accessible over computer networks and the Web to create extended learning opportunities outside of formal schooling.  Once again, these networked communities allow students to explore areas and topics that may be limited by costs and/or geographic location.  They increase the possible ways that learning can be distributed and accelerate learning.

I remember taking my Grade 9 Biology class in Montreal to the Bodies exhibit many years ago.  I let the students walk around freely and explore the space.  I overheard conversations about anatomy and physiology that we had studied in class, I remember being full of pride and joy that my students could apply the items we had learned to the exhibits they were seeing.




Butler, D.M., & MacGregor, I.D. (2003). GLOBE: Science and education. Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(1), 9-20.

Carraher, T. N., Carraher, D. W., & Schliemann, A. D. (1985). Mathematics in the streets and in schools. British journal of developmental psychology, 3(1), 21-29.

Hsi, S. (2008). Information technologies for informal learning in museums and out-of-school settings. International handbook of information technology in primary and secondary education, 20(9), 891-899.

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