- In what ways would you teach an LfU-based activity to explore a concept in math or science? Draw on LfU and My World scholarship to support your pedagogical directions. Given its social and cognitive affordances, extend the discussion by describing how the activity and roles of the teacher and students are aligned with LfU principles.
Traditionally educators view content and process as having competing priorities, designing technology-supported inquiry to address memorization and recitation. Since classroom resources and time are scarce, evaluating Learning-for-Use (LfU) requires considerable risk and reward in pedagogical reform. Given a preliminary understanding of MyWorld, I can imagine teaching lessons on comparing geographical precipitation and energy balance in different biomes. Or for motion kinematics, measuring distances between cities and travel times enables contextual learning of average and instantaneous velocities. With albeit out-dated information, LfU compiles and visualizes actual data files, superimposing mapview layers to customize appearance based on range of interest. Students can make predictions before exploration, clicking underlay to graph entire/current selections, comparing data sets with parallel cursor movements, creating actual difference graphs averaging statistics using colour to define categories. Dynamically interacting real-world data mimics authentic science practice, operationalizing inert knowledge towards construction, forming connections towards accessible goals. Learners initiate reflection progressing incrementally given stepwise elaboration, creating appropriate indices to retrieve memory as useable knowledge.
MyWorld and Google Earth promote spatial thinking and geographic conceptions, producing environmental citizens that make sustainable decisions. Inquiry-based investigations of sea ice distribution and local weather phenomena are current, valid and essential for persistent understandings and multiple intelligences (Bodzin et al., 2014). Constructivist models enable cognitive flexibility, iteratively promoting teacher pedagogical content knowledge to accommodate differentiated learners. Construction does not invalidate reading, viewing and listening, actively making observations through personal experience and peer communication, applying sense-making to interact with the world. In particular, LfU frameworks purposely lack absolute solutions, asking learners to evaluate priorities where for example urban expansion results in vegetation loss, automobile dependence, along with diminished heat dissipation. Students interpret time-sequenced data to explore alternative energy sources and efficient practices to minimize environmental impact. LfU reveals misconceptions and deficits to promote innovation, achieving both scalability and portability engaging learners with motivating contexts personally relevant to daily lives. To minimize visualizations detracting from learners, teachers encourage understanding with embedded prompts to focus observations.
Traditional inform, verify and practice become transmission which does not acknowledge motivation and refinement. The LfU approach uses exploration, discovery and invention to build contextual interpretive framework, eliciting curiosity from direct experience reinforced by reflection (Edelson, 2001). Technology guided investigations pose violations of expectations developing authentic motivation to naturally apply knowledge, where situational interest articulates prior conceptions to activate existing knowledge. LfU grounds abstract understanding in concrete experience, providing simulations to participate in guided discovery focusing on accessibility and applicability when faced with demands and limitations. LfU addresses the content process dichotomy by combining effectiveness and efficiency in time-limited system.
Bodzin, A. M., Anastasio, D., & Kulo, V. (2014). Designing Google Earth activities for learning Earth and environmental science. In Teaching science and investigating environmental issues with geospatial technology (pp. 213-232). Springer Netherlands.
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.