The Edelson (2001) articles presents us with a challenge that is not only unique to math and science teachers, but to educators of all subject areas in K-12: “teach more content more effectively, [and] devote more time to having students engage in [inquiry] practices” (p. 355). Although multiple research articles as early at the 1960s have shown the benefits of inquiry learning, educators are resistant to change because of a perceived time crunch (Edelson, 2001). We are presented with a design framework called the Learning-for-Use (LfU) model in an attempt to showcase how technology can be integrated to include both content and process learning.
LfU is based on 4 principles that many other contemporary learning theories utilize (Edelson, 2001):
- Learning takes place through constructing new knowledge and modifying previous knowledge
- Knowledge construction is goal directed
- The situations in which the knowledge is constructed matters and affects its ability to be used in other circumstances
I am hard pressed to find a difference between LfU and constructivism. A project that I would attempt with my Math 9 students would be to utilize a computer assisted drawing (CAD) program to challenge students to a design a structure and then determine the material costs associated with the structure; I would utilize this project to teach surface area and volume. I would have to set parameters such as ensuring the structure had pillars of different shapes (cylinders etc) and also ask them to research actual prices of concrete, wood, and any other material they needed to complete their project. From a motivational standpoint, they would determine the need to know how to figure out volume (how much concrete is needed for the support pillars) and surface area (how much paint do I need?).
Any thoughts on the project or gaps you might see?
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. http://www.ei.lehigh.edu/eli/research/Bodzin_GE.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. http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1002/1098-2736(200103)38:3<355::aid-tea1010>3.0.CO;2-M