Wow, were there ever a lot of interesting readings this week! I decided to kill two birds with one stone and choose readings that could inform the TELE that I will be undertaking for my final project. The aim is to use this TELE for my Grade 1 students in September and the readings this week helped me step closer to my goal. For that reason, I chose to read the Winn (2003), Aleahmad & Slotta (2002), & Huang, Lin & Cheng (2010) articles.
The Winn (2003) article focused on the connections between learning, the activities chosen and cognition. Examining the interactions between the learning that occurs and its relativity to the learning environment, via one’s external body is what Winn (2003) refers to as embodiment. Mathematics is a topic that benefits from embodied learning. One way that I have used embodied learning in my classroom is when doing a math unit on measurement and weight. I have filled little-big bags of sand and the children will pass them around. Based on what they feel, they will order them in what they believe to be lightest to heaviest. We then check our answers by utilizing a scale to see if we are correct or not. I have also brought students outside to explore our local community and compare different rocks, tree branches, etc. and categorize them as heavier/lighter. I find that when my students are able to leave the traditional classroom setting and explore their physical environments, the learning is deeper. As Winn (2002) states, “Embeddedness therefore depends on the nature of the interaction of the students with the Umwelt [environment] and how well the Umwelt reflects properties of the environment” (p. 13).
The Aleahmad & Slotta (2002) article examined handheld technology, such as phones, iPads, tablets, etc. and web-based science activities (WISE). Combining the two, the authors argue, makes for a “unique educational opportunity” (p. 2). As I mentioned earlier, I am teaching a Grade 1 class in September and have been trying to find educational technologies that would be age-appropriate for my students. When looking through the WISE archives, I noticed that despite the fact that there is a K-3 category, there are no WISE activities for this age group of students. The Aleahmad & Slotta (2002) article made me think about the use of Virtual Realty and Augmented Reality programs and their usefulness in the classroom. While I have not implemented either into my classroom, the idea leaves me with some questions.
Questions to Consider:
- Should WISE activities only being designed and utilized for Grades 3 and up or is it possible to create a WISE that would benefit younger students?
- What are some VR/AR that are suited to younger students? Are these two technologies still too young in their development to be used in classrooms?
- If students are learning in artificial environments, does authentic learning occur? Do all learning environments have to produce authentic learning?
Aleahmad, T. & Slotta, J. (2002). Integrating handheld Technology and web-based science activities: New educational opportunities. Paper presented at ED-MEDIA 2002 World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications. Proceedings (14th, Denver, Colorado, June 24-29, 2002); see IR 021 687.
Huang, Y. M., Lin, Y. T., & Cheng, S. C. (2010). Effectiveness of a mobile plant learning system in a science curriculum in Taiwanese elementary education. Computers & Education, 54(1), 47-58.
Winn, W. (2003). Learning in artificial environments: Embodiment, embeddedness, and dynamic adaptation. Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning, 1(1), 87-114.