From my TELE teaching experience thus far, though it was in second language acquisition, I found that my students really learned a lot from interactive lessons that corresponded with their textbooks. The interactive lessons had digital response cues and textbook work that allowed them to follow along, regardless of whether they were learning individually or as a group/class. Second Language Learning is already really hard, but the most successful lesson pedagogies I found and used were usually related to the practicality of the topics and their presentation. Students learned and retained more from practical useful topics, and topics they could relate to in their own lives. I would define technologies in TELE’s to be the means to make the connection that isn’t easily achievable in a learning environment. For example, showing a video of a scenario instead of explaining it then asking students to imagine, or getting people to come re-enact the scenario each time.
I think designers of learning experiences often aims to create experiences with technologies that are most popular because then the users would need less “learning time” for the technology and would be able to “dive” into the content quicker. That’s probably why many learning experiences uses social media applications as a tool for interaction. So if I was to apply what I’ve learned to my own TELE math or science classroom, I would probably choose to use technology(like a computer) to run simulations for science experiments, if materials aren’t readily available. Or use the technology as an access point to math manipulatives that the classroom lacks.
When I first started in my ETEC journey, my definition of technology was very general. Just as Muffoletto (1994) describes, I thought of it “in terms of gadgets, instruments, machines, and devices” that assist humans in achieving a task. But as I journey through this program, my ideas of technology started to change, particularly in regards to educational technologies. As such, the definition by Jonassen (2000) really resonates with me. I feel in order for something to be considered an educational technology it should have the features of what Jonassen (2000) terms “mind tools”; those tools which help construct knowledge, not just disseminate information to the learner. This leads to a deeper understanding of information and internalization/reorganization within the learner.
In regards to design of my ideal TELE in med ed, it would be a small room that looks like of the picture below from minority report (TV show).
A group of 5-8 students, would work around together around technology enhanced table to do problem based learning. The technology would be used to organize their collaborative thoughts, collect data, communicate ideas between members, and manipulate certain parameters (if appropriate) in order to progress through a medical problem. I think educational technology should be a tool that helps construct knowledge, and the environment should allow for collaboration and team work.
I see technology, from an educational perspective, as a set of tools to enhance the learning experience of students. When used properly it can literally transform thinking in meaningful ways. It provides an opportunity to view a problem or product in a variety of ways that can promote deeper thinking.
When any teacher seeks to use technology I would argue they must do so with the purpose of creating opportunities for growth in students. The act of creating can have profound impacts on a learner and this is no different when we talk about technology. Transformation occurs when creation occurs because of the personal meaning attached to the product created. When designing a teacher must prioritize having the most engaging physical space and environment possible to facilitate such opportunities. Proper use of technology moves beyond interaction to a role far more important and impactful on the learner.
I would also say that to achieve the goal of facilitating creators through technology we need to constantly evaluate the needs of teachers in professional development and ensure these opportunities are being given.
I connected with the idea of “cognitive affordances” by David Jonassen (2000) as PYP teacher, where inquiry-based teaching and learning is the goal. As he states, “Students learn from thinking in meaningful ways. Thinking is engaged by activities, which can be fostered by computers or teachers.” This made me think about the importance of constructing learning engagements that are open-ended and do not necessarily have one right pathway to the solution. Technology isn’t the latest high-end device on the market, but rather how learning is transformed through the use of the tool.
Therefore, designers of learning should be thinking of creative and innovative ways to foster risk-taking in the classroom that pushes students to find their best, individualized pathway to success. This may include differentiated instruction or tasks that challenge students to think critically. Design of learning engagements should provide the right amount of scaffolding so that students understand the what and why of their learning. As Lev Vygotsky’s proposed the zone of proximal development is important because it determines what a child can with no support, to what a child can do with some support. Even in science and math classes, the framework teacher models and students do, is important because often the student will go beyond the confines of the assignment and find new, creative, and innovative ways of achieving a given task. The exciting part of a lesson is when students are given time to reflect and discuss their strategies with peers and teachers to inform the classroom community of the variety of ways in which a goal can be achieved.
Hooper and Rieber (1995) state that the most imperative aspect of integrating educational technology is to create learning environments in which students actively construct knowledge in cognitive partnerships with technology. Technology shouldn’t be the center of the learning. However, it should be tools to assist teachers in promoting better student learning experience.
When designing a technology-enhanced learning, educators/designers of classes should promote active learning approaches such as hands-on virtual experiences, collaborative projects, real-time formative assessments, and student-centered backchannel group discussions with help of educational technology. Firstly, hands-on learning using simulations, augmented reality and virtual reality can enhance the learning experience and help students grasp difficult concepts in STEM classes. Secondly, collaboration through technology in group settings can enhance students’ interaction, engagement, learning and reasoning skills in STEM classes. Thirdly, technology significantly facilitates the use of formative assessment – this is a frequent, interactive assessment of student progress and understanding (OECD, 2005). Formative assessment software can enable instructors to provide students with more personalized learning and to obtain immediate feedback to reduce misconceptions in STEM classes. Finally, group discussion utilizing backchannel chat software, like backchannelchat.com and Slack, can provide students with safe and secure class discussion environment that can encourage participation and engagement.
Hooper, S. & Rieber, L.P. (1995). Teaching with technology. In A.C. Ornstein (Ed.), Teaching: Theory into practice (pp. 154-170). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
OECD (2005), Formative Assessment: Improving Learning in Secondary Classrooms, OECD Publishing.
Jonassen’s (2000) quote resonated with me, “[S]tudents learn from thinking in meaningful ways. Thinking is engaged by activities, which can be fostered by computers or teachers.” The ideal technology-enhanced learning experience (TELE) in a math or science class would incorporate collaborative group work with the use of digital technology, using the 7Cs of Learning Design.
One of the key challenges facing educators today, is designing for learning. Conole (2014) has outlined the development and evaluation of a framework for learning design titled, The 7Cs of Learning Design. They consist of: conceptualize, capture, create, communicate, collaboration, consider and consolidate. The idea is, for teachers to you use this framework while designing learning experiences to create more engaging learning interventions for their students.
Conole, G. (2014). The 7Cs of Learning Design—A new approach to rethinking design practice. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning (pp. 502-509).
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
As technology is used to improve, empower, and advance human knowledge, Technology Enhanced Learning Environments (TELEs) should be focused on providing a more effective and efficient method for students to learn key skills useful in their future lives. From a design perspective, TELEs need to focus on explicitly addressing learning competencies in a well-organized and easy to follow format. Learners must be able to understand the reasons for completing each activity, and be able to understand how to adequately achieve the desired objectives.
I believe that designers of learning experiences should craft a course which has a well-structured layout for students to be able to understand and thrive in an online environment. Beyond this, learners should be able to include their interests and past experiences to better integrate new knowledge into their long term memories. An effective TELE will strive to include many of the personal aspects of conventional classrooms while using technology to enhance the learning process.
Echoing Kozma (2003) and Roblyer (2012), ideal pedagogical TELE design restructures classroom environments towards collaborative learning, where each teacher as ‘script writer’ contributes intentional goals towards purposeful vision for education. Jonassen’s (2000) definition of technology as providing ‘cognitive affordances’ helps reframe learning from computers and teachers towards learning with computers and teachers, thinking in meaningful ways accessing ‘mindtools’ to construct knowledge engaged by activities.
Designers create interactive environments (ex. physical classrooms and virtual spaces) as opportunities for students to move from passive consumers towards active constructors, facilitating knowledge acquisition and application, individually and collectively to critically solve problems. Based on gamification, designers should personalize instruction differentiating learners through achievable challenges, rewarding incentives and frequent reinforcement (Willis, 2017). Designing TELEs require creative reflection, exploring ‘intellectual tools’ given social context, experimenting through iterative prototypes by trial-and-error, keeping recent with literature on changing technological relationships. Teacher perception and professional development are key factors affecting success, wrestling between technology as substitute or supplement along with other social dynamics.
Willis, Judy. “A Neurologist Makes The Case For The Video Game Model As A Learning Tool”. Edutopia. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 June 2017.
Technology Enhanced Learning Environments should follow the theory of constructivism and allow students to interact with content to construct their own understanding of it. As Jonassen (1995) states,, the “technologies should be used as knowledge construction tools by learners rather than programmed tutors, that students should learn with technology, not from it” (p. 41).
For designers of learning experiences, this creates a challenge. Over the past 20 years, the accessibility to curricular content has exploded and yet we have not seen a widespread adoption to this change from educators. Technology-enhanced learning experiences can attempt to focus on student learning through the creation of a product; this could take the form of videos, websites or music with one key emphasis on student reflection of their learning. Further, the creation of an original artifact can help some challenging students overcome the fact that they are learning – a real challenge in some K-12 classrooms. Finally, effective learning environments should pose large, open-ended questions and then guide students through their own process of inquiry to come up with a comprehensive answer to that question.
Bates, J. (2014). Teaching in a digital age, Chapter 8. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/
Jonassen, D. H. (1995). Computers as cognitive tools: Learning with technology, not from technology. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 6(2), 40-73.
Muffoletto (1994) argues that technology is “not a collection of machines and devices, but a way of acting.” As educators, if we are truly aiming to integrate technology as a means of supporting the diverse learning needs of our students, we must address the accompanying skills and attitudes that influence the ways in which our students engage with technology.
Through developing technology enhanced learning experiences, educators should focus their task design, and their corresponding assessments, on creating learning opportunities which emphasize designing (creating things, not just using or interacting with things), personalizing (creating things that are personally meaningful and relevant), collaborating (working with others on creations), and reflecting (reviewing and rethinking one’s creative practices). In order to create a more integrative approach to technology, the shift in approaches to assessment requires an exploration at a fundamental level. Bates’ SECTIONS framework (2014) states that assessment should also be influenced by the knowledge and skills that students need in a digital age, which means focusing as much on assessing skills as knowledge of content. In turn, this encourages the development of authentic skills that require understanding of content, knowledge management, problem solving, collaborative learning, evaluation, creativity and practical outcomes.
Bates, J. (2014). Teaching in a digital age, Chapter 8. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/
Muffoletto, R. (1994). Technology and restructuring education: Constructing a context. Educational Technology, 34(2), 24-28.