Edtech 504: Discussion 3

In your Module 3 Reflection extend your linkages between theories of learning, theories of educational technology and your own classroom instruction or professional practice.

Recently, I discussed learning theories with a colleague of mine. He’s works as a paraprofessional in my building and is in my classroom on a daily basis as a sign-language interpretor for one of my students. Upon telling him that I was trying to connect the learning theories to the actual instruction and environment of my classroom, he laughed. “You’re a constructivist of course!” he said. But is the answer that easy? Upon further investigation, I could understand why he’d be quick to jump to that conclusion.

My lessons are centered around students’ prior knowledge; I use relevant examples from my students’ lives to connect to major concepts; I help students connect learning to their own lives; I give them diagrams and pictures in which to connect to major concepts to make the learning easier; many of my lessons include hands-on problem solving activities; I believe in mastery in my classroom, not completion.

However, when learning about the different theories, it seemed like many of them related to one another. Social cognition also relies upon students’ prior knowledge in learning acquisition and using hands-on tasks to understand new concepts. Even behaviorists focus on instruction with hands-on tasks for children to complete that help with growth and development of certain learning levels.

So is it safe to say that my instruction is only indicative of the constructivist theory? I think it is safer to say that for right now I am assured of only one thing, that my classroom environment and instruction although heavily founded in constructivism theory, it is possible for it to change on any given day. I think that that is the beauty of education. It can change and will, and whatever theory is influencing my students, it is apparent “on purpose” for a “specific reason” dependant upon my objectives and the climate of the classroom.

My ideas about educational technology have continued to grow. After having completed the Annotated Bibliography assignment, I found communication being at the heart of educational technology to be extremely interesting. Communication is a driving force of educational technology, making rationales relevant for use of such technologies in the classroom. Throughout the history of educational technology, it seems as though the goals have remained somewhat similar and that is: How can we effectively communicate information to students in a way that will engage and foster growth? Technology is and of itself a device for communicating to students and to the world. I am eager to continue to develop more insights into the relationship between educational technology and communication.

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