Sunday, June 10, 2012

Koehler & Mishra Article and Response

The article "Teachers Learning Technology by Design" by Mathew Koehler and Punya Mishra, focused on how teachers can "develop a flexible and situated understanding of technology" through the Learn By Design model. Emphasized is the notion that many teacher education programs focus on training pre and in service teachers how to use technology tools but do not develop "an understanding of the complex set of interrelationships between artifacts, users, tools, and practices" (94). The Learn By Design model takes on s very social constructivist approach where the students are actively engaged in learning, there can be more than one answer to a problem, and the teacher acts as a facilitator of knowledge and assists the students when they have questions or are looking to move on to the next step.

The author’s discuss on pages 95 and 96 key components that make up a definition for teaching design such as creative, holistic, new, different educational values, and is achieved by doing and practicing rather than through direct instruction. Three different examples from three different classes are given from using the Design By Learning approach. All of these examples and projects were different yet similar in the fact that technological problems occurred, there was group work, a lot of individual learning and discussion, and the teacher acted as a facilitator. Everyone learned a great deal from each other and their projects and the authors conclude by stating "design is also difficult because solutions are not easy to develop" (99) and it requires teachers to navigate through tools, artifacts, and contexts.

After reading this article I thought it was very well rounded and it was nice the authors acknowledged the problems that students encountered while working with the technology in both the classroom and for their projects because it shows they were not experts either and that technology problems can happen to anyone at anytime. The tech classes sounded very similar to what our 537 class is set up like and the same type of projects but on a different time scale. We learn a lot based on individual assignments but also work in groups to explore tools or projects while the teacher acts as the facilitator.

For my technology project I am creating a wiki involving the subject of Global Studies. More specifically I am focusing in on a particular unit within the Global Studies framework which is a unit on the Cold War. The wiki will be very much based on content and information like how the wiki for our FLEX program is set up. I like the idea of a wiki because it is something that can be used year after year and information, sources, and valuable sites can be updated and added to it over time. The wiki itself is the technology part of the TPCK model but within the content there is going to be pictures, videos, and possibly virtual tours and games. For the content I envision it being set up like a timeline so students (or anyone else) can follow the information from the Cold War's origins to the end. There is going to be key dates, events, leaders, and countries. This content wiki could be used as a place for review if students missed or were unclear about something, a study guide, or simply a place to learn more about a topic. To teach this content, it would probably depend on the class but involve methods of lecture, individual and group work around questions or a project on some aspect of the time period, videos from YouTube and full length like Thirteen Days portraying the Cuban Missile Crisis and the fear and tension of the time. A wiki can serve in many different capacities and can be very effective in a classroom.

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