Archive for category LearningScience

Online Schools is at the “peak of inflated expectations” – Larry Cuban

I read a blog post by Larry Cuban talking about the hype of online learning especially at high school level and what drives the hype. He referred to the news coming from Stanford University where the Stanford Online High School graduated 30 seniors this year.

What struck me was the explanation of the hype cycle and the causes. Many have commented on his post and as expected there are many who are not fully convinced on the promises of such technological innovation and radical changes to the teaching and learning.

As a classroom teacher, I feel like taking the side of the teachers but as a technology enthusiast and learning sciences researchers I am somewhat convinced that technology can make a difference and teachers need to learn to live with it. That being said, I agree that teachers will and should play a vital role in the learning experiences of high school children regardless of the medium( virtual or in a physical classroom). Effective teachers should and would be able to teach with or without technology.

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Now You See It

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Rogers, Graham, & Mayes(2007) – Cultural competence and instructional design

Research questions explored the study are:
(1) Are they aware of the differences between themselves and the cultural group for whom they are designing instruction?
(2) If so:
(a) How did they become aware of these differences?
(b) What importance do these differences assume in their thinking?
(c) How does understanding cultural differences affect instructional design practice?

Cultural characteristics are often vaguely defined and measured based on national level rather than more measurable features. The authors agreed with Maitland and Bauer’s conclusion, ‘‘national level characteristics must not be interpreted at the individual level’’ (p. 90). Although some attempts have been made at creating and using measures to reveal individual placement on some of these scales (see Clem, 2005; Neuliep, 2003), automatically imposing generalized frameworks, especially those derived from other fields, should be approached with caution.

The authors argue that we need:

“a more dynamic approach” …..that would  “account for both the complexities of the learners’ cultural predispositions as well as their individual uniqueness and ability to change.”(p. 4)

 

As Schwen, Evans, and Kalman (2005) elaborated, ‘‘The fault, if there is any, is not with the practitioners who are of necessity practicing at the edge of the professions knowledge. Rather the scholars in the community should
be attempting to make sense of especially sophisticated practice’’ (p. 13). For this reason, there is a gap, and more exploration is needed by researchers into the complex reality of practitioners.

Grounded theory was chosen to inform the methodology of this study because it is ideal for this type of exploratory research, allowing the complex multi-faceted issues to emerge without pre-imposing rigid definitions, and for future theory and research to be more grounded in real-world, lived experiences of actual practitioners (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Goulding, 2002).

 

culture can influence your expectations of yourself as a learner, and then your expectations of the teacher; those are the most basic ways that culture influences learning.

What is the process by which learners change and adapt to instructional techniques and approaches that are foreign to them—and how can we help to bridge the gaps more effectively?
• How can we find more ways to prove that being culturally responsive is worth it in the long run (for both financial and ethical reasons)?

 

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Learning principles

I came across an interesting talk by Dr. Marsha Lovett’s of CMU Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence on how we can derive principles for creating learning materials( esp. OER) based on the research on Learning Sciences. She discussed three key principles:

  1.   Learning is skills specific. – Students learn the skills they practice and only those they practice
  2.   New knowledge is acquired through the lens of prior knowledge – Students see things differently from the way we do( What we intuitively feel will foster learning may not even be understood by students).
  3.   Learners refine their knowledge and skill with timely feedback and subsequent opportunities to practice – feedback and opportunities for additional practice is important part of learning process.

The entire video of this presentation is available at mms://wms.andrew.cmu.edu/001/OLI/OLI_2008_s1.wmv

 

 

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Goals of Learning science

“Learning results from what the student does and thinks, and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.” Prof. Simon of CMU.

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