Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Learning style readings

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thoughts on Teaching and Learning 2.0

New perspectives on teaching, learning and technology are appearing everywhere. Some of the “new” terms we are finding are “Learning Spaces,” “Web 2.0,” “Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing,” just to name a few. Thinking on how this may impact teaching and learning, I pulled out several books (trying to find a unifying thread) … Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century” … If the world is becoming flatter, has our teaching and learning responded in kind? Have we viewed teaching as a communal effort? Do we have a global classroom? Is our curriculum reflecting the integrated and inter-related nature of knowledge, learning and success? Do we see the classroom as a point of convergence? The world has moved “from a primary vertical – command and control – system for creating value to a more horizontal – connect and collaborate – value-creation model” (Friedman, 2006, p. 234).

Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” … "Mavens are data banks. They provide the message" (Gladwell, 2002, p. 70) … mavens may be more than the teacher. The resources for learning, the library, may provide some of the content for the message. Students learning from students may also provide a message. "Connectors are the social glue: they spread it" (Gladwell, 2002, p. 70) … collaborative learning, cooperative learning, project-based learning, problem-based learning … each of the pedagogies of engagement would indicate that learning TOGETHER with others is powerful. "... there is also a select group of people - Salesmen - with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing ..." (Gladwell, 2002, p. 70) … I believe Gladwell may be describing newer roles for teaching and learning.

In “Blink” Gladwell focuses on thin-slicing … or “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience” (Gladwell,2005, p. 23) … is this where we know what works in a classroom? How do we learn how to thin-slice?

Do we need to revisit and repurpose our perceptions of teaching and learning? Can the changes in technology be used to guide us? Is it time?

Friedman, T. (2006). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

Gladwell, M. (2002). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink: The power of thinking without thinking. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Multiple Intelligences, Technology, Teaching and Learning

While the growth of our understanding of learning has matured with and without technology, the presence of technology within our educational systems needs to be reexamined. Noting that “technologies out to be mobilized for better instruction” (Gardner, 2000, p. 33), we need to begin to see how technologies can help students. It is not the presumption that all technologies can help all students equally, but that certain technologies can help certain students (Veenema and Gardner, 1996).

Understanding learning styles is critical to integrating technology into teaching (Grasha and Yanbarger-Hicks, 2000). By understanding how students learn and how our teaching can impact learning, we can begin to identify how technology can be matched to a particular learning style and, ultimately a teaching style (Gardner, 2000). Extending this to the theory of Multiple Intelligences, we can begin to imagine multiple modalities of instruction, multiple forms of assessment and a modular-type classroom. Students working together, in small groups, with a facilitator or teacher as a resource. Technology would be available, but not required. Students could determine what technology they needed. Learning becomes learner-centered and learner-focused.

Gardner, H. (2000) Can technology exploit our many ways of knowing? In D. T. Gordon (Ed.), The digital classroom: How technology is changing the way we teach and learn (pp. 32 – 35). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Letter.

Grasha, A., & Yanbarger-Hicks, N. (2000). Integrating teaching styles and learning styles with instructional technology. College Teaching, 48(1), 2-10.

Veenema, S., & Gardner, H. (1996). “Multimedia and multiple intelligences.” The American Prospect 7(29), 70-75.

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