School today is a much different place from 2002. Thinking back to my public school experience. We had very few computers, instructors used over-head projectors, and technology was still evolving. My six-year-old son knows more about Apple products than his grandmother. He teaches her how to use certain apps and games. I often wondered if I would set stricter limits on his technology use. When he was in pre-school we used to get weekly newsletters from his teacher. One of them focused on the use of technology and children. The newsletter stated children should only be exposed to 30 minutes of technology on a daily bases. I wondered if this fact was outdated. When I watched my son play learning games, he learns so quick and he is engaged. My son is autistic, so technology may be easier for him to process then human expression. I often wondered what practical skills my son could learn from technology and learning apps. And how we can recreate his engagement in the classroom. After reviewing this week’s resources it seems it is possible.
Seedy-Brown discusses technology and what it is capable of teaching to new students. Students who are literate in the technological world can navigate wealths of information in short periods of time. The internet allows us to have access to more information than ever before. And this article also discusses the possible skills people can acquire from gaming. Strategic planning, evaluation, program development, and daily maintenance are all necessary skills in order to be a successful leader in gaming. I really appreciated this article articulating the skills acquired through gaming. I knew gaming taught participants, I just couldn’t make the connection to education and practical learning.
Mazur’s Peer Instruction model allows students to reflect on their own learning then engage with other students about the concepts being discussed in class. The students then reach consensus on what they believe to be the correct answer. This process allows students to think about their argument, articulate their argument and assess the concepts with other students. I believe this method to be built from the constructivist theory. The learners are interpreting their own response to the knowledge, they observe what other students claim to be their own personal reality, and they apply their knowledge when they have to defend their argument.
As I was watching one of the Youtube videos I was reflecting on my own learning. He asked the students to think of something they are really good at, then to think about how they learned it. When he asked the students if they learned this thing they are really good at in a lecture – no one raised their hand. It made me think of how I learned what I am really good at. It wasn’t in a lecture. I learned by experiencing it and living it. When I listen to lectures, I take notes, and ask questions. But I don’t become fully confident in the information presented. Learning does not work that way. So then I wondered, why do we teach this way? He also made a clear point when he said, your mind is being held captive during lectures. When I give lectures in my classes, I am able to see when students tune out. They are only able to listen for so long in one class session. So I try to reengage them by asking questions. But after listening to Mazur I realize disengagement may not be the only issue here. It may be a symptom of a larger issue, which is the methodology we chose to use.
Learning in the 21st century has to engage technology. There is no way around it. The generations coming up, like my son, are going to have the capabilities to learn more about technology than ever before. I think limiting their technology use to 30 minutes a day may be too much. When I see how much he can learn from technology, I see possibilities. The Framework for 21st Century Student Outcomes include content knowledge, innovation skills, information technology, and life skills. These goals align with Mazur’s Peer Instruction in that it uses technology and allows students to think critically about the concepts discussed in class. I only saw one example of the Peer Instruction and it didn’t link the concepts learned in class to real-world situations. One goal for the 21st Century Students Framework is real-world practical skills. Students need to learn how to navigate the outside world. That was not shown in the videos I watched. It doesnt mean Mazur is lacking in these areas, I just didn’t see them.