Sunday, September 30, 2007
(Check out the book's website!)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
One section that resonated for me appeared earlier in the article, under title "Knowing as Distributed in the World." (For another interesting article on this idea, read this. [pdf])
I think "distributed knowledge" has ramifications for how we see groups or teams working and learning together. If intelligence and knowledge is situationally located, this may explain why some groups of students (or workers, in a business context) work extremely well together, and may be more productive than another similarly constituted group. The consequences of "mixing up" a group, or changing the membership randomly (and/or often) might be poor team and individual performances. A Distributed Knowledge perspective might give us some insight into why this might happen.
Reading this section also makes me think of how we often structure both learning environments and assessment practices, particularly in high school. We used to seat students in rows, ask them to take individual notes, and discourage "chit-chat". Recently, we have been moving towards encouraging "think-pair-share", studying with a partner, and working in cooperative learning groups. Ironic that we still test students as individuals, without access to any of the tools, artifacts or books, or the communities and practices that surrounded them in their learning environment. Hmmm.
In the "real" world (teachers always say this, what does it really mean?) individuals often access the knowledge that is distributed across an office setting, asking co-workers or consulting various information sources (manuals, web, notes) without having to hold "the sum of all knowledge" in his/her head.
(For another article, read this. [pdf])
Interesting mention of "situated learning" on a New York School District webpage.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Lots more by Marc here.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The assumptions underlying ID (p22-23) made perfect sense to me, especially the 6th point (criterion based assessment, not norm referenced).
My sense is that Behaviourism works well when applied to learning actions that are meant to be automatic. Cognitive learning theories are more appropriate for more complex learning. (I think about learning the guitar in this context. You need to drill and memorize chord shapes, but you need to "understand" the music, and the theory behind it in order to be a virtuoso.) More to come....
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The article suggests readers check out the WWild Team (which I did) and subsequently found an interesting article on Learning Design on Reiber's website. I like what Reiber has to say on this site about his own "philosophy" so I'll quote it below. (Go to the site for the full picture.)
Learning and Design Philosophy
We characterize our learning philosophy as constructivist, but we are not radical constructivists. We do not believe that "anything goes." Ultimate truth may be unattainable, but we feel certain ideas are more usable and consistent with accepted theory (this is akin to von Glasersfeld's 1993 concept of viability). Even if our universe turns out to be a game cartridge in some alien's Nintendo video system, some ideas are more consistent with its programming than others. Physics is a perfect example of this. Newton's laws of motion are still viable because they have practical uses even though they are no longer considered "true" by physicists. Likewise, we feel that there are times that instruction is reasonable, needed, and expected. We describe ourselves as "eclectic constructivists" to show our interest in all good ideas for promoting learning regardless of their philosophical roots. [...] We take the position that teachers and students have certain roles, responsibilities, and expectations. However, we accept the epistemology of constructivism that meaning is an individual construction, though usually in a social context. Probably the best way to describe our design philosophy is "look for ways to trigger serious play."
I'm about 3/4 of the way through the Larry Cuban book "Oversold and Underused" and it's very interesting. In many ways, I feel a lot of sympathy for his premise: that computers are not making any appreciable difference in instruction, and that they are sucking a tremendous amount of resources away from other worthwhile projects. Personally, I'm of the mind that the technology can still make a difference, if only the teachers are sufficiently inserviced to know what to do!
Monday, September 17, 2007
I also borrowed a copy of "Oversold and Underused" by Larry Cuban. Sounds like a great read! I'll let you know what I think.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Now that my Grad program has started, I've had a chance to dig into the "Instructional Design" text by Smith and Ragan. I'm not sure what my thinking will be. I'm still wrestling with the idea that "design" can be "teacher-proof". I was excited by the 3 principles of the instructional design process: 1) Where are we going? 2) How will we get there? 3) How will we know we arrived? I see connections here with J. Wilhelm's "Essential Questions" (he's one of the many proponents) and the "backwards design" movement. The text also provides some additional "web based" material (which I found very helpful.) I also came across this site which lays out the steps in designing on-line instruction in the K-12 environment.
We were assigned a chapter from a book by Reiser and Dempsy on the History of Instructional Design. I found it interesting to see the cycle of introduction, hype and disappointment that seemed to accompany each new technology (ie. radio, film, TV, etc. ) As a librarian, it's ironic to see that each technology saw itself as a replacement for books. Also, the problems that faced educational TV ... a) teacher resistance, b) the expense of the systems, c) the inability of the medium to work in all situations, ... are the problems that bedevil adoption of the new technologies today. Some of the encouraging references I found: criterion-referenced assessment, formative evaluation, constructivism, authentic learning tasks.