Monday, June 1, 2015

Notes and Thoughts About Types of Learning and Learning Technologies

This week was the first of the course, and it was also the week report card drafts were due, so the course took a backseat until today - Sunday. The introduction video was of a model primary class and showed students learning through Minecraft. It was a good reminder of what a class could look like.

Sidenote - video lectures are more powerful when participants are required to answer comprehension/thought questions during the videos.

We watched a video of a class that learned about butterflies. My first thought was of UBD, and my next was that I wish I had seen what the other students in the class were doing when the teacher pulled a small group to guide them through the iMovie process. I liked what the teacher was doing, but if it was my class, I know I would have had students coming up to me with questions - unless they were free playing.

I liked how children worked in pairs with iPads. They were each working on their own task, but were engaged with each other through conversation. This shows technology does not always promote a "zombie-like" atmosphere.

We were then asked to take a quiz and save this answer for later reflection:

What are your main reasons for thinking ICT should or should not be used in primary education?
Some think students need more tactile practice to help develop fine motor skills, and technology does not always facilitate that.

I had planned on completing this Coursera course ... but then I found a different one that really appealed to me called How to Teach Us offered by High Tech High. Since I am taking a summer course, I don't have time for all three.


The following is a chart from the course resources.
Table 1: Definitions of learning types
Learning type
The learning experience
Learning through acquisition is what learners are doing when they are listening to a presentation or podcast, reading from books or websites, and watching demos or videos.
This is probably still the most common type of learning in formal education. The student is playing a relatively passive role while the teacher uses the transmission mode of teaching… We cannot avoid learning through acquisition. Students need to learn what others have discovered, to hear about expert ways of thinking and practising, and what is known already about the subject. Enabling students to build on the work of others is fundamental to formal education and the progressive development of ideas.
Learning through discussion requires the learner to express their ideas and questions, and to challenge and respond to the ideas and questions from the teacher, and/or from other students.
The discussion may or may not end with a consensual outcome. The pedagogic value is the reciprocal critique of ideas, and how this leads to the development of a more elaborated conceptual understanding.

Learning through investigation guides the learner to explore, compare and critique the texts, documents and resources that reflect the concepts and ideas being taught.
Rather than having to ‘follow the storyline’, as in learning through acquisition, they are in control of the sequence of information, and can ‘follow their own line of inquiry’, making them more active, and giving them a greater sense of ownership of their learning, taking a critical and analytical approach, and thereby coming to a fuller understanding of the ideas.
Learning through practice enables the learner to adapt their actions to the task goal, and use the feedback to improve their next action. Feedback may come from self-reflection, from other students, from the teacher, or from the activity itself - if it shows them how to improve the result of their action in relation to the goal of the activity.
This helps them to develop, understand and use the knowledge and skills of a discipline, like ‘learning by doing’, or ‘learning through experience’.
Learning through collaboration embraces mainly discussion, practice, and production. Building on investigations and acquisition it is about taking part in the process of knowledge building itself.
It is distinct from learning through practice because although it builds something this is necessarily done through participation and negotiation with peers. It is distinct from learning through production, because although it produces something this is through debate and sharing with others.
Learning through production is the way the teacher motivates the learner to consolidate what they have learned by expressing their current conceptual understanding and how they used it in practice.
Producing an output generates a representation of the learning enabled by the other types. In its simplest form it is the learner’s expression of their current thinking, which enables the teacher to see how well they have learned, and to respond with feedback, guidance and further explanation.

Table 2: Definitions of ‘learning types’ in terms of typical technologies used
Learning types
Conventional technology
Digital technology
Reading books, papers;
Listening to teacher presentations face-to-face, lectures;
Watching demonstrations, master classes.
Reading multimedia resources, websites, digital documents and resources;
Listening to podcasts, webcasts;
Watching animations, videos.
Small group project, discussing other students’ outputs, creating a joint output.
Small group project, using online forums, wikis, chat rooms, etc. for discussing other students’ outputs, creating a joint digital output.
Tutorials, tutor groups, student seminars (students leading discussion), discussion groups, class discussions.
Online tutorials, tutor groups and seminars, email discussions, discussion forums, web-conferencing tools (synchronous and asynchronous).

Using text-based study guides;
Analysing the ideas and information in a range of materials and resources;
Using books, people, field trips, to collect data for analysis;
Comparing texts, searching and evaluating information and ideas.
Using online advice and guidance;
Analysing the ideas and information in a range of digital resources;
Using digital tools to collect and analyse data;
Comparing digital texts, using digital tools for searching and evaluating information and ideas.
Doing practice exercises; using tools; doing practice-based projects, labs, field trips, face-to-face role-play activities.
Using digital tools, models, simulations, digital games, microworlds, virtual labs and field trips, online role-play activities.
Producing their own representations of what they have learned, using statements, essays, reports, accounts, designs, performances, artefacts, animations, models, videos.
Producing and storing digital documents, representations of designs, performances, artefacts, animations, models, resources, slideshows, photos, videos, blogs, e-portfolios.
Definitions are taken from Chapters 6-11 in Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. New York and London: Routledge.

We know that the best learning comes when teachers use multiple approaches to to expose/engage students in the material. When planning, teachers should consider how to incorporate these learning types into the lessons, and consider possibilities

  • What are the types of learning we are trying to elicit from our students?
  • Here is the teaching/learning problem - how can technology help?

ICT and types of learning about
The Ecosystems of Rice Fields
Learning through:
Students learning about your topic could be using:
Teacher selected videos, teacher-created 
A class-generated, teacher-facilitatd GDoc
Teacher-selected website, Skype
Doodlebuddy, Kidspiration Venn Diagram, Mindmapper
ShowMe, Adobe Voice, iMovie
Adobe Voice, iMovie, ShowMe

Given my learning and teaching goals, how can technology help?

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