Sunday, 8 November 2015

E-Pegagogies, Critical Reading and Reflection

Write a blog post providing one example of each of the four types of learning theories. For example, you might describe how collaborative learning can be supported through a group wiki activity, or the use of a blog to promote reflective learning. Also indicate what you think are the key strengths of each and what disadvantages there might be with them.

Associative: Focus on individual Learning through association and reinforcement: 

For example the primary school that uses daily use of Mathletics to both reinforce and provide diagnostic assessment information to map out differentiated and group learning for the coming weeks. The teacher and support staff have a medium term plan for the mathematics programme and deliver short and very focused skills based workshops in groups for the students - tailored to the needs of that particular group. Using Chromebooks students log into Mathletics between these sessions to practice related exercises with constant feedback and scores. Staff are able to review the progress of individuals and the group to plan who will need to work in which sub-group and the short term programme for the class.

Strong positives seen within this type of work

  • Pace of work while in small groups with the teacher is rapid and there is a sense of purpose and value - ‘we need to learn this to make progress with that’
  • Content can be strongly tailored to the needs of each learner
  • Feedback for the learner is never a surprise - self assessment became very reliable in terms of making summative judgements.

Possible disadvantages

  • Over time the use of Mathematics will become less and less compelling through repetition. If overused as a strategy learners may well become disengaged
  • Requires on-demand access to IT resource to make the mix of group work and online work flexible - the minute it becomes fixed the whole point of responding to student-need is lost.

Constructivist: Building on prior knowledge Task Orientated: 

For example the class project looking at the design and manufacture of shoes. A skeleton website structure created in Google Sites by the teacher with sub-sections allocated to teams of students, within which each individual holds responsibility for one or more areas. Groups review the prior knowledge they have and research material and then have an open ended series of sessions to develop and link their work.

Strong positives seen within this type of work

  • Learners highly engaged and help responsible for making progress by their peers
  • Learners actively looking for connections between their work and their peers
  • Learners dedicating substantial amounts beyond class time to develop their work
  • Learners engaged in critically reviewing each other’s work (making it bot constructivist and situative in many ways).

Possible disadvantages

  • Time spent on form vs content - the class could spend significant amounts of time and effort on things that were relevant to completion of the project rather than building their knowledge (but making it a project that also had assessment credit for the IT skills mitigated this)
  • Requires dedicated IT resources

Situative: Learning through social interaction & learning in context: 

For example the use of SimCity within a topic for Geography class with low rates of prior progress, where short periods of game play are then used for review and discussion within the group (both online and as time allowed in class discussion). Simple questions like "how would we advise Paul to play the next 10 minutes" with guided follow up questions about the course content ("build more roads" "why? what difference will better road links make?" As well as allowing the students opportunities to test ideas against the model it prompts discussion about the realism of the model itself - helping them to relate the content of the course to the simulation to their experiences outside the classroom.

Strong positives seen within this type of work

  • Learners had fun but realised that computer models are by no means perfect - looking at the faults in the model made them think about the world the model tried to represent
  • Some quite abstract material was made highly accessible and students that had difficulty describing them in writing had safe and simple ways to articulate them verbally

Possible disadvantages

  • Constant change of state from teacher led work to gameplay to group discussion tested the resilience of everyone involved - the teacher had to use a range of behaviour management strategies to keep the students working to the required pattern
  • If unchecked gameplay time could become very unproductive. Cases where the students played the game without looking to follow through on the work at hand needed to be picked up early and addressed.

Connectivist: Learning in a networked environment: 

For example developing writing skills by asking pupils to frequently take “time out” to review the work of others and then to write as a team online. By assigning roles (e.g. person charged to enrich the quality of words used in the paragraphs, accuracy and grammar lead, plot building lead) the teacher can target particular strengths of members of the group or of course areas for development.

Strong positives seen within this type of work

  • Even reluctant writers found themselves making progress
  • The most able were able to take on roles that truly stretched them
  • The final quality of writing was very high
  • Subsequently individual writing was better for all the group

Possible disadvantages

  • One member of the group could have a very negative impact on the progress of the group as a whole, so they had to be carefully constructed and small (2-3 people)
  • Roles had to be rotated to prevent specialisation.

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