Bridgette Fincher- Masters in Educational Technology and Leadership. 2006

Terms and Classes

Summer '05

Fall Term '05

 Winter Term '06

Spring/Summer Term '06

Action Research Project

Essential Question Four: Does development precede learning, or does learning precede development?  

Genetic Epistemology:  Piaget

Zone of Proximal Development: Vygotsky

Essential Question Three: Is our goal as educators to prepare an individual who can recall sets of information or develop groups of individuals who can apply the information to as yet unsolved problems?

Expert-Like Learners:  Bereiter and Scardamalia

How People Learn, Chapter 2:  Bransford, et al.

Follow Up Questions in Moodle:  9/23 You've thought about facts and concepts after reading Langer this week. Most of you seem to agree that it would be best to help everyone understand some "foundational basics" in a deep way rather than just memorizing facts that they don't understand and then could not later apply. But then we are left with deciding what some of these foundational basics might be. If we were allowed to our own "education space", whether that is K-12, higher ed, corporate, or any portion of that...what would we decide some of these basics should be?  As you answer this, you might also tell us something about how you decided that these things were important enough to be foundational. Remember.....there are no barriers. None of the problems you normally face with time or money. What would you decide if you could decide? Doc Sue.

9/27 Fascinating reading, this. If I were to dream, I must dream big. Dream of a world in which all the safety needs of the people were met. Academic learning accelerates if the learner is fed, safe, sheltered, nurtured, supported and challenged in a positive way. Imagine, a world where learning itself is a valued experience and the quest for it even more so. What if people were given time to seek out what holds value for them individually yet all work towards a greater societal whole? What if the aim was to become learned, articulate, reflective, curious, self-aware…conscious people.  

What if the foundation was not constructed of facts that shift depending on the situation or person but are cemented by core attitudes and values that stand the test of time?  BAF

9/27 Sarah R. I think you just described our real job, Bridgette.  Here's the "money" line:  "What if the aim was to become learned, articulate, reflective, curious, self-aware…conscious people."  It makes me wonder...what are the foundations if this is the goal?

9/28: We are what we model, yes? I have found it interesting that it doesn't really matter the subject or the overt style of the teacher (Well....mostly. I don't think the whip and browbeat teacher is going to get anywhere but more from the formal to the open constructed.) but what does matter is the passion, knowledge, articulation, ability to listen and assimilate other points of view, and caring that teacher has. As long as there is a connection point, things work. For me, this exercise in a perfect world wasn't about the time, money, subject, income of kids, educational level of the mothers, facts or knowledge. Really. Those are just the stuff of education. Variable and changing, and to be honest...being in thirteen different schools in my adult life as a teacher, I have pretty much run the gamut.  Building a strong sense of community within and without the classroom has been the one constant that has remained the same AND is at least do-able. I am a tired, old, veteran dog. Do I have vision? Yah...but it is tempered by pragmatism and a real sense of what battles are worth fighting. 

Ones that are worthwhile, specific, and honorable. Save the scattershot for another time. That just spins wheels and expends energy.  

And makes old dogs growley.....BAF

Essential Question Two: Is learning primarily focused on the transmission of facts and information or is it focused on the development of understanding of concepts and new knowledge?

Mindfulness and Teaching: A review of Ellen Langer’s work

An interview with Langer at The New York Philharmonic

Follow Up Questions in Moodle:  9/15   As we think about learning, we'll always try to make connections to the technology world. As I was pondering this, I was struck by the essence of the business models of these two companies.Google = access information Yahoo = access groups Both have become very strong and both are growing. Does one emphasize individual learning and one emphasize social learning? Did either have these learning models in mind?  Doc Sue   Resonating comments from Moodle are posted on the linked page.

Are There Any Facts?

9/22: Of course, one person's myth is another man's fact. It has always been an amazing thing to me, to see how over the stretch of time and location, how the recursive cycle of trying to define the big questions of the universe evolve and shift. What people of one time period think are facts, resting in the known, transmute into a later group's perception that these facts were myths of a less "developed" time. Such a tangled interweaving of faith, philosophy, facts and right that wily Greek philosopher Heraclites and his prescient  thought that the only thing permanent in this world is change. BAF 

9/25 Jason W. Knowledge is most definitely relative. There are many things that we consider to be facts, but they were learned, studied, and proven. That said, facts are what we consider to accepted information or knowledge. It takes time to be accepted, for a long time many accepted the Earth was flat and it was considered to be fact. Later when it was disproven by a bold journey across the Atlantic, it was proven that the Earth is not flat but a sphere. Centuries later, putting satellites and even people into space, thus proving what it is a sphere as we transmit over video feeds I keep hearing myself, say this message over and over. Facts, knowledge, education as a whole change. Change in Life and eventually  a change to death whatever that means to the individual is the only true absolute. As everything we know changes, so does how we learn. Each learner comes with their own tool and best style of learning for each individual.Learning for one's self or that "ahhhh hah" light bulb effect are key. Telling us everything about learning theory rather than challenging us to think about what learning is totally in effective and may be more like traditional education. We are grad students that seek greater or further learning and to retain that learning, we need to explore and come up with our conclusions as well. My opinion is just as valid as many others once i research a topic thoroughly, in this case learning style and education.  It may take several years to get to that level, but its a growing process and new perspectives most definitely offer new insights and discoveries. If we all learned what others wanted  us to learn, new discoveries would rarely be discovered. Self awakenings and discovery are essential to change.

Essential Question One: Is learning a solitary activity, undertaken by an individual, or is learning a social activity, something done by a group within a context? 

Learning Theory

Constructivism versus Objectivism:  Vrasidas

Learning is one of those fluid things that can attack a person in a multiplicity of ways. Like Cobb and Veridas, I favor the idea that “knowledge is both individual and shared. Unless the socially constructed knowledge is being processed in the individual's mind and related to her experiences, it will not be meaningful.” What I haven’t seen mentioned yet is the effect of culture towards valuing one over the other. Which calls to mind a computer conference that I went to in Singapore in 1997. In one particular session, being lead by a Taiwanese government official, touting his newest and best educational thing since sliced bread, and which was to be spread throughout the school sponsored systems. Virtual learning-one student interacting with one computer without a human teacher involved. He envisioned a roomful of one-on-one, with each individual competing for ranking in scores with his likewise hooked in class mates. No interactions to distract each student from his goal of learning the content but making sure rankings were kept in place. Pure. Simple. I was horrified. Needless to say, my hand shot up and thus ensued ten minutes of back and forth. In the end, he was as horrified with my chaotic and volatile version of group process as I was with what he espoused. Competition, single reality, black and white vs Cooperation, multiple points of view, and gray. Cultural values influence espoused best learning practices. BAF  

Moodle Responses.

Doc Sue:I, too, experienced this as the keynote speaker at a conference in Hong Kong on distance learning. I suggested that distance learning depended on connections and conversations. I'm sure the audience did not understand....but several of the instructors came up to me afterward to thank me because they did. Its interesting to me, though, to observe the shift in cultural dynamic here. The Eastern culture would say that a Westerner is too focused on individual gain as opposed to the good of the whole. Many say that Western companies have to become better at understanding how to deal with that Eastern perspective. It would be fascinating, then, if the Asians adopted an individual approach to distance learning....and we adopted a more networked approach in the 

Actually, it is hard to lump "Asians" into one group. The Japanese really are the collective group...they go around individually and talk to folks in the group to build consensus and then when the meeting is called, everything is decided and just needs to be rubber stamped. School wise, though, it is one curriculum taught in one way. If you don't get it, you sit to the side and you sleep while the teacher talks to those in the middle. Seen it myself. As for my limited exposure to the Chinese mind set- a year, it is not about the whole group moving as one for the benefit of all. It is the close family unit or the close business unit and the others can go hang. The schools in Taiwan are all about competition and ranking. It is not the learning that is important the grade. Yes, it is a collective but not one that is congruent with cooperation in the terms that we have been using. BAF 

Becky: Thanks for pointing out that lumping "the Asians" into one group is problematic.



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