Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Reflections on my Epistemology and Philosophy for EDU504

What new knowledge of learning theory will you take into the classroom with you, and how will that affect the implementation of technology in your instruction? 

I’ve learned the importance of theory over learning styles and how a blend of theories might offer the best practice from teachers and instructional designers. A thorough understanding of learning theories can help me implement and design instruction for my students, determine their level of competence and achieve the learning tasks in a blended learning environment for my 2nd graders.(Ertmer & Newby 1993) Applying appropriate methods for achievement and optimal growth may be influenced by different theories. Proof or evidence of effective methods need continuous study.  
Change can be shaped by goals and the context of learning.  The constructivists view of self-regulated and self-directed students in a student-centered inquiry based classroom is another piece that I would encourage in my classroom as I set up lessons that teach and embrace those beliefs. I use Raz-Kids, an individual personalized reading program, but would like to implement Khan Academy next year as part of my blended learning environment.  Using an inquiry approach to my reading groups with Inquiry Circles in Action (Loertscher, Harvey, & Daniels 2010) would allow me to  teach comprehension and collaboration together.

Two other conditions, that are more connectivist in nature, are group culture and social climate, which I find are key factors when modeling and teaching to our classroom and individual blogs. I want to incorporate my traditional role of “the teacher” to “the facilitator of learning” as then I can become a co-learner in both virtual and physical learning environments of my classroom.  (Poutanen, Parviainen, & Ã…berg 2011)  The conceptual goals for the practice of blended learning are to break ground on organizational communication and to gain knowledge of new theories and experiences of applying them. The understanding these theories will help facilitate the learning process of my students, which is a crucial part of a blended learning environment to ensure engagement and participation.   
Talk is cheap when it comes to technology integration.  Educators that are in front of this storm, need evidence to support their thinking and application.  We can't just try the newest "shiny" toy and expect results.
As I understand from the self-regulated model, goal setting, self-assessment, self-instruction and self-reinforcement are key factors.  With 2nd graders, they continue to need explicit instruction and supported development of reading strategies and comprehension skills. Through assessments (PALS, DRA or the Raz-Kid Assessment) students are placed by the teacher on their own individual level with the Raz-kids program.  They will individually listen to, read and be quizzed on the ebook stories at their level.  The teacher then helps with goal setting for each individual student, which is extremely important in self-regulation.  Raz-Kids program then lets the teacher assign specific ebooks that give additional practice to skills not met on the quizzes.   This program lets the teacher monitor progress efficiently, but puts the students in the drivers seat as they try to meet their goal at their own pace.  However, as the teacher, it is important for me to monitor and explicitly teach concepts that students are showing that they need during Raz-Kids.  Teachers can assign an assessment or running record that can be scored with student present.  All of these pieces used together will provide a solid framework to help children move into that self-regulated model that gives them the self-efficiency to accomplish their goals.  Teachers, though are an integral part of this process in 2nd grade.  
Even though I haven't started using Khan Academy with my students, I see the process similar to Raz-Kids.  Khan Academy helps you place students at their level in math and then builds from there using practice points and videos to help students move along their structured pacing. Again, with 2nd graders, teacher interaction is crucial.
 After a bit of research, I found an article that helped describe self-regulation and self-direction in a classroom using technology enhanced learning.  I would like to implement a more formal structure of goal setting, by keeping a journal of reflections of tasks they don't understand or to progress monitor themselves.  


Cemal Nat, MuesserWalker, SimonBacon, LizDastbaz, Mohammad and Flynn, Ryan (2011) Impact of metacognitive awareness on learning in technology enhanced learning environments. In: eTeaching and Learning Workshop, 1 Jun 2011, The University of Greenwich, London, UK. (In Press) 
Ertmer, P.A., & Newby, T.J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from  an instructional design perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 6(4), 50-72.
Loertscher, D. V., Harvey, S., & Daniels, H. (2010). COMPREHENSION AND COLLABORATION: INQUIRY CIRCLES IN ACTION. Teacher Librarian, 37, 4.
Poutanen, P., Parviainen, O., & Aberg, L. (2011). Conditions for self-organizing and creativity in blended learning environments. On the Horizon, 19, 4, 286-296.