Saturday, April 14, 2012

Final Reflection on Bridging Learning Theory, Instruction, and Technology

This course, Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology, began by compelling students to answer one important question, what is your personal theory of learning.  To discover my theory of learning, I first investigated my learning style. After careful consideration, reading the resources provided, and taking a quiz on, I realized, like 60% of the population, I am multimodal (Orey, 2001 pg. 9). Through research, reading, and lecture I realized that I use more than one learning theory in my class. I am multimodal in learning style; I am also multimodal in learning theory.      
I enjoyed learning about the development of the learning theories. What eras and what purposes were behind the advancement of the learning theories. According to George Siemens, behaviorism as a learning theory was developed in the early 20th century when researchers focused on behavior because “the mind is too complex” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009h). By the 1950s, researchers looked at the mind like a computer and cognitivism was born with its map of the brain and sensory input of information, short-term memory, code, and long-term memory (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009h). Finally, Siemens stated that constructivism was developed because of better brain research in decades that are more recent (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009h). Constructivism means that learning is the act of constructing knowledge, making memories and making sense of the world (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009h). Finally, connectivism is the act of forming networks and navigating networks of knowledge and there is a social dimension related to connectivism (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009h). Learning about learning theories was illuminating, especially when developing lessons.
            I will be using new technologies in my instructional practices. After experimenting with some newer technologies with my students, I will continue to use them to modify my lessons. My students conducted a mind-mapping exercise using The three students who gave up their time to work on the mind-map excelled in class during the review. The outcome of mind mapping was positive so I will introduce using it to my students to complete before reviews in the future. In addition, my classes also had a video conference with Tuskegee Airmen survivors, which made the war come alive for them. Finally, my seniors took part in a virtual field trip of Israel. During the virtual field trip, they learned a little Hebrew, saw the Israeli response to Memorial Day and learned about the daily lives of Arabs, Christians and Jews in Israel.
            My long-term goals include continuing to use the new technologies introduced in this course namely, mind mapping and VoiceThread. My strategy is simple, since I already teach using multiple learning theories to address the multiple learning styles of my students I will introduce the new technology as part of lessons that already exist. Using the new technologies will be more of a modification rather than a teardown and rebuild from scratch. Mind mapping was so successful for review that I am introducing it to my students as a way to study the materials so that their understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural (SPEC) changes in history will improve. Students were introduced to VoiceThread the week after it was used in this class. I will continue to teach the students how to use VoiceThread for their presentations in class. It will enable me to grade presentations from home, by making comments directly onto their VoiceThread, it also enables the students to hear and read the peer reviews of their presentations.
            As a final point, I will continue to add any new technologies I learn into my lessons. Modifying lessons so that students are using more problem based and student created projects will increase their ability to work together and learn the 21st century skills that are so important for their futures. As I learn more, I impart that learning to my students, which just makes them stronger using their research to develop their projects.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2009h). Program 8, Connectivism as a Learning Theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from       av=0&bhcp=1
Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved   from                       

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