Friday, February 25, 2011

Constructivism: It's Pointless If We Don't Practice What We Preach

  • Most all of us preach engagement, interaction, and social constructivist approaches to teaching and learning.
  • We believe that those resources are best that persist online so that students can visit and re-visit, posting comments and engaging in asynchronous discussions.
  • We believe that our class materials are not static; they require vigilant attention to update and modify as context and circumstances change.
  • And, many of us believe that open resources are best – they represent good virtual ecology as expressed by openly sharing our work with the rest of the world through the Web.

Source: Flickr Commons Image #: 74-H-1056
Why then do we insist on using a flat, not dynamic, not interactive, not broadly sharable Power Point for all of our classroom and conference presentations?

Where is worldwide sharing via the Web?

Where is the interaction?

Where is the opportunity for the audience who attended our session to comment?

How do we push updates out to all those who attended our presentations?

Open Educational Resources

Learning is Sharing
is the motto of the OER Commons.

What is an OER?
Digitized materials offered freely and openly to the world (educators, students, self-learners).

OER Resources

Active Learning

Despite overwhelming research (and common sense) that passive learning is less effective than active learning, many classes emphasize passive approaches.

Passive Approaches Emphasize
  • Lectures
  • Readings
  • Watching video
  • Listening to audio
  • Observing demonstrations
Active Approaches Emphasize
  • Interaction through discussion
  • Student<->Student Interactions
  • Faculty<->Student Interactions
  • Student presentations
  • Group projects
  • Simulations
  • Problem solving

Blooms Taxonomy Revised

Bloom's Taxonomy was recently revised in light of new research and the advent of digital resources as exemplified by the Web 2.0 technologies.

Bloom's Taxonomy verbs
Note that the descriptors for the "new" Bloom's Taxonomy are all verbs. There are some excellent lists of active verbs for the older taxonomy version.

Workshop Topics

Pro: Easy learning curve, comments, embeds easily, can add audio, publish to web, live video conferencing
Con: audio can be tricky to add, small size can make slides hard to read

Google Presentations
Pro: Easy to learn, chat with co-editors in real time, embeds easily, publish to web
Con: No Audio, upload/download feature is not great

Pro: Easy to learn and modify, can incorporate other tools learned in workshop, hyperlinks and comments are easy to add
Con: Small text (modify through browser)

Pro: non-linear, visual
Con: more difficult to learn, "dizzy" transitions

Pick Your Poison
Many of these tools follow the standard Web 2.0 practice of a free version or a free trial with additional features available for a fee.