By Christine Macfarlane
Just as Dorothy found herself in the strange world of OZ where things did not appear or work like they did in Kansas, teacher preparation candidates enrolled in distance learning, and technology-rich course environments often find themselves lost on the information highway and wondering what to make of OS (operating system). Candidates need a roadmap to facilitate acquisition of course content while utilizing a range of technology tools they may or may not be familiar and/or fluent in using. Similarly, university faculty members need expertise and options for implementing alternative course delivery methods. Distance learning is a necessary part of learning in today’s society. Continue reading
By Elizabeth Drake-Boyt
If the fundamental agreement between students and their instructor in carrying on a public discourse through an online class is compared to two tin cans and a string between them, what happens when one of the two ends of the string doesn’t stay connected? If either the instructor or the student fails to respond across the Internet in a timely manner, then the structure of continuity and cumulative dialogue-building so crucial to the nuances of a liberal arts class falter. While the failure of an individual student to respond does not destroy the class (I call such students “flat-liners”) the failure of the online instructor to respond quickly and efficiently certainly can.
By Stephen Gance, Ph.D. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Calls for the widespread use of computer-based educational technology often justify themselves by the potential to support some version of constructivism, seen to be a major improvement in education over more behaviorist or information transfer notions of teaching. In a seminal article, Allan Collins, an early proponent of constructivism and a leader in forming the field of cognitive science, contrasts two views of pedagogy that “have been at war for centuries”: the didactic and the constructivist (Collins, 1991, p. 29). Here Collins associates the didactic view with the behaviorist and information transfer models of teaching where the facts and concepts of a domain are directly taught to students. Constructivism shifts the attention from teaching to learning where students are to “construct their own understandings and capabilities in carrying out challenging tasks” (Collins, 1991, p. 29). Collins further links constructivism and technology implying that the new technology requires moving to this new philosophy of pedagogy.