Tuesday, February 15, 2005

learning & teaching

I am trying here to capture some of my thoughts on where I stand with regards to teaching and learning philosophies. This writing reflects what has worked best for me in my teaching context and what fits my overall approach to life. I am always interested in exploring new teaching techniques, trying them out to see if they fit in with my teaching style and how my students learn best. However, I would not see myself as someone who jumps on every educational bandwagon that comes along. Instead I am someone who explores and evaluates new ways and then works at them to eventually use them to do things better.

I have over the years, studied, reflected on, evaluated and explored various teaching and learning theories. Almost 25 years of teaching practice has taught me that the learning about learning never stops. One of the things I have learnt, is that being a learner makes me more empathetic towards the needs of the learners. This year is no exception, I will be doing two more courses towards the Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning and continuing on my ongoing M Phil – about to be upgraded to Phd – studies at Griffith University with Dr. Stephen Billett.

My philosophies on learning have matured over time, my leanings are towards constructivist cognition with an emphasis on social interactions. These ideas are clumped together and referred to as socio-cultural learning theories or social constructivism. My research studies are based on the work of Vygotsky, Lave & Wenger’s Situated Learning, Wenger’s Communities of Practice and Brown, Collins and Duguid’s Cognitive Apprenticeships. Of late, the writing of John Seely Brown have been influential in my elearning teaching, in particular, his article on Growing Up Digital. I have applied much of what I have learnt about teaching and learning into all of my teaching practice. At last year’s ITPNZ efest, I presented a paper on cognitive apprenticeships and their application to elearning.

I learn best by doing and am continually trying out new types of technology to see how useful they might be in my teaching context. I also find that I learn much from my students by talking to them about their attitudes to new technology and how they use these in their daily lives. In short, I have over the last few years been exploring how to use the tools that young people take for granted, to provide them with better learning opportunities. Alongside these explorations has been an investigation into how access to information via the WWW and communications technology contributes towards helping to form young people’s sense of identities.

I am setting this out so that readers of this blog will understand some of the reasons why I am going down the road of exploring ePortfolios using mlearning tools. My belief is that ePortfolios have an important role in helping young people consolidate their learning about themselves and their work. mlearning technology is evolving to a position whereby it can be useful not only a tool to transfer digital data but also as a really viable component of social constructivist learning. The really exciting bit is that the combination of e-Portfolios and m-learning into m-portfolios allows both synchronous and situated learning to take place with learners who are based in the workplace.


Derek Baird said...
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Derek Baird said...

Wenger wrote this article a few years back for the Harvard Business Review (HBR). I used this article in my MA research and found it to be a great resource to introduce the CoP concept to people.

Harvard Business Review is a great resource for articles/research, so be sure to check there also.

Hope this helps!