Thursday, August 26, 2010

✿ The Computer as the Teacher’s Tool ✿

Lesson 11

Constructivism – was introduced by Piaget (1981) and Bruner (1990). They gave stress to the knowledge discovery of new meanings/concepts/principles in the learning process. Various strategies have been suggested to foster knowledge discovery, among these, is making students engaged in the gathering unorganized information from which they can induce ideas and principles. Students are also asked to apply discovered knowledge to new situations, a process for making their knowledge applicable to real life situations.

            While knowledge is constructed by the individual learner in constructivism, knowledge can also be socially constructed. Social Constructivism- this is an effort to show that the construction of knowledge is governed by social, historical and cultural contexts. In effect, this is to say that the learner who interprets knowledge has a predetermined point of view according to the social perspective of the community or society he lives in.

            The psychologist Vygotsky stressed that the learning is affected by social influences. He therefore suggested the interactive process in learning. The more capable adult (teacher or parent) or classmate can aid or compliment what the learner sees in a given class project. In addition, Dewey sees language as a medium for social coordination and adaptation. For Dewey human learning is really human languaging that occurs when students socially share, build and agree upon meaning and knowledge.
Social Constructivism
Knowledge is a constructed by the individual
Knowledge is constructed within a social context
Definition of learning
Students build their own learning
Students build knowledge influenced by the social context
Learning Strategies
Gather unorganized information to create new concept/principle
Exchange and share form ideas, stimulates thinking
General Orientation
Personal discovery of knowledge
Students discuss and discover meanings
8*5 – 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8
Two alternative job offers
Option 1 – 8 hrs./day
for 6 days/week

The Computer’s Capabilities

          Given its present-day speed, flexibility and sophistication, the computer can provide access to information, foster creative social knowledge-building, and enhance the communication of the achieved project package. Without the computer, today’s learners may still be assuming the tedious tasks of low-level information gathering, building and new knowledge packaging. But this is not so, since the modern computer can help teacher-and-students to focus on more high level cognitive tasks.
            Based on the two learning theories, the teacher can employ the computer as a/an:
●      An information tool
●      A communication tool
●      A constructive tool
●      As co- constructive tool
●      A situating tool

Informative tool. The computer can provide vast amounts of information in various forms, such as texts, graphics, sound, and video. Even multimedia encyclopedias are today available on the Internet.
            The internet itself provides an enormous database from which user can access global information resources that includes the latest news, weather forecasts, airline schedule, sports development, entertainment news and features, as well as educational information directly useful to learners. The internet on education can be sourced for kids of educational resources on the internet.
            Along the constructivist point of view, it is not enough for learners to download relevant information using the computer as an information tool. Students can use gathered information for compositions or presentation projects as may be assigned by the teacher. Given the fact that the internet can serve as a channel for global communication, the computer can very well be the key tool for video teleconferencing sessions.

Communicative tools. The communicative tools are systems which enable easy communication between the teacher and the students or among students beyond the physical barrier either by space, time or both) of the classroom. Examples of communicative tools include e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, chat, teleconferencing and electronic white boards. Communicative tools can be divided into two sub-categories, Synchronous and Asynchronous. Synchronous Communicative tools include chat, electronic white boards or video conferencing), on the one hand, enable real-time communication. Asynchronous Communicative tools include e-mail and electronic bulletin boards), on the other hand, are messaging systems in which the exchange of information between people is not live but is somehow delayed.

Constructive tool. The computer itself can be used for manipulating information, visualizing one’s understanding, and building new knowledge. TheMicrosoft Word program itself is desktop publishing software that allows organizing and presenting their ideas in attractive formats.
Co-constructive tools. Students can use constructive tools to work cooperatively and construct a shared understanding of new knowledge. One way of co-construction is the use of the electronic white boards where students may post notices to a shared document/whiteboard. Students may also co-edit the same document from their homes.

Situating tool. By means of virtual reality (RS) extension systems, the computer can create 3-D images on display to give the user the feeling that are situated in a virtual environment. A flight simulation program is an example of situating tool which places the user in a simulated flying environment.
            Multi-User Domains or Dungeons (MUDs), MUD Object-oriented (MOOs), and Multi-User shared hallucination (MUSHs) are examples of situating systems. MUDs and MOOs are mainly text-based virtual reality environments on the internet. When users log on to a MOO environment, they may interact with the virtual reality (such as by writing on a notice board) through simple text-based commands. A school-to-school or classroom-to-classroom environment is possible whereby the user can choose to walk around the campus, talk with other users who are logged to the same site.
            To caution users, the computer as a situating tool is news and still undergoing further research and development.

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