I love reading and thinking about teaching and learning. I tend to have a sieve-like mind, so I’m happy to revisit ideas and concepts and greet them as familiar yet still delightful friends, details about whom I’ve forgotten (for the moment anyway).
In James Herring’s book, The Internet and Information Skills (2004), he begins by discussing how important it is that the internet is used within a teaching and learning context, not just used because it is there, new and exciting (“technological determinism” p. 1).
I remember when computers were still new, when I was in high school in the 80s. We went to the computer lab and indeed it was entirely removed from the rest of the curriculum – we learnt basic programming and typing, made up quizzes and played Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? It was was great fun and in the end probably reasonably useful. Our educators knew that these would be the machines of the future and we had better get a head start. I think there is an argument for ‘teaching’ a technology for technology’s sake, though certainly we should be critical about its usefulness. It is essential to ask, What’s the point? in all educational pursuits.
Herring goes on to discuss behaviourist learning theories, cognitive theories like the evergreen Blooms Taxonomy and my old friend constructivism. I used to roll my eyes at university when the lecturers waxed lyrical about constructivism, not so much at the content as at the newly converted fervour that accompanied it. Actually, I have proven to be a teacher who naturally creates a constructivist learning environment. I’ve never been didactic and I’mnot comfortable standing up the front delivering information. I like to set up intrinsically interesting activities and let them go. I’m pleased that that seems to work 🙂
When it comes to using the internet and technology as learning and teaching tools, I am lucky to have worked at a school where this is pursued with skill and enthusiasm. I have looked on in awe as the year fives present their work in multimedia and the teachers carry their laptops instead of baskets of books and paper. I can definitely learn a lot there.
Now here is a dumb question. What is the difference between aims and objectives? and even learning outcomes?? I feel like a fraud, because clearly a real teacher knows this stuff. So perhaps someone can give me some examples. I may even look it up on the internet, seeing as that’s what I’m meant to be getting skilled at. Will report back!