My philosophy of distance education is based on pioneer to constructivism, Piaget (1969) ideas surrounding knowledge construction. Piaget (1969) theorized that the learning process is always active and grounded in constructing knowledge rather than acquiring knowledge. People on a whole, learn through interaction with their world and develop knowledge through social interaction instead of personal investigation (Piaget, 1969). With this in mind, educators should make use of the opportunities that new technologies present for learners to interact in learning communities as a means of constructing their own knowledge. The following is a concept map that depicts the static-dynamic continuum (please click to enlarge figure).
What the learner does with media is more crucial than what the instructor does and the instructor’s teaching experience is not as important as the instructor’s experience with technology (Fahy, 2008, p. 171). This notion took me by surprise at first, however after much reflection, I saw where this idea bears a high degree of truth. Judging from my personal experience, a teacher with less teaching experience than his or her fellow faculty members might be able to use technology in a manner that will promote learners higher order thinking levels. When I first started teaching in higher education a few years ago, I recall receiving a teacher’s award at the end of that first session! I was surprised because of my lack of teaching experience. However, looking back now, I realized that my blended learning students were fully engaged with the technologies I provided for them to collaborate weekly. For this reason, students’ learning outcomes peaked and most of all, students were able to write in the end-of-session evaluation how fulfilling their learning experiences were.
In terms of where I believe I am on the “static-dynamic continuum,” as a blended learning professor, I believe that I am somewhere in the middle pushing towards the dynamic sector. I believe that having technological skills and/or teaching experience are not enough. Teachers in this new age educational system should learn how to construct aspects of learning environments to stimulate students’ motivation to learn (Keller, 1983, 1984, 1987). I was glad when Dr. Moller mentioned the ARCS model in our course shell. I had totally forgotten about this motivational technique! With new knowledge gained from this course, I am able to see this learner motivational strategy from a whole new perspective! For more on the ARCS model see: http://www.arcsmodel.com/#!arcs-model/c1wm1
Anderson, T. (Ed.). (2008). The theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.
Fahy, P. (2008). Characteristics of interactive online learning media. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory and practice of online learning (pp. 167-199). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University.
Keller, J. M. (1983). Motivational design of instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.),Instructional-design theories and models: An overview of their current status. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Keller, J. M. (1984). The use of the ARCS model of motivation in teacher training. In K. Shaw & A. J. Trott (Eds.), Aspects of Educational Technology Volume XVII: staff Development and Career Updating. London: Kogan Page.
Keller, J. M. (1987). Development and use of the ARCS model of motivational design.Journal of Instructional Development, 10(3), 2 – 10.
Moller, L. (2008). Static and dynamic technological tools. Unpublished manuscript, Walden University.Piaget, J. (1969). The Mechanisms of perception. New York: Routledge Kegan Paul.