Monthly Archives: October 2012
Currently, positivism is viewed “as a single reality independent of humans, and that the methods of natural science should be adopted in research on social, specifically educational, questions” (Mackenzie, 2011, p. 534). Education research, in many circles, currently adopts this idea of truth. However, historically “all fields until about fifty years ago and still in philosophy and the philosophy of science view the term as a rejection of the correspondence theory of truth, the denial of, or more correctly agnosticism about, the existence of a single reality independent of human beings” (Mackenzie, 2011, p. 534). The physical world and the laws of nature are immutable. It exists independently of human’s wants or desires and is mostly beyond human control. Humans are part of nature, and human activity is part of the natural process.
Social researches are often biased and have little understanding of the laws of natural sciences. As Mackenzie (2011) points to standardized methods often blended with qualitative research ignore the evolution of language and original meanings. Social researchers can be biased against the laws of natural sciences and selection (p. 535).
Humans banished many medieval superstitions that were based on observations, but humans lacked experiences and misunderstood phenomenon being observed. Humans’ attempts to explain natural processes, natural laws independent of human existence, have proven to be mistruths.
Natural laws are discovered through science. Language stores science and the evolution of technology stores language. As a result, humans have an increasing knowledge of science and an increasing knowledge of truth in a direct proportion. The more humans experiment with science, the more we will understand the truths surrounding the sciences. Habermas’s (1971) paradigm of the stone does prove that truths do exist in natural law (p. 265).
Fantasy worlds existed but in a limited context. Monks could live in a fantasy world, but this choice was limited. Oral tradition, cave art, the Bible, the Torah, the Koran and anime are all storage mediums for the fantasy world. Affordable and collaborative technologies increase the human ability to exist in a fantasy world. The natural world continues to exist, changed only by nature’s timeframe. Man is part of nature and all of our technologies are part of the natural world. After human consciousness ceases to exist, there will still be truth and order in the universal world.
Habermas, J. (1971). Knowledge and Human Interests, J. J. Shariro, trans. (Boston, MA, Beacon Press).
Mackenzie, J. (2011). Positivism and Constructivism, Truth and “Truth.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43(5), 534-546.
Attempting to understand the evolution of learning technologies is complicated. Thomas Edison’s idea of moving pictures spawned many learning opportunities produced new knowledge and learning technologies. The market model of research has produced a new world where information is cheaper and easily obtained.
Why is it so hard to get schools to adopt learning technologies? This is not a new question or concern. From literature review, it was interesting to learn that the overhead projector is one of the few examples of learning technologies implemented in the school industry first. The challenge facing instructional designers to try new ideas and approaches and to encourage use is not a new phenomenon, which I find encouraging as an instructional technologist.
Research approaches and opportunities are numerous as the adaption process continues to be a struggle. Reflecting on my personal experience, I found it difficult to even locate a 1:1 K5 campus in Texas two years ago. Motivational factors that can improve the adoption process need to be studied to ensure that change is productive and leads to newly acquired direction and knowledge. How can we better match the needs of users? How can we better include users in the selection of learning technologies?
Blended approaches that consider global perspectives are often philosophical in nature. Philosophical reflections from descriptive, normative, and analytic methods assist in developing new questions and ideas to then quantify.
Educational research follows natural laws of science. Educational research is a field of science that attempts to define the human ability to transfer knowledge from one individual to another individual, from one individual to a group, from a group to a single individual, a group to another group. Learning technologies are carriers or storage vessels used to aide individuals ability to transfer knowledge.
Descriptive studies using surveys are often biased, contain leading questions, and many do leave out nonresponders. Surveys have to be purposeful. Interviews, observational research, and questionares must focus on questioning techniques and population. Approaches using visuals to summarize data was interesting to me. The arts again lends itself to be the universal medium to foster communications.
I wanted to share some resources that I came across from my literature review this weekend that addresses a topic that all teachers are working with this school year. I found the information very useful and thought I would pass it along.
Some key resources and ideas:
Questions that you can use in with the tools could be the following: How do these words go together? Why do you think the Wordle designer chose this shape of word cloud? What superordinate terms reflect the main ideas? Creating with art can inspire kids to learn more and give the lesson a meaningful purpose. Besides printing the Wordle for peers and the school to enjoy, you can also embed in a class blog, share via social media, or insert in a PowerPoint.
Another free word cloud tool is WordSift, http://www.wordsift.com/
2. Take a Digital Vocab Field Trip: TrackStar allows you to collect a series of websites and annotate them so you that students can follow the online journey. Literary field trips are also popping up in Google earth.
4. Have students use media to express vocabulary knowledge. Many teachers practiced this during STEAM camp. Animoto, Prezi, SlideShare, Keynote, PowerPoint are all easy ways to foster creativity and build academic vocabulary. One easy way to create academic flash cards or photos is to save an individual slide in PowerPoint as a picture.
5. Take advantage of online word reference tools that are also teaching tools. I use this every day and find that it is a wonderful way to increase your own vocabulary. Check out SAT Vocabulary Word Videos.
Try www.visualthesaurus.com, which includes a Behind the Dictionary and Teachers at Work feature.
Dictionary.com is a another resource that we have downloaded as an app on many devices.
6. Develop Strategic Digital Readers with On-Demand” Vocabulary Help. One way to facilitate this is to support reading and world learning with just in time vocabulary reference support. I have a very long list of these tools if you are interested.
7. Use Language Translators to Provide Just in Time help for ELs. Yahoo! Kids dictionary supports 90 languages and includes a translator, and students need to know how to utilize this option. The value of a translator is that it supports learning words as they occur naturally in authentic texts and allow students to view bilingual versions of a text side by side so they can use their first language knowledge to develop their English vocabulary. Babelfish, Google translator, Bing Translator are not always perfect but they are a great start.
8. Increase Reading Volume by Reading Digital Text: Reading current events is a great way to tap into digital reading. Time for Kids, Weekly Reader, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Kids’ blogs, Science News for Kids are some current event resources.
9. Text To speech tools and audio books: Anything viewed in Safari can be read to an audience aloud.
10. Combine Vocabulary Learning to Social Service
Students desire to to create, participate in global communities, and utilize web 2.o and social media environments. Free Rice, is a great way to give students the opportunity to give back to the planet and extend their learning experience to a greater cause.
GratefulGram is a tool that I think can help facilitate the same ideology.
Take Action: Analyze your current vocabulary instruction and the needs of you students. What current low tech task might be replaced or embraced with an eVoc strategy that uses multimedia? Are there gaps in your students’ vocabulary learning skills that can be supported with a digital tool? Be sure to include time for sharing students’ new knowledge about words, strategies for using digital tools and media, and their creative products. Remember, we have computers in an offsite curriculum center where we can showcase student work. View your integration of technology and vocabulary as an opportunity for exploration and inquiry. How might you share what you are learning with other teachers? Do not forget how much fun words can be, especially when evoked in a digital content.
Dalton, B., & Grisham, D. L. (2011). eVoc Strategies: 10 Ways to Use Technology to Build Vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 64(5), 306-317. doi:10.1598/RT.64.5.1