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ICT Integration Project: Learning Theory Statement.

Constructivism Many of the theorists which I have been exposed to in this course argue that the use of ICT in the classroom should promote student rather than teacher cantered learning (Isard, 2004). Student centred learning is one of the key elements of a constructivist theory of learning. Constructivist theories of learning view students as active participants in constructing their own knowledge, and emphasise the role of social interactions as an important part of this process (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2013). While I am not committed to any particular constructivist theory I consider Vygotskys social constructivism to be a useful model when considering the introduction of ICT into a Philosophy and Ethics classroom. Vygotsky argues that students develop their higher cognitive processes through social negotiation and interaction. (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2013, p. 326) As a result, collaborative learning is very important. Collaborative learning is only effective if students interact in a way that is respectful of each others points of view, both contributing to discussion and listening to the contribution of others, to co-construct their understanding. Woolfolk and Margetts refer to this as a community of learners. (2013, p. 337) This mirrors the Community of Enquiry model which is emphasised in the WACE Philosophy and Ethics course (Millet and Tapper, 2007). The teachers role in this model of learning is not to lead or instruct but rather to assist students in constructing their understanding by providing the scaffolding that is necessary to enable them to move from their current knowledge and understanding to incorporate new experience and construct a new understanding. This is what I attempt to achieve in the four lessons that I have planned for this assignment. A considerable portion of each lesson consists of whole class discussions, either regarding the homework readings or following an ICT activity, prompted by focus questions from the teacher. These discussions will begin with students responding to simple questions posed by the teacher, but will progress into more complex questions that will require students to evaluate the argument put forward in the readings and their experiences during the ICT exercises. These questions are designed to act as prompts, and are fairly open ended inviting students to draw their own conclusions. The teachers role is largely to act as a facilitator of this process, maintaining a respectful environment and encouraging participation by all students, and providing prompts where student discussion stagnates or goes off track. The ICT activities I have designed are intended to support this model of learning. While the activities themselves are largely designed to be completed individually the final stage of the activity involves deploying the classes collective contribution on the digital projector and conducting a whole class review of the kind discussed above. An example of this is the Survey Monkey activity. Here students initially work individually to complete the first question of the survey, categorising names. The students are then asked to work in pairs to compare their answers and attempt to explain any differences. This first stage of the activity allows the students to experience for themselves the relationship between word and concepts, which is the topic of the lesson, and to provide for each other the scaffolding necessary to Page 1 of 3

begin to form an understanding of this distinction based on that experience. The second part of the activity involves displaying the results of the entire classs answers to question one and conduction a whole class discussion of the kind described above. Here the students work together to co-construct a deeper understanding of the relationship between word and concepts. The teachers job here is to facilitate this process by maintaining an appropriate environment for enquiry and prompting with focus questions where necessary. Blooms Taxonomy I have also attempted to incorporate Blooms Taxonomy of learning into the structure of my lessons both individually and over the four lesson unit as a whole (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2013). Each lesson contains a whole class discussion of the type described above. These discussions are designed to begin with a question and answer session in which the questions initially focus of the cognitive domains of knowledge and understanding, by asking student to define terms identify elements and distinguish between concepts. ICT activities themselves largely focus on the domain of application, while the discussions after these activities focus more on the domains of analysis, evaluation, and synthesis, as the students are asked to evaluate and account for their experiences during the ICT exercises. This approach is reflected in the focus questions provided with each lessons plan. Furthermore while all of the ICT exercises largely the cognitive domain of application, I have attempted to create a progression through Blooms six cognitive domains of over the four lessons. The YouTube exercise in Lesson 1 requires students to apply their understanding of performative speech acts but does not require any analysis evaluation or synthesis of this understanding. In Lesson 2 the Survey Monkey exercise requires students to function in the cognitive domain of analysis by requiring them to classify words according to their associated concept, and by requiring the students to account for the differences in each students responses. In Lesson 3 PrimaryPad exercise focuses on the cognitive domains of both synthesis and application Synthesis by requiring students to construct sentences of their own. Finally the Pinterest activity in Lesson 4 is designed to focus on the cognitive domains of application in the first stage when students are required to find images of symbols they find meaningful, analysis in the second stage in which students are required to research the meaning of a symbol they do not know, and synthesis when the students are required to account for the fact that they did not find the symbol meaningful while another student did. Conclusion In this project I have attempted to incorporate elements of a constructivist theory of learning. I am not committed to any particular constructivist theory however Vygotskys social constructivism is consistent with both the dominant theories regarding the incorporation of ICT into the classroom and the Community of Enquiry model which is a focus of the WACE Philosophy and Ethics course. I have also attempted to construct a unit of lessons which incorporates a progression through Blooms six cognitive domains both within each individual lesson and over the four lesson unit as a whole.

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References Isard, J. (2012) Why mobile technology makes sense in the 21st century classroom, The Professional Educator. 10-11. Retrieved from https://learnit.nd.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-183605-dt-content-rid380527_1/courses/F-ED263214S1/Isard_Why%20mobile%20technology%20makes%20sense%20in%20the%2021st%20century%2 0classroom.pdf Millet, S. and Tapper, A. (2007) Philosophy and Ethics: A resource for Units 2A 2B. Cottesloe: Impact Publishing. Woolfolk, A. & Margetts, K. (2013) Educational Psychology (3rd ed.). New South Wales. Pearson Australia.

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