LEARNING ACTIVITIES AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Learning activities provide a continuum of learning.  A continuum of learning is a series of events linked for the purpose of improving a learner's knowledge.            The learning unit is designed specifically for this task.  It is a guide for the teacher to determine what it is the learner knows (links to previous knowledge) and what the expected performance is for the learner (See Figure ).  Thus far we have determined the relationship between technology and the learning environment, learning standards, and content knowledge.  At this stage you will determine how the content knowledge will be learned and objectives met by the student using technology.

MAJOR CONCEPTS AND EXAMPLES

           Instruction and Learning

    To clarify the purpose of using different content knowledge objective statements to signify the learning that is taking place, the concept that there is a progression to teacher facilitated instruction and a continuum of student learning is introduced. (See Figure )

The initiating activity signifies the beginning or “initiation” of learning.  For the student, this event separates one learning unit from the other and sets the stage for learning.  The learners become aware of the topic and how they are about to be engaged.  The guided learning activity(s) has the student progress towards practicing knowledge learned during the initiating activity.  The culminating performance facilitates the student’s application of knowledge and skills.  The excitement of the process is seeing the student progress from learning to actually doing.  Future chapters will expand on this process.

             Connecting Content Knowledge and Instruction

     The next step is to clarify the connection between writing content knowledge statements and designing instruction.  Thus far declarative, procedural, and conditional statements have been reviewed and the reader has had an opportunity to practice writing these statements.  The reader has been introduced to the concept of a progression to instruction.  Now we make the direct connection between content knowledge and instruction with the Figure .

Figure . Connecting Content Knowledge and the Progression of Instruction

The connections illustrated in above Figure should not be considered "law", but rather a rule of thumb for now.  As experience with developing content knowledge increases and familiarity with the concept of a progression for instruction grows you will see the lines between these connections begin to gray, meaning that declarative statement most certainly can be used in the guided learning and culminating performance learning activities.  Figure 8 illustrates the transitioning from content knowledge analysis to progression of instruction for the teacher to the development of a continuum of learning for the student.

 

Figure 8. Continuum of Learning

 

Figure. Learning Activity Design with Technology

 

Initiating Activity

The initiating activity has the primary purpose of introducing the unit to the learners and “linking” the upcoming content to prior knowledge.  Initiating activities should provide; active participation of the learners, link to prior knowledge, and bridge to the guided learning activity and the next learning unit.

In general, the initiating activity is an introduction to what is going to be learned, is based primarily on the declarative content knowledge statements, and typically employs the presentation and demonstration instructional approaches.

               Creating the Initiating Activity

      Using the sample learning unit created with the LFTIM Model Learning Map the reader can now apply the four steps to creating the learning activity introduced earlier.  The end result is a learning activity that is based on the content knowledge to be learned by the students, standards are integrated, technology is integrated, and assessments are more effectively designed and applied.  Follow along with the examples

First, match the activity (in this case the

initiating activity) with the appropriate content knowledge.

 

 

Second, match the instructional

approaches with the learning activity and the content knowledge.

Note: At this step the reader can begin to think about what technologies are available to him and what technology supports the instructional approaches.

Third, design the activity and applying

the model.

 

The reader, as teacher, creates the following activity using content that may have been obtained from an existing syllabus or from the resource mentioned in Step 1.

 

Fourth, consider what assessment(s) you

will use.

Although the reader has not actually practiced creating assessment in this text thus far, it is expected that there has been some training in pre-service courses.  Basic examples are created here with a more in-depth discussion taking place in the next chapter.

 

 

Guided Learning

Guided learning has the primary purpose of building upon the initiating activity's introduction of fundamental knowledge.  Students are “guided” through the application of knowledge and skills that have been presented or demonstrated in the initiating or guided learning activity. 

The content analysis and the learning standards that have been identified determine appropriate content.  They are also the basis for selecting the most effective instructional approaches for the facilitation of learning (i.e. problem solving, cooperative learning, simulation).

At this point the student in the classroom begins to practice application of knowledge and develop skill.  Typically procedural content knowledge is taught at this point, using the cooperative learning, discussion, instructional games, possibly simulation, and discovery instructional approaches.  The text will continue to use the World History: Modern World: Post Cold War and the End of Communism example learning unit used to develop the initiating activity.

      Creating the Guided Learning Activity

     Apply the four steps to creating a learning activty.  The end result is a guided learning activity that is based on the content knowledge to be learned by the students, standards are integrated, technology is integrated, and assessments are more effectively designed and applied.

 

First,

match the activity (in this case the guided learning activity) with the appropriate content knowledge.

 

 

Second,

match the instructional approaches with the guided learning activity and the content knowledge.

 

 

Notes: Notice only the appropriate and most effective instructional approaches from Figures above were chosen to be used for this activity.  You will not use all of the approaches in every activity.

At this step the reader can begin to think about what technologies are available to him and what technology supports the instructional approaches.  See Figures above for assistance!

 

Third,

design the activity.

 

Fourth,

consider what assessment(s) you may use.

 

This serves only as an example of how one guided learning activity of one learning unit could be created.  We are going to move on to an example of culminating performance, but in reality the teacher may create multiple and extended guided learning activities.  The teacher should apply what is shown here as a guide to develop what is most appropriate for his classroom.

 

Culminating Performance

At this stage the students are expected to apply the knowledge and skills that were presented and demonstrated during the initiating activity and practiced through guided learning.  Student learning at this stage relies heavily on; decision making, experimental inquiry, solving a problem, invention, investigation, and are project/product centered.

The best case scenario is for the student to have the opportunity to practice in a real setting, otherwise mock simulations should be developed.  Conditional and procedural content knowledge drives the use of simulation and actual application instructional approaches.

             Creating the Culminating Performance Activity

     Apply the four steps to creating the activity.  The end result is a culminating performance learning activity that is based on the content knowledge to be learned by the students, standards are integrated, technology is integrated, and assessments are more effectively designed and applied.

First,

match the activity (in this case the culminating performance activity) with the appropriate content knowledge.

 

Second,

match the instructional approaches with the culminating performance activity and the content knowledge.

Third,

design the activity.

 

Fourth,

consider what assessment(s) you may use.

 

 

Typically, there will be only one culminating performance, although the activity may take place over multiple days.  This is in contrast to the initiating and guided learning activities that may be shorter in length, multiple in number, and the format used multiple times for one learning unit.