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Vision Statement - Giovanni Mirarchi

EDUC 5001- Principles of Learning Bill Hunter October 13, 2011

Mirarchi 2 Education is a wonderful thing. The ability further develop ones knowledge in any field is truly amazing. Throughout the years there has been a paradigm shift in education. Some would suggest that the underlying principles of learning have changed. Learning is now seen as an active process, where learners develop their own understanding by assembling facts, experience and practice, (Oblinger, 2004) a change from earlier observations. Technology has also changed how children learn and acquire information (Siemans & Tittenburger, 2009). Students have access to almost any information with the click of a button. This allows this generation of students to think and process information differently from the previous generation (Prensky, 2001). Learning is no longer limited to the classroom, but one that expands into the online world (Siemans & Tittenburger, 2009). The more we learn about students ability to learn the better we can understand how we can improve their educational experience. I feel that the role of a teacher has changed because of changes in our students. With an increase in the use technology teachers should no longer be the primary source of information, but one of many sources. They must become facilitators of knowledge (Hartnell-Young, 2003). Changes will be needed in order for our education system to keep up with our students. As the next generation of students is currently entering our education systems, they come into an environment that they feel is far removed from their comfort zone (Prensky, 2001). These students are exposed to a number of different environmental influences, specifically technology. Students today are considered digital natives (Prensky, 2001). They are growing up in a world where technology is commonly found and used. Students are comfortable using technology in their everyday lives. They have spent their entire lives surrounded by devices such as computers, Ipods, cell phones and the internet (Prensky, 2001). One of the goals of education is to prepare students for life after school. This cannot be truly accomplished if technology is not common

Mirarchi 3 place in classroom and schools (Canuel, 2011). I feel that there needs to be a push for schools to take the next steps for introducing technology. I dont believe that this should be limited to SMART boards or iPads in classroom. I think that a change can occur in the use of alternative technologies, especially social technologies. Research shows that social changes due to technology have had an effect on students cognitive processes (Sontag 2009). It has changed students learning styles and preferences. Students tend toward teamwork, experiential activities, structure and the use of technology (Oblinger 2004). Their strengths include multitasking, goal orientation, positive attitude and a collaborative style (Oblinger 2004). Within schools, there can be an increase in the use of a variety of different applications including Google docs, blogs, wikis, YouTube etc. Any of these mediums would present students with alternatives to the traditional classroom (Siemans & Tittenburger, 2009). Whether these are used as teaching tools, or as differentiated assignments, I feel that students would benefit from the freedom to use technology that they are comfortable with. It will help them develop their own learning skills, and allow them to use what they are comfortable with to build their knowledge. I feel that a push towards these social technologies will occur within the next five years, and it will help students greatly. Literacy cannot be confined to our historical definition, where students are taught to read and write. With this generation of learners, there has to be a shift in focus. Media literacy is a topic that will receive more attention in the next five years (Oblinger, 2004). With the wealth of information that students have at their fingertips, they need to be aware of how to disseminate information and use it effectively. The internet and all of its intricacies provide students with so many options. They must be able to access, analyze evaluate and produce media. (Rogow, 2004) They must learn to sift through information and determine what is usable and unusable. Whether

Mirarchi 4 students are researching articles, watching videos on YouTube, reading blogs or wikis, they must be able to critically analyze what is being presented to them. (American Association of Librarians, 1998). We must allow students the opportunity to develop their media literacy skills, and in order to do that teachers must become comfortable working with it and integrating it into their classrooms (Rogow, 2004). Structured learning has been a part of the education system for as long as it has existed. There have been teachers who teach the subject and students who learn. The environment for learning has commonly been a physical classroom. Students and teachers are present in the same building in the same classroom. With the prevalence of computers and laptops, there is a shift towards e-learning (Siemans & Tittenbuger, 2009). High schools and universities all around the world use correspondence courses online, and it appears to be one of the pushes towards the future of education. Having only recently experienced online courses, I feel that they are an effective tool for some students. I can see an online environment replace some classrooms in the future, but I cannot see this happening in the next five years. Depending on the medium of delivery of the course (i.e. discussion based versus online interactive classroom) students will have their own strengths and weaknesses. In order for online learning to be effective, the teacher must not focus on lecturing, but on helping their student create personal learning or knowledge networks. (Siemans & Tittenburger, 2009). Teachers must be willing to interact with other students, post discussion topics and help answer their peer questions. The teachers job may be to guide student learning, but there is also knowledge sharing from teacher to student, as well as student to student. Online courses allow students to access a variety of resources. Students are guided to explore content and ideas, and take part in conversations with each other and the instructor. (Siemans & Tittenbuger, 2009). This concept suggested by Siemans and Tittenbuger

Mirarchi 5 can not only be used in an online learning model, but also in a regular classroom model. Giving students the opportunity to access a variety of resources and collaborate with their peers is essential for their learning. E learning and online courses is definitely on the rise in high schools, with more school boards offering courses. In the next five years, there will probably be an increase in students taking at least 1 online high school course. It presents them with an alternative from traditional schooling. It allows them more education freedom, independent learning, and teaches them responsibility in their schooling. It is very important for students to be shown real world applications of what they are learning. It is not enough to focus on the knowledge aspect of education. Without concrete examples for students, they will never truly understand what is being taught. Students seem to have a preference for interactive, discovery-based learning (Sontag, 2009). They want to explore digital resources to find the answers to their questions. Students have so much information available to them through the internet, that it has shaped their learning process (Sontag, 2009). These digital resources need to be accessible and easy to use. Whether this will be iPads, laptops, or mobile devices I cannot say. I do know that it is inevitable for students to start using their technological resources in class. In five years, we may allow students to use their phones to look up information for questions. There still needs to be regulations and structure to the learning environment, and there has to be a trust factor with the students. If wireless internet is made available in schools, we must trust students to use it as a learning tool, not a distraction. I feel the role of the teacher is one that already has and will continue to change in the future. There have been a number of different studies that suggest that we as teachers must change the way we approach education. We cannot simply use lecture based direct instruction. Our students are spread out all across the education continuum. We know that there are many

Mirarchi 6 different learning styles and that we must try to teach to all of them. The focus for pre service teachers is being shifted to include more information on teaching and learning styles. One that I feel will play a big role in the next five years is metacognition. Metacognition is knowing what you know and what you dont know (Fogarty, 1994). It is a strategy that allows students to build upon and reflect on what they know. There are three facets of metacognition; planning, monitoring and evaluating (Fogarty, 1994). He suggests that teachers cannot teach for the moment, but for the long run. In order to get our students to use metacognitive approaches, we must teach about thoughtfulness. That is to say, we must set the environment for thinking, teach skills through cooperative learning, and allow students to go through a reflective discussion to make meaning of what they learned. It is through this reflective discussion that students think about how and why they are doing what they are (Ertmer and Newby 1996). I feel that since new teachers are being informed and encouraged to use this approach, we will see a more prominent role in the next five years. The structure of the classroom must also change. We cannot simply use a model where teachers teach and students learn. I feel that there will be shift towards self motivated learning. There will be an increase in active learning environments. Student will play a larger part in the learning process. They will be able to explore, participate and become emotionally involved in the classroom (Williams & Chin 2009). Exploring their own thoughts and ideas as well as building on what they already know will be more heavily emphasized. Skill development is emphasized versus knowledge only development. Klopfer et al (2009) suggest that Where learning and the mind were once viewed as filling of the bucket, the social mind is now a much more prevalent model. Students must be involved in their own learning. They must learn how create knowledge working with their classmates. It is essential in their development to learn

Mirarchi 7 to work with others and teachers are responsible for creating these opportunities for students (Klopfer et al, 2009). In order for technology to become more prevalent in education, teachers must be better prepared to teach using technology. I feel that there will be a shift in teacher training, one where technology becomes a vital piece of the puzzle. Current teacher training will increase dramatically as school boards push for an increase in technology in the classroom. Teachers colleges will add classes dealing specifically with technology. School boards will have more workshops about technology for teachers so that they can encourage them to use it in their classroom. As a newly certified teacher, it excites me that I will be spearheading the next generation of great minds. I hope to inspire and help students see the fruits of their education, and allow them to see how important it is. I think that education will continue to adopt many technological advancements, and I can see the next generation of students being excited to learn. With the future in mind, I think that we can inspire the next generation of students to continue their education.

Mirarchi 8 Works cited American Association of School Librarians (1998). Information literacy standards for student learning. Retrieved from <> Canuel, R. (2011) Technology in education: Research Says! Educ Can 51 no 2 pg 33. Retrieved from <> Ertmer, A. Newby, J. (1996). The expert learner: Strategic, self regulated and reflective. Instructional Science 24: 1- 24. Retrieved from <> Fogarty, Robin. (1994). How to teach for metacognitive reflection. Education 4640 Junior curriculum and instruction (May 2011 ed) Thunder Bay, ON. Lakehead University. Hartnell- Young, E. (2003). From Facilitator to Knowledge-Builder: A new role for the Teacher of the future. Retrieved from < df...> Klopfer, E. Osterweil S. Grott, J. Haas, J. (2009). Using the technology of today, in the classroom of today. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from <>

Mirarchi 9 Oblinger, D. (2004). The next Generation of Educational engagement. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Retrieved from <> Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. MCB University Press Vol 9 No. 5. Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf Rogow, F. (2004). Shifting from Media to Literacy. Alliance for a Media Literate America. Retrieved from<> Siemens G, Tittenberger, P. (2009) Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning. Retrieved from < > Sontag, M. (2009). A Learning Theory for 21st century students. Innovate 5 (4). Retrieved from < > Williams, J. Chinn, S.J. (2009). Using Web 2.0 to support the active learning experience. Journal of Information systems Education, vol 20 (2). Retrieved from <>