My Learning Journey in ICTs for Learning Design

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Photo courtesy of Flickr. Retreived 11th April 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dimensions of Learning framework and how I have used this in my learning journey

The Dimensions of Learning pedagogical framework is what I have been using for learning about ICTs for Learning Design in the GDLT course. Throughout this learning journey I have employed all five dimensions, but my learning has mainly focussed on DoL 1 and 5 which complement each other:

1) Attitudes and Perceptions- My thoughts on this course have changed significantly since the start, where I was unsure of what lay ahead. I did not know if I would be able to succeed with the course being online and totally different to any course I had completed previously. I admit I was very negative at first and had to overcome this by actively engaging myself in all the readings and activities. I have been able to see how I can use these technologies in my teaching areas and relate them to real life situations for students.

2) Acquire and integrate knowledge- Two important areas in this dimension are declarative (what the learner knows or understands) and procedural knowledge (what the learner is able to do). I have learnt how to use a number of different ICTs and can see the benefit of using them in my teaching. I knew little of this area when I started, hence some reluctance, but having the information organised I will now remember how to use many of these technologies in the future. I have been required to use all these to make them meaningful for me and see how I can incorporate them into the science curriculum in schools. I have had a large amount of practice with these new technologies and now I am able to use them with ease. I have also learnt a new way of acquiring knowledge and integrating it and I will not be so hesitant when using new technologies in the future.

3) Extend and refine knowledge- Throughout this course I have applied reasoning processes that will enable me to extend and refine knowledge. Common reasoning processes used are listed:
 Comparing
 Classifying
 Abstracting
 Inductive reasoning
 Constructing support
 Analysing errors
 Analysing perspectives

4) Using knowledge meaningfully- I have been required to use all the knowledge about new technologies in the course by setting up accounts for new technologies and then experimenting with them. For example, I prepared a powerpoint presentation and then uploaded it into to slideshare before liking it to my blog. Both of the websites had information on how to use these technologies and then I actively engaged in them, helping my understanding. I had no idea what slideshare was before I came across it in this course and was proud of myself for being able to use it successfully. I was familiar with powerpoint as I had used it in my previous workplace but had to learn how to use the 2007 version. Much of that was trial and error, but with persistence, I again succeeded. I was also required to research my powerpoint topic which required a large amount of investigation. The six reasoning processes around which tasks can be constructed to encourage the meaningful use of knowledge are:
 Decision making
 Problem solving
 Invention
 Experimental inquiry
 Investigation
 Systems analysis

5) Habits of Mind- There are sixteen habits of mind in this dimension. However, they all fall into three different mental habits (next to some I have placed an example of where I have used these in this course)-
Critical thinking:
 Be accurate and seek accuracy
 Be clear and seek clarity (I have asked questions in the online forum to help my understand concepts and I have been checking my blog, and other postings, to make sure they can be understood.)
 Maintain an open mind (I have not judged others due to their backgrounds, opinions and philosophies, and as a consequence, I have made new friends at uni and through the discussion forums.)
 Restrain impulsivity (Being negative was a strong impulse towards this at first due to me quickly making decisions before having a better understanding of the course objectives and requirements.)
 Take a position when the situation warrants it
 Respond appropriately to others’ feelings and level of knowledge (I meet regularly with study groups and use the online forums where knowledge is shared and discussed, respecting everyone’s views and academic ability.)
Creative thinking:
 Persevere (I keep trying even when I have been thinking of quitting and pushing myself to succeed.)
 Push the limits of your knowledge and abilities (I have been engaging in new activities and technologies I know nothing about or that the existed)
 Generate, trust, and maintain your own standards (I have needed to believe in myself and my abilities, creating my own personal standards to work to and praise myself for grasping the new technologies)
 Generate new ways of viewing a situation that are outside the boundaries of standard conventions (I have been thinking of ways to apply these new technologies in the classroom making them interesting and engaging my learners)
Self-regulated thinking:
 Monitor your own thinking (I have been required to stay positive, keep on track and believe in myself)
 Plan appropriately (I have consciously been planning ahead, ie handing in a draft of my action plan well ahead of the due date)
 Identify and use necessary resources (I have asked others for help- tutorials and discussion forums, and using other resources- friends, family, library etc)
 Respond appropriately to feedback (I have used the discussion forums communicating with colleagues and used the feedback from the course lecturer/coordinator noting their comments)
 Evaluate the effectiveness of you actions (I am always evaluating my ways to see if I could do better next time?)

It will be important me, as a teacher, to design my pedagogies around DoL 1 and 5 and using ICTs to aid me.

Reference: Marzano, R. J, and Pickering, D. J., (2006) Dimensions of learning teacher’s manual. 2nd edition: Alexandria, USA, Association for supervision and curriculum development.

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