A Journey Through Technology

Week 5:What research can support or refute Matera’s claims about the new world of teaching?

on October 6, 2016

There is no denying that education has changed throughout the years. I graduated from high school in 2005, and so much has changed in classrooms in only 11 years. I remember teachers mainly lecturing to us, taking a lot of notes, and then taking mainly multiple choice tests to show content mastery. However, new research suggests that students perform better in a student-centered, active learning environment rather than the traditional teacher-centered classroom. “The New World in education requires us to look past the old ways and create more dynamic learning environments and methods of teaching.” (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 493)

In “Explore Like a Pirate: Engage, Enrich, and Elevate Your Learners”, Matera shares the some aspects of education that fit in the “Old World” education style such as traditional teaching methods, controlling student choice, making students “automatons of knowledge”, and that students are “[p]assive receivers of content”. (Matera, 2015, Kindle location 493) To me, these are all common characteristics of traditional teacher-centered classrooms where students are not active participants in the learning process, but instead simply receive and then repeat information. According to Hettler (2015), “…the relatively passive learning environment of the lecture was the dominant form of pedagogy…for hundreds of years.” (Hettler, 2015, p.357)

In comparison, Matera’s “New World” classroom includes ideas such a student choice and flexibility, “[n]ew and innovative ways to connect and inspire students”, creating independent thinkers, and allowing students to gain a “[s]ense of wanderlust, spirit, and passion. But how do we achieve this “New World” classroom? Bonwell & Eison (1991) share five classroom strategies that contribute to active learning for students:

  • Students are involved in more than listening.
  • Less emphasis is placed on transmitting information and more on developing students’ skills.
  • Students are involved in higher-order thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation).
  • Students are engaged in activities (e.g., reading, discussing, writing).
  • Greater emphasis is placed on students’ exploration of their own attitudes and values.

Another method of teaching that could help us move from the “Old World” to the “New World” is the use of problem-based learning. According to Dole, Bloom, & Kowalske (2016), problem-based learning offers student choice, allows for deeper learning, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and an increase their motivation. These are all aspects of an active learning classroom, and fit nicely into the “New World” classroom as suggested by Matera.

Student-centered learning as explained by Lee and Hannafin (2016) also offers a means for transitioning to the “New World” classroom, by using their design framework titled “Own it, Learn it, Share it.” (Lee and Hannafin, 2016, p.707) This framework has three parts to it:

a. Students develop ownership of the learning process and achieve personally meaningful learning goals

b. Students learn autonomously through metacognitive, procedural, conceptual, and strategic scaffolding

c. students generate artifacts aimed at authentic audiences beyond the classroom assessment.

Matera’s explaination of the “New World” classroom is well supported by a variety of current research, and I think that more teachers will begin to shift their classrooms from the “Old World” to the “New World” as they try to find the best ways to engage and educate their students.

References

Bonwell, Charles C., and James A. Eison. (1991). Active Learning; Creating Excitement in the Classroom. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1. Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development

Dole, S., Bloom, L., & Kowalske, K. (2015). Transforming Pedagogy: Changing Perspectives from Teacher-Centered to Learner-Centered. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 10(1). doi:10.7771/1541-5015.1538

Hettler, P. L. (2015). Active Learning in Economics: Increasing Student Engagement, Excitement and Success. Int Adv Econ Res International Advances in Economic Research, 21(4), 357-360. doi:10.1007/s11294-015-9548-6

Lee, E., & Hannafin, M. J. (2016). A design framework for enhancing engagement in student-centered learning: Own it, learn it, and share it. Education Tech Research Dev Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 707-734. doi:10.1007/s11423-015-9422-5

Matera, M. (2015). Explore like a pirate: Engage, enrich, and elevate your learners with gamification and game-inspired course design [Kindle Edition (Location 493, 525, 548)].

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4 responses to “Week 5:What research can support or refute Matera’s claims about the new world of teaching?

  1. tmerculief says:

    Sarah- I like what you talk about here, the framework titled “Own it, Learn it, Share it.” (Lee and Hannafin, 2016, p.707) This framework has three parts to it:
    a. Students develop ownership of the learning process and achieve personally meaningful learning goals
    b. Students learn autonomously through metacognitive, procedural, conceptual, and strategic scaffolding
    c. students generate artifacts aimed at authentic audiences beyond the classroom assessment.
    This sounds like a good framework! Thanks for sharing that!

    Like

  2. aletakmay says:

    Sarah,

    Thinking about students being passive receivers of content instead of active reminds me of who we are teaching. We are teaching little kids all the way through the stages of young adults. The students at all of these developmental stages need to be able to physically move and have input. Though we guide their learning, if we don’t teach within their flow range, they will seek escape or just sit there and zone out. Another option is that they will become that person who can give out answers, but not necessarily care enough about the topic to apply it to anything “real world.”

    Presently, I think of the way to reach students—sometimes that is limited by constraints placed on teachers. For example, a last minute change to a schedule from one subject to another does not allow teachers time to prepare for engaging text either in book form, on the computer, or in activities. This happens at our smaller high schools more often than not. Having access to computers to start a topic while waiting for those books to arrive is one way to address this situation. It is not easy to be a teacher—in any form. Right now I am working with individual students. Keeping them engaged is even a challenge, much less a large class of students with wide ranges of abilities.

    Aleta

    Like

  3. hcorriere says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you said “I think that more teachers will begin to shift their classrooms from the ‘Old World’ to the ‘New World’ as they try to find the best ways to engage and educate their students.” I firmly believe that teachers WANT to engage their students. Teaching is so much more enjoyable when pulling content out of students is NOT like pulling hen’s teeth. It does take work and experience to know where to take a class of individuals, but that is why we’re here learning in order to take it back to the classroom where it matters.

    Like

  4. Larissa Sivertsen says:

    I often think to myself “I wish school was more like this when I was a younger.” I am in the same boat as you were when you were in school. Taking notes and inactively listening to lectures on topics that I was told were important. Moving toward a student-centered education format is what is best for our students, but can be scary and difficult to implement at the same time! I use accelerated reading in our 3rd grade class, and for the first time I had the students set their trimester reading goals instead of myself. We talked about choosing goals that are challenging yet doable. I think the hardest part of letting my students choose their goals was letting go of my worry about them choosing too high or too low of a goal. Either way they will learn from this experience, and they have taken more ownership of their learning. They want to reach their goals.

    Like

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