~ Maurice O. Ené ~
The Internet has had a tremendous effect on our society. The computer technology that fired this medium continues to change the way humans accomplish tasks. These changes are everywhere, especially in educational institutions. Schools have not been slow in adapting to the immense potentials of the new technology. On the contrary, university laboratories and students have become the driving forces behind many startling innovations since the military let go of the technology. However, many schools have not kept up with state-of-the-art upgrades, either due to high cost or low demand. But all that is changing: cost is lower and demand is higher. The rate at which computer technology develops is already outpacing the rate of integrating it into teaching. Major theories of learning are either outdated or revised. Many factors are responsible for this situation, but the paper is not about the factors that drive the slow integration. It briefly reviews the main theories of learning and concludes that either-or theories do not stand in the face of computer technology. It goes on to show that computer technology will determine how educational endeavors evolve. In fact, we would soon be talking about integrating teaching into technology.
is a lifelong process. According to the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, “Education
happens everywhere and it happens from the moment a child is born -- and some
people say before -- until a person dies.” A human child is not equipped at
birth to focus on survival instincts. It needs to be directed and instructed in
a structured setup to acquire new skills necessary and to make it in life.
Making it in life, however, is not enough; continued evolution of the human
person is absolutely necessary to the survival of the species in a fast-changing
ecosystem. Therefore, during early education, students must be motivated to
innovate and function independently in varying environments. They must speculate
sensibly in order to accumulate knowledge. Therefore, teaching should be about
using strengths to overcome weaknesses. The one-size-fits-all directed
instruction is very inadequate in modern societies. On the other hand, a strict
regime of constructivism is too unstructured and unsystematic [Roblyer &
Edwards, 2000]. Computer technology has changed the way we look at the two main
learning theories: constructivists and objectivists (directed learning).
The importance computer technology in education cannot be overemphasized. It ties neatly into Jerome Bruner’s theory of learning as a discovery. With computer and the allure of cyberspace, student can explore and discover for themselves the information-full network of borderless worldwide computers -- the Internet. As in Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget theories, technology in education is the contructivist’s dream. At early grade-school learning, students should be guided to discover the uses of computers as educational tools. This journey of discovery will equip them with necessary skills to develop their own approach to problems in class and in real life. In lesson plans, therefore, teachers can easily apply a non-puritanical philosophy, taking a little bit of the two principal fundamental theories of learning. The application of a constructive combination of the two is the key to success, as suggested by Molenda (1991):
“[A]n either-or stance seems to gain us little. Rather, both sides need to find a way to merge the two approaches in a way that will benefit learners and teachers.”
importance of computers cannot be overemphasized. The technology has
revolutionized the way we work and, even much more significant, the way we live.
It is arguably the greatest invention since the beginning of modern times. The
evolution of computer technology, like other inventions before it, has passed
through stages that address the needs of its minority users. In the process,
aspects that targeted a certain population end up becoming mainstream
technology. Today, both blind and deaf people, the physically handicapped and
the mentally challenged, have become a part of mainstream users. Thus, by
including everyone in the technological revolution, the computer technology has
become universal. Educational institutions are part of this universe. In fact,
no other area of human endeavor has felt this revolution more than education.
TECHNOLOGY INTO TEACHING
technology has demolished either-or theories of learning. It has allowed
teachers to device hybrid approaches that:
· Teach students the basics of computing in a structured classroom
· Guide students in an unstructured Internet medium
· Allow students to learn by discovering information
· Teach students to function in a group
Although the Internet is highly unstructured and sometimes dangerous to the initiated, its very flexible and hands-on nature maximizes teacher-student participatory activities and generates a learning process that is constructed and minimally teacher-directed. Working in groups, the teacher applies Howard Gardener’s “theory of multiple intelligence.” Students bring their different intelligence attributes to the success of the assignment. Each student learns from the other, competes with each other, and learns more. Humanity now accepts that there are many shades of gray in its endeavors; very few things come in a boxed, back-or-white prism.
Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: BasicBooks
Molenda, M. (1991). A philosophical critique of the claims of “constructivism.” Educational Technology, 31(9), 44-48
Roblyer, M.D. and Edwards, Jack (2000). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, Second Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill