Process of teacher's buy in and Web design project adopting constructivist model
Misook Ji, University of San Diego, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-44-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
Current education is facing the challenges of the high standards which the 21st century demands. The new standards emphasize the importance of technology integration as a catalyst for instructional change. Technology integration may offer an active, meaningful, and authentic learning environment for engaging students more in the learning process, and encouraging student ownership of their learning, which are essential parts of the new standards. The need for competent, well-prepared, talented and dedicated teachers in every classroom has been described as the major key to effective technology integration. Consistent with technology use as the catalyst for instructional change, a paradigm shift from traditional teaching and learning to a constructivist model is critical to accomplish society?s expectations for education. Learning through a Web based design project would be one way of facilitating an authentic learning environment, which includes mastery of basics, inquiry, collaboration, and responsibility as the hallmarks of effective education. One particular component in the new standards has focused on teachers? pedagogical beliefs and practices related to technology integration into teaching and learning. The new standards demand a paradigm shift in teaching and learning with technology, and challenge many teachers to modify, transform, and even abandon their traditional model of teaching and learning into an unfamiliar new model to accomplish these expectations. The process of change in teacher?s pedagogical beliefs and practices is often a painful and difficult one, causing teachers a good deal of stress. Teacher educators need to know more about this process to be able to help teachers make the shift smoothly. In the constructivist view, widely accepted as a legitimate pedagogy, teaching is considered as a ?process of helping learners to construct their own meaning from the experiences they have by providing the opportunity for those experiences and guiding the meaning-making process? (Jonassen, Peck, and Wilson, 1999). Teachers must construct their own understanding of this theory and need to design effective and meaningful teaching methods to implement this theory into practice. An authentic learning environment which is designed to make a connection between meaningful learning and the socially interactive community, is vital to fulfill societal expectations for educational. The environment is the adoption of a constructivist pedagogical approach in a collaborative culture. This might be accomplished within a Web-based curriculum, for example. Such rich learning environments would provide opportunities for learning activities in which ?students are engaged in a continuous collaborative process of building and reshaping understanding as a natural consequence of their experience and interaction with the world? (Dunlap and Grabinger, 1996).
Although technology integration and a constructivist approach to teaching and learning hold the promise of promoting meaningful learning in a rich-context learning environment, teachers often have difficulties adopting a new way of teaching, and in changing their pedagogical beliefs and perceptions. These difficulties may not result simply from teachers? lack of familiarity with combining computer technology and a constructivist approach, but rather may be a result of their failure to recognize a new way of thinking and designing. In the process of applying constructivist concepts, teachers need support and encouragement from educational leaders, researchers, and teacher educators to help them refine their methods and change their teaching practices consistent with a constructivist approach. The process requires that teachers invest more time, effort, and even struggle to cope with conflicts and barriers in their school environments. Teachers? changes in instructional approach are the result of a thoughtful process, which is their construction of knowledge about what ?works? and doesn?t work in the classroom. It is cautioned that technology integration is not just a matter of ?plug and play? from others? work, and that ?tweaking? someone else?s idea isn?t nearly as satisfying, nor effective working out your own ideas for your own classroom. The concept of teachers designing their own activity and curriculum, responding to the dynamic and unique conditions of their classrooms, would be more in keeping with a constructivist classroom. Therefore, instead of being passive borrowers, teachers need to ?buy in? (Perkins, 1991), to become active designers. The research examined the process of change in teachers? pedagogical beliefs and practices doing Web based design project and how they struggle and triumph in creating new strategies. This study employed a qualitative research design, using descriptive case study methodology. The teacher participant in this study was a teacher who was engaged in her second project in which her students were designing Web-based projects in order to learn and communicate about a subject matter. Her students designed authentic Web-based projects in which they became technology leaders in the school and the school district, helping the teachers and other students.
This study intended to describe one teacher?s understanding and pedagogical beliefs toward seeking to use a constructivist model of teaching and learning, and the process of change in that direction, and doing so in the context of the teacher?s designing Web-based projects with her students. This study described a teacher?s pedagogical beliefs and perceptions before and after having her students do a constructivist technology project, in order to understand how these beliefs have changed. The research also focused on understanding the effects of constructivist design on teacher?s teaching strategies and constructing pedagogical beliefs. The purpose was to find ways of helping teachers to ?buy in? (Perkins, 1991) to becoming an active designer rather than being a ?plug and play? (Harris, 1998), passive direction-follower. The research provides implementation, which enable teacher preparation institutions to better prepare preservice and inservice teachers for active design of buying in constructivist model of teaching which integrates technology.
Ji, M. (2002). Process of teacher's buy in and Web design project adopting constructivist model. In D. Willis, J. Price & N. Davis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2002--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 2027-2028). Nashville, Tennessee, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).