Inquiry 2.0

17 Jul

In my first blog I questioned the validity of an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning. I did so not because I can’t see its value or feel resistant to the concept but more of a way to fully explore others’ perceptions so as to re-focus the lens on my own. Since my last entry I have tried to look at teaching methodology from another angle.

With the upcoming release of the iphone 5 there is no doubt Apple is already looking ahead to the iphone 6. What will it mean to educational institutions that are currently purchasing smartboards when they hear rumours of this integrated projector technology becoming available within the next year?:

  

http://www.iphone6blog.net/

I bring up this point because it seems that educational institutions have historically, at some level, been conforming to the technologies that are becoming available to support learning. It’s as though technology is driving education more than education is driving technology. 

“As early as the beginning of the new century, researchers (Gee, 2005; Prensky, 2001a) started to argue that students have changed fundamentally in response to the technologies in their lives.” (Thomas & Qing, 2008, p.200)

I would like to see more of how “technology” can change in response to our knowledge of learning. There is some evidence that indicates efforts are being made to further advance our teaching methodologies in the collective efforts of teachers and cognitive scientists:

“Thirty years ago, educators paid little attention to the work of cognitive scientists, and researchers in the nascent field of cognitive science worked far removed from classrooms. Today, cognitive researchers are spending more time working with teachers, testing and refining their theories in real classrooms where they can see how different settings and classroom interactions influence applications of their theories.” (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000, p. 3)

However, it seems to me that teachers are still playing catch up. Maybe it’s simply that computer technologies are developed much more quickly than teaching methodologies.

I recall numerous headlines that make mention of the fact that technology is re-shaping how we teach and learn. I don’t seem to hear as much about how teaching and learning are re-shaping technology. Can the opposite not take place? Rather than using technology to enhance learning can we not use our knowledge of learning to enhance technology? Couldn’t we be developing the “technology” of teaching and learning, and have the technology industry following in “our” footsteps to accommodate our new and improved methods of teaching? The world is changing because of technology. Can technology change because of our learning? Who is sailing the ship?  Maybe it’s a case of the chicken and the egg. Maybe they play equal parts and simply co-exist, feeding off of one another. 

I keep hearing how educational institutions are considered to be “behind” in terms of putting into practice what we know about teaching/learning approaches, but having acknowledged that, can we tentatively build on our inquiry methods and begin development of an “Inquiry 2.0”? What elements of learning and teaching will be required to enhance instruction of the future leaders of our world and what “technology” will be required to enhance those needs?

Welcome to Inquiry 2.0: 

Possible scenario: Teaching Methodologies Inc. has invested 2 billion dollars last year into researching new and innovative ways to teach based on their advanced research into teaching and learning. Market shares have shown an increase of 12% from last year and are projected to skyrocket with the advent of Inquiry 2.0. With the upcoming release of Inquiry 2.0, the technology industry will need to develop products that will…

What will inquiry 2.0 look like? As the world around us continues to evolve, so will our understanding of teaching and learning. As teachers, we are constantly trying to anticipate. We anticipate potential obstacles our students may face in their quest for knowledge or maybe prepare for a technology failure with a backup plan knowing you will have a gym filled with 250 students (ask me later). Based on what we have learned to date, and anticipating the direction of teaching methodologies and technology, is there any way we can play more of a role in deciding the direction technology should take? 

Technology seems to be dictating how we exist, communicate, collaborate, learn, work and function in the world. Why can’t our teaching methodologies dictate what technologies should be developed? I see the shift beginning to happen but still I wonder, “Will we ever catch up?”

 

References

Bransford, J., Brown, A. & Cocking, R. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience and school (pp. 3-78).  Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Retrieved from
http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9853&page=1

Thomas, D. A., & Qing, L. (2008). From Web 2.0 to Teacher 2.0. Computers In The Schools, 25(3/4), 199-210. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca/ehost/detail?sid=a8007ece-0a0c-4252-ac72-caa4fc24f3d4%40sessionmgr11&vid=1&hid=15&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=ehh&AN=36289372

 

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