Chelsi's Educational Musings

Module #5 – Connecting Curricula: Classrooms and the Web

Our question…

Where do online resources, lesson plans and activities “fit” with the move to a constructivist, inquiry-oriented, problem solving approach to teaching and learning?

My response…

I feel that online resources are the “way of the future” in regards to a constructivist approach to teaching and learning.  When today’s teachers are creating their lessons, it is true that as in the past, it is important to follow the curriculum’s outcomes and indicators so that our students are receiving the their necessary education.  However, the way we go about providing this information is different in our Web 2.0 world.  Online resources provide the teacher with relevant, current information from a number of different sources.  Lesson plans and ideas are often tried and tested, so teachers are able to evaluate if they are successful based on comments from real teachers.  Online resources also allow for teacher collaboration and sharing of resources provided by educators around the world. This sharing is time-efficient, as we all know that educators are strapped for time as it is, so reinventing the wheel when creating a lesson is not always necessary when we have access to online resources.

In regards to constructivism in education, we know that teaching is no longer simply spoon-feeding the students information through teacher-directed methods to later be regurgitated by the students on a test. Today’s teachers can access online resources to create lessons for the students that allow the students to react (through blogging), create (through GarageBand or podcasts), interact (through Webquests, VoiceThreads) and problem solve throughout by means of all of these tools and through online lessons.  Using the web to provide information in links for the students to access is also time-efficient.  Having the students simply click on a link to access information is much more convenient than going to the library, trying to find multiple copies of atlases or books, and then having every student sign out the books.  That is not to say that learning through books is “dead,” as each resource has its own time and place. Furthermore, I feel that the most important aspect of using online resources when teaching and learning is it provides the students with skills that they will need to use in the future – the skill of finding information for themselves online and constructing their own meaning from this information.  Students may not remember every fact that we teach them and that they acquire throughout their schooling, but if we provide them with the means to problem solve, the skills to acquire their own information, and the motivation to seek out new knowledge, they will be much more prepared when they enter “the real world.”

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