Taking a Look at Practice

by Michael MacKay

Decemember, 2nd, 2020

I decided to scope this down as much as possible to things I generally use consistently. Typically, my process starts with my philosophical belief on how learning occurs; I use this to develop a methodology to achieve learning using some hybrid model based on some rapid prototyping framework like AGILE. Then I use processes like zone of proximal development (ZoP) as signifiers of student learning and adjust as needed. Despite being a constructivist, believing students achieve learning by constructing their knowledge, I generally follow a framework like Bloom’s Taxonomy and ZoP to chunk learning cycles. Following this process, I look for the best tool to achieve this construction of knowledge. Since I teach many computer science-related courses, I augment my developed learning content through computer-based programs or related hardware.

I will not go through all the tools I cited here, but I can give a basic overview. First, I generally use my Learning Management System to help students reach a level of what I call foundational knowledge; this is typically the basic knowledge they need to complete a given task. Then I demonstrate the task in its natural environment (if possible), and if not, I generally attempt to create a tool that simulates the environment. This is why I have so many hands-on tools like robotic kits and self-made artifacts. Students then mimic this process—finally, learners synthesize the process by constructing their projects or related artefacts. You can find some basic information on the tools I use below. The only one I didn’t touch here was transformational leadership, which I feel is essential as it perpetuates the use of new models and tools, but may fall outside this course’s scope.

  • Computer-based
    • Raspberry Pi & Arduino (Demonstration of Knowledge, Synthesis)
    • VR (Experiential Learning)
    • Educational Games (Experiential Learning)
    • 3D Printing (Rapid Prototyping, Representational Understanding, Synthesis)
    • Learning Management System (Foundational Knowledge, Analytics, Distribution tool)
      • Video (Demonstration of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes to complete a given task)
      • Text-to-Speech (Ease of entry for Foundational Content)
      • Browser-based Compilers (Rapid Prototyping)
      • Interactive Activities or Widgets (Demonstration of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes to complete a given task)
    • Google Education Suite (Demonstration of Knowledge, Synthesis)
    • Visual Studio and Other IDE (Demonstration of Knowledge, Synthesis)
    • Scratch and MakerCode (Demonstration of Knowledge, Synthesis, Rapid Prototyping, Ease of Entry for Computer Science)
    • Unity Game Engine (Demonstration of Knowledge, Synthesis, Creation of Widgets and Educational Activities)
    • Adobe Suite (Support tools for Web and Video development)
  • Transformational Leader (Leadership Style)
  • Vex Robotics Kits (Foundational Knowledge, Exploration of Concepts, Representational Understanding, Synthesis)
  • Lego Mindstorm Robotics (Foundational Knowledge)
  • Random Artefacts I Made, i.e. Windtunnel, Earthquake simulator (Demonstration of Knowledge)
  • Electronic Supplies, i.e. power supplies, batteries, resistors, etc. (Foundational Knowledge, Exploration of Concepts, Representational Understanding, Synthesis)
  • Constructivism (Philosophical view on learning)
    • Blooms Taxonomy
    • Zone of Proximal Development
    • Experiential Learning
    • Project-Based Learning
      • Design Process
  • Hybrid Design Model
    • AGILE based /w an every changing frame based on the situation.
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