Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Behaviorism and Cognitive Information Processing Notes

Black box: the mind - don't go there. Look at outward behaviors and what causes them and what the results of the consequences are of the behaviors.
Feedback loop and conditioning.
Stimuli (environment antecedent) -> Organism -> Behavior (response) -> Consequences -> Affects behavior
Strength -> you can do empirical research to see if it works in a certain context. Research has showed it to work in certain areas (military, child timeouts, etc.)
Weakness -> people don't respond to stimuli the same way (intrinsic motivation)

Cognitive Information Processing:
You are like unto a computer: sensory memory (visual, auditory; very very short term); short-term memory--like computer RAM (more conceptual-to stay there needs to be rehearsed; chunking).

Learning in this means you have input that goes through the process of different types of memory until it makes it into your long-term memory.

How to get stuff from short to long-term memory? Check out the article.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Educational Philosophy Meanderings

Epistemology and ontology:

My learning/teaching philosophy is definitely affected by my background in biology and in having done field research. Empirical evidence, objectivism, are inherit in some of the classes and activities. However, having been involved in learning other things and teaching I also have some roots in constructivism and situated theory. As I read through the different philosophies I inevitably would read a section and start thinking, “I like this stuff and it seems to jive with my take on learning.” And then, I would also inevitably hit some of the descriptors and think, “I am definitely not in agreement with that. For example, cognitive constructivism, “From the cognitive constructivist perspective, there is a real world that we experience...however, this world cannot be directly known, which broadens the nature of the ontology to realism. That reality exists is not denied…” (Up until now I like this) “…however, what we know of the world is only an interpretation based on our experiences.” Even that is okay but I violently disagree with the next statement, “As such, cognitive constructivism is subjective and relativist, providing for no absolute in what is right or wrong…”


I picked this topic to see what it really is. I’ve heard about it a lot and kind of assumed it was a learning theory/philosophy. I was somewhat mistaken, particularly in the former. Why? Because constructivism is “not yet one theory but a multitude of approaches.” Drischoll, (200). It can be a set of values.

Looking at methods associated with constructivism can help one get a feel for it:

Discovery learning

Generative learning

Goal/problem-based learning

Collaborative learning

Approaches that are constructivist…what are their underlying assumptions?

1. Knowledge is constructed by rather than transferred to the learner

2. Embed learning in complex, realistic, and relevant environments (learn by doing; learn to deal with complexity, or the real world, by learning in complexity.

3. Provide for social negotiation as an integral part of learning (social interaction).

4. Support multiple perspectives and the use of multiple modes of representation (many perspectives and “models” gives you a better view of what is going on).

5. Encourage ownership in learning (anxiously engaged).

6. Nurture self-awareness of the knowledge construction process (metacognition).

Where is the research on constructivism- and situated-cognition type approaches?

Situated cognition: knowing and doing cannot be separated.

Knowledge as a tool. Irrelevant when divorced from context and then all to often misused when it is plugged back into context.

Community of practice…disciplines, professions, or manual trades are communities or cultures. Often students are asked to use the tools without being able to see or adopt the culture and enter the “community.”

Authentic activity.

Students create their own solution paths.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rock Star Supernova
Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary
Who knows which bolded phrase is right, both I suppose, but the top three could be just as fun!

RSS feeds are amazing little tools. However I rarely use them. I think one of the keys to using RSS feeds is to get the right ones. When I found about them I said hey these are great and I'll keep up with what's going on in the world. I subscribed to a three news feeds. The next day my reader had HUNDREDS of feeds. Lame! Going through that will take as much time as hitting the front page of a few news websites! Back to the drawing board. I am going to try TED talk since I have seen some lectures on that site that I liked. I have some classmates' blogs on there and I am going to try for ONE news RSS.

A plug for igoogle. On igoogle I have a reader app, an app for translating stuff into Spanish, a currency converter and many other fun little gadgets. Since I see that more often it is way more helpful for me to have my RSS feeds going there via my reader than logging into my reader. Try it out!

Personal Learning Environment

Personal learning environments are just what they say they are:

Environment: What a particular location is made up of including all the things and conditions found there.

Learning: The act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge, skill, or becoming something.

Personal: You own it, you run it, content, look and feel, who sees it what you put there etc.

PLE: A particular location that you own and control that facilitates your learning including all the things and conditions found there. Most PLEs are not isolated but are open and can be shared with those you choose or those who choose to go there. A blog, a wiki, a website, a network site, igoogle, and many other types of places could be a PLE for you. However, these are not just personal environments so for most of us the Facebook page only partially counts. These locations are centered on learning.

Criteria for deciding whether you have a PLE:
  • Did you stop using it when your class/project was over?
  • Can you look at it and answer the question, what have you learned lately?
  • Why did you create this environment?
  • Is it controlled by you or by another organization?
I have started PLEs that simply turned into assignment boards. I have started other PLEs that ultimately ended up being controlled by others. Maybe this time I'll be a little more successful.

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