How do we learn, what role does technology play, and who benefits from it?

From Bandura theories of social learning to Illich’s interest in redesigning education, it’s important to understand the concepts, as well as to see how they could possibly be linked to our current way of learning and teaching in a technology fertile time.

Looking at Bandura’s theory, and understanding that students/children often do as they observe is something that fits well with the idea of digital citizenship – and something that fellow classmates, such as Rochelle have been considering recently.

When parents are unaware of the choices they are making and modelling online, do we open children up to making poor digital choices?

Fun with Babies Part 1

If we are considering Illich’s perspective on education, and the perspective that education should be self-directed based upon personal likes and skills, amongst a group of peers, and combine that with Bandura’s idea that children (people) learn through the modelling of others (peers).  It becomes easy to consider that technology could truly be a space to expand and refine the way we are teaching our students, and open an avenue to more effectively reach all of our learners.

created by @asingh2 via picmonkey
created by @asingh2 via picmonkey

Although I can see former theories being adapted to account for and include technology, George Siemens developed a new theory known as connectivism, which came at a time that included technology connections to learning in his theory.

While I understand how a new theory developing might seem more apt because of the new technologies – I wonder if this theory can be applied to all- given the inequalities that can exist with the access to technology.  I’m not debating that technology is valuable and in fact imperative to stay ‘current’ and prevent knowledge inefficiencies, what I am questioning, is how we an enact this theory on a whole when many don’t have access to these devices which would be imperative in implementation?  Does that not create a larger social divide?

We can counter-act some of the imbalance with the introduction of things such as Open-Education courses. While the model is becoming more popular, they are still few and far between compared to ‘paid for’ classes.  Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) are also another free way to learn online; however there are still barriers for some which could limit or prevent their ability to attend.  Additionally, when one participates in an open course, while a valuable learning space – does the learning just benefit the individual who chooses to participate? Or, are they in fact ‘gaining educational value’ beyond their knowledge base (read: are there monetary gains associated with those who gain knowledge through an open course)?

How can we best meet the educational needs of our students, in a way that is fair for all?

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