Link to Voice Thread: Achievement Gap Among Students with Disabililties and ESOL
Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice
In this week’s learning resources we explored the Social Learning Theory and Connectivism as they relate to acquiring knowledge. By premise, the Social Learning Theory is based on the belief that learning takes place by observing and modeling the interactions of people or things in his or her surroundings and environment. According to well-known psychologist Albert Bandura, “learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do (Bandura, 1977)”. While Connectivism is based around the idea that there is an abundance of knowledge and information that is readily available, and this knowledge has to be transferred onto some sort of network in order to be deciphered and understood. However, networks are rich and highly complex; therefore it may take a multitude of people to gather meaning and understanding. Social learning has always been present in education, but with recent development in technologies, it has expanded the opportunities and capabilities of how this can take place in and out of the classroom. A few of these technologies include VoiceThread, wikis, blogs, and video conferencing.
VoiceThread allow students to upload images, text, audio, and video to a website that people can view, as well as share their thoughts. “VoiceThread is a powerful application because of its ease of use, and its ability to extend across the curriculum (Laureate, 2011)”. I too, found VoiceThread to be very user friendly as compared to other similar technologies.
Wikis and blogs are similar in that they allow for collaboration and discussion of different topics and issues beyond the classroom walls. Blogs allow students to share their insights, and receive feedback from a community of people. Students can agree or disagree on issues and topics, but the most important factor is that critical thinking is taking place in these debates. Wikis work in the same manner. However, they allow a larger group to collaborate on projects at the same time. Wikis are a way to gather, organize, and summarize an abundance of information in one place, which can also be viewed and commented on by others if desired.
Another rather new technology to education is video conferencing. In the past, the cost of video conferencing was more than many school systems budget could spare. Recently however, “rapid advances in network infrastructure and bandwidth in our schools have made this approach more feasible than ever (Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. 2012, p.80-81)”. Software such as Skype and FaceTime allows students to interact and collaborate over the Internet or phone, but also provides a visual. This is a very powerful tool in my own classroom because most of my middle school students need a visual in order to conceptualize ideas and concepts. As these technologies become cheaper and affordable, their use will only increase as tools for collaboration in education.
Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011b). Program nine: Connectivism as a learning theory
[Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that
works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.