Friday, 10 May 2013

Activity 1.1: Champions and critics of teaching machines


Activity 1.1: Champions and critics of teaching machines


As I watched the film I was thinking about my school experience and how I learn as an adult, I enjoy the journey of discovery on the shelves of my local library, the internet and discussions with colleagues and friends. I also enjoy the self directed, self paced affordances that technology provides to support my learning journey.

I echo many of your thoughts,I too have been subjected to the tedious multiple choice assessments for mandatory 'Corporate training courses, I know why they do it but it certainly isn't a pleasant experience.

I expect it is fair to assume that the Teaching Machines (TM) were 'cutting edge' at that time. I remember using 'cardboard'cards to mark my Maths at school, we would shade in the blocks with a graphite pencil, post the card into the card reader and get told whether we were right or wrong. It was amazing at the time but within a year it was 'old tec'.

I think the principles of learning at your own pace, not missing on the content because you were away are still aspects of learning that today's students appreciate and in some situations demand.

I agree with Liz, providing prompt feedback is really important, at the least the TM provided 'instant' feedback to the students. As today's academics our institutions frequently have policies which dictate 'in class' assessment activities and turn around times for marking and providing feedback to students. With increasing student:academic ratios the use of technology delivered and 'assessed' work may be necessary.

Today's Tablets, can do all that the Teaching Machines did and more with bells and whistles.

In relation to the Emergent Learning Model http://heutagogicarchive.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/emergent-learning-model/, I believe the Teaching Machines would be positioned within the Formal Learning component of the model, due to the need to develop the content and assessment materials within the TM and set up the delivery. However the frequency and intervals in using the TM can easily be determined by the Individual. However in Skinners time I expect it was controlled entirely by the Institution due to the 'specialist' technology and the unlikely use outside the classroom. Today's tech permits the flexible use and the well equipped learner certainly has the opportunity to take control of their learning. I think this model would favour the TM and embrace the Tablet.

The TM doesn't sit well in relation to Communities of Practice model http://www.ewenger.com/theory/ , that particular technology encourages the learner to work alone, completing their own work at their own pace, reviewing their assessed results and then progressing on towards the conclusion of the learning activity. There is no opportunity identified for interaction with others so little opportunity for learning from others.
I don't think Etienne Wenger would be in favour of the TM, however I think he probably favours a Tablet .