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On the role of media in teaching, learning, and instruction

22 Mar

This quote spoke volumes to me. Before hearing of this quote, there were times that I often wondered why I was studying to be a teacher. It was something that I never expected to become, for as a child, I often dreamed about becoming an astronaut. When I got older, though, I settled for being a writer – although of course, there was the harsh reality that you can’t make much of a living as a writer alone. It then made sense for me to become a teacher, because if I was going to study English, I knew I would end up as a teacher anyway. As bad as it sounds, I never had the burning passion in me to become a teacher – but I did have the passion for people, and the desire to help them become better. It was only when I heard this quote that this fire was rekindled, and I felt like I was on the right track. What can be greater than affecting eternity, after all? Of course, every person wants to be the best possible influence on her students. This is where impressions matter, and where technology and education meet.

I have always used technology. It’s something I can’t live without. Granted, this is because technology has evolved at such a quick pace that it has pervaded almost every area of our lives. Of course, there are both positive and negative effects of technology, but as a future teacher, I have realized that it is one of our duties to minimize the negative effects of technology on us (such as addiction, detriment of social skills, etc.) – and maximize the way we use it so that we can enhance the learning experience of our students. This is what EDTECH 101 has been all about for me.

Firstly, I truly appreciated the broken-down definition of learning, instruction, and media – terms which we often take for granted. What particularly struck me in this definition is that learning is a relatively permanent change in the behavior of a person due to their experience. This made me think back to just how much of the things I’ve supposedly learned that I’ve actually retained – and I totally agree with this definition, because true learning can only be evident in application. Again, it all goes back to making the best influence on your students so that they can really learn.

I also liked how instruction was defined. To say that the teacher has to arrange the environment and information for learning to happen means that the role of the teacher isn’t something to be taken lightly. I’ve once had a professor or two say that, if a student doesn’t learn anything from him, it’s the student’s fault. As someone who is learning what it means to teach effectively, I beg to differ. While learning may be a shared responsibility between the teacher and the student, the heavier burden lies on the shoulders of the teacher, because she has to arrange the environment and information in such a way that the student will be motivated to learn. This is how I understand what we discussed in class – that the teacher is the number one means of instruction.

Where do instructional media come in? They provide the purpose of instruction. I’m amazed at how versatile they are, because they can be used to supplement the live instructor in the classroom, or be designed by a teacher for students so they can take more responsibility for their own learning. The teacher has so many roles, the thought can actually be quite tiring – as an instruction expert, she “plans, implements, and evaluates instruction activities that are used to teach and influence the learning of students.” Again, I just need to stress how important I believe this role is, for it has numerous potential impacts.

The thought of designing these instructional media can be quite scary if you think about the standards it has to meet, such as it needing to be readily perceived, used and assimilated by the learner, taught independently of the teacher, experienced through various senses (and who thought that technology was only about sight and hearing?), utilized with subject matter in such a way to help students construct their own meaning, and to maintain the students’ attention. All of these are challenging in their own right, especially to a student-teacher who has a lot to learn about learning. Media and technology, therefore, is one way that a teacher can enhance the influence she gives to her students. EDTECH 101 has given me not just a lot of information on educational technology, but insights on how to be a better teacher. Allow me to share these with you in the succeeding blog entries. :)

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Posted by on March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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