Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Learning Styles

Read the article below about twitter outlining the different theories of learning and how Twitter could be used for each. Which theory do you think best applies to our IB program? Which theory do you find most helpful as a style of learning?

Below is a scene from Good Will Hunting that touches on experiential knowledge versus rational knowledge...beware...some adult language.

Twittering = learning?

Outline the different theories of learning and how Twitter could be used for each. Which theory do you think best applies to our IB program? Which theory do you find most helpful as a style of learning?



I often have conversations about the role of social media in learning processes. Sometimes people might say: 'Ok, but twitter is not learning. How can you learn from 140 characters?!



The theory about learning you embrace determine how you look at social media and its importance (or unimportance). From a behaviorism point of view, twitter might not be very relevant as a means for learning. However, from a social-constructist view you might see a twitter network building relations. In that case twitter is very important.

Behaviorism: learning is equivalent to influencing and changing behavior. You do this by offering situations to practice the desired behavior. One example is a course about giving feedback. You can teach people the right way of giving feedback and create a situation to practice it. Twitter will not be seen as an important means for learning, because the change in behavior needs face-to-face to practice (although there are also research which shows that an innovative program using a webcam to practice social skills worked very well).
Cognitivism: learning as information processing; the mind and thought process is put at the centre of the learning process. Within cognitivism, a clear distinction between knowledge, skills and attitudes is made and sharpened. I see the cognitivist approach reflected in many conferences, where the expert notify and explain to participants what the latest findings and trends are. Twitter will be interestingly but mostly because people may link to articles, books and information. I must admit I have used this argument myself. I would now respond differently.
Pragmatism: learning by doing. This an approach I see clearly in the design of 23things, a course for librarians. See for instance here in this hyperlink. People can learn 23 new Web 2.0 tools by using them, experimenting and experiencing them. Within this movement Twitter will not be so important (unless you want to learn how to use Twitter!)
Constructivism: learning means developing a unique world view based on all experiences acquired. Learning is a process by which a professional adds new knowledge and ideas to his or her existing body of knowledge. Independent and self-directed learning is important. Within this thought stream twitter is more interesting. Twitter provides a window on the world. And using twitter means quite some self-direction, choosing who to follow, what to tweet etc.
Social constructivism: learning through collaboration. This school of thought views learn as the result of interactions between individuals, learning within networks and communities is important. I am myself a supporter of this school of thought. That explains why I think being active on Twitter might be an important part of a learning process. Using twitter to build your network and maintaining relationships.
One new learning theory is connectivism.

Connectivism: was developed because the previous schools of thought were not impacted by technology. These theories do not address learning that occurs outside of people (i.e. learning that is stored and manipulated by technology). They also fail to describe how learning happens within organizations. Learning is a process that occurs within chaotic environments of shifting core elements and is not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning can reside outside of ourselves. Connectivism might be summarized as 'I store my knowledge in my network'. In the case of connectivism Twitter might be a source of serendipitous learning and self-organization.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Problem with eyewitness testimony

The argumentum ad Ignorantiam: (appeal to ignorance) the fallacy that a proposition is true simply on the basis that it has not been proved false or that it is false simply because it has not been proved true. This error in reasoning is often expressed with influential rhetoric. A. The informal structure has two basic patterns: Statement p is unproved. Statement not-p is unproved. Not-p is true. p is true. B. If one argues that God or telepathy, ghosts, or UFO's do not exist because their existence has not been proven beyond a shadow of doubt, then this fallacy occurs. C. On the other hand, if one argues that God, telepathy, and so on do exist because their non-existence has not been proved, then one argues fallaciously as well. ARGUMENT AD IGNORANTIUM Thought Experiment: 1. Which of the following is an example of argument ad ignorantium? a. Since many people claim to have seen ghosts, it is likely they exist b. Many members of the Society for the Paranormal believe in ghosts c. Ghosts must exist because no one has proved they do not. d. It is true for me that ghosts exist. 2. With a partner, make up 2 examples of argument ad ignorantium and share with the class.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Harvard System

For your essay, it is vitally important to reference properly. This will help you to organise your essay properly and also avoid any accusations of plagerism. There are a few recognised styles you can use, but I would suggest the Harvard System. This is most commonly used in scientific writing. De Montfort University in the UK has produced the guide I have attached below to help you to reference correctly using the Harvard System:

Harvard System