Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Power of Real World Scenarios: Application and the "Loop-Back" Scenario

Transformational teaching requires that we educate students in such a way that they become agents of change in our society and that our educators become the ones who guide and mentor them in the art of critical thinking in which we go beyond the limits of Bloom's Taxonomy to help students develop the mindset and skills of an innovator. Teachers and students together help develop and nurture a culture of innovation within the "brick and mortar" school and even more importantly within the online school. In fact within the developing synchronous environments, time is no longer a barrier to online collaborative work with teams of students from across the globe.

How we design learning experiences and the accompanying learning objectives and learning outcomes must precede from a new vision of education that re-defines the purpose of education to be an agent of systemic change within our societies. In the design of learning experiences we substitute irresistibly engaging real world scenarios for the static, lifeless in-school exercises of the past. In my last post I described to you the need to move away from the compartmentalized format of teaching subjects as isolated entities and to move to a format that emphasizes cross disciplinary learning.

What we are really talking about is interdisciplinary project based learning with the focus on real world issues. In the online environment, we can now take this approach beyond its original restrictions. Research from the past has pointed out that PBL has been shown to improve students' understanding of science as well as their problem-solving and collaboration skills to a greater extent than traditional methods (Geier et al; 2008; Gordon, Rogers, Comfort, Gavula, and McGee, 2001; Kolodner et al.,2003; Lee, Buxton, Lewis, and LeRoy, 2006...). The list, which was compiled by Vanessa Vega, 2012, goes on. It is not my intention to do a research review but I would like to point out that online education has advanced greatly since the date that the above research was done.

One of the ways we come close to the use of cross disciplinary learning is through the STEM curriculum where we see the harmonization of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I would suggest to you that this is not the only possible grouping but for the purpose of the scenario I will describe to you, I will use it to to illustrate the power of real world scenarios that make use of new immersive virtual technologies and serious gaming principles......

Next posting I will describe a sample scenario and explain the value of what I call the "loop- back" scenario in building a culture of innovation within education......

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