A Fresh Perspective of Cultivating Learning

My perspective of learning has been governed by my experience in a traditional classroom setting and contributed to my view of what a successful learning environment looked like.  After reading A New Culture of Learning some ideas about learning were presented that caused me to reexamine some of the fundamental things that as an early childhood educator I considered important. Children learn by playing is one principal I was taught when I began teaching young children. This concept is one that was further developed in the book, yes they learn by play and play creates an environment to give information, ideas, and also is where passion grows. (Thomas, 2011). Another perception was to have play separate from instructional time and the teacher being the principal source of learning. Traditionally this is the method I used to instruct my students. I discovered that traditional methods of the teacher instructing can be augmented with the use of technology to allow the students to guide the instruction through questioning during the learning process. Learning from engagement in the environment helps facilitate learning in a variety of paths.

Change always involves the unknown, and because I am learning some new concepts about developing a environment for learning I recognize that there will be challenges. The cultural background of students can be a factor in the aptitude, rate and levels of development in students. So assessing students will benefit me in setting up the environment.( Harris-Manske, 2015). Another factor will be teaching students how to be digital citizens. In the book there is an example of a nine year old who played a game called Scratch that was used to teach him technology fluency. During that time he learned to collaborate with other students to create variations of the game. When asked what he learned from the game he responded, “Not to be mean” while commenting to others and to always mention something good to the person he was commenting to. (Thomas, 2011). So the game taught self-regulation which is one area of social development we work on in early childhood. In order to be a good citizen students have to learn how to treat others with respect. In today’s social media there is the presence of cyber bullying and children should be taught good digital citizenship when using technology.

Currently my organization has not allowed the use of technology within the curriculum. This will require the approval of the administration staff and will affect the current traditional learning environment that is in place. At this time technology is used by management and teachers who currently use it to send and receive emails. So providing access for instructional purposes is non-existent.  The teaching staff also will also need training to be able to incorporate the technology into the curriculum.  Pre-service training should be provided to each teacher to ensure competency in technological integration. (Tokmak,2013). Creating and giving students learning opportunities will require the cooperation between teachers and the administrators. Presenting examples of successful programs can help to build confidence in the implementation of the innovation plan.

Collaboration with other educators can contribute to opening up a broader understanding about new methods to cultivate learning. This can help in understanding how learning takes place within the learning environment  and how the different activities relate to each other to engage students. Looking at my innovation plan it is broad enough to allow changes to be made without changing the purpose or goal of teaching literacy to young children. Because it focuses on how technology can be used in the learning environment and technology is not the central focus of the plan but is used to enhance the learning environment. Technology is a part of our society and should be a part of educating students within the learning environment.

References

Harris-Manske, M. L., & McClain, L. (2015). Cultivating Human Abilities: Engaging Young Children though Mindful Literacy Practices. Review Of Human Factor Studies, 21(1), 43-57.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A New Culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition.

Tokmak, H. S., & Ozgelen, S. (2013). The ECE Pre-service Teachers’ Perception on Factors Affecting the Integration of Educational Computer Games in Two Conditions: Selecting versus Redesigning*. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 13(2), 1345-1356.

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