Sunday, November 18, 2012

Planning with Technology

Instead of thinking of students in categories that label abilities and success in the classroom, teachers can understand and reach their students more effectively if their strengths, challenges, and interests are considered. In addition, the incorporation of technology in teaching requires thoughtful planning and considerations.

This lecture touches upon three networks essential to learning: recognition, strategic, and affective.

Recognition networks are specialized to sense and assign meaning to patterns or objects we see or come in contact with. They enable us to identify and understand information, ideas, and concepts. “To support recognition learning, [one must] provide multiple and flexible methods of presentation” (CAST, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age).

Strategic networks help generate and oversee mental and motor patterns. They enable us to plan, execute, and monitor actions and skills. Affective networks are dedicated to evaluate patterns and assign them emotional significance. They enable us to engage with tasks and learning and with the world around us. “To support strategic learning, [one must] provide multiple, flexible methods of expression and apprenticeship” (CAST, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age).

Rather than falling neatly into these categories, learners differ within and across all three networks. Considering student strengths and weakness in the context of the three networks help teachers develop a more wholesome picture of their students, noticing strengths, needs, and interests that easily could be missed if students are considered in categories. “To support affective learning, [one must] provide multiple and flexible options for engagement” (CAST, Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age).

To start thinking about students’ challenges and potentials in the framework of the three learning networks, consider whether a given characteristic relates to their ability to take in information (recognition), to plan and execute actions or skills (strategy), or to connect and engage with learning (affect). Then determine whether ithat characteristic is a strength, a need, or a particular interest.

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