Blog Post #4: Kozma and Clark’s Debate before Three Decades is still Relevant

Kozma and Clark’s debate was about whether media affects the learning process or media is just a vehicle for instructions. Since I’m an instructional designer I know well about the debate between Kozma and Clark about the media and if its ability to help students learn better or not. The basic idea of Clark’s argument is that teaching methods have the most effective influence on learning, and media is merely a delivery device for instruction, and media has no significant difference on learning outcomes.

In fact, Clark based his theory on research and data collected throughout many different search projects. He mentioned that authentic problems or tasks seem to be a more effective influence on learning. On the other hand, the key difference between what Kozma’s believes and what Clark’s believes is that media could and should be used more than a vehicle for delivery. Kozma’s article showed how correct media could have an impact on the students’ cognitive skills. He mentioned both methods and medium have the crucial role in the design of instruction. According to Kozma, “media can be defined by its technologies, symbolic system, and processing capabilities”. Throughout his article, he discusses how books, television, and computers influence the learning processes, connect students to prior knowledge, and help students to understand the complex concepts. Moreover, he estimated about how multimedia environments can bring all these processed together (Clark, 1983).

Actually, there is a big difference between media attributes and teaching strategies and their influence on students’ learning. I believe methods before media because it is not about the use of media that enhance learning, but the way the media is used. Media are only effective if teaching methods guide them. I think media should be a good fit for a certain learning task since these media may work for some students may not with some topics and under some conditions. However, this true is for any pedagogy there is nothing works for every purpose, for every student, in all time.

I believe students today including me quickly use the Internet to search for answers even before asking peers or teachers. This is today’s media, and this has a massive influence on how students receive and share information. However, this means not providing a student with an online module and letting them be in front of the computer and saying go and learn and then expect them to reach a high level of learning. Media must be used for a specific purpose not because we live in a digital world.

I agree with Morris (2013), when he mentioned that for the digital pedagogue, teaching should begin with inquiry such as availability of tools, type of disciplines, role of teacher, type of teaching methods, way of interaction among students, content, and teachers, etc. nothing replace the role of teacher who has to craft authentic learning experiences for their students so they can gain the most of their learning experience.

Thank you!!

Rania

References

Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

Blog Post #3: Problem-Based Learning with Teaching Mathematics

Since I was a former math teacher, I was interested on employing different instructional methods that engage my students in learning process. The methods helped me to convey concepts and mathematical theories to them. I have learned more about different instructional methods, delivery mods, media attributes, etc. during my studies as a graduate student in instructional design and technology field. My major has been assisting me acquire valuable experience and applicable knowledge and skills essential for being a good teacher.

Thus, from learning and applying different instructional methods, I realize how problem-based learning (PBL) strategy is powerful strategy. PBL is derivative from Constructivism Theory that supports the idea of constructing knowledge by students through their experiences and interactions with the world, not through hearing someone gives a lecture. PBL based on this theory relies on students to think deeply and be cooperative students.  It requires students to work together to solve problems through real-world experiences. It is designed to engage all students, even those who typically struggle.

PBL usually involves four steps:

  1. Presentation of problem
  2. Group development of theories
  3. Individual development of solutions
  4. Group comparison and evaluation of solutions

I find this approach fits well with teaching math especially because students usually complain about learning math and find it boring. That because they often cannot see a connection between what they’re learning and anything that matters to them in real world. For example, some students don’t really understand math word problem when a teacher tries to explain it. However, if they were faced with a math problem in their everyday life (say, trying to figure out the solutions, asking each other questions), they might understand it better. So, a teacher can give the students math problems and have them work together to figure it out. The teacher responsibility in this scenario is to support, guide, scaffold and assist students with supplies, materials, and resources.

As a student in IDT in one of my classes, I have developed a project based on Constructivism Theory. I was thinking about a problem that can be solved by using PBL strategy. So, from my experience as a former middle math teacher I found that solving mathematical word problem was a challenge for most of my students. Sometimes students read a problem and use the operation that the class has just been practicing, or they simply guess which operation to use. So, I have designed a lesson about solving mathematical word problems. The lesson was E-learning module based on PBL. The target audience was all 6th grade students especially who are struggling with grasping the concept of mathematical word problem. In fact, the beauty of applying problem-based learning strategy in solving mathematical word problems is to connect mathematical concepts with real challenges and issues that students may face in their lives. The lesson was a good experience to me, and I have received valuable feedback form my professor.

Finally, beside the main benefit of using PBL is engaging students in the real-world experience, the students use different skills to solve the problem that are necessary for life-long success.

Thank you!!