Theory Discussion Week Four
Early on, we asked if theories were important to you in your use of educational technologies. Since then, we've looked at several different theories and philosophies of learning as they have been applied to ed tech. It's time to ask again: does theory matter?
Text of first theory discussion:
I believe that theory is helpful, but not essential to making sense of educational technology. It is helpful in the sense that it "gets us talking with others." This conversation with others helps to serve "as an important reality check to our local practice." (Wilson 3) While this is good, it isn't essential. A practitioner can shun the Ivory Tower, yet still have a classroom that uses educational technology effectively to meet the needs of the students.
Prior to this class, I thought that theory was unimportant to me as a classroom teacher. However, after reading I changed my mind. My view of theorists and practitioner was similar to the simplistic view stated by Wilson, "Theorists develop the principles and procedures that constitute our common knowledge base. Practitioners then go apply those principles and procedures toward the solution of everyday problems." This statement implies that, as a practitioner, I blindly accepted the theories and applied them in my classroom. This couldn't be further from the truth. Everything done in my classroom was the result of informed decisions.
His second description fits
much better: "The theorist role is to reflect on problems, study and
research questions, and share knowledge with the group. The practitioner role is
to thoughtfully use knowledge toward the solution of problems." In this
light, I see that as a good practitioner, I tend to be a good theorist as well.
After completing all of the readings, I still agree with my first response. Theory is helpful, but not essential to a practicing teacher.
Your instructors went back and forth a lot concerning the relative value of having a set of theoretical readings for discussion, in a course that was mainly about hands-on experience with educational technologies for the web. It's been our hope that these readings have helped to give some context to the wide-ranging explorations we've engaged in. However, we've also been cognizant that they may just look like one more set of hoops to jump through in a very crowded four weeks. What do you think?
All through our CTER courses we have
had theory intertwined in our classes. While I think it is important, I don't
think it is necessary to have in each class. I would have preferred more time to
actually work with the new technologies. I had a difficult time with embedding
clips, but I learned a lot in the process. It is something that has a direct
impact on how I will teach my classes. The theory readings on the other hand
will not have a direct connection to my instruction.