Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 7: Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools

Focus Question: What are intelligent tutoring systems and how can students and teachers use them successfully?
Photo Credit to Christopher Ebdon on Flickr
As instructional tools, intelligent tutors present topics in a discipline, track a student's performance in achieving correct answers, and then adjust their teaching approach based on the student's learning needs. The use of story, characters, and feedback are the primary ways that intelligent tutors promote inquiry learning and problem solving

Tech Tool: Scratch
Scratch is a programming tool that enables it members, from children to adults, to create games, animations, and other creative projects through a user-friendly interface and a very helpful online community. The website also offers tutorials, examples of completed projects, and a support forum to answer any other questoions a novice like myself might have. The idea behind Scratch is the belief that young children can enhance their computer literacy and general knowledge by creating personalized computer programs, games, and animations. Scratch is very cool program that can provide children and adults with hours of creative fun and learning but does require a fair amount of time and practice to grasp the basics of the program. 

Summary and Connection:
Photo Credit to Help-4 on Flickr
Chapter 7 of Transforming Learning with New Technologies was a very informative chapter about the benefits of educational software, programs, and games. The chapter gave great suggestions on which software programs offer free and comparable alternatives and what to look for when choosing educational games for children. Low quality programs will control the child as opposed to the child controlling the program, promote competition, stereotyping, or violence, and the program will favor quick reactions over long term thinking. The chapter also suggested to avoid games that teach isolated skills; games that only ask specific questions to one topic instead of a wide array of problems that encompass multiple subjects. Chapter 7 also provided great questions to ask oneself and an informative rubric to use when determining the quality of educational games. It also explained the importance of "digital writing" for educators who must know how to effectively communicate using websites, email, instant messaging, and blogs. One thing that I am taking away from this book is the surprising high quality of writing. There is at least one quote per chapter that I feel will help me immensely as I become an educator myself. "Does the child program the computer or will the computer program the child?" is one such quote.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

1 comment:

  1. The concept of creating with technologies and the 'child programming the computer' instead of vice versa is very evident in Scratch. In fact, I'm taking a class titled, Learning Creative Learning, and one of our projects is to create something on Scratch! I admit I first looked at the how to's to 'do it right' but kids often pick it up more intuitively.