Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2's reflections

Looking back on today I have to say that the presentation by Dr. Kopp was an excellent demonstration on how to take an existing piece of scholarly literature and critically analyze it as well as use it to really think about in terms of use of a particular technology. Tying all the competencies doctors should have to the different types of tools they can practice with was very effective and made a strong case for the use of Virtual Patients. This is the kind of reaseach that can have really practical applications. I assume the next step would be to actually get feedback from some medical students on their expereinces with the different types of 'patients'.

The other thing that has been on my mind lately is the whole notion of learning and knowlege acquisiton. The Januszewski and Molenda (2008) book, specifically Chapter 2, discusses the different trends in terms of pedagogical theories and reviews the salient aspects of the 'big three' of behaviourism, cognitivism, and constructivism. While behaviourism is definitely out of favour these days, I cannot help but think that the people who were the products of the behaviourist -era days were the innovative people who put a man on the moon and who invented educational technology (computers, etc.)! Now I am not saying that the innovation was a result of behaviourist learning but rather that each generation finds its own way to express genius and in some ways succeed despite 'the system'. When I think about how knowlege has been transmitted from generation to generation, the most long-lasting method is most likely the notion of apprenticeship whereby a young person was taken under the wing of a master of the trade or knowledge area and learned everything there was to know and in turn transferred that on. That learning was most likely done by watching the master and using the tools of the trade. So can we expand our educational technology definition to include a stick used to write in the sand? A compas to show someone how to steer a ship? A pottery wheel to show someone how to make a bowl? My point is that in some respects any/all technology can be educational technology depending on the situation. Feel free to argue with me on that!

Finally, formal education with one teacher and several students in a classroom is a relatively new phenomenon in historical terms. From what we have discussed thus far in the program, I would liken the relationship of the supervisor and the doctoral candidate to that one-on-one apprenticeship model where there is a guide until such time as we are ready to be out on our own.

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