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Reflection on Constructivist Theory in a Blended Learning Environment

Reflection on Constructivist Theory in a Blended Learning Environment

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Author: Trisha Fyfe
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In this lesson, learners will consider of Marzano's Lesson Desing Questions: Design Question: What will I do to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge? And reflect upon their own lesson design expereince with PBL or Constructivist Lesson

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Welcome to a tutorial on reflection on constructivist theory in a blended environment. In today's tutorial, we will discuss the questions, why is it important to plan lessons around Marzano's design question, what will I do to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge, and also, what does it look like to reflect on a constructivist lesson for a blended learning environment.

So let's take a look at some of the concepts we discussed in other tutorials, including the concept of blended learning. And remember, blended learning is where we take technology and traditional face to face instructional activities, and combine together to create a blended learning environment.

Constructivism is where students construct or create their own meaning. In problem-based learning, or PBL, students go through an extended process of learning in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. This is our updated lesson.

Natural systems and resources are being threatened by the negative impacts of development, pollution, and over consumption. What can you do to make a difference? Make a plan and create a presentation to present in a community forum. So let's look at how we can use Marzano's ideas for reflection. So one thing we will want to do as teachers is reflect on how well we incorporated this lesson design question and its elements into our lesson.

We will also use plus minus delta, plus being what worked well, minus being what did not work well, and delta meaning the strategies for improving what did not work well. Let's look at each model of blended learning, first starting with face-to-face driver. The teacher prompts the class discussions using guided questions. The teacher has students use technology to research further.

Let's look at both of the reflection methods, first starting with Marzano's design question four, elements 21 through 23, organizing students for cognitively complex tasks. One thing that we could think about is the use of group work. Engaging students in cognitively complex tasks involving hypothesis generation and testing, we do use technology to do this.

The lesson is also based on inquiry, and there's problem solving involved. Providing resources and guidance, we do make use of guided questions in this model. We also use individualization to assist those students that need lower or higher level materials.

Let's look at plus minus delta. One plus might be that discussions were helpful and students were engaged. One minus could be that some students were ready to move on before other students. There were not enough materials for these students. So a delta for this scenario might be the use of goal setting and additional activities, or expansions of activities.

Let's look at the rotation model of blended learning. It's here that the teacher would set up a rotating workstation system for specific intervals. At each station would be a new task. Traditional learning stations might include reading an article on natural resources, or group discussion about a specific topic on environmental science issues, using guided questions. Online learning might include watching a video online or making use of the specific website.

Let's reflect on the rotation model. From Marzano's design question four, using elements 21 through 23, organizing students for cognitively complex tasks would be our use of group work. Engaging students in cognitively complex tasks involving hypothesis generation and testing, we would also use technology in this model to do this.

We could assign specific tasks during traditional work to include hypothesis generation and testing opportunities, more problem solving and collaborative activities where the groups work together. Maybe they look at an article and compare and contrast ideas in it together. The lesson is based on inquiry.

Providing resources and guidance. We use guided questions, individualisation, but it would be important that each student had a thorough understanding of the different stations and the goals of each station. The plus would be that students were engaged in each station. One minus might be that some of the stations using technology were confusing for some students. So a delta could be, before having students use this approach, go over each station thoroughly.

Let's look at the flex model of blended learning. It's here that groups would use devices or computers in the classroom to research and create their presentations. Let's reflect using Marzano's design questions in the plus minus delta model.

Organizing students for cognitively complex tasks could also use group work in this model. We may make use some collaborative or discussion boards online since we are in a setting where students are using devices in the classroom. Engaging students in cognitively complex tasks involving hypothesis generation and testing. We also use technology and different materials online to do this in the flex model.

The lesson is based on inquiry. Providing resources and guidance, the teacher would circulate around the room in this model. For a plus minus delta, the plus might be that collaboration and communication were apparent throughout the group time, minus might be that some students would have benefited from more direct instruction, and the delta might be that, when implementing a unit, consider using various types of blended learning, if possible.

Let's look at the online lab model. It's here that students are taking all of their courses online, including one on environmental science. These classes are taken at a traditional school in a lab. Let's reflect on this by using Marzano's model and plus minus delta. For the first element, number 21, we used virtual group work. So this is how we know that we met element 21, and that organizing students for cognitively complex tasks.

We also might have used discussion boards and threads with our students. Element 22, maybe we use technology to do this as well. Considering it's an online lab, we would have specific resources for students to use in that lab on the computers. The lesson is based on inquiry.

Providing resources and guidance, we would provide support as needed. So we would need to just make sure that we were able to provide the support that was needed to our students, and we would also need to make sure that our students had an understanding of the tools and the materials that they were using online on the computers.

For our plus minus delta, students were independent and actively engaged in their learning. A minus might have been that some students would have benefited from more direct instruction. So our delta could have been, if direct instruction from a teacher is not possible, consider the use of tutorials or videos online.

Let's look at the self blend model. Students would enroll in a separate environmental science course for elective or advanced coursework. Let's reflect on the self blend model for this lesson. Using element 21 of Marzano's design question four, organizing students for those complex tasks, maybe we use some more virtual group work and discussion boards and threads. So we would want to reflect on how well this went during the activity.

Engaging students in cognitively complex tasks involving hypothesis generation and testing. Again, we use technology to do this, and the lesson is based on inquiry. Providing resources and guidance, we would want to make sure that we were giving support is needed an understanding of the tools was apparent in all of our students.

For plus, minus, delta, students were independent and actively engaged in their learning, and that was our plus. For the minus, some students had a tough time balancing traditional and separate technology-based learning environments. So our delta could have been, use goal setting and planning methods with students at the beginning of classes and units.

Let's look at the online driver model of blended learning. Students would enroll in a separate online course in environmental science. Let's reflect on this using Marzano and plus, minus, delta. The use of virtual group work and, again, those discussion boards and threads, is how we would understand that we met element 21.

For 22, engaging students in cognitively complex tasks involving hypothesis generation and testing, again we would use technology to do this, and the lesson is based on inquiry. Providing resources and guidance, we would need to make sure that we were supporting as needed and that there was an understanding of all the tools and materials.

For plus, minus, delta, students were independent and actively engaged in their learning. A minus could have been, a lack of traditional classroom setting led some students to feeling unorganized and frustrated. So a delta could have been, use goal setting and planning methods with students at the beginning of classes, and maybe schedule virtual teacher conferences throughout the course.

Let's take a minute to apply these ideas as we reflect on the questions, which elements of reflection might work well for you as a teacher. What are the advantages to planning intentionally and reflecting? What did learn today?

We talked about the question, why is it important to plan lessons around Marzano's design question, what will I do to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge, and also, what does it look like to reflect on a constructivist lesson for a blended learning environment.

We used plus, minus, delta, and Marzano's lesson design question four, including elements 21, 22, and 23, to evaluate and reflect on each of the learning models in the blended environment. Thanks for joining me today as we talked about a reflection on the blended learning environment lessons that use a constructivist theory.

I hope you're able to use these ideas in the classroom. As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you might want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skill set.

Notes on "Reflection on Constructivist Theory in a Blended Learning Environment"

Overview

(00:00- 00:29) Introduction/objectives

(00:30- 01:02) What are PBL, Constructivist Based Learning and Blended Learning?

(01:03- 01:17) Updated Lesson

(01:18- 01:29) Marzano’s Design 4 and elements 

(01:30- 01:40) What is the Plus, Minus, Delta Model for Reflection?

(01:41- 09:03) Reflecting on the lesson

(09:04- 09:17) Reflection/application questions

(09:18- 10:16) Review

Additional Resources

Danielson Framework for Teaching

This site is dedicated to the Danielson Framework with specific suggestions for reflection aligned to the framework. In particular, you may find the link, Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, a helpful resource as it provides strategies that you can use as you engage in your own reflective practices.
http://danielsonframeworkforteaching.weebly.com/reflecting-on-teaching.html

A Framework for Good Teaching: A Conversation with Charlotte Danielson

In this post on the Education Week blog, Danielson speaks about the importance of reflection to improve teaching practice. Through the conversation, Danielson connects strategies for reflection with improving instructional strategies.
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/finding_common_ground/2011/10/a_framework_for_good_teaching_a_conversation_with_charlotte_danielson.html