Friday, September 11, 2009

Authentic Activities

This week’s readings included an article by Thomas Reeves. Reeves' article authentic activities and online learning (2002). Reeves and his colleagues discuss authentic activities as influenced by constructivist philosophy. Reeves cites other authors defining activities as ‘anything students are expected to do,
beyond getting input through reading or listening, in order to learn, practice, apply, evaluate,
or in any other way respond to curricular content’ Brophy and Alleman (1991).
This blog activity is a task we are expected to do, in order to learn, practice and apply creative technological skills. When we are asked to review and comment on other student's blogs we are evaluating our processes.
I especially liked the statement that activities ‘encourage and affirm learning...and may take many forms, but essentially, they encourage the learner to respond to the text rather than remain passive’ (Reeves, 2002).
From my perspective the activities of reading scholarly text then blogging, and reading and responding to other students work is one of many forms to engage us as learners in a active way to encourage and affirm our technological readings.
This constructivist approach is being contrasted against an instructivist approach. The instructivist approach is a model based on a behaviorist approach. The instructivist approaches is concerned with student outcomes and requires the student learn a set of skills and demonstrate the learning and mastered skills to the teacher. The constructivist approach is more concerned with the individual students learning process.
I tend to favor constructivist approaches in my own teaching and learning. In technology learning I have found that most of my learning has come from time and opportunity with technology. Interestingly enough, time and opportunity are key elements to learning through play form a constructivist approach. So my advice to technology learners is to play with technology. Get a Facebook account, set up a blog, play video games, use an iPod, etc...


  1. Experimenting with technology has always helped me "master" its use. This seems to work with the modern middle school student as well. Their lives are so much more filled with technology and they do not want to be told or taught how to use it, they just want to play with it and figure it out themselves. Many times I use my students to help me figure out issues with technology. So as teachers we need to remember that we can probably learn from them more than we can teach them.

  2. Sometimes I think that most elementary school students know more about technology than I do. I like to learn by doing myself, so I can relate to the hunt and seek type of learning on technology. There is just so many choices out there today it is difficult to know about all of the different type. The Ipods I could live without, but my GPS is a must have. Cellphones, cameras, and computers, I don't even remember how we existed without the convenience of these objects. It just seems that everytime I learn a new techonology device, a newer better version comes onto the scene. Frustrating and fun!