Teaching methods continue to transform into the ways in which we design instructional modules for teaching and learning. Colleges and universities that offer teacher education programs must continue to model, design, and effectively refine teacher education programs and strategies that foster the development of high-quality teachers and learners. In the early 2000s, several colleges and universities were struggling to stay afloat. According to most analysts, this was mainly due to a weak economy due to the real estate crisis. The economy however; has gotten better over time, yet there remains a great call to recruit and retain the brightest minds in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM education. Simply put, there are not enough talented teachers to teach students critical areas of science and math.
The design of quality teacher education programs that conveyed a cohesive sense of community served all stakeholders and constituents well. The study examined emerging research and the importance of using social media as a tool for collaboration to rethink, redesign, and recreate teaching and learning environments between math and science teachers before and after service. Pre-service teachers came from one of the historically black colleges and universities in the Southeast. After-service or experienced teachers taught middle-grade students from a rural agricultural community. An interactive social media platform was used to help both groups collaborate, teach and learn teaching strategies from each other. As a background, all focused on their teaching content using common core standards from math and science. Entries included discussion articles, interactive projects, images, images and videos. The learners began to create, think and share equally. Both groups surpassed a learning curve that produced positive results for themselves and most importantly their students.
The conceptual framework for this teacher education program takes into account the knowledge, skills and aptitudes that students need before they can enter the real world of teacher education. Teacher candidates aspired to be among the competent educators that already exist in schools around the world. Colleges of Education emphasizes the importance of aligning its programs with each state’s professional standards. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, which is the profession’s mechanism to help establish quality teacher education, certifies the following objectives for competency status:
Five Goals for the “Competent Educator”
1. shows competence in content knowledge;
2. applies effective pedagogical skills;
3. Appropriately uses technology to enhance learning;
4. Shows a caring attitude; and
5. Has an understanding and appreciation of diversity.
Although many skills and technological differences were apparent to many, post-service teachers’ pedagogical skills bridged the gaps of age and experience. While skills diminished across this digital divide, knowledge of the latest technology was abundant among after-duty teachers due to the time and protocol of recent program demands. By closing gaps and entrusting competencies, both groups were able to reach all students. Through the use of social media, the insights gained by both groups left a lasting impression on students, parents and administration.
Researchers suggest that it is important to look at social networks not just from a simple communication or information flow perspective. The interventions have more to do with helping groups to know what the others know and ensuring safety and access between people. Cross, Parker, and Borghetti, 2002 suggested that we should focus less on communication and more on the knowledge-based dimensions of relationships that make them useful for sharing and creating knowledge.
The digital age
The digital age has allowed us to traverse space and time, interact with people in a faraway time zone as if they were right next door, do business with people around the world, and develop information systems that potentially bring us all ever closer network every day. Yet people don’t live in a global world—they are more interested in the cultures they participate in Boyd, 2006. To date, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for education. Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Ning, and tools like Skype and Eliminate connect students to learning opportunities in engaging and exciting ways. Whether you teach in an elementary, middle or high school class, or at a traditional face-to-face or online college or university, social media can have a direct impact on student learning.
Smith 2011 reported that in 2011, 63.7 percent of internet users in the US used social networking regularly, which equates to nearly 148 million people. Although the pace of growth over the next few years will be less dramatic than in 2009 and 2010, usage will remain strong and show no signs of slowing down. People learn by observing the behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors of others. Most human behavior is learned through observation through modeling: by observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors will be performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action. Social learning theory explains human behavior as a continuous interaction between cognitive, behavioral and environmental influences, Bandura, 1977.
Necessary conditions for effective modeling
attention – Various factors increase or decrease attention. Includes distinctiveness, affective valence, prevalence, complexity, functional value. One’s characteristics such as sensory abilities, level of arousal, perceptual set, past reinforcement, affect and attention.
retention – Remember what you paid attention to. Includes symbolic coding, mental imagery, cognitive organization, symbolic repetition, motor repetition.
reproduction – Reproduction of the image. Including physical skills and introspection of reproduction.
motivation – have a good reason to imitate. Includes motives such as a past like traditional behaviorism, promised imaginary incentives, and vicarious seeing and remembering the reinforced model.
Middle school learners tend to learn but communicate differently than any other level in education. Based on the social media methodology implemented for the project, the scores increased in the comprehensive test results in both math and science content areas. There was a plus of 2.4 percent in mathematics and a plus of 9.6 percent in natural sciences. Researchers are constantly trying to find ways that are challenging, engaging, and relevant to intermediate-level learners, while ensuring that both students and teachers are constantly learning actively.
In today’s culture, a student’s learning environment is permeated with many old and new technologies. Even the technological aspects and mechanics of a pencil have changed since its introduction with the discovery of graphite in the 16th century. Whether that technology includes the latest gaming systems, the coolest gadgets, or social media invites, students live in a culture that wants to engage with the “things” that motivate them and bring them instant joy.
The learning environments for students both at school and at home should be so seamless that if technology is a blended learning method, it should function at a level where both continue to grow. It should become a tool that students get used to. It is beneficial and worth the educational journey throughout teacher preparation. The students are already here; Why don’t you meet them on their pitch?
Bandura, A. Social Learning Theory, 1977;( http://psychology.about.com/od/developmentalpsychology/a/sociallearning.htm; retrieved on 07/01/12.
Boyd, D., (March 2006). G/Localization: When Global Information and Local Interactions Collide.” O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, San Diego, CA.
Cross, R., Parker, A., & Borghetti, S. (2002). A bird’s-eye view: using social network analytics to improve knowledge creation and sharing. IBM Institute for Business Value1-19
Smith, Anise. “Use of social networks is growing strongly.” my amp. March 18, 2011.
Thanks to Sherry Crocker | #Maximizing #teaching #learning #environments #social #media #science