Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Cognitivism in Practice
In advance of a student field trip to the National Gallery in Washington DC, I have begun to build a Virtual Field Trip Concept map to plan the course of the student visit. Sitting down with several students to discuss and plot out on the computer, the “essential question” learning objectives, and logistics of the trip was an eye opening experience for us both.
We soon discovered each other’s level of understanding of what it takes to plan and pull off a bus trip with Advanced Placement Art Studio students into a big city and back. We also discovered how little the expectations that each had for the trip matched.
Planning and plotting the steps into the bubbles on the screen presented the group with an opportunity to be actively involved in the development of the itinerary and the opportunity to take ownership of their learning experience. The students examined prior knowledge of the site and educational objectives of their course work, adjust their thinking after investigation of current shows, and possible learning opportunities. The planning had to allow for, travel time, time at site, time allowance for lunch.
From an instructor’s point of view this provided both a teaching, an assessment moment, and more importantly, a moment to observe and study the process of learning, particularly the critical thinking involved. From the students’ perspective, the mapping provided them with an opportunity to participate in their own learning, contribute to the planning, and help reinforce learning that related to their content.
One additional note on the process was with the use of the technology itself. The speed at which the students were able to adjust the map to accommodate the updates and changes in was a very positive aspect of its use. This lessened the amount of time necessary for adjusting and readjustment of the timeline and provided an almost immediate visual reference of how the trip was coming together.
All in all the incorporation of technology and this particular mapping program was a good one for both instructor and student and provided growth in student and instructor’s understanding of a variety of learning opportunities.