A CASE STUDY OF A GLOBAL, TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED
CURRICULUM IMPLEMENTATION TO DETERMINE THE IMPACT ON
ONE TEAMS STORY OF THEIR BLAST OFF TO LEARNING
Candace Lynn Stocker
B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 1978
M.A., University of Colorado, Denver, 1995
A dissertation submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
Candace Lynn Stocker
has been approved
Stocker, Candace Lynn (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
A Case Study of a Global, Technology-Enhanced Curriculum Implementation To
Determine The Impact On Teaching Methodology: One Teams Story of Their
Blast Off to Learning
Dissertation directed by Associate Professor Judith Duffield
The science and art blend known as teaching can best be understood by
focusing on three components: how teachers teach (based on why); what tools they
choose to use; and what teachers teach. Despite theory-based assertions and best
practice research, traditional, teacher-centered pedagogies continue to dominate a
Eurocentric curriculum, void of effective technology use.
This descriptive, qualitative case study described and evaluated a team of
inner-city middle school teacher-participants as they executed a global curriculum
that encouraged alternative teaching strategies and utilized unique technology. The
resulting study is the story of one team of educators as they dared to explore their
individual and team teaching.
Qualitative measures were employed to gather and analyze data. Interviews
and electronic journals were triangulated with teacher observations and focus groups
Three themes emerged from the analysis of the data: (1) the day-to-day
professional relationships teachers have with students drives their teaching
methodologiesthe experiences derived in class determines their teaching
decisions; (2) technology obstacles are often perceived as insurmountable barriers;
and (3) global education is not paramount as a curricular goal because the local
world of the students is seen as overwhelming.
Results from this study suggest that by providing a comprehensive, flexible
curriculum, teachers can use the model as a springboard for subsequent curricula
development. Additionally, the model allows the teacher to view their own
methodologies in juxtaposition to alternatives. By exposing alternative technology
uses, teachers were able to move away from their predefined applications both in
teaching and with students. It served as motivation to explore further staff
development opportunities for technology application and integration. Finally, by
offering a global curriculum, teachers saw an empowerment of their students to face
both their own perplexing local word and the world at large.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates dissertation. I
recommend its publication.
With all my heart, I dedicate this dissertation and doctorate to my Gramma. At 95,
she remains my idol, mentor, and friend. She gives me daily inspiration through her
dedication to independence, love of her family, and commitment to her beliefs.
Throughout this long endeavor, she never ceased to share her unconditional belief in
me, especially when I had lost all faith in myself. Day to day, I drew upon her
constant support. As my first, foremost, and greatest teacher, she taught me the
most fundamental understandings that enabled me to complete this doctorate. Those
life lessons I hold dear in my soul are the same lessons she taught me as we quilted:
trust your hard work efforts, knowing that what you sow, so shall you reap;
never become discouraged by small setbacks. Life is full of disappointments,
most caused at your own hand, but each brings its own lessons to be learned and
therefore to be acknowledged and valued;
perfection is not the goal to strive for. Not only does it fail to bring us daily
pleasure, it discredits the very uniqueness we should honor in each other;
be content with yourself, but not complacent. Every day brings opportunities to
learn and grow and they must not be squandered;
redo things when they need to be redone and admire them when they dont;
everything eventually goes together;
the thrill is in the journey, not the end product. Be careful what you focus on;
$ every project you undertake is an opportunity for self-exploration and ends as a
product of self-expression;
beauty is in the eye of the beholder because it is in the heart to find the best in
Â§6 if you plan everything, it rarely works the way you expect. Instead, your time
and heart are better focused on treasuring the experience, enjoying the company,
and remembering that the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time;
creativity, hard work, and collaboration make timeless unique beautiful
Tka*l pod' (jramma.
This adventure would not be complete without thanking the people in my life who
instrumentally made it possible.
To Judy Duffield: you gave to me in word and deed. Your patience, direction,
suggestions, and ideas were the fundamental basis I drew upon throughout this
entire process. I admired you as a teacher, respected you as an advisor, and value
you as a friend.
To my dissertation committee: you shared with me your wisdom and your
guidance, with no expectation of compensation or hope for return on your
investment. I hope to return the gift one day.
To my kids, J.T. and Martha: for hanging in there for seemingly endless hours of
mom being in class, solid weekends of mom and her laptop on the couch, night after
night of dinner on your own while mom explored every end of the Internet, and
all the lost spending opportunities gone to student loans. My thanks and love to you
and a sincere wish that this doctorate will provide you with an exemplar of how to
receive and cherish the most important gift you can give yourselflife-long
To my love: for tolerating my frustrations, enduring my compulsive and obsessive
behavior, celebrating my successes, and dismissing my failures. My thanks to you
for giving to this effort our time together with my sincere wish that the conclusion
of this doctorate will provide for us a new found relationship.
To my sister: who always claimed, and continued to do so through this journey, that
she admired me. Little did you know that it is my admiration of you that motivates
me to continue to find the secret of being as wonderful a human as you have always
To my colleagues at work: thanks for supporting me when I had leave early for
class, for tolerating my seemingly endless talk about this degree, and for being
proud of meyour constant boasting was inspiring and very appreciated.
I also wish to thank the following:
To the wonderful crew at The Challenger Learning Centers, in Wheeling, West
Virginia and Colorado Springs: you are a shining star in providing the development
of meaningful curriculum and an exciting method of implementation.
To the teachers and administrators at Knight Middle School: you are truly the wind
beneath my wings, the heroes of each and every life you touch, and certainly that
To my peers and professors at the University of Colorado: it was your guidance and
gifts that kept me coming back for more!
And to all the teachers in my life who taught me how to teach, how not to teach, and
that no matter how much you learn, theres an infinite amount still to discover.
Icons and Hyperlinks.............................................. xvi
1. INTRODUCTION..................................................... 1
The Problem................................................ 1
The Situation As It Has Come To Be......................... 6
Teaching Philosophy/Methodology..................... 7
Teaching With Technology............................ 9
The Curriculum: Global Education................... 15
Triangulation of the Concepts...................... 17
Research Questions.............................. 18
The Study................................................. 19
Purpose of the Study............................... 19
Design of the Study................................ 19
Description of Curriculum.......................... 21
Chapter Summary........................................... 24
2. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The Philosophy of Teaching................................ 26
Combing Philosophies............................... 44
The Status of Philosophy Implementation Today.... 47
Teaching With Technology.................................. 50
The NeobehavioristsIs There Any Reason to
Use Technology?.................................... 50
The CognitivistsIs There Any Reason to
Use Technology?.................................... 52
Technology For Everyone?........................... 54
Teaching Styles and Computer Integration........... 56
Curriculum An Analysis of What Teachers Teach......... 66
What Is Global Education?.......................... 67
Themes Of Global Education......................... 71
Teaching With A Global Perspective................. 79
Convergence of Topics of Study and Content Curriculum... 80
Chapter Summary........................................... 86
3. METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY........................................ 90
An Epistemological Approach............................... 90
Data Collection.............................................. 96
Focus Group Discussions.............................. 101
Electronic Structured Reflective Journals............ 102
The Role Of The Researcher.................................. 107
Selection Of Participants................................... 112
Data Analysis............................................... 115
Limitations And Assumptions Of The Study.................... 118
Chapter Summary............................................. 119
4. STUDY RESULTS..................................................... 121
Data Collection............................................. 121
Data Collection Tools................................ 122
Data Analysis........................................ 130
The Curriculum and Data Collection................... 132
The Culminating Activity Liftoff!.................. 142
The Data.................................................... 154
Individual-Participant-T eacher Profiles
Emerging Themes......................................... 193
Theme One Relationship-Driven Decision-Making. 193
Theme Two Technology Obstacles Are Misconstrued
As Insurmountable Barriers....................... 199
Theme Three The Pressures Of a Students Local
World Overrides The Teachers Concern To
Provide a Global Perspective..................... 206
Standards for the Quality of Data................ 211
Chapter Summary......................................... 218
5. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS and
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH.............................. 220
Study Summary........................................... 220
Revisiting the Research Questions....................... 222
The Triangulated Conclusion............................. 231
Suggestions For Further Research........................ 232
Operating Successful Classrooms......................... 233
Ethical Analysis of My Study............................ 235
Chapter Summary......................................... 239
Reflections of a Researcher............................. 240
The Study........................................ 241
A. AN ENCAPSULATED OVERVIEW: NEOBEHAVIORISM
VS. CONSTRUCTIVISM............................ 251
B. DESCRIPTIONS OF TEACHING EPISTEMOLOGIES
AND TECHNOLOGY................................ 252
C. GLOBAL EDUCATION THEME EXTRAPOLATION......... 253
D. TABLE OF SPECIFICATIONS, GLOBAL SYSTEMS...... 255
E. INTERVIEW ONE TEACHING METHODOLOGIES....... 257
F. INTERVIEW TWO TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY..... 259
G. INTERVIEW THREE GLOBAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM. 260
H. FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION....................... 261
I. SAMPLE STRUCTURED ELECTRONIC JOURNAL PROMPTS.. 263
J. STAGES OF TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION
(ACOT and WELLINGER).......................... 266
4.1 Coded data summation Epistemological
Perspectives of Participants............................. 185
4.2 Coded data summation Teaching With Technology.......... 205
4.3 Coded data summation Teachers and Global Education..... 209
2.1 Delineation of e-Mission Curriculum by Content............... 82
4.1 Weekly Data Collection....................................... 132
ICONS AND HYPLERLINKS
Throughout the document, there are numerous small icons, each hyperlinked to a
referring website, allowing the reader to further explore the reference in the paper.
Additionally, there are several hundred words or phrases that are hyperlinked to
appropriate websites. As of the submission date of this paper, all websites were
Let us describe the education of men... What then is the education to be?
Plato (c. 427-347 B.C.), Greek philosopher
Meet Ms. Baca and Ms. Jumichektwo dedicated, knowledgeable, and
hypothetical teachers giving the passion of their profession to students in a
moderately sized middle school in a mid-western state. Both teachers are graduates
of prominent undergraduate programs and hold masters degrees in Curriculum and
Supervision (graduating within three years of each other). Both have comparable
teaching experience and are completely and unquestionably devoted to their
profession and their students. Currently, each has classrooms doing a unit in Food.
Lets take a moment to look in on each.
Anyone entering Ms. Bacas room would be struck by the cleanliness and
orderly fashion of the room. Desks in straight rows, books organized on shelves
(some assigned by number, others by Dewey decimal order), updated teacher-
designed bulletin boards (sharing essential information on class rules, bell
schedules, evacuation procedures and disciplinary procedures). The highlighted
section of the bulletin board has the name of the student of the week who is
rewarded with eraser-cleaning each Friday. On a sidewall, there is a large, Rand
McNally world map, boasting the illogical placement of the Americas in the center.
In the back of the room sits a row of five two-year-old computers, each carefully
covered with protective plastic, all overshadowed by a poster stating the binding
rules to be strictly enforced while using the computers.
As Ms. Baca welcomes us as visitors, she takes great pride in sharing the
contents of her green lesson planner, clearly identifying complete, concise, and
defined daily objectives (matched to district standards), complete for the semester.
Her accompanying lesson plan notebook contains handwritten, day-to-day lessons in
a clear Madeline Hunter format, all based on E.D.
Hirschs 1995 series of Core Knowledge Books (an
award-winning best seller, presenting curriculum in a
disjunctive, detailed list, displayed in alphabetical order,
with American values and ideals at the center).
Replicating the list format of the book, she has organized the three over-sized
chalkboards in the room into appropriate registers.
As the students begin to noisily enter the room, they seem to collectively
groan at her reminder to pick up a dictionary. She shrugs off their dismissal as she
explains that this should be no surprise to themshe begins each Tuesday by
having the students use dictionaries to look-up the four-syllable words on the board.
They write the word, copy the definition, and use the word in a grammatically
correct sentence. Once the daily warm-up activity is complete, the students are
asked to take out their Social Studies books and silently read the section on Crop
Growing in Our Fifty States. Although the students are paired (to maximize on her
definition of collaborative support), they read at
different levels and speeds, seemingly creating
frustration that teeters on the edge of chaos After
the specified 20 minutes, they are given a ditto copy
of a crossword puzzle, containing many of the words and terms used in the reading.
The teacher then introduces the culminating unit project. Using reference material
from handouts, encyclopedias, and library books, students will study lists of
American exports, the benefits of NAFTA, the food groups, and how to shop for the
best value at the grocery store. Each student will then assume the position of
someone in the food chain (farmer, distributor, grocer, consumer, government) and
collaboratively create a poster illustrating his or her understanding. Each group
member will give individual 3-5 minute oral reports on their findings, while the
other students take notes in a previously practiced, structured format. For extra
credit, students can maintain an eating journal. If any student finishes working in
class, they are, as always, welcome to practice their math skills using the pre-loaded
Math Munchers software on one of the classroom computers.
Walking down the hall to Ms. Jumicheks room, we are welcomed by the
diverse display of flags and the accompanying student-produced mural of multiple
cultural faces that greet us in the classroom entryway. She has several world maps,
presented with different types of information, the dominant one being the world
from Australias perspective. Music is coming from an indigenous peoples tribal
chant CD (in the teacher computer) and several students are practicing a dance of
unknown origin. She hardly notices our arrival. As the two-minute warning bell
rings, every student is in the classroom, working on various group or individual
tasks, hurries to complete some task. Most of the students have already picked up
their Alpha Smart and, at the bell, they are sitting at their groups table, diligently
working on the days six-trait warm-up (the task itself accompanied by embedded
music and a current graphic, all projected from the teacher computer through the
LCD projector). While the students are writing, the teacher takes electronic
attendance (instantly causing community-requested information to be recorded into
the student information system, available to all administration and parents via the
Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The writing assignment asks the students to
compare only the word hunger from the perspective of a North Korean peasant
and a Tibetan monk.
When we ask, she shares her electronic, searchable database of flexible
lessons she has compiled on her computer, each standards-based and project-driven,
accompanied by student-designed rubrics for evaluation The driving questions
for the projects are global, in nature, offering the students diverse cultural, political,
economical, social, and regional perspectives, possibly very unfamiliar and
uncomfortable for them.
Students are grouped into heterogeneous (gender, age, cultural background,
ethnicity) multiple-ability groups (based primarily on learning styles). Each group is
given a WebQuest on The Global Situation of Food. Students work on various
tasks, utilizing the tables in the room, floor space, and the limited pairs of computers
located at the two stations in the room. The thematic approach matches the teachers
facilitator style, allowing students to work at their own pace and level, while
maintaining a group focus. As the students are working, Ms. Jumichek takes an on-
task grade, recording it on her hand-held PDA
(personal digital assistant), scores that will later be
put into her electronic gradebook. The WebQuest,
written by content experts working as a teacher team
in Illinois, has learners working independently to become experts, while working
collaboratively to share information as they complete the group project. The
WebQuest introduces an authentic, real-life situation, gives each student their role,
provides on-line resources, and a printable rubric for the final technology-enhanced
project. Each role within the WebQuest will look at global food issues, concerns,
and political decisions. Statistics will be graphed and maintained in spreadsheets
illustrated through multiple types of graphs. For their final project, the team will
design and create a stand-alone multimedia presentation, providing a convincing
argument as to their position on one of the following student-selected topics:
solving world hunger, dealing with genetically modified foods, addressing
environmental impact, or global food distribution. Students will gain information
from electronic references (updated daily), e-pal correspondence from around the
world, and Internet sites (already identified and embedded in the WebQuest). The
entire unit was built using her favorite curriculum design of Wiggins and McTighe
(1998) (Understanding by Design ^%~), starting with the final project design and
working backwards to incorporate the six facets of understanding.
The work time is unexpectedly cut short today as the class receives
electronic notification that they have an incoming call. As one of the students logs
onto the teachers computer, the two-way webcams allow students to visit with
their class counterparts in Congo. An emphatic discussion results as continuing
distressing news is shared with the American students. As the Web connection fails,
students decide to create an after-school club to raise money to help their peers in
The Situation As It Has Come To Be
To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and
to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.
Margaret Fairless Barber (1869-1901), English author
Why are Ms. Baca and Ms. Jumicheks classrooms so different? Two
teachers, both entering the workforce at approximately the same time with a similar
foundation of teacher education; yet, each facilitate classroom learning using
radically opposing strategies, engaging students in disparate curriculums, and using
distinctly unique tools to achieve their goals. How did this diverse situation arise?
To fully understand these scenarios require an analysis of three bases for teaching
how teachers teach, based on the why (teaching methodologies and perspectives);
what tools do they use (use of technology with teaching); and what teachers teach
(curriculum). An examination of these three concepts will provide the basis for
understanding the forthcoming study. Lets take a look at each.
The liberally educated person is one who is able to resist the easy and preferred answers,
not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration.
Allan Bloom (1930-92), U.S. educator, author.
Consider for a moment.. .the way teachers teachour perspectives, teaching
methodologies, and strategies. Molded, at a minimum, by individual learning and
life experiences, unique perspectives of the world and our place in it, teaching
education, and reflections of the classroom and its learners coupled with societal
and administrative pressures, each teacher comes to the educational forefront with
an ideology and implementation plan for student success. Armed with a multitude of
theoretical and practical instructional techniques (derived from university courses,
student teaching and personal experience), teachers make minute-by-minute, active
decisions on how they will administer curriculum. To date, didactic instructional
practice dominates current teaching despite numerous research-based assertions that
advocate student-centered teaching methods (Duckworth, 1987; Fraser, 1994;
Tobin, Tippins & Gallard, 1994). Sizer, in his 1984 study of American classrooms
stated, many schools are quiet, apparently happy, orderly, but intellectually dull.
Education has become a massive process of producing passive minds (p. 54). His
dated assertion stands as true today as then.
Teaching styles span the philosophical spectrum from the behaviorism of
Skinner (1938) to the constructivism of Dewey (Ertmer & Newby, 1993; CTGV,
1999). Both founded on evidential research of respected theorists and psychologists,
the two approaches are at variance as they define teaching and describe effective
learning environments. The underlying epistemologies and subsequent beliefs of
each camp are based on radically differing beliefs of human knowledge and its
acquisition. Hence, they hold the defining rationale in explaining the choice of
teaching methodologies and strategies. These two philosophies will be referred to as
neobehaviorist and constructivist models (Robyler, et al., 1997).
It is important to recognize that, for the purpose of this study, the reference
to these philosophies refers to the resulting methods of teaching adapted because of
teacher beliefs in guiding principles. In other words, this study uses these terms to
identity how curriculum is implemented based on the teachers view of how
learning is acquired.
Ms. Bacas emphasis on knowledge acquisition from an expert source
(books, teacher, etc.), in conjunction with prerequisite skills (as secured with drill-
and-test disassociated skill building) and a regurgitive assessment format would
easily classify her as more of a neobehaviorist. The indicators are present to
categorize Ms. Jumichek as coming from a constructivist perspective: her emphasis
on student experience and cultural embrace, grouping to encourage scaffolding and
bridging the zone of proximal development through social relations (Vygotsky,
1978), discovery learning through self-directed curiosity, and letting children
explore alternatives to recognize relationships between ideas (Bruner, 1973).
As teaching philosophies define adopted classroom methodologies, they are
also critical in determining how teachers will use technology in their classrooms
(Honey & Moeller, 1990). Adding another realm to our teaching analysis will be
what tools a teacher uses to teach with.
Teaching With Technology
Science and technology multiply around us. To an increasing extent they
dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use
those languages, or we remain mute.
J. G. Ballard (b. 1930). English novelist
Consider for another moment.. .the state of technology in education. In
barely 20 years, technology has penetrated every segment of society. Computers
have made it possible for BPT large amounts of information to be
instantly available. For the first time, half the world can
watch the other half starve to death in technicolor
(Department of Yorkshire Television Documentaries, 1983). Entire encyclopedia
sets can be downloaded to a hard drive in a matter of minutes, and banks are making
billions of dollars on interest as money is transmitted through cyberspace. Text,
once meticulously transcribed in calligraphy with quill pen on animal skins or plant
leaves, is now permanently flexible characters on a screen being electronically
transmitted to home printer publishing at twenty pages a minute.
The impact on children of this generation has been revolutionary. Todays
youth has grown up with a remote control in each
hand, spending inordinate hours transfixed in front of
a television connected to video gamesmore time
than they spend reading. Their world is one of toys
with multiple buttons, flashing lights, extraterrestrial sounds, and vibrations.
Quintessential teenage amusement parks of yesteryear are now multidimensional
sensory nuclei of buzzing radiating interactions, begging for the command of the
user. Computer-based information kiosks arc common shopping mall features and
Nintendo is as common in a home of today as the RCA Victrola of yesteryear.
Students know information to be instantly accessible, enhanced with streaming
video and kaleidoscopic graphics, responsive and controllable at their whim. Yet,
the computer revolution has left education in the dust. Locked in the past, our
schools arc honored with the task of preparing students to be global citizens; yet,
knowledge is presented in a linear, didactic manner vastly different from what they
will encounter outside of school (Ravitz, Becker, Wong, 1998). No wonder schools
strike students as rigid, uninteresting, and alienating when compared to their
otherwise vivid and stimulating world!
In 1987, the U S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment predicted
that technology would bridge the ever-widening gap between schools and society
(pp. 33-34). Over the next ten-year period, the ratio of students to computers
changed from 125:1 to 10:1 (Quality Educational Data, 1996). This nation
reportedly invests $5 billion annually in educational technology (Wagner, 1999),
boasting 5.8 million computers in public schools. Yet, numbers do not reflect the
extent to which computers are integrated into the teaching process. Integration
requires that teachers readily and flexibly incorporate technologies into their
everyday teaching practice in relation to the subject matter they teach (Hadley &
Sheingold, 1993, p. 265). Despite the presence of computers and related
technologies, research indicates that a large number of todays educators are having
a difficult time integrating computers in their teaching despite substantial
investments in hardware and training (Myre, 1998; Hope, 1997).
As schools maintain an investment in classroom technology, teachers use of
computers continues to be subject to investigation and inquiry. While the numbers
of computers in schools and classrooms escalate daily, evidence suggests that they
are not fully integrated into teachers practice (OTA, 1995). The question is
generated: why? And the task is defined: how to help teachers overcome struggles
to integrate technology into meaningful learning for students and an effective
environment for their teaching.
The literature is full of studies that describe the difficulties in getting
teachers to use technology (e.g., National Governors Association, 1989; Berg,
Benz, Lasley & Raisch, 1998; Collins, 1991; OTA, 1995; Dexter, Anderson &
Becker, 1999; Honey, M. & Moeller, B., 1990; McKenzie, 1991; Roblyer, 1997;
Wiske, Zodhiates, Wilson, Gordon, Harvey, Krensky, Lord, Watt, & Williams,
1989). The ACOT (Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow) study spanned ten years to
investigate how the use of technology by teachers and students would affect
teaching and learning (Sandholtz, Ringstaff & Dwyer, 1997, p. 3). It concluded, in
part, that teachers are willing to adopt and adapt new ideas when they are modeled
in active classrooms where students are successfully engaged. Further, Shelly,
Cashman, Gunter & Gunter (1999) claim, with proper technology training, teachers
can develop an appreciation and an understanding of the potential of technology,
design integrated curriculum, and develop ownership of the technology through
authentic experiences (p. 6.10).
In order to understand the quantity and quality of technology use in the
classroom, we must, primarily, examine the effects of pedagogical style on
computer integration in a classroom through use of generalized descriptions of
teaching approaches (Dexter, Anderson & Becker, 1999). The primary factor
defining the level of computer integration in the classroom today is the teachers
professional pedagogy as exhibited in their teaching style (Honey & Moeller, 1990).
Dexter, Anderson and Becker (1999) studied teachers in their professional
environments and identified three categories of teaching styles that were used in my
study: traditional, progressive, and transformative. The styles were then correlated
with computer use. They found, in short, that the traditional teacher who
emphasizing mastery of a set of skills, recalling facts, and learning discipline-valued
abstract concepts through direct instruction, generally employs low levels of
computer incorporation (Honey & Moeller, 1990).
Progressive teachers embrace a focus on understanding concepts, primarily
through discussion formats (Dexter, Anderson & Becker, 1999), with the
discussions still teacher-directed with grades serving as an underlying student
motivator. These teachers viewed the integration and use of technology into their
classrooms as primarily a supplement to their usual approach (Honey & Moeller,
1990). Although Wiske (1998) found that progressive teachers viewed computers as
providing an added means of reaching and motivating students, the use of
computers was structured and controlled with this type of teacher.
Transformative educators use creative practices, interdisciplinary themes
with an outcome on student projects of complexity and duration (Dexter, Anderson
& Becker, 1998). This approach emphasizes questions of process over product.
Similar to all teacher types, educators in this category seek out technology
applications that support their teaching practices.
These results imply that teaching styles play an important role in how they
choose to appropriate and make use of technologies in the classroom (Honey &
Moeller, 1990, p. 36). We must understand how teachers view computersas a tool
to integrate existing objectives, or as a transformative device used to reflect the
context of the digital age in which we live and educate children.
So how do our two profiled teachers fair in their adoption of technology? It
seems evident that Ms. Baca views the technology as an add-on or extra reward,
providing the students with a virtual replacement for a Jolly Rancher (or some other
reward) for completing the desired response from her stimulus. Computers are
isolated and have definitive teacher-directed rules associated with their use. Ms.
Jumichek, however, views the computers as an infinite source of perspective and
connectivity to the outside world, connecting her and her students experiences to
other ideas and understanding that she, alone, could never hope to duplicate. The
computers will allow her students to explore and create their own foundation of
learning, facilitate collaborative social interactions, all focused on motivating the
student to understand multiple global responses and behavior as they seek to
identify their own perspectives.
The Curriculum: Global Education
The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.
John Locke(1632-1704), English philosopher
Consider for a final moment... our world: one-fifth of the people
have three-fourths of the wealth; one half of the worlds adult population is
illiterate; sixty percent of the arable land produces twenty percent of the total
food supply that feeds seventy-three percent of the people; one in three
humans do not have access to clean drinking water; and only one half the
earths population of children are immunized against common preventable
diseases (Kidron, 2000). The world today supports over 5,300 languages, 35
major religions, with one-third of the worlds countries in
continuing civil conflict (Kidron, 2000). The poor may
inherit the earth some day, but the rich are currently in
possession400 billionaires control the same amount of
wealth as nearly half the worlds people (Smith, 2000). An
equivalent of over 300 jumbo-jets of people die each year from hunger-
related diseases, half those passengers being children (Kidron, 2000). Forty-
seven million people are refugees, over half hiding within the boundaries of
their own country (O'Brien, 2000). With these overwhelming statistics, we
cannot pretend that our choices do not impact the lives of fellow humans
around the worldin an intricate, entangled, and complicated muddle!
What I have called the trilemma is the mutually damaging collision
of individual human rights, cultural human diversity, and global
human opportunities. Today the damage from that collision is
suddenly all around us... Finding ways to become unified despite
diversity may be the worlds most urgent problem in the years ahead
(Cleveland, 1995, p. 23).
The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador to NATO, Harlan
Cleveland, eloquently illuminated the sense of urgency to the primary edict given to
society and educational institutions. Re-examined in conjunction with the state of
the world, the challenge mandates schools to prepare our diverse student population
with recognition and respect for universal individual human rights and enable all
students to participate in and contribute to a changing world whose future demands
cross-cultural interdependence and new social interactions. These dares invite us to
rethink and shape our traditional curricular approachwith an embrace of global
Revisiting our profiled teachers for a moment, let us take a look at how Ms.
Baca and Ms. Jumichek are creating global citizens with world conscientiousness,
prepared to take care of our one earth while competing and collaborating with their
six billion fellow inhabitants. We can ascertain that the mono-regional curricular
approach adopted by Ms. Baca reflects a strong focus on the North America
perspective. Any global connections will be viewed through the benefits,
disadvantages, struggles and rewards through a U.S. jaundice eye. Social
interactions with the outside world for the students will probably be limited to their
interface with a textbook insert focused on the plight of the American farmer and
the association with the foods end-user. And so we must ask, when the students
leave her class, what will they know of global perspective and interactions?
Probably very little, as student understanding will be grounded in a view of the
world through one portal.
As we look into Ms. Jumicheks room, we are initially encouraged with her
conscious effort to provide the opportunity for students to share their cultural,
regional or ethnic background through designed heterogeneous groupings. But we
can be truly excited that the content of the curriculum is based on an authentic, real-
world situation, placing students in possibly unfamiliar (and certainly differing)
cultural and regional roles. Additionally, the electronic opening of her classroom
walls to other students around the world creates an understanding for her students
that their actions, behaviors, and thoughts will impact every country, every
inhabitantand vice versa. Of course, this immediate, interactive interface is
available only because of the use of technology.
Triangulation of the Concepts
Education is either to calm the disturbed or to disturb the calm.
The world is a dynamic organic system, made up of constituent parts or
members that are globally reliant and dependently intertwined. This intimate and
entangled relationship demarcates the very nature of knowledgeits parameters,
application, and dissemination to people. Schools have played a vital role as
societys forum for the interchange of information dissemination and acquisition. In
the forefront of education stands todays teachera dedicated facilitator of
knowledge diffusion, struggling with the multiplicity of educational issues, yet
committed to providing every learner with the maximum education possible.
The way teachers teach affects not only how and what students learn, but
shapes their position and inevitable contribution in this global society. Technology
is the supporting tool, allowing students to connect to all parts of the world as they
move to take control of their own education. And global education is essential as
each inhabitant of the earth is an integral part of a larger whole and our interactions
and behaviors affect all others.
This essential examination of teaching has led to the three topic foci of this
study: (a) teacher methodology and strategies as they integrate technology (the
how/why to teach with the tools); (b) technology integration in curriculum
design (the what to teach and the tools); (c) technology to facilitate global
education (the what to teach how/why to teach).
Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.
Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer
The questions that drove this study were:
-'B What happens when a team of teachers implements a technology-enhanced,
global, authentic curriculum?
What factors impact teacher adoption of student-centered teaching
What happens in the course of teaching that alters teachers level of
integration of technology into their curriculum?
Does the implementation of pre-designed global curriculum impact a
teachers adoption of a future global education perspective?
Purpose of the Study
The only failure a man ought to fear is failure in
cleaving to the purpose he sees to be best.
George Eliot (1819-80), English novelist
The purpose of this study was to describe the development and
implementation of classroom teaching methodologies as a technology-driven, global
curriculum was implemented by a group of teachers. It was not the intent of this
study to provide a quantifiable foundation of knowledge, to identify trends, or strive
to do anything more than describe an inquiry using a naturalist approach in order to
understand a phenomenon in a context-specific setting.
Design of the Study
This is the story of one team of teachers as they explored their individual and
team teaching, their discoveries, successes, perceptions, emotions, and
tribulationsall culminating in their limited failures and unbelievable successes.
This is the story of a global curriculum design, offering a unique interdisciplinary
approach to an authentic real-world situation. This is the story of a use of
technology as it supports and facilitates the curriculum and teaching methodologies.
And this is a story of a researcher as she delved into a desperate need to understand
the triangulation of three passions.
By executing a descriptive case study of a technology-driven, global
curriculum with a focus on the impact on teaching methodology and perspective,
this research offers an elucidation of how one middle school team sought out and
implemented curriculum that supports state-mandated standards while providing
authentic learning opportunities in hopes of leading their students to life-long love
of learning. This study provides a number of stories which serve as evidence of how
views of technology and the embracement of alternative curriculum led teachers to
continually realign, adjust, confirm, change, and re-evaluate their views of teaching
as they impact their students, today and long into tomorrow. This story presents a
saga of success, survival and re-commitment as a team of teachers face their fears,
beliefs, and each other as they impel their students to Team. This theory-oriented
research provided an enlightening description that will guide the community with a
foundation to connect with their classrooms, give teachers with an avenue to reflect
upon their own teaching practices, enlighten teacher educators with an
understanding of the evolution of teaching practice, and administrators with a clear
picture as to the stories that drive the everyday business of education.
Study results offer a collection of stories from one educational setting over a
period of a several months. Discussion of these stories is followed by study
conclusions on global education, technology use, and diverse teaching
methodologies and a continuum and forum for teacher training and support. It is a
unique story of a special school, an extraordinary group of teachers, and a
Description of Curriculum
The campus of the Wheeling Jesuit University houses one of this countrys
most advanced and exciting educational technology centersThe Challenger
Learning Center (CLC) zjm. In fulfillment of their goal to provide unique, hands-on
learning environments designed to foster interest in math, science and technology
education, as well as increase teamwork and cooperation, CLC offers a distinctive,
interdisciplinary curriculum with a focus on earth science with a final outcome of
helping another culture. An e-Mission is all about Earth's fragile systems and the
interplay between life, land, air, and water. The mission is a tool that engages
student teams in the role of scientists: gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data to
solve real-life problems. Earth system science, a space-age study, addresses
questions in the forefront of inquisitive students' minds. How do we make sense of a
complex world? Help others? Solve real problems? And make a difference?
Students began the simulation by selecting an area of earth sphere expertise.
They decided which facet of Earth system science they were interested in and
wanted to learn more aboutthe biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere or hydrosphere.
Then they formed Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) with one specialist per team
as they completed their team application and resumes. In the subsequent weeks, they
engaged in preparatory activities during which they collected data about emergency
events, analyzed the data, and learned to make recommendations to earths
inhabitants based upon scientific analysis. All of this led to the culminating event:
On Mission Day, students watched as the space shuttle lifts off and
astronauts repair a satellite dish. The satellite immediately begins broadcasting data
about volcanic activity on Montserrat in the Caribbean. Twelve thousand residents
await the ERTs' scientific analysis of the situation. The tension grows when it
appears that a hurricane is on course for the island. In a two-hour period, the
student-run teams rally to analyze the data and determine the risks to the people of
the island and offer evacuation measures. Throughout the simulation, Mission
Control was in live contact with the students via webcams and a streaming video
connection (description of the actual simulation is found in Chapter 4 ).
The study is rich in its incorporation of technology and global education.
The software, hardware, and application of the technology employed in the
background of the curriculum served as tools to enhance the learning environment
in an unparalleled fashion. Without its presence and authentic use, the learning
environment would have been greatly altered and diminished. The curriculum,
originating from fundamental themes of global education, provided not only a
knowledge base, but required the learner to fully understand and apply their
understanding to save human lives and analyze the impact of natural events on the
earth. But the curriculum does not stop thereit implored the learner to delve into a
personal and global perspective that would not be possible without the authentic
application of the technology, investigating global phenomena impacting other
cultures, and gaining knowledge through multiple teaching methodologies.
The study was carried out in five phases. Phase I introduced the team of
teachers to the curriculum and culminating activity (e-mission). Teachers then
underwent training (both in content and technology use) to ensure their ability to
implement the curriculum and culminating activity. Phase II found the teachers
evaluating the curriculum, storyboarding its implementation, and delegating
responsibilities among themselves for content coverage. The actual teaching of the
curriculum comprised Phase III. Participation in the e-Mission was Phase IV.
Follow-up debriefing concluded the study in Phase V.
Learning to teach is a process of negotiating a satisfying teaching role within
a notion of good practice (Bullough, 1992). Fundamental to this notion is the
intersection of three understanding: how a teacher teaches (based on why)-, what
tools a teacher uses to teach; and what a teacher teaches. An evaluation of these
three components finds the epistemological stance that teaching is a private
enterprise in which individuals must grapple with pedagogical decisions within the
constraints of their environment.
I injected myself into the teaching lives of these three individuals as they
explored a new, technology-enhanced, global curriculum. My research questions
guided an open-ended exploration into the teaching phenomenon. What I learned
about the experience of these teachers (and myself) present interesting connections
between theory and practice. Instead of asking teachers to explain and integrate that
theory into practice, I believe the best approach is to simply explore their practice.
But in order to understand the theory and practice, it is well advised to look
at the groundwork of research, literature and thoughts that provided the foundation
for this study. The next chapter explores the intimacies of others work in the three
precepts in order to pull them together through the study.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
It is often wonderful how putting down on paper a clear statement of a
case helps one see, not case perhaps the way out, but the way in.
In order to appreciate my study, three bases of understanding are crucial: (a)
why teachers use the methodologies they use (based on their ideology of learning);
(b) how teachers view and merge technology with their teaching methodologies; and
(c) the content around which they apply their perspective and use of technology.
This literature review will begin with a description of teaching philosophies in order
to derive an understanding of why teachers chose selected strategies to offer
knowledge and skill acquisition to their students. This discussion will be framed
around the philosophical spectrum of knowledge acquisitionthat is, the basis of
teacher beliefs as to how knowledge and skills are best acquired by learners. The
results of this section will lead into the second area of teaching with technology.
The focus of this section will merge teaching philosophy and views on using
technology in the classroom, then move on to deal with the manner in which it is
applied. The final section will encapsulate teaching philosophy and technology
within the framework of a curriculum of global education. These three areas will
provide a foundation to understand this study.
The Philosophy of Teaching
The story concerns three baseball umpires who were discussing the
problems of their profession. The first umpire said, Some are balls and
some are strikes and I call them as they are. The second umpire said, "Some are
balls and some are strikes and I call them as I see them. While the third umpire said,
1 see them coming and some are balls and some are strikes but they aren t anything till I call them.
A stroll into nearly any classroom in America will find the visitor barraged
with teacher beliefs. Illuminated through posters, one can quickly perceive differing
views of education.
Knowledge In the car of
freely, bring you hold the
your own keys!
So why is one poster mounted in one room and another dichotomous idea reflected
in another? What perception of education would a teacher hold that would cause the
daily reminder to students of one philosophy versus another?
When teaching moved from the oral reflection of the tribe to a more
formalized school environment, it sparked the discussion about which schools were
getting the best possible results employing what practices. As different educational
systems were scrutinized, psychology offered an effective tool to frame theories of
learning. In turn, a given theory of learning promotes a set of classroom practices
that drives a teachers curriculum, choice of instructional techniques, and supporting
teaching tools. It is, in essence, the basis for the classroom teachers decision-
making (Driscoll, 2000).
To understand the divergence of the posters foundational approach to
education requires an understanding of their philosophical discord (Bigge &
Shermis, 1999). And that dissonance can best be thought of in terms of a spectrum,
with infinite spots along the continuum, representing various degrees and
interpretations of theorem applicability. The ends of spectrum represent our
divergent teaching styles, one being the teacher-directed neobehaviorist and the
other end the student-centered constructivist. Just as with political affiliations, ones
individual perspective on learning may (and probably will) be drawn from both
ideologies. However, a persons belief about effective teaching will find ideas
central to one family more tenable and with fewer drawbacks than the ideas central
to the other.
What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.
Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English essayist
The label, neobehaviorism, is commonly referred to using a wide assortment
of other names, all of which will be used interchangeably for this study. Sometimes
known as objectivists, fundamentalists, behaviorists, and conditionalists,
neobehaviorists hold that knowledge has a separate existence of its own, outside the
human mind and learning happens when the learner receives knowledge directly
from the source of instruction (Driscoll, 2000).
Historical Perspective. Neobehaviorist theory has its origins in the classical
conditioning experiences of Pavlov (1927), the work of Thorndike on reward
learning (1911, 1913), and the studies of Watson (1916, 1921). Early work by B .F.
Skinner (1938) on operant conditioning, John Watson (1916) on stimulus
substitution, and Edward L. Thorndike (1911) on classical conditioning led to recent
works by E.D. Hirsh (1999).
The systemic application of the theory had its beginning as World War II
ended. The huge influx of immigrants coupled with the post-war economic
prosperity and patriotic optimism, stimulated huge numbers of Americans to
demand their Constitutional right to the free public education for their offspringso
many kids, so little time, each seeking an avenue to attain the American dream. To
ensure each student would be provided with maximum consistent and fair
educational opportunities, schools were required to certify that students had attained
certain skills and abilities. Individual pacing and remedial needs became the
mandate of public education. Self-instructional sequencing materials address the
needs of divergent learning differences, allowing for self-evaluation, making
learning paths more efficient (Pressey, 1964). Adapting the work of Skinner (1938)
and Pressey (1926), the theory had unprecedented and widespread influence on
school structure and teacher methods, many still supporting it today (click here for
the national Q and Colorado examples A*)
Basic Tenets. Neobehaviorists focus on (1) immediately observable changes
in performance as an indicator of learning and (2) the belief that a structured
response will be elicited from a provided stimulus. The beliefs can be summarized
1. Learning is observable.
2. Principles of learning apply equally to various behaviorseveryone
learns the same way.
3. Learning processes can be studied by looking at stimuli and
responses. Learning is described as a stimulus and response relationship.
4. Learning involves a behavior change. If no observable change
happened, then no learning occurred.
6. Organisms are bom as blank slates, with no predispositions. Since
each organism has a different experience with the environment, each will have a
different set of behaviors.
7. Learning is a result of environmental events.
The neobehaviorists hold that learning is a change in observable behavior,
which occurs when stimuli and response become related. That behavior and
subsequent stimuli-response can be formed in a controlled, external environment.
Consequently, a neobehaviorist teacher, in looking for observable changes in
student behavior as evidence of learning, views learning as the development of non-
purposive habit formation. Routines are formed through conditioning, the simple
creation of desired responses resulting from specific stimuli. A learner is molded in
such a manner. Learning is merely a process within which verbal and nonverbal
behavior changes. Telling, showing, directing, guiding, arranging, manipulating,
rewarding, and punishing elicit such behavior. Teaching can be defined as adults
setting environmental conditions (stimuli) to ensure that students accomplish
predetermined educational goals (Skinner, 1968).
Implications For The Classroom. Teaching methods based on the
neobehaviorist model reflect the ideology that learning is attained through
behavioral modification. The organization, content, activities, and assessment of the
teacher should be decided and implemented based on establishing a learning
environment that reinforces students when they exhibit desired responses. In doing
so, students will exhibit the same response to all similar situations. As learning is
based on the sequence of stimulus and response action, teaching is the providing of
various stimuli to gain the desired response (Skinner, 1968).
Teaching from this perspective is usually associated with a more traditional,
teacher-directed forum. It is characterized by content-experts determining a
knowledge base, executing activities designed to create pre-determined learning
responses for skill acquisition, individual student learning and accountability, and
response-initiated assessment. Hence, a teachers role is to create settings in which
students behavior is reinforced when they exhibit desired responses, teaching them
to react similarly in analogous conditions (Thorndike, 1913).
Specific Models Of Instruction. Every theory will generate its applicability.
The following are some classroom teaching methods that mirror the tenets of
Mastery Learning. John B. Carroll (1971) and Benjamin Bloom (1971)
created fervor in teaching when they introduced Mastery Learning. This format
alleges to increase the likelihood that students will attain a satisfactory level of
performance. The driving idea holds sacred that learners take a varying amount of
time to master conceptssome people take longer than others to learn any given
material. If instruction is managed in this way, believed Bloom (1971), then time to
learn can be adjusted to fit the learner. The model further holds that traditional
group instruction can be modified to ensure that individual students have the time
they need to receive appropriate instruction according to the results of formative
evaluation (Carroll, 1971).
Direct Instruction. Direct instruction consists of a teacher explaining a new
concept or skill to a large group of students, having them test their understanding by
practicing under the teachers direction (controlled practice), encouraging them to
continue to practice at their seats under teacher guidance (guided practice), followed
by assessment. This Direct Instruction Model, developed at the University of
Oregon (Becker, 1977) has formed the basis for two extremely popular and long-
lived federal programs, Project Follow Through and Head Start.
Memorization From the moment of birth, each of us is bombarded with new
artifacts and events that must be sorted. Those elements have been named and we
are faced with the monumental task of learning large quantities of information
although it may seen trivial, it provides us with a common, meaningful language
(Pressley, Miller, & Levin, 1981). The model of teaching, from the work of Lorayne
& Lucas (1974), includes four phases: attending to the material, developing
connections, expanding sensory images, and practicing recall. The teachers role is
to decide the appropriate list for memorization, then to provide the connections and
opportunities for recall to help the student master the material.
Problems/Criticisms. Critics (Shelly, 1999; Spear-Swerling, 1999; Sternberg,
1997; Sizer, 1999; Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson & Coulson, 1991) cite several
problems with the neobehaviorists approach: (1) students may not be able to solve
problems teaching information in discrete packets does not allow for linking
information to authentic issues students will face as they become productive global
citizens. Information taught in isolation eliminates the higher-order thinking
required by students to apply knowledge in a meaningful way; (2) directed
instruction is often unmotivating and irrelevant the assembly-line approach to
teaching will only result in robots who are unable to handle the real world due to the
decontextualized and arbitrary-task atmosphere of schools; (3) the approach does
not foster cooperation isolating students from each other not only de-emphasizes
social skills necessary to deal with complex issues, but also fosters an unnatural
If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must experience the
pear by eating it yourself... If you want to know the theory and
methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution
All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.
Mao Zedong (1893-1976), founder of the People s Republic of China
In opposition to the neobehaviorist approach that focuses on identifying the
entities, relations, and attributes that the learner must know (Duffy & Johassen,
1991, p. 8), the constructivist frame learning in contextthe ability to write
persuasive essays, engage in information reasoning, explain how data relates to
theory in scientific investigations, and formulate and solve moderately complex
problems that require mathematical reasoning (CTVG, 1991a, p. 34).
The idea probably deriving its names from early references by Piaget (1951)
and Bruner (1961). Constructivism is also frequently referred to as generative
learning (CTGV, 1991(a), 1991(b), embodied cognition (Johnson, 1987), cognitive
flexibility theory (Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson, & Coulson, 1991) and postmodern
and poststructural curricula (Hlynka, 1991). No single constructivist theory of
instruction existsmore, it is a conglomeration of interpretations and applications,
all framed around the understanding that knowledge will form and change with the
activity and experiences of the learner. Learning [is] a continuous, life-long
process resulting from acting in situations (Brown, Collins, Duguid, 1989, p. 33).
Further the philosophy holds that each learner generates their own understanding of
the world we live in, generate our own rules and mental models that we use to make
sense of our experiences.
Historical Perspective. Drawing heavily from the work of Kurt Lewin
(1936), Max Wertheimer (1959), John Dewey (1958), the perpetuating work of
Robert Sternberg (1997), Rand Spiro (1991), and David Perkins (1992), the basic
assumption defining this theory is that learners are complex organisms interacting in
their cultural or social environment and learning occurs as a result of their trying
various acts and seeing what happens. Learning, then, is the dynamic process
whereby, through interactive experience, insights or constructive structures of life
spaces are changed so as to become more serviceable for future guidance. (Bigge
& Shermis, 1999, p. 15)
Beginning in the early 1960s, the space race propelled America toward an
belief that there was a lack of mathematicians and scientists able to creatively
engineer a successful space program. Critical focus turned to our schools as
allegations were made that educational institutions were focusing too heavily on
teaching specific content as opposed to focusing on a leaming-to-leam model with
an emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking (National Commission on
Excellence in Education, 1983). Abstract, unrelated skill acquisition was under fire
and the need for effective social interaction was seen as a mandatory skill for the
successful global citizen. High drop out rates and poor national performance on
standardized tests brought the argument to its height as the National Commission on
Excellence in Education (1983) released its devastating and disparaging report of
the status of our national crisis: A Nation At Risk. New ideas on anchoring
instruction to real world situations and contextual configuring to students
experiential understanding became popular as passive learning gave way to ideas
of process and discovery learning. Early work of John Dewey (1916) (relevant real-
world activities define learning), Jean Piaget (1951) (cognitive development stages
incorporating assimilation and accommodation), and Jerome Bruner (1961)
(discovery learning), were reinvigorated, laying the foundation for other influential
theorists and practitioners such as John Seely Brown (1989) (cognitive
apprenticeship), Robert Sternberg (1997) (triarchiac learning), the CTGV (Cognitive
and Technology Group at Vanderbilt) (1991) (generative learning), Howard Gardner
(1983) (multiple intelligences), and the recent new group of radical constructivists
headed by Rand Spiro (1991) (ill-structured domains, cognitive flexibility theory).
Basic Tenets. The constructivist model holds that all knowledge is
constructed in the mind when the learner assembles both a structure for learning
with his own unique version of the knowledge, colored by background, experiences
and aptitudes (Bigge & Shermis, 1999). Summarily, constructivism holds that
(University of Colorado web site, 2002):
1. Learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input
and constructs meaning out of it. The learner must be activethe learner needs to
do something because learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge that
exists out there but that learning involves the learner s engaging with the world.
2. People learn to learn as they themselves have learned: learning is
comprised of constructing meaning and constructing systems of meaning. We can
learn systems of transportation, but we are also learning the meaning of diffusion.
And every time we learn, we give further meaning to our pre-existing base of
knowledge we have formerly constructed.
3. Learning, and its subsequent meaning, happens in the mind. Physical
actions and hands-on experience are supportive, but learning happens not as a result
of the physical activities, but because the activities engage the mind.
4. Learning happens as a result of social interactions.
5. Learning is contextual. People cannot learn isolated facts and
theories in some abstract ethereal land of the mind separate from the personal
experiences. People learn in relationship to their prior experiences, a pre-existing
base of understanding, and personal beliefs, such as prejudices and fears.
6. Knowledge is necessary to facilitate further learning. New
knowledge cannot be absorbed without some prior structure. The more we know,
the more we can learn.
7. It takes time to learn: learning is not instantaneous.
Motivation is essential for learning. Learners must believe there is a
reason to know in order to gain the understanding.
Based on the tenets of Gestalt psychology, constructivists see learning as a
process of gaining or changing insights, outlooks, expectations or thought patterns
(Wertheimer, 1959). The Gestalt teacher sees learning as a purposive, explorative,
imaginative, and creative adventure. Learning is an individual insight that occurs
when the learner gains a new meaning from their position in an environment and
gains a sense of pattern or relationship (Koffka, 1924). The central idea is that an
organized whole is greater than the sum of all the partsa learner can study the
individual parts, but understanding is found in the study of the totality
(Werthheimer, 1959). Since the parts must be understood in the context of wholes,
the learning process focuses on primary concepts, not isolated facts. Constructivists
advocate that learning is a process that must be situated in authentic scenarios, self-
organized and controlled by the learner (Bruner, 1961). Understanding is activated
as a result of intrinsic learning motivation, and effective instruction is anchored with
guided participation, all based around the learners own prior schema of
understanding and experiences (Spiro, 1991). Constructivists attempt to inspire
students to see the relevance of what they learn (to avoid inert knowledge or
information that is not spontaneously applied to a relevant problem) (Bransford,
1989). Building on these concepts, Lev Vygotsky (1926) developed twin concepts
ofscaffolding and his zone of proximal development, providing schools with a
picture of the developmental attainment of a learners understanding. Bruner (1961)
added to the picture by advocating instruction framing a students discovery of their
own learning as they progress through stages of constructive development. In
discovery learning, the student must uncover what is to be learned with the focus on
the process. The actual acquisition of knowledge is the frosting on the cake, if it
should occur at allthe process is the most important learning component. All
constructivists advocate that meaningful learning, a term first coined by Ausubel
(1960), occurs when new information is related to an image, experience, concept, or
proposition already existing in the learners constructive structure. This theory
propelled the later works of Papert (1980), John Seeley Brown (1989), Spiro (1990),
Perkins (1992), Campione (1984), Bereiter (1990), and Scardamalia (1996).
Implications For The Classroom. Teaching strategies based on the
constructivist model are focused on student motivation, incorporating what they
learn outside the school environment, and inspiring students to embrace the
relevance of their education in order to transfer and magnify understanding into
other situations and environments. The constructivist feels that the classroom
teacher molds his or her function to provide opportunities for student-directed
growth through exploration, unstructured learning and problem solving in authentic,
real-life applications embracing individual student experience and stage of
Teaching from a constructivist model is usually associated with a more
student-directed problem-solving forum, with the need to center instruction and
activities around relevant and meaningful situations already stirring the childs
experience (Prawat, 1993, p. 6). A constructivist approach requires the teacher to
design problem-oriented activities, use multiple formats, and teach in a rich
environment of resources, while students work in cooperative and collaborative
groupings, learning through exploration, and demonstrating their understanding
through authentic assessment.
Since people generate their own learning based on motivation, relevance,
and developmental stage, a teachers role is to arrange for required resources and act
as the guide on the side while learners set their own goals and teach themselves.
Learning, after all, is based on experiences they already possess. The constructive
teacher makes instructional decisions based on the interaction between the learner
and the learning environment. The constructive teacher seeks to help learners
develop their understandings of significant problems and situations. Teachers need
to organize and facilitate group work and evaluate student performance in authentic
Constructivists place two demands on schools: (1) learning must be
relevant; and (2) knowledge and skills acquired must be applied (CTGV, 1999).
Most constructivist teachers could relate the story of the guest speaker who walked
into a classroom and asked students What would you find if you dug a hold into the
center of the earth? The kids were stumped until the teacher explained to the
stranger that he had asked the wrong question. She turned to the kids and asks,
What is the state of the center of the earth? In unison, the students answer igneous
fusion. This is a classic example of students being unable to apply knowledge to a
real-world, relevant situationthey knew the answer, they just didnt understand
what it meant in an authentic use.
Specific Models Of Instruction. Constructivism calls for the elimination of
the standardized curriculum, instead promoting a curricula individualized for each
students prior knowledge, using hands-on problem solving. The theory has
teachers focusing on making connections between facts and fostering new
understandings for students. But instructors must tailor their teaching strategies to
student responses and facilitate the students analysis, interpretation, and prediction
of information by relying on open-ended questions and promoting extensive
dialogue. Although many strategies of instruction would support the constructivist
in class, several examples are offered here.
Advance Organizers. Originally proposed by Ausubel (1960), this model
proposes that when teachers introduce new materials, they must provide students a
way to organize, integrate, and retain the materials. Since students are exposed to so
much new material, teachers can help students make sense of the enormity of
material if they take time at the outset of instruction to highlight the organizational
and structural patterns of the new material and indicate how it relates to other
material already learned. The presentation of this advance organizer is usually in the
form of short sets of verbal or visual information presented prior to learning a larger
body of content. The intent of advance organizers is to present students with
context, not content, with conceptual frameworks, not specific detail. They can
provide students with new organizational structures to guide the assimilation of the
new content. In short, advance organizers have been described as bridges from
students previous knowledge to whatever is to be learned. They can call forth
general organizational patterns and relationships already in mind that students may
not necessarily think to use in assimilating the new material. Many types of advance
organizers exist and a teacher can create countless more.
Scientific Inquiry (Bruner, 1961). To teach students how to think effectively,
models of scientific inquiry rest on the notion that students learning more complex
intellectual strategies will have a greater ability to learn and will absorb more
concept and information if taught with complex models for handling information.
The classroom teacher approaches this modeling using the following guidelines: (1)
framing (providing a background, connecting the background to the question, and
making sure that the question is testable); (2) design (develop a systematic plan to
collection data); (3) investigation (teaching the collection and presentation of the
data); and (4) construct meaning (teaching analysis and interpretation by identifying
patterns, proposing explanations, and reviewing the design).
Microworlds. These refer to small, but complete subsets of the real
environment, promoting discovery and exploration. It offers a tiny world from
which a student can explore alternatives, test hypotheses, and discover facts that are
true about that world. It is not the same as a simulation, in that the student has to
focus on outcomes and objectives as they apply to the real world, and not simply
as a simulation of another world (often fictional and unattainable).
Problem-Based Learning. In this model, teachers design an ill-structured
problem based on desired standards and compelling, problematic situations from the
real world. Teachers develop a template of events in anticipation of students'
learning needs. Then, they investigate the range of resources necessary to the deal
with the problem and arrange for their use by students. Students actively define
problems and construct potential solutions. Teachers model, coach, and fade in
support as students' learning processes are made explicit. Teachers can create their
own, but many examples are readily available from the Internet.
Collaborative Learning and Project-Based Learning. Working in groups,
learners seek out a variety of resources, perspectives and possible alternatives to
arrive at multiple solutions, and then evaluate the adequacy of the solution. They
work as a team, often striving for multiple approaches to problems, trying a variety
of ideas, and then reaching a group consensus.
Problems/Critiques. Critics (Skinner, 1968; Pressey, 1964; Gagne, 1985;
Hirsch, 1995) cite several problems: (1) how can teachers certify skill learning?
Critics contend that society must know of individual understanding. It is not enough
to know that a doctor was on a team of doctors that successfully completed an
operation, we must know that one doctor was able to independently make a valid
and appropriate contribution; (2) how much prior knowledge is needed? Critics
contend that without a solid base of knowledge, problem solving cannot occur. He
who can swim can fetch the pearls; he who cannot swim will drown; (3) can
students choose the most effective learning? Critics advocate that students often
learn the least from methods they prefer the most. Why learn a new skill when the
old ones will suffice? Students will not be challenged by difficult tasks since they
will opt not to explore them; (4) which topics suit constructivism? Critics contend
that constructivists will teach the depth of one topic, but communities want breadth.
Is it responsible to teach the injustices of the American slave trade if students never
know of the current global slave states?; and (5) will skills transfer to practical
situations? Critics cite research that supports students not transferring from
authentic situations encountered in schools to real world situations.
For a complete panel discussion reflecting the applicability of the discord of
divergence, go to: http://www.dpskl2.org/techacademy.dpskl2.org/Candy/. See
Appendix J for a juxta-positioned encapsulation of the two theories.
Mere human beings cant afford to be fanatical about anything. .
not even about justice or loyalty. The fanatic for justice ends by
murdering a million helpless people to clear a space for his law-courts.
If we are to survive on this planet, there must be compromises.
Storm Jameson (1891-1986), British novelist
Since the world does not always present us with our preferred style of
learning, educators need to be versatile and teach students to be adaptable to all
situations they encounter in order to maximize learning opportunities. As students
leave school, we all expect that they will be life-long learners, motivated and
interested to keep abreast of current events, politically active, and socially cognitive.
For such a hope to be realized, teachers must understand that information,
learning, and experiences come in multiple formats. People crave the escape into the
fantasy of a book, but they must know the alphabet. People are fixated on driving
their cars, but they must know how it operates. People need to be conscious global
citizens, but they must know the basic culinary traditions of a culture in order to
send food to the starving orphans in North Korea. Is this possible to achieve?
Molenda (1991) advocates that an either/or position is too restrictive for both
teacher and learner. Forging a link between the two philosophies will allow the
learner to freely move from comfort zone to comfort zone, maximizing situated
learning, and building skills in areas of weakness. Bereiter (1990) states that the
learning students attain in school is sufficiently complex that none of the existing
learning theories can account for everything needed to be learned. He suggested that
all of the attributes of all learning theories interact with each other to provide the
student with a myriad of constantly changing avenues of learning, strengthening
those pre-existing skills and building a repertoire of undeveloped proficiencies.
Perhaps some of the most interesting research has resulted from combining
several models (based on divergent philosophies) to attack multifaceted problems.
Spaulding (1970) developed a instructional program for economically
disadvantaged, socially disruptive, low-achieving children that combined multiple
teaching methodologies. The program resulted in improving social skills,
cooperative learning behavior, induced intrinsic learning responsibility, significantly
improved basic skills and knowledge, and even improved student performance on
tests of intelligence. His work illustrates the importance of combining models to
pyramid their effects.
Sternberg (1997), developer of the triarchiac theory of intelligence
(practical, creative, social and academically-oriented intelligence), advocates that
students need to have a full pallet of skills (memory-based achievement, analytical,
creative, and practical) in order to reinforce existing methods of learning and
compensating for weaknesses. Additionally, it would be a mistake to assume that
exclusive use of one effective teaching strategy will meet all educational objectives
or even remain successful over the course of time (Shulman & Keislar, 1966). Joyce
and Weils exhaustive studies (1995) using multiple methodologies were unable to
identify one or another style as superior for all purposes. They concluded that a
combination of multiple teaching strategies would result in a complete educational
diet (pg. 5).
Certainly few would argue that situations mandate the type, depth, and
motivation of learning. While reading a statistical analysis article, I desperately seek
to anchor its abstract concepts in real world experiences and gratefully draw upon
the organizer provided to lead me to the authors conclusions. Alternatively, I would
prefer direct instruction on the history of the Middle East conflict so I can spend my
time collaboratively discovering strategies to end the war or aid the civilians.
Learning, however it is defined, is presented to us every moment of each
day, and the manner in which we embrace that learning is very situational. I contend
learning is not subject to a best way of learning, but to the most advantageous way,
maximizing the circumstances of the opportunity. The purpose of schools is to
subject our learners to all forms of learning, strengthening those the learners have
already developed and augmenting those they struggle with. In this way, all learners
can have a complete tool box of learning strategies to serve them well throughout
their life journey.
The Status of Philosophy Implementation Today
I shall speak...of my [favorite] teacher because in addition to other things, she brought
discovery. She...aroused us by shouting, book-waving discussion. She had the noisiest class in school
and she didn t even seem to know it. She breathed curiosity into us so that we brought in facts or
truths shielded in our hands like captured fireflies. She was fired and perhaps rightly so, for failing
to teach the fundamentals. Such things must be learned. But she left a passion in us for the pure
knowable world and me she inflamed with a curiosity that has never left me. She... left her signature
on us, the literature of the teacher who writes on minds. I have had many teachers who told me soon-
forgotten facts but only three who created in me a new thing, a new attitude and a new hunger. I
suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of the high school teacher. What
deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.
John Steinbeck, 1955
Teachers are as passionate about their beliefs in education as they are about
anythingit drives their day-to-day, hour-by-hour decisions and each of them is
committed to the belief that they know their actions touch the future through their
students. So, as we explore todays classrooms, what ideologies do we find?
Goodlad (1984) found, in his case studies of over 1,000 classrooms, that the
dominant method of information dissemination is the lecture, strongly based in the
neobehaviorist philosophy, including minimal student interaction or collaborative
work. Alternative instructional strategies were rarely found. Most teachers taught
basic facts and definitions from textbooks with nominal emphasis placed on
application in the daily lives of students. It appears that large numbers of secondary
teachers resort to practices designed to keep students passive and under control just
at the time when adolescents should be taking more charge of their education (p.
192). Goodlad (1984) and Gardner (1983) concluded that 75 percent of class time
was spent on instruction and nearly 70 percent of this was a one-way talk from
teacher to student with only five percent of the instructional time designed to
generate student response and less than one percent required some type of open
response from students.
Goodlads 1984 study and recommendations for significant redesign of
schools sparked a national wake-up call. Our astonishment was further intensified
with a follow-up national government study, A Nation at Risk (1983). This National
Commission on Excellence in Education, led by Howard Gardner, made clear its
position: If an unfriendly power had attempted to impose on America the
mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might have viewed it as an
act of war (p. 5).
The conventional remedies suggested by the Commission will run their
course, leading to a resurgence of frustration. The existing system, even if
threatened cannot carry the load of national needs without fundamental
rethinking and consequent redesign. All the testing currently in vogue will
narrow instruction to what it takes to get good grades on mass-produced,
machine graded tests and will tell us once again that poor kids score less
well than rich kids. It will suggest that, if conventionally taught, neither poor
nor rich youngsters will demonstrate the deep and sustained understanding
of important ideas that truly matters to a nation profoundly at risk. (Goodlad,
1984, p. 114-115).
Berlinger and Biddle (1995) offered curt criticism of the study, alleging that
fictitious problems were contrived in an effort to divert the public attention away
from political and economic policy-making. They purported that SAT scores were
rising for many groups (Caucasian, Asian, affluent) continued investments in the
current public education system would pay off in greater student achievement. Of
course, both authors find the measure of education to be in the manipulation of data
derived from standardized teststhe very essence against which Gardner and
Goodlad formed their conclusions.
In spite of reform activities, the current literature indicates little has changed.
The comprehensive national survey and study completed by Ravitz, Becker, and
Wong (1998) found that 80 percent of K-12 teachers continue to use external
motivation, 64 percent are more comfortable using traditional neobehaviorist
teaching approaches and 53 percent believe that students prefer the time-honored
lecture and book reading to constructivist approaches.
However, more constructivist approaches are being adopted in isolated K-12
pockets. New models reflecting more of a constructivist approach are being taught
in teacher preparation institutions and even advocated in some teacher textbooks.
This has resulted in some curriculum specialist beginning to embrace components of
the constructivist approach. The sciences are moving toward inquiry science H,
while mathematics classes often use Connected Math and literature can take on
multiple constructive approaches 4*.
Once a teaching philosophy has been formulated and applied to the
classroom in terms of chosen methodologies, it is logical to look at the tools
teachers choose to utilize as they implement their methodologies. The focus for the
next section will discuss technology as it reflects teaching philosophy.
Teaching With Technology
Men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be.
George Orwell (1903-50), British author.
Technology is a fact of our lives. Computers, email, video machines,
televisions, telecommunications have an incalculable influence on the way we live,
work, playand learn. And yet, even with technology so entwined in our day-to-
day lives, it plays an unnatural role in the classroom. Availability is becoming a
problem of the past. U.S. News and World Report states that this nation annually
invests $5 billion in computers (Wagner, 1999), boasting 5.8 million computers in
public schools, one for every nine students. How do we then account for the low-use
of computers in schools?
First lets determine if technology can be used with different teaching
philosophies. Then, well take a look at how those different teaching methodologies
reflect teacher use of technology. After all, teachers are the key to integrationand
teachers stand before technology as we would a mirror. What we see is determined
largely by who we are and what we consider important.
The NeobehavioristsIs There Any Reason to Use Technology?
Integration To Provide Direct Instruction And Individual Pacing. A lab set of
software can support a teacher-directed lecture and provide practice. Through this,
students can develop lower-level skills to chain to higher-level skills offered by
advanced stages of the same or subsequent software. Tutorials and drill-and-practice
software can serve several purposes. In addition to giving needed information and
practice, they also provide, for some students, the link possibly missing at the hands
of the poor relationship with the teacher. Issues surrounding cultural incongruities
can often be addressed through use of computers.
Integration To Remedy Identified Weaknesses. Both Gagne (1985) and
Bloom (1986) saw computers as a means to automatize the acquisition of skills. In
order to gain the fluency of low-level skills, learners often need repeated practice.
The sage old saying ofPractice Makes Perfect has served many of us well as we
rehearsed for a part in a play, memorized multiplication tables, or categorized
animals into classifications.
Integration To Make Learning Efficient And Motivate Students. Students are
motivated for a variety of reasons. How often is a students excitement over a topic
only briefly touched upon in class only to be curtailed due to time restrictions? In
the case of intrinsically-motivated students, computers serve to expose the student to
information, allow the student to gain the knowledge at their own pace, and can lead
the student to other topics of interest, opening doors to arenas that could lead to life-
time pursuits which were never delved into in the classroom because they were
uniquely interesting to specific students.
Integration To Maximize Scarce Resources. Anyone who has been inside a
typical classroom knows that resources are limited and quickly consumed by
students. Technology addresses this issue also. Teachers time, at a premium, can
often be placated by direct instruction offered by a tutorial or information on the
World Wide Web. And drill-and-practice programs are a timely and cost effective
replacement for ditto masters and worksheets. Simulations, either in packaged
software programs or from the World Wide Web, can be repeated over and over
without the cost of expensive chemicals, equipment, or impossible field trips.
Integration To Remove Logistical Hurdles. Computers can also serve to help
learning be more efficient. Although the use of a word processing program does not
teach a student to be a better writer, it does make the writing, planning, drafting and
editing process more timely and, hence, provide motivation to the student by
allowing them to focus on the content of the material instead of the mechanics. A
videodisc will not take the student on an African safari, but the use of one can allow
the teacher to discuss concepts more efficiently and authentically.
The Constructivists Is There Any Reason to Use Technology?
Integration To Foster Motivatioa Todays student population has far
different needs and expectations than those of past decades. Todays schools must
be prepared to address the affective needs of students as well as cognitive needs.
The diversity of computer software, the extensive nature and communication skills
offered through technology and the Internet, provide students with opportunities that
could not be replicated without technology. Additionally, as the classroom teacher
competes with the entertainment value of Nintendo and MTV, learners will react to
the highly visual and auditory stimulation as well as strong levels of interactivity
offered by the computer. The immediacy of current happenings provides students
with an opportunity for exposure to any relevant topic they could imagine.
Integration To Foster Creativity. Studies have found that students are often
reluctant to try something new for fear of rejection, humiliation, or failure.
Programs like LOGO, and problem-solving software (Interactive Physics or Oregon
Trail), allow students to attempt ideas they would otherwise negate because there
are no consumables to wastethe environment to take a risk is maximized.
Integration To Facilitate Self-Analysis And Metacognitioa Perhaps the most
difficult part of teaching is getting students to analyze and critique the process they
underwent to come up with their solution. This metacognition is a key element of
many problem-solving pieces of software. In fact, most problem-solving software
will not allow the user to move forward in the software without explaining why
decisions were made and why other options were excluded. This provides an ideal
environment for students to foster their thinking about thinking.
Integration To Increase Transfer Of Authentic Tasking. Students frequently
complain that they dont understand why they have to learn mathor scienceor
history. To avoid the development of inert knowledge [a reference to knowledge
being context specific, first referred to by Whitehead (1929)], problem-solving
computer applications and programs provide numerous and varied applications for
knowledge and skills developed by students that allow them the flexibility of
manipulating and applying skills to different, authentic arenas without leaving the
security of the school.
Integration To Develop Social Skills. Although technology is certainly not
mandatory for the development of social skills within the confines of a classroom or
school, it is a necessary component if those social skills are to be extended globally.
Cultural differences are at the crux of much violence and tension in our society and
reflected in our students. The use of technology can break down the barriers of
diversity and bias to allow our students to become citizens of the world first, and
citizens of their community second.
Technology For Everyone?
So the literature supports the use of technology as an effective tool
regardless of a teachers philosophy. Why then is there such a divergent use of
technology as an educational tool? Perhaps the answer lies in understanding the
connection between teaching philosophy and the use of technology.
Many educators believe that computers can be a catalyst in educational
reform (Collins, 1991; Means, Olson & Singh, 1995). They state that the use of the
computers in the classroom can shift roles of participants, change teacher-student
relationships, realign knowledge acquisition and understanding, magnify access to
information and analysis, and facilitate global communication. Why then are
computers not being widely or effectively integrated into the public classroom of
today? Perhaps an analysis of individual teaching philosophy as it relates to
technology use will help to answer the quandary.
The primary influencing factor contributing to computer use in the
classroom is still a function of the teacher (Galin, 1995). And, in order for
widespread classroom change to occur, teachers must accept and embrace
computers as tools to facilitate new processes for interpretation and abstraction of
meaning as well as unique and complex devices enabling investigation and
understanding of our complex world (Willis, 1997). But as teachers struggle to
embrace multiple styles of teaching, they also falter with the use of tools necessary
to offer the full expansiveness of knowledge attainment and construction, let alone
acknowledge the complexity and interconnectivity of the world itself. In addressing
this paradox, numerous issues come to the forefront. Do identifiable patterns emerge
as teachers move toward integration of computers into their classrooms? What can
be determined from evaluating teachers pedagogies to maximize our understanding
of educational environments that foster deep and meaningful understanding of the
use and integration of classroom computers? Given the disparity between teachers
use of computers and their beliefs about computer use, is there a relationship
between teachers pedagogical styles and their approach to integrating computers?
Teaching Styles and Computer Integration
Dexter, Anderson and Becker (1999) classify three distinct approaches to
teaching. Although no single teacher consistently exemplifies a single style, most
teachers adopt a primary philosophy they play out in the classroom. The following
discussion of each teaching approach will incorporate computer integration. See
Appendix B for a summative description.
The Traditional Teacher Style. Traditional teachers most often emphasize a
primary learning focused around mastery of a set of skills, recalling facts, and
learning, and discipline-valued abstract concepts through direct instruction with
students motivated by grades and future benefits (Dexter, Anderson & Becker,
1999). The teachers role is to act as the primary instructor and source of
information. Maurer and Davidson (1999) found that traditional teaching edifies a
didactic approach and many teachers were locked into the transmission or
lecture/demonstration paradigm. Lecturing is effective in transferring simple
knowledge but ineffective for more complex learning (p. 459).
Teachers employing low levels of computer incorporation exhibited
classroom practices and educational objectives that were much more traditionally
based (Honey & Moeller, 1990, p. 5). Their pedagogical beliefs and the practices
they employed reflected a more conventional philosophy of education (p. 45). A
teacher whose style mainly incorporates a didactic and authoritarian approach
creates and environment that Sirotnik (1983) describes as teaching students
dependence on authority, linear thinking, social apathy, passive involvement and
hands-off learning (p. 29). This style is in conflict with the use of classroom
computers, as technology can facilitate process-solving, higher-level critical
thinking, and other student-directed computer applications requiring the knowledge
of information accessing, knowledge source evaluation, and knowledge application
to issues and problems (Scheffler, 1998).
Traditional teachers expressed many concerns over computer incorporation
in Wiskes (1988) study, with an underlying concern that the computer would be a
mental crutch whose use will cause students minds to atrophy (p. 15). These
educators were also often adverse to computer integration because they were afraid
that it would disrupt their normal classroom routine. All they do is play with the
computer and miss class instruction. The computer is basically a disruption that
doesnt teach anything (Honey & Moeller, 1990, p. 23).
Many traditional teachers expressed a fear that computers might alter the
relationship of control and authority they had with their students (Wiske, 1988).
Collins (1991) found that there were two general arguments used by traditional
teachers to reject computers that reflect this fear: (a) teachers wanted to be the
masters of everything... but they lose authority because computers contain more
information than they can possible master (p. 31) and (b) when students utilize
computers, they are often working independently, hence, the teacher has lost control
over students activities. Additionally, traditional teachers use low-level applications
and carry on their world apart from the technology cultures that have developed in
their schools (Honey & Moeller, 1990, p. 13).
Traditional teachers also saw computers as problematic to the act of
teaching. In addition to a concern over their own computer incompetence,
traditional teachers cherished the on-stage performing aspects of their job (Wiske,
1988). Viewing the computer as a source of competition for students attention
(Wiske, 1988, p. 15), traditional teachers were content to have an audience for
whom to perform (Honey & Moeller, 1990, p. 42). Traditional teachers defended
their non-implementation rationale by suggesting that computers may have the
greatest appeal for teachers who are less successful at holding the attention of
students and might therefore welcome the opportunity to try a different pedagogical
approach (p. 15).
Traditional teachers who minimally used computers in the classroom
focused heavily on drill-and-practice usage, providing endless practice in any realm
of context. Drill-and-practice is used to reinforce previously learned information,
but does not provide instruction (CTGV, 1999). The use of computers frequently
mirrors the instruction approach of the classroom teacher (CTGV, 1999, p. 8).
The Progressive Teacher Style. Progressive educators embrace a focus on
understanding concepts, primarily through discussion formats (Dexter, Anderson &
Becker, 1999), but the discussions are still teacher-directed and focused with grades
as an underlying student motivator. This approach often places an emphasis on
process over product. By internalizing the process leading to the answer, this
teaching approach advocates that students are better able to solve problems
independently. The role of the educator is to facilitate the course of action, acting
more as a manager.
Progressive teachers, typified by their procedure-oriented teaching
methodology, view the integration of technology into their classrooms as primarily a
supplement to their usual approach (Honey & Moeller, 1990). These teachers
discarded initial use of more traditional methods (textbook and lecture dependence)
in favor of engaging their students in project-oriented and group-based activities; as
computers became available to them as a teacher, they used content-based software
that focused on process-building skills (Wiske, 1988). Just as they used other
teaching tools to formulate a process-based approach, they also viewed computers to
be yet another tool to supplement their approach. For example, a common use of
computers for them was the deployment of simulationshere, students executed
decisions and received immediate feedback to make progressive decisions.
Although it provides excellent scaffolding and facilitates student thinking (CTGV,
1999), the environment is controlled by the teacher and choices limited and
contrived. Simulations provide both resources for exploring the principles that
govern a particular domain and opportunities for feedback, reflection, and revision
(CTGV, 1999, p. 24), but allow the teacher to have direct control over the options
available and, ultimately, the contrived possible outcomes.
Although Wiske (1989) found that progressive teachers viewed computers as
providing an added means of reaching and motivating children, the use of
computers was structured and controlled. These teachers tended to use computers
for whole-class demonstrations and allowed students to use computers in limited
formats. They were quick to recognize problems and limitations associated with
using computers in the classroom. A common concern was children who tend to be
too dependent on classmates working with others and not producing their fair
share of work.
Progressive teachers use a technology implementation approach
synonymous with their parceling out of powerin small portions. Maurer and
Davidson (1999) state from the educators point of view, the general approach
seems to be: I have the power, and I will give you bits of it as I see fit (p. 459).
Additionally, progressive teachers expressed concern that the use of
computers might create some classroom management issues. They stated that
traditional teaching methodologies are less troublesome and are often as effective as
computer-based training. They tended to see computers as a special treat or add-
on, rather than an enhancer of the regular curriculum (Honey & Moeller, 1990).
The Transformative Teacher Style. Transformative educators use creative
practices, interdisciplinary themes, and individual or student projects with
complexity and duration, with content linked to students interests and personal
growth (Dexter, Anderson & Becker, 1998). Students formulate and investigate
their own questions and teachers view the learner as the facilitator of their own
learning with student motivation coming from the love of learning. This approach
emphasizes questions over the process or the product, and places the attainment of
skills and concepts within the context of authentic, challenging tasks. The role of the
teacher is to place the student in the center of the learning and to serve as an aid to
the student, not in providing information, but in facilitation.
Honey and Moeller (1990) found that transformative teachers were fairly
homogeneous in the pedagogical practices and their approach to technology
integration in the classroom. Their extensive study found that, regardless of
circumstances, resources, funding, and student demographics, teachers who choose
to integrate technology as a critical component of their teaching were practitioners
who had used their student-centered goals and beliefs (e.g., inquiry methods,
collaborative learning, hands-on practices) to stimulate the creative use of
computer-based technologies in their classrooms (p. 5). Teachers in this category
seek out specific technology applications that support their teaching practices.
Mortons (1996) findings were consistent with that of Swan and Mitranis (1993)
study showing that computer-based classrooms were more student-centered and
focused on high-thinking problem-solving applications. In creating curricula,
transformative teachers make conscious and deliverage efforts to find problem-
solving, multi-dimensional, abstract applications that support the kinds of student-
centered practices that prevail in their classroom (Honey & Moeller, 1990, p. 8).
Wiske (1988) found that transformative teachers disdained computer drill-
and-practice as glorified electronic worksheets (p. 31). Instead, these teachers use
computers to have students learn concepts through inquiry and problem solving
defined by the open-endedness of student exploration (for example, making and
testing hypothesis, gathering the data, and presenting the findings).
Wiskes (1988) research found that transformative teachers use technology
because they believe computers graphical and pictorial capabilities help make
abstract ideas more concrete, help students construct or manipulate abstracts, and
the computer facilitates the sharing of ideas and group problem solving among
students (p. 32) Its more difficult [to integrate computers] in the sense that you
dont have all the nice control that goes on in book learning (p. 34), but teachers
see the relationship between themselves and students as becoming co-dependent
learners as a result of using technology in the classroom. With technology,
transformative teachers adopt the role of facilitator rather than a fountain of
knowledge (Hope, 1997, p. 8).
Additionally, transformative teachers quickly identified the affective power
of technology in the classroom. Those of us who work closely with children
recognize that many children connect with new technology. In short, they own it
(Maurer & Davidson, 1999, p. 459). Studies done by Valdez (1999) found
transformative teachers and their students both viewed computers as both
exhilarating and empowering. Students of these teachers expressed that they were
able to learn things that were otherwise unavailable to them due to distance, danger,
expense, time or other limitations. In short, as these teachers became more
immersed in using computers to promote critical thinking, they reported becoming
progressively less didactic; they lecture less and coach more; and, rather than
expecting students to learn all the same information, they expect individual
differences (Lundeberg, Coballes-Vega, Standiford, Langer, & Dibble, 1997).
So what does that mean for our classroom teacher? These results suggest that
teaching styles, based on teachers educational beliefs, help define what type of
technology and to what level teachers implement technology in their classroom
(Honey & Moeller, 1990). The relationship between teachers styles and the level
and ways in which they integrate computer-based technologies into their ongoing
classroom practices is identifiable.
Two diverse approaches to computer implementation exist for teachers. One
is to view computers as a tool to integrate existing objectives, in some cases cheaper
and faster. The other is to view computers as a transformative device used to reflect
the context of the digital age in which we live.
The skills that graduating high school students take with them into the world
must be a major focus of any serious effort to reform schools. Developing
computer-based skills for the purpose of accessing and manipulating current
information, communicating globally, expanding creativity, and testing new
knowledge though a sharing and rebuilding can only be developed in an effective
computer-based environment (Resnick, 1987). And to understand the development
of those skills requires an evaluation of the mirror through which a teacher views
computer integration and his or her own instructional methodology.
The solution to this multifaceted situation is complex. To understand the full
scope of computer integration, we must understand that teachers will draw upon
their knowledge and expertise of what they believe works in the classroom
(Dexter, Anderson & Becker, 1999, p. 236). And the development of the critical
teacher reflection often associated with promoting change is imperative to study as
we evaluate the lack of effective classroom computer integration (Dexter, Anderson
& Becker, 1999).
For teachers hesitant to incorporate computers, the very nature of their
practice [teaching] has to change (Honey & Moeller, 1990, p. 36). For the
progressive teacher to fully integrate computers, they need to experience the
relevance of information technologies to the work they do in their classrooms
(Honey & Moeller, 1990, pg. 24). For the transformative teachers, they need on-
going support and resources to continue exploring the effective integration of high-
level thinking applications of computers in the classroom.
In education, the combination of process and product merges instructional
procedures with instructional tools. Guidance in the application of tools comes from
learning theories. And the wide assortment of technology can support and create
learning that meets the needs of the entire learning theory spectrum. Computer
technology can embrace individual pacing, provide remediation, develop higher-
order thinking skills, provide motivation, build cooperation and social skills,
facilitate authentic and transferable outcomes, and encourage life-long learners with
a solid base of knowledge.
And then technology can then be considered to effectively enhance unique
and comprehensive learning environmentsthe use of the tools to do something
that could not otherwise be accomplished without the tool (Grabe & Grabe, 1998).
Technology offers students a reservoir of expanding information, opportunities to
develop problem solving and application of information, and links to the world,
offering global perspectives for coactive global interdependence (Roblyer, Edwards
& Havriluk, 1997).
Todays technology allows students to be exposed to an escalating throng of
information. But mere use of the technology that allows students to access
information may, and often does, have disastrous and shallow results. Downloading
crime statistics does not explain the multi-dimensional complexities of Matthew
Sheppards murder. Without a focus on sound educational principles, learning with
these new technologies can include a kind of cut-and-paste thinking that might
actually undermine students ability to think (McKenzie, 2001, p. 13). So
successful technology integration has, at its root, a codependence on curriculuma
curriculum that has, as its ultimate educational goal, for every learner to understand
his or her role in the world. The next section will focus on Global Education.
Curriculum An Analysis of What Teachers Teach
Curriculum has long been viewed to be a set of designated facts, didactically
disseminated to learners, complete with inclusive objectives and mastery attainment
of a teachers specified level of comprehension (Hackbarth, 1997).
But the complex nature of the world and the enormity of
immediately available changing information needing to be presented
from diverse viewpoints now require teachers to shift the focus of attention from the
disassociated hodgepodge of facts to an exposure and understanding of the
codependent nature of the multiple facets of the students existing and future world.
Over the past two decades, there has been increasing concern that American
schools are not preparing students to participate effectively in a world characterized
by human diversity, cross-cultural interaction, dynamic
change, and global interdependence (Boyer, 1983; Council
on Learning, 1981). The National Council for Accreditation
of Teacher Education (1995, NCATE Standards) mandates that teacher education
include learning to incorporate an international perspective. Yet the focus of
research has revealed little change and stressed the continued need to infuse worldly
perspectives in the classroom so that learners will understand and benefit from the
increasing interconnectedness of the worlds cultures, economies, and political
relationships (Becker, 1979; Goodlad, 1986; Tye, 1990; Merryfield, 1995; Toh,
To help students understand the interconnecting impact of the complex, ill-
structured actions of six billion humans on themselves, each other, and their one
earth, an alternative curricular approach has arisen. Global education develops the
knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are the basis for decision-making and
participation in a world characterized by cultural pluralism, interconnectedness, and
international economic competition.
What Is Global Education?
Growing out of such fields as international relations and area/intemational
studies, world history, earth science, geography, anthropology, sociology and
cultural/ethnic studies, global education recognizes that students must understand
the complexity of the world and develop skills in cross-cultural interaction if they
are to become participatory citizens in a pluralistic and interdependent world.
Global education provides a framework to help us make sense of the exponentially
increasing current information that technology now delivers to our doorstep and to
draw meaning about the earth and ourselves. In short, global education provides a
framework to understand perspective in order to make meaning from the
interrelationships between issues and between peoples (Merryfield, 1995).
Robert G. Hanvey (1976) offers this definition of global education, helpful
for the discussion that follows:
Global education is learning about those issues that cut across
national boundaries and about the interconnectedness of
systemsecological, cultural, economic, political, and
technological. Global education involves perspective taking,
seeing things through the eyes, minds, and hearts of others; and it
means the realization that while individuals and groups may view
life differently, they also have common needs and wants (p. 32).
Hanvey devoted his study of global attainment to the development of
five key areas (extrapolations are provided in Appendix C):
^ Perspective Consciousness
'D State of the World Awareness
Conceiving and Thinking of the
World as a Global System
Awareness of Human Choice and
Opportunities for Action
Scholarship on the subject of global education extends back more than
twenty-five years (Remy, Nathan, Becker, & Tomey, 1975; Overly, 1976; Hanvey,
1976). To understand global education is to view it in two termsas a core of
knowledge and as a model of thinking.
Global Education Core Knowledge. The specific content in global education
cannot be confined to a list. Because the focus is on outcome, not on specified
pieces of unconnected information, the possibilities of content selection are endless.
The objective (for students to understand the complexity of their world and develop
skills in cross-cultural interaction) can be framed around unlimited subject areas (for
example, ^ or &). To successfully engage students, Case (1991) suggests that any
global curriculum unit should have certain characteristics that reinforce a
comprehensive view of the single globe that we all inhabit. These properties are:
(1) relevant local as well as global dimensions;
(2) use of technology only where indispensable;
(3) establishment of student ownership through contributory participation;
(4) crucial outside-the-classroom student action related to the units goals;
(5) regular student communication with global peers; and
(6) teacher collaboration to revise, modify, and extend the unit for other
Global Education As A Model Of Thinking. An old story tells of three
workers building a new cathedral. Although evidently doing the same job, they
understand their work in different ways. Asked what they are doing, one replies: I
am just laying bricks, one upon another. This worker thinks like a technician. He
cannot see beyond the immediate task. The second responds to the question saying
I am creating the north wall of the cathedral. This one thinks like a craftsman, who
has an idea of how the bricks fit with the larger plan. The third worker responds, I
am worshipping God. This fellow is the visionary. He can see how the bricks fit
with the cathedral and with the cathedrals ultimate purpose. Teaching with a global
perspective requires a different view divergent from a traditional approach. In
teaching about cultures, global educators focus as much on cultural universal (those
things all humans have in common), as they do on cultural differences (Alger, 1986;
Case, 1991; Hanvey, 1976; Kneip, 1986). The world is seen as a system in which
technological, ecological, economic, social, cultural, and political issues can no
longer be effectively understood or addressed on an individual and isolated basis
because the issues literally spill over borders and regions (Becker, 1979; Hanvey,
1976; Kneip, 1986). The organization of the curriculum does not separate world
cultures or regions, but brings them together
through study of contact, borrowing and
diffusion of ideas, antecedents to current events,
and comparative themes and concepts. Persistent
global issues such as land use, peace and security, and self-determination are
examined across time and place (Anderson, 1990; Kneip, 1986). Teaching global
education mandates a universal and comprehensive view of the world and its
inhabitants, voiding the traditional duty of the public schools to Americanize all
schoolchildren (Hirsch, 1999, p. 136) and seeing students instead as citizens of a
pluralistic, interconnected larger world beyond our borders (Merryfield, 1995).
Putting together the two components, the core knowledge of global
education and global education as a domain of thinking, requires us to shift the
subject and look at it in one more dimension. It is most logical to define global
education, not by a definable list of inclusions, but by the themes and their
underlying premises (Toh, 1993; Merryfield, 1995).
Themes Of Global Education
Cultural Perspective. The first premise of global education reflects the
philosophical approach to the culture of others. It recognizes the existence of
numerous cultures and holds that it is important to know and respect other ways of
life. In the classroom, cultural appreciation is often restricted to teaching cultural
dances, songs, foods and indigenous folk tales. But culture perspective cannot be
understood in this anti-holistic approach. Peoples realities are full of political,
social, economic and cultural complexities, and these include our relationships with
other peoples that span national boundaries (Toh, 1993). The exotic is not some
disembodied distant land and the strange people who inhabit it. It is only different
from what we embrace as the normal.
Interdependence. The interconnectedness of countries needs to be explored.
Especially in economic and history courses, much care needs to be taken to disclose
the trade, diplomacy, immigration, and cultural exchanges that epitomize the
interdependency of all nations upon each other. The problem is not that we are
simply connected, but that we must question the quality and history of those
interconnections. Diplomacy is often conducted at the great expense and
manipulation of one party. Trade may be useful for one group of people, but can be
exploitive of another peoples interests. Defense treaties may be disproportionately
useful, especially to the powerful (Toh, 1990).
Management Of Interdependence. As the world is fraught with complex
problems and interlaced crises, instability seems to create insecurity, leading to a
need for someone to control the situations. A management approach to
interdependence is, at its basis, self-centered. It is easy to see why powerful nations
would desire to impose control in order to deal with the issues of system
disequilibria. Ensuring ones position in the planetary hierarchy is mandatoryif
youre on top! This idea can quickly be seen in American high schools where
foreign language acquisition is required. Learning a language in no way assures
knowing a culture well, nor depicts a genuine concern for the well being of the
people of that society. But it does cement Americas ability to effectively negotiate
in the global trade market (Merryfield, 1995).
Human Progress. Another theme embracing global education relates to the
measurement of human progress. The progress
of mans civilization is invariably calculated
by industrial progress (economic growth and
mass consumption). Cultures and societies are
assessed favorably or inauspiciously on their industrial development performance.
The answer to becoming an industrialized country hinges on offering opportunities
to external entities that will invest technology and capitalvoila, the creation of
jobs and exports. It is secondary that the economy, ecology and social fabric might,
as a result of those external investments, become entrapped or distorted by the
priorities of external agents for whom the holistic well-being of the society would
never be a major concern (James, 1990). As a case in point, we need only look at the
impact of the British saving Zaires economy with their devastatingly destructive
cotton-growing policy of the late 1850s. Newly industrialized countries, identified
by their high growth and economic performance, have achieved their status at
considerable social and political costs, and extravagant ecologically unsustainable
constraints (Bello & Stephanie, 1990).
Supporters of this misguided approach to global education have been
----------------s awarded the front door to education, from preschool
through college. One sees it in textbooks, syllabi, and
public standards. Notably, Canadas Vision for the
Nineties (1990), an adopted collection of national
benchmarks, stopped short at identifying global as more to do with enhancing
trading, commercial and strategic interest than global literacy for emancipation. The
emphasis on European and Asian cultures were adopted to foster the success of our
students internationally and to improve the ability of our students to compete
successfully in the world economy (Department of Education-Canada, 1990, p. 8).
As this emphasis permeates the K-12 curriculum, it will surely diminish a holistic
understanding of the world.
Ethics. Another theme of global education is unequivocally ethical. Man
understands himself as a function of the global family, of which each of us is an
integral part. We apply that understanding into our personal, social, and political
actions. We avow our belonging to humanity when we empathize with compassion
for suffering, happiness, despair and hope for others. Global education, the
understanding of our position in the world and that of others, allows us to appreciate
our role in the world fabric of relationships, systems and structures (Toh, 1990, p.
8). As a persons life develops, she or he becomes engaged in the crucial struggles
of all peoples for justice, dignity and freedom (Merton, 1965). This commonality is
profoundly uniting because it emphasizes the value of learning from the wisdom
found in all cultural paradigms.
A crucial curriculum implication of this ethical theme is the role of human
rights education across the social sciences (Aide, 1993). It would, for example, help
to understand the hypocritical manipulation of human rights concerns during
numerous recent global events.
China. President Clinton convinced the U.S. House of Representatives
and Senate to grant favored nation trading status to China despite the
recent disclosure of the systematic murder of female children in
orphanages (click here for supporting materials).
East Timor. Following the annexation of East Timor by Indonesia,
200,000 (out of a total of 800,000 total population) were killed in an
ongoing bloody repression. Despite Security Council resolutions for
Indonesias withdrawal in respect of Timors self-determination
processes, the U.S. gave de facto or racist de jure recognition of
Indonesias actions (click here S for supporting materials).
Philippines. Despite the outrageous and flagrant taxation and theft from
the impoverished souls of their own nation, Ferdinand and Imelda
Marcos continued to hold power at the hands and support of first-world
countries, the U.S. being the largest contributor to his rise to power and
then military and economic strength. While thousands openly starved to
death in the streets, we supported him in our textbooks as the inspiring
procreator of a new economy (click here 4^ for supporting materials).
Questions being ignored in the rollout of economic, civic, and historical
studies continue to plague the U.S. curriculum. Why is the U.S.
trying to promote our military exports when we claim to
support the building of a more peaceful world order? What are
the advantages and disadvantages of alliances and allies? Why
are the economic reasons we aid some countries while ignoring others? An
orientation toward nonviolent processes can help reorient children to learn values
and skills of dealing peacefully with violence and conflicts in their everyday
situations, from classrooms to schools to their homes and communities (Comelieus,
Planetary Survival Living in an affluent, industrialized, first-world country
with a stable democracy allows an ignorance, or passive indifference, to the realities
of the rest of the world. The conflicts and violence around the world will have
enormous impact on that region of the world, and,
subsequently, on the rest of us. Technocratic management
will not provide holistic or sustainable solutions. Global
education helps learners appreciate the root causes of the violence to avoid the
band-aid approach to conflict resolution that invariably leads to further violence
(click here for supporting materials). This theme highlights the pervasive reality
of structural violence: social, cultural and political structures that entrench
injustices, marginalize the many, and monopolize excessive resources for the use
and accumulation by elites, local and foreign (Freire, 1985).
Ecological Security. Intimately tied to planetary survival, this theme reminds
us that without healthy ecosystems, the web of life is doomed (World Commission
on Environment & Development, 1987). Our curriculum encourages learners to
recycle, save the whales, and stop pollution. But it is critical that our environmental
awareness be rooted in political-economic analysis (Gordon, 1990). The destruction
of the Amazonian rainforest happens at an incomprehensible speed. It is being
annihilated not so as much for the extraction of lumber as for the creation of land
land to be used for grazing cattlecattle which are used to satisfy the first-world
nations insatiable appetite for a food that causes cancera cancer with its only
known cure is ironically found in the Amazonian rainforest (click here for
As the U.S. promotes the giving of diamonds as proof of our personal love,
devotion, and life-long commitment to a fellow human being, we support not only
the continued apartied conditions of miners in South Africa, but the complete
devastation of the land in which we seek to extract minerals by using the most
economically efficient manner, rarely the most effective for the recovery of the land
(click here 5 for supporting materials). Educators must understand that the political
economic structures and systems that propel eco-destruction are at the hands of
those who seek to gain superficial and temporary gains. We must be willing to
accept the costs of retaliation from those forces of nature and cultures, reconsider
quality of life issues and express solidarity for ecological struggles worldwide.
Conscientizing Pedagogy. The final theme global education reflects a basis
for all the other themes, namely the indispensability of a conscientizing and
empowering pedagogy (Toh, 1990, p. 39). The challenge of a curriculum is two-
fold. To have something to think about and to be able to thinkto understand with
the mind, to comprehend with the heart. The mind can very well fully and
dispassionately understand the complexities of structural violence, causes of
military actions, human rights outrages, and oppressive and repressive behavior. But
to feel with our fellow humans deeply enough to examine our own behaviors is the
real challenge facing curriculum. We must move the learner to examine their
personal views, biases, judgments, and evaluation processes. This cant be done
solely with lectures, or ditto worksheets advocating the memorization of exclusive
jargon. An empowering curriculum invites learners to participate actively, link their
knowledge and awareness, no matter how partial, limited, biased or inaccurate, with
fellow learners, in a constant dialogue, disallowing any silencing. It is the duty of
curriculum to challenge and confront learners and teachers with alternative,
probably personally disturbing ideas, facts, concepts, and analysis, so that they may
develop their self-earned critical consciousness about the world. This constructivist
pedagogy mandates that learners be exposed to a wide range of perspectives and
alternative frameworks of understanding. For an concept delineation of a global
curriculum, see Appendix D.
Of course, this encapsulation grossly oversimplifies the concept. There are
inordinate numbers of paradoxes: the way and timeframe of moving the old world
into the ways of the new world; the disproportionate human and physical resources
available to humans; the rights of individuals over environmental collective
interests; consumer choices rocketing corporations into virtual monopolies. Still, the
thrust of change is clear and the important question is in what ways these changes
should affect our vision for education.
So what does that all this mean to the classroom teacher?
Teaching With A Global Perspective
A global educator teaches a vision of the world in which the environment is
cared for; human development is sustainable; human rights are protected; cultural
diversity is valued; and the culture of peace is the norm (Coumantarakis, 1999, p.
2). To teach with a global perspective is to acknowledge and embrace the position
that each of us makes choices that affect other people around the world, and others
make choices that affect us (Anderson, 1990; Alger, 1986; Hanvey, 1976; Lamy,
Common among social revolutionaries, environmentalists, and global
practitioners is the cry to think globally, act locally. There is little debate that an
inspirational curriculum moves learners and teachers to transform their realities as
they become critically conscious of the way the world works. Global education
offers an approach to learning that leads students to understand the structural
complexities that determine differential access to production and distribution of
social, economic and cultural processes as opposed to students enjoying the
classroom festivities of song, dance, clothing, food, and currency of other peoples
and their cultures. The curriculum offers learners the opportunity to grapple with
their personal sense of responsibility and become engaged in the local politics to
impact a larger change (Hunt, 1989). This could take the form of lobbying,
analyzing the complexities of foreign policy as it relates to everyday consumables of
students, or becoming engaged with local struggles through support efforts.
Convergence of Topics of Study and Content Curriculum
As the e-Mission curriculum was laid before the teacher-participants, the
content match with the topic foci of the study became clear. The curriculum
requests that teachers utilize several different classroom teaching methodologies,
ranging from lectures to small group discussions, jigsaw arrangements, expert
panels, simulations, experiments, problem-based discovery, and whole class
discussion. These teaching strategies can be classified along the epistemological
spectrum from neobehaviorist (lectures, worksheets) to constructivist (jigsaw, small
group discussion, simulations, experiments). A teacher could choose to execute the
curriculum utilizing all of one type of methodology. In a neobehaviorist approach,
the teacher would redesign the discussions, experiments, simulations, and other
activities to replicate a teacher-driven approach, such as using lecture and note-
taking. This approach would severely limit the intent of the curriculum as many
pre-designed activities would have to be significantly modified and curtailed to fit a
teacher-directed methodology as opposed to the designed student-centered
discovery learning. Or a teacher could opt to implement the curriculum using only a
constructivist approach. Several activities (lectures, notes) would have to be
modified and the issue of additional time would need to be recalculated, as
discovery learning in a constructivist approach will take more time to implement.
Or the teacher could implement some activities in a neobehaviorist approach and
some in a constructivist approach (as the curriculum was designed) in striving to
meet the goals of the content: (1) to provide authentic learning experiences being
taught with a real-life event; (2) to involve students in the process of gathering,
analyzing, and using information to make informed decisions that relate to real life;
(3) to implement active learning to provide students with the opportunity to be
involved and interested in their own learning and give them a sense of ownership of
the information with which they are presented; and (4) to facilitate effective and
meaningful collaboration with peers and external components.)
Additionally, the curriculum offers to the teachers a number of different and
varied opportunities to utilize technology in their teaching and with the students.
For example, the curriculum offers a number of websites designed for teacher use
for acquisition of content knowledge, demonstration purposes, support for the
curriculum, and suggestions and rubrics for projects utilizing technology
applications. Additionally, it offers a vast collection of websites for students,
ranging from content knowledge to on-line experts, on-line photo galleries, and
current volcano and hurricane conditions around the world.
Looking at global education, the curriculum offers exposure to numerous
topics. Not only does the curriculum offer extensive maps and global geological
information, the activities throughout the curriculum and the culminating activity
are focused on student understanding of nation interdependence, human empathy,
diverse cultural appreciation, third-world sustainable aid, and planetary survival, to
name a few.
Delineation of e-Mission Curriculum by Content
Focus of Teaching Technology Use Global Education
Instruction Methodology Options Possibilities Connection
Spheres of the lecture teacher-designed global earth
Earth project-based scavenger hunt awareness
independent film perspective
reading pair hyperlinked consciousness
collaborative worksheets ecosystem
grouping lecture with survival
problem-solving computer reading
Impact of documentaries computer global earth
Disasters problem-solving simulations awareness
project-based film ecosystem
advance ask an expert survival
organizers resources unequal
microworld epals resource
Wild Weather H lecture reading documentaries guest presenters jigsaw on-line resources epals Internet databases cultural perspective ecosystem survival
Volcanoes readings simulations expert panels myths vs truth databases on-line live data film fiction and non- fiction resources tracking software determination of international aid global impact of singular events
Hurricanes % readings simulations expert panels myths vs truth databases on-line live data film fiction and non- fiction resources tracking software determination of international aid global impact of singular events
Types of Government / government services lecture reading expert focus collaborative grouping worksheets film technology- enhanced projects on-line experts human choice international relations ethics global responsibility cultural perspective interdependence sovereignty
International agencies and aid organizations k databases modeling film databases webcams film telecollaberative projects interdependence relationships planetary survival
Types of maps 'Kti models exemplars group investigation on-line resources on-line manipulation maps on-line experts interdependence relationships planetary survival
Latitude / longitude lecture reading models exemplars group investigation on-line resources on-line manipulation maps on-line experts interdependence relationships planetary survival
Cartograms and choropleths models exemplars group investigation on-line resources on-line manipulation maps on-line experts interdependence relationships planetary survival
Evacuation measures and procedures * reading film microworld simulations on-line resources international relations resource exchange cultural perspective
Journals modeling peer review exemplars web writing support sites word processing peer review with software video stories chat room global perspective empathy
Short Stories modeling peer review exemplars ask an expert on-line libraries global chat rooms peer review global perspective empathy