Looking back on the beginning of my teaching career, my teaching pedagogy mirrored the way I was taught in high school. The majority of my teachers primarily taught using Cognitivism, which Ertmer and Newby describe as “knowledge acquisition is described as a mental activity that entails internal coding and structuring by the learner. The learner is viewed as a very active participant in the learning process.” Because I was a successful student in high school, I enjoyed this method of teaching and it became my primary teaching method.
My teaching assignments are generally split between my Major and Minor, which are English and Math. For the purposes of this article I will focus on my Math teaching.
Generally speaking, my math teaching follows this schedule:
Introduce a new concept
Explain an example, slowly going over every step
Allow the students to try a question on their own
Rinse and repeat, increasing the difficulty of the questions
Once an understanding has been reached
I have always believed that this method of teaching is best for a Math class, but now I find myself wondering if there is a better method to teach students in 2018.
After completing my readings, one of the methods that I wish to integrate more into my Math classes is the foundation of Connectivism. George Simens describes it as “Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital.”
If I were to examine this more closely with the lens of a Math 9 course, I would frame it as such:
So many foundational ideas and learning concepts that are taught to students in class can be easily answered via a technology device. An iPhone gives a constant stream of new information given to our students in increasingly efficient ways. Do students need to know how to add and subtract fractions if Photo Math will do the question for them? Or is there a better way to spend our time teaching our students?
I do not know the answers to these questions yet, but I will continue to investigate as I ponder the switch from Cognitivism to Connectivism.