2b.   Design and Develop Digitalā€Age Learning Experiences and Assessments 

Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and 
assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content  learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in  the NETS•S.  Specifically, teachers  develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.


REFLECTIONS ON NETS-T-2b:

Believing that learning occurs through social interactions and through conversations, I found myself questioning these tenets when I continued to meet students reluctant to actively participate in class discussions. These students were not “math anxioius.” They were not cognitively incompotent. Their negative self-talk made them “volitional saboteurs.” When students proclaim “I am not good at mathematics,” teachers must hear this and know that to stop this negative self-talk, volitional restoration is called for. When negative self-talk is allowed to dominate conversations about mathematics it will thwart the “will” to engage in conversations with others that might unlock cognitive mathematical blocks. What do you do with negative self-talking 3-D students ( defiant , defenses, and defeated ) who enter your classroom and refuse to let anyone into their “zones of proximal development” (ZPD) described by Vygotsky (1962/1986) or who eschew the kinds of conversations Paul Ernest’s (1998/2003) believes are necessary for mathematical learning? When these conative diversionists populate your learning community, your social constructionist and social constructivist theories will need to be augmented by a theory that help you explain why the pre-frontal lobes of the brain shut down thoughts of goal attainment and all sense of self efficacy.

When addressing NETS-T-2b, it is clear that teachers in technology-enriched environments must try to ensure that all students can pursue their individual curiosities so that they will volitionally engage in educational goal-setting, in learner self-management, in self-evaluation and self-regulation. The Brain-Synchronization Theory (Elliott, 1986) that has been at the heart of my research throughout my academic career, is finding a rebirth in this era of computer-mediated teaching and learning. In an effort to create authentic learning experiences for my students, I have challenged myself to think always about the “whole brain” and how to engage the prefontal “cells of will” that make us goal-setting, futuristic thinkers. In “distributed-learning” communities, the human and humane aspects of knowing and becoming are easily overlooked or underplayed. Therefore, it is imperative that the “ willing self” is allowed to flourish. As John Naisbitt’s quotation at the beginning of this report reminds us: “
The most exciting breakthroughs of the 21st century will not occur because of technology but because of an expanding concept of what it means to be human.” For me and my students, the challenge will be to bring the right and left brain (cognition), the top to bottom brain (affection), and the back to front brain (volition) into alignment so that the human and humane aspects of our character can survive the onslaught of what Curtis J. Bonk (2009) calls an “Open Learning World.”

Click here to see a visual depiction of my Brain Synchronization Theory along with the overarching research question I will be considering when my proposed online course is launched in the summer of 2011.

Click here to see the “Volitional Competency Checklist” I created for use as a data collection instrument in this research study.

Click here to view the Rationales for Artifacts for this Standard.