Areas of Interest

Paradigm Change in Education

Paradigm change is fundamental, total change.  It is not piecemeal.  Paradigms of transportation include the horse, boat, train, car, and airplane.  They are fundamentally different from each other.  One cannot be gradually transformed into another.  

In education, the predomin-ant paradigm has changed only once in modern societies.  It changed from the one-room schoolhouse to the current "factory model" of schools when society changed from the Agrarian Age to the Industrial Age.  Now in the Information Age, we find that the paradigm of education must change again.  

Since students learn at different rates, the paradigm must change from time-based student progress to learning-based student progress.  Thus standardiza-tion must give way to customization.

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Instruction in the New Paradigm

The Information Age has brought us new educational needs, new knowledge about how people learn best, and new tools to help people learn.  Together, they make new methods of instruction necessary and possible.

One-size-fits-all instruction is being replaced by personalized instruction.  This requires a change from teacher-centered to learner-centered instruction, from time-based to attainment-based student progress, and from assessments that compare students with each other to ones that compare each student to a standard.

This requires a change roles. The teacher is a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage.  The student is an active and self-diected learner.  And technology supports student learning rather than teacher teaching. 

Collaborative projects provide a meaningful context for personalized tutorials in which student assessments are integrated.

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Technology in the New Paradigm

To support the learner-centered paradigm of education, technology must serve four major roles.

Planning for student learning entails developing a personal learning plan for every student, with the student, parents, and teacher all having a say.  The plan includes learning goals and projects to meet those goals.

Instruction for student learning entails providing 1) a project environment, complete with project management and support tools, and 2) tutorial support similar to the Khan Academy that provides explanations and practice with immediate feedback, just in time for use in the project.

Assessment for student learning entails evaluating student mastery through practice 'til perfect.  This performance-based assessment is integrated into the tutorial support, to ensure individual mastery while no time is wasted on separate tests.

Recordkeeping for student learning entails providing a map of attainments that are checked off for each student upon mastery.

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