EDU 800 Annotated Bib

Exploring Ecology in Educational Technology: The Role of Instructional Desingers

Hokanson, B. (2017). A New Ecology for Education: Refocusing Educational Technology Beyond Content. In New Ecology for Education—Communication X Learning (pp. 1-6). Springer, Singapore.

Summary. Bran Hokanson’s (2017) paper makes the argument that current education and educational research focuses on students retaining content/information, and while this is useful information, researchers should begin to widen their scope and review more cognitive traits. Hokanson likens this new approach to research and learning to instructional design, in that designers focus on “finding” and “redefining” problems: “curiosity applied and formalized” (pg. 2). A designer, similar to students, in solving problems, doesn’t simply need to know content, but needs to also know how to use the content (Hokanson, 2017).  However, Hokanson then points out that even instructional designers have a bit of disconnect from really looking at content in a meaningful way, because they are forced to separate the learning experience from the content but a subject matter expert (Hokanson, 2017). Hokanson proposes that instructional designers should instead begin to focus on developing “instructional methods for persistence and grit, fairness, and curiosity,” rather than just focusing on content retention (Hokanson 2017, pg. 6). In order to ensure continued innovation of education, Hokanson ends by calling out to all instructional designers to develop “an ecology of learning” rather than concepts, practices, and pedagogies that are only focused on content.

Evaluation. This paper is very short, concise, and accessible to any level of academic reader which makes it ideal for an introduction for further research on new ecologies of learning and the role of instructional designers. The paper was published for the HKAECT-AECT Summer International Research Symposium and so it is meant to be reasonably short, but it does read similarly to a literature review with a shorter list of references. With literature reviews there is not any research or raw data included to further show gaps or needs presented by the author, and so the reader has to take the calls-to-action at face value.

Application. This paper is very different from the previous two that I have read and reviewed, in that it does not focus on culture, diversity, or inclusion. However, I believe, as an aspiring instructional designer in a doctoral program, this provides me with the opportunity to brainstorm how instructional designers can utilize the concept of learning ecology and apply it to research on the various cultural contexts that can impact student learning. Learning ecology can be defined as “the set of contexts found in physical or virtual spaces that provide opportunities for learning” (Barron, 2006, 195). What types or sets of contexts do students of color have that are different from their Caucasian peers and how does the effect their educational experience? And in turn, how can instruction designers address these differences in a meaningful way, using educational technology, to innovate and improve the learner’s experience?

Barron, B. (2006). Interest and self-sustained learning as catalysts of development: A learning ecologies perspectiveHuman Development, 49, 193-224.

EDU 800 Annotated Bib

Online Learning & Diversity

Bozkurt, A., & Aydın, İ. E. (2018). Cultural diversity and its implications in online networked learning spaces. In Supporting multiculturalism in open and distance learning spaces (pp. 56-81). IGI Global.

Summary. The purpose of this article was to explore the way that different cultural dimensions impact the online learning environment. One of the findings related to the heightened prevalence of interactivity among individuals who live in Western-based cultures and who primarily speak English. The author’s of this article argue that diversity in an online environment is both a challenge and an opportunity for learners and educators. Due to the effects of high and low-context cultures in social environments, online learning environments, that contain social aspects, can differ greatly among participants from varying cultures. The authors also examined MOOC’s as they have very diverse populations of students. Bozkhurt and Aydin (2018) concluded that the use of Universal Instructional Design (UID) would be key in ensuring online learning environments are inclusive and respectful towards diverse student populations.

Evaluation. The article itself is clear and direct in that the two main questions posed by the authors is addressed in their research. However, their findings were anything but earth-shattering in that I was able to guess what the results may be before I actually read them. As stated earlier, the authors found that populations who spoke English where participating the most in online social environments, and those who had a Westernized-culture were also more likely to participate. The author’s study provided nice statistics and graphics for the reader, but I would have liked to see more qualitative research being done on why these specific populations were more likely to participate in these online environments.

Application. As I continue to delve deeper into instructional design and technology and how to apply new concepts to creating diverse spaces, I am noticing there is not much research available. This article was published in 2018, and was one of very few matches to various searches I performed on online learning and cultural diversity. This indicates to me that there is a serious gap in this research which makes me more determined to focus my research, within this program, on effective design strategies and technologies that allow for culturally sensitive and empathetic teaching, specifically for the Native American community within central Michigan.

EDU 800 Annotated Bib

Exploring Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Using Empathy

Warren, C. A. (2018). Empathy, teacher dispositions, and preparation for culturally responsive pedagogy. Journal of Teacher Education69(2), 169-183.

Summary. Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) is a mix of empirical and theoretical concepts being utilized in a way that allows an instructor to teach using empathy and respect to a wide range of students from varying cultures. In Chezare Warren’s article, “Empathy, Teacher Dispositions, and Preparation for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy,” (2017), argues that there is currently a lack in instructor training and development in CRP, and that preparing instructors in this way, will make their teaching more engaging. Warren believes that in order to use CRP in the classroom, instructors need to utilize skills in empathy (2017). According to Warren, “empathy acts as an instructional mechanism that teacher educators might use to help teacher candidates notice patterns in their own beliefs,” and “one modeled, practiced, and discussed during their professional preparation to teach, the process of applying empathy” may be employed to “expand their first-person knowledge” of a specific student’s cultural background (Warren, 2017, pg. 1). Through Warren’s literature review, he finds a lack in teacher preparedness in terms of empathy, and in-turn a lack in CRP being practiced in K-12 settings. Warren then uses knowledge gained from this literature review to develop  a model for an instructors who utilize CRP and how to practice it within teacher education.

Evaluation.  Many research articles based around pedagogic concepts most effective for diverse classrooms are more often than not written by Caucasian individuals with very westernized research practices. It was refreshing to find that this article’s author does not fit the typical mold, and thus may have fewer biases that other articles of a similar nature may have. With that being said, many of the articles cited in this writing for the literature review are older and fit very neatly into the box of Westernized writing with little inclusion or diversity of writers, however, this is not the fault of the author but an example of the lack of diverse voices within the writing community. The main strength of this article is that it is accessible, easy to follow, and readers can possibly develop their own models for teacher education using the information outlined within the article. What could have made this a stronger article is the inclusive of research outside of literature review, perhaps a survey of some form would have been interesting and desirable.

Application. This article is related to my own area of interest in terms of research because it addresses the need for more training and development on teaching to a diverse classroom. Prior to reading this article I had not been aware of CRP, and think it will be a useful concept to help guide my own research throughout my doctoral program. I want to find more research like this to help develop my own theories and pedagogy for teaching, mores specifically, to indigenous students within the United States. Given the negative connotation that Westernized education practices currently have within the Native American community, I think it is vital to provide meaningful training to educators to be more effective and respectful when teaching at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).