Theory into practice: social constructivism and technology in instructional technology and teacher education

Jost, Muktha
Major Professor
Jerry Willis
Committee Member
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Curriculum and Instruction

The discourse around computers in education and social constructivism includes discursive and often divergent ideas on individualized and social instruction, social and standardized construction of curriculum, prior knowledge, competition and cooperation, and situated and decontextualized knowledge. A course on educational computing was designed based on a qualitative framework and constructivist instructional design model with the course instructor as lead designer and researcher. The course was then team-taught to 8 preservice teachers in the spring of 1999. This doctoral dissertation is based on the theory-into-practice research and includes three parts: one conceptual paper on instructional design, one professional practice paper on Vygotskian principles-in-action in an educational computing classroom, and a set of electronic teaching materials on the course design included as an appendix;The first paper, "Traditional and alternative design of instruction: More grist for the debate mill" expresses what we learned about the design of instruction through this research. This paper explains the concepts of techne in education, its relationship to technique and technology, and establishes traditional instructional design as the reinforcer of techne in education. It then presents an alternative that is more in line with the metaphysical pull of education;The second paper is titled "From Social Education to Personal Knowledge: Completing the Vygotskian Knowledge Cycle Through Soft Pedagogical Tools." This paper focuses on one aspect of a dialectic study of social constructivism and technology in Instructional Technology and Teacher Education (ITTE): the use of soft pedagogical tools to initiate and complete the Vygotskian knowledge cycle;The electronic teaching materials titled, "Theory into practice: Social constructivism and technology in education" uses hypertext to present detailed descriptions of what was included in the course---the major themes and worldviews and the instructional strategies to cover them, details of activities, assignments, journals, interviews, and interactions. Also, it includes information on the design and development of the course.