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In order to understand modern education in the United States, specifically online learning, it is important to examine the history of public education and how reform has been reflected as a result. To begin, a brief examination of the history of education in the United Stated will be undertaken. Aspects of teaching and learning affected by educational reform and how teaching strategies are intertwined as a part of learning theories will be included in this examination. The review will continue by examining teaching strategies and learning theories employed as a result of computer assisted education as an integral part of modern day education. Finally, we will focus on learning/content management systems that allow teachers to create content as an extension of classroom learning and its connection to social constructivism.
Overview History of Education
The underpinnings of American public education begin with the religious beliefs brought with the early settlers to the New World. Cubberly (1919) describes the religious influences of education as it became apparent that home instruction would not insure appropriate education needed for the Puritan religious teachings. As a result, the Massachusetts Law of 1642 was passed directing town officials to validate if children were being trained in ways that would help the Commonwealth be profitable; essentially mandating for the first time in the English speaking world that all children be taught to read. The Massachusetts Law of 1647 was passed requiring every town with 50 members to appoint a teacher of reading and writing. It further stated that every town with 100 members had to provided a grammar school to get students ready for the university (Cubberly, 1919). While these laws created the school system for the colonies, they also demonstrate the framing of the educational system as influenced by the economic and political needs of the society.
As the relationship between Europe and America began to change in the mid to late 1700's, so did American public education. Due to the open hostilities and the War for Independence, schools throughout the colonies closed. As the developing country established this own identity and culture, the needs and goals of education changed as well. Initially schools addressed the needs of their rural communities. Once cities began to emerge rapidly in the 1800's, the educational needs of the community changed as well. Boston, Massachusetts once again passes legislation in 1827, clearly initiating the formation of a high school system (Cubberly, 1919).
Due to new tariff laws, American industry was able to prosper. The American ingenuity was in full swing as new inventions and industrialization provided the backdrop for the need for a new type of educational system. As city's grew the influences of home and moral code and religious environment became critically weakened. In order to address the needs of their constituents by 1850, politicians established tax-supported, publicly controlled and directed and non-sectarian schools. The schools sometimes called academies incorporated many new areas of study. The academies addressed more than preparation for college, they included various forms of mathematical study, English, Latin and Greek Languages, Writing, Music, Public Speaking. Academies unlike their Latin grammar school counterparts included girls in the educational process (Cubberly, 1919). Schools were seen by Horace Mann and many of his successors as a solution for crime, poverty and vice (Tyack, 1974). Again, school reform advocating formal structure advanced the political and economic society need. According to Meyer et.al (1992), the function of educational endeavors was to support the goal of the society and ultimately its survival as a social order.
As education in the New World continued to evolve, learning theories from all over the world began to emerge. Education began to change from the strict alignment to Catechism and rote memorization to the methodology of Swiss born Heinrich Pestalozzi, where the teacher was the only resource for education (Cubberly, 1919). Pestalozzi based his learning theory and later his teaching strategy on the idea that children are born with divine predispositions, he believe these predispositions could not develop fully on their own (Latham, 2002). Through writing and his work with the indigent and prisoners, Pestalozzi continued to reiterate good citizenship through education should exist along two lines: first moral education and then to train according to practical abilities and occupations to make useful members of the community (Bower, 2004). Pestalozzi's method educates the teacher one step ahead of the student referred to as the rhythm of education. Pestalozzi is credited with developing a strategy for teaching numeracy in a mass education setting by using object or manipulatives called 'object teaching' to demonstrate mathematical understanding (Bullynck, 2008). Due to Pestalozzi's methodology of subordinating the textbook for the five senses of the child; thereby having student's use their senses to interact with the world around them, to reflect upon their ideas in the process of observing and careful reasoning, Cubberly (1919) believed Pestalozzi to be one of the first real teachers. Pestalozzi is credited with creating the first industrial school (Bower & Gehring, 2004). Pestalozzi and later Herbart believed that learning was the influence of the environment (Ivie, 2007).
The teaching methodology of Herbart who studied and worked with Pestalozzi approached the idea of education from a different perspective. He believe that the educational process was one borne of science, he emphasized proper teaching procedure was more than mere knowledge and scholarly restraint (Hayward, 1905; (Ivie, 2007)). Herbart's teaching strategy was directly related to his philosophical belief that the mind is in perpetual activity, ideas are free flowing and in competition with one another. When ideas are able to connect, they build upon one another referred to Herbart as association; those ideas that do not connect are lost from memory (Ivie, 2007). Herbart's principles of teaching spoke of four formal steps to creating connection and building knowledge: clarity, association, system and method. However, since Herbart did not clearly define them or use the same vocabulary to distinguish them when he spoke of them, his followers modified the steps by splitting clarity into preparedness and presentation. Modern Herbartian's have refined the five steps as preparedness, presentation, association, generalization, and application. Preparedness is the act of making ready the learners mind to accept new information. Presentation was the introduction to new material presented in a logical manner so the new ideas could be more easily accommodated by the learner. Association was the step that allowed the learning to assimilate the new information into their schema of thinking. Generalization allowed for the teacher's intent to allow new information to be general information. And finally application is the step of instruction where students apply the new information in a new context, differing from the ones in which the information was learned (Ellerton & Clements, 2005). Modern day constructivism theory demonstrate their beginnings as Pestalozzi and Herbart both agreed that the purpose of the teacher was to give students new experiences through contact with real things (Hayward, 1905). The philosophy of Herbart required the teacher's role to be central to the educational process (Knox, 1975). Herbart's ideas caught on in the United States in the 1890's, causing another change in the pedagogy and methodology of presenting educational materials to students (Cubberly, 1919).
John Dewey moved the theory of constructivism one step further, to learning within the context of everyday life called social constructivism. By completing projects students would make use of reading and mathematical skill and build their problem solving ability by completing tasks embedded in the project, Dewey broke away from tradition education of his day which included rote memorization and general work completed by all students (Harms & DePencier, 1996). While he believed that there was a need for formal intentional teaching and learning, he feared a separation of experience gained as a result of social interaction and knowledge learned in school (Dewey, 1916; Mayer, 2008). Dewey's view of human nature included a social cognitive component referred to as habits, within the scope of the habits, students are asked to be reflective in their thinking. Currently, this philosophy is called Habits of Mind (HoM), and is proposed to allow students to solve the dilemmas of life in response to daily living (Campbell, 2006). The goal of education was for the students to become self-regulating, informed and contributing members of society (Parker, 1993, 1994). Dewey writes, "If you have doubts about how learning happens, engage in sustained inquiry: study, ponder, consider alternative possibilities and arrive at your belief grounded in evidence" (W. N. E. T./Thirteen, 2004). According to Mayer (2008), Dewey's democratic implication for schooling affect the research of Jean Piaget and Vygotsky.
Jean Piaget was interested in knowing how children came to know what they know. While it seemed through observation that they were making logical choices leading to a successful outcome, he found through questioning young children (age 4), the child could not accurately explain how or why they had been successful (Singer & Revenson, 1996). Through his work, Piaget posited that children had to interact with their environment and children reach cognitive readiness in order to understand the world around them. Growth of intellect was based on assimilation, accommodation and equilibration. During the assimilation process children interacted with objects in their world and connected it to previous understanding. The second stage, accommodation refers to previous unknown information being added the cognitive structures deepening understanding. Assimilation and accommodation happen simultaneously as the child makes sense of the information finally reaching equilibrium (Powell & Kalina, 2009). Through these stages of development and interaction with their environment children acquired knowledge however, this acquisition of knowledge was not examined within the larger social-context (Jones & Brader-Arafe, 2002).
As Piaget's theory postulated in the ability of the child to construct meaning through interaction with their environment acquiring knowledge during specific periods of cognitive development, Maria Montesorri (1870-1952) also posited children had periods of sensitivity leading to knowledge acquisition. However, Montesorri believed this started at a much younger age allowing children to develop all of their senses. She further held that children should be given the freedom to explore areas of interest demonstrated through the natural development of the senses. In the 1960's after Sputnik was launched, the United States no longer believed that they would always be first in terms of world power, Montessori's pedagogy found a foothold in the U.S. (Loeffler, 1992).
While Piaget believed that cognitive development was based on self-directed learning with the environment and Montesorri saw child development as the act of unfolding, Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) placed more emphasis on social interaction, believing that acquisition of knowledge was a byproduct of social transmission and culture influences the character and fundamental nature of the thinking process (Bodrova & Leong, 1996). Bruno and Munoz (2010) explains that Vygotsky believed the development of knowledge happened on two levels. First externally on a social level, where learning is based on a socio-affective event through language; which is then internalized on an individual level. These two aspects are intertwined allowing the learner to take in social interaction and then incorporating it into their understanding in such a way that is particular to the individual's identity (Bruno & Munoz, 2010). Vygotsky (1978) further postulates that when information is assimilated, it is only the beginning of the development process. He posited that through the zone of proximal development learning is further developed through interaction and cooperation with others when learning is guided by an adult or teacher. Consequently, development lags behind the learning process however, they do not necessarily happen in identical proportions (Vygotsky, 1978). Zone of proximal development allows students to refine and extend their learning as the child attains higher level thinking and knowledge (Bodrova & Leong, 1996). Each of these theorist examined the process of learning through the lens of their culture within a specific time in history, given these different circumstances similarities exist. Each of them wanted to move beyond the known, to help children to think differently. They believed intellectual engagement could be fostered when appropriate educational opportunities were presented that helped children make sense of their worlds through social interaction (Mayer, 2008).
This brief examination of the history of education is important to the discussion of teacher created on line learning as an extension of the classroom based on social constructivist theory because it demonstrates two important factors. First, educational reform has been and continues to be reflective of the political and social needs of the culture at large (Cubberly, 1919; Meyer, Ramirez & Soysal, 1992; Zhoa, 2009 ). And secondly, reform has continue to evolve in conjunction with technological advances. As Taylor (2001) states "in this context, the only constant is change" (p.3). The use of technology in our daily lives has created an world of global finances and global communication. Our society needs a citizenry that possess global competencies. Zhoa (2009) explains the competencies as understanding: global interdependence, global economics, global problems, human conflicts and other cultures. All of these competencies require the populace to be able to communicate, collaborate and to create new knowledge. According to Taylor (2001) the theory and practice of distance education has evolved through at least five generations over the last 150 years.
In the beginning distance education was an individual pursuit as postal communication between student and teacher supported educational endeavors through print technologies. The variable cost of distance education was based on the volume of activity in relation to the cost of producing and delivering the materials. According to Taylor (2001), the correspondence model had flexibility in time, place and space. The materials for this model had highly refined materials but lacked in terms of an advanced delivery system and the variable expense was directly determined by the increase or decrease in the number of students. The second generation of distance education called the multi-media model involved print, audiotape, videotape, computer-based learning and interactive video (disk and tape). This model of distance education was also adaptable when considering time, place and pace. These materials were also highly refined. Computer based learning and interactive video possessed characteristics for advanced interactive delivery, but the second generation also had variable costs associated with the program. The third model of distance education sometimes called telelearning, used modalities such as audio conferencing, videoconferencing, autographing communication, broadcast TV/Radio and audio conferencing were as flexible; mandating adherence to availability requiring a specific time, place and pace. While not all modalities had highly refined materials, they all had advanced characteristics of interactive delivery technologies; as with the first two generations had variable cost associated with this model. The fourth generation of distance education termed flexible learning included interactive multimedia online, internet based access to Internet resources and computer mediated communication. Flexible learning has great flexibility in time, place and pace. It has highly refined material along with advance interactive deliverability. Variable costs to the institution approach zero except for computer medication communication. In the fifth generation of distance education called intelligent flexible learning model overlaps with the fourth generation adding computer mediated communication using automated response systems and campus portal to processes and resources are added. Due to the advances in technology variability of time, place, and pace as well as interactivity of delivery are even greater and variable costs to this generation approach zero.
As we have seen over time, education is always in a state of change, however the integration of technology into the reform process as a tool for teachers and students alike heightens both the stakes and the complexity.
Chapter 3: Formatting or Modifying Headings in a Manuscript
Click in the title above, look at the Style box (while on the Home tab in the Styles group) and note that the block "Heading 1" was selected. To format other heading levels, simply click in each title within your document and select the appropriate heading level (Heading 1 through 5) while on the Home tab in the Styles group. If you are using this Template document, you should not need to modify heading styles. If a heading modification is needed: on the Home tab in the Styles group, open the Styles task pane by clicking on the drop down menu (see Figure 3). Next, in the Styles task pane click on the desired heading, then point to the drop down arrow to the right of the heading and click; select Modifyâ€¦from the menu that appears as shown in Figure 3. The following page discusses the dialog boxes that follow.
Figure 4. How to modify a heading level.
The dialog box that appears allows you to change the heading level's font, text size, line spacing, alignment, boldface, and spacing before and after a heading (click Format Button/select Paragraph/set Before and After to zero), and more.
What Formats are Included in this Document?
Click in the title above, look at the Style box (while on the Home tab in the Styles group) and note the block "Heading 2" was selected. This document contains most required formats for an Ohio University thesis or dissertation. The settings include: global margin and header settings; page breaks; page numbers; automatic "total number of pages" field on Abstract page (see below); an automatic Table of Contents; the heading levels adopted by all Ohio University colleges for theses and dissertations; and a sample table and figures.
If you have elected to use this template to format your document, just delete any unwanted text and tables/figures from this document after reviewing all instructions and then copy and paste your chapters in the appropriate place. Remember, you may need to click in each heading within your document, format them to the appropriate heading levels as discussed above, and finish by updating the Table of Contents.
How to Update the Total Number of Pages on the Abstract Page
An automatic "total number of pages" field (the NumPages field) has been added to the Abstract page to make it easier for students to update the total number of pages. To accomplish this, select the NumPages field by clicking in the number as shown in the figure (the field number will be highlighted gray once selected). Press F9 to update the total number of pages.
Figure 5. How to update total number of pages in a document.
Updating the Table of Contents
While you may hand type your Table of Contents, there is an automated Table of Contents already available in this document. Simply format all heading levels as discussed, right click in any gray area of the current Table of Contents, and select Update Table, select Update entire table from the menu, and click OK. Any time a change is made to a heading or text is modified, the Table of Contents needs to be regenerated (using the steps just mentioned).
The Table of Contents in this document was generated originally by clicking on the References tab. In the Table of Contents group, the Table of Contents drop down menu was clicked and the Insert Table of Contents was selected. (The Show Page Numbers and Right Align Page Numbers were checked and the Tab Leader "â€¦." options were selected by default.). You should not need to generate a new Table of Contents using the steps just mentioned unless your Table of Contents code becomes corrupt. For example, the dot leaders begin to function incorrectly or the case styles of titles do not appear in the correct format. To recreate the Table of Contents, click in any gray area in the present Table of Contents and click on References tab, in Table of Contents group click on the Table of Contents drop down menu and select Insert Table of Contents. A Table of Contents dialogue box opens, and you may select from any of the available Formats (Classic, Distinctive, Fancy, Modern, Formal and Simple) to replace the current Table of Contents format. TAD Services recommends selecting the Formal style, but any of Microsoft Word's built-in template styles that include dot leaders are acceptable formats for the Table of Contents (once a new template style is selected, there is no need to modify the text style of the template, unless requested by your Committee).
Correcting Capitalization Errors in Heading 1 in Table of Content
In the Table of Contents, your Heading 1 titles will appear in the same case style (Title case or Uppercase) as you originally typed them. Before you format your title to Heading 1 level, this style is called Normal. To see this style (how the text was typed in originally), click in the title in the document, select the Normal style from the Styles box (on the Formatting Toolbar). Change the title to the desired case style (Title case or Uppercase) and then select Heading 1 again from the styles menu. To see this change in your Table of Contents, right click on the gray area in the Table of Contents list and select Update Field/Update Entire Table.
Removing Text from the Table of Contents That Does Not Belong
Click in the title above, look at the Style box (while on the Home tab in the Styles group) and note the block "Heading 3" was selected. Sometimes when you update your Table of Contents, extra text appears within the Table of Contents that should not be there. This occurs with misplaced paragraph codes (obtained by pressing the Enter key) or heading codes in the document text. Locate and select the text in the document that should not be in the Table of Contents. Next, select the Normal block from the Style box (while on the Home tab in the Styles group) and then regenerate the Table of Contents (right click on any gray area in the Table of Contents and select Update Table). If this does not correct the problem, click your Show/Hide icon located on the Home tab in the Paragraph group. Move to the area of the document where it is not coded correctly and use your arrow keys to step through the document. While on the Home tab in the Styles group, watch for the heading box to be highlighted. Once you see a heading appear that should not be there, scroll to see where the code begins and ends. Select the area that is not formatted correctly and select Normal from the Style menu to reformat this text.
To correct a heading that appears twice in a Table of Contents, simply add a paragraph code in the document before the heading as follows: move to the heading in the document and press the Enter key once before the heading at the top of the page. You can also try to move to the bottom of the page before and pressing the Enter key at the end of the paragraph to correct this error. (Microsoft Word formats headings between paragraph marks [created when you press the Enter key], so if a title appears twice in the Table of Contents, Word is interpreting the title to expand over two pages due to the placement of the paragraph codes).
Tables and Figures
Using a Table in Your Document
Click in the title above, look at the Style box and note the block "Heading 3" was selected (if needed, please see figure and instructions at the beginning of Chapter 3). The Table 1 sample below is formatted in APA style. The table text is double spaced. The Table # stands alone on a line above the title. The title is italicized and is in Title Case (Initial Caps). The Enter key should be pressed two times while in double space mode before and after the table to separate the table from other text in the document. Tables and figures are always mentioned in text before they appear in a document. APA style requires that all tables and figures be left aligned in a document.
Electronic Documents Processed in Academic Year 2005-06
Quarter No. %
Fall '05 45 21
Winter '06 44 21
Spring '06 60 28
Summer '06 62 29
Total ETDs 211 100
Using a Figure in Your Document
Figures are formatted similarly to tables within a document. Press the Enter key two times in double space mode (leaving three blank lines) before and after the figure. Figures are mentioned in the text before they appear in a document. In most APA styles, the caption is placed below the figure in sentence case (instead of Title Case as seen on Tables) and ends with a period (see Figure 3 caption). Note in APA the word "Figure" and the number are both italicized.
Figure 3. Electronic theses and dissertations filed by degree 2001-06.