Initial Plan for ED631

Wikipedia Response
Throughout the Wikipedia entry on Educational Psychology, I noticed a few recurring themes. The first was that many leading thinkers stressed the importance of prior learning. Even before the term Constructivism had been coined, Herbart proposed that engaging what students already know would be beneficial to teaching new material. Many philosophers and psychologists also agree that associating or relating new information to previously learned lessons is critical for the growth of students.

Another theme that kept resurfacing was that learning should be experience-based or take into account students' past experiences. I think this is particularly important in science as experiential learning can be much more engaging that traditional lectures.

The third theme I noticed was intelligence assessment. It seems so many researchers (e.g., Binet) have tried to construct assessments to gauge the intelligence of students. As someone who is both a scientist and a dancer, I agree with Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and am therefore highly sceptical of intelligence tests, which often only look at a select few criteria. In writing this paragraph, I am reminded of a quotation that said, "if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid"

Obviously any test will have its shortcomings, however, I think that, particularly with intelligence testing, we have taken a very narrow scope in defining what is important to assess. When I was reading the section on testing (Cognitive view of intelligence), I could not help but feel that we have a long way to go in the realm of intelligence testing.

The last theme I noticed was motivation, which I found fascinating. I had already heard that operant conditioning or extrinsic motivation could be detrimental to intrinsic motivation. I was unaware that it has also been shown to help intrinsic motivation in some situations. I wonder whether different types of motivation are optimal at different ages. If learners develop at sequential stages, like Piaget suggested, then surely motivational strategies should be different for different age groups. I say this because I have had to use lots of operant conditioning, like candy, stickers and trackers, with my freshman classes while my senior classes seem much more intrinsically motivated.

Plan of Study
My plan of study will is outlined below. I chose this order because I want to get a good feel for the philosophical theories of education (1) before planning learning environments (2). I will then delve into how these learning environments will motivate (3) students. Finally, I am choosing to investigate student development (4) last because it will holistically culminate this study, encompassing all three previous topics. Basically, the theory and models will inform the learning environment. The learning environment will determine how students will be motivated. Then, lastly, the entire student experience in the environment will dictate student development.

1) Learning Theories & Models (Chapters 2 & 3)
2) Designing Learning Environments (Chapters 8, 9, 10 & 11)
3) Motivation (Chapters 7, 12 &13)
4) Student Development (Chapters 4, 5 & 6)

    • Lisa Berlinger
      Lisa Berlinger

      Very well written Sam. I love that video. I have definitely heard the malpractice analogy before. I was also planning on looking at student motivation and learning environments.

      • Jeremy Poserio
        Jeremy Poserio

        As always you come with the fire posts.

        Loved the video.

        • Jeremy Poserio
          Jeremy Poserio

          As always you come with the fire posts.

          Loved the video.

          • Marshal Burns
            Marshal Burns

            I agree with the idea that you proposed that certain assessments, such as tests, only measure a narrow set of abilities for students. Although tests can have their benefit, its not to say that someone who fails a test is not smart. Often many people that lack in test taking skills or reading comprehension, may be highly skilled in hands on activities such as designing and building different structures (ex. automotive, robots, and electrical work). I think as a society, we rely to heavily on test to see what a person has mastered. It is always apparent when funding depends on how many students passed the state tests or how many students failed the state test. I have seen changes in summative assessment, such as using stations, labs or presentations to assess what a student has learned and what new skills they can apply. Excellent post by the way. I always enjoy reading your insightful posts.

            • Gerald Ardito
              Gerald Ardito


              This is very, very well done. I appreciate your looking for themes and then laying out what you saw and how to attack it.

              I look forward to seeing how your work evolves over the semester.

            ED 631 - Educational Psychology - Spring 2017

            ED 631 - Educational Psychology - Spring 2017

            Here is our online home for ED 631 for Spring 2017.

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