“FIGURE 06.3 Team members aggregating their mental models” by Jurgen Appelo is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Accessed on 5 March 2017.
I wanted to write a quick reflection on some of the learning activities from this week. I found the ‘Monk Helpdesk’ video quite helpful. At first I was wondering where it was going but when I started thinking about it in terms of conceptually understanding a new idea it really resonated with me. It made me realise how important conceptual understanding is when learning new ideas or skills. The Monk could be told how to turn the page but once the book was shut he was lost because it was something completely new, even the simplest tasks require conceptual understanding. After reflecting on a learning experience (essay writing) that I taught on my last prac, I thought of some improvements for next time. It went okay but it could have been better if I spent more time teaching the concept of essay writing rather than individual components of essay writing. I will be thinking more in terms of conceptual understanding in my teaching in the future and will remember the ‘Monk Helpdesk’ as an allegory.
The term ‘opaque’ highlighted how important conceptual understanding is when teaching and learning with ICT, especially considering how much is happening behind the scenes so to speak with some digital technologies.
I disagreed with this quote from the learning book:
“While learners without appropriate conceptual models were limited to aimless trial and error. It is the aimless trial and error which creates feelings of frustration.”
I agree, aimless trial and error is pointless and frustrating but for me, as I explained here in an earlier post, trial and error is not always aimless and with ICTs it’s how I learn best. At times I get frustrated when I can’t do something I want to do but if I work it out on my own I usually understand it better and can repeat the process. Sometimes when I follow instructions I don’t really ‘think’ about what I’m doing I just do it. I refer back to the grid metaphor, constantly hitting dead ends on the way through the task eventually leads me to the other side.
All of this relates to the training around digital technologies which fails to build good mental models, instead, focusses on which buttons to push. I think understanding how you got to a certain point is perhaps more important than getting there and even more so when teaching and learning with digital technologies.