Prior Tech Knowledge..,What Can We Do?
“All new learning requires a foundation of prior knowledge. You need to know how to land a twin-engine plane on two engines before you can learn to land it on one.” (Brown, P.C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014) pp.5).
I often work with students, teachers, and parents, exploring new technologies that are being used in the schools and at home. Some are for ‘fun’ with embedded literacy training, (MinecraftEDU, Scratch coding, AppLab) and some are more disciplined centered (Math, Science and Language tools). The reason I have my job is because I have “prior knowledge” of how technology is designed, built, and operates. I have a passion to connect curriculum with technology and apply new ways of teaching them cohesively as one.
When I speak to teachers about the evolution of “Fort Nite” or “Call of Duty” and how that can empower the most unengaged students, they look at me perplexed. When I explain to parents how important the video game is that your daughter or son is consumed with, the design, coding, planning and editing that goes into that “game”… they look at me crazy. It is not until you start thinking outside the box and bridge that gap between the meaningful learning happening and “playing a game”, that is when real-world connections start to be made (Brown, P C., 2014). “The more you can explain about the way your new teaching or learning tool, relates to students’ prior knowledge, the stronger the grasp of the new learning will be.” (Brown, P. C., 2014 pp. 6).
Brown, et al. (2014), refers to the reality of being able to solve trigonometry and needing the foundational prior knowledge of algebra and geometry first. How to cut boards, join them, router edges and professionally finish wood working projects requires carpentry skills, but also possibly cabinet making understanding. How much weight can certain materials and hardware hold?What is the standard or common way a piece of furniture is built? Prior knowledge of these things would ensure a high quality of finished work and ensure success of the task.
The foundation of knowledge is so imperative, as it does not matter the discipline, hard or soft skills being taught, everything relies on some base of known information. As teachers, we need to continue to develop our understanding of new technologies, applying curriculum with them, but also make connections to tangible real world examples. In many cases these connections need to be made for students or reminders need to occur amongst younger audiences to harness that prior knowledge and make the current learning meaningful.
Educators who make connections between what is being taught at school and what is happening in the real world, the students will benefit from a wide range of cultural, social and political perspectives they may not otherwise be exposed to.” (n.d., 2018). “The more you can explain about the way your new teaching relates to students’ prior knowledge, the stronger the grasp of the new learning will be.” (Brown, P. C., 2014 pp. 6).
As teachers we need to elaborate on the process, expressing the information in new ways and applying real world connections to it (Brown, P, C., 2014). “The more you can explain about the way new learning relates to students’ prior knowledge, the stronger the grasp of the learning will be.” (Brown, P. C., 2014, pp. 6, Siemens, G. 2005). We as educators need to ensure all our learners are together and understanding the ‘big picture’ of our teaching.
So what can we do?
Well, elaborate. As teachers we need to elaborate on a process, expressing the information in new ways and applying real world connections to it. We as educators need to ensure all our learners are together and understanding the ‘big picture’ of our teaching, making it meaningful learning for all.
Brown, P.C., Roediger, H.L., & McDaniel, M.A. (2014). Learning is misunderstanding. In Make it stick (pp.1-22) Cambridge, MA: Belknap. (pp 5-6)
(n.d, (2018)., The importance of connecting classrooms to the real world. Accessed, 05/27/2018. http://schoolsubscriptions.com.au/the-importance-of-connecting-classrooms-to-the-real-world/