EDU 6655: Human Development & Principles of Learning

EDU 6655: Module 1

I am delighted to be taking Human Development & Principles of Learning-EDU 6655 and am pleased to have guided opportunities to read some of the most recent research in these areas.

While reading Andy Lane’s article entitled, The openness on bridging educational digital divides, I found that I could relate to the points presented on a variety of levels—both personally and professionally. Personally– as a parent of a college student, as well as in terms of my own recent and current experience as an online graduate student—I see numerous and distinct advantages to open educational resources, with minimal disadvantages. Professionally, however—as I work with special education high school students—assisting them with not only completing graduation requirements but also encouraging them to seek higher education, I must say that that I see more “have nots” than “haves”.

In my school district where thirty percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches, I observe what Lane describes when he states,“…socially excluded groups or communities being those who do not have much access to…technologies…are worried that they cannot cope with these new technologies and ways of learning” (p.4). This year, our district adopted a K-12 online math curriculum for use throughout all of the schools. Theoretically, the positive thinking is that online materials will be more cost-effective–allowing textbook purchases to be reserved for classroom sets, with some available for checkout—as needed. The reality, however, is that just two weeks into the school year, we have run out of “extra” books and that the number of students in need of hard copy materials are more than projected.
In some cases, the very students who have the greatest struggle with the academic concepts, are those who are feeling the least prepared and are without the basic materials. It is no wonder that these most vulnerable students (often with the “shortest fuses”)–experience extreme stress and are quick to give up and drop out. Reflecting on my stressful experience this weekend of testing out the new technology of my son’s “tablet” with its new operating system and Polaris Office v.s. my tried-and-true laptop with Microsoft Office (while trying to access the materials for this course)—I can understand the frustration my students must feel as they are faced with steep learning curves—on a daily/hourly basis.

On a positive note, I am very pleased to see the increasing richness of assistive technologies available in digital forms. These features which offer quick and convenient access to materials for non-disabled students–provide supports which are essential for many students to gain any access to course content.
I am hopeful that as a teacher, I will maintain the personal connection with my students and encourage perseverance and patience as I introduce them to technologies which can serve to increase the size of their world.

Lane, A. (2009). The impact of openness on bridging educational digital divides. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(5), 1-12.

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