Goal / Objective
My main teaching goal and objective is to teach my students to be adaptive experts as opposed to routine experts. Routine experts “develop a core set of competencies that they apply throughout their lives with greater and greater efficiency” (Bransford et al., 2006, p. 26). Adaptive experts “are much more likely to evolve their core competencies and continually expand the breadth and depth of their expertise as the need arises or as their interests demand” (p. 26). Because of the nature of technology and ever-changing fields of design, learning sciences, and information technology, teachers should be provided with opportunities to become adaptive experts with innovative tools. Below I provide a description of my teaching experiences, my teaching philosophy, and formative/summative assessments that demonstrate my goal of helping students become adaptive experts.
Experience at the University Level
My experience in teaching at the university level includes two semesters as instructor of Instructional Design for Multimedia Technologies, a course providing opportunities for students to design multimedia to support teaching and learning. During my three semesters as instructor of Instructional Technology for Educators, an introduction to instructional technology used in K-12 educational settings, I routinely drew from my computer science education to design pedagogical and technological fluency-building experiences for pre-service teachers. My teaching experience also includes courses focused on learning design and design thinking. For example, as co-instructor for Disruptive Technologies in Teaching and Learning in Spring 2015, I brought an understanding of human-centered design to the course and used a design thinking toolkit to help students identify and understand a wicked problem. I have experience with online teaching at the university level as evidenced by my roles as co-instructor for a blended offering of Learning Design Studio, and teaching assistant for two fully online courses: Educational Technology Integration and Effective Technology Use in my Classroom. The two fully online courses were offered for inservice teachers where the demands of the classroom and the efficiency and effectiveness of teaching at a distance provided the perfect venue for these teachers to expand on their understanding of instructional technology while pursing a master’s degree. In all of my courses, I focus on a human-centered design and approach to teaching. A good example of this is in recent reviews of my teaching effectiveness:
“Dr. Rook has a human-centered approach to teaching. He empathized with each one of us, knew our abilities and challenges, and was able to bring the best out of all of us. Constant feedback, and his availability and willingness to help made it possible to go through the class successfully. I felt I had not only a teacher, but a mentor and friend.” (Fall 2014, Learning Design Studio)
Experience at the K-12 Level
My teaching experience in a K-12 setting includes one year at a private school, Saint Michael Elementary School, teaching K-8th grade music. Prior to this experience, I served as a student teacher of 9th and 10th grade computer programming, 10th grade algebra, and 12th grade discrete mathematics at a public high school, Nottingham High School. These teaching experiences have enabled me to gain valuable skills needed to understand and describe teacher cognition and enactment, that is, knowing what teachers know, thinking as teachers think, and acting as teachers act. When I teach courses at the university level, I help my students go through the process of enactment.
Teaching Philosophy (Beliefs & Values)
The following bullets provide an overview of my teaching beliefs and values in regard to both teaching and
- I define engagement in my courses as the ability for students to have a deep, personal relationship with learning. To facilitate engagement, I believe in providing my students with “time to think, to dream, to gaze, to get a new idea and try it and drop it or persist, time to talk, (and) time to see other people’s work and their reaction to yours” (Papert, 1991, p. 4).
- I believe in the concept of the design studio (Schön, 1986), where students learn by doing in a constructivist learning environment with more capable peers (Vygotsky, 1978).
- I believe in first identifying the kinds of interactions and activities I want my students to engage in, and then applying the best tools and resources to meet my goals.
- I believe that every student has the right to learn and seek success and I will provide my students with the opportunity to do so through differentiated learning pathways.
- In every course that I teach online, I believe that courses cannot and should not be digitized versions of a face-to-face offering. To address this, I plan course activities that build upon the affordances of online education and draw from advances in the field of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (such as group and history awareness of other students’ activity).
- I value creativity, encourage open-ended projects, and allow choices and original thought.
- I value the notion of life-long learning and will demonstrate the use of digital portfolios to document learning beyond the classroom.
- I value multicultural education and expect my students and classroom to exhibit multicultural competence.
- I value and expect honesty, integrity, and respect within my classroom.
- I promote risk-taking to build confidence and adaptive expertise.
- I believe in recording and documenting teacher practice (both my own and my students’ practice) so it can be accurately referenced and used in future reflection.
- I value and promote timely, clear, and thorough teacher- and peer-feedback that is developmentally appropriate.
- I promote the use of video analysis tools for self-reflection after the completion of a lesson.
- I believe in alternative assessments including projects, presentations, and papers to demonstrate student learning.
- I believe that a relationship with local school districts will provide opportunities to think about and reflect on good teaching practice and what resources/tools work and do not work.
- I believe that a relationship with corporate design firms (such as IDEO) will provide opportunities to further the discussion of design thinking in the field of learning technologies.
- I value and promote the documentation of progress over time to demonstrate that students meet all expectations/requirements needed to become adaptive experts.
Bransford, J., Barron, B., Pea, R., Meltzoff, A., Kuhl, P., Bell, P., Stevens, R., Schwartz, D., Vye, N., Reeves, B., Roschelle, J., Sabelli, N. (2006). Foundations and opportunities for an interdisciplinary science of learning. In R. Keith Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Schön, D. A. (1986). The design studio. London: Royal Institute of British Architect.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.