EdTech 504 – Chapter 5 Summary

Chapter 5 Summary

Argumentation and Student-Centered Learning Environments

The opening line of this chapter by Nussbaum encompasses education perfectly. “Humans play games! These games often involve argumentation, which is the process of constructing and critiquing arguments (p. 114, Jonassen & Land).  The educational system is a game as learners we need to identify the winning condition of learning in tasks presented by educators and how best to meet those conditions.  In the case of argumentation, the game is creating a well-backed argument to either defend one’s position or to dig deeper into the curricula through systematic questioning.  Nussbaum refers to this as learning to argue and arguing to learn.  With the release of the Common Core State Standards, this has become a skill that is increasingly more important in classroom instruction.  As the high-stakes tests that evaluate student and teacher performance on these exams are looking for students to justify their responses by citing their sources back to readings.

Nussbaum indicates that “argumentation mapping” is an initial first step.  This would be the same as prewriting for a paper.  In the case of argumentation, typically students will be engaging in their arguments in verbal interaction or through a series of responses in a digital environment when a face to face interaction is not possible.  The mapping of the argumentation aids an individual to follow a linear thought through the possible arguments it also can be used to map out the conversation that occurs as part of the discourse discussion.

Collaborative reasoning is another form of argumentation that is often used as part of a lit circle model in elementary and middle school.  It is also an element of Socratic seminars as well.  In this model the following ground rules exist:

think critically about ideas, not about people;

try to understand both sides of an issue; and

restate what someone has said if it is not clear (p. 126, Jonassen & Land).

Students run the conversations in collaborative reasoning and teachers take a step back and act more as an observer.  This model does take some front loading for the teacher to take more of a back seat to allow for the free flow of in-depth conversation and questioning to create argumentative discourse to gain a deeper understanding of the content.

Argumentation as game play is done through scripted questioning style to gain a deeper understanding.  The programs created allow students to think more critically about the content often by using technology tools to create a dialogue discourse to gain clarity on a classmate’s position.

Jonassen, D. (2012). Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments (2nd ed., pp. 114-141). New York: Routledge.


EdTech 504 – Initial Course Reflection

At this point in my professional career, I incorporate educational technology on a daily basis. When I began my journey in the Educational Technology program at Boise State, I was teaching social studies. At this point, I am starting a new position this fall where I’ll be teaching computer science to grades 6-9, conducting technical support for the school, and managing the website for the school. As part of this position, I also will be running professional development sessions for staff on the effective use of technology to support student learning.

As a result of taking this course, I am hoping to gain information that will aid me in working with administrators whose background isn’t rooted in using educational technology for instruction. I am hoping that through learning the foundational theories of educational technology I will be able to assist our school in creating its first school technology plan. In addition, I hope that I will gain a better understanding of how to be systematic in an approach to technology while blending it with best practices in classroom-based teaching practices.

I believe that I bring knowledge and experiences that most computer science educators don’t have to the table. I began my professional career as a middle school English Language Arts teacher, then found myself teaching middle school social studies for 12 years. In both of these positions, I integrated technology into my lessons on a daily basis to promote student engagement and understanding within the content area. In addition to the aforesaid, I have experience conducting professional development workshops in multiple venues. These include the following: building level, district level, at regional technology conferences, and in synchronous and asynchronous workshops with 3DGameLab online. I feel that gaining additional information regarding professional theory will enhance my ability to design and implement classroom instruction and professional development for colleagues in my profession.