Behaviorism, Constructivism and ICTs for Education
Education nowadays is not what it used to be around 50 years ago. The introduction and development of technology has taken education to an entirely different level then it was previously. These innovative tools are covered under the broad category of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). There has been research work on development of theoretical models that can facilitate educational learning. These theories and more additional helpful tools have not only facilitated the gaining of education but also improved the quality of education system.
Behaviorism and constructivism are two of these main revolutionary concepts in education. The three terms “behaviorism”, “constructivism” and “ICTs” would first be explained separately and then it would be seen that how they fall together in a picture and facilitate educational learning. Behaviorism Behaviorism is that school of thought which is of the opinion that it is learning process that inculcates learning by the acquisitions of new behaviors in surrounding of environmental conditions.
Behaviorists believe that learning does not regard any mental activities rather it can be achieved by behaviors which according to them are systematic and observable. They believe that the process of “conditioning” facilitates the acquisition of behavior which ultimately facilitates learning. Conditioning is categorized in classical and operant. Classical conditioning is the process in which the object is conditioned as such that it he would response in a specific manner to a certain stimulus. We see this often in educational setting in form of fear conditioning that children are so much fearful of failure in exams or tests.
Operant conditioning is the conditioning in which a response to a stimulus is reinforced by either rewarding or punishment. This concept is also very much applicable in educational setting as we see teachers rewarding and punishing to get desired behavior from students (On Purpose Associates n. d. ). Constructivism Contrary to behaviorism is the school of though of constructivism. They are of the opinion that knowledge is a consequence of one’s personal experiences. According to constructivists, humans generate knowledge and formulate their own understanding model through reflection of their experiences.
Human mentality makes sense of the experiences and therefore learning takes place when proper shape is given to these experiences in mentality. In educational setting, constructivism comes into play as it focuses on promotion of customized syllabus in accordance with student’s knowledge. This is achieved by giving students hand on problems. Apart from that, teachers conduct assessment in the form of assigning open ended questions to the students and conduct dialogues and debates amongst students which lead to the open mindedness of students.
The students are therefore able to conceive and manipulate information in a better way (Bruner n. d. ). ICTs ICT is acronym of Information Communication Technology. The three words are very meaningful and together they form ICT which has been the pulse of the developmental changes in all fields in years behind. The concept is very vast but in short we can say that ICT comprises of all innovative tools of digital technology which has helped in all the fields to save, extract, communicate and interpret the information in a digital manner.
This has been made possible by digital electronic aids such as computers, laptops, emails, robotic machines and many more. ICTs have enabled the people to come together and form intercultural and inter communal links to share ideas and experiences together. The ICTs have plenty scope and potential in education field. ICTs and its tools has facilitated education by coming up with tools and equipments that have improved both the earning and the teaching. ICTs focus is to create awareness in the students of the usage of computers and other technological devices that may enhance the acquisition of knowledge for them.
Learning by Doing Learning by doing as the name suggests is the way that a person learns any action or activity by actually doing it himself. There is always a first time but that has first time has to be DONE as only then a person learns and is able to see where he is faulty and through this he can learn. The examples can be given simply as when the child is learning how to walk, the parents are there just to support him and keep him out of danger. It is the child himself who tries again and again and learns how to walk. Similarly, a more business oriented example can be that of starting a new business.
The businessman approaches his business with his own ideas and therefore learns the business. The theories of behaviorism can come here that a person who will do an action comes across a negative consequence then he would still be learning and would avoid the repetition of the same incident again. Constructivism is applicable here to as they emphasize on experiences. When a person BEHAVES he does an activity i. e. he interacts with the environment and as a result conditioning takes place. This conditioning gives him an experience may it be good or bad.
Through these behaviors and experiences he is able to formulate his own understanding model. Therefore this shows that both behaviorism and constructivism are active when a person is learning by doing (Engines for Education 2008). Role of ICTs, Behaviorism and Constructivism in Education The use of ICTs has promoted the teaching and learning and made it superior. If we just take computer as an example of educational technology we see that it has been devised for students and humans to address to their needs and problems. ICTs address to the problems of both students and teachers.
Though the effects of the use of ICTs in schools and educational settings are good but we see that the facilities are inadequate. The effects of ICTs are good as they enable the students to use educational software through which they are able to get activity based learning in a better technologically equipped learning environment. This environment and educational software have given opportunities to the teachers to change their teaching ways and make it more comprehensive with the use of these tools. Effective teaching automatically ensures effective learning as well.
These tools of educational technology have enabled the teachers and students to identify systematic problems and then discover systematic solutions for it. Constructivism school of thought complements educational technology. They say that students should be taken away from the standardized curriculum and their thinking skills need to be developed by experiential learning. If the students are given a proper educational environment which hold high relevance then they would interact with the environment to generate the desired experiences.
These experiences take form of personal sets of meanings and information framework for a separate student. In educational setting, student gains knowledge either through interaction with environment or by the intervention of school in form of curriculum imposed on students. Usually the learning is resultant of mix of both these sources. Constructivism also focuses on bringing out prior knowledge of students out. Effective use of ICT by the students would give teachers an opportunity to know the prior knowledge of the students (Newhouse 2002).
There are many different types of ICTs and tools which are helpful in educational setting and can explain how people learn through them and how teachers effectively use them for teaching. One example can be Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs). This device is operated with the help of a projector and a PC. This board is placed in the front center of the class and is connected to the PC and projector. Through equipments like keyboard, mouse, pencil and other devices students are able to achieve interaction with it.
It facilitates the teacher to teach the whole class easily keeping in view the discipline of the class along with teaching. The research has proven that the introduction of IWBS have enhanced the thinking of the students, facilitated the teaching methods of teachers and therefore ultimately lead to effective learning (Newman n. d. ). We see that both Behaviorism and Constructivism do not apply similarly in every learning environment. It varies. In some environment which is behavior oriented and which requires high motivation level of people then we see that behaviorism is in action.
Such environment has the need of people to be reinforced and requires there behavior to be aligned for efficient performance. In learning environment that promotes learning through experiences and acquisition of skills through interaction with environment, constructivism is in action. This rationale is well justified but usually we see that successful schools and educational settings take both the approaches together along with ICTs. Conclusion Education has revolved with the development in technology. Tools of ICTs facilitate the acquisition of education.
There have been many theories that have also supported educational cause. Two main theories are Behaviorism and Constructivism. They are both used contrary to each other. Behaviorism believes in learning through conditioning whereas Constructivism focuses on experiential learning. We see that these theories apply with the ICT tools and they result in effective learning and teaching system. References Bruner, J. n. d. , Constructivist Theory. Viewed July 15, 2010, retrieved from http://tip. psychology. org/bruner. html Engines for Education, 2008, Learning By Doing. Viewed July 15, 2010, retrieved from http://www.
engines4ed. org/hyperbook/nodes/NODE-120-pg. html Newhouse, C. Paul 2002, Literature Review: The Impact of ICT on Learning and Teaching. Viewed July 15, 2010, retrieved from http://www. det. wa. edu. au/education/cmis/eval/downloads/pd/impactreview. pdf Newman, n. d. , Types of ICT: Interactive Whiteboards. Viewed July 15, 2010, retrieved from http://www. newman. ac. uk/Students_websites/~shugufta. nazir/typeict. htm On Purpose Associates, n. d. , About Learning: Behaviorism. Viewed July 15, 2010, retrieved from http://www. funderstanding. com/content/behaviorism