Building Knowledge: Implementing PBL and Using Mobile Apps as an Approach to Learning

Building Knowledge: Implementing PBL and Using Mobile Apps as an Approach to Learning

Samuel B. Fee (Washington and Jefferson College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4797-8.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter argues that the best learning occurs as knowledge is constructed, challenging the assumption that learning occurs mainly when knowledge is gathered and absorbed. This chapter thus builds contrasts between a constructivist epistemology and other approaches toward learning that do not seek the intentional construction of knowledge. Expanding on the current discourse regarding constructivist epistemology, this chapter considers more thoroughly problem-based learning as a pedagogical approach. The chapter begins and concludes with a preliminary study that illustrates how implementing a mobile application into a problem-based learning approach has enhanced learning for students collecting field data for biology and environmental studies research, as well as for students developing the application. This example illuminates a viable approach to translating educational theory into praxis.
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Background

Theory Drives Practice Drives Implementation

In beginning this discussion, it is important to set out the assumptions guiding our work as CIS faculty. We believe that epistemology (our understanding of the ways in which one comes to know things) should shape our pedagogy (our understanding and choice of instructional methods), and our pedagogy in turn should direct our implementation of technology in the classroom. In the case of our work, a constructivist epistemology has led us to a PBL approach, which eventually led us and our students, in conjunction with our colleagues in Biology and Environmental Studies and their students, to develop and implement a new mobile application: Appernathy.

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