M-Learning (Thesis Volume 3.1: Project Design – Learning Theory)

The Ocean Institute Podcast Program was designed with a combination of learning theories, behaviorism, constructivist, and multiple intelligences, as the foundation.  The concept of the program to have students produce their own podcasts is a valuable constructivist approach to learning.  The process behind producing the podcasts in groups was based on the theory of multiple intelligences; as students work together and utilize their strengths to produce a high quality podcast.  The reward students received by taking ownership of their project were an element of behaviorism.

The OIPP consisted of five elements to successfully make learning motivational and the produced podcasts useful: professional development for the teachers, the student field trip, the student research, and the podcast production process.  The professional development for the teachers is the most critical aspect to limit the performance gaps within the program as the day to day process of how the program was conducted by each individual teacher; it was essential that the teachers were prepared properly to facilitate the program.  Due to the time constraints and available resources, the professional develop training of the program will not be addressed in detail.  The field trip element of this program was one of two essential motivators for the students.  The field trip design was modeled after pre-existing programs provided by the Ocean Institute.  The modifications were based on the concept that the students must take what they learned on the field trip and apply that into a program monitored at school; this instructional design of incorporating classroom time and the field trip is a unique concept of informal education but perhaps essential in a time when schools must function under extremely strict budgets and activities like field trips are being eliminated by school districts.  The podcast production element was another motivational element, allowing students to take advantage of the latest technology fads in their learning process.   The fact is, school-aged children spend hours on websites like MySpace and YouTube, both producing videos with their cell phones and uploading videos to their iPods; it only makes sense to provide students with a structured process to develop meaningful podcasts that they can be proud of and take ownership of.  The fourth element was the research process conducted by students; this was the element that fits within the State Standards and is the priority when justifying the work in class.  The pedagogical element, the most important element of instructional design, provided the overall structure and process of the program.  With the aid of the online content and resources, this program combined the flexibility and creativity within each class with the structure and guidance necessary to produce the expected results and achieve the program and student objectives.

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