Kairos 13.2: Praxis - Productive Mess: Results

Results: Extension

Good Extension: Bringing in Other Voices

Most of the student conversation revolved around interpretations and questions about the readings selected by teachers. However, the best extension posts included some minor outside research that broadened the scope of the material under discussion. Often, these sources were as straightforward as researching the number of universities in America or the number of degrees conferred by Purdue to track the trends discussed by the authors and students. Occasionally, though, these extensions pulled in outside sources that added significant complexity to the discussion. This extension, which follows several posts lamenting the poor attention spans of students, adds a clever wrinkle to the conversation:

Teaching With Toys

Prior to researching for making this extension post, I agreed with everything that was being said about the children of today. It's a fact that the minds are completely different from even when we were growing up. The newest gaming system and the latest toys have become to take over the time in which children would run around outside and let their imagination run wild. As Edmundson was credited with saying earlier (it) "…gives the customers what they most want - easy pleasure, more TV." I couldn't have agreed more until I found this: http://www.prism-magazine.org/mar04/toys.cfm.

This article, entitled "Toys That Teach", gives a new perspective on the learning styles of children today. Mamie Moy says, "Toys are the key to making science and engineering more approachable—for both students and teachers. It's science that's being taught with very friendly things." She has researched that child mentality that is being used these days compared to those from years past. Moy explains that toys can and are used as tools by the young children to achieve the happiness that is desired. She explains how everyday toys teach children the most intricate laws of physics without using an technical terms at all. While researching along with what I had already found, I found a quote by Ellen Parr that holds true to the above article. She states, "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." Children learn and grow even without knowing it. Sometimes, things don't need to be stated word for word for the message to be taught. "In part, our educational system doesn't identify activities as engineering--teachers don't say, ´Gee, you know what you just did was an engineering kind of a thing. Those abilities aren't always recognized and stimulated in our children,'" says Moy.

I now believe, even hearing about opposite views, that children today teach themselves and are taught in new ways that aren't necessarily the same as ten years ago but provide generally the same information and allow for extended thinking with an open mind even when ideas seem to contradict such happenings.

This extension post is sophisticated for several reasons. It represents an ability to find outside information relevant to the topic under discussion. It integrates the readings, student comments, and outside research into a nuanced statement on child learning. But most importantly, it broadens the scope of the forum conversation beyond the boundaries provided by the instructors. This student views developments outside of the classroom conversation as applicable to student interaction and, conversely, perceives the relevance of the forum discussion beyond the physical or outline borders of the classroom.