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Socratic learners or digital bankers? Students and assessment in the 21st century

Author Robbie Smyth
Abstract It is hard to find within the education community anyone who favours the banking concept of education as an acceptable method of teaching. Yet the teaching methodology so aptly characterised by Dickens in the 19th Century and Pink Floyd in the 20th still pervades the educational system. Classes are structured in neat rows often with tiered seating in the classic method, sacrificing little to style and all to cheap functionality. The students face the lecturer, white board, OHP or film screen passively awaiting instruction. They also now wait for outlines, readings, online resources and assignment titles while academic educational research suggests that many learners are focusing on the bare minimum effort needed to pass the module. Contemporary educational practice focuses on developing the students' skills, promoting critical thinking, problem solving and student centred learning, but in practice day to day teaching involves crowd control, cabaret teaching and the challenge of disinterested and disenfranchised students. This paper This paper touches in a small way on these issues. It discusses an attempt to use the course requirements of assignment completion as a means to avoid the banking concept of education and adapt the assignment process as a means to promote critical thinking by using the new ICT technologies that permeate society today in a positive way to enhance learning for the student and the lecturer. It is an attempt to use the assignment process as a form of blended learning as defined by Bliuc et al (2007) and constructivism as defined by Rovai (2004). Blicu et al, define blended learning as the thoughtful integration of classroom face to face learning experiences with online learning experiences (Bliuc Et al, 2007, 233). Rovai defines constructivism as 'a philosophy of learning based on the premise that knowledge is constructed by the individual through his or her interactions with the environment' (Rovai, 2004, 80).
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Published In ICEP Proceedings 2008
Date 2008
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