ERG SES C 09, Learning in Education
Changing of learning habits every passing day with developing technology requires the differentiation of the teaching-learning process. Individuals, who cannot learn how to learn and who are not able to organize their own learning process, stay behind in many areas in globalizing world where the technology has been developing rapidly.
Prensky draws attention to the changing learning habits stemming from the use of Internet and web technology, which describes people born after 1980 as "digital natives" while those born before are defined as "digital immigrants" (Prensky, 2001b). The learning styles of today's students have radically changed and the teachers who teach students in the category of digital natives have remained as digital immigrants (Prensky, 2001a).
In computer training, instructors are generally incapable of catching up with student's learning speed and they are insufficient in the process of guiding students. It is thought that if the process of children in which they discover and learn themselves is integrated into the educational process by observing in detail and directed correctly, the efficiency of the training will increase. This is particularly of greater importance for the rural areas where the number of teachers is inadequate and delivery of educational opportunities is not enough. In the 21st century, in which the main role of the teacher is to arouse curiosity, we need to draw a path which aims to arouse awareness (Mitra, 2010) and by which mainly children organize their self-directed learning.
Self-directed learning is discussed as a process, as a learning approach by which individuals determine their own priorities and choose them from accessible various sources (Pilling-Cormich, 1996), or as an individual property (Svedberg, 2010). In self-directed learning, students access to information based on their needs and interests, rapidly and independently from time and place. Technological tools that facilitate access to information resources and online educator are extremely important in terms of self-directed learning (Teo, Tan, Lee, Chai & Koh, 2010). Thanks to provided technological opportunities; information finding, transmission and storage tasks have been as close as a click for each learner, without the need for government agencies and without barriers (Candy, 2004).
Since Ministry of National Education in Turkey has adopted a constructivist educational approach by which individuals construct knowledge by themselves and teacher is regarded as a guide, self-directed learning has a support base. But when national literature is investigated, it has been found out that self-directed learning hasn’t been combined with technology and children’s point of view was not considered. It is emphasized that there is a need of studying technology education, especially in rural areas and countryside (Mitra & Rana, 2001; Gyabak & Godina, 2011). From this point South Eastern region of Turkey is worthful to research.
In similar studies like "Hole in the Wall" and "One Laptop per Child" projects, which aimed to distribute a computer for each child, computer usage emerges as evidence of self-directed learning, increasing children’s success. But the system, which suggests that children should be left completely alone, faced many criticisms as it had many disadvantages (Arora, 2010). Within the scope of this research, taking lessons from deficiencies of similar studies, children's educational experience has been observed and pure data about their learning process which excludes prior learning have been reached.
Arora, P. (2010). Hope-in-the-Wall? A digital promise for free learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(5), 689-702. Barab, S.A., Thomas, M.K., Dodge, T., Squire, K., & Newell, M. (2004). Critical design ethnography: Designing for change. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 35(2), 254-268. Candy, P.C. (2004). Linking thinking: Self-directed learning in the digital age. Commonwealth of Australia: Department of Education, Science and Training. Gyabak, K., & Godina, H. (2011). Digital storytelling in Bhutan: A qualitative examination of new media tools used to bridge the digital divide in a rural community school. Computers & Education, 57, 2236-2243. Mitra, S., & Rana, V. (2001) Children and the Internet: Experiments with minimally invasive education in India. The British Journal of Educational Technology, 32(2), 221-232. Mitra, S. (2010). The child-driven education. http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html. Access: 25.03.2015. Pilling-Cormich, J. (1996). Development of the self-directed learning perception scale. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Toronto University, Toronto. Prensky, M. (2001a) Digital natives, digital immigrants Part 1. On The Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Prensky, M. (2001b) Digital natives, digital immigrants, Part 2: Do they really think differently? On the Horizon, 9(6), 1-6. Svedberg, M.K. (2010). Self-directed learning and persistence in online asynchronous undergraduate programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia State University, Virginia. Teo, T., Tan, S.C., Lee, C.B., Chai, C.S., & Koh, J.H.L. (2010). The self-directed learning with technology scale (SDLTS) for young students: An initial development and validation. Computers & Education, 55(4), 1764-1771.
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