Sorry, this is late. I ended up getting lost in research and writing the final paper. Then when attempting to post this, I was no longer able to log in to my blog. Either way, the final reflective-summary is completed. I hope you enjoy it.
Throughout this course, I have focused on the intersection of pedagogy and technology. I wanted more knowledge and understanding of them individually in the hopes of creating a better understanding of the individual factors that could determine how they could be combined into a single domain of knowledge. The idea of affordances in technology was a common topic of exploration. Initially, I felt affordances were the features that the technology brought. However, over time it changed to the actions enabled by the technology. Simply viewing affordances as features focuses on what it can do rather than what it should do. For example, a laptop has physical features that enable it to be a great doorstop. Still, I feel most would agree that it is not an appropriate use of the technology. This exploration brought me down a black hole-shaped pit of affordances and signifiers that is become a hotspot of contention in the academic world. If you are interested in the affordances/signifier debate, I highly recommend exploring Norman’s work (2008).
As I explored articles using educational VR, I often felt a sense of incoherence. Not in the sense that individual articles did not make valid observations and points, but viewing the field as a whole made it hard to compare, contrast, and combine ideas. The field seemed to lack awareness of others, and I struggled to comprehend why. While I was reading Fowler’s work, I noticed he referenced the need “to move away from research that starts with an analysis of the technology then seeks to derive learning benefits, often from loosely defined or implicit learning approaches” (2015, p. 420). It was there it hit me; VR-based research lacked theoretical consistency. As researchers, we lack a common perspective that encompassed the terminology to compare and contrast our ideas.
I began to focus my studies on how to utilize existing theoretical concepts in VR in the hopes of creating a better understanding. I found TPACK a great fit as it is derived from constructivism and balanced the technological, pedagogical, and content needs (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). The constructivist alignment was emphasized through its learning by design approach, which aligns with VRs natural affinity to learn by doing. Another theory I explored was experiential learning (Lewis & Williams, 1994), which was first conceived as another learning by doing approach focusing on adult learners. However, I found it lacked the technological affinity to interweave technology and pedagogy confidently.
Fowler, C. (2015). Virtual reality and learning: Where is the pedagogy? British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(2), 412–422. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12135
Lewis, L. H., & Williams, C. J. (1994). Experiential learning: Past and present. New directions for adult and continuing education, 1994(62), 5-16.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x
Norman, D. A. (2008). Signifiers, not affordances. Interactions, 15(6), 18–19. https://doi.org/10.1145/1409040.1409044