Trust The Children

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What Is Instructional Design?

I have had a few people ask me about our new venture to strive for an advanced degree. The most common question is "What is instructional Technology?"

Here are a few thoughts to describe it:

Instructional theory describes a variety of methods of instruction (different ways of facilitating human learning and development) and when to use--and not use--each of those methods. It is about how to help people learn better." Charles M. Reigeluth, University of Indiana, Bloomington. It is about how to help people learn better.

That is what strikes me to the core. This is what drives me to many of my observations and conclusions. I believe people can learn better than they currently do. At it's core, one of the reasons we home school is that I became convinced that educating our children at home, especially in the early years, "helped them learn better."

Whether it was moral values, math, english, history or shop skills, the environment we have at home has helped our children learn better. It seems lately, the evidence of this is all around me. Allison at the University of Chicago continues to pour links and resources my way, to help me prepare for this academic pursuit. She is a life long learner, and it shows. David and I have regular conversations about his experience "back in school", his professors, good and bad, and his victories and near misses, all of which is very helpful to me. Tam just had her third child, Zoe and is an example of a grounded learner. Christine just finished her masters and is in El Salvador as co-country director for a health organization. Jenn and Deb are experiencing a semester abroad in Jerusalem. Jon, working to save money for school in the fall is a self directed music aficionado, with the emphasis on self-directed. And then of course the boys at home continue down the same path, their older siblings have already benefitted from.

Like Robert K. Greenleaf says of servant-leadership, our home schooling experience has by and large successfully answsered his questions: " "The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?"

It would appear that in all of our children, the Greenleaf standard is being realized. This is very encouraging at this point in our family history. The seeds of faith in the early years continue to bear fruit in observable ways in our later years, in part, because we had the vision of believing that there was a better way of learning.

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