Magazine article Technology & Learning

Discovery Learning

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Discovery Learning

Article excerpt

Finding Patterns

Discovering anything for oneself is a heady experience. Discovery learning helps students find patterns and connections in class work as they do in life outside of school. It encourages them to test theories, ask questions and come up with possible answers, and to investigate concepts using real life examples and their own experiences.

Thinking vs Listening

With discovery learning, students learn to ask good questions, test out premises, and develop informed answers. In the process, they acquire a respect for their own powers of thinking. Instead of being fed content by a teacher or reading it in a textbook, students use their experiences to discover guiding principles and concepts. Students are treated as intelligent beings who can compare the information they find with their own prior knowledge and combine them to come to a more complete understanding of a topic.


Students who investigate are motivated to learn. For them, learning is a process filled with the joy of exploration, of uncovering meaning for themselves. The excitement and sense of accomplishment engendered by such self-discovery is compelling--and it encourages them to want to learn more and more. That excitement makes students want to do it again and again--to learn more and more. In the process, students become curious about the world around them. This intellectual curiosity makes them into life-long learners.

The Role of Technology

Technology provides a variety of ways to learn, and in the process, fosters independent thinking, problem solving, and collaborative learning. Testing theories using simulations, finding ways to prove ideas with multimedia, collecting environmental data by experimenting, experiencing the wider world through virtual field trips, learning creative skills with art, writing, and music software, and finding research to prove almost any point of view online all contribute to making technology a collection of tools to promote discovery learning.

Discovery and Handhelds

Palm[TM] handheld computers provide students with access to the tools that help them learn to think. Because handhelds are a cost-effective solution, every student can have this access--to use in the classroom, at home, and in the community so that the whole world becomes a learning environment. Students can read ebooks to find new information, use simulations and concept mapping software to test out hypotheses, measure elements in the environment with probeware, and create and revise their writing, mathematical thinking, and more. Great learning comes in small packages.


music and meaning

Grade Level: Elementary

Subject Area: Language Arts

Software: RealOne[TM] Player (included with Palm Zire[TM] 71 and Tungsten E handhelds)

Technology Needed: Zire 71, SD or Multimedia card, earphones Lesson Description: Students will learn to listen to music for its meaning by sharing one another's favorite songs and then creating their own songs with meaning.

Objectives: Students demonstrate their understanding of the meaning of lyrics. Students practice writing words for their own songs.

Vocabulary: lyrics, rhythm, rhyme

Before the Lesson:

1. Discuss copyright and legal copying of music flies.

2. Students should learn how to transfer music from CD tracks to a desktop computer and then to the SD or multimedia card on a Palm Zire 71 handheld. …

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