This free Information Age Education Newsletter is written by Dave
Moursund and Bob Sylwester, and produced by Ken Loge. The newsletter is
one component of the Information Age Education project. See http://iae-pedia.org/
and the end of this newsletter. All back issues of this newsletter are
available free online at http://i-a-e.org/iae-newsletter.html.
This is the third of a sequence of IAE Newsletters focusing on the
Common core State Standards (CCSS) being developed by the CCSS
Initiative in the United States (CCSS, 2012).
Common Core State Standards
Science and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
David Moursund Emeritus Professor University of Oregon
The Science of Teaching and Learning—now more frequently called
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning—(both abbreviated as SoTL) has a
very long history (Moursund, 2012).
Think back many tens of thousands of years. A child growing up in a
small clan or tribe learned the culture of the community along with
survival skills such as hunting and gathering. This informal type of
As tools such as thrown spears and later bows and arrows were
developed, children played with toys that introduced them to the tools.
They observed and participated in the routine use of the tools by their
older playmates, received hands-on instruction from adults, and learned
This type of hands-on learn-by-doing educational system began to change
as agriculture supported the development of larger population centers
and specialists in the making and using of various tools emerged a
little more than 10,000 years ago. In this type of environment,
apprentices might spend years learning a specialization.
Reading and writing were developed little more than 5,000 years ago.
The written language incorporated written symbols for numbers. Schools
and formal schooling were established to teach reading, writing, and
arithmetic. The art and craft of formal school teaching had begun.
Now, fast-forward 5,000 years to our present time. The art and craft of
teaching and learning has improved significantly over these intervening
years. Technological developments such as the printing press led to the
mass production of print materials that greatly changed our world. The
continued development and accumulation of new knowledge and skills has
accelerated the pace of change.
The art and craft of teaching and learning has recently morphed into
the SoTL. Jacqueline Dewar and Curtis Bennett (2010) wrote in
“Situating SoTL within the Disciplines: Mathematics in the United
States as a Case Study:”
Ernest Boyer (1990) introduced the phrase “scholarship of teaching”
into the vocabulary of higher education in his book, Scholarship
Reconsidered. He proposed that colleges and universities needed a fresh
vision of scholarship in order to tap the full range of faculty talents
and to encourage vital connections between academic institutions and
their local communities. He labeled and described four types of
scholarship: discovery, application, integration and teaching, and he
discussed some of the characteristics of what is now called SoTL, but
did not offer a fully developed definition that included peer review
and making results public. While similar concepts had previously been
discussed (Cross, 1986) and later critical distinctions between
scholarly teaching and the scholarship of teaching surfaced (Richlin,
1993, 2001, 2003), as President of the Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching, Boyer brought national and international
attention to SoTL.
We Are All Lifelong Learners and Teachers
I view all people as lifelong learners and teachers. Ongoing and
lifelong learning are built into our physical and cognitive
capabilities. Each of us learns as our brain processes new information
from our senses and integrates this with information already stored in
In our every interaction with others, we function as both a teacher and
a learner. This starts even before we are born. For example, an unborn
child’s brain becomes familiar with its mother’s voice cadence and
tonality. And, of course, you are familiar with the infant child
teaching his or her parents and other caregivers, as they teach the
Over thousands of years, education practitioners and researchers have
been improving the art, craft, science, and scholarship of teaching and
learning to better fit the needs of students and the capabilities of
teachers, and to take advantage of the many aids to teaching and
learning that continue to be developed. The Common Core State Standards
(CCSS) is the latest of major efforts tin the United States to
systematize curriculum content, teaching methodology, and assessment in
key components of PK-12 education (CCSS, 2012).
Students in our school systems learn content and to use their
learning—but in the process also learn how to teach. Probably you have
seen young children playing “school” and imitating teaching
methodologies they have already learned from their own informal and
By the time college students enter a teacher education program, they
already know a great deal about teaching and learning from having
participated in PK-12 and several years of college schooling. If the
teaching they have received has been good, they already have made good
progress toward eventually becoming effective teachers. Many students
enter teacher education programs with the goal of making PK-12
education better in the future than it was for them.
Unfortunately, our teacher education programs face a difficult task
when they must try to remediate students who have been poorly taught
and/or have already learned ineffective methods of teaching and
learning. In addition, preservice teachers face the difficult
challenges of learning to incorporate all of the following into their
teaching: newer methods of teaching; new developments in Information
and Communication Technology (ICT); new aids to teaching and learning;
recent progress in cognitive neuroscience; newer course content being
developed based on new discoveries and inventions; and so on. A final
challenge is the fact that our world, the precollege students to be
taught, and preservice teachers in teacher education programs are quite
a bit different than they were a generation ago. One of the most
important differences is the fact that many of today’s students are
much more computer-adept than their teachers (IAE, 12/19/2011).
Academic Disciplines and Specialization
The steady accumulation of knowledge and skills over thousands of years
has led us to an educational system that is divided into academic
disciplines. Starting in kindergarten and continuing through high
school, the study of disciplines such as language arts, math, science,
social science, world languages, physical education, the arts, and so
on tend to be separated from each other.
The breadth and depth of content in the various disciplines in the
curriculum tend to overwhelm many preservice and beginning teachers.
Many struggle to gain the knowledge and skills to be knowledgeable,
creative, and flexible teachers for all the variety of disciplines they
are responsible for teaching.
Each academic discipline or area of study can be defined by a combination of general ideas such as:
The types of problems, tasks, and activities it addresses.
Its accumulated accomplishments such as results, achievements,
products, performances, scope, power, uses, impact on the societies of
the world, and so on, and its methods of preserving and passing on
these accomplishments to current and future generations.
Its history, culture, and language, including notation and special vocabulary.
Its lower-order and higher-order knowledge and skills, along with critical thinking and understanding.
Its tools, methodologies, and types of evidence and arguments
used to solve problems, accomplish tasks, and record and share
Its methods of teaching, learning, and assessment.
How one effectively teaches in a manner that preserves and sustains the discipline and passes it on to future generations.
The knowledge and skills that separate and distinguish among: a)
a novice; b) a person who has a personally useful level of competence;
c) a reasonably competent person, employable in the discipline; d) an
expert; and e) a world-class expert.
Discipline Specificity is a Major CCSS Challenge
Within a specific discipline, each of the bulleted items listed
above can be an area of serious research, development, and other
Undoubtedly you have heard about the idea of “viewing the world through
rose-colored glasses.” Think about the idea of viewing the world
through the “eyes” of a specific discipline. A specialist in music
learns to view the world through music-colored glasses. A specialist in
psychology learns to view the world through psychology-colored glasses.
An interdisciplinary researcher in science might learn to view the
world through a combination of computer, math, and science-colored
In all cases, this “viewing the world” is based on learning to think,
communicate, solve problems, and apply the knowledge and skills of the
discipline. When students learn math in elementary school, we want them
to learn some specific math topics and we also want them to learn to
think in terms of this math as a way of viewing (dealing with) some of
the problems and tasks they are encountering across the curriculum and
outside of school, and will encounter in their adult lives. Similarly,
we don’t simply want students to learn to read and write. We want them
to learn to read and write across the discipline areas they are
studying in school and learning about in life outside of school. We
want them to master the transfer of learning to other disciplines they
have studied, are studying, and will study. We want transfer of
learning to novel problems and tasks they will encounter in the future.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
For thousands of years, we have been well served by print, a
static media. Even as we developed the telegraph, telephone,
photography, recording and playback devices, radio, films, and
television, these media have not been very interactive. However,
computer technology has changed this. We now make routine use of media
and other tools that have some semblance of intelligence. The machine
intelligence is very different from human intelligence, but still is
quite able to rapidly and accurately solve a wide variety of problems
of interest to people and to carry out a large number of tasks for
people. This automation of mental and physical tasks brings a new
dimension to informal and formal education. It also brings major
challenges to our educational system.
I will explore some of these challenges in my next two IAE Newsletters.
Meanwhile, let me leave you with an important idea to mull over.
Educators have long agreed that there are basics in educational
content. They have agreed that students need to learn reading, writing,
and arithmetic “across the curriculum.” They recognize that transfer of
learning is one of the most important ideas in education (Perkins and
What educators have neither agreed on nor acted on is the idea of ICTing
across the curriculum—thoroughly integrating the use of ICT as a
routine component of curriculum content, instructional processes, and
assessment that includes formative, summative, and residual input
components. They have not agreed on the importance of the open
computer, open connectivity approach to representing and solving
problems that are now routine in the adult world of work and play. It
is time to address these issues seriously and to be certain ICT is well
integrated into the emerging CCSS.
Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
David Moursund earned his doctorate in mathematics from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught in the Mathematics
Department and Computing Center at Michigan State University for four
years before joining the faculty at the University of Oregon.
A few highlights of his professional career include founding the
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), serving as
ISTE’s executive officer for 19 years, and establishing ISTE’s flagship
publication, Learning and Leading with Technology.
He was a major professor or co-major professor of 82 doctoral students.
In 2007, he founded Information Age Education (IAE), a non-profit
company dedicated to improving teaching and learning by people of all
ages throughout the world. See http://iae-pedia.org/Main_Page#IAE_in_a_Nutshell. He has authored or coauthored more than
60 academic books and hundreds of articles. Many of these books are
available free online. See http://iae-pedia.org/David_Moursund_Books. He has presented hundreds of professional talks and workshops.
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About Information Age Education, Inc.
Information Age Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to
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