Digital technologies, intuition and hunches

This week has seen an important announcement about 21st century learning and expectations of teachers with digital technologies to at last be formally integrated into the New Zealand Curriculum.

I began to wonder what this might mean for early childhood education, including reigniting debates about teachers incorporating any activities involving screen time into their programmes. While use of movies/DVDs might be confined to special occasions, use of the internet and You Tube on both computers and large screens at group times is becoming more common, but presents some dilemmas for teachers.

Core Education is always a great place to go to read about related ideas. An interesting blog post of Karen Spencer’s is:

What is digital fluency? |

Comments in this post about the creation of knowledge, the importance of dispositions, and Burch’s “hierarchy of competence” (which you can read more about at led me to think more about the concept of intuition.

Earlier I shared Bruner’s (1960) idea about intuition and ways we had applied this to children’s working theories in our project. Bruner indicated that intuition is:

“the intellectual technique of arriving at plausible but tentative formulations without going through the analytic steps by which such formulations would be found to be valid or invalid conclusions. Intuitive thinking, the training of hunches, is a much-neglected and essential feature of productive thinking not only in formal academic disciplines but also in everyday life. A shrewd guess, the fertile hypothesis, the courageous leap to a tentative conclusion – these are the most valuable coin of the thinker at work, whatever his line of work” (pp. 3-4).

Burch’s hierarchy of competence explains how intuition operates at two levels. I often use the analogy of learning to drive a car when explaining working theories and this hierarchy also explains well how we utilise instinctive knowledge, turn that into more formal knowledge and then that this becomes the way we do intuitively judge speed, distance, directions and so on when driving.

Back to Karen’s post, thinking about her questions poses challenges for ECE centres. She asks:

  1. What kinds of literacy learning opportunities are offered at your school, ECE centre or kura – and how do these deliberately teach the skills and competencies to navigate online spaces successfully?
  2. Consider the competencies that you seek to develop with your learners: what do these look like when developed in digital contexts?
  3. To what extent are learning areas explored in ways that invite higher-order engagement, problem-solving and authentic use of technologies? Are learners doing more than searching for information? Are they applying it in ways that are real and connected to the world around us?

This led to me thinking about connections between ECE and schooling again – and in further exploring Core Ed blog posts I located: Seriously, what is school for? |

This post is fascinating for two reasons:

  1. It includes the importance of “hunches” in the related diagram – hunches links well to working theories.
  2. The valued outcomes are social, emotional and dispositional  – and therefore connect to ECE well.

We have some data about use of You Tube by teachers that has caused debate. I’ll post about that next time given its topicality related to 21st century learning and learners.

Photo credit: Reese, Hacker.” (CC BY 2.0) by donnierayjones


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