Gestalt Psychology

Gestalt psychologists consider learners that know the “whole” (or the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy) in terms of the parts that make it up. Winn (2004) states that ” Technology has advanced to the point where we can construct complete environments within which students can learn.” Technology can provide the tools necessary to create both interactive and immersive learning environments that are consistent with Gestalt psychological theories; however, I no longer believe that this can be accomplished in the K-12 environment (and many college courses) just by a classroom teacher, even those that are very savvy. Teachers need support to develop and utilize these tools in the classroom. This includes professional development and hands on training, and this seems to be lacking in schools today.

For instance, the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning channels discussed in Gestalt psychology can easily be practiced using numerous tools readily available today. Flickr, Google Images, and other similar tools provide a picture for just about every concept, and most if not all teachers can easily incorporate this into the classroom. Providing a more immersive environment, such as with Second Life and Flash can take these graphics to another dimension or level of understanding where the imagination (and cost) and lack of support in the classrooms are many of the total factors that stand in the way. Anyone who has taken these courses or utilized these technologies can attest to the vast amount of knowledge it requires to develop using these tools.

So technology does make this capable, but not practical in all instances. It requires, amongst other things, support, development, training, and buy-in from those in the classroom.

Winn, W. (2004). Cognitive perspectives in psychology. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology

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