Our required reading for this week came from Lankshear and Knobel (2011) Ch7: Social Learning, “Push” and “Pull” and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning. After reading through the material and the amazing annotations from my group members, my resounding thought was, “Experience is the best teacher”. Students need to be actively engaged in their work and must be “doers not just hearers”. I am reminded of many times sitting in class and listening to a teacher go on and on about a subject. Just talk. We were expected to take notes and regurgitate the information when it was time for a test. I would study my notes, create songs and mnemonic devices to help me remember the information and proceed to spew out the information onto the piece of test paper. My mind would spin when the answer was not readily available and I would race through my brain trying to read the pictures of the notes in my head. Oh, I kind of feel sick thinking about it. Ask me that information now, and I could remember some of it (especially if I had a great mnemonic for it) but for many of those time periods, names, and places; I have since forgotten. Today, I have a great friend named Google that remembers practically everything and helps me in times of despair when I can’t remember important questions about the periodic table or the years particular presidents were in office.
My greatest school memories involved “doing”. I remember acting out a Women’s Rights skit. We had to look up the information, create costumes and develop the script. That information stuck. I experienced the story. I remember a high school social studies class where we had to create a newspaper about the introduction of the railway. Back in the days before computer access, we had to map out our stories and layout ahead of time because it was all done by hand – so much fun and memorable. Our students need to be involved in their learning. Technology is making that easier for teachers to do this. The students don’t even have to be in the same room, city, state or country. The world is available to them. When learning about the Gold Rush in California, why not annotate and create with children in California. Yes, this takes more organization from the teacher and it is thinking “outside of the box”, but let’s create learning opportunities for our students that will last a lifetime not a moment. Let’s starting teaching how to learn and not just why.
Our other readings for the week included the following:
- Scott Campbell: The Importance of Being Alone in the Digital Era
- Antero Garcia: There are No Lessons for Alton or Philando
- Remi Holden: An Open Letter to Colorado Learning and Teaching with Technology
- And folks might also be interested in Responses to COLTT Open Letter
I would like to speak to Scott Campbell’s piece on The Importance of Being Alone in the Digital Era. This resonated with me on several levels. A few weeks ago, my family went to Breckenridge to bike from Frisco to Breckenridge and back (part of my Exploring Your Own Backyard theme for the semester). We had a great time hanging out and taking pictures (to post on Facebook to show and prove to everyone that we had a great time). My husband and the kids headed off to get some ice cream and I was left with the job to sit by the bikes and wait. I found myself pulling out my phone to check on what everyone else was up to on Twitter and Facebook. And then, I stopped. One of my favorite past times was watching people. I loved to imagine where they were from, what their relationships were, look at their interesting and fun outfits…. I realized I had not done this for a LONG time. My new habit was to pull out my phone if I had a few minutes. I decided to put my phone down and spend some time “watching”. Some time alone. It was AMAZING. I had a great time sitting by myself and just watching people.
In the article, The Importance of Being Alone in the Digital Era by Scott Campell, he emphasizes the thought that sometimes we need to set down our “network” and spend some time alone or in a face to face conversation. I agree. I love being connected, but I need to remember to set everything aside and spend some time alone. It is fun to catch up on Facebook, but the world around us is pretty exciting too.