Friday, October 15, 2010

REVEAL THE HUMAN SPIRIT!

"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

—E.E. Cummings

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning is a Social Experience!

 According to the Social Learning Theory, our perception of the environment in which we live impacts our behavior as an individual. When we see people doing something to the point where it is the popular thing to do, we tend to do it too. It's how we socialize and show each other that we maintain the same value system, which is rooted in sharing ideals and participating in culturally meaningful and/or important activities in order to achieve desired outcomes within respective context. In turn, our collective behaviors impact the environment greatly - for better or worse. Ultimately, these social activities that we engage in promote a mutual interest and actively influence new members of the community to follow suit. Perception is reality. Popularity is king. The environment is home for the community. The social activity that takes place within the community is how we learn. Knowledge is power, and this power is shared by members of the community through social activities. Thus, if the community is the true agent of learning, should we deduct that social networking is the means to enlightenment?



 Since the birth of the world wide web, the “community” has grown significantly. We are now a global community with people from around the world that are just one click away. Global learning is all the rage these days. Social networking sites, such as Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and of course Facebook, have brought families closer together and reunited long, lost friends. Family and friends certainly represent important members of our community; not to mention the friends to be! So, are social networking sites the “object” that we should use to achieve the desired “outcome”? If so, should we encourage students to learn through the practice of social networking? If not... Why?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tech Learning TL Advisor Blog and Ed Tech Ticker Blogs from TL Blog Staff – TechLearning.com

Tech Learning TL Advisor Blog and Ed Tech Ticker Blogs from TL Blog Staff – TechLearning.com

Do you have a "hole in the wall" in your classroom? (Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education via TED)




 At the end of a video about teacher vs. educator that a colleague shared with me, there was a Socrates quote that I believe addresses the "hole in the wall" experiment and echoes my favorite education quote by William Butler Yeats. The Socrates quote, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel," speaks to the constructivist philosophy that Mitra maintains and promotes.

 As educators, we (hopefully) understand that students rarely learn anything when we just explain something to them or pour information into their "vessel". Yet, even with proper modeling and emphasis on a topic, it does not necessarily translate into learning. A student will not learn information if it is not meaningful and important to them. Stressing the importance of material you are teaching does nothing for them but perhaps create a stressful situation in which they feel obligated, out of respect to you or their success in your class, to learn something that has no relevance to their own livelihood. Pertinence is key. Students must be able to connect the learning to something that is real and of genuine interest, or learning will suffer.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Knowing vs. Doing

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” -Albert Einstein

As educators, we are very big on mastery objectives. We explore and examine Bloom's Taxonomy to find the perfect word that will effectively express our learning goals. Whenever we conceive an idea for a learning opportunity, we apply our Bloom's verb and put it into the form of a mastery objective. The mastery objective is essentially an answer to a 2-part question that we ask ourselves: What do we want the students to KNOW and be able to DO? It's always in that order - KNOW and be able to DO. My question is, what is more important - the knowing or the doing?