The New Learning

It has been called Learning 2.0. OK but does that not sound too much like an e-learning thing.

I read a great deal about wikis and blogs, Margaret Vass‘ dissertation, Terry Freedman’s survey, John Connell and his Provocations. No 6 struck a very resonant cord. I have never spent the whole of a lesson at the chalkface but I have used the writing of notes as an attempt to drill the material into less than receptive memories. I did try to discuss each point with the class and make a note of it by way of summary but I am still guilty.

With Glow and with the acceptance by the teaching fraternity of the usefullness of ICT and the internet; with Web 2.0 I can see a better way forward.

One of the immediate concerns is the lack of control exercised by the teacher if the students are allowed to pursue their own learning. The teacher at the blackboard may have felt in control but could not possibly be sure to be controlling individuals’ learning even if the class as a whole appeared to be absorbing the material. If students are involved in their own learning, they may not retain exactly what is required but they will at least retain something and will also start to learn how to learn.

Particularly where students are required to acquire knowledge of a subject, the new technologies provide a framework and the tools for students to gather and formalise their own subject expertise. Having retired, it is easy for me to pontificate about how I would approach a subject topic, but perhaps as spectator I am more able to see the essentials. Really all I have done is to think how I would use the tools in my own subject, Computing.

Using a Glow group, I would set out the targets and the time frame. Here I am not micro-managing the work. One target might be to describe the working of the Central Processing Unit. The whizzkid student might come up with a degree level dissertation. For the less conscientious I would make certain that the necessary level of knowledge was covered by documents available in Glow Learn, the VLE, and in other Internet links. I therefore have a baseline but also inbuilt differentiation. I would allow students to work in groups or alone (see Johnson, Johnson and Holubec) as referenced by Learning and Teaching Scotland. The discussion and chat facilities within a Glow group would allow plenty of interaction.

The final results from each group or individual would be presented to the class as a whole for peer review and every student would be free to use whatever the class had come up with to prepare for any future exams. When the work was done would be for students to decide but I would monitor progress with regular individual tutorial sessions. This would minimise parent input and allow me to redirect anyone going up a blind alley. Most class time would be given over to the more interesting and practical aspects of Computing and ICT.

Where do blogs, wikis, podcasts, vidcasts, flickr, oosah, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Access, Open Office etc., come into this? They are just there to enable students to more readily achieve their educational targets. Because in a year or so something even more revolutionary and exciting will come along.

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About robthill

I am semi-retired ICT Staff Tutor in Dundee, Scotland and an online facilitator. The views here expressed are my own somewhat quirky feelings about the world as I see it, no doubt just as prejudiced as most other bloggers.

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