“Learning, Everywhere, All the Time” was an article about a new educational paradigm that exists, where learning is constant inside and outside the classroom walls. This new theory of connectivism is where “knowledge can be obtained through valuing diversity of opinion because the connections between many sources can lead to new knowledge.”(Cook, 2012) One of the greatest tools we have to help promote these connections is technology, more specifically online classrooms.
This article is a tough one for me to call, for part of the article I was bored with what I thought was a rehash of information. Then later in the article I found a few interesting pieces of information that I could use directly in my teaching. Overall I thought this article was one that was informative, but not ground breaking.
As I was reading through this article I felt like for the most part it was applying commonly help truths in education and apply them to the technology realm. As an educator I believe that one of our most important objectives is to create lifelong learners. Your life is more than what takes place in a classroom; to me this is a fact that is completely clear. That is why I was underwhelmed with the article’s statement of “Learning should also take place continually outside of the classroom. This is true of all ages and stages of learners who are taking classes online. Real-world, experiential learning assists students as they work together to build learning in an online setting through the guided instruction of a professional teacher.” Shouldn’t this be the belief of all our classroom and classroom teachers?
Furthermore, “Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) viewed learning online as a process and asserted that the effectiveness of online learning is dependent upon building a strong learning community.” When I read this statement I couldn’t help but feel that this is a vital attribute to a physical classroom as well. Where was the breakthrough revelation for teachers?
When the author stated tools that would promote student understanding it seemed to me that the items listed were items that would be found in any 21st century classroom. “Video, PowerPoint, music, lectures, podcasts, calendars, work schedules, digitized handwritten comments. Web pages and quizzes, tests, and assignments” (Cook, 2012)
There were a few items in this article that I thought were thought-provoking and helping to teachers looking to make the most of their classroom. The first was a quote that I believe made an argument for more fluid curriculum. “Static documents can become dated very quickly. Using current events occurring in the world and assignments that connect the student to new areas of thought and culture through videos, music, podcasts, blogs, wikis, and new mlearning [mobile learning] apps for tablets and smartphones that allow connectivity to occur with content in different ways will all be part of connecting content to the student. These practices assist the building of cognitive connections for the students.” (Cook, 2012)
Today with the use of social media, the idea of using a piece of it that was a little bit more discrete was very valuable. The article mentioned that “The Google Plus product is promoted as an ideal way to share the same types of information often available via Facebook, but the program allows only small groups or subgroups of individuals to have access to the information. Users must receive an invitation to join a specific circle of users.”(Young, 2011) This approach may be one that parents and school district could get behind based on the closed access that Google Plus provides.
Food for Thought
“It isn’t about the technology. It is about connecting students with the faculty to assist them with learning through the use of technologies.” -Bethany Brevard (Cook, 2012)