Connected Learning

Teaching two courses this quarter on digital learning and participatory culture is pushing my thinking in really good ways.  The New Literacies for Digital Learning course includes teachers, a nurse, and students from business, computing, and women’s studies, so the questions are going to be somewhat different than in my ed courses where we’re talking mainly about what happens in K-12 classrooms.  That’s good — because I want all K-12 teaching to be deeply connected to what’s going on world beyond the classroom.  And  it’s challenging, because I know the limitations under which teachers work and the particular questions that they’re likely to bring to this class.

On the bus ride home doing the inevitable “how could I have done that differently”, I thought a lot about what I really believe about this work: My job is not to be the expert, delivering neatly packaged content (as the  video we watched last night said).    My job is to teach people how they can build learning networks out of the very powerful connecting and creating and collaborating and sharing that is now going on in “participatory culture” so that people will thrive learning from each other.

So I think about the powerful networks that include 1st grade teacher Kathy Cassidy and the blog post that she wrote this week about her thoughts about how *not* to use tech in schools, and the many people who Tweeted that post out, and then the other blog posts that were written in response — a rich week long conversation among busy teachers who wanted to think together and teach each other and share what they’re doing.

I think about how it’s always a good moment for me (usually on the bus home after a long day) when I check into the Prof Hacker blog for conversation about digital and “real” life in academia.

I’m intrigued by the possibilities of the global connections that teachers are making in schools and cannot imagine what it might have been like in my small town in the middle of corn fields in Wisconsin to actually speak and write with people around the world.

These classes are only partly about content.  They are about connecting.  They are about networked learning.

They are about enormous shifts in our culture that is not yet always visible in classrooms.




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