I had my students respond to a blog question about the Inauguration on our school teacher website this week. It was the first time I had used the feature. I seemed to be more excited about it than they were but I am glad I tried something new.
A learner is like a lot of things. I am having a hard time committing to an analogy. In many ways a learner is like a plant. We tend to put the pressure on the gardener but there are so many other factors that go into cultivating a successful plant from a seed. These historically have included sunlight, temperature, soil conditions, fertilizer, attention, other roots, and rainfall. I hang out in a biology classroom and these days we talk about so much more than your kindergarten seed in a paper cup. Now you have genetic engineering, selective breeding, and cloning. Technology meets the plant world on a regular basis. In Siemens, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, connectivism tells us that the "capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known". This is true in both the research being done on plants and learning. As we discover more about the brain, our perceptions of learning have changed. Continual learning has become a concept schools are embracing. I am much more concerned about creating a student who knows where to find an answer than a student who as rote memorization skills. They are more likely to be successful lifelong learners. We have always wanted students to "grow" but the rules have definitely changed, as have theories on how to teach them.
"you can form connections with other people" through social networking with technology such as blogs and wikis that were originally established to keep people in the technology field up-to-date when the field was changing at such a fast rate. These "conversations" have a place in the educational world. Students need to be taught both technology skills and the ability to communicate with others as they learn in that same everchanging world.
Check out The Impact of Social Media on Learning