How Are My Thoughts Changing? (Connectivism, New Bloom’s Taxonomy, Messing Around)

Blooms Taxonomy Blooms Digitally

This article was really cool.  It took the categories of Blooms Taxonomy and added in digital additions.  Love it!

Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

I had never heard the term ‘Connectivism’ before.  For those of you who have not heard of it before either, below are the principles of it:

Principles of connectivism:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.

This article basically said to me that the most important thing is to teach children how to learn and it is not the content they are learning because we have no idea what they will need to know how to do in the future.  With the digital age, technology is changing so quickly and along with it job skills.  Students will need to be able to adapt and learn quickly in order to keep up.

The author George Siemens also stated some significant trends in current learning that after reading I totally agree with.  They are making me think “How can I alter the way I teach, so that my students are prepared to live and work in the way of the future?”  We need to break down the barrier of learning and technology being separate and merge the two.  This however requires I giant shift in what parents, teachers and administrators consider ‘teaching’.

Some significant trends in learning:

  • Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.
  • Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.
  • Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.
  • Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.
  • The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.
  • Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.
  • Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).

Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project: Messing Around pg. 20-28

My new favorite thing to “Mess Around” with online is Pinterest.  I have found recipes that have inspired me to cook, art projects and other teaching ideas that I have tried in my classroom, and crafting ideas that have inspired me to try new things with my sewing machine.  As I have played around on Pinterest I have thought about how useful it would have been when I was in college, when I was a brand new teacher and was looking for ideas, and how easy it would have made organizing ideas for my wedding.  After reading the “Messing Around” section of the Living and Learning with New Media article, I began to think how my students could use Pinterest and how I as a teacher could use it.  If we had a class Pinterest my students and I could post pictures to inspire each other creatively.  The article also discussed how students work together to show each other how to do things on the internet, like change their social network profile backgrounds, etc.  It made me smile because as teachers we do the same thing.  Just the other day I got a Facebook message from a colleague asking me to come over to show her how to use Pinterest.  We did not have a teacher who taught us how to use it.  We heard about it from someone, then we tinkered with it and tried to get it to work.  If we couldn’t figure it out ourselves, then we asked someone who we know had used it.  No one really needs a teacher who stands up and lectures you with technology.  Do we need a teacher that stands up and lectures us on other subjects?  You need a person to quickly show you the basics and then you need tinker time.  This strategy reminds me of the way we teach Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop. We give the students a quick 5-7 minute mini-lesson and then we send them off to their seats to try it independently.  Do we even need the teacher to be there in person, or could students just watch a video of the mini-lesson at home and then try it themselves?  Often when I don’t know how to do something I do Google search for ‘how-to’ videos and that is how I figure it out.  Many schools are straying away from the traditional method of schooling.  Check out the New Country School in Henderson, Minneapolis. Listen to the Story.


Reflection of Disrupting Class: Student-Centric Education Is the Future

This article is about changing the classroom from being teacher-centric to student centric. The first paragraph gave me a mental image that made me laugh out loud.  “The students wear noise-canceling headphones and work with laptop computers.”  The thought of walking into a classroom and seeing that seems a bit absurd to me.  As a second grade teacher I feel like a lot of what my students learn in school is how to communicate and collaborate with others in person.  Also as a teacher of ESL students it is to hear and practice their second language.  As elementary schools integrate technology I think it will be important to find the balance of how to communicate and work in person and digitally.   There are different rules and guidelines for socially appropriate behavior in person than online.  It is important to teach students both of these.   As a school we should develop some type of plan to teach online behavior and I know as a teacher I need to include more of this.

The statement “The key to transforming the classroom with technology is in how it is implemented” struck a chord with me.  It is what our school is having the hardest time with.  I feel our school gives us the technology, but does not allow for enough time to give proper professional development sessions on how to use it or to share ideas.  They feel teachers will just “figure it out” as they go along.  We were given MacbookPro laptops this year and we were never given a training on how to use them.  It wasn’t until Kim Cofino came and did an optional Saturday training with us that I actually learned a way to use it to teach.  The thing I find most frustrating is, I want to use technology to enhance my teaching, but it is so hard when you have no one to bounce ideas off of in the elementary school.  I hope that after expressing this frustration and hearing the recommendations from Kim, our school will allow for this time next year.

As I teacher I need to give myself the time I need to grow and be creative.  I saw this article  Bill Taylor spends about 10 minutes each day creating drawings of famous works of art using only a whiteboard, marker and eraser.  He works on them for weeks at a time, then when they are finished he just erases them and starts a new one.  If he can find 10 minutes a day at work to do something as amazing as this, I can give myself 10 minutes too…