Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A learner is like...
A learner is like a sponge, constantly soaking up and growing bigger by what is around them. Learners have the ability, in the right environment, to keep on growing and soaking up information. If however their environment lacks the right conditions, they can dry up once again and lose that information. Providing students with a nurturing environment can give unlimited potential to what a student can soak up. In an age where traditional learning is almost obsolete, we must invent new ways for students to learn. We must stimulate their minds so that when they leave the classroom, the knowledge that they have doesn't dry up.
In the article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George Siemens makes an especially good point when he says the following, "Learning needs and theories that describe learning principles and processes, should be reflective of underlying social environments." A social environment now a days involves technology which should be directly influencing what students learn in school. They shouldn't be learning a method or way to do something and never be able to use it again. We need to supply our learners with the equipment needed to be successful so they can continue to use these strengths and soak up the world. By equipping students to do this, we are ensuring that they are prepared for higher-level learning as well as being successful in the future. We need to ensure that they will not lose this information and that the half-life of their knowledge will be significantly decreased.
Another quote of George Siemens as stated in his YouTube video entitled The Changing Nature of Knowledge, speaks again to the relevance of technology in the classroom, "Knowledge is really about the distribution that occurs across an entire network." He relates to the fact that knowledge these days isn't just about what an individual learns in class and retains inside his or her own head. It's also about the collectivism and connectivism theory that allows people to join together as a collection of ideas and knowledge and pool what they know with each other. Technology has made this a possibility and a reality. We are able to form a community of learners and share what we know among others. We can retain that information as a sponge does and on top of that, rely on what the professionals or peers in our life know as well and together, we are a bigger sponge.