Friday, May 26, 2017

Learning is a Conversation #ITA17

I'm currently in the Innovative Teaching Academy ran by AJ Juliani. This is a blog post in relation to the class. Sidenote: AJ and John Spencer are getting ready to release a new book titled: Empower. I'm super pumped for it. 
Has technology made us learn new things in new ways, or are we just learning the same old things in new ways?
When answering this question above, I can't help but think that learning doesn't happen in a vacuum. It used to be, but things have changed. Learning is a culture in itself. We have to think of the culture of learning that extends far beyond how technology has helped us learn. 
Being a social studies teacher, I tend to think in terms of cultures: the ebb and flow of life and how things interact with others. Learning has now changed beyond the school walls. 
When getting students to learn today, teachers have to look beyond the walls and think about where this learning might take them. We have to think of the audience. Large audience? Small audience? Does it need to stay within the classroom? Are we learning to create for a global audience? 
Wait. Global audience? That didn't use to be an option. 
Everything stayed within the four walls of the classroom. Students created for the teacher. Sometimes, they might have created for other students. This is where technology has changed everything. 
In regards to learning, we used to learn by reading. Now we're learning from videos, blogs, websites, online classes, MOOCs, PLB, YouTube channels, Twitter, Voxer, Google Hangouts, Skype, YouTube Live, Facebook groups or Facebook Live, and on and on. You can now pick the brain of an expert "in person." We have so many avenues of obtaining information. 
Learning is now a conversation. 
Where I think technology has changed learning is that learning can now be a conversation and not not just a "read and get" one-way conversation. It's interactive. It let's the learner dive deeper than just a textbook. 
I mentioned that I think learning is an element of culture. I'd argue that classroom cultures shift from classroom to classroom. Schools even have their own culture. Each team, whether it be a teacher team, a sports team, a business team, or whatever has a separate culture about it. The leader of that environment has to embrace what learning is today. You can't limit yourself, or others under your leadership, to what has always been. You have to embrace it. Maybe that leader is a teacher. Maybe it's "Mary, the Mom" who is trying to plant cucumbers and has sought the help of a master gardener through Google Hangouts. Maybe it's a boy that has a love of dinosaurs and his parents have found documentaries on Netflix/YouTube to watch and obtain information. Maybe it's me, the "Un-Handy Man," that calls on YouTube, watches a video, reads through all the comments, and double checks links and resources for validity in order to help myself replace the flapper in my toilet. I then went to the hardware store, engaged in personal and professional dialogue about what I needed, the specifics of my toilet and unique problem, and then we were able to find what I needed. 



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