Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Connecting To Learning Networks

by AJ

From The Connectivism blog:

My classroom has transformed itself from a place where knowledge was pre-packaged for students to a place where they are now given a responsibility of creating it, where they have to participate in existing networks (class blogosphere, for example), nurture their own (Furl or del.icio.us accounts, blogs), and look for connections. Their participation leads them to formulate their thoughts and ideas, to find connections between their own views and the nodes they find around them. Once a connection is made in the form of a blog entry for example, the students have created their own knowledge - they’ve made a contribution to their own understanding and the network itself. Once they start building, they become engaged and empowered; they understand the value of community (or a network) and their own place and role in it.

Excellent. This quote points to the radical transformation on the horizon.

The old model: Windbag teacher stands in front of class and delivers pre-packaged nuggets of information from a pre-packaged textbook. Students obediently take notes and participate in drills/activities. Teacher gives exams,... to test useless, out of context, memorized factiods (ie trivia). Students memorize factoids, do well on test, then promptly forget everything. Students are bored senseless. Teacher is bored, knows the students are bored, but continues with same pointless routine.

The new model: Students engage an international learning community to seek comprehensible input, find interesting language sources, communicate, share ideas, collaborate on projects, and make friends. Students also become creators: They create and share ideas, audio, video, learning strategies, and language sources. Teacher fades from the front to the back.... acts as a resource guide and coach-- pointing students to knowledge tools and networks, answering questions, advising them on learning strategies, framing project guidelines, connecting them to volunteers and mentors, and acting as a motivational coach.... encouraging and cajoling them towards excellence & ecstatic learning experiences.