A New Way Of Learning

In my education classes, we learn all about different learning theories (constructivism, behaviorism, and cognitivism) and explore many brain-based activities and experiential learning to help us expand our horizons about the different ways students learn. But what about connectivism? I had never heard of this learning theory until reading a post on the Changing of Education, and after finding out a little bit more about this learning theory, I am completely shocked that this is not a learning theory that we are taught about. Are we not the generation that is expected to do great things in regards to using technology in the classroom? So why not learn about a connectist approach, a learning theory for the digital age. It explains the ‘effect that technology has on how we live, how we communicate, how we learn.’ Technology is making an impact on more and more people’s lives every day.

This relates nicely to a post made by a colleague of mine about a university adapting to its students, not the students adapting to it. Students do not learn the same way as they did 15 years ago. Uncle Phil (he will always be Uncle Phil in my eyes) expresses this quite nicely when he says:

The system has failed you. I have failed you. I have failed to help you share your talent with the world and the world needs talent more than ever and yet it is being wasted every day by an education system steeped with tradition and old ideas. So it’s time for a new tradition. It’s time to realize that talent isn’t just in schools like this one, its everywhere! It’s time to use technology to re-write the rules of education. To learn how you learn so we can teach you better. It’s time university adapted to you instead of you adapting to it. It’s time for a different kind of university. It’s your time.

This is the digital age, so why not teach with the connectivist learning theory in mind and create powerful learning in our classrooms. Let students become familiar with many of the programs/sites I am becoming familiar with in me ecmp 455 class, such as Twitter, WordPress, Google Docs, Google Reader, Delicious, and Elluminate. We as educators need to step away from the old way of doing things and assuming that all students will learn by reading a text and answering the assigned questions. We need to open our minds, open the doors to the classroom, and open the doors to the virtual/technological world. It is time for a different kind of education. It’s my time.

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3 responses to “A New Way Of Learning

  1. Great post. You raise a lot of valid points. I think that we as computer-literate teachers are responsible for bringing about change through our influence in our schools. We need to find the best ways to introduce Web 2.0 to the teachers in our schools. We need to be careful not to overwhelm them, but rather show them easy steps for integrating technology in what they are already doing. Until they feel confident in their own ability with these resources, they won’t be interested in using them with their classes.

  2. I completely agree with you. I am currently on a work-coop with the faculty of engineering and I am using almost zero skills that I have learned in class. Everything I knew prior to my job was picked up by lurking the internet, or by having an interest to learn about a specific topic and gone out on my own to learn it using things like blogs, podcasts, screencasts and guides.

    However I can’t say that this is a bad thing because it gives me quite a huge advantage when applying for jobs through school. Most of my peers haven’t even come close to knowing about industry based technologies but at the same time it is also depressing that I may not learn something I really need until late in my 3rd or 4th year.

  3. sarahhill05

    I have shared the Kaplan video with my staff and faculty here. Many of them do not know HOW to teach using technology and are hesitant to try. Many faculty are afraid to look stupid in front of their “tech-savvy” students.
    It is truly YOUR time, but students are going to have push the faculty forward. Demand openness in education. Demand open or free textbooks. Ask them if they have a twitter account.

    If students push for change, there are educators willing to support that change.

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