CH 1 Arch Of Life Learning
Quote: “The new culture of learning gives us the freedom of make the general personal, and then share our personal experience in a way that, in turn, adds to the general flow of knowledge.”
Question: What are there pitfalls of autodidacticism?
Connection: Through my years of teaching I have always been amazed by my students’ unlimited imagination and potential for innovation. Every time I present an already tested and effective lesson, I get blown away with the students’ reaction and what they are able to produce. Every time there is always something different and unique. It always depends on what that particular group of students has been exposed to, what kind of interaction they have among themselves, and which way they take the information delivered to them.
Epiphany: I thought it was interesting when they author makes reference of the frameworks for learning as being a combination of two important factors that make learning possible for our new generations. We live in times where information is not delivered by a single person, or by a group of experts as it has been in the past. Information is readily available for everyone and anyone has the power of change, or manipulate it. That is what the author refers as having a world massive information network. Also he talks about having a bounded structured environment, which is the more structured part of education and learning. According to Thomas and Brown, we need to have and treat the two frameworks simultaneously, as they actually complement each other.
CH 2 A Tale of Two Cultures
Quote: “It is time to shift our thinking from the old model of teaching, to a new model of learning”
Question: Is this new model of learning the revolution for education that we have been looming to happen?
Connection: As much as I want to think that we are moving forwards towards this new model of learning, we are perhaps, further out from adopting and implementing effective techniques of learning that will truly be useful for our new generation of students. Common Core is a clear example for that. When I learned about Common Core, my first worry was the thought that instead of having some States limiting the students’ quality of education, now we are at risk of exposing our whole country to those limitations and to the assumptions that what we are teaching is truthfully what our students need. After analyzing the focus of Common Core, I feel a little less nervous, because it really fills some dangerously deep gaps in education, such as the lack of analytical and critical thinking. However, the disappointment derives from our determination on implementing a series of obsolete standardized tests.
Epiphany: The author talks about mechanistic approach where students are expected to learn in a mechanical way with boundaries and structures that frame learning to a one way only approach. He talks about learning cultures and how people are applying a more symbiotic approach to this concept. We are switching from teachers assuming their roles of teaching, to creating collaborating environments for learning. We need to create a more engaging learning culture that undertakes change and promotes curiosity.
CH 3 Embracing Change
Quote: “The teaching pitfall of the 21st century teaching model. The belief that most of what we know will remain relatively unchanged for a long enough period of time to be worth the effort to transferring” “The pool of unchanging resources is shrinking, and that the pond is providing us with fewer and fewer things that we can’t even identify as fish any more”
Question: In our fast, unpredictably changing world. How realistic are we in predicting what today’s elementary school students are going to need to be successful in ten years from now?
Connection: This chapter reminds me of my first Internet experience during my college years. The first time I used Internet was so frustrating that I swore I was never going to even try it again. It took about 3 minutes to log in, and just as long to open a page with a message that read: “failure to connect”. Little that I knew, this revolutionary piece of technology has grown at a very fast pace and has also changed the whole world drastically. Soon the world is not going to function without being connected in some way. It has been hard to merge into technology, but I am very motivated to learn more about the advantages and the changes that it brings.
Epiphany: It is so true how people are so resilient to changes. For some of us it is hard to accept that change can happen within hours instead of days or months as it used to be the norm. We are playing a different game nowadays, and our students are born in this fast changing environment. We just need to observe young kids tackling problems when they are playing videogames. They are confortable moving around the Internet, building networks and learning through sharing experiences with their peers. There are many advantages of experiencing quick changes. It has been proved that networking have fast-forwarded events that would otherwise take months or years to advance. It is almost like a self-feeding cycling process, where the sooner the information updates, the faster it gets to those updating it. It continues updating over and over infinite times.
CH 4 Learning in the Collective
Quote: “In a community people learn in order to belong, in a collective people belong in order to learn”
Question: How can teachers ensure that students are safe when participating in collectives?
Connection: After hearing so much about FACEBOOK, I finally decided to upgrade my Web 2 status from visitor to resident and to open an account. Shortly after, I got an invitation to join a group from a cousin that I have not heard from, at least a couple of decades. It ended up that my relative had decided to trace the family and complete a family tree that has been frozen for many years with only 30 members and a couple of generational layers. Little by little, all the members started spreading the word and adding their own close relatives. Soon, everyone was inviting and adding more and more members to the group. Some of them were not even sure if they even belong to the family, but given that our last name is so unique, they were curious to know if they have any connections with us. Within a couple of months, the group had grown to 260 members for with 98 percent of them being identified as family and added to the family tree. Shortly after a family reunion took place, the family tree was created reaching 5 generational layers and close to 500 family members. We formed a collective in which everyone’s main goal was to meet extended family, and to learn more about our family and our family’s origins. We are a diverse group of people who share knowledge at different levels. Some of them know very little about their heritage, others know lots about great grand parents and their siblings. Everyone’s contribution has served as puzzle pieces to complete a whole. Together we have learned lots about the history of the family and continue adding new information and new members to the collective. As stated by the author, we belong to the collective to learn more about the family.
Epiphany: There is no doubt that our learning will soon depend on collectives. Collectives provide information where the members learn through interactions. We are evolving into a culture of fast changes, therefore, collecting information from numerous sources at different levels and locations, will provide a more accurate, useful information. What may seem more attractive for users in a collective is the fact that there are no rigorous requirements to join, nor ties to stick around. People are free to move in or out of collectives as needed for the purpose that it needs to serve.
CH 5 The Personal with the Collective
Quote: “Each collective has the potential to make learning fun and easy and to allow people to follow their desires and passions in productive and fruitful ways”.
Question: People are sharing information on Internet in incredibly increasing numbers. Most everyone has or will be joining a social network or a blog at some point in time. Is it possible that society will need to reconsider the concept of privacy? Are we gearing the idea of privacy into something more trivial?
Connection: One component that is becoming essential for our students to learn, practice, and evolve into, is the interactive component It should become a routine practice for our classes. It is important to ensure that the technological component really targets the desired goal. Many times the desired outcome gets overlooked or never reached by the students. Interaction and feedback is also an important factor to consider, we need to include a tool that allow s students to exchange ideas such as a blog or an interactive website with a discussion board in encouraging students to participate on a discussion relevant to the subjects. Just as important as selecting the right technological tool and to encourage students to participate, we need to be able to keep track or monitor the effectiveness of the technology used. This could ensure that the engagement and the learning are really happening among students.
Epiphany: It is clear that technology is an important factor of our daily lives. Soon, using Web 2.0 resources such as communicating with experts, global interaction, exchanging research findings and exposure to real experiences will become second nature for all our students. Common concerns about privacy and cyber bulling are going to be addressed and hopefully surpassed because the advantages of being actively participant on collectives in education are grater than the problems that it can create. In addition working in the collective also provides motivation and inspiration because bloggers are constantly exposed to innovation. It is also a very engaging practice for our students to learn from the interaction and participation in activities that are relevant and interesting to them as individuals.
CH 6 We Know More than We Can Say
Quote: “Most teachers know that when students feel passion for a topic, they will seek out the tough problems rather than the easy ones, and work harder to solve them. Most of all, they will have fun doing it”
Question: Is gamification the answer for maintaining students motivated and engaged?
Connection: It was interesting to see how we are shifting from linear learning directed by one teacher, to self directed, self driven, self motivated education open to a diverse group of knowledgeable people. According to the theories of connectivism, retrieving basic knowledge is not as important as the effectiveness of the use of tools to do so. Knowledge is not delivered by one single person, but by a group of individuals who contribute to a network and share as much or as little of what they know to the world. It is becoming a cycle that starts and ends with individuals. Personalized learning is then the capacity to learn more and it is directly proportional to the individual’s ability to retrieve, evaluate, and manipulate, information.
Epiphany: Aside from incentives, what makes a game experience fun is the way it fosters motivation by offering flexibility and a variety of choices. It is also the inclusion of a conditioned behavior that involves more complex elements that are cognitive, social, and emotional in essence. Games in school are not as fun as the games students are used to playing because they offer more opportunities for recognition for player’s skills. It allows them to accomplish their goals by offering choices and letting them experiment and re-try over and over. One of the challenges with regards to supporting more independent learning is to be able to change the mindset of parents in regards to use networking and technology. I often have to battle in my second grade class with parents that are overly concerned about their children using blogs and networking with strangers. Another challenge is to be able to guide and teach students how to be more analytical. They need to learn how to evaluate the information that is being presented to them.
CH 7 Knowing, Making and Playing
Quote: “When we build we do more than create content. Thanks to new technologies we also create context by building within a particular environment often providing links or creating connections and juxtapositions to give mean to the content”.
Question: How can we prepare our students to become technology skillful able to manipulate information to make connections and to give meaning and or shaping content and context?
Connection: When my students work on their science reports in Book Creator I often witness how they like to explore and create new and different ways to make their projects stand out from the rest. The use this tool the same way they handle a new videogame. They start by exploring soon they move their way to make this tool work for them. Through play, exploring, and collaborating with their peers, they are not only able to obtain information, but they also manipulate it any way they need to, to complete their task. It is amazing to see how much more content they are able to integrate in their projects.
Epiphany: It is interesting to realize that my generation has been experimenting with all three phases: knowing, making and playing. As I was reading the book, I could not help to go back in time and retrieve memories of m childhood, when knowing was the most important goal to succeed. All through my elementary years, learning was tied to memorization. It wasn’t until I attended to college, when hands on learning gained lots of popularity. Everything was revolting around project based learning and use of manipulatives. When I though I have seen and experienced all effective ways of learning, here come gamification and networking encompassing all together and more.
CH 8 Hanging out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Quote: “The richness of experience in social agency produced by hanging out, and the sense of embodiment and personal agency created by messing around, combined with the sense of making, produces what we think is the ultimate goal of indwelling: learning”.
Question: Is the school system ever going to change their educational goals and to implement more technology, and teaching methods that will effectively serve our new generations of students?
Connection: With the controversy and the uncertainty that brings transitioning our schools from the old state standards into the new common core standards, it is almost impossible to believe that school districts, nor parents themselves, are going to agree to make changes in education that promote gamification based teaching. Even though every day life is all about immerging into technology, I still can not see the community as being ready to switch traditional teaching into technology based practices. However, I believe that common core has taken our students and young adults a step closer to meet their needs. Critical thinking and information analysis could be considered a starting point, as these are also necessary skills to perform better in what Tony Wagner calls a world of information surplus.
Epiphany: I am astonished to find out how complex and interesting social networking games are, and how they are so organized and programmed. It would be interesting to try to mimic some of the effective learning approaches used in these games into my classroom, but in a minor scale. I found that Edmodo is a good tool for schools to start creating a network for our students. I would like to provide a place for my students to communicate in a FACEBOOK like setting.
CH 9 New Culture of Learning for a World of Constant Change
Quote: “Only when we care about experimentation play and questions, more than efficiency outcomes and answers, do we have a space that is truly open to the imagination, and where imaginations play, learning happens”.
Question: How can we make sure that we are selecting the right games for our students to enhance and improve learning?
Connection: I did some research about some games that claimed to provide a learning environment. When I heard about the MUVEs, my first impression was that it was more of a waste of time. It sounded like a simple videogame to be used as a hobby. After I watched the video I realized that my notion of this was wrong. I was amazed to learn all the things that can be done in a virtual world classroom. It was very similar to the regular classroom with lots of technology integrated in it. It included and reproduced many virtual experiences and tours that I could show my students at work. However, this program offers a variety of tasks that could be enriching to students who are facing challenges or limitations i.e. academic, physical, or social. It is almost like a filter where students can live an almost non-bias experience.
I liked the virtual feature of being able to participate on a play. I am a second language learner and find myself setting limitations due to my strong accent. As much as I like to use my acting talents, there is no way I would voluntarily participate in something like a play. In the virtual world, I could see myself just focusing on doing something I like without fear of criticism. In the same way I could see many of my students blossoming and enjoying all experiences without worrying about any academic, physical or social limitations.
Epiphany: As Thomas and Brown explain, the dynamics that take place in games is well compared to a petri dish culture in a laboratory. Collectives are places where cultures are formed. As the name states, it is a collection of different situations and knowledge that retroactively feed themselves to create a culture of learning. Participants use a game to learn, and that is what keeps them engaged and motivated. It is a space of constant changes and innovations. Thomas and Brown also state that effective learning is shown when all the members involved in the game share their knowledge and create a final product that is grater than the sum of its parts. They also talk about the expansion of age range that attracts players. Games are for everyone; there is no age limit to join. In these games the information shared is unlimited and questions are constantly formed. Some players join collectives with the purpose of learning more about a specific situation they cannot solve. In short, the new culture of learning means, “playing to learn”. It is a fusion between information network, and an environment of experimentation.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky.: Create Space?].