A Connected Educator Month 2015 Event starting on October 1st!
Join Brenda Sherry and me in a collective, month long, discussion to:
- extend and deepen our understanding of the term learning
- participate in a knowledge building approach to collaboration
- model deep practices for our professional learning environments (colleagues and/or classrooms)
Brief Description (see full site for details)
We will spend the month exploring, unpacking, and discussing what we mean by the term learning. This will include:
- building background knowledge through sharing and reading resources related to the topic
- introductory Twitter Chat
- co-creation of a slidedeck of our ideas
- reflective Twitter chat
- contemplative rewriting of our slides
- culminating creation of reflection statements
We will use a knowledge-building approach to this event.
“If Knowledge building had to be described in a single sentence, it would be: ‘giving students collective responsibility for idea improvement‘. In Knowledge Building, students work together as a community to build and improve explanations of problems of understanding that arise from the group itself.” (We will be the students in this project!)
So please join us! Go to What Do We Mean By Learning Anyway? for all the details to get started!
Peter Skillen & Brenda Sherry with the support of OSSEMOOC
This thoughtful e-book, Learning Out Loud, is a collection of thoughts written by Ontario teachers and produced by TVOntario.
Lest you think it is all text—it isn’t! In addition to links to many relevant blog posts, there are many video clips included—it is produced by TVO after all.
There are four chapters:
- Shifting from Teaching to Learning
- Who Owns Learning?
- What Conditions Support Learning?
- How Do We Share Learning with Others?
You have to read it yourself!
I am proud to be an Ontario educator—and to have been part of this (r)evolution into digital age learning since the early 70s.
“I’m an idiot!”
That was my thought about my crash landing shown in the video clip. I didn’t flare to slow down for the landing. Why not!?
I came to the most fascinating conclusion as I watched this video countless times on a large screen in an attempt to determine where it all went wrong,
My belief outranked reality.
My expectation outweighed all the other information that I was perceiving.
I was taking paragliding instruction. (Some people think this is why I was an idjit. LOL) I had completed ground school and some canopy handling on the ground. Now it was time for my first training flight.
You get attached to a tow rope connected to a winch placed some hundreds of metres away. This winch has a tension indicator on it so that the tow operator knows how much tension is on the rope. For the first flight, you get towed fairly strongly at first and fly several metres off the ground. At the right moment, the tow operator reduces the tension enough to stop the forward pull but still have the rope advancing ahead of the pilot so it doesn’t get in the way.
In the video, you will see that the take-off went quite well as I, at first, resisted the tension, as I was supposed to, and then took many small steps ‘til take off! Good one Peter! J
A couple of seconds later, the canopy started to turn, so I acted properly and pulled the correct line to straighten it out.
Then, I was expecting to continue my flight. I was moving forward still. I believed I was to continue flying. It was a strong belief. But, alas, it was the wrong belief! The operator had reduced the tension so I could land.
But I didn’t flare. I didn’t pull on the brakes.
My expectation–my belief–was more powerful than the ground approaching quickly!
Information that should have been extremely vivid and impactful eluded me.
How often, do we as educators, not see the obvious because our beliefs are so strongly interfering with reality?
Gavriel Salomon wrote the following piece in 1998 – several years after the World Wide Web was launched but years before the recent distractibility of the Internet – with Twitter, Facebook, and many other social media attention-getters!
It is clear that technology shapes our behaviour in ways we may, or may not, understand. The Butterfly Defect is worth considering if you are responsible for students.
This is not just about attention issues but rather speaks about habits of mind.
These technologies, like other things in our environment, provide us with models with which to think – not always knowingly and not always beneficially.
This section is from an essay called “Novel Constructivist Learning Environments and Novel Technologies: Some Issues to Be Concerned With”.
“The Butterfly Defect
This raises yet other questions. Hypermedia programs of the kind widely touted and widely used in education are non-linear, perhaps the way cognitive webs of meaning are. However, the connections they display, and particularly the ones students build into them, are anything but logical. In fact, such programs are deliberately based on casual associations and on visual fascination, luring the user to wander from one item to another which happens to be associated with it. In fact, this is not just a private case of hypermedia and multimedia; it is the defining attribute of the hottest thing in town: The Internet.
There is nothing wrong with bouncing around, as hypermedia and the Internet invite one to do, except that this is typical of bottom-up, unguided exploratory behavior, as contrasted with the developmentally more advanced search behavior which is top-down, metacognitively guided and goal directed (Wright & Vliestra, 1975). Search, unlike exploration, is neither guided by the lure of shiny buttons, nor does the finding of simple associations satisfy it. If students can emulate the organization of information in hypermedia for the organization of knowledge in their minds, matching their maps of meaning to those they construct on the computer, would they not organize it in the same associationistic way hypermedia are organized?
The questions thus concern two interrelated developments. One development concerns the structure of students’ webs of meaning. Could students’ cognitive webs of meaning come to reflect hypermedia characteristics, consisting of flimsy associationistic connections? The second development concerns the mental activity associated with those webs: Would students come to acquire a tendency to mentally hop around their own cognitive webs in a hypermedia-like manner?
These possibilities can be called The Butterfly Defect: Coming to think or to prefer the style of thinking in a hypermedia mode—”touch, but don’t touch, and just move on to make something out of it”. A teacher recently interviewed by Oppenheimer for a biting article about educational computing in The Atlantic Monthly (1997), proudly announced that his students have come to think in a multimedia manner. If he is right, then the danger of a Butterfly Defect may be more imminent than we think.”
- Are we doing our kids a disservice if we are not teaching them about the effects of technologies on how they are learning and, in fact, behaving?
- Is the ‘butterfly defect’ yet another unanticipated effect of new technologies – a ‘second-order’ or drip effect’ as Salomon would say?
- Is this dealt with significantly in the myriad ‘media literacy’ documents produced?
Gavriel, I miss you being part of this community. I miss your voice.
I encourage you to read the whole article: Novel Constructivist Learning Environments and Novel Technologies: Some Issues to Be Concerned With. It is available for purchase here.Disclaimer: I really believe that butterflies are effective in their mission, otherwise they would not survive. Such is the nature of metaphor!
(This paper is based on the author’s Keynote Address presented at the EARLI Meeting, Athens, August 1997)
Gavriel Salomon, Haifa University, Israel 1998