My brain loves to make connections.  As a result of #etmooc conversations, #ceetopen, #isabcpd13, and a variety of other online stimulli it is currently in overdrive, and the connections are happening fast and furious.  In this blog post I am going to try and share some of the connections I am making and hopefully in the process stop them bouncing around my brain.

Event #1:  While casually exploring all the blog posts streaming through the ETMOOC Blog Hub I discovered a vlog by Scott Hazeu where he used the metaphor of the Nature Trail to explore the concept of open learning.  His metaphor resonated with the outdoor educator in me and I decided to try something new and respond using video.  The ensuing conversation between Scott, Ben Wilcoff and myself was really fun and helped me shape some ideas.  The big piece that I took from this conversation was that learning is social, and that it depends very much on the people you are learning with.

Event #2: Fast forward to the ISABC Collaborative Pro-d day last Friday.  The keynote speaker for this event was David Helfand, the president of Quest University.  His keynote was really thought provoking, full of stories and anecdotes that revealed some of the uncomfortable truths of education.  One of his quotes that made for a popular tweet was:

What I assume he was referring to was the industrial model of schooling that we are stuck with these days.  At the scale that we are educating students it is very difficult to focus on the conversations and the relationships (see event #1) that make learning meaningful and make it stick.

Event #3: The New Media Consortium was looking for ambassadors.  Applicants needed to include a 2 minute presentation reflecting on: significant changes are happening in their classroom; how the NMC Horizon Report series influences their practices; and the concepts that guide their teaching philosophy and pedagogy.  I didn’t manage to put a video together, but I spent a lot of time thinking about it.  I have spent quite a bit of time with the NMC’s Horizon Project, and have used it in a number of my classes.  This potential opportunity got me thinking about how a knowledge of new and emerging technologies was/is/could have an impact on my classes.  Somehow this thinking overlapped with David Helfand’s quote and my conversations with Scott and Ben and I realised something that is not a new idea to me, but one that I somehow seem to understand more deeply.  Maybe that means I learned something.

“It’s not that today’s technologies allow us to do new things; it is that they allow us to do old things in new ways.  They allow us to overcome the limitations imposed by an industrial model of schooling and go back to an approach to teaching based on inquiry, conversation and mentoring.”

One Comment

  1. Peter Skipper

    Hello Phil,
    Thanks for the session on Friday. Via this blog you have created your very own virtual collaborative learning network. Very impressive and gratifying that there are teachers out there like you. I would like to have your permission to use it in my research if I may refer to it.

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