I don’t know if some others have felt the same way that I have about this course but I am still sifting through the content, still going here and there with random and no particular direction. I have done quite a bit of reading, listening, and traveling from one link to another. I still feel like I should be completing something or at least posting my thoughts but my thoughts are still very scattered and really “just forming”. I tell myself that it is OK if I don’t post or participate but I still have that feeling of not doing my part. Again, I tell myself to get over it. I really have not had anything to contribute yet as I am still “in the woods”. I admit to a little impatience as we discuss theories and definitions as I am probably too much of a practical person. I want to discuss what might or might not work in our classrooms. Looking at all this with one eye on the needs of elementary students is quite a challenge.
So I thought I might contribute some of my thoughts as an elementary teacher who strives to impart that feeling of learning that she has experienced from being connected on the web to her students. I have been blogging with (mostly elementary students) since 2002. I remember the first day I arrived at the university getting ready to start a new job – a colleague introduced me to blogs. I thought wow, that has possibilities. I wonder how I could make use of it in a classroom. That started an incredible journey. Blogging is empowering to students. Writing begins to matter to them. The outside connecting audience is one of the motivating factors. I can recall many moments that have been real “aha” moments for students. These “aha” moments are connected with Things You Really Need to Learn. (Thanks Stephen for this worthy list.)
It has always struck me as odd that we seldom spend time with students, particularly those at the elementary level, talking about how they learn. It’s always what they are to learn. So I have worked at helping elementary students reflect about their own learning and to share what works for them in their learning with each other. They need practice in this area and a blog is a perfect place to do that.
Another thing I’ve been doing is taking numerous side trips down participant’s blogs. They are fascinating and all the different perspectives are so interesting. There is so much information available that I get lost on the trails – good trails though!
Then today when I read “New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies” I thought – ahhhh we are getting closer to the classroom applications. Grainne Conole discusses the implications of Web 2.0 for education provided a thoughtful analysis on the different learning theories and how we might need new ways of thinking about how to map different pedagogies to the use of tools. Then he focused on the learning principles for a particular learning situation that were mapped against four key characteristics of learning – thinking and reflection, conversation and interaction, experience and activity, & evidence and demonstration. Now I need to do some more thinking on all this and what the implications are for learning.
I still have so much to learn but one thing I will keep doing is thinking about the possibilities.