Learning revisited

A Seismic Shift in Epistemology

“Many faculty force students to turn off electronic devices in classrooms” (Dede, 2008)  I think this is because, as the article discusses, so many teachers and administrators are still teaching and making policies based on the classic approach.  They believe that they must instruct the same way that teachers have been teaching for hundreds of years.  Teachers “instruct” and students are expected to retain and regurgitate this information onto a test.  I think of the quote:

Trouble is kids today are just not “wired” the same.  Their interests are different than that of their parents and their grandparents before them.  Many, but not all, teachers/administrators do not keep an open mind about trying new technology.  I stumbled upon the poem below and thought it was a good and humorous fit to this lesson.  I really think it’s a comical perspective of what can happen if a teacher/administrator/adult tries a new technology.

 My Teacher Took My iPod
A Funny School Poem for Kids
by Kenn Nesbitt

My teacher took my iPod.
She said they had a rule;
I couldn't bring it into class
or even to the school.

She said she would return it;
I'd have it back today.
But then she tried my headphones on
and gave a click on Play.

She looked a little startled,
but after just a while
she made sure we were occupied
and cracked a wicked smile.

Her body started swaying.
Her toes began to tap.
She soon was grooving in her seat
and rocking to the rap.

My teacher changed her mind.
She said it's now okay
to bring my iPod into class.
She takes it every day.

Copyright © 2007 Kenn Nesbitt
All Rights Reserved
From www.poetry4kids.com

Interestingly enough this particular author Kenn Nesbitt uses Web 2.0 technology to deliver online author visits.  For $150 he will give a 45 minute presentation to students via Skype.  Saving the schools travel expenses as well as visiting fees which are well over $1,000.  I think this is a great idea and hope that others take his lead on this.

Networked Student

I liked the description of a networked student being on a learning adventure.  I think that is an accurate description of learning in a Web 2.0 environment.  Using social bookmarking tools and constantly being on the hunt for good sources of information is kind of like being on an adventure. I didn’t realize that you could watch lectures from other universities on iTunes U.  I thought you were only able to see courses that you were enrolled in.  Something else for me to check out.  I also really liked the reasoning in this video on why we still needed teachers.  He gave an accurate description of a teacher guiding students in finding their information in their own ways and using the tools that they were comfortable as well as how to find good resources. I believe that the teacher leads the students to the information, but that the students have to make the decision to actually gain the information they seek.

What is your perspective on the notion of a ‘fluid’ epistemology as proposed by Dede–that is, that knowledge is collectively negotiated and ratified as opposed to being ‘given’?

I think that knowledge is continuously changing and evolving as the world changes around us.  2+2=4 and c-a-t spells cat.  Some things will always stay the same.  But the way that these lessons are taught will continue to change and evolve as teachers try new things to better engage their students.  Instead of paper-based flash cards students can learn to spell using a tablet or the teacher can use a smartboard instead of a chalkboard.  The way in which we get our knowledge is changing as rapidly as the new technologies are developed.  With Wikipedia and other socially collaborated upon tools knowledge becomes collective when there are many contributors of varied backgrounds.  People that have no formal education can write in the same Wikipedia article as the Professor with a Ph.D.  People are learning by doing.  They’re looking things up on the Internet and learning.  They’re watching lectures on YouTube and iTunesU.  The knowledge that they are seeking is not always in a formal structured environment and they’re not sitting in a lecture hall being given their knowledge.  Besides, I don’t think that knowledge has ever been given.  You can lead a student to knowledge, but you cannot make them retain what you have given them.

Works Cited

Dede, C. (2008).  A Seismic Shift in Epistemology.  Educause Review, 80-81.

Siemens, G. (2004). A Learning Theory for the Digital Age.


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