Blog 7: Learning Networks

Teachers today need to rethink what teaching looks like within the four walls of their classroom. I believe that the article by Richardson & Mancabelli clearly states that today’s classrooms should be driven by a host of teachers from around the world instead of one sole instructor lecturing to the class. At first, I was a little taken back from the idea that “teachers are no longer needed” which was the impression I got from the start of the article. However, after further reading, I liked that they pointed out the need of teachers to still be facilitators and coaches to their students in the educational journey involving technology.

When creating communities of learners centered on specific topics and trends, the learner becomes more engaged in their learning and tends to produce higher level thinking throughout the process of learning. This is a very important concept to consider when thinking about the benefits of including audio and still/video media into the classroom. Learners in these types of settings become more motivated to learn. Although the focus may be on one primary interest, the cross-curricular learning that is happening simultaneously is an example of how important this “new” style of teaching can occur in classrooms today where standardized testing, scores, and curricular goals and standards are overly stressed.

I feel that these tools allow users to communicate freely and openly in a safe environment with other interested learners and experts in a realm that would normally not occur. The power of communication and collaboration when deriving meaning from a self-initiated interest will help to facilitate a community of learners seeking answers to less commonly asked questions. The engagement of student learning would be at a heightened level. I know from my personal experience in college, I often took my laptop to class only to check facebook or chat on instant messenger with friends. I was disengaged and not interested in the elective courses I was in. I learned and read websites that interested me. Allowing students to use these tools in today’s classroom should not be an option, it should be a requirement.

Out of the six measures of literacy provided by Richardson and Mancabelli, I believe number 2, “Building relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally” would be the most challenging. The importance of teaching our students who you can trust is a large portion of the success of this learning approach. We need to teach our students how to determine reasonable and reliable resources and information. We need to model and monitor appropriate interaction and teach our students how to learn who they can trust and believe when working collaboratively.


2 thoughts on “Blog 7: Learning Networks

  1. Karen Yarbrough

    I like your statement that we should model technology use for our students. It seems like maybe a teacher who is open about their own learning networks and processes might set a good example for students who are still finding their way, especially about proper behaviors and interactions.

  2. Melissa Glenn

    I liked how you mentioned that you would bring a laptop to class to do more personal things as opposed to being engaged in the content. I think this is very typical when a student is in a course that is outside their interest area. When I was in school, we would do things like pass notes or read the newspaper (but not me, just my friends)! Sometimes, I hear from instructors that they don’t want students bringing devices to class. Devices such as laptops, tablets, phones are strictly forbidden by these instructors. But a student can chose to use the device to learn, or they can chose to use the device for personal issues. In a college environment, I think that should be the choice of the student. If they are not motivated and engaged with the content, you can’t make them no matter how much you try. So, I encourage mobile devices in the classroom, with gentle reminders, that the devices are there for learning. If you build a relationship with your students, they will, for the most part, follow the rules of the classroom. I recently had a problem with my smartphone and I couldn’t use it for a while. This was extremely difficult for me to not reach for my phone, check my email, think about my calendar, etc. If I put students in a 2-3 hour lab environment and don’t allow them to look at their phones, they will go crazy! So, I want them to use their phones to learn and teach them the many ways this can be done.

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