Near the End but Truly Just Beginning

16 Nov

We need a pedagogy free from fear and focused on the magic of children’s innate quest for information and understanding. — Sugata Mitra

The readings this week led me on a journey that took on a life of its own. So many ideas and thoughts swirling around in my mind. I have suspected for years that I am a visual / auditory learner (reading is not my forte) so I started with the videos.

I know I am a couple years behind on this idea but I feel as though my eyes have just been opened. Although our EC&I 832 course is not Massive (although it is larger than any Grad class I have taken), nor is it open for registration to anyone, the format is much like Dave Cormier discusses in his videos. I think it would have been helpful to have Dave Cormier’s video introduction about the Massive open online course (MOOC) before we started the class to give me an idea of how different it was going to be. I had taken an online class previously which does not even come close to resembling this course. In that course the assignments were given, readings were chosen and you completed your essay which was handed it in to the professor. The only feedback I received in that course was from the professor, there was no peer review or collaboration. So I had come into this class with the preconceived idea that this was going to be the same. I think if I would have seen this video at the beginning of this course my mindset would be different.

Dave Cormier states that we need 5 things to be successful in a MOOC.8620174342

  • Orient- get an idea of the content
  • Declare – make your presence known (Twitter, blogs etc)
  • Network – Interact with those that are also taking the same content
  • Cluster – Connect with those that share similar ideas and views
  • FocusContinue to be active, read and respond

It may be a little too late to back track now (I feel like I am still orienting and declaring) but at least I can finish the class out continuing to network, cluster and focus. (Thanks Katia for the feedback!)

I was interested in the idea of MOOCs and wanted to explore it further. I watched the Ted Talk Why massively open online courses (still) matter . When we look at access anyone with an internet access can participate. To put it into perspective Agarwal explained that “155,000 people enrolled – 7,200 passed the course” If he was “teaching at MIT 2 semesters every year” it would take him 40 years to teach this many students. It has opened the doors for large scale education. The idea of this leaves me wondering ….How would this work in an elementary school situation? Could it work in an elementary school situation?

As i was preparing to post a comment on Ashley’s blog Is There a Role for Schools in the Future? I realized that my comment was going to be part of my “blog confession”. Her post derailed my thinking as I was finding my way through the course readings and caused me to dig a little deeper to challenge my own perspectives. I am at the end of my course route in completing my MEd. and feel like I am just beginning my learning because of EC&I 832. My role as a teacher has changed over the last 10 years and in many ways I have failed to adapt with it. I embraced technology but have failed to follow through and keep up with the ways to guide student learning in the digital world. A course like this needs to be mandatory at the undergrad level (maybe it already is?) so that pre-service teachers aren’t afraid to allow learning to look a little different in their classroom (fear has always held me back) as well as do our students justice by teaching them to use their skills and access in a responsible way. I don’t think school will ever cease to exist but I do think that the way education is delivered most definitely has, will continue to and should.

I came across a tweet as I was composing this blog and it fit with what I was curious about. Sugata Mitra talks about the future of learning in his TED Talk and proposes we “Build a School in the Cloud”. He discusses the changes that have happened in the way we deliver education and the way we adapt it to meet the needs of society. He claims that traditional schooling is obsolete. Kids don’t need to have beautiful penmanship or know how to add numbers based on the jobs we have today. (I disagree to some extent with Mitra). But i do agree with the larger idea he presents about opening the borders of learning and giving students some freedom to direct their learning is important in changing the way we educate students in a digital world. He did some interesting “hole in the wall” experiments that are worth watching if you haven’t already.

A final thought … How would unschooling or open schooling or a school in the cloud work for students who have difficulty with executive functioning skills?


Posted by on November 16, 2015 in EC&I832


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Near the End but Truly Just Beginning

  1. Joanne Weber

    November 17, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Your last question is a burning question for me as language deprivation impacts executive function. We are a spacy bunch, I guess. One thing I do know, is that Google blended classroom has worked wonders for my students and we no longer have paper chases, snarling, and snapping about missed homework or deadlines. So you may be on to something there….



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