A 15 year old student’s insight!

insightToday I was dreaming aloud in class about how great it would be if teacher and students would all have iPads to use in class. All of them were excited and started to “dream along”, until one of them said this: “It would be great to have an iPad, so we can look things up on the internet. You realy can learn by looking for information, by sharing it with the rest of class.”

I can tell you, I was stunned by these words. Here is a 15 year old preaching connectivism! In class no less!

When I was reading G. Siemens’ paper on connectivism, I was wondering how this would look like in a class environment. How can you translate the connectivist vision into a classic classroom. Are all the students behind laptops, typing away? Are they at home, using tools like skype to talk to the teacher (who is also at home)? I can imagine how college students work like this, but teens in high school? I find it hard to let go of the classic view of teaching, but on the other hand, even I can see that the current way of doing things isn’t enough anymore! We have to motivate children differently, appeal to their creativity (as Sir Ken Robinson would put it). Maybe I could start by letting them work on projects “the new way”. Work with online possibilities to publish their findings, presentations, share knowledge about their research, start a blog,… Not an easy job if you only have 50′ a week to teach geography!

The things I found appealing about the connectivist theory are:

  • knowledge doesn’t only reside in a person, but rather in a network
  • the capacity to know more, is more critical than what is currently known
  • the small efforts of many leverages with the large efforts of few
  • knowledge is no longer acquired in a linear manner
  • Knowledge = connections = natural process of association
  • Learning = creation of new connections and patterns
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