As I reflect on my learning in Phase 2, there are three main ideas that have resonated in my mind. The importance of connection, collaboration and pedagogy. My reflections are based not only on Phase 2, but are also linked to Phase 1 and Will Richardson’s e-book, Why School? The focus of LIBE 477 is to examine “digital media and technologies to enable personal and social learning and communication” (LIBE 477 Course Outline). As we examine new ways to use emerging technologies, and explore the new BC curriculum, we must consider how to create connections, collaborate with others, and examine our pedagogy to improve our schools, and our education system.
Connection & Collaboration:
Connection and collaboration are closely linked, as we must make connections in order to collaborate with others. We create connections through a Personal Learning Network (PLN), which allows us to collaborate and discover new strategies that improve our pedagogy. PLNs also permit us to share our knowledge and passions with others. Sharing can build more and stronger connections because it can expand the number of individuals who have the same knowledge.
Edublogs has created a guide, “Building Your PLN”, and provides a step-by-step guide to creating your PLN. There are some great videos about the importance of a PLN and how to build it.
Here is a video I found about PLNs created by Will Richardson in 2007:
We discussed Will Richardson’s Why School: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere in depth during Phase 1 of our course. This short video focuses on the importance of creating global connections. Connections within our buildings and our districts are important, but Richardson says that creating our own PLNs is necessary for personal learning. This whole course has been about creating our own learning spaces and we’ve done that in each module so far – searching on our own for websites, articles and videos that are personally relevant and significant. We’re connecting with others in the course through blog posts, Twitter and Google Hangouts. We are establishing our own PLN, and understanding both the relevance and value of a PLN is necessary as we should be teaching our students the very same skills we are currently learning.
Connection and collaboration are closely linked. Once we have connected with a PLN, we have the ability to ask questions, gather information, and even create content together. I chose this video because I agree that we, as teacher librarians and technology leaders in the school, have the ability to transform how students use these tools. Richardson believes that educators’ focus on creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking is important, but says we also need to add two new “C”s to the list – computing and connecting – and give these as much focus as the other four.
Will Richardson begins the video with a quote by Margaret J. Wheatley: “We can’t be creative if we refuse to be confused. Change always starts with confusion”. Richardson believes that those in education are not yet confused enough to change the system. He says we should be confused because we have access to amazing learning opportunities that our school systems are not embracing. We are not allowing our students to use computers in the classroom to connect with others like they do outside of school. As educators, we have a responsibility to introduce our students to these opportunities by helping students construct and use these networks in a safe and morally acceptable manner. He ends with some great questions for educators (around 16:42). He says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that “transformation must begin with us” and we must transform ourselves before we can transform our schools (Richardson, 2013).
The third main idea that resonates from Phase 2 is that pedagogy is more important than the technology. I’ve always used the word ‘teach’ (to show, present, point out) instead of pedagogy, as the words seems to be used interchangeably. I’m going to admit to being a bit ‘confused’ (see Margaret Wheatley quote above) and decided to do a bit of research about the definition of pedagogy. Here is what I found:
I’ve discovered that teaching is a part of pedagogy. Digging a bit further led me to an interesting blog post by Steven Wheeler entitled “The Meaning of Pedagogy”:
…Pedagogy is about children’s education. Pedagogy is leading people to a place where they can learn for themselves. It is about creating environments and situations where people can draw out from within themselves, and hone the abilities they already have, to create their own knowledge, interpret the world in their own unique ways, and ultimately realise their full potential as human beings (2011).
As we focus on the new technologies that allow us to create and collaborate on a global scale, we must remember that our job is to teach the students how to become learners. We do this by understanding the content, and the processes and strategies used by students to learn. When incorporating technology into our schools, we must consider the reasons for using the technology. Technology is a tool that helps students become independent learners because they are able to demonstrate their learning in different ways. Our job as educators is to be a guide and create a learning culture that helps students to “[realize] their full potential as human beings” (Steven Wheeler, 2011).
Edublogs. (2015). Building Your PLN. Retrieved on November 7, 2015, from http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/creating-a-pln/
DevPro PD Flipped. (October 18, 2012). What is a PLN? Retrieved on November 7, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLLpWqp-owo
Pedagogy, retrieved on November 7, 2015, from http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/pedagogy
Teach, retrieved on November 7, 2015, from https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=teach%20definition
Richardson, W. (2012). Why school? How education must change when learning and information are everywhere. (Kindle Single) TED Conferences.
Sonwalker Nish. (June 24, 2011). What is Pedagogy? Retrieved on November 7, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkoRR670fj8
Will Richardson. (December 7, 2007). Personal Learning Networks. Retrieved on November 7, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mghGV37TeK8
Will Richardson. (March 29, 2014). Transforming Education: Co(lab) Summit, Retrieved on November 7, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TZfWqao6uA
Wheatley, M. (2009). Willing To Be Disturbed. In Turning to One Another (2nd ed.). Berrett-Koehler. Retrieved on November 7, 2015, from http://www.del.wa.gov/publications/elac-qris/docs/081814WillingToBeDisturbed.pdf
Wheeler, Steven. (November 6, 2013). “The Meaning of Pedagogy”, retrieved on November 7, 2015, from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.ca/2013/11/the-meaning-of-pedagogy.html