“Learning how to learn” and developing agile learning independence is the key element for survival in 21st Century learners and is changing the learning landscape
Knowledge is ubiquitous and the days of teachers and lecturers being the keepers and deliverers of knowledge is long gone. By the time a student finishes a six year university degree over fifty percent of what they learned is obsolete.
So how do we ensure that we, as teachers, are not also becoming obsolete with the rise of excellent online courses such as Coursera and iTunesU?
Three magic words will put you on the right track.
Try saying “I Don’t Know” more often
We need to be ‘learning facilitators’ who can develop the skills a student needs to ‘learn how to learn’ and gain learning independence.
Teachers who can guide students to develop a powerful repertoire of independent learning skills will realise the less relevant they become to the learners success – the more successful they have become as ‘learning facilitators’.
Collaboration is a task that was included in many of the subjects in the Masters degree. The collaboration format that was most prevalent was the Subject Forum which allowed learners to respond to focus questions or negotiated learning tasks. This was valuable to be able to read other points of view which many times was diametrically opposed to my own personal view and challenged my perception of knowing.
Other posts were insightful and added a new layer of understanding and brought in ‘other worldly’ experiences from a variety of learning situations. Responding to posts in a constructive manner was a valuable learning outcome which was expertly modeled by the Subject Coordinators. The opportunity to have input to assist other students was also a valuable teaching and learning opportunity and the ability to share technological, pedagogical and content knowledge. afforded many learning possibilities and the learning was not a one-way process . The asynchronous communication enabled anywhere anytime learning in an informal setting. Another format that enhanced collaboration was the wiki and this was a great source of information, contibutors posting from lifeworld experiences and proved a go to place to locate additional information recommended by other learners.
I learnt new technologies formally through tutorials and informally through video on social media sites such as YouTube , Vimeo and paper based tutorials on the web. The learning took place on a need to know basis and was often supplemented by additional resources placed in the course by other learners.
Reading the media was assisted by the Brookfield reading on examining educational perspectives using specific lenses that we need to consider when critically reflecting on educational performance.
This flows over into other areas when we examine knowledge in relation to the key cultural, theoretical and political factors that are at play . It is important to interrogate the interests and motives that may motivate knowledge claims to effectively lead to a critique. Another interesting concept is the ‘armchair critic’ who fails to come up with alternative solutions to a problem they are criticizing.
The model of inclusive leadership is one of the areas that I touched on in my School ICT Integration plan and involved several meetings with the ICT Committee. This involved sharing ideas on possible directions that the BYOD implementation could take. Many on the committee had strong opinions on what should be occurring and the direction they wanted to go but the planning matrix was a lifesaver because it kept the discussion on track and focussed on key areas. A second instance was when I suggested that it would be timely to introduce ePortfolios as a formative assessment piece. Many staff put forward their ideas and together we were able to construct a model that each member had a key contribution.
There are many workplace differences based on culture, gender, life experience, interests and personality types and I think that I have learnt how to manage these through informal means. I try to find the positives in everyone, take an interest in their point of view and listen attentively to their issues and understand the problem from their perspective and acknowledge their position. I then try to negotiate a win-win situation wherever possible
Nous, savvy and instincts that can be trusted are intangible elements and difficult to define and identify and I believe that I have learnt to trust my intuition in other people However I would not be able to say that I have learnt them during my studies
Authenticity, charisma, persuasiveness, ‘street’ credibility are all characteristics that I relate to a person who knows the ‘knowledge stuff’ well and uses it in day to day teaching and interactions with staff. I believe charisma is innate and is definitely on the nature side of the nature versus nurture scale. Street credibility is one of the key aspirations for me as an eLearning Coordinator and I work consistently to build my technological and pedagogical knowledge to a level that engenders confidence in others who are seeking assistance
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Brookfield, S. (2009). The concept of critical reflection: promises and contradictions. European Journal of Social Work, 12(3), 293-304.
Harford, J., & MacRuairc, G. (2008). Engaging student teachers in meaningful reflective practice. Teaching and teacher education, 24(7), 1884-1892.
Loughran, J. J. (1997). An introduction to purpose, passion and pedagogy. In J. J. Loughran & T. L. Russell (Eds.),
Teaching about teaching: Purpose, passion and pedagogy (pp. 3-9). London: Falmer.
Pelliccione, L., Pocknee, C., & Mulvany, J. (2010). The Use of Social Interaction Technologies in E-Portfolios. Handbook of Research on Social Interaction Technologies and Collaboration Software: Concepts and Trends, 233.
Voogt, J., Knezek, G., Cox, M., Knezek, D., & Ten Brummelhuis, A. (2013). Under which conditions does ICT have a positive effect on teaching and learning? A Call to Action. Journal of computer assisted learning, 29(1), 4-14.