If you’ve ever heard the first statement in a staffroom, the rest of the logic would follow. Learning is what makes us human and to use this logic would suggest that schools can be inhumane institutions.
This is some of the thinking of Dr. Michael Wesch. In the first 20 minutes or so of this presentation from his talk at the University of Manitoba, he makes such a clear case for the shift in learning due to a changing media. I love the fact that there are so many great conversations and folks dedicated to solid pedagogy which is not new. What’s new is the way new media is influences this. Wesch is the maker of The Machine is Using Us which demonstrates this shift. The way we experience information and content is new and I’ve yet to hear a good argument to suggest it’s no big deal, let’s do school as usual.
I really want to get good and keeping both solid pedagogy and how it fits with new media in balance. What’s interesting is that the new media is leading people to push the edge of the envelope of innovation and get criticized because they appear to be tool focused. That’s why I love how Will setup the discussion today about streaming video. He prefaced it by admitting, we don’t have the pedagogy all worked out. But it’s still worth exploring and the conversations usually include a good dose of “yeah but does it help kids learn?” mixed with “wouldn’t it be interesting if we tried…?” At times we need to play, explore and waste time. Cheap failures allow us to see what works and what doesn’t. Other times, let’s call it fluff when we see it and move on.
So why when I fly 2600 miles to the world’s largest edtech conference would I sit in my hotel room, watch an online video when there is a convention center filled with people, stuff and conversations? This helps explain part of it. But also learning comes in many forms. Duh. People have asked me if I’m learning. I hate having to quantify my learning experience. I like demonstrating understanding.
I love sitting quietly by myself listening, watching, reading and reflecting. I love being with a group of loud friends laughing, listening and arguing. I’m not sure I came to NECC to learn anymore than I could have had I stayed home. By far the majority of people here need to be here to learn. That might sound arrogant but I can learn from anyone, anytime and anywhere. “Even from here” to quote my good friend Clarence. I would be great if more people could develop this type of learning network and they are. The growth of edubloggercon and the blogger’s cafe would indicate this is happening. It’s not going to deter from conference attendance because these types of meetups are precious. Spending as much time online with these folks as I do, builds relationships. Not everyone is my “friend” but they are part of my virtual classroom and I like hanging out. I don’t need to be here to learn.
So I’m not here to learn anymore than I would normally. I”m here to be together. That’s good enough.