Two blog posts in one

Part 1

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.

Part 2

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.

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  • I can dig that. 🙂

    Chris Lehmanns last blog post..Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary

  • Tossing that final set of lines you wrote in my headspace a bit over the last few minutes. Two things come to mind, fella:

    1. The human side of me wishes he could have been there in SA this week to ‘gather’ with y’all. The learning took place from a distance, but the human feature was a shade shy of what would have been there directly.

    2. How many of our students consider the physical spaces of school/campus to be the only place they can be with their peers in F2F terms, formal ‘learning’ be damned:

    “So I’m not here to learn anymore than I would normally. I”m here to be together. That’s good enough.”

    Given how segmented our young populations are these days when it comes to home life, the pace of over-scheduling certain populations of kids when ‘out’ of school vs. those kids who have little access to fresh air save when in school, and the gold rush to virtual ‘relationships’ via MySpace, et al, is it no wonder that our kiddos today view the school campus as the one place they can just ‘hang’ (or ‘gather’, in adult terminology).

    Perhaps that is yet another reason why they are reluctant to engage in formal ‘learning’ in school spaces.

    Great piece, Dean. Glad that Chris hinted as such in his post today.

    Christian Longs last blog post.."The Pirates Dilemma": The Future of Learning?

  • For some reason your entry makes me think of these words of Don Henley…

    * “I could stand out front and sing Eagles songs that I sing in my set, but I think people enjoy watching me sing and play the drums. It seems to fascinate people. I don’t know why.”

    * “I have things that I am interested in, and that’s usually what comes out on the album.”

    * “I would rather take a long time and make a record with eight or ten good songs on it than to rush one out with only one or two good songs on it, which is what I find to be the case most of the time.”

    * “I’m always jotting things down on pieces of paper. I’ve got pieces of paper all over my house.”

    (“Music” to the ears of an inveterate notetaker.)

    Here’s my favorite…

    * “I’m not scary, I’m just opinionated.”

    Don Henley, via Wikipedia

    Jim Stroms last blog post..Experiencing God’s Peace

  • Now that\’s something to think about. Glad I stopped by – keep up the good work.Ciao!

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