Chris Sessums is quickly rising to the top of my favorite blog list, and it’s because I just love the way he writes about the shifts he sees in learning and classrooms. His latest post is a great example. Start with this concept:
Teaching and learning with social software will change the way our learning landscapes unfold before us. Where once standards demanded a 1500 word essay, an equivalent could be managing an online discussion for one week or editing and posting a ten second video or scripting and posting a three minute podcast. I believe when the conditions are right, ICTs and social software can permit students more control over their learning.
Which is why I think one of the most important points in this whole discussion is that regardless of whether we think teachers should be content producers (and I think they should), they at the very least have to have an understanding of how these tools work so they can affirm a student’s choice to use them. And, every teacher needs to understand the social aspects of using the tools them so that when students ask to collaborate and publish and share, they will be supported instead of shut down.
Chris quotes Stephen Heppell who says that “ICTs can allow educators to build something personal, something interesting, engaging and ingenious.” There is interesting, engaging stuff all around us these days, and if we use our imaginations, more will come. Imagine if every teacher began to create and contribute in this way.
There is some powerful vision in this post as well:
To be truly successful, school must be a place where we can expose and express ourselves, and have room to create, experiment, imagine, and fail â€“ a place where we can find support, critique, and honesty…ICTs and social software can allow us to work in smaller more intimate groups of peers and mentors where we can connect to other groups around the globe. As Ben Werdmuller coined it: the Internet is people. Teaching and learning is people too. And the locus of control should be ours to negotiate as long as accreditors provide the opportunity to do so. Accreditation can be more than whatâ€™s issued by universities. It could be issued by Microsoft, the BBC, Apple, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Toyota, etc. A personâ€™s c.v. could be more organic, assembled from courses taken in a variety of settings, from a variety of providers. The universityâ€™s monopoly on accreditation will soon be a thing of the past as other players enter the tertiary education market and offer the skills and training that meets the needs of employers globally.
So at what point do we start looking at our own kids and see a different learning future, one that isn’t necessarily filled with $20,000 a year tuitions but more of a assembly of experiences that helps them get to where they want to go? I mean, my kids can learn anything, anywhere, anytime. How does that change their future? And how do I help them build something interesting, engaging and ingenious?