Sunday, 7 June 2015

'Meet Learner 2.0'.

I just like the shapes in this photo, I imagine Disney animating this old junk.

'Meet Learner 2.0'.

I'm presenting a keynote speech in Brisbane for EduTech next week, and the theme for my talk
is 'Meet Learner 2.0'. I want my audience of mainly higher education teachers to think
about the cohort of students that is now coming through the doors of universities.
Generally they are young people who have no memory of the last century
(the one we were all brought up and educated in), and have been immersed in technology
their entire lives. They are younger than the Internet and mobile phones,
and they don't recall a time when there was no Google or Facebook.

They are residents in the digital age and they carry their connection with them wherever they go. 
This results in a number of repercussions for education.
We are witnessing a shift in education that is likely to be profound.
It is a shift in the roles of teachers and learners, and it is one that will alter the relationships
we are familiar with. The shift is occurring in the responsibility that learners are adopting to learn for themselves. Teachers have long been advised to become 'guides on the side'
so that learners can take responsibility. From Socrates through to Dewey, far sighted
and progressive philosophers and theorists have consistently argued that students learn better when they lead their own discovery. But very few educators ever took up this challenge,
preferring instead to remain 'in control' of the process of education,
the expert sage taking centre stage.

The advent of digital technology challenges this traditional model of education.
A recent post on the Edutopia site contained the following passage:

When a student asked how something was done, we'd play dumb and say, "I don't know.
We should probably look it up." The student would look it up, ask another question, and we'd say, "Hmmm. That's interesting. How can we find that out?" Again, the student would go to the book. 
After enough of those sessions, our students stopped bothering to ask us for the answers –
they already knew all the behaviors that would lead to understanding.

Although this instance is clearly taken from a school context, the same principle applies
to all education. If the student has the means to discover for himself, why give him the answer? 
Hands off teaching does promote metacognition (knowing about knowing).

Discovering for yourself tends to deepen the learning experience, and motivates students
to go that extra mile, to find out for themselves what the answer is to that question
that has been nagging at them. It cultivates curiosity,
and curiosity always leads to further questions... and the cycle starts again.

The general behaviours identified by John K. Waters in an article in Education Trends in 2011
seem to be gathering pace, and spawning offshoots: 'New learners' are more self directed,
and they are better equipped to capture information with their digital tools.
They tend to be more reliant on the feedback from their peers, and they are more inclined
to collaborate with each other. In short, they are networked learners.
Most significantly, they are more oriented to becoming the nodes of their own production.
This means that they produce significantly more content related to their learning
than previous generations. The mobile phone in their pocket ensures that this happens, constantly. Because they generate more content and learn from it, they are better placed to drive
their own learning. The teacher, acting as a co-learner or co-investigator can scaffold this learning, and acts as a guide rather than an instructor.

Working with Learner 2.0 will be quite a challenge for many teachers,
particularly those who are ingrained in the old methods of education.
But Learner 2.0 is already in your institution, and the opportunities far outweigh the threats.

Introduction to Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
A practical overview of Turbo Charged Reading YouTube 
How to choose a book. A Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
Emotions when Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
Advanced Reading Skills Perhaps you’d like to join my FaceBook group ?
Perhaps you’d like to check out my sister blogs:         gives many ways for you to work with the stresses of life               which takes advantage of the experience and expertise of others.         just for fun.

To quote the Dr Seuss himself, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn; the more places you'll go.”

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