Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blog Post #7

The Networked Student
picture of a network of people
Wendy Drexler's video, The Networked Student, takes a brief look into what learning for a 21st century student looks like. In the 21st century high school, there are no text books and the teacher almost never lectures. Some may ask, "So, how do they learn?" They are students of connectivism. Drexler defines this as, "a theory that presumes that learning occurs as part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties." These ties are made possible by various types of technology; however, the tools are not as important as the connections made possible by them.

The teacher encourages the students to take control of their learning and make connections by creating a personal learning network. To begin creating this personal learning network, the 21st century student uses search engines such as Google Scholar to locate scholarly peer reviewed articles. From there he can look through shared bookmarked ideas and blogs. Once he builds a knowledge base, he may make his own blog to share what he has learned and begin his own discussions. His network includes a wide range of connections; each one with a new learning opportunity.

So if the student is doing all of this research and learning on his own, what is the point of even having a teacher? The teacher is no longer in a classroom to lecture and teach facts. A teacher's job now is to teach a student how to discover and learn on their own. A 21st century teacher is one that teaches the students how to build their network and take advantages of learning opportunities. Offers guidance when students are struggling or get stuck. She teaches her students how to communicate properly and how to tell the difference between quality information and junk. A teacher is no longer a lecturer. She is a learning architect, a modeler, a learning concierge, and a change agent.

I feel this video is a great illustration of what school is like for some already and what it will hopefully become for others very soon. This not only opens doors for students to learn using different types of technology, but it also allows them to be creative as they discover different interesting ways to find information.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment

I was completely impressed by the video, Welcome to My PLE. This 7th grader has already built an incredible learning network. It is amazing the things that students can do at such a young age with the help of technology. This student has created a network of resources that will assist her for years to come. I thought it was great that she addressed the fact that there are the distractions of social networks when she is trying to do work, but because she is enjoying what she is doing, she has the inclination to be responsible. She is still responsible for all of her work, but she gets to decide how to do it and when to do it.

My personal learning network is still a work in progress. I guess to be fair, it should always be a work in progress. Although it is just getting started, I feel like I am finding useful resources that will help me for many years to come.

Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old App Developer
Thomas Suarez with his app
Seriously?! Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old App Developer is an incredible video. Thomas Suarez is only twelve and has already created multiple apps. It sounds a little crazy, but the fact is, this is what technology allows to happen. Through technology, kids have every bit of information right in front of them. If they want to create an app, with hard work and research, they can. One of Thomas' goals is not only to create more apps, but to help others who want to create apps as well.

All of the videos in this post work together to show the opportunities that technology offers to students. Students are not only learning, but they are discovering and creating. They are taking full advantage of the resources that are at their fingertips.


  1. Hi Courtney! My name is Lindsay Ann Parvin. I am renewing my certification and starting grad school in the Fall. I am assigned to you this week for our C4C comment.

    I really enjoyed your blog and your pictures add so much! We actually used the same photo for Thomas. Wasn't he a joy to watch?

    I was overwhelmed at the little girl's PLE - her PLE is a lot more detailed than mine.

    I think you are so correct with your description of how all these blogs related. Our students are using so much technology at their finger tips! We have to keep up as educators!

    Nice work!


  2. Courtney,
    Great work! The connection between The Networked Student and A 7th Grader's PLN is that the second one models what our students can put into practice if teachers set a good example like Miss Drexler does! People may worry that our jobs as teachers will become obsolete or unneeded if educational methods change to adapt to our world full of technology, but this may very well happen if teachers do not change! Students will find ways to teach themselves using free resources at their fingertips if their teacher does not reach them on their level or keep their interest.
    You also did a great job discussing Thomas Suarez' video. The question that comes to mind is, can we credit his teacher for this achievement? He has parents, family members, and teachers who supported him, but as he mentioned "students today know more about technology than teachers". We are seeing more students like Thomas and Travis Allen who see the direction in which technology is moving our society, our industries, and are insightful enough to think of ways our education system can be a part of that. They both have gotten me thinking what I would do if I had a little innovator in my classroom! It is best that we be prepared not just for the students who are hard to motivate, who are falling behind, or who have disabilities, but also for the students who have questions and ideas, and who are even smarter than we are! I think that these students stand to challenge us to become better teachers for their sakes and for others.
    Keep up the good work!