The Networked Student
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
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.