Becoming Obsessed

I can see things changing in my classroom as I increase my learning network and see the benefit to learning from others and connecting through social media.

My students are working on a space unit and I thought I would use my new twitter skills to connect with experts.  I came across @Cmdr_Hadfield who is currently commanding the ISS in Space.  I have literally become obsessed with his real-time photos from the ISS and his question and answer sessions on Reddit.  In wanting my students to see the value to learning from others and giving them some tools that they can, possibly in the future, find their own learning networks I have found excitement with this sharing and connecting.

In the Living With New Media document, the Macarthur Foundation states that when young people geek out they are exploring areas of interest that go beyond common knowledge by seeking out expert knowledge networks outside of usual friendship-driven networks.  This is essentially what we are doing and what we want our students to do.  They go on to talk about geeking out goes beyond just the “consuming” of information (which is what so many of us do regularly) to actually producing knowledge that contributes to the knowledge network.  I realize how this starts with me and shifting my thinking to understanding that I have something to say and want to contribute to my learning network. It is a difficult shift but one that is truly valuable and I am slowly beginning to see those rewards.

The essential question for this week is: How can we effectively, practically and authentically embed technology within our curricular areas?

Good question, really, and I have no idea.  I ask myself this all the time and I really don’t know.  I think we just keep doing what we’re doing through the lens of technology and seeing “just in time” opportunities to show our students how they can help each other, learn from others and inquire into areas of interest without us.  Becoming less helpful is something I keep reminding myself of.  I recently attended a Math in the PYP workshop and came across an article through this that talked about the need for educators to become less helpful – it can be messy but it is where the true learning takes place.  This is inquiry – releasing control, allowing for messing around, exploring and making mistakes.

Teachers, its time we become less helpful and become more obsessed with new media for us and for our students.

 Hanging out, messing around and geeking out has become kind of fun.  But now, I need to take a break!
Signing out….or do we ever really sign out?


4 thoughts on “Becoming Obsessed

  • Thanks for that article. Very thought-provoking. I wonder how letting go would fit in this world unless parents are tuned into our message. In a world of Kumon math tutorials (especially in Asia), I can see that parents are not comfortable with letting children explore in math and prefer drill work. It’s hard to explain to them how we see things. More to ponder.

    • We need to drill that with parents constantly and I often ask parents what it is they are exactly afraid of….asking them to ponder when they use algorithms in everyday life actually causes them to stop and appreciate what we are doing and why we are doing it somethings. But very true – lots to ponder! Thanks for the comment.

  • Hi Tim,

    We have just finished a space unit too and we also were following Cmdr_Hadfield. Weren’t /aren’t his photos amazing! Actually, I think I was more blown away than my students and I wondered if it was necessary to have that perspective of truly understanding the distances, etc. involved and the background history of human space travel which young children don’t necessarily have yet simply becasuse they are young.

    I fear that we are pretty much logged in now wherever we are….! There’s a holiday in 4 week’s time. I intend to sign out then!

    • Yes, so true – we really are always logged in now. Our line of inquiry for this unit is on space exploration and how things have changed so we got to dig into that a bit – loads to learn and wonder about. I think that I was also more excited than the kids – I have been “geeking” out on space stuff ever since. Fun though. Thanks for the comment.

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