Learning is Social

I recently got back from Learning 2.014 in Bangkok and was inspired and encouraged to be around passionate educators.  The people were great and lots of great connections were made.  That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Learning 2.014 is aptly named because “learning” is at the core of the conference.  It is the heart of what the conference is about.   It is not just about the technology.

“Learning” is also social.  

Learning is Social

 

As I started listening to the first session I thought about how learning occurs today. Learning really occurs wherever we are.  It can occur on an airplane, on hotel wifi, at home, on twitter, through my reader, or just out-n-about.  We don’t necessarily need to come together in a formal way to create learning.  So, just why do we have a conference like Learning 2.0?  Why do we need to fly from around the globe to Bangkok, or where ever these types of conferences take place? I realized that this weekend was much about the social interactions that spur on learning than the conference itself.  It was about connecting, sharing, talking, asking questions, wondering and just being together.  This, to me, is what Learning 2.0 was about.  This was my takeaway.

Linday Neff’s website talks about Lev Vygotsky and his social learning theories.  In 1962, he first stated that we learn through our interactions and communications with others.  I think he was on to something when he made this statement.  We certainly do learn from interactions from each other.  I personally have many kinds of interactions.  Some are through email, online through twitter and my PLN as well as with colleagues that help to further my learning.  The benefit to my teaching practice through Learning 2.014 were the valuable social connections made and the dialogue that occurred due to the conference framework.

One takeaway session:

I attended the extended session by Sarah Fleming on Voice, Choice and Collaboration using Mobile Devices  and thought a lot about how we want our students to learn and what we give them for options and collaboration to do so.   If we find learning to be social, why do we limit this with our students? I was able to make many choices in my learning when I attended Learning 2.014, a learning conference.

I chose:

  • Which sessions to attend
  • Who to connect and talk with
  • When to take a break and synthesize what was going on
  • What I wanted to blog about after it was finished
  • what was important for me to take back to my classroom.

Why don’t we let our students do this? Too many teachers are doing old things in old ways and making it look new.  It simply isn’t.  I have seen so many paper/pencil tests go around classrooms that it really discourages me when we are calling our school a school of the future, or a school that develops 21C skills.  No we aren’t.  It’s simple and matter of fact.  We need to change our thinking about what school can be.

I feel empowered to allow my students choice in their learning.  I think this is key to encouraging 21C skills in our students.  My big take away was that:

Not All Students Need To Show Their Learning In The Same Way!

 

Voice and Choice really allows students to better understand and know themselves as a learner and how they learn best.

In my own classroom, here are some things I am going to do to encourage voice and choice through collaboration:

  1. choice in demonstration of learning at the end of a unit using mobile apps
  2. create learning charts about edtech tools that we live and apps that are good for our learning
  3. giving them a voice to choose what they want to learn about.  Does everyone have a chance to speak?
  4. collaboration strategies that were used in the session were very inspiring.

What do you do in your classroom to encourage voice and choice through collaboration and the use of mobile apps or otherwise?

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