Chapter 1: Arc-of-Life Learning
Quote: "A growing digital, networked infrastructure is amplifying our ability to access and use nearly unlimited resources and incredible instruments while connecting with one another at the same time." This quote really summarizes the stories that are told of people learning and connecting through the internet. We may be isolated in our physical lives but the internet allows us to tap into the global wealth of knowledge.
Question: How do integrate the idea of shared digital learning into the classroom?
Connection: The three stories of learning and interacting via digital networks are similar to the way I've been learning and practicing music for my 20% project. I've researched basics of playing, found transcribed music and watched instructional videos, all created by people around the world and put up on the internet.
Epiphany: The title of the chapter refers to the Arc-of-Life, meaning that we don't just do our learning in school. We can continue to learn skills and build knowledge by connecting with people and resources through the internet. This happens at all stages of life and in various settings and contexts. We all continue to grow and learn throughout our lives and the
Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Cultures
Quote: "Education has been seen as a process of transferring information from a higher authority (the teacher) down to the student" This quote really talks to the chapter's point, that we have been teaching as a way to pass on knowledge. As if teachers are the only ones that possess that knowledge. Maybe that was true in the past, but in the current reality knowledge is shared and easily accessible by anyone with a connection to the Net.
Question: "How do I change my teaching to recognize the new model and help guide students in discovering knowledge?"
Connection: I see this topic every day in my classroom. We have standards and material that we are supposed to cover and the traditional model tells that me that I should teach it to my students. I have been trying to combine a certain amount of direct teaching with student discovery, allowing them to explore and research topics in order to better learn both the subject and to better hone their digital research skills.
Epiphany: It really is a matter of teaching students how think and how to ask the right questions. The information is out there, but you have to be able to track it down and then evaluate its value and correctness.
Chapter 3: Embracing Change
Quote: "Embracing change and seeing information as a resource can help us stop thinking of learning as an isolated process of information absorption and start thinking of it as cultural and social process of engaging with the constantly changing world around us." This is a long quote that points to both the need to accept change and using that change as a guiding principle in our search for new knowledge. It's easy to get complacent and accept the existing paradigms, but as teachers we work with young people that simply exist IN the new paradigms. They don't know any different, and it is counterproductive to try to fight it or resist the new model. Much better to grab on to the change and take it for a ride. Better for me and better for my students.
Question: How do I combine the methods and modalities of the new networked world with the old idea that students are meant to learn some basics about how and why the world works?
Connection: This reminds me of a conversation I had with my cooperating teacher this semester. He asked me to please share any new teaching ideas that I was learning at the CSUSM College of Education. Initially, I thought "sure, I'll let let you know what I'm learning." But then it struck me that I don't really know what the new ideas are. I only know what I'm being taught right now. I don't have a history that ties me to old methods of teaching. It's all new to me. And that's how our students are. Remember that it's all new to them, and that the ways they know how to learn (outside of the classroom) are very different than what we had growing up. We need to embrace that and figure out how to meet them where they are.
Epiphany: The tools that are available to me, and to students, today were almost unfathomable just 20 years ago when I was finishing my college education. They live in a completely different world, and I have to make sure that I am keeping up with it in order to stay relevant.