As I am about to embark on a weeklong celebration with ancient Chinese customs and traditions, I think about how different learning is now than it was hundreds of years ago and even just ten years ago (not that long ago)!
In his elearning article Connectivism, A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, George Siemens made a shocking statement:
Learners as little as forty years ago would complete the required schooling and enter a career that would often last a lifetime. Information development was slow. The life of knowledge was measured in decades. Today, these foundational principles have been altered. Knowledge is growing exponentially. In many fields the life of knowledge is now measured in months and years.
My students will be connected in ways I never thought possible. “ We can no longer personally experience and acquire learning that we need to act. We derive our competence from forming connections” (Siemens).
Even though my students are young and do not come to me with the ability to read, it is amazing how quickly they were able to pick up an ipad and figure out how to find a game. Those that struggled or had never used an ipad before quickly seeked help which was always readily available. They did not learn how to use the basic functions of the ipad from me, they learned from each other.
Children are often tinkering around, no matter the age. Living with New Media discussed how children are constantly tinkering or playing around with technology, learning from with often on their own or with others. They create their own communities either socially, for gaming, or educational to communicate learn together. It may appear that they are just playing or working alone, but in reality, they are working with a much larger community than we may be aware of.
Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired. The ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. The ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday is also critical. (Siemens)
Children tinkering around on the internet are developing the ability to determine what they feel is important and will spend the time learning more about what interests them. Students are able to basically teach themselves more about what interests them.
This is a huge change from the traditional classroom where the teacher would give out the information. Often using Bloom’s Taxonomy, teachers would start with lower order thinking skills on a concepts, teach the concept then work their way to the higher order skills.
With the digital age, Bloom’s Taxonomy has been modified, yet still uses some of the principal verbs.
In The New Bloom’s Taxonomy(Digital), Andrew Churches states,” we don’t need to start at lower order skills and then build piecemeal throughout the taxonomy towards higher order thinking like creativity. By providing a suitably scaffolded task, the lower order skills of remembering and understanding become inherent in the learning process. By challenging our students to be analytical, evaluative or creative, they will within these processes develop understanding.”
This is a shift in my thinking as a teacher myself. I had always used Bloom’s Taxonomy from a lower level skill and move up, but with the new technology, and the way the students often teach different skills, it is possible to start at a higher order thinking skill and provide the remembering and understanding while working on a higher order skill.
The way people are learning is shifting at a dramatic pace. As an educator, I must restructure the learning environment to provide opportunities for my students to develop their skills with technology so they have the ability to adapt and change and keep up with the pace.
Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year everyone!