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Current views of eLearning

3 August 2009

My current views of learning

Before we started our course in e-learning technologies, we were asked to articulate our current views of learning.

My own experience of learning something is that when you learn, something shifts – you see the world differently, you feel differently, you think differently. This why I have chosen a kaleidoscope as my first image.

Kaleidoscope

For so much of the time, all the things you have learned must be unconscious, automatic – so when you do become aware that you have learned something new, and you rearrange the things you know that relate to this new knowledge, it is a strong sensation. I think this is what learners feel when they experience deep learning.

As for what they do – it depends on what was learned. It may activate new behaviour, motivated by new beliefs, or it may simmer away, forcing a long-term reflection and rethinking.

Technology-mediated learning

Technology can be seen to support learning by providing a space for these realisations and reassessments to take place.  The world that technology can present is different from the everyday – some aspects have been removed, perhaps reducing distractions – or the world is made strange in some way.

I have fond memories of a MOO that I participated in more than 15 years ago. It was a powerful experience, because it was a completely constructed world, made of black and white ASCII text, but the input of attention and imagination created a space where new long-distance communication could take place supported by the creations of hundreds of experimenting individuals.

moo

Teaching

I couldn’t find any Creative Commons images of anyone helping someone else use a kaleidoscope, presumably because it is a self-explanatory, free-scope activity, but here in a similar vein is one image of what teaching with technology is (Source: http://cv6.coventrytelegraph.net/2009/04/telescope-is-a-star-prize-for.html).
DJ090409TELE_1.jpg

Teachers can make sure their students can access the technology, and, where resources are scarce, manage the access to technology so everyone gets an equal go. Teachers direct the ‘scope towards something interesting, so the students are motivated to explore further, and teachers show by their enthusiasm and attention both that they themselves are interested in learning more about the kaleidoscope or planetary patterns, and in what the students find out.

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