"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

~Neale Donald Walsch~

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Connected learning environments

Teachers have forever been Instructional Designers. As teachers we know that the learning space influences so many things about learning. The design of the room, learning material, assessment items, feedback etc. greatly influence how the learner might feel about the subject that is taught or whether or not their curiosity might be stirred. McIntosh (2010) suggests that there needs to be real synergistic design with classroom and blended spaces so that learning moves freely between the two spaces.


Collaboration is a skill that can be developed in face to face learning and in virtual or blended environments. Communication is at the heart of learning. There can be no doubt that collaborative environments will not work for everyone but in an information society it will be so important for our students to understand that the traditional frameworks of our societies have been changed because of social media and knowledge networking have given access to more information, experts and groups of people than any other time in history. Reingold (2008) saw that the internet has disrupted the way we connect and communicate and our students are part of a connected world and connected communities.

Students in a modern learning environment need to be ‘participatory learners’ much like Sieman's view of the concierge, deeply involved in the process and virtual classrooms begins to address this concept but also aligns with Rheingold’s view that human interaction is still an important part of learning. It seems as though some learners are happy to be in a space where the connection is somewhat distant (blog, social media, texting) from an actual face to face interaction with a physical human however technology is really pushing for meaningful connectedness and virtual or holographic learning may be a norm in the future.

Students as innovators 
In designing and developing blended learning courses Blooms Taxonomy can be so useful. It's important in face to face and blended learning to develop all thinking skills. It's easy to get excited by shiny apps and fun games but students need to explore ideas not just in creative ways but really develop critical thinking skills that include thinking outside the box. George Couros's (2015) book 'The Innovator's Mindset' really helps to see that if you aren't an innovative teacher than how can you expect your students to be innovative. Syliva Duckworth's image is on my wall above my computer and is a daily reminder to be the best that I can be. 

Rheingold, H., (2017, January) The new power of collaboration. [Videofile] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA9a4rEcpCY 
Siemens, G. (2007). 10 minute lecture – curatorial teaching. Retrieved from http://learnonline.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/10-minute-lecture-george-siemens-curatorial-teaching


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