Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Little More About Connected Learning ...

An important part of the classes I teach are student blogs. In my first year courses (an after degree program - so first year of a B.Ed.) the blog is a choice, this term over half have chosen to embark on reflective blogging, most for the first time. In my final semester course, Internet for Educators, blogging is a requirement. As the first topic of #Etmooc winds up, I would like to present the blogs that my students are writing and invite readers to take a look and perhaps leave a comment or two. I leave links to the blog bundles below.

Blogs from 'Using ICT in the classroom'
Blogs from 'Internet for Educators'

I have used blogging in my courses for a few years now, and am always amazed at the quality of writing, sharing and reflective thought. It is a great way for students to explore ideas they have encountered, wonder aloud, and share resources and experiences. I also find that I learn just as much about students through their blogs as I do in our face to face classes, connecting in this way often leads to deeper conversations in the classroom - or informally outside of it. In the Internet for Ed class (I wrote about abut this course in my last post), I like to think the learning is rhizomatic. I first came across this idea in this article by Dave Cormier, I found the idea fascinating and the analogy an apt one. We listen to speakers, examine ideas and concepts and the students then explore the ideas and take them where they want to go. It is fun to read their ideas, and chat about them. The students themselves have made connections with each other and with some of the guests, who often comment on their posts as well, or connect on twitter. I guess it is perhaps not truly rhizomatic since I (or the invited speakers) choose the general topic, but the students have freedom to go wherever their interests and thoughts take them. The learning I witness (and I learn much myself as well) is exciting to see as these promising educators wrestle with some big ideas.

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