Learning should be like…

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by RambergMediaImages

I look at all of the open links and tabs in my browser right now and just thought about how much I have learned in the last couple of years through this process.  Sometimes all of connections in learning are baffling.

Take a twenty minute period in my life as evidenced below.

I read a blog post found in my Reader feed, which leads me to a link on YouTube, that leads me to a quote, which leads me to the person who stated the quote, to find a link on their Twitter profile, only to find another article on something that I would have never found myself.

I could go on from there, and I eventually will, but it is just amazing how one item, leads to another, and another, and so on.

That is how learning should be; continuous, connected, and meaningful.  If I wasn’t interested in what was under the first link, I would have found another.

Yet we see so many textbooks in class and, although I find a real joy in reading, there is simply a start and an end.  Yes, your mind can go places and your imagination grows, but I don’t think that is limited to simply a book.  Sometimes the beginning to end process is great, when you are reading a book, but does it represent the model of learning we want in schools?

You start grade 3. You go through grade 3.  You end grade 3.

End of book and on to the next one.

Shouldn’t learning in schools look more like the Internet than it does a book?

Just some random thoughts on a Wednesday afternoon.

Kind of reminds me of the video below…

10 thoughts on “Learning should be like…

  1. Dina

    Loving your thoughts and finding inspiration in them!!! Great video!!! Hilarious. Almost like opening up a time capsule from years ago!!!

  2. teacherdiana1

    Great post, George! Love your random thoughts on a Wednesday afternoon :). We were so taken with your school's identity day project that we are doing identity day early in the year at our school. Just like how you described the learning connections on the internet, I would like to see identity day continue further and evolve into a "personal passions project" (would need a different name though) that is ongoing for the school year and supported by self-directed/project based learning time in my weekly class schedule. I think it would tie in nicely with media literacy, blogging, representing and viewing…not to mention goal setting and social responsibility.
    Radom thoughts on a Thursday night set in motion by yet another powerful blog post. Thanks for blogging and sharing your thoughts with your readers :)

  3. wferriter

    Hey Pal,

    You know, I show Joe's Non-Netbook in the TiG Workshop I deliver, and I've had more than one teacher say that it's an example of how distracted today's learners are.

    "They don't want to read the text!" critics will say. "They just want to click their way through life from one easy video to another."

    Drives me nuts every time because what I see is kids who WANT to know more and who REALIZE that new tools and spaces make it possible to know more in any situation and at any time.

    Talk about a disconnect between what they know is possible and what we give them in schools.

    The jig is up. We've got to create efficient learning spaces that resemble what our kids full well realize can be done beyond our buildings or we'll lose credibility with the only audience that really matters.

    Like Scott says, we're becoming Dangerously Irrelevant.

    Hope you're well,

    1. georgecouros Post author

      Love this –>”The jig is up. We've got to create efficient learning spaces that resemble what our kids full well realize can be done beyond our buildings or we'll lose credibility with the only audience that really matters.” Great comment and so true!

  4. Western Dave

    Don't your books have footnotes and bibliographies (at least the non-fiction ones)? The internet experience you describe is what reading a book or journal article is like for me.

  5. Louise

    Awesome video. Reminded me of the Medevial Help Desk except in reverse. Would be neat to have student to create a series of videos using print-copy.

  6. Western Dave

    Look, I'm not trying to be contentious here. All I'm saying is that a) the experience you describe as being uniquely digital is not uniquely digital. It's sad that most people don't treat professional development books the way I do. I learned to start chasing footnotes at a small liberal arts college that put a primacy on face to face instruction. I didn't intuitively understand it. And b) as for the video, I teach HS history. Pretty much every high school history textbook sucks (I use a college textbook with my 10th graders). Relying on a textbook for clickable links provided by the publisher isn't actually an improvement in anything. In the next version of that video, you should have the kid try to search for the source of the image or link to ABC-Clio to look up article on Frederick Douglass (or even JSTOR). We need to be teaching kids to be skeptical of all sources (including print sources) and how to do searches better. We should not teach them to rely on the authority of text books or treat them as hermetically sealed content. The goal is to empower students to harvest and create their own information not rely on evermore content provided by ever fewer publishers.

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