I chaired a round table discussion on "Learning Is a Team Sport" at our college's Festival of Learning. This post covers the highlights of that discussion and some of the thoughts we all came up with.
Here are my opening premises for the discussion:
- There is so much information out there and so many information sources, that it is becoming (or maybe already is) impossible to learn on your own, that as educators we need to be aware of this fundamental change and be prepared to teach and learn differently.
- This means more collaboration and cooperation between learners and between educators, an awareness of learning styles and a need to develop authentic curriculum and assessment
- Technology of all types will be increasingly important
- Internet - Podcasts, RSS, Web sites, vidcasts...
- 24/7 500 Channel TV
- And more not yet even thought of...
So what does all this information mean? It means that new approaches to learning are required:
- New approaches to information gathering
- Information evaluation, validation and interpretation - new literacy skills
- Collaboration and cooperation in information gathering and analysis
- “Skimming” or “Diving” the information sea - breadth or depth of knowledge
- Need to understand learners and how the not only learn but how they find information and what they do with it -“while N-Gens interact with the world through multimedia, online social networking, and routine multitasking, their professors tend to approach learning linearly, one task at a time, and as an individual activity that is centered largely around printed text…” - Innovate - Will Richardson
- When does collaboration become cheating?
“Students see collaboration where their teachers see cheating. They're not even talking the same language. They don't have the same understanding of the world.” - NSCC Colleague
So what do we have to do as educators to engage in this new playing field?
- Be Tech savvy
- Understand our learners
- Use project and problem-based approaches to learning (connecting learners to their world)
- Stay in touch with industry
- Allow learners to learn how THEY learn, not how WE learn
- Emphasize collaboration and cooperation - know the new paradigm
It was an interesting, informative, and somewhat passionate discussion that gave all of us lots to think about. The key from my perspective is that learning is now a team sport and we have to get on the field and into the game. If we don't we will be doing our learners a great disservice. Hmmm...
(If you want to see my presentation it's up on SlideShare)