Sunday, October 21, 2007

Deepen the Conversation

The learners in my courses have entered the conversation. There were technological hurdles, there were log-on issues, there were navigation problems, and all sorts of Plan B's upon which I relied. But now, the conversation really begins.
Many learners are just discovering that they are really in charge of their learning. I no longer give word limits, one correct answer requirements, or multiple choice questions. My QARs (Question Answer Relationships) are not "Right There" but are "On Your Own". This is disconcerting to some, disorienting to several.
Educators have for so long, and the majority continue this, approached education as sages on individual stages. I am not a sage and not even a guide on the side. I am merely a learner in the classes assigned to me. As all learners awaken to the veracity of this, they begin to deepen those conversations.
Increasing the depth of our conversations will augment our metacognition. This is a desirable objective for not only the study skills class but also for all learners who will enter society in the future.
How do we facilitate the formation of depth? One way all of you can help us is by going to the class blogs and commenting. If you are a learner, you qualify.
Another way, I think, is constantly providing challenging projects. Providing global projects and not seeking traditional offline pieces of paper are other ways. Remember tweens and teens spend hours playing video games that are difficult and they do not win. This generation of middle school learners really enjoy multi-player games and do not realise the learning that is taking place, nor do they need to recognise this learning.
Friday afternoon the middle school gaming club got together to play with the flight simulator and some online multiplayer games. I didn't get to challenge because my lack of knowledge was needed to assist everyone to use the games. I would have died quickly anyway. They don't know it, but they were deepening the conversation, taking it in directions others do not expect and with which they may not be comfortable .
Help me to deepen the conversations with all learners.
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