Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Independent Learners

What does it mean to be in charge of your own learning? We drop that phrase but do we really consider the meaning? Today, unlike Monday, several 6th graders learned how to login to a site, answer questions there and update their profiles without my help! I am ecstatic! This is where they need to be, not relying on me to think for them or serve them learning on a silver platter.
One young man even made his own wiki. I know, I know, all this sounds so basic. Well it is. Sixth graders who have never had computer training, have never used any social networking sites, never created anything online, are suddenly putting two and two together to equal sixteen! Fabulous!!
We need to be teaching all learners to learn independently. Many of us gathered at Educon in Philly this past weekend to pursue our own learning (Jakes pursued Philly cheesesteaks). While it's great to get away, the important thing is to continue our conversational learning. Maria reminded us of this on Monday night. Now the challenge is to include those who were not there and draw all learners into the conversation, facilitating their journey to independent learning.
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Photo thanks to CARF, January 19, 2006 available at


Anonymous said...

As a college student, being in charge of my own learning is an every day activity, and one that takes great discipline to carry out (due to video games, TV, friends, etc.). The fact that students in the sixth grade are already grasping this concept, and possibly the discipline behind it, is a good thing for their future. Not to mention this kind of technology and social networking is just now starting to bloom and eventually will be one of the most powerful tools a teacher can use to educate them. This isn't to say that all teacher will use this method to teach his or her students, but it does say that they will be experiencing these tools nearly every day of their lives assuming our society continues to branch out its technology into both the work force and schools.

Dietrich May said...

That's exciting that the kids are learning how to do all that stuff on their own. I am a sophomore in college and when I was in sixth grade I would have never dreamed of having those things integrated into my classroom learning. Back then all we had were instant messaging services, now we have so many new services available at our fingertips and now teachers are taking advantage of using them for students help. It is amazing and I hope to see it grow and be used more and more frequently.
Dietrich May

Anonymous said...

I think that, that is really amazing that a sixth grader can make his own wiki. I am a sophomore in college and I just learned what a wiki was in my curriculum and instruction class for education majors this semester. To think back to what I knew about computers in sixth grade is nothing to what kids now a days know, and it really wasn’t that long ago. I think it is great that the educational system is being to focus more on computers and technology in the classroom. It excites me to be learning right now all these things I never knew were possible and in a few years bring them into my classroom.

Anonymous said...

I am currently in a college course where the instructor believes in “independent learning”. When she first said that, it scared me. I am older than most college students and was raised in a time when students looked to the teacher to lead them, rather than help them. Students learn so much more information, and at a faster rate, when they work through problems themselves. I also believe that students will be more successful in both their school careers, as well as their work careers, if they have learned from an early age what it means to be an “independent learner”.

Dani said...

It is so beneficial for students to take hold of their learning. This enables them to interact with what they already know, deepen it, as well as test themselves. It also prevents Paulo Freire’s fear of students being simple containers only receiving information. Also, if the students are practicing a new skill through their independent learning, the practice will explicitly show how well the material has been grasped.