Real world context/problems enhance learning


Reading the book: Inevitable: mass customized learning, there is one rule that strikes me as important and achievable: Real world context/problems enhance learning. This ties in nicely with my current favorite read; Personal learning networks, by Richardson and Mancabelli. The goal is to create globally connected schools that empower students to learn in modern ways. 

To do so you need to follow these 4 steps:

  1. Understand the power of PLNs
  2. Become a networked learner
  3. Implement a networked classroom
  4. Become a networked school

These real time global connections will help you deliver real world context in your classroom. What are the implications for administrators? According to ISTE standards 2009 school leaders should promote and participate in local, national and global learning communities that stimulate innovation, creativity and digital-age collaboration. In other words both school leaders and teachers are needed to guide and aid the students in answering the questions: what can I believe, who can I trust and how do I connect to a personal learning network? There is a lot of talk about digital natives, (born after 1990, Inevitable),but the truth is they need help seeing the connections in a learner’s perspective. Participation in learning networks prepare the students for life and work in the 21st century and give them the opportunity to practice critical thinking accessing and anayzing information, collaboration, agility, initiative,oral and written communication and curiosity and imagination amongst others. (Tony Wagner seven survival skills).

Here are some practical examples:

  1. Writing real job applications with online CV for future use, vs writing one for your teacher
  2. Writing a blog with 2000 page views vs writing for your teacher. Also see:  tips for blogging in class.
  3. Creating a radio show and posting it on Facebook vs presenting in front of class or for your teacher
  4. Skyping with students in Bangladesh discussing how it is to live in a mega city vs reading about it in a textbook

I’ll leave the list with 4 points for now and suggest the following: To connect your students you need to be connected! Start with Twitter, Facebook and Skype. See here for points. Start following educators who are interested in the same topics as you and see who they are following! Make connections and share with your students! Get to it! Watch what Will Richardson has to say first!

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