In my previous posts I have tried to shortly summarise and reflect what I have learned during my studies in LET so far. The posts have served the purpose for me to think about the issues dealt with in the course and try to organise my thoughts by writing (explaining them for myself and the possible reader). I have to say that I like this way of working, having time to ponder about the subjects on the course in the form of a blog and thus understanding the issues more deeply.
What I’ve learned so far
On our last Introduction to Learning and Educational Technology -class we watched the final products, that is, videos we had done in small groups about what we learned during our course. I was amazed by the creativity and also how different the videos were although they were done from the same “ingredients”, I mean the issues we had dealt with in the course. Watching the videos I felt a sort of epiphany about some issues:
- the group products really showed that each group member brought their own knowledge and skills together, and by working in collaboration created a joint understanding of the subject, the end products being greater than if they were produced as individual work. I think the end products were even greater than just the sum of the group members, that is, in a group of three, 1+1+1 > 3,
- the collaboration in making the videos and the final products represented creative collaboration at it’s best,
- emotions and attitudes in the class while watching the videos was great, everyone was very supportive and positive about the end products. This kind of a positive and good atmosphere creates a good learning environment where everyone feels safe and are receptive and open for learning.
Looking back at the Introduction to Learning and Educational Technology -course, I see it as an interesting mix of ICT -workshops, collaborative work (jigsaw lessons), and more traditional lectures. In the ICT -workshops we “got our hands dirty” in trying out a multitude of different tools from blog, wiki, Pinterest, Google apps for education, video editing tools, QR coding, augmented reality, etc. On our jigsaw lessons we got to discuss the articles we had read and produced presentations using the many tools available in the wonderful LeaForum. And on the lectures we were given more information about the learning theories, the historical development, present and possible future pedagogy, an interesting and inspiring lecture from Mr. Paul Kirschner about what is high quality learning, and also glimpses to current research conducted in the field of learning and teaching in Oulu University. Combination of these different kinds of classes made the course diverse and interesting, and more over all of them served their own purpose: we were given the chance to experience in practice what is collaborative learning, CSCL, technology enhanced learning, gamification, creative learning, and also self-regulated learning.
What especially will remain in my mind after this course:
- the historical development of CSCL: how views on learning and teaching are representations of their time and how they have evolved through behavioristic, congnitive, and constructivist views to the present collaborative view of learning,
- how collaborative learning promotes shared understanding and meaning making,
- learning is very much a social phenomenon, in which emotions and motivation play an important part,
- how CSCL promotes formal and informal learning, and extends to learning outside the classroom, bringing peers, parents, and others in the community to be part of the learning,
- how the role of the learner has changed from passive to an active one who can take control of their own learning by defining learning goals and monitoring their progress in achieving their goals,
- how the role of the teacher has changed from the mere information giver to more of a guide in learning. The teacher is the orchestrator who needs to carefully consider the theoritical basis of learning and plan the practical realisation of learning, taking into account for example that all the students come to the class with pre-existing knowledge, and how to best make use of the different methods and tools to ensure equal learning opportunities for each student on their own level,
- the need for renewing of the schooling system in the form of a new curricula to meet the needs of a changing society and to reflect the current understanding about what is good learning,
- good learning environments should take into account that learners bring different knowledge, skills and attitudes into the classroom (learner centered learning environment), attention is given to what is taught and why it is taught (knowledge centered), assessments should provide students with opportunities to revise and improve their thinking, help students see their own progress, and help teachers to identify possible problems that need to be remedied (assessment centered), and norms in the classroom should be such that encourage risk-taking, opportunities to make mistakes, obtain feedback, and revise. Also, there should be ways to link classroom learning to other aspects of students’ lives (community centered),
- how technology enables the creation of learning environments where students can learn by doing, receive feedback, refine their understanding and build new knowledge. Technology enables bringing new curricula based in real-life problems into the classroom. It also provides scaffold and tools to enhance learning. Technology also enables building local and global communities.
During our two-year LET studies were are becoming experts in Learning and Educational Technology. By this time I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of learning theories, and have perhaps gained some understanding of the subjects. I still feel like a novice who is eager to take in as much information as possible after which I hope I will feel more confident in discussing the issues more deeply and even critically, posing my own ideas and thoughts about them.
At this stage of my studies I think my interest lies especially in life-long learning and learning of expertise But how do come about being an expert – how to learn expertise? What are the factors that affect learning of expertise? I think learning of expertise is a long process and interestingly enough, our Learning of Expertise -course will extend over a two-year period. So during that time I’m hopeful that I will understand how learning of expertise is constructed, and become an expert in learning myself. Also I’m looking forward to our upcoming Self-regulated learning -course (self-regulated learning, by the way, I think is one major aspect in learning of expertise as well, though I might have emphasized collaborative learning in my previous post), and also deepening my knowledge on the issues dealt with so far about collaborative learning and CSCL.
So, I’ve started my interesting, and most likely also challenging journey into Learning and Educational Technology. I’ve taken the plunge and it’s either “sink or swim” – that is, you can either give up and sink or take up the challenge and learn to swim. And remember: