Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Free tools and their role in learning...or not?

Free tools and their role in learning...or not?
After listening to Bud Hunt's most recent blogcast (thanks my eyes were killing me I needed sound...) I was spinning with questions and few answers...even the answers were just ramblings in my mind. What followed was a response to his post and a copy and paste to mine. :)

Do you get what you pay for? Where is the concrete content from our learning? How do we build our own infrastructure?Where does the obligation come in? Does the collection of data really equate to digital footprints in the concrete or in the snow?

Your posts makes me think for sure...

I view my job as a K-6 educator as a cookie crumb visual. I'm setting the stage for questioning and creating as the students grows into adulthood. It'd be great for my students to follow the trail back in their learning and build on their own schema in a concrete way like you mention. However, If I can spark creativity, or thirst for knowledge or answers with a "free" disposable tool , than more times than not I feel that I've done a great job. Using Dvolver won't make my students the best movie makers, and you're right, it'd be awesome if they could look back at a 3 minute dialogue driven animation a few years from now and build off of it, but the lesson wasn't driven by the tool, the lesson was the writing, or the brainstorm, and the tool was the inspiration or carrot. (We are missing it as teachers, or facilitators of knowledge, if we let the tool drive the instruction) The memory will be the carrot or the video, and the lesson ideally made them enjoy writing at a time when most boys in particular bow out. You are definitely on to something...how concrete is our digital footprint; but I wouldn't be as quick to say that some of these "throwaways" are truly "throwaways". I have asked "lifelines" to come back and wiki-blog with the next year's 6th graders, for support and reflection, and their sites are still good three years later. And I think they're okay with it going away, maybe even expect it because the products were "then" and they're in the "now". There's learning taking place in their reflective posts, and theirs learning gleaned form the students today. Are we feeding the "now" with these tools and is this part of the makeup of todays digital learner? I have no idea!

I do know that I don't have the product from great assignments I completed as a kid, but I do have the memories and passion from teachers that were outside the box or thinking beyond the rest of my teachers. Did they save my work? I don't know, would it be cool if they did, maybe, but more importantly to me today and in my college years was that I gained a passion for the question and a drive to learn what I didn't "have to."

No wonder Karl asks so many questions listening to you all the time. :)

Thanks for making me think
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