Confluence of Thought – about Learning and Creativity

As an adjunct professor, and a student of learning, I love learning about how people learn and about how to enhance, or create a climate of learning. I feel like I get a natural high just thinking about how best to constructor or orchestrate my class and the material I teach to best help my students meet with success – based on the goals I’ve set.

There are many things ‘in play’ in my mind at the moment, and the problem is, my mind just won’t let them go without bringing them together into a cohesive whole.  I feel like they’re all related, and yet I’m wanting to put my finger on just how they are related, and then apply it to my own experience and to my own teaching and instruction.  Here are the things that have been walking through my mind of late:

  • Just the first few chapters of Sir Ken Robinson’s “The Element“: Robinson caught my attention from his popular TED talks and I’ve come to use a few of them in my class as discussion starters, and as a precursor to why teaching is so critical in the first place.  Adding technology is great (for technology integration), but only if a teacher recognizes what they want to accomplish objectively – adding technology to a lesson like a baker adds icing to a cake doesn’t bear out the same type of tasty results. Robinson really helps to uncover some of the ways I’ve been blinded to or unaware of the issues of how we approach children, instruction and recognizing the tremendous value of our uniqueness as people and our capacity for creativity.
  • Continued reading and research into Blended Learning: The very words “Blended Learning” are quite the buzz these days, especially within the realm of online education and distance education.  More and more higher education schools and even quite a handful of K12 schools are moving much of what they do online (for lots of reasons), but what specific advantages exist for this movement – how are they effective (notice I didn’t ask if they were effective).Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 12.05.16 AM
  • Knowing that Blooms Taxonomy has been revised for several years now, placing ‘create’ as the highest level – continues to intrigue and invite me – like what happens when I walk through the door of my home and the whole place smells of something wonderful that Becky has been working on and getting ready for our evening meal.  While “remembering” is a critical step toward ‘create’ how fast and how practically should I be getting my own students (who are learning about educational technology) be getting to that step in the lessons I walk them through – or in the assignments I give?
  • Flowing rather closely behind my thoughts about Blooms is the idea of communication and collaboration – as skills.  I’m trying to synthesize how Blooms with these skills.  Granted there’s lots to ‘remember’ about communication and collaboration – but I’m almost given to think that as students move up the levels of blooms – toward create – they should move from being less of a ‘consumer’ of learning, to a ‘contributor’ to learning – and therefore leverage communications and collaborative contexts.  This is to say that learners who move beyond the evaluate level of Blooms should be engaging ever more with others and by engaging in the create level – contributing to the learning of others (and to themselves by default).
  • I’ve also been letting the thoughts of John T. Spencer marinade in my mind a bit.  As someone who ‘lives’ in the trenches, I have grown to have a great respect for what he’s about, what he has to share, his honesty in doing so, and the realization that ‘getting this education thing down’ isn’t about acquisition but about continual exploration and discovery.

The one thing that I’m so thankful for is that I’m wired for learning – I love it.  I’d do it all day if I could, but at some point, I have to share what I’ve learned with others and well that’s fun too – I think some people refer to it as teaching. I hope to have more on these thoughts as I progress through them. For now I’ll just have to keep thinking about it.

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