Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CCK08 a gift horse

I agree with Matthias that an indirect effect leads to better success in learning than direct, goal-directed attempts to control the outcomes. Perhaps we are just slightly ahead of our time. We "get it" but I am very concerned by my students' apparent inability or unwillingness to engage in learning beyond what is explicitly codified. Giving them permission and encouragement to explore and develop their own connections has not been met with the wild enthusiasm that I expected. This is going to be challenging.

Nature or nurture? Structural preferences? What can I put in place to help my chickadees move toward this wide open space that is theirs to discover and enjoy for the rest of their lives?

Resonance is an interesting concept. Whether it is a physical structural preference for threaded discussions and blogs, or a range of ideas or just writing style, inclusion of white-space, font selection and word choice in a catchy blog post title, some work products of other CCK08 participants just jump out and grab my attention. Before I know it, I'm connected to something old, something new and/or something borrowed. The give-and-take generated from the posts, comments, replies and feedback is exciting as well as informative. This is so multi-faceted that determining how this happens is way beyond me. Suffice to say it is a fascinating topic in itself.

I would have to say that, at this time, I'm firmly in the external devices as auxiliary extensions of the human mind camp. I'm comfortable with the notion that conceptual connections can be facilitated by tools including, but not limited to mapping tools. I love the phrase visuo-spatial sketchpad of the human short-term memory, but that is only one aspect of learners' need for external devices.

Innovation, tool-use, collection, sorting, categorizing, storage and retrieval, even planning are basic tasks that humans and most animals exhibit. Technologies can be directed to participate in these tasks as well, and in some cases can do more better than individuals or groups. Making the connections seamless is surprisingly easy, as demonstrated by the sense-making and learning that is happening for hundreds, if not thousands of us in CCK08 over the last couple of months.

This is a precious gift. I want my students to have it. Now if they would look beyond its mouth...


  1. Thanks for the elaborate thoughts. Maybe I should have given references for the "visuo-spatial sketchpad". I found the term in Dave Gray's unbook "Marks and Meaning". Others call it scratchpad.

  2. Thanks, Matthias. Scratchpad seems rather ordinary by comparison. :o)