As I have sat down to work on this Summary of Learning post a number of times, I am betwixt and between as to how to present the vast amount of knowledge that I have gained as a result of the exchanges we have encountered over the past eight weeks of class. I wanted to try something new, but I couldn’t determine what would be the best path to follow. So, when all else fails, blog about it.
I want to start you off by the introductory video that I created using Animoto. This video truly touches the surface of our discussions and really looks at pre-knowledge that many of us had when we entered into our weekly conversations at the beginning of June.
Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.
Take a look:
Within our virtual learning environment, as learners throughout the process, we were exposed to a number of different learning environments. On our own, we read the assigned course readings. We blogged about those readings as well as about the mobile tools of the week, which we explored on our own. During synchronous course conversations, we shared information that we had learned and discovered. We had an opportunity to learn from each other by reading other’s blog posts that were often on the same topic, yet had a different twist or insight that we needed to consider. Sharing didn’t stop there, links, videos, readings, websites were all shared within social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Diigo (a crowd favorite). Wherever you looked, knowledge could be found. Which makes it so difficult to nail down exactly what I learned from all of these different sites, from my professor, and from my colleagues! There was so much information.
To start my reflection on what we learned, I went back and re-read all of the blog posts that I had written specifically for this course. It got me thinking about all of the topics that we covered and all of the insight that was necessary to build the knowledge base that I currently have, eight weeks later. After reading them all, I decided to copy and paste the text into Wordle. Here’s what I got:
The main words that jump out are students, mobile, devices, learning, and information. This sums up the main themes of the course, in my opinion. All of these words are so intertwined that it will be hard to separate them out to discuss them distinctly, but I will try.
- Students: The base and the root of all of our thoughts. As teachers, we do everything for our students and to assist in their development. Throughout the course, we constantly challenged our knowledge to build upon how mobile devices would affect the students. What will this change for each student? Our students are changing. They are growing up in this fast-paced, constant society and have come to rely and depend upon their mobile devices. Thus, teachers need to adapt to meet the growing needs of these students.
- Mobile: Being mobile makes learning ubiquitous. Learning can occur wherever, whenever, however, when devices can be mobile. During Week 2, we specifically looked at and discussed how to teach with mobile devices. What will change by bringing mobility to learning? Everything. From our discussions and reading other classmate’s blogs, things are already changing in their learning environments because of less restrictions and because learning can be constant. It can transcend the classroom walls and be significant experiences in the lives of our students, all by putting a device in their hands.
- Devices: Often viewed as just a tool for learning, the device (in my opinion) often matters significantly because of the features, capabilities, and restrictions that come with these devices. When talking about cloud computing, the device might not matter, but we are not entirely there yet. I still see cloud computing as the future. So, for now, we need to consider the device. If our students are using iTouches and iPhones and other touch screen devices, then we need to respond by providing them with outlets for using them as learning devices. Download apps that are educational and will provide content in addition to skills. If our students are using the laptops, how can we significantly engage them to learn? That’s the future. That’s what we need to determine.
- Learning: How doesn’t learning change? In addition to changing the physical structure of the learning environment, teachers now must understand various issues in regard to security and privacy because the world is at the finger tips of our students by providing them with mobile devices. Policies must be enhanced to augment the new types of learning environments. Most importantly, though, learning will become more authentic, more genuine, and hopefully more engaging for our students because they will be given the freedom to inquire and search for their wisdom on various topics and ideas within the curriculum.
- Information: As they say, knowledge is power. This couldn’t be more true. The types of information and knowledge will readily change as mobile devices enter the equation of education and schooling because the devices will open up the information beyond just the teacher in the classroom. Information is everywhere – students just need help finding that information and harnessing it appropriately.