Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I "go" to Yale (not really, but maybe)

I "go" to Yale. I "attend" talks by the most innovative people in the world. I "converse" with people all over the globe all the time. I "read" anything and everything all day long. I "participate" in PD while on my couch.

 Let me explain how I do this everyday.

I "go" to Yale
A couple times a week I listen to Professor Steven B. Smith's 2009 class on political philosophy for undergrads. Yale has put many classes online through iTunes U and you can upload them to your mp3 player or smart phone. I discovered a love of philosophy at the end of my undergrad career but it was too late to really start taking classes. Now I can "go" back and take philosophy courses while I drive back from school or practice.

I "attend" talks by the most innovative people in the world
You no longer need to pay thousands of dollars to hear the best and brightest discuss some of the most interesting topics on the planet. There's an app for that. TED has a mobile app that allows you to view their famous talks while you wait in line for a prescription or are anxiously preparing for a date with the dentist.

 I "converse" with people all over the world all the time.
Via Twitter I get to talk to the most passionate, knowledgeable, and progressive professionals in my field. It is uber personal and collaborative. The community feel of educators on Twitter is truly remarkable. For the first time in human history you can easily discuss your thoughts and opinions with experts. I am constantly learning about new ideas and engaging in meaningful and authentic conversation.

I "read" anything and everything all day long
I must read between 10 and 30 blog posts a day. These blogs may be on education, philosophy, sports, music or simply anything I am into on a particular day. Besides blogs, I read book excerpts, professional research, and primary sources. All of this disparate knowledge is at my fingertips and is effortlessly gleaned. Whatever I am passionate or curious about I can google and my learning takes off.

I "participate" in PD while on my couch.
Whether it be Twitter chats, online conferences, google docs, or Youtube videos, I am constantly polishing my craft and can do so at anytime. Most of this is personally directed and  individually relevant. It is meaningful and relates to the things I need in my classroom.

All of this "learning" occurs on a regular basis for me. In fact, as I was typing this post my roommate (a businessman) shared two interesting articles that got me thinking. This is the world we live in. Where information and self-directed authentic learning is right in front of us. Yet, we still push for a system where one individual is supposed to dispense their knowledge to 30 students. How does this make sense? I have met some smart people, but I can not think of one who could teach me all I learn on a daily basis. We need to guide students to be able to navigate this world and make it work for them. Our ideas and notions of education must change to meet the learning opportunities that we have here in the present.

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