Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Assignment #6

The Networked Student

I think that Wendy Drexler's idea of a networked student is brilliant. Using Google Scholar, she and her students both know that the sources they are using are reliable. They are getting the information that they need about the subject from peer-reviewed authors who really know what they're talking about. Since they aren't using a textbook, the articles from Google Scholar are where the 'facts' come from. The articles are a better source of information than the textbook anyway, because the textbook only gives brief descriptions of every topic. With Google Scholar, however, there are many different explanations of the same thing that the student can explore to help them get a better understanding. As mentioned in the video, reading others' blogs is more opinion based than anything. Even so, it's beneficial to be able to share your opinion in order to open up discussions about the topic. In all, her method allows students to combine their ability to find research-based knowledge, share it with others, and receive feedback about their own opinions.

A very important question was brought to light in this video...Why does the networked student even need a teacher? Think about it. You have a kid who, most likely, is accustomed to listening to a teacher lecture, or flip through powerpoint slides. You hand them a computer and tell them to learn about psychology. How are they going to know what to do? Someone has to guide them in figuring out which sources will tell them what they need to know, and which are unreliable. Even if they do know how to find the information, that doesn't mean that they would think to network and share that knowledge, all while enhancing their own understanding. Yes, they are learning on their own, but they need a teacher to show them the process which gives them the best and most beneficial outlet for that learning experience.

EDM 310 is a great example of transforming us to be networked students. Before this class, I didn't understand networking, know how to use a blog effectively, or know how to find trusted sources on the internet. However, reading these blogs and doing all of these projects has helped to transform me in ways that I didn't even realize until recently. In other classes in the past few weeks that I've been assigned projects in, instead of trying to sit there on my own and think of the easiest thing to do, I've learned to use resources such as Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube to give me ideas. If it wasn't for this class, I would still be thinking a lecture and tests was the best way to go; and it's not. Sometimes you don't realize how narrow your frame of mind is until it's challenged, which is what Dr. Strange and Ms. Drexler are trying to accomplish in all of their networked students.

A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)

Looking back on my 7th grade year, I really couldn't tell you what I learned. However, I bet this girl could give you some useful information. She knows where to find good sources, and keeps everything organized using Symbaloo. I think one of the things that's so great about her PLE is that she has the freedom to learn what she wants. For instance, she said she was interested in the box jellyfish, so she did an interactive project on it. She gets to explore things that she's curious about and expand on them in her own way. No kid wants to sit and listen to something that bores them. By allowing them to approach learning how they want to, they're able to fulfill those curiosities and actually dig deeper into the subject. Not only that, it's exciting to be able to email and have Skype interviews with scientists. She even mentions that other websites such as Facebook can be distracting, but they 'have so much freedom that you have the inclination to be responsible.' That's called a motivated student. Once you get kids excited about learning and teach them how to use it to their benefit, they're going to be a lot more likely to continue that path to success in the future.


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