Thursday, February 23, 2006

Networked learners

A post over at Remote Access today made me think about what I am doing in my classes and in my life. But then, that's the point of all this, isn't it?

Clarence Fisher talks about how, as a "professional learner", he has come to depend on the networking that goes on online. And then he goes on to talk about how that translates -- or doesn't -- into the classroom. He says
How much time do we give kids to explore, to think, to gather, to graze? We often look upon this time as unproductive when we see kids grazing across the information ecosphere, but yet that is when we often stumble across a gem of some sort..... Literacy is a social act of understanding, I get that now. How social is it when kids turn their work in the inbox on my desk for only me to see?

I think about my own classes and wonder how much time I allow students to "graze". Don't we, usually, consider it a waste of time? At the very least, it is not considered academic. I have to think about how I can incorporate more grazing, more reflection, more networking into my classes.

And I have to thank Clarence for the post that caught my attention and made me think about my classes in a way I hadn't before. Like, him, I can always use a little help from my friends.


Susan said...

I am just starting to blog with this year's group of fifth graders. I have been wondering how to set up my curriculum so that my students are reading and responding to blogs outside of our community. I may have hit upon a bit of a plan. As I introduced the blogs, I told them that part of the power of having their own blog was that it could help them share the things they care about, and it could connect them with other people with the same interests.

They got it. Today, as they began their first posts, words poured from their fingers. Students who seemed to struggle with writer's block in other situations were writing amazingly well crafted first drafts on topics such as video games and gold retrievers.

Maybe my next step is to help them set up Bloglines accounts, as Clarence has done, and help them learn to find those blogs of interest to them. That would give them a pasture in which to graze.

Nancy A. McKeand said...

What great ideas! I will definitely try that approach to encouraging comments. And I think I am ready to introduce Bloglines with my next group of bloggers. I feel another post coming on! Thanks!