Are we asking our students to STOP learning?
I’m sure the immediate response of every educator would be a resounding NO. Our job is to foster learning, move learning forward, create learning environments …we are about starting, and continuing learning not stopping it.
However we work in classrooms where resources are limited. Often there is only 1 teacher available for 25 plus students. There are only so many books. There is only so much time to cover the curriculum. There are often demand on our attention and time that fall outside of the learning agenda. For all of these reasons we are often forced to ask students to put their learning on hold…if not stop it all together while they compete for resources.
That is a topic for next year. STOP
Today’s lesson is on page 43. Turn to that page and do only questions 4 and 5. STOP
We will not have time for you to explore that. STOP
If you want to borrow that book put your name on the request list and when it is free you can borrow it. STOP
You will have to wait until I have time to come sit with you. STOP
As long as student knowledge acquisition is limited to books, and the one teacher in the classroom there will always be a need for learning to STOP. Students will need to stop while they wait for the attention of the teacher. They will need to stop while they wait for the book. They will need to stop when they get to the end of the book. They will need to stop because learning is too big of a job for students to do completely on their own.
In my video interview with Dean Shareski last week he mentioned what I believe is a monumental change in learning today- it no longer has to stop. It no longer has to stop because the way the world contains our information has changed. No longer are books, or the single teacher in the classroom the only containers of knowledge students can access. The internet can instantly connect learners with ideas, knowledge, and people in ways that were not possible in the past. In his book Too Big to Know, David Weinberger states that “our medium can now ”handle far more ideas and information, and now that it is a connective medium (ideas to ideas, people to ideas, people to people), our strategy (for acquiring knowledge) is changing.” (p.21).
As our strategies for acquiring knowledge change, we as teachers need to change the way we look at learning. We can NOT limit it to us or the books.
Technology can allow our students to continue, extend and connect their learning every day. They can posse questions and instantly access information. They can watch videos, read websites, and connect with others around the world. Technology can completely changed the way our students can access information and acquire knowledge. We as educators need to reflect that change in our classrooms, in the way we teach and in the opportunities we provide our students. By so doing we will allow our learners to GO!