Chapter 1: Arc-of-Life Learning: Chapter 1 of this book lays the groundwork for the the new culture of learning by demonstrating that learning has changed drastically as the world has changed, and a new culture is already emerging. Several stories that demonstrate how learning has changed are shared, and they demonstrate how arc-of-life learning, which is made up of all of the interconnected activities that make up the learning and growing in our daily lives, is a much more fluid way to embrace learning than the isolated-content-in-classrooms model.
Quote: "Each of these stories is about a bridge between two worlds- one that is largely public and information based . . . and another that is intensely personal and structured." (Location 291) This quote captured the concept for me. It shows how that bridge IS the learning. People tap into their curiosity and imagination to pull these two worlds together and create something of personal meaning.
Question: How can traditional educational forums be re-imagined and re-shaped to facilitate this arc-of-life learning, knowing that much of what is learned now is learned outside of these traditional educational forums? How can we keep schools relevant?
Connection: The very structure of EDL630 demonstrates arc-of-life learning. I think I have learned more from this class about how to be an effective educator, than all my years of college in preparation to become a teacher and all my years as an educator combined. This course doesn't separate us out from our lives and compartmentalize our learning. We are plunked into the middle of our teaching lives and asked to learn from there. I am bridging the information from the new informational side and my personal world and constructing meaning that is absolutely useful and eye-opening for myself, my students, and the school where I teach. It is interconnected learning that feels refreshingly natural as a way to learn.
Epiphany: The epiphany for this chapter is that when authentic learning takes place, the learner can see and feel the difference between learning and being taught.(Location 306) Learning involves being curious enough to weave together resources from various areas of our lives until meaning is constructed. That meaning is the learning and is made up of discovery of the purpose, relevancy, and application of new knowledge. When we learn we ask ourselves, "How can I apply this? Where does this fit?"
Chapter 2: A Tale of Two Cultures:
Quote: "When individuals become part of a new culture, they are generally the ones who are transformed." (Location 355)
Question: How can educators create boundaries within the learning environments of schools that act as "catalysts for innovation" that help am organic culture of authentic learning emerge, rather than traditional constraints that limit innovation?
Connection: The philosophies we are embracing and exploring in EDL630, and the types of boundaries enlisted, are absolutely contributing to the emergence of a dynamic learning culture within our cohort. If the student in EDL630 is engaged in the experience of this course, he or she is, without a doubt, being transformed by this new culture that is emerging. I know I am. The learning is different here because our learning is taking place within the world. We are not sitting in the EDL630 classroom listening to our instructor tell us all about wonderful ways to engage with students. Instead, we are in our everyday environments of teaching, and those environments are being augmented with ideas, philosophies, and methods that we are able to interact with and apply immediately within our environments instead of just applying them to the quiz paper on our desks in the EDL630 classroom.
Epiphany: Seeing learning as an environment is a big, wonderful shift for me. Not schools where learning takes place within the walls of the classroom only. Learning is seen as an environment where the focus is on growing a culture where the learning emerges from interaction within the world, and not learning in a classroom about the world.
Chapter 3: Embracing Change:
Quote: "The challenge is to find a way to marry structure and freedom to create something altogether new." (Location 575)
Question: How can educators create schools as learning environments that strike the balance between the structure schools provide and the freedom that today's media of unlimited resources provides? And how can educators help reshape school's in doing this large-scale without losing all sense of purpose and direction?
Connection: The model we are embracing in EDL630 is doing exactly that, in my opinion. I sense structure for sure. I feel the boundaries of school and the class. But the freedom to personalize my learning experience and to express my learning authentically is also there- and it is priceless. My learning here is rich, layered, interconnected, absolutely relevant, and transformational. My learning is all that, and the school (institution) has not lost its purpose and direction. In my eyes, this school (or EDL630 specifically) is achieving the goal of marrying structure and freedom- it is succeeding in reshaping the learning environment in a way that makes our learning relevant in today's (right now) world. We have crossed over into A New Culture of Learning.
Epiphany: There were many epiphanies in this chapter, but one is the idea of our using play and imagination (much like children do) to make sense of our world that is rapidly and constantly changing. We can't wait to be trained and taught about every new change that occurs, because it is changing too rapidly for that to occur. We have to just jump in and play with it. We can activate our imaginations for how to use the rapid influx of new knowledge- play with it to see how it fits into our lives and why it is important. In schools today that is one of the biggest complaints I hear from teachers- that "they want us to use all of this new technology, but they don't give us any training." I tell people all the time: "Just get in there and play with it. Click around on the technology. You aren't going to break it- and you just might figure it out."