I spent a lot of time this past weekend thinking about how technology is changing the learning landscape and global education. I thought a lot about clouds, collaborative learning, and mobiles. I dreamed about making a game that was based on art and would be as engaging to students as Lego Star Wars. In the end, thinking about how technology is changing the learning landscape and global education became too much. It was too big and broad a topic.
After high school, I went to art school and learned how to draw, make prints and paint. In all these disciplines I put in hours of work learning and growing as an artist. When I was done I went to university to be a teacher. While I really enjoyed my teaching practicum, the lectures were often uninspiring. Writing a term paper for me was very difficult and frustrating process with little imagination or originality thrown in to it. I missed the independence and creativity of art school.
When I signed up for Coetail, it had been 20 years since I had been to school. I was very apprehensive about any writing that would be involved. I make sure I do all the readings and look through all the blogs I follow. I try to make my posts as interesting and insightful as I can. I relate them back to the readings or articles that I find and draw on my own experiences. As I am finding out writing a blog post and responding to others is proving to be a much more rewarding than I ever would have thought. I think a lot of it has to do with whom I am writing for.
Writing blog postings for ones peers is very different than writing a paper for a TA or professor. Cathy N. Davidson writes in her article Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age that students in a new class she designed were infinitely better writers when they were blogging. The students took things much more seriously if they knew their peers instead of their teachers were evaluating them. Ms. Davidson mentions that Stanford professor in Andrea Lunsford “found that Lunsford surprised everyone with her findings that students were becoming more literate, rhetorically dexterous, and fluent—not less, as many feared”. In some ways blogging is very similar to having your artwork critiqued in front of a group of your peers. You always made sure you did the best you could because your classmates would be very honest about the quality of your work.
In the last few weeks, I have written a number of blogs and responded to just as many. I have become much more comfortable with the process and feel that the writing reflects more of who I am. It allows me to be more creative and allows me to comment on what I feel is important while meeting the needs of the course. All of this may be only a very small part of the new global education. However, blogging has changed the learning landscape enough for me to keep on moving forward and that is a bid deal to me.
Photo by Carl Knudsen