Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blog Post #6

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Networked Student by Nancy Drexler
This video explains the process, connectivism, that "21st Learner" goes through to study a particular topic.  This process allows students to take control of their learning.  Through the Internet, "21st Century Learner" develops his personal learning network, or PLN.  For his topic, the American psyche, he uses Google Scholar and his school's library database to find information.  He uses a social bookmarking site to store his findings.  The student searches blogs on the subject while realizing many blogs post opinions versus facts.  The student posts on his own blog, also.

On his mp3 player, the student has access to iTunes U.  He listens to college lectures presented by some of the best professors in the world.  After all of the student's research, he is able to make an electronic presentation of what he has learned about the American psyche.  The student is learning information management.  His motto is:  It never hurts to ask.

Regarding the question, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?", the video offers great answers.  The teacher teaches the student how to build a PLN, how to take advantage of learning opportunities, and gives guidance when the student gets stuck.  The teacher also teachers how to communicate properly, how to respectfully ask for help from experts, how to discern between good information and propaganda, how to check the validity of a resource, how to turn a web search into a scavenger hunt, and how to get excited when he finds that "pearl of content".  The teacher should help the student organize those mountains of information creatively and to solve the problems of the world.

All of this sounds similar to a video from a previous assignment.  Teachers are to be filters of all of this information.  What is so crucial is for a teacher to have this understanding and philosophy to be able to operate a classroom in this way.  Also, after reading a bit of Nancy Drexler's blog, I see that teachers will have to be able to teach students the in's and out's of how the Internet works, writing skills, and digital responsibility including giving credit to sources.  A teacher can not do this if the teacher is not knowledgeable about these very things.

A 7th Grader's PLE
A student explains the process of her online learning.  When she goes to class she immediately checks what she is working on and what is due.  She uses a social bookmarking site, Symbaloo, which led me to ask, "What is Symbaloo?"  It is described as "Your Person Internet Desktop" and it is called an iGoogle alternative.  Which led me to ask, "What is iGoogle?"  iGoogle will not be available after November 1, 2013 because "with modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time."

Back to the seventh grader, online learning has given her more freedom and responsibility.  She says she decides how and when, not if, she will learn and do her assignments.  I think another good descriptor is discipline.  She said because the Internet is neat, paperless, a person is hardly ever in need of a pencil.  I laughed out loud (LOL) when I heard her say this because I had a pen in my hand taking notes.


  1. Catherine,

    I really enjoyed your post! We both have some of the same ideas concerning this post. From a grammatical standpoint I thought your post was great. Keep working hard. Good luck with the rest of the semester in EDM 310!

    John Carpenter

  2. Yes, connectivism requires teachers - but teachers who do very different things than teachers in the past. You could see how hard Anthony is working when we talked with him last Sunday. The use of challenge based, project-based and problem-based learning strategies at all grade levels are similar to the networked student's approach to learning except the approaches vary according to grade. It is exciting to see it happening where we live. And to be a part of that process. You are getting ready to be a Networked Teacher!

    Taking notes with a pen? I would have laughed too!