Close connection – Verbundenheit by alles-schlumpf, on Flickr
I recently wrote a post on the abundance of options that most adults have when it comes to their continuing educations, and while I don’t think that K-12 students have anywhere near that many opportunities to define what their education looks like, Christian Talbot nails what’s important in education, and what we might not see enough of: connections.
(And he also introduced me to the idea of the meddler in the middle.)
After reading his post, I realized that this is the problem I’ve been having with many online learning environments. Not all of them, mind you, but definitely the ones that I’m paying way too much for. As a student, I don’t have a real connection with many of my teacher, and it manifests itself in a lack of interest at best, and a lack of understanding at worst. If anything, it’s a good lesson about how not to create a learning environment, online or in-person.
In addition to connecting with students, this is also a reminder to connect as a professional. The value of connections is what makes being part of a PLN so enriching and rewarding. We should want to be a part of something bigger than we are, and to know about things via other perspectives and points of view… the same things that we want for our students. We shouldn’t be so different from them.
The rush to innovate should be tempered with the reminder to connect. Let’s make sure that everything is working — pedagogically, technologically, and otherwise — before we bring in something new. Let’s make sure that we’re reaching our students, giving them a voice and a choice about what their education looks like. This is a reminder to iterate, to tinker, to refine until things work the way we think they should, to reach out for help and perspective when we need it.
Christian is the new head of school at Malvern Prep — they’re lucky to have someone who sees the value of the intangibles, the things that will make teaching and learning better, more motivating, and more interesting for everyone involved.
Posted via email from another think coming