Connectivism Course 1

Connectivism and Learning Style

For quite a while I try already to be connected but I have been only a consumer on the Internet. Material for teaching, especially since I work without books, information for personal interest like traveling or cooking, and food for thought for my passion for education – everything was/is there. Always. I’m very thankful for everybody who contributed. THANK YOU. But it was only in one direction …

Since I try to get even more connected – meaning in both or many directions – (Facebook Groups, RSS, Forums, Twitter, Diigo, etc.) I feel so lost in Connectivism (in English / in German) sometimes. Following posts, reading what interests me is too overwhelming. I want to read and learn, but there is just too much out there. The content, the concepts and ideas don’t stick in my mind like I want them to get them connected to prior knowledge and understandings. I check my RSS and after hanging out for a while I ask myself what do I remember.

There might be a solution for this phenomena.

First, we as connected learner need to set priorities. It is okay not too read everything. It is impossible. Let’s choose what we want to know more about.

Second, the awareness of our learning style. Reflecting on my own learning style I realized for me it is not enough to just read an article or watch a video. I need to explain it to somebody (f.e. writing a post). I love to exchange opinions, love to hear other perspectives, love to question and to connect together with other people. Being connected within a network let us find like-minded people. In a conversation we can compare, connect and form our knowledge and our learning.
It also very helpful to write down the main learning. I thought about having a visual diary but unfortunately I’m not a good drawer and illustrator at all. So I’m writing somewhere.

So far my own reflections on being a Connected Learner.

In regards to being a Networked Educator, I am at the very beginning. There is still a big questions mark. I want to become/be a role model for the students. I don’t see this (yet) so much in Primary School. Although there is definitely a way to promote learning from others, learning through others. How can we prepare the students in Primary School to become a Connected/Networked Learner?





Ready to jump into the writing experience!

Reading “The Age of Composition” on Jeff’s blog let me reflect about my own history of writing and how it changed in my personal and teaching life.

I have never felt very confident writing about something, no matter whether it is in my mother tongue German or now in English. The worries about being superficial, not to say anything new, not finding the right words or just about spelling conventions are always there. I don’t have any good writing memories of my own school life, but I do remember seeing my parents writing letters. For a while as a teenager I had a lot of pen pals so I got a letter each single day. I loved it. I also wrote letters in notebooks with female best friends and a personal diary. It was obviously very, very meaningful for me. Since then I think writing was more or less always for assessments at university or resulting of work. Sure, once in a while I’m writing a personal postcard or email. But that’s it.

It seems to be clear where the insecurity is coming from. BUT I’m ready to jump into a new writing challenge, to become more confident and to build my network which enriches my life so much. It is sometimes overwhelming and it means being out of the comfort zone. But that is the way where learning is coming from, right?

In this case writing this post, it happened exactly what Jeff was describing in his blog post:

  1. I’m reading REACH, page 28, about Literacy Development.
  2. Followed the link he mentioned on that page
  3. Reading his blog post about “The Age of Composition”
  4. Created a timeline about my own writing experience in school, at home, my past years
  5. Yes, sat down and started composing (luckily I don’t get sick reading and writing in the car)
  6. and will publish the post as soon as I have internet connection again. NOW 😉

Am I on the way to develop what Jeff called in his book Network Literacy?

And how to I support my students to develop writing skills which are driven by ideas and content and not just written for the teacher? The most important point for me is that it is meaningful for the students. When I’m reflecting on few past units especially with Grade 4 & 5 I always tried hard. They wrote f.e. an instruction for a self-created magnetism game (which was presented during a short exhibition), they wrote old fashion letters to an older person to ask about the change of written communication in their life, they wrote appeals to the community to get awareness of the impact of inventions and at the moment the students are getting into the community of a wikipedia. I always aiming to keep in mind that is has to be meaningful for students as learners or for ourself as learners.

Course 1

Hanging Out on the Internet

“Unlike with other genres of participation (e.g., messing around and geeking out), parents and educators tent not to see the practices involved in hanging out as supporting learning.” (Living and Learning with New Media)

That was exactly me and my first reaction: Just hanging out on the internet can’t be productive and even worse it must be a waste of time. All the more I was surprised to read that this doesn’t have to be the case.

Teenagers are

  • developing and maintaining friendships/relationships with close (local) friends
  • finding out interest/talents – creating an own identity, taste and style
  • engaged and they are believing in something which motivates them to do whatever kind of action
  • communicating with others
  • teaching friends and parents
At a first glance it doesn’t seem too bad, but at a second glance I’m asking as a teacher: How can I open the world of the internet to my students for a different, more contributing involvement? How can I get them always on and always contributing?
I started smiling when I realized that I am probably already doing a step in that direction with my Grade 4 without knowing it. The students are inquiring into “The brain” of the human being. They are reading informational texts and creating afterwards a post for their own wikipedia. The wikipedia is simple and easy to use so the students are able to contribute knowledge to the community every time they are posting something. On my side I try to contribute instructional videos for the first time in my teacher life, f.e. How to create a post? or How to save your draft own the server?. It is a beginning.
Wiki Grade 4
Related to my thoughts here I read What does it mean to disconnect? Thanks, Jeff, for food for thoughts!
Course 1

Just a little introduction!

My journey up to Coetail

I grew up basically without any computer at home (although I don’t feel that old). In secondary school we did our first steps with Basic programming but I never got into it deeper.

When I started to study at the university I remember that I had to set up an email account. Did I use internet during university time? – I can’t really remember. The reason might be the fact that I did a teaching degree for elementary school instead of Informatics. I tried to combine my interest in technology and education at university for a year before I got the chance at a Software Company Infopark to be a trainer for their costumers. I’m still very thankful for this experience and for the people I met there.

After 4 year though I felt stagnation and it made me questioning what comes next. I traveled for a while before I got another great chance – teaching in Seoul at the German School Seoul International DSSI. It was a great and inspiring experience that I don’t want to miss.

It seems to be a pattern in my life that stagnation in whatever area makes me feel uncomfortable. Again, after 4 years teaching and learning as a homeroom teacher in Seoul I was searching for a new experience and PYP became a new passion for me. Eventually a curriculum already had put a lot of new ideas of teaching in words. A new world was opened.

Fortunately international schools provide an environment to live my passion for technology and education at the same time. I’m in the lucky situation to teach and learn in such great place like the Primary School at BIS. I’m again thankful for all the great people I work with.

If I label and describe my job, it’s “PYP (German) teacher”. But I want to go further, I want to add the technology piece as well. I believe these days all teacher are technology teachers. We need to be and we need to train ourselves to be prepared – always and constantly. That’s why I’m here. 🙂

Let’s start …