Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Engaged Learning

David Warlick over at 2 Cents Worth is always thinking. In his recent blog post he asks the question:

“What is the difference between 20th century learning and 21st century learning?”

He talks about the definition(s)of learning:

First of all, I would characterize formal learning, in the pre-digital/industrial time as:

  • listening,
  • watching,
  • remembering

In a time of information scarcity, when our futures were fairly predictably, being educated was characterized by what you know.

In the digital age, where information is abundant (overwhelming) and the future is always a BIG question, I think that learning expands out of listening, watching, and remembering to include:

  • questioning,
  • engaging,
  • proving (and disproving),
  • Constructing (inventing)
  • teaching

He says usually engagement is used with the obligation/responsibility of the teacher, not the student. He says the verb engage should be used with the students:

I’ve had to work on the engaging part. It’s a term that I usually do not like to hear. …when I usually hear the term engage the students, it appears to be a verb … linked to the teacher — that the teacher’s job is to engage the students. What I like better is to attach the verb to the students. The students will engage with their information environment (textbook, whiteboard, Internet) to learn through questioning, experimentation, discovery, and construction.

Our goal with students should always be to engage the students and the students need to become engaged with their learning.

How do you engage your students with their learning?

[As always, in my author quotes, the underlines, color changes, and bold type is mine, not the author’s!]

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