Friday, January 18, 2013

The Things We Learn

It’s always amazing to see how people learn in different environments and what they pick up.  It’s hard to believe that all of us, at one point in our lives, learned to speak, to read, to write, and even type.

I believe the basics of learning new things depend on the environment you are in and the supports around you.

Photo credit to Kate Ediger: Velvet Leaf Photography
Here’s my nephew for instance.  He is just over a year old and recognizes that I am “Aunt” and my twin sister is “Hot”.  He sees his other Aunt on a regular basis while he sees me two, maybe three times a year. So why do I get the privilege to be known as "Aunt", while the other Aunt is known as "Hot"?  Probably because I have never fed him anything hot, so I have never repeated the phrase “Hot, Hot, Hot” to him.  I have never pulled him away from the open oven door and said “Hot!”  I’m not offended that I’m not the “Hot Aunt”, but I’m honoured to be his Aunt.

Of course this post needs some cuteness added to it (not saying my nephew isn’t cute) and this is another video about learning.

How did we learn how to walk, how to climb stairs?  What if we lived in an environment without stairs and one day we encountered stairs?  Would we know what to do?

Watching this video  (also embedded below) from Manitoba Mutts Dog Rescue made me realize the importance of showing how to do something, the importance of modelling what is to be learned. Sometimes you need a bit of encouragement and a teacher that understands your perspective to show you how things are done.

One thing I am currently struggling with in my online course is that we are not shown by the instructor what to do, yet we are told and know how to find the answer through asking a question on Twitter, using other social networks or social media sources.  Even though we are not shown directly, we can find a video showing us how. There’s a concern that the internet is taking over and changing how we learn, but social media is still powered by people showing us the things we want or need to learn, so I don’t think we need to worry about the internet taking us over because we are powering the internet.

1 comment:

  1. I think the language is interesting. When we ask if the "internet" is taking over? What do we mean by "internet"? Is it a place? Is it some mystical communication tool? Is is a source of knowledge, entertainment? It might be all of those things.

    I find these conversations fascinating and it usually reflects personal bias and perceptions which is totally understandable. I think part of our struggle is that we've had some longstanding patterns of how we learn and with whom we learn. Those pattens are being disrupted greatly and for some, it's just too much.