I have been inspired by Angela Towndrow’s blog post http://angelatowndrow.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/pushing-envelope.html to reflect about my own learning journey and the significant changes that have occurred over the years. I began very much in the era of “Chalk and Talk” and this persisted through to my undergraduate studies. Learning was listening, note taking, reading and writing (not even really much thinking). Studying for exams meant memorising.
Fast forward to today and you see a very different learning landscape. Cooperation and collaboration abound. Primary school children learn in groups, at their own pace, and even get to direct some of their learning. The curriculum allows teachers to tailor their lessons to their own students interests and needs (well, maybe not all the time but at least the days of “today is Tuesday so we are on page 23 of the lesson book” have gone – just hope the new Australian Curriculum doesn’t bring them back).
The world of tertiary learning and beyond has changed almost beyond belief. When I started at university the way to ensure a passing grade was to buy the professor’s text book and learn it. You didn’t even have to turn up to the lectures then because he just read from his book himself. Any further reading was prescribed and meant heading over to the library to try to secure a copy put on short term loan. Access to information, and in particular up to date information, has grown exponentially. But even more than that, the cooperative and collaborative nature of education means students can now find out about things without having to wait for the teacher.
The tools of learning have changed too and this ever growing list of new tools is what brought me to this course in the first place. The many new and varied ways of self expression enable students and teachers alike to demonstrate, illustrate and explore new ideas in new and different ways. Computers have facilitated the development of these tools and the internet has made them accessible.
So, how much of this change is due to changing technology? E-learning and digital culture? I suspect there was a shift in attitude to education possibly prior to and certainly independent of technological advances. The idea of learning how to think and learn, rather than what to think and learn. Those inventing computers and more specifically the internet (if you can say the internet was invented, maybe evolved would be a better term) did not do so with this change in learning culture in mind. The general human populace has taken it and run with it – this EDCMOOC group is a microcosm of that. Technology has spurred the change along, enabling us to easily connect, consume and contribute.