Bill MacKenty

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The four noble truths. Explained, part three

Posted in Educational Tech Design on 03 - March 2011 at 04:37 AM (13 years ago). 187 views.

The four noble truths. Explained, part three.

Original point here

1. Engage, stop, turn off, reflect.
2. Program
3. Participate
4. Sift

I spoke about part one here and part two here.

Here’s part three.

What does it mean when a kid can learn about anything, anytime, from anywhere? What is the socio/spirtual meaning of google? Informal learning is this idea that kids learn outside the classroom. The things that aren’t really taught in school. The things that kids are really interested in. The third noble truth states kids should deeply participate in a community they are passionate about. You want to use the word affinity space? Fine. One of the things that is “different” in the 21st century is how kids can learn deeply and quickly about something they are passionate about. When you hold an internet-connected device in your hands, you are able to access and learn about almost anything. But you can also contribute and create for your community.

A word about the inevitable “I’m only interested in boobs and computer games”. We have a duty to ask our kids to think deeply - when I ask a 17 year old student about his passions, and he says “boobs and computer games” I get it. That is, technically, what many boys are passionate about. However even a brief conversation and time for reflection will reveal deeper more meaningful passions. “Hey kid. What really matters to you?”. This is related to point 1, about time for reflection. It’s also kind of normal good teaching, asking kids to stop and think. Encouraging kids to use the affinity space amplifies my idea about teacher as guides.

Then our kids connect into a community of like-minded, passionate people who share their interest in making the world a better place.  And this beautiful thing emerges about their age not mattering as much, their socio-economic status, just their ideas. And as teachers, that’s what we want to grow - a kid’s ideas and thoughts. Our kids will access these like-minded communities on forums, social networking, instant messaging, inside of games, websites, youtube, and every other manner of digital expression.

When you have deep knowledge in one area, you can connect and attach new knowledge into it. I am told it is easier to teach a student a new language when they already have mastery of a primary language. It is much harder to teach a new language when there isn’t mastery of a primary language.

To ignore, dismiss, block, or marginalize affinity space is to ignore, dismiss, block, or marginalize authentic learning.