Learning is Social

July 30, 2009

So if you are a teacher, you’ve already read all about Vygotsky and his belief that learning is social. What’s interesting is to consider this in light of the advancements of web 2.0 and how ever present the ability to learn socially is now.

As I have been sitting in my living room (gave up on the office and learned the hard way that doing too much work on your bed really does make it hard to sleep!) I’ve been reading research. Strike that. I’ve been trying to highlight and annotate my research for the big culminating paper of my Master’s degree. And you know what? It’s boring.

Here’s the weird part. It’s a topic that I am passionate about and intrigued by. I love learning. I love researching and writing. So why am I so bored? Why can’t I stay focused?

I am isolated.

I printed the work off so I could read more deeply (I’m old school like that) and highlight tangibly. (And so I could color code my highlights to make the writing process flow quickly.)

What I’ve come to realize it how accustomed I am to read online articles and blogs with ideas and research that I can then post the link and/or just a quote or idea about to twitter or to a Ning that I belong to. There, I can give my perspective and receive nearly instantaneous feedback. This helps me to think more clearly and to view the idea from other points of view while it is still FRESH in my mind -while I’m still effectively chewing on the thoughts and words.

For this paper, however, I am trying to gather ALL of the research and ALL of my thoughts all by myself and put them together. Then the resulting product will be large and dense and since I’m a no-name in the education field, it is not likely that it will receive any amount of feedback to provide opportunities for dialogue.

The dialogue that helps us see things more clearly. The very dialogue and feedback that make learning real and substantial.

HOW can I take this experience and show my students that what I know about research and how research is still important? How can I make the tasks I assign more authentic and social and collaborative without cheesy roles that are eventually ignored?

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One Response to “Learning is Social”

  1. @judypdrsn Says:

    A very interesting topic. I’m studying the cognitive processes of 21st century learning, and I think this, in my opinion, is one of the biggest changes we’re seeing – collaboration vs. solo work – why we do each, what we learn from each, and what cognitive processes each requires.

    Like you, I am supposed to be working on school work (two papers due Saturday) – about topics in which I’m very interested – but I’m doing something else instead. Hmmm…

    I’m interested in your master’s thesis. If you don’t mind sharing, I’d like to read it when you’re done.


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