Let’s be real, I struggled this week with the readings, they were intense and I found myself reading back over them several times to figure out what they meant to me but also whether I agreed or not. I was wary of the Connectivism theory although I did agree with some of its principles or implications; I’m just not sure yet whether what I think about knowledge is valid or if it’s just what I’ve always known through my own learning and experiences (wow, now you see why I had a rough time).
I’m very interested in dialogue or discourse in online learning and am working on my research topic in SEACCR around this idea. Reading about Online Collaborative Learning Theory (OCLT) is also helping me to shape the direction of my research so I can also answer some of my own questions about student interactions in online learning environments. I was also interested in exploring more about collaborative discourse and how it progresses in a game like MinecraftEdu whether it is inside or outside of the game. My observations so far with our class (and the DiffiMOOC class) in the game, including this week’s challenge, has shown me that as students, we each engage in discourse where we feel most comfortable. So far, we’ve used the game chat, blogging, twitter sessions, and hangout calls or chats to share about how we are learning (or being challenged) by the game.
The other blogs this week also prompted me to think more about tech tools that are used to support collaborative discourse; the knowledge that is created and experience we gain from reading and responding to each other and sharing ideas in twitter becomes another resource to draw on when we think about our learning in this course. I am enjoying the multiple perspectives on online learning theories because they are helping me to challenge my own assumptions and understand why I believe certain theories and principles over others. This week, Matthew made some great points about a teacher’s roles which I rewrote in my comment:
* to be an active guide and moderator of the collaboration and discourse that takes place,
* to model, inspire and foster curiosity in students, asking probing and thought-provoking questions,
* to use the best tech tool to meet student interests and needs, but to also not get stuck on just one tool, method, or strategy,
* to protect the learning environment for students to feel intellectually safe to explore and ask question and share their ideas and thoughts.
And from Amanda this week, I was reminded that learners “grow the topic” and contribute to the group learning. When we show young learners that they can contribute, it empowers them to actively seek more information and shape how they want to learn.
The blogs written by my peers have been enlightening, thought-provoking, and inspiring; I’m still wrestling with what I’m learning in this course, but it’s not about winning the match for me, it’s about learning more about what I think and how I apply that in my work!