Tracey as Student – Revisited

One of the largest learning curves for me has been getting familiar with all the terms and technology associated with EDU8117.  I had originally thought that I would use my time to learn Filemaker Pro and even try to get a database online. Given the time I am taking to get abreast of EDU8117, this simply isn’t realistic.

Then it occurred to me that what I was really doing was “learning how to swim in the NGL waters.

This is all totally new to me and I didn’t expect it to be.  David in his post about identity asks, “Who are you?” “How will NGL impact onwho you are and what you do?”  I hadn’t even known that I was a ‘traditional’ learner who depended – and expected – a clear pathway forward. This surprised me immensely as I think of myself as strongly self-directed based on having run a company for over twenty years.

I knew that other students were struggling with the course [Muzettes’ s the ups and downs;  Deb’s minute paper; and Alex’s Techno-whelmed] and although that was reassuring, (thanks everyone), it wasn’t until I was reading Wendy Drexler’s “The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy” that I felt better.

Students engaging in networked learning research must be more self-directed. Not only are they navigating a number of web-based applications for the first time, they are also required to take an active role in the learning process by making decisions about how to search, where to search, and why certain content meets a learning objective.

Imagine the potential frustration that self-regulated learning holds for students who are quite comfortably accustomed to specific teacher directions with finite expectations.

What a relief!

However, I’m not sure that “being more self-directed” is entirely accurate.  Perhaps a better description would be that the learning environment is dramatically different with different rules.  So much isn’t said or made clear. 

The image that struck me to illustrate the differences between traditional and online learning is: 

  • Traditional teaching is the voice of the teacher calling out into an auditorium,
  • whereas networked learning is the voice of the student calling out into a darkened auditorium.

I am assuming that the lights will slowly go on and I will discover that the auditorium is filled with people all engaged (in their myriad of ways) in related learning.

dark
[Image courtesy of The Zender Agenda on Flickr]

Reference:
Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 2010, 26(3), 369-385.

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