A pause for thought

Before starting on this week’s readings – I just want to draw breath a little. Getting the balance between action and reflection is not always easy and I have come to realise that writing a ‘public’ blog does not necessarily equate to reflection.

I have spent the weekend busy on other things (connecting with my life away from this course), but also trying to refocus on what it is I am really interested in. It is so easy with the wealth of information that is available on this course to go off at tangents, or to think that because the content has been provided on this course it must be significant and therefore I must spend some time on it, even if it isn’t of direct relevance to my area of interest. It’s difficult to know what to let go. So this course, and perhaps networking in general, and, I think,  active reflection, requires a degree of self-discipline that needs to be practised – or at least it does for me.

Despite my wanderings and straying off down a multitude of paths, I always come back to the questions -‘How does all this apply to teaching and learning?’ and ‘Do I need to change my current practice?’

I have spent some time today searching for blogs to check whether others have the same questions or interest in teaching and learning, and of course most people do to a degree because everyone is a learner, but some people stand out for me as being particularly interested in the practicalities teaching and learning. I’m sure there are more, who I haven’t yet connected with.

Pierfranco has years of experience, which comes shining through his posts. The fact that learning is chaotic is no surprise to him, but he is still looking for verifiable results.

Carmen’s post is a wonderful description of the complex interactions that take place in a classroom

Tom  gives us a window into his classroom/s, which reinforces for us how unpredictable learning can be

John’s blog has many posts related to his deep interest in teaching and learning. He asks whether the curriculum should be negotiated between teachers and learners (see his post of Oct 16th).

Dave Pollard has made a great post this week where he writes: How much of what senior people know will never be learned by younger workers, simply because the networks of trust necessary for valuable conversations will not have been forged. This is not the first potential digital divide that has cropped up in this course.

Eugene Wallingford in the post Social Networks and the Changing Relationship Between Students and Faculty writes about ‘…. the newly transparent wall between me and my students…’ The question of transparency must be one being considered by many online teachers.

Adrian Hill draws our attention for the need for creativity in teaching and learning and asks how creativity should be understood in connectivism terms.

Lani has made a wonderfully reflective post this week about the potential of thinking about teaching and learning in terms of chaos and complexity

Matthias always has something thought provoking to say about teaching and learning: Certainly teaching influences learning in some way, but we don’t really know in which way (deterministic unpredictability), and certainly it is not that simple and controllable that teaching them neat concepts (input) will enable them (output) to make the world neat. 

and Maru (see her post of October 14th) brings up the question of feedback – how do we get the type of feedback that we need for our learning in an online network. This resonates with all my thinking about where assessment fits into a connectivism model and takes us back round to Pierfranco’s post where he says he is still looking for verifiable results despite wanting to encourage autonomous and open learning.

So there is still a lot to think about and I have more questions than answers, but I think the biggest question for me (which I have raised in previous posts) still lies around assessment. I think teachers can develop their understanding of teaching and learning and change their practice to meet current learners’ needs, but ultimately their best efforts may be constrained by assessment requirements.

One thought on “A pause for thought

  1. Keith Lyons October 21, 2008 / 12:52 pm


    I liked this post. I am thinking of visiting some CCK08 blogs this week to help me take stock too.

    I think the assessment question is key. it is interesting to think about the advocacy (and energy) required to bring about change to situations that seem self-evidently ripe for change.


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