I need to do the same thing when I am introducing new concepts, skills, and technology to our students and I need to do the same thing when I am introducing new technology to colleagues. I need to make make the world an exciting place to explore and make the students/colleagues curious enough to want more. I need to make them excited about the new things they learn and make them want to learn more. Not only do I want them to learn it but I want them to use it.
Just like a small child who learns by experiencing the world just by touching, seeing, feeling, hearing, and playing, I need to make sure that the new learner is able to experience the same things. Small children are constantly learning and are so enthusiastic to learn. Why have I joined others and changed the learning environment into straight rows and lectures? How could I think this was more important than touching, seeing, feeling, or experiencing the actual learning? Would it be better to teach a student to cook by having him read a recipe book or actually make something by following a recipe?
Now that the economy has gone in a downward spiral, how can I help new learners to get these experiences? I heard on the news today that local schools are being discouraged from taking field trips because of high gas prices. Teachers will need to see how to bring students on virtual field trips. Maybe they can invite people into their classrooms using Skype. If you can’t go to the art museum, maybe go to specific pictures of the art and have the art curator talk to the class over Skype about the art. Brainstorm with other teachers (in your real world or virtual world) about how to bring the world into the classroom.
Before teachers are able to engage students in this kind of learning, teachers will have to learn these tools also. Again high gas prices are affecting teachers going away to professional development opportunities. I have heard where many schools are letting teachers go to workshops because of the economy. Professional learning does not have to stop because of that. Why not get a group together at your own school? Have teachers talk about a new tool they want to learn or a project they want to do. Then everyone researches what they can about and get back together to share information. The other day someone on my Twitter network wanted to try out this tool called Twiddla and asked people to join her in trying it out. You could do the same thing with people at your own school and still invite your virtual friends to help out. When I see events like this, I think the options are limitless. We need to use all of the resources that are available.
The world is an exciting place and we need to experience it and we need to help other experience it too!
Photo credit: The Great Orion Nebula by DJMcCrady