|“synthesize aspects of all six transdisciplinary themes”|
When George Siemens asks, “How do you manage your information?“, and Jeff Delp is writing about being “All-In” With Evernote, it’s clear that data management is an issue that every digital resident must address to transition from being a passive consumer to an active participant on the Internet.
Their use of graphics reminded me of the Laziness Map flowchart I made for the Making Learning Connected MOOC and shared in the post, Is laziness good for learning?. While that project was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, noticing that I’ve felt digitally overwhelmed lately led me to create this map of how I generally discover, sort, share, and publish on the web.
|(click the image to open the document and follow the hyperlinks)|
To summarize, arrayed at the bottom are the social networks I use to find content. Many are just for entertainment and inspiration, but I use a several, particularly twitter and tumblr, to discover and curate. Since most of my browsing is done on my mobile phone and usually on the subway, the first task is simply to identify posts I want to examine more deeply and “favorite” or “like” them. That simply saves them to find easily later. Once a week or so, I check my saved items and decide whether to import them into Evernote using the tagging system I described in Inquiry with Evernote vol 1. Sometimes I share immediately, and occasionally across platforms.
When I discover new blogs I want to follow, I add them to Feedly. Since I started using it after the demise of Google Reader, the number of blogs I follow increased exponentially to about 400 in various categories, but has plateaued lately.
Sorting information in this way helps me to apply it with agility and relevance in the classroom and in publishing on my own blog and my favorite communities. I also use Evernote to document learning in the classroom, so it is rapidly becoming my “home base”.
Creating this graphic helped me to clarify my thinking about the web and how I use it. How do you sort the Internet? Still sending yourself emails with links?… it’s ok, I do that sometimes, too 😉
A group of students in my class is exploring the Origami Club website to learn to fold new and more complex creations. The site includes hundreds, if not thousands of designs with blueprint and animated instructions.
Connected Learning like this is very inspiring. They are utilizing the Internet to pursue their inquiry, using mathematical vocabulary in authentic contexts, cooperating by taking turns choosing which design to follow, helping each other, and enjoying themselves.
I’m interested to see if any of them take the inquiry further, perhaps by earning a DIY Papercrafter Patch or participating in an online community like The Origami Forum. As their teacher, it’s important to make sure that they have access to those opportunities, so I added links to the Independent Inquiry page on our class wiki.
Elephants are not particularly known for bullying. We humans, unfortunately, are. Bullying among adults is the elephant in the room during any discussion about bullying among children, online or offline.
Take for example, Lisa Nielson’s article, Addressing the #bullying problem starts with adults, in which she details a case of bullying that originates from what is supposed to be a friendly volleyball ‘game’ and includes most of the hallmarks of schoolyard bullying: admonishment, destructive criticism, over-competitiveness, exclusion, and isolation.
To draw a distinction between this and bullying among children would be pointless. They are the same.
The problem is worse in not necessarily friendly environments like the workplace. Perhaps it’s worth a few moments to review the guide from PBS This Emotional Life, Adult bullying, to assess the climate where you are now.
Often, adult bullying is incredibly destructive. In the article, Adult Bullying: Harassment by People You Respect, a gang of mothers is described who took to Facebook to bash photos of other people’s toddlers. This is behavior, I believe, that no student I have ever known would participate in. To call such choices immature is an insult to children.
It leads me to believe that children who bully might only be immitating behavior they have observed among adults. I recommend reading this article, Know BS: Say No to Adult Bullies, as good example of putting bullying in perspective and de-sensationalizing it. For even greater perspective, here’s a post one of my students wrote earlier in the school year, Bullying.
When facing these issues with students, I take it as an opportunity to learn about themselves. I ask questions to help them define their own emotional, social, or even physical boundaries. And, of course, I help them to find strategies and techniques to defend themselves against bullies.
It’s important for kids to know that they have our support. Most often, victims of bullying are isolated. Perhaps that’s why elephants so vigilantly stay together in the face of danger or adversity.
“Bullying results in fear, for fear is the means by which all abusers, including bullies, disempower and control their victims.” bullyonline.org
Empower the victims. Perhaps a program at your school like the Gracie BullyProof program would go a long way toward strengthening your community against bullying! Whether victims choose to ignore, fight back, or anything in between, should ultimately be up to them.
When I introduced Independent Inquiry in my Grade 4 class during the last school year, it was out of a desire to reinvent homework as a more relevant activity connecting learning at school with learning at home. The primary inspiration was the MIT Media Lab Learning Creative Learning course, and in particular, being introduced to Connected Learning.
Why does school try to make learning so hard?
We began using a Google Form to reflect on our inquiries and holding weekly meetings to discuss the independent projects we were doing at home. Some highlighted projects can be found by searching the independent inquiry label here on Symphony of Ideas.
Soon after, I discovered Genius Hour. There were thousands of teachers around the world providing class time for students to pursue their passions and interests! Teaching at an inquiry school, I always provide time for independent research and autonomous learning opportunities, however, only along the lines of inquiry specified in our units.
If I had to choose the greatest benefit of independent inquiry, I would say that it is relevance. Because the students are pursuing their own interests, their learning is always meaningful. The skills and attitudes they develop transfer fluidly to other activities and they take pride in sharing their creations with the school community.