As part of a year long professional development program led by Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum Beach we were asked to reflect on this post and the question "What is learning 2.0 to you"? The reflections have been quite interesting to read, and they have been varied with one exception: We all agree that we don't know the answer, but we are encouraged and inspired to learn.
I’m not sure I would want to fragment “learning” into evolutions like "1.0" and "2.0"; there is something about “what learning is” that holds sway in spite of any current climate. (The philosopher in me.) However, I do agree that the process-how we learn, what we need to learn, where we learn, and from whom we learn- has evolutionary characteristics. And indeed we are in one of those moments in history when our technological advances (our new “tools”) are forcing us to re-think, re-engineer, and re-design those processes, or in our irrelevance we will fail to engage and our students will fail to learn. If we aren't relevant, then learning cannot be “meaning-making.”
I would not argue that education should be like a child: an impulsive “early-adopter." It should serve the “wise-man’s role.” However, with all that we know about how learning happens and what learning "is", we keep giving ourselves over to the status quo- such that our wisdom looks like fool’s gold. Growth, which happens in learning, does not happen standing still. In this age of technological change that affords information abundance (and a repository), a long tail of participatory opinion and interest, and infinite community, education seems idle yet again; and the early adopters, our students and children, appropriate these tools for their own use without modeled wisdom. It is wonderful that they can teach us; but, something is missing isn't it?
If we as educators can appropriate these new tools for ourselves to support what we believe to be vital to learning, and remain open to what may seem “foreign” to us, then perhaps we can bring wisdom to the sea of change and impart a respect for and love of lifelong learning. How do we go about this? By learning how to use the tools first for ourselves. That is what this practicum and community are about. In my mind, we are using the tools our students use in a way that is relevant for us-it supports something we're interested in. We are learning to access and process vast amounts of information, search for relevancy, evaluate, synthesize, connect, communicate, collaborate, and critically think. As we get comfortable using these tools, then we look for the application in our classrooms knowing that teaching the "natives" how to use the technology isn't going to be the issue. Rather, we can aim higher in our learning outcomes by nature of what the tools do for us, and we can anticipate greater engagement from them by the nature of what the tools enable the kids to do: engage, find authentic audiences, develop voice...participate.