Learning for a Lifetime
I’m never really sure how a new format for sharing a project will play out when I first begin to experiment with it. I’m not a tech proficient human who easily can make sense out of how to manipulate new technology tools. I don’t see the pathway from beginning to end with the pre-programmed intuition that mathematical thinkers possess. I tend to be an experimenter- working from trial and error until I find a path that works for me.
On the best days I am able to avoid employing a “phone a friend” strategy in which I end up asking contritely for help to get me off a wrong pathway. Taking the time to stop and ask Google for help usually suffices if the resource itself doesn’t offer the assistance I need. As a colleague of mine says, “ if you can think of the right question to ask, you can pretty much find the answer on Google to any question that can be created by humans today.”
I think she’s on target and I needed to remember that advice today when I first ventured into Pinterest. As with most new resources, I signed up a while ago, put it on the backburner to explore, and immediately forgot my password. I just don’t have time to engage in intensive learning so I have to wait until as with the Red Sea, there is a miraculous parting that allows me a few moments for deeper learning before time closes up again.
Today, I jumped into Pinterest and,as a result, I now have a site, Learning for Life, to share. The project that drove my interest involved creation of a visual blog using minimal language. I wanted to create the post from images that I’ve captured over time as I explore the concept of learning for a lifetime while visiting schools in the learning community where I work. It’s really an I-Search project that’s been ongoing for awhile- maybe most of my career.
How do people come to adopt an interest in learning after the school day ends? What
does it look like when young people activate learning interests beyond curricula? How do we discover those interests? Capitalize on those interests within the curriculum that children are expected to learn? How do they arrange themselves in learning spaces? What modes do they use to make sense of new learning? How do they, and we, see their passion to pursue the unknown – not as an interference with but as a pathway to learning? Who determines the learning menu; child, teacher, or both? What do they, and we, seek to discover as learners? How do we find out? What tools do we need? Who gets access?
I believe that we must restore both a sensibility and irresistibility to learning that entices young people to love learning and find purpose within it. Teachers who understand sources of inspiration to learn know how to take down boundaries created by standardization of content, assessment, and time. They understand that learning will be difficult, frustrating, and sseemingly pointless at times. They know how to ask questions and listen to young people. They provide the space learners need and use teaching to support children to explore, create, and complete. They help them grasp the necessary
tools to pursue learning with intensity.
I’ve only begun to capture beginnings of my thinking about this in the Pinterest site, but it serves as a start to organizing questions, reflections, and perspectives on learning for a lifetime. In choosing a completely new tool to do so, I again force myself to learn as I did
with the Voicethread project of a prior posting. Creating new neural pathways causes me to experience the difficulty and passion that co-exists within the drive, indeed desire, to learn.
(I think the potential for learners to create visual posts using pinboards offers a different venue for constructing individual or collaborative projects around themes and concepts – an opportunity for learners to capture their interests in images and share with others.)