Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creating personal knowledge from existing knowledge - Understanding the How

Agency, Collaboration, Connectedness and Ubiquity are all catch words in the New Zealand education sector.

But do we truly understand these terms as educators. Along with two of my colleagues we attempted to gain a greater understanding of Agency as we were about to present to a cluster of schools at a teacher only day.

Having mentioned these terms in workshops in the past we were quite surprised to discover that between the 3 of us our understanding of Agency was not very consistent or well formed in our heads.

So we looked to existing knowledge to help us clarify our understanding. After turning to Art Costa, Derek Wenmoth and numerous other papers and articles we started to form a greater understanding of agency especially when we had to think about teaching others about it. By collaborating together on the presentation and bouncing our ideas and thoughts about agency, a greater clarification occurred for ourselves. The ability to connect with others thinking at anytime ensured our learning could occur when we were ready, as we all needed to first process some aspects of the new knowledge before we could move on.
Keywords from Art Costa's Video
The personal knowledge of agency that I have gained through this collaborative approach of synthesising existing knowledge has enabled me to understand agency and also see a much bigger picture when it comes to Modern Learning Practise.

What we need to focus on as educators in this new and exiting time is not the Why or What aspects of technology in the classroom, as these are focussed on continuously and often lead to the digital tools being used as consumptive or as substitutes for traditional tools.
Instead we need to focus and unpack the How. Looking at Agency, Ubiquity, Collaboration and Connectedness. By focussing on the "How" we can use the digital tools to ensure personalised learning, creativity and sharing are embedded in our practise. 

So the next time you open a Google Doc for your learners, start to think "this is not a word processing tool", instead see Google Docs as an opportunity to increase collaboration, give learners agency, connect them outside the classroom and allow them to learn anywhere and anytime.

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