We are three Finnish educators presenting a paper on social media and stories of learning at ITK (a Finnish conference) in April 2010. We have a bilingual Finnish - English blog where we would welcome your comments and stories about learning in the digital age. Has learning changed, how? Please comment!

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Hi, Adam.It sounds interesting. I will try to follow your link.

Web 2.0 and Technology has changed the way Learning is the imparted and imbibed. And Social Media has added the feature of sharing and interoperability in the domain of education. I agree with what one of my colleagues said ' Mobile learning is certainly starting to change the way we students learn, no longer bound by the classroom walls and the end of day bell'. The Learning on the go Feature has made Learning more flexible.

The Internet - Web 2.0 is revolutionizing Education!! The fact that "everything" can be accessed and modified round the clock has led to a huge transformation in learning.

Millions of young students are thronging social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook and Social Media can thus influence casual learning in students who are already masters in the medium.

http://mashable.com/2009/04/16/social-media-college/ is worth a watch!
Found one more cool resource, in fact two for creating and sharing Flash cards.

They are www.mobl21.com and http://cramberry.net/?home=1

Mobl21 promises a lot more as you can not only create flash cards and quizzes but also publish them for your audience to have a look.

Hello Jeremy
I am Epiphane from Benin, in West Africa. I am an EFL teacher and would like to learn more on Web2.0 and education. Certainly you'll point to me Future of Education cause there have been some series on this topic but you know what is Africa. The internet connectivity is very slow and it's very dificult to download recordings.
Have you got better ideas as to how to learn more on this isssue offline?

I'd loved the link to mobl21. Although Benin has not yet reached that level of interating ICT into the classroom and a great number of teachers lacking the skill for educative technologies uses, I happen to be an isolated case to be interested in tthe 21st skill requirements for our next generation of learners and teachers as well.

Thanks for helping me build my knowledge background. Waiting for some help from you, I'll take delight reading your post and searching the internet for pieces of knowledge.

Looking forward to hearing from you

Epiphane ADJADJI
Benin; West Africa

Sorry I was not active for a month, Can you share your email address, can send some information.
Yes, I believe learning has changed. The way we teach has changed, so learning must change also. By incorporating ICT into teaching, the way students are learning today has differed from learning in the 19th century.
I will leave you with a famous quote.
Ready or not...
The world is different
Kids are different...
Learning is different...
And teaching must be different, too. (ISTE, 2000, pp. 1-2)
I think learning per se has not changed - we still need to engage cognition and affect, we still need to help students find an intrinsic motivation to learn. But what has radically changed (or SHOULD change) are the contents of education, and how we teach and learn. If you think about it, we live in a highly mediated, highly inter-connected context. So the old transmission model of teaching basic knowledge needs to give way to teaching and learning how to ask questions, find information, connect and shape and design our understanding and knowledge, interpret multiple versions of the same event etc. And of course this means the structures of our learning spaces must change as well - maybe the classroom of 25 students all working on the same thing, or paying attention to the same thing does not suit how we must learn.

I've seen changes in the responses of my students. one of them said to me she feels locked up and deprived of her senses in a classroom because she is so used to having information access in multiple ways all the time- chat, internet, blogs, phone. In the classroom she feels almost 'deaf and blind'. She comes alive with project work, when we improvise drama, and learns more by working part-time with a non-profit organization.

But I am also mindful that as learning changes so radically for many, the world is now being divided in terms of those who have and do not have access to technology, specifically the web. This technological divide can cause an intellectual and therefore add to the economic divide that causes this lack of access in the first place.
Hi Jeremy
Welcome back. here is my email: adjiphane07@yahoo.fr. I look forward to reading from you
YES!!! Technology and the Internet have sped up the pace of change. 100 years ago we were perfectly happy to teach facts as if they were written in stone. Now the way I see it we have the basic laws of nature and that is it for solid facts. Many things we thought were true are now under revision. So now what we need to do is switch to teaching process.We need to teach all the children how to tell the difference between good objective and balanced information on the Internet and unsubstantiated opinion. In today's world everyone is a reporter. Have cell phone with camera will publish!!!
Come join me in Peace by 2027. Remember, killing people is not the path to peace; education is.
Love & Peace, Deborah
I agree with you Deborah. The most critical skill today is the ability to sort through information (and noise) and come to a clear understanding. But more important even is the ability to balance multiple perspectives without condemning differences to one's own perspective as wrong. And yet, in public education today, we are not developing/training teachers to have such mindsets, nor training or helping them learn how to develop such mindsets in children. I think this aspect of education is so deeply needed and it worries me how little attention is given to this.
Yes, it is still disturbing to hear from some people that they feel discriminated against by some teachers. I got both my degrees in online education and I heard over and over how people of color felt more accepted in online classes because people can not tell they are not "white". I know also that many of the students I had in class who were not from America said that they needed extra time to respond to the discussion questions because of the language differences. I helped many people to learn to write in a more typical "American" way in an effort to have their opinions held in higher esteem. It is the same with special needs people. If we put in a little extra effort we can understand them and be patient with some of their unusual tendencies. I feel the special needs people are here to teach us something.

            I had a Norman Rockwell moment the other day. My wife and I were at a store looking for glasses when I happen to notice a small child in one of those carriages that are more for holding a child at bay instead of just holding a child. In the carriage was a young person holding a cell phone. I was shocked to see this 3 or 4 year old swishing his or her finger across the screen looking some entertainment. Near the carriage was a young man who must have been the father holding onto his own cell phone trying to find a means to take care of his family. Nearby was the mother half looking at a display of glasses but still looking down at her cell phone hoping not to miss an important text from someone she thought important.


            The problem with this perfect image of the modern American family was none of the members of the family spoke, interacted, or even looked at each other. At first I though this image was simply a snapshot in time but it lasted for at least fifteen minutes or the time it took for my wife to discover she didn’t like any of the glasses on display.


            As a teacher of over three decades I see this image too many times at school. All of my students have i-phones, i-pads, i-pods, or any other i-something that their generation has decided it needs to survive their lives. I don’t see this in my classroom because it is not allowed but I do see a change in my students. Even though they don’t have the electronics to use they seem to have lost the art of communication. Every now and then I wander down to the cafeteria to get that extra bite of food for lunch and notice the noise of past lunch periods are replaced by the tapping of both virtual and non-virtual keyboards.  Some of my younger colleagues think this is a good thing. The older colleagues do not.


            I believe there is a loss of imagination when one is told what to think by a machine instead of doing what one thinks. The people who lived back during the 1950’s had this same concern during the advent of television.  Many parents allowed their children to watch only a few hours of TV. Today this is not a problem because the almighty social media has replaced the television. Today fewer parents have any control over what or how many hours their children stare into a small screen to be shown what they are supposed to do.


            My younger colleagues don’t see the problem. In fact, they envelope the concept that teaching should involve more technology instead of keeping the technology out of the classroom. Most of the classrooms are filled with i-pads or computers that do most of the teaching. The student goes into a program at which time they go through a series of lessons that are animated on their screens. They do this quietly with little time for conversation with their peers or teachers about the lesson. The energy factor is low and the enthusiasm is more toward getting the lesson completed instead of becoming excited about what the lesson means.


            Most schools, and thus most classrooms, take advantage of the new technologies. Virtual High School (VHS) and other programs like VLACS take the teacher out of the equation and replace it with programs that are said to do a better job. There are now “flipped classrooms” in which the teacher is able to teach a lesson virtually to many students at a time. The students then come into the classroom to ask questions about the lesson. In other words, homework is done at school and the lesson is taught at home.


            The other day a new teacher observed my classroom and was surprised to see me lecture to my students and have open conversation about the concepts at hand. When she was leaving the class she didn’t understand how this “sage on a stage” philosophy could work. I told it has worked for all of my career.


            I have a three-year-old granddaughter. She has the most wonderful imagination I’ve ever observed. She can make up stories or situations that would have any writer of fiction or stage jealous of. My daughter and her husband want to get her an i-pod for Christmas. I am in fear that having a machine tell her what to think will overwhelm her pure concepts of imagination and innovation.


            I had a Norman Rockwell moment the other day. I don’t want to ever see it in my classroom and fear it will take place in my family.


Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine

You can see more of his views on education at: A Dinosaur of Education http://fabiano.magic-city-news.com/


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