Wendy Drexler: The Networked Student
The amount of information and the amount of resources that are available today are limitless. Students can learn pretty much anything they want to know by looking it up on the internet as shown to us in The Networked Student. They can even access the best teachers at the best universities. So Wendy Drexler poses a very relevant question by asking, "Why does the networked student even need a teacher?"
I think the answer is the connection. In the video, the comment is made that "the tools themselves are not as important as the network connections made possible through them". Students will make many connections throughout their educational journey, but I think the connection that is most important in education is that between the teacher and the student. Teachers need to build relationships with their students. Teachers need to be a role model, a mentor, a navigator, a discerner, and a validator. Students will need someone to teach them how to build and organize the network. There will be times when students will encounter road blocks and someone will need to guide them in a new direction that will branch out into learning opportunities. Teachers must also make sure students understand how to continue to build upon the network they've created and how it will be a resource that will carry forward into their future career. Wendy has another post called Teach Web: Pulling it all together in #PLEK12 and it includes a few suggestions about helping students with organization and with staying connected. In this blog she also shares a link to symbalooEDU and it is AWESOME! If you go through the link in her blog you will see a great collection of resources and how they are organized. She also recommends NetVibes and Google Reader as other tools that are great for organizing web content.
Another important connection students will make from participating in a classroom environment is that of a community. Students need to not only have the network connections, but they need personal interaction as well. They need to know how to establish peer relationships and work together at problem solving and project collaboration. Helen King, who teaches at the Pt England School, talks about the "Learn Create Share" pedagogy that the Manaiakalani schools have developed and how her students have become like a "family". In the video, Helen King on Creativity, Ms. King tells how she was surprised by the way the values and the personality of the classroom changed as the students interacted more with one another. The students are looking for ways to be more creative, to share, and to help one another. Peer connections and team building skills are valuable tools for all students to have in their network portfolio.
A 7th Grader's Personal Learning Environment (or PLN)
There is no comparison between this 7th grader's PLE and mine. Hers definitely blows mine away. I came across the symbalooEDU tool earlier when I was reading some of Wendy Drexler's other blogs. At the time, I did not realize the second part of our blog assignment was to watch a video of how it could be used by students. I have now signed into symbalooEDU and am in the process of creating my own Webmix with sites that I have bookmarked from previous assignments. I love the ease of having all of my resources and tools located on one organizational website that is easy to navigate. Before long, I will have a most amazing PLE!