I’ve just been looking over the notes I made when Steve Wheeler came to talk to us on Monday (I love the name of his blog btw). I wrote down a couple of quotes:
Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school – Einstein
I can’t teach anyone anything – I can only make them think – Socrates
I don’t think I’ve forgotten everything I learned in school yet. We must have covered Plate Tectonics at least every term, in a number of subjects – ditto burning peanuts on a skewer – it’ll all remain imprinted until they give me a full frontal lobotomy – but, looking beyond the literal, I think I can see what’s behind these two quotes; that real learning is about developing the processes of reflection and critical thought, and constructing meaning, rather than absorbing facts.
Being a biologist by trade, I got all excited by Steve’s botanical metaphors. I liked the idea of rhizomatic learning – Dave Cormier’s paper on the subject looks like a great read so I intend to digest it shortly. It got me thinking about real rhizomes where the vertical stems spring up from pre-formed nodes when there are sufficient resources for growth. I particularly liked the parallels between the positioning of the nodes within the network of rhizomes – which is to a certain extent predetermined in the genes of the plant – and the concept of ‘scaffolding’ of ideas and concepts.
One more random thought to finish – something that was mentioned quite a lot in Steve’s session was the concept of ‘just in time’ learning. It got me thinking – what about those of us who just love to digest theory (of any flavour)? Those of us who enjoyed school maths lessons because they simply liked feeling their own brain ticking? Is there still a place for these people in education, or is it all going to become work-focused and forcibly related to our own professional practice? Saying that, I just realised I didn’t actually make many notes about wikis, which is what Steve came to talk to us about.