(2 min read) In learning,
there is not always an equal anything.
Maybe there is…
but I don’t think it comes in predefined, easy to see values. If someone is in a class for x minutes it doesn’t mean they will have learned y, or even close to y. It doesn’t mean they haven’t learned, but it is possible to be involved in a learning experience, a communication interchange of x and to learn ‘orange’.
As teachers we don’t get to decide exactly how people take in, interact with, or even use what they learn, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something passed on, accomplished, or learned. It can be like that on a grand scale, but also on the most small scale- with communication. It can be a whole module that is tricky to communicate, or a single tutorial. (I’m talking from the teacher’s point of view.)
The scenario for this post comes from Day 2 of the #BYOD4L project, questions how to connect, and it involves the unknown, doubt, and just wondering how to change and adopt new methods. The whole idea of having a few people to talk with or not knowing how to ‘find out’, is realistic, and even a commonly sentiment among academics. Let’s turn it on it’s head and think of it like you were being asked that question by a student – the student comes to you about a project and says, I don’t know how to find out about it… The first response might be to suggest they look it up, or ask for help and then maybe they could exchange ideas with someone else. All of these apply exactly to the teacher too.
However, there is still that initial inquiry; there are few who share in the same specialist area, and so it doesn’t always seem easy. That is where the wider community is so useful and amazing. It is surprising how much we can learn both from those in our areas of specialism and across the globe doing completely different things across walks of life.
Taking that step to reach out, and metaphorically ‘look up’ like minded people or ask for help or even just say something about what you do can feel like a risk, but how can we learn if we don’t ask and do? It does take that effort and once you do find a few like minded people, then the collaboration can begin. Sometimes it will be fruitful and other times it may feel less so, but in doing you (we) can learn. It is necessary to be brave and go for it. Then you’ll find the other side of the equation. There is an equal sign somewhere, but be prepared for the ‘answer’ to be open – it might be more than you expect or less, or come in a different form. As long as you take that step, you can begin the process…