Archive for August 2007

The classroom, whether it is physical or virtual, is an environment of discovery where students construct their own knowledge and understanding, and develop within themselves the power of reflective and critical thinking. As a practitioner in the field of education, I see the role of the teacher as an empowering facilitator in the learning process. I take a situativist view in that I believe knowledge is fundamentally situated in practice, constructed by learners as they build new ideas upon prior knowledge, and that the best way to foster this knowledge construction is to facilitate scaffolded and supportive learning in a democratic learning environment. In such an environment learners are guided to take responsibility for their own learning, which lends itself to student-driven rather than teacher-driven pedagogical approaches and encourages free expression and mutual appreciation of ideas. Further, the learners have the flexibility to explore and learn from an environment that provides a rich array of choices and enables them to generate, test and regenerate ideas governed by their individual values, past experiences and whatever personal learning agenda they might bring to the environment. Because of this belief, I have a strong commitment to promoting authentic and generative learning, and I believe in alternative forms of assessment where I can help learners to view knowledge as a tool for solving problems rather than just a collection of facts. Hence, I also have a strong commitment to lifelong learning, and I see myself as modeling the professional educator as an expert learner for the benefit of my academic clients, their students and myself.

The current proposed schema for Personal Learning Environments in my mind very much supports the view of learning from the andragogical perspective. Reading between the lines of its evolving conceptual framework PLE has the potential to “re-invent” the notion of self-directed learning and really support learner control in not only formalised curricula but also those informal self-generated learning engagements. I say re-invent because I believe that the Web 2.0 technology has the power to embed the true meaning of autonomous learning within PLE and empower students to have control over their learning in the current information-rich landscape. Using the Web 2.0 framework, and depending on the how the PLE is implemented at institutional level, can encourage students to learn anything and everything that takes their fancy that goes beyond the traditional institution-focused approaches to learning. If we do it right, PLE can give credence to what lifelong learning really is… more on this later.

Stephen Downes’ writing and messages are continually changing my views on technology + learning (= eLearning). He gives a unique perspective on eLearning, for example his description of “pull” instead of “push” use of the web explains neatly one of the main tenets of Web 2.0 for me. I recently came across a video presentation ,”Web 2.0 and your own development”, which Stephen produced and delivered. I think it’s a capstone for conversations about new technologies within the Web 2.0 framework.

Here’s the link:


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