Open and Networked Learning

I wasn’t able to make it to our class on Tuesday for the video conference with Verena Roberts on open and networked learning but I was still able to take part via Blue Jeans Network, a video, audio and web conferencing tool that works anywhere with any device. Blue Jeans was easy to use and I didn’t miss out on the amazing learning opportunity. What a great way to expand the learning community beyond four walls! An open education experience during #openedweek.

Flickr – Global Water Partnership-CC-BY-NC-SA2.0

Through the video call our class was able to take part in a conference in Edmonton (co-located session) led by Verena, here are her slides and Resources. Her talk made me think about what learning opportunities are available beyond physical experiences and the possibilities of networked learning that connect our students to the wider, possibly global community and how I can bring this concept into my own classroom. Her slides laid out indicators of open educational practice based on her own research:

  • Designing for sharing
  • Participatory learning
  • Learning networks
  • Safe learning spaces
  • Expanded learning environment

Open and networked learning makes Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) possible, an opportunity for students to connect to community opportunities outside of their classroom. In IBL students are not given the answers, the responsibility for finding the information is on the learner, which means that we have to ensure that our students have the proper digital literacy skills necessary to succeed. By starting early with guided inquiry we can help our students learn to not only follow their curiosity and build their digital literacy but to become independent learners.

#Inquirymindset

Our cohort had the opportunity on Tuesday to visit Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt’s class at George Jay Elementary. Rebecca is co-author of the book Inquiry Mindset, a guide to “harnessing the power of curiosity to foster students learning from their youngest years”. Since our visit to PSII I have been wondering what inquiry would look like in an elementary classroom so not only did I find this visit inspiring, it allowed me to gain a better understanding of how I might use inquiry in my classroom .

Rebeccabathursthunt.com

Rebecca gave a great presentation on #Inquirymindset , we learned about moving from guided to independent inquiry and the importance of curiosity in learning. Curiosity leads to questions which leads to discovery and learning. There are so many ways to inspire curiosity, what Rebecca calls a “provocation”. Her resources are jam packed with tools for guiding inquiry for all ages.

Rebecca gave us some provocations that may inspire questions in our students…..

A photo

Wikipedia Zairon – CCBYSA4.0

A Giphy

A book

There are many other provocations that may stimulate students curiosity, rekindle prior knowledge or tap into what they are passionate about. Rebecca suggested pairing these provocations with the questions below.

Rebecca was full of great advice, one thing she mentioned a couple of times that really stuck with me is that it may take a couple of years to fully embrace inquiry into our classroom and that is OK! Many thanks to Rebecca for not only having me in her class but providing me with some simple ways to support inquiry based learning in the elementary classroom.

Edcamp

Today we spent the first couple of hours of our class having our own mini Edcamp session. Edcamp is an unconference where the topics/themes (education based) are chosen by the attendees. The topics are then narrowed down by up-voting the topics that interest you. Rather than having an expert come and talk, the sessions are curated through the collaboration and conversation of the attendees, this allows everyone involved to both share their own experiences and learn from their peers. Edcamp can also be used as a learning tool for teachers to use with their class. More information and resources can be found here.

I chose outdoor learning environments as my Edcamp topic. My group started out by telling each other about our own experiences or lack of experiences learning outdoors. We then relayed examples of outdoor learning environments we have seen. Here are some ideas….

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Image result for outdoor classroom
Image result for outdoor classroom

Through our group conversations it was evident that time spent learning outside was a memorable experience for all of us. We did not get much further than My group ended up getting off topic so I think that if I was going to have my own edcamp with my class I would structure it for them, maybe a list of questions so that if they get off topic they can refer to the questions and get back to purpose of the activity.