Friday, 30 May 2014

Views of Knowledge

I am freshly back from the Virtual Professional Learning and Development (VPLD) conference in Auckland.  It was an awesome hui, a great chance to catch up face to face with my mentees and mentors alike.  Two days of celebrations of  personal journeys in educational contexts and lots of learning for all.                  

As with all meetings,there is a lot to digest and mull over for the next few weeks.  The VPLD is where I grew my "learning with digital technology" wings.  It is a supportive and empowering community and I have enjoyed presenting at each one over the past four years.  This year, I facilitated a short session on Future Focused Learning.  his blog post is about my reflections from that presentation.
I have blogged about these 6 themes of future-oriented teaching and learning before, as they resonate strongly for me about the power of transforming learning with digital technologies.

As part of the session, I asked the group of about 70 educators to reflect on what each of the themes could mean in their classrooms.  I gathered responses via a google form (answers are collated in a spreadsheet) and this give me the opportunity to see how well people understand the concepts.

The theme which was least understood was about using knowledge to build learning capacity. So I thought I would revisit this concept and try to clarify my understandings, and as always, look for further comment and discussion around this theme.

From Curriculum Update 26 comes these words " learning can happen through collaborative knowledge building" and "disciplinary knowledge provides context within which students' learning capacity can be developed".  What I understand from this is that as students grow their knowledge, they should also be growing their capability to learn more.  We need to provide supports and scaffolds to ensure that they learn to understand how they learn and build their knowledge.  This in turn will allow them to become more independent, self directed learners.
Sometimes this just means having a model for learning - like the many inquiry learning models I have used and seen around the country.  These provide students with the framework to reflect on the way they grow their knowledge.
Just by chance, I spotted this poster in social media yesterday, about some attitudes which will support students build their capacity for learning. I am not sure where it came from but it really does reflect the kinds of things I believe we should be teaching our students.  Guy Claxton also  talks about "learning habits".  So as our students widen their knowledge base, we should also be instilling these habits and attitudes, which will enable them to be lifelong learners.
Knowledge is important.  Students should be able to use knowledge to help them build more knowledge.  But knowledge is now growing at such a rapid rate that it is impossible to be able to able to claim that what you know now will be relevant or even true in 10 years time.  (In my day, Pluto was a planet.  It was knowledge that I learned for my exams.)
It makes perfect sense to me now to use knowledge to build learning capacity now..... how do you feel?

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