When I was initially in elementary school, as a student, most of the knowledge that I acquired was through rote memorization and a text book style of learning….period! Do I think I suffered as a result? I think I did in a sense! I was the type of kid that needed more stimulation than a text. The challenge of finding out aspects of the content being taught on my own in different ways would have pulled me in and brought a more engaged and eager student to the class room, and my marks may have increased. But we did not have the technology that we do now to utilize and become more knowledge-able.
The theory of connectivism makes sense to me as a teacher. When I bring out a text book, for instance a science text, the kids start to get tired from the word text…..and we haven’t even opened them yet. This makes me think of Pavlov’s Dog, every time the bell was rung the dog salivated because it was fed each time that bell rang. I think that is what has happened to kids with textbooks in todays, and the past for that matter, classrooms.
Photo Credit: PINKluver4113
With a shift in being glued to the text book and incorporating opportunities for students to expand their knowledge base and creating multiple connections utilizing technology this issue could be reversed. Don’t get me wrong I think that the textbooks that we use have some valuable information and techniques that we can still utilize as teachers but we can put them aside at times and harvest the grains of thought that are starting to sprout in our students mind with the help of the internet.
You may be thinking “But I can’t control what my students are doing on the web!” my response is you have to let that controlling urge go. Giving students the opportunity to become responsible online citizens takes your trust, some will test the boundaries but most will oblige!
When we give our students the freedom to find different sources on the internet for their research we will see a growth through chaos. Kids love to search the web and making connections that they can utilize. A great example of this is Genius Hour where kids get 20% of their week devoted to researching and creating a project based on what they want to learn about.
Giving the students the freedom to research what they want to learn about, within the parameters of the subject being taught will enhance student engagement and will see them gathering information and sources via connectivism. We as teachers need to let our students drive sometimes and facilitate their learning!