Einstein Learning

So – another week of study – lots of late nights and note taking on my ipad.

The highlight of this week was definitely Monday’s colloquium – or more precisely the lead up and aftermath of the online meeting. I had put my name down as one of the three moderators of the meeting, Lisa, Dale and I had a very intense and interesting learning experience at the sharp and pointy end of collaborative online participation.

I must confess, i was really impressed and grateful for Lisa in particular who took a really pro-active and creative role in our group. It was her suggestion that we prepare and discuss our respective roles and questions etc through the medium of a google document- and I thought this worked extremely well – allowing for both convenient asynchronous work, and also – through the text chat option (I’ve never used this before) we were also able to discuss things synchronously even as we edited the document in real time. Valuable stuff for my future teaching I think. Furthermore, Lisa suggested the use of a ThingLink for the curating of further research by other students related to the colloquium – and I though this also was a great idea. I’d used ThingLink before with my students successfully but it was interesting and instructive to be at the receiving end of such an activity and to be able to see where the occasional problem might arise.

The Colloquium for Bruce Dixon was really great, and the forums after this also reflected a lot of reflection discussion of the points raised. Togheter, again suing the google document, Lisa, Dale and I put together a summary of the main concepts and questions raised – I will include it here for my own curation and tagging:

Summary of colloquium

Bruce Dixon – https://modernlearners.com/

Anytime, Anywhere Learning (http://www.aalf.org/)

Twitter – @bruceadixon @modernlearners

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ModernLearners/

What can schools be in this modern context?

The views from our colloquium presenter and participants about what schools can be:  

  • Modern learners are ready to take on some sort of self directed learning and yet the school system does not necessarily allow for this.

  • Participation and self-determination are key to open learning,

  • Schools are hanging onto a legacy model of schooling.  School change is difficult to negotiate, and even teachers who support open learning in theory rarely put this into practice.

  • Technology on its own is clearly not the catalyst for change. A shift in other critical areas is required.

  • The needs of learners hasn’t changed so much as the opportunities and expectations of young people have changed.

  • Our understanding of the relative importance of internalised knowledge compared to information and learning literacies have changed.

  • Understanding teacher beliefs about learning may be the secret to unlocking effective future pedagogies to meet modern learning.


Changed priorities are needed.

Modern schools require a clearly articulated vision and shared beliefs about learning which both educational leaders and teachers work to implement in every facet of schooling.  This vision is informed by new contexts of learning, and by changes in the wider world and society and what this will mean for our students (such as future employment needs). It also requires a commitment to listening to teacher concerns, and investing in supporting and increasing their knowledge and skills.. Change School, Peel School district, Prince’s Hill and HighTech High were put forward as good example worthy of further study.

What is Learning?

What do we understand learning to be? Who chooses what to learn and how? If we do not know the answer to these questions, how can we truly provide effective learning to students.


Soft skills are the permanent skills

Hard skills are temporary, soft skills are permanent.  The vast majority of what we will need for future jobs are those soft skills – self-directed learning, adaptability, etc.  

Under what conditions do children learn most powerfully and deeply?

Learning has to make students ‘want to learn more’

They need to have a passion for learning.  Learning is about relationships (community, trust and respect), relevance, choice, self determination, failure is ok.  Are we overly scaffolding learning?

The skill of being able to learn – Papert

Learning how to learn rather than teaching.  Schools need to produce people who know how to act in situations that they have not been prepared for.


Modern schools

Modern schools have cultures where personal, self-determined learning is at the centre of learning. This might include inquiry-based learning, collaborative learning, where students set their own goals, pace, and medium of expression, while teachers act as guides, and, very importantly, present themselves as fellow learners, modelling good techniques.

Model of such a school


Role of technology

What are the most interesting things students are doing with technology?  Stop looking at technology through “school coloured glasses” as Bruce phrased it, but see it as the students see it. Put technology into the background, and instead concentrate on helping students accomplish more, and in new and exciting ways: “to do things at a level of complexity that was not previously accessible to children” (Papert, cited by Dixon)