The time has come to wrap up our blog posts for this course. Blogging is about reflection and evidence of the power of reflection has been coming at me from all angles this week.
We have pondered the value of digital games, collaborative tools, curriculum restrictions, the role of inquiry, student engagement. We need to be very thoughtful in every aspect of our work as teachers. As we expand the tools available for learning we need to remember that what works for students and for adults is what has worked for millennia – human interaction.
While moderating our chapter discussion on digital games I was struck with an idea. People play mmo’s because of their need to play; to connect. At the core of digital games is the collective, the same collective exists in the street games kids have played for centuries. The thrill of kick the can, the challenge of street hockey, the buzz of a group demonstration are all embodied in the digital world of collective-style digital games. Humans want to interact with other humans.
We are often surprised by the impact of blogging. Yet we are fully aware of the power of reflection. Blogging, journalling, diaries, personal letters, stories around the campfire – is there any difference? Now we have a digital campfire where everyone can have a turn at being the storyteller.
Today I linked to a middle school student’s blog from a tweet by Dr. Michele Jacobsen, a U of C professor. The post was profound and personal. The comment section was teeming with reactions. Some may look at this blog and say, â€˜Look what blogging can do.â€™ Yes, blogging is a powerful tool, yet we cannot underestimate that it grows from our long existing need to connect.
Many people focus on the fact that blogs have a massive audience – yet it doesn’t take responses from thousands of people to make an impact. One comment has an impact. Five comments and we feel connected. More than ten comments and the word viral starts to enter our thoughts. The world of blogging is a digital form of the printing press and we know the impact that invention had, and continues to have, on the world.
This term I have been writing a scholarly reflective journal. I’ve chosen to keep a digital journal, although many in class keep paper journals. We read and we discuss, all the while we are very thoughtful about the content of the readings. Yet it is our own writing that brings the deepest awareness, synthesis, discovery of ideas. I’m not alone in this experience. It is a shared experience that we all talk about and then write about. We write about how writing has furthered our thinking…our knowing.
The world is changing. What hasn’t changed is that we are human. The ways we engage are truly personal and unique to each of us.Â The connecting thread woven through the work of teaching is that this is a human endeavour.Â Our work in schools will be strengthened as we remember our humanness. My hope is that our digital tools will help us to do just that.
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