Sunday, October 14, 2012

Blog Post #7

The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler
Tonight I watched the video The Networked Student by Wendy Drexler. This video describes a new concept in teaching: connectivism. This idea, as stated in the video, is that learning occurs "through a social network that is made up of many different connections and ties". The video continues on by explaining how these different connections are made possible by various types of technology. It all begins with a personal learning network. This is where a student practices finding information and sharing it with other students around the world by using various forms of technology. The video concludes with the question "Why does a networked student need a teacher?"

I found this video to be very interesting. I enjoyed when they talked about iTunesU. It's amazing to think that any student can have access to the best professors in the world without having to be a student at any particular university. In our world today we see technology changing and advancing at the speed of light; a computer you bought five years ago can become obsolete in that time. Sometimes I wonder if progressing this quickly is a good thing or a bad thing. When I hear about an advancement like this I feel it is a good thing. Now a student is never limited. They have the world at their finger tips. They can hear lectures from some of the greatest teachers anytime, anyplace.

While watching this video I kept the question in my head "why does a networked student need a teacher?" At one point I thought, maybe they don't. However, before the video reached its conclusion, I realized some of the reasons they were about to point out. Teachers need to be there to teach the student how to build the personal learning network, how to sort through the information they come across in order to find what is valid, to help them when they get stuck, etc. In a sense, the teacher becomes the tour guide. They show the student which direction to go and they lead the way most of the time, but sometimes they linger behind and let the student explore the world on their own.

A Seventh Grader's Personal Learning Environment
The video "Welcome to my PLE" can be seen by clicking here. In this video we have a 7th grade girl showing us how her PLE (personal learning environment) looks and works. She shows us how she processes and loads various forms of information in order to keep up with her school work.

This video was the first time I had seen a PLE or PLN set up like hers was. It looked like a simplified version of a computer screen set up. She was able to easily move from one section to another. She told us about having animals in the classroom and in order to get permission to hold them, the students have to do research on them. She shows us how she did the research in order to be allowed to hold the gecko in her classroom. She also showed us how she used the information she found about the box jelly fish to make a glogster, or digital poster. I thought this was all very interesting. It makes me feel excited to be a teacher and use this technology in my classroom. I have wondered, what keeps the student motivated? If they have so much freedom, wouldn't they just wander with no direction? In this video the student says no. She says that she enjoys the freedom but it also makes her feel responsibility. She concludes by saying that "it's not that she can choose to do nothing," but more of a choice of WHAT it is she wants to do.


  1. "Sometimes I wonder if progressing this quickly is a good thing or a bad thing. " There is noting you can do about it except whether to participate in the changes or not. If not, what are the consequences and how do those consequences compare with those that will occur if you do participate in the new world?

    Thoughtful. Interesting. Well written. Well done! Thanks!

  2. Hi Kathryn!

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week! You seem to have a great understanding of the material we were assigned, and you pointed out a lot of interesting ideas. I agree that sometimes it does feel somewhat overwhelming with the rapid advancement in technology, but I feel like it is a great change that we, as future educators, should definitely embrace.

    You described the seventh grader's PLE very nicely, and if I hadn't watched the video myself, I would have known exactly what the video was about by reading your descriptions. I didn't find any grammatical errors in your post; just make sure to include the ALT and TITLE modifiers to your picture. Great job!