Me, us, you – over time we make connections, grow and expand out thinking. Over time we come back together in groups to connect with people we know. The collaborations that develop from those connections can be incredibly powerful.
Heather Eccles, Krishna Ramadugu, and Geoff Wood highlight that much of their professional learning has been about specific collaborations and connections that they have made, initially by being part of the Virtual Professional Learning Development (VPLD) programme. Krishna talked about light and what it means to her: “It’s the lamp of knowledge that can light the fire of thousands more and yet not diminish in its brilliant. It benefits both the giver and the receiver”.
Krishna made contact with Geoff, who heads up the Over the Back Fence (OTBF) project. Where there are connections between students with the older students leading sessions for the younger students (tuakana teina). There have also been sessions where authors have beamed in for sessions with the students, and connecting different cultures with groups in India.
Some of the outcomes, for all the learners, have included the enjoyment of students learning from each other in a way that is experience driven, rather than content driven. It has encouraged students to engage and participate, and to embrace new literacies, as well as developing a deep sense of fulfilment in sharing. Curiosity has developed along with a desire to learn and succeed.
Geoff and Anne Kenealley started to talk about connecting classrooms at a bus stop after a conference. Since then the project has burgeoned, with students running sessions online with other students around the world. The connections have been amazing, opening up worlds and windows on cultures and understandings that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. It’s the global connections – the questioning of early-formed beliefs, and a way of helping the youth shape their understandings of the world.
Going back to the whole notion of connections – they are myriad. They involve young learners, older learners, teachers, education leaders…all with a thirst for learning and eye for the potential of the affordances of technology. Bringing us back to…it’s not the technology…it’s what you do with it!!
So – what connections are you making? How are you exploring and opening up the world of learning for yourself? How are you empowering your learners to open up their own world?