Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Spring is not conducive to being an online student

I am struggling for motivation today. I procrastinated with a cup of tea, wandered around my place and ended up in front of this...

Today is the first day of spring. The season of 'new life'.

The day my beautiful twin bubbies were born.

The season where life seems to awake from the dark miserable cold winter

And here I am in front of my laptop missing out on Vitamin D after the coldest winter in this region for 15 years.

And this is the point I am struggling with NETGL at the moment - life. Senses. Interaction with other living entities. Being indoors.

The picture above is of my apricot tree coming into bloom with our wattles already out in flower behind. What you don't get to experience fellow online learners is the life  aspect of this photo. Standing there with the warmth of sunshine on my back and being utterly immersed in the hum of the busy bees and other insects in the wattles and fruit trees. The hum is so all consuming that it almost drowns out the pesky rooster from next door who has been crowing since 3am (*almost*).

It is this interaction with life (or maybe just the lifeforce of something living) that I am struggling with in the NETGL space, and I am just not getting it from my laptop today. How do I 'get it' as a student from those I connect with, and how as a teacher do I 'convey it'?

Is it this interaction with something living than enables us to learn (ie change) and essentially makes us human? Yes, I hear you say, I can rope-learn information from a textbook or reading, but until you place that information into a socio-cultural context (as described in the Social Constructivist Theory in Bonzo & Parchoma , is it really learning?

Kolb states "Adults learn differently from children. They are not empty vessels to be filled...Adults have knowledge, values, relationships, and intentions that influence how they behave and learn new things. Often unlearning is half the battle".

Kolb proposes that learning and problem solving are entwined and learning involves four phases; concrete experience (feeling), reflective observation (reflection), abstract conceptualisation (thinking) and active experimentation (doing).

But in terms of how learners learn best, Drago & Wagner 2004 discusses learning styles as the acronym VARK - Visual (demos, notes), Aural (listening, instructions), Read/write (note takers) and Kinesthetic (learn by doing).

Reading both of these articles and reflecting on my own learning style indicates that I need to be doing something to truly learn. Perhaps I am missing this socio-cultural link? Although I have been studying online for the last three and half years, focusing on the 'Read/Write' learning style, perhaps  reflecting on the 'network' side of learning makes me realise how isolating studying online can be? And if at times I am feeling this as a student, how do I address this from a teacher point of view for my learners? 

*Insert more pondering here*

1 comment:

  1. Hi Murra Mumma,
    I can relate to the feeling of missing out on the life force when forced to do something that doesn't feel natural. Certainly not natural in the sense of the warm sun, the sounds of busy insects and the smell of spring flowers. The closest I get to it when on the laptop is by being outside with it. I love being greeted at my front door this time of year with a tree that has blooms smelling of bubble gum, a wonderful gift :)