I’ve shared some of my THIS IS IT moments when I think of Empowered Modern Learners in the past. It’s funny when it will hit you. When the glossy pages of a vision document seem to come to life in front of you. It happened last week as I was sitting beside my friend J at Briarwood.
After a bit of a flop on my part the last time together (lesson learned – these friends weren’t into recording their voice) we wanted to tackle CoSpaces EDU. In conversations together with the educator and learners the last session we knew there was a big interest in games and game design. I love when the pieces all fall together. Together the class was exploring a variety of early societies and their interactions. A perfect fit to explore and apply their learning while creating virtual worlds.
We started giving a few pointers to get started. J couldn’t wait to suggest Ancient China. In a bit of a panic, I took a few other options from the crowd, reassuring her that I’d love to see her creation. As we started she almost chose a different topic and I felt terrible. Had I inadvertently given a message it wasn’t as good? With a gentle reminder, she got started. One of the reasons I love introducing learning communities to new tools is we have this amazing opportunity to model our role as provocateurs. I am not the expert just someone who has played a bit more so we immediately are in this co-learning stance together. So often learners take the experience way further than we could imagine.
I went back to check in with J. She already had her wall started with a guard pacing and a speech bubble to explain his role. A little later she would tap into her personal knowledge and build temples and palaces with shapes and textures that best suited the period. I watched in awe as I wouldn’t have thought to manipulate the shapes the same way. There was a conversation around the difference of an emperor and empire. Jim Cummins writings on academic language kept flashing across my mind as she and I talked through the difference between the two.
For me the best was sitting side by side as she found the music button, looking across the web for some creative commons music that fit the tone she wanted. She knew exactly what she wanted. There was no rush to just pick any song.
As I drove away to a meeting I couldn’t help but think of our belief statements and in particular reflecting on our belief of the learner.
Each learner is curious, competent and able to take an active role in their own learning.
Suddenly all the beliefs about our learner, the role of the educator, the environment and the community were interwoven in front of me as I watched J creating in the bean bag chair. All it took was a bit of listening to see how curious, competent and capable J was. I wondered if I would have missed it if she didn’t suggest Ancient China in the group. As I left I couldn’t help but reflect on how to provoke and invite J to deepen her learning. I guess it’s a natural by-product of #listeningclosely.
Time to #listenclosely this week so I don’t miss any of those THIS IS IT moments.
What has been your THIS IS IT moment?