16 November 2012

Learning Fractals with Stories and Video

Learning is never a linear process, no matter how linear a syllabus aims to be. When teaching and learning occur in a digital environment, it seems to me, that the learning process becomes more fractal, and this disjunction may sometimes cause anxiety to those involved. For example, students who transit from a traditional learning environment to one where there is less paper, more digital activities, (which also require more learning autonomy and responsibility), need time to adjust and to understand how their digital tasks are in fact building skills and fostering their learning. 

Learning is, as so many educators know, a messy, complex process. Circular, fractal and fragmented, learning does occur.  The puzzle of learning comes together unknowingly. However, like many other processes in life, it needs time - and desire to achieve.

Stories have always enhanced learning for me. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I turn so often to digital story-telling. The focus is on the learner, calling on their imagination, liberating language and images together in a creative process. 

I have already mentioned Booktype as a great tool to collate, organise and publish books, but there are other tools which are more user-friendly for less experienced writers and younger learners as well. 

Joomag is a free tool to create digital magazines and a wonderful way to share stories that students have created throughout a semester or academic year. Depending on context, students can also use Joomag to share a project they have been working on. Working collaboratively is not a "digital" skill - both learners and professionals have been working collaboratively for years before our digital landscape took place. However, collaborating digitally is still relatively new, and increasingly relevant. On the one hand,  it is liberating as participants don't need to be in the same physical space anymore; on the other hand, it prepares them for skills they will need to know in their future, as distance collaboration (for example in companies) is no longer a novelty. 

Twine is an interesting tool for creating interactive stories. It is free to download for both Windows and MAC. One can then save and share online or even save on a CD-rom. 

Creating A Simple Story from Chris Klimas on Vimeo.

For young learners - or even highschool learners, instead of setting a task of creating a digital story, why not set a reading assignment first, then they can move on to writing their own digital story.

Working on a Book Cover Creator involves simple steps, while encouraging reading as well (learners need to read before creating their book cover).

From reading to creating a book cover, the next step is to show learners how easy it is to create a digital story and by offering them a Story Map, the task becomes more fluid.

Both these interactive tasks come from readwritethink, which has a wealth of resources and teacher support that can be adapted to different subjects, different learning levels and contexts.

Video viewing is no longer a Friday treat (hopefully!) but an integral part of classrooms today.

The Encyclopedia of Life  has a wide range of videos to share with learners about life on our planet - another way to sensitive learners to the need of protecting life.

EOL also has its own YouTube Channel, making it even easier for educators to browse for specific videos.

Whether one believes in linear myths of learning, circular learning or fractal learning, students do learn. It is the fragments of learning tools and resources which educators offer them, the sources of information which one can open up to learners, that adds to the blooming of knowing and knowledge.

What fractals of learning do you share most with your learners?

Further suggestions:


5 Hallmarks of a Creative Project 

5 Instructional Shifts to Promote Deep Learning

No comments:

Post a Comment