So, I put my question on Twitter.
If you didn't NEED a class to get that piece of paper (i.e. degree/diploma) is a class really the way you'd choose to learn? #edchat
I got a response.
Kelly Vaughan @luciente11
@InnovativeEdu Yes! I actually PREFER learning many/most things in classes. More engaging, social, accountability to process & others...
Then several more which you can read here and then a blog post.
I thought about it.
Some people really like classes, but I do not.
As an adult, aside from the classes I needed for my teaching and administrative licenses, have I taken classes to learn?
I asked that out loud and my bestie happened to be standing by and shared three things I learned that required classes.
Volleyball, ballroom dancing, and snowboarding.
But were these really “classes?” What I mean by that is were these the type of classes that we would take at a school to get a degree/diploma? In general, I’d say they’re not. Which for me was the problem with school and classes. They are disconnected from learning in their real context. When I choose to learn, while I will seek out someone with experience, I don’t go to a school, I go to the environment i.e. the beach, the dance floor, the slope.
So maybe I was asking the wrong question.
Maybe the question should be this:
Lisa Nielsen @InnovativeEdu
When you want to learn something (outside what's required for a degree) do you go to school to do so? If not, where do you go? #edchat
Here are some of the responses I received.
@InnovativeEdu online (especially blogs), library, friends that are experts.#edchat
@InnovativeEdu The internet! #edchat
@InnovativeEdu #EdChatRi Prof org CEC, ASCD; sites Center on Instruction and http://DWW.Ed.gov ; books-Simplifying RTI (amazing); twitter
Kimi Wei @kimiwei
@InnovativeEdu Go to reference librarians, trade organizations, search, books. I've been an autodidact all my life. It's easy. #edchat
But why is this important?
If you believe school life should be supporting our success in real life, then it stands to reason, that school children should have the opportunity to learn in the ways we learn best when given the freedom to do so.
Understandably this would be different for different people. For example, Kelly Vaughan and I clearly have differences in at least one of the ways we like to learn. Like jodi jackson stewart and Jen, I prefer learning via the internet through reading blogs, on social media, and with members of my personal learning network.
However, regardless of the way we choose to learn, there are some important similarities. In her blog post, Kelly notes what she enjoys about learning when it is not forced.
- Attendance is not compulsory. It is by choice.
- Self determined readiness to learn this information.
- Ability to select a teacher that is a good fit.
- Ability to choose a setting that feels right.
- Not having the requirement to juggle so many classes at once.
And, that is why both my questions were wrong.
It is not whether we take classes or learn online that is important. Nor is it important if we prefer learning at a school, library, or on a slope.
What is important is not what we do but rather what we don’t do.
When it comes to school what we rob students of is the freedom to choose.
So that finally gets me to the right question...I think:
How can we give students the freedom to choose what, where, when, from whom, and how to learn? #edchat