2008/09/18

I'm not a commodity

There isn't a predefined path for learning nor there is a fixed time for learning it. There are infinite ways of reaching goals and even those are defined by the learner not the designers (teachers, educators, politicians, whatever you want to call it).

Looking back in my life, I see my own pattern of learning. I call my self a slow learner. I'm not afraid of failing, actually is when I can learn better. I like to explore, to assemble, to manipulate the objects in different ways, to test my constructions, to compare with other constructions, to reflect on my own failures and enrich it with accounts of others. This can not be rushed! Takes time! My own time to find meaning. Also, I'm not keen on bragging about accomplishments but I like to share what did not work with me so others can use freely my mistakes.

For me mistakes are part of the process. Can one live without mistakes? Aren't we fooling ourselves saying otherwise? Is there a single cassette, a single video, a book, a paper or any single account that can work without previous knowledge (let alone the «fifth element» that absorbed the meaning of life during a couple of hours... and still it was incomplete cause she never felt loved) contextualized?. There is no fast and packed knowledge for you to ingest in order to prevent failure. To learn something is not the finish line, nor the goal. Learning is a journey that must be experienced. Taking longer and making mistakes is in no way the same as being less valuable. The question lies on our ability to identify our mistakes, our failures (only possible if you have some kind of knowledge, otherwise one can not identify the mistakes and needs someone else to point it). I guess that it might be also cultural. Some people find it easier to identify mistakes of others instead of their own. Maybe it is easier but I wonder if they can learn as much as with reflections on their own failures...

When I decide to make a journey (or learn something), I accept that I might get lost, I might not understand the meaning of things I encounter, I'll get overwhelm, I will not visit all the things that cross my way, I'll meet some people and ask for directions and I'll observe what others are doing without engaging. All of that, is part of the journey, of what I've learned.

In CCK08 my interest is not so much about if connectivism is a theory or if it is going to replace other ways of explaining the world around us. Sure I like to be abreast of new research explaining new realities, new needs. But what I really want to understand are new ways of acknowledge paths of learning and knowing things that are not accounted for in previous systems of evaluation, based on different objects and technologies that are available (we shape technology and then it shapes us). 

From scarce to plenty, from restricted to open, from localized to networked, from costly to free... Learning today requires so much more and yet we are at large still being evaluated by our finished products, our thesis, depicting a pale picture of all the transformations, all the conversations, all the lessons (some still call failures) that took place since we embark on the journey. Yes, it might prove difficult, more time consuming for teachers to engage in this path approach for learning, but the results are surprisingly overwhelming!

Going back to my journey, amidst the remodeling of my «new home», very proud to see that my son's path to university worked out as he wished and that my daughter is happier than ever since she changed school, one that she believes is better suited for her learning style. Amazing to see how different they both are and how they choose their own paths.

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