I keep a stack of post-its on my night table.
Often, I get ideas that wake me or ideas that keep me from sleeping or even unformed ideas that rattle me out of sleep altogether.
The ideas sometimes are so random in nature that when I look at them with full attention I have no way to interpret their meaning – the moment of inspiration has passed, the dream faded. There has been once or twice my imagination did come back to an idea over several evenings. Then the small yellow squares with obscure scribbles and words formed a clear enough picture of my sleepy intentions.
But this is rarely the case.
I have tried to focus in those twilighty creation sessions but that ultimately leads to being fully awake – and when an idea gets a hold of me at 2:00 AM, guaranteed I am not getting a decent night’s rest. So in the end, scribbles, a shape, or a vague word is what I go on.
The other day I looked at a note and could not make sense of it right away.
Somewhere between taking the dog out and the second half of my coffee cup the letters made sense. The I, Q, and b lead me to Inquiry Based … learning, well I assumed learning and went with it.
IQb learning is constantly on my mind. I feel it looming around my pedagogy constantly. It wags a finger at me, tsk-ing and demanding that I do better in my program delivery- but I gotta admit, I am not clear enough in my understanding of it to confidently action it.
So I Tweet.
Mornings are pretty busy and staying on track with routines is a priority, but I also knew that IQb was not going to unlock itself. I chose 5 members of my PLN and posted out. These tweeps are all rockstars in their own rights, but collectively I knew that something cool would happen by reaching out to them.
Here’s the cool thing about my PLN…
- it constantly and positively reminds me of the questions that I have yet to ask
- it constantly and positively reminds me of the human elements necessary to learn socially
Within several minutes Rolland Chidiac jumped in. Soon after Jen Giffen , Will Gourley, and Derrick Schellenberg threw in their supports. Not only did they share but they riffed off of my questions and added their own spins to it. Definitely a masterclass here.
Max Cooke of CEA wrote back in 2012 that…
…online collaboration that is “sustained over time and supported by specialists results in improvements in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, teaching strategies used…and students’ attitudes and behaviour, and students’ achievement.”
And I could not agree more. My greatest regret in my own personal learning journey is that I did not engage with Twitter sooner. I wish I could have had Jen Giffen’s latest post to help me move from ‘as if’ to ‘what if’ in fewer steps. My constant curiosity has connected me with hundred’s of people that I do not encounter in my daily stomping ground, and that is the greatest asset to my learning.
When I learn, I move very quickly from curiosity, to trajectory, to people connecting, to interacting, and then reflecting and writing. Along the way I set reminders and timers for follow up. All of this is made possible with my current digitech tool kit.
Since hearing George Couros’ talk at #yrdsbQUEST a few years back, where he convinced me that everyone should have a digital learning portfolio, I have ardently pursued and posted my process. The iterations have flowed from personal journal blog, to Twitter, to public blog. The shift is necessary. Our board has been moving into this modern learning frame intentionally over the last two years. The fundamental understanding that I have taken from my own modern learning journey is that education is no longer about what you know, or even where you learned it, but rather what is your relationship to what you know, what could you do with what you know [or can’t because you don’t], where have you openly shared your experiences, and what have you learned from the process?
How we speak about our learning takes new words and phrases, and possibly new value systems to accredit the learning that now is at the fingertips of every teacher and student.