Digital Leading and Learning

Connecting Formal and Informal Learning

This past week I viewed several videos that were similar in nature to most other media and readings throughout my current graduate course, but they were fantastic! I specifically loved the first one, Rethinking Learning: The 21st Century Learner. The focus is not on eliminating formal learning and what we already do well in classrooms, but it is instead highlighting the need for more fluidity when it comes to formal and informal learning. I just couldn’t agree more with what is said about how 21st century learners need “the love of embracing change” (Macfound, 2010) and not just the willingness to embrace it. We need to create learners who want to create change, and in order to do that we need to make learning relevant and naturalistic. I want to increase curiosity by creating an environment in which students feel connections between the content, their homes, their friends, and the world.

As far as digital learning is concerned, I somewhat disagree with the idea that it isn’t an intrinsic activity. I spent a lot of time this past week with my niece, and she is very motivated to learn digitally not because someone influenced her, but because the world is a digital place. She wants to create, fail, and then learn from those failures. This is where I feel I can help inspire those students who maybe have not caught the digital learning bug, by creating an environment that encourages them to play. If they aren’t afraid to fail, then they will become more inspired. In addition to inspiring students, I feel like I need to be an inspiration for teachers to embrace digital learning in their classrooms. They, too, need to know that it is ok (and even great!) to fail. I myself am learning the value in not succeeding the first time, and it is a wonderful thing.

Both 20th and 21st century learning are similar in that they are what was/is necessary for that time. In the past, the world was different so people needed to have different skills like retelling and reading from text books. With the availability of resources today, these are no longer skills that we need which is why 21st century learning is more focused on discovery, development, and experiences. It all makes sense and directly relates to what this course is asking us to do. We need to adjust our learning so we best meet the needs of our students. We need to prepare them for their future careers, relationships, social interactions, and every other aspect of their lives. We are doing this; it is shown in the What Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills video. Schools obviously aren’t perfect, but we are moving in the right direction, and with a flowed system this large, I believe this movement is impressive. All we can do now is keep the momentum going to better prepare our students each year.

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