Old School

When I was growing up my public library was like Mecca, with the “Adult” section a Nirvana just out of reach. It contained all the possibilities I imagined for myself, and never was I unable to find something to capture my interest. I never discriminated when it came to my selections. I read everything I could get my hands on, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Biography, Astronomy and Astrology,Yoga training, you name it, if it was available to me, I borrowed and I read.

As I grew up I continued to explore books. Finally able to enter the “Adult” section, I must admit I spent some time exploring the seedier side of the world. I developed a fascination for romance novels and true crime. From time to time I returned to the childrens’ section of the library to revisit old friends and new writers. Soon I outgrew my local library as their collection didn’t grow as rapidly as my interests. I discovered the main branch of the public library, and the fascinating “Johnson’s Used Books” located upstairs from the stationery store of the same name. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was creating my Personal Learning environment, old school style.

In this week’s readings the focus has been on how technology has brought about the creation of the Personal Learning environment. All of the articles speak of how technology can be used in education to help students personalize the learning experience and in some way, imply that this concept of Personal Learning is an offshoot of the technological environment we live in.

My argument is that it has always been in existence. If you disagree with me take a look at history. There isn’t any learning environment that isn’t personal when the mind is curious. Having a curious mind is not dependent on technology, although technology can be a resource for achieving satisfaction. This I guess is my point, to raise the question, both for myself and to others, how can I continue to engage my students curiosity so that they can go forth and explore?

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  1. March 26, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Personal learning was certainly possibly for long before computers and the Internet (notwithstanding that they have made it a lot easier), every type of learning takes place in an environment, and I would argue that almost everyone who was really serious about learning or had a great curiousity learned more on their own than in schools and universities.

    However, I could well imagine that the number of people who engage in personal learning has grown with the advent of new technology, in particular as the often (I argue) stifling effects of schools on the wish to learn is counter-acted by the Internet.

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