School for Life Long Learning
School is an excellent place to learn and practice life skills. Kids are given ample opportunities to think and develop higher order thinking skills. They learn how not to accept everything the teachers, their peers, the principal, the school board and other stakeholders throw at them. They learn to stand up for their interests and rights such as freedom of speech. Isn’t this happening at your school?
Personal & Social Learning
School should be enjoyed in and out of the classroom. We are so lucky that we can learn online through the Internet. The library as Asimov says is at our homes (watch the video). We can now carry our mobile devices wherever we go so that the libraries and learning can take place everywhere and 24/7. I often stay up all night because I can’t stop learning. It’s so easy to access information and learn.
Skipping Classes for Learning
I used to love going to school to meet my friends and attend classes, until I started skipping classes in grade 11. Luckily my negative learning experiences in school didn’t keep me from continuing to learn and eventually receiving my PhD. Don’t get me wrong. I loved getting 100s because I developed a great visual memory, but by grade 11, I was not interested in showing my skills as an “A” student, anymore. I began to skip classes and went downtown to the University of Toronto and sat at the library taking notes. I was so into learning on my own that I joined Marshall McLuhan’s seminar on social media and communication. However, even though I was learning meaningfully, I was failing most of my school subjects. Was I willing to let school stop me from enjoying learning? Not at all! In fact, I became a school teacher myself.
Teaching within the School System
I became an English teacher after completing a BA in English literature and theoretical linguistics. The reason I took courses and got a teaching certificate was to become a teacher and change the educational system. Yes, I was that ambitious. I tried to do everything I could to disrupt the system, but it wasn’t that easy and I failed. It was only when I replaced my electric typewriter with a personal computer (PC) that I things began to change.
School Computer Rooms
My love of technology and teaching started in a high school. I began by using the computer rooms at school. In fact, I actually took over the computer rooms from the computer science teachers. I had to plead but they let me use their rooms. The students and their parents did not understand why I was using computers to teach English. I tried to explain, but the pressure was high. The principal called me in asked that I stop wasting my teaching time in the computer rooms and start teaching in the regular classes. I was being paid for what I was doing in the classroom and no one seemed to care about the students and what they were doing.
Teaching vs Learning
The message I was receiving from my principal, the parents and other teachers were that teaching is more important than the process of learning. Teacher training and professional development on how to present the content in an interesting way was important in the classroom, but where were the students? Well, the students took exams based on what the teacher had taught in class. If the students did great and got high grades, the teacher was congratulated, but if the students failed, the teacher was reprimanded and asked to take more courses on how to present the material. No one seemed to bother with what was happening to the student who was the learner. The teacher was responsible because the teacher was being paid for teaching. The student was passively taking it all in or trying to absorb it all like a sponge.
Active Teacher – Passive Student
The teacher was active and the student was passive. Does this sound familiar? Do we view students as passive learners?
Watch and listen carefully to Isaac Asimov’s words on school, learning, and teachers.
Revolution in Education
Watch Sir Ken Robinson and others talk about a revolution in education on Learning, Innovation & Society and Learning Without Frontiers, a global platform for disruptive thinkers, innovators and practitioners to share knowledge, ideas and experiences about the future of learning.
Dr. Noam Chomsky & Being Reasonable
So what is the purpose of education? Watch and listen to Dr. Noam Chomsky on the purpose of education to get a perspective on what was, is and will probably be in the future.
Has Education Gone Wrong?
Watch Sir Ken Robinson talk about what’s happening these days in education and why things are as they are in education.
Learning & Teaching Online
I didn’t give up and continued to use technology with my face-to-face high school students, but this time outside the computer rooms. I was restricted from using technology in my school, so I went online and started teaching and learning online at the same time. I took my PhD online at the University of Phoenix. I loved the experience so much, I wanted to share my passion for online learning by teaching online. I started with a website and discussion forums. I went on to connect with other English teachers around the world and introduced my students to online learning with other students via Moodle and in 2007 with the WizIQ live classroom. My students love learning online. They can engage in conversations with each other and their teacher in classroom groups on Facebook. And why not? Why not bring your students online for learning?
Online Courses on WizIQ
WizIQ has free premium accounts for teachers. You can create online courses on WizIQ for your students to supplement the face-to-face classes. Your students will appreciate your time and enjoy learning online even more. School should not be forced and learning can be fun online.
Ambassador to WizIQ
I have become an ambassador to WizIQ because I love how the live virtual classroom works and the support I get from the team at WizIQ. WizIQ fits in with my needs as an individual, teacher, and learner. I had a great deal of experience teaching in virtual classes before I joined WizIQ, but none of them catered to my needs the way WizIQ has.
I have created 1000s of classes for free for educators and students from around the globe. The experience has been awesome for me as a teacher and for my students. We learn from each other. The international population that joins my classes has enriched my life both personally and professionally. I can now call myself a citizen of the world. From the feedback I receive, I know I’m making a difference to people worldwide and that’s very satisfying. I invite you to join me on my personal account, on IT4ALL, where I conduct the annual Moodlemoot conference (MMVC11-MMVC13) and on CO13, where I have been conducting the free annual Connecting Online conferences every first weekend of February (CO09-CO13), and travel the world with your students on WizIQ.
Where do you stand?
Most people have opinions on schools, education, and learning. How do you feel about education and learning? Do you think we should conform and let the system continue as is or should we do something about it? How do you feel about online learning? Have you tried it as a teacher and/or learner?