I haven’t always seen myself as an accomplished learner. In fact, I went through most of my elementary and secondary experiences with a sense of incompetence. I watched, somewhat helplessly, as my learning was unraveling all around me. I struggled with my vision of academic excellence and much of my time was spent trying to reinvent myself to fit a mold of traditional teaching and learning that left me hollow and standing alone.
This evening I came across a quote from Will Richardson’s new professional learning resource “Learning on the Blog” and it resonated with me to my very core.
“In many ways, our connections define us as learners, especially today when we can make so many connections online. And we are not just connecting to people; we connect to content and organizations and ideas. No one dictates what connections we should make or what networks we should join. We are driven to those complex choices by our own passion to learn. However we get there, we are active participants in the process, and the process itself is shared to deepen the learning. How are you connecting? How are you adding value in the context of those connections?”
It seems like such a simple idea… Learning is about making connections in a world that is becoming more and more connected. I have come to know that deep, authentic learning is made possible through connections. Connections continue to be a powerful model that supports, enhances, and continues to allow me to engage in my learning. In this vein of thinking, I have come to some important realizations that even I was surprised to find myself making.
In my role as an Educational Consultant I have spend a considerable amount of time making sense of supporting teachers, and subsequently student learners, in the intricate details of Mathematics. Sadly, a subject area that still continues to elude many of our learners, young and old. In our work we have relied substantially on The Strands of Mathematical Proficiency, from the professional resource Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics, as we come to better understand what it means for our learners to be mathematically literate. My connections are far reaching as I make sense of this complex process of understanding.
In Mathematics, Productive Disposition is the belief in one’s ability and efficacy; view of mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile. This is directly paralleled with how I aspire to include technology in my everyday teaching and learning. Being open, willing to take risks, transforming my current practice, and engaging my students in learning in ways I have never dared to dream or imagine.
When I think about Strategic Competence in Mathematics it is being able to formulate problems mathematically and to devise strategies for solving them using concepts and procedures appropriately. As I envision a learning community connected with technology, I see its authentic incorporation as a necessity. I need to be tenacious as I learn of not only it’s intricacies but also embrace the complexity. Higher order thinking allows for the fine balance of competence and confidence to be attained in the most meaningful of ways.
Comprehending mathematical concepts, operations and relationships is the foundation of Conceptual Understanding. What does that entail when it comes to the value of integrating technology? It is about engaging and navigating the world wide web in search of taking my teaching and learning to the next level. The opportunity to connect and collaborate creates the conditions for innovation to be a game changer for learning.
Procedural Fluency is the skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately. My desire to engage in my learning in the most authentic of ways is made possible by web 2.0 tools. I see how technology can support, enhance, and differentiate the amazing opportunities already taking place in the classroom. Having a solid understanding of technologies has also afforded me a new found passion and zeal in learning. This confidence has captured a creativity I once possessed but I thought was long forgotten.
Lastly, Adaptive Reasoning is a capacity for logical thought, reflection, justification and explanation. The beauty of technology is that I can capture my thinking though this lens and share my synthesis globally. The secret to my success is the power of meaningful connections On the flip-side, when I encounter an obstacle that in the past seemed so insurmountable, I can connect with a community willing to problem solve along side me. Our strength comes from a mindset that showcases the power of collaboration.
It occurred to me that in my own learning journey I have had the privilege of growing my understanding by connecting my learning, which has afforded me the added value of strengthening that knowledge through collaboration with generous colleagues. It has taken me many years to feel confident in my gifts and talents as a learner, no matter what the subject might be. It is through this gift that I share my learning with you.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.