A film by Nic Askew. More at Soul Biographies.

Many educators believe that the current system is broken - it is asking the wrong questions - ones based on measuring the outcomes of a standard set of materials. Instead, we should be asking core questions of engagement by focusing on the learner and not the facts to be learned. How do you design learning experiences based on the questions: "How do you create a need to know in a kid?" and "Who contributes to helping young people survive and thrive?" Kids these days are learning from "everywhere," in part due to the availability of digital media. How do we use the capacity of network resources and social connections to bring people together in learning?


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  • Sheri Edwards

    What inspired you about this video? "What's the experience we want kids to have?" "Is the kid engaged?" Start with the kid; we learn according to our needs and interests, not someone else's objectives. Education is "to lead;" how can we lead if we don't pay attention to the kids's interests and purposes? These questions are so important for today's learning, today's connected world if we are to engage students in creative and critical thinking and learning.

  • Ken Wiliamson

    Interestingly enough I was talking about this very concept with my wife the other day. The video brought validation, to a certain degree, on the topic in which we were talking. I think one key element is having kids learn and not realizing that they are in fact learning. I think one of the key words in the video was "curiosity". At this juncture I"ll make an attempt at using my own experience in the pubic education system as an example. I'm a 58 year old male, retired, and possess a penchant, or burning desire to absorb and retain as much knowledge as I can regarding a variety of subjects or topics. The ones I find fascinating and interesting; ones that compel me to keep navigating through web links and looking up words in my bookmarked dictionary which I'm not familiar with, to keep adding the next piece of the jig saw puzzle if you will. And, all the while knowing that the task at hand will never come to an end. Another way to characterize this is when reading a book that you hope never ends but always disappointingly does. Toward the end of such a book, I'll find myself peeking to end of the numbered pages. I perform a little simple math to determine that, " Oh darn, there's only 40 pages left". The novel always ends. However,"with curiosity and connected learning via the internet", the book really does NEVER END. The following simple example is how this takes place and how we started having this conversation. A headline catches my eye and I find myself immersed in a story that poses a great interest to me. I start reading the article posted in the New York Times. (Their newspaper is posted on-line daily). I'm reading about "Jack and Jill", and just read the part about the young couple taking, without permission, buckets of water from a very deep and dark water well that was built by a reclusive, grumpy old neighbor. Since I'm absorbed in the story, I find myself curious about that well. How does one build a water well I ask myself. How does he know that water will be found at this particular location on the farm? And, how did he know how far he would have to dig downward? Hang with me, I'm slowly making my way to the point of all this. So, I copy and paste the term "Well Water" in the search area of Google. I then click. I next see the topic I'm interested in and click on Wikipedia. I start reading and "Lo and Behold", another word or concept is embedded within the text that I need to know about in order to help fully understand "Well Water" as it relates to the article I'm reading. That "other word" happens to be "Geology". So, let us find out what THAT is all about. I once again click and the clicking goes on and on. It could go on and on like this for days because I'll bookmark another site as it relates to my initial story but has value for future topics to check out later. I find myself engaged in this never ending cycle of learning and not even being aware that the cycle "IS HAPPENING". In the old days the only click I had was walking out of my bedroom, going downstairs through the kitchen and on to the family room to locate the topic of interest embedded in a volume of the "World Book Encyclopedia". Of course the section I wanted to use was suspiciously being used by one of the other siblings, (Always seemed like it anyway). So, at a crossroad now there would be many, many times I would not bother with it. The learning session would end. I can always bring out the brand new G. I. Joe action figure to play with. The one I just received as a gift on my birthday last weekend. So, in summing up my experience, the internet without question makes compounding useful information for me a fantastic tool. I get myself locked into the cycle of my favorite book; the book is entitled, "The Book That Never Ends". And, this particular book does not have page numbers. My wife can now be assured that she will never have to remember where she last saw my G.I. Joe Action Figure.

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  • Explore the Connected Learning site to view case studies and webinars of these new learning and design principles in education.
  • Check out these resources on the impact of the Internet and digital media on education, civic engagement, and youth.
  • Everyone has a role to play in the education of children.  How can you support a kid in developing a lifelong interest in learning?

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