400 words

Towards Light weight Learning

Blogger-who would have thought this technology could make for such a dynamic light weight learning tool? But what a difference this has made to my GCSE group. The students love using the platform, they can customise it, which gives them a real sense of ‘ownership’ of their work, they can link with their class mates through the ‘follow’ device, thus enabling peer-to-peer learning, they can link with me, and as the lessons unfold, I can update my blog in real time to respond to their learning needs-for example a lesson on advertising through up some brilliant ideas and I could see the students were inching towards the idea of ‘role models’ and ‘aspiration’-they had the ideas but not the vocabulary.

I saw that this was happening and so posted this vocabulary and definitions and the students responded enthusiastically.
Sometimes it is tempting in lessons to introduce concepts that the students have not heard of and so ‘stretch’ their learning-but it the students cannot contextualise this it can be frustrating for them. I like being able to set a ‘stage’ for learning which is in effect the classroom and the ‘task’ set, and then being able to use a platform such as Blogger to create a collage of images, links and concepts which pupils can dip into as they feel like, set against the background of this over arching ‘task’ which sets the direction and ‘tone’ of the lesson. So there are hints and sign posts towards extending the work we are doing but it is down to the learners in terms of their inclination whether or not to follow these suggestions . The internet is in some way a ‘lucky dip’, where, as Sugatra Mitra has suggested, there are a plethora of answers but where it is up to me as the students’ guide to give the questions and hint at the richness of responses that may be possible with a suitably creative attitude-which is what, it seems, that Blogger is ideal for.

This approach would work with other Blogging platforms, anywhere where links and text and images can be gathered and the learner and teacher can relate to each other in real time. I also find it handy to feign some level of ignorance about web 2.0 as the students’ excitement and sense of discovery at posting Youtube videos and so on to illustrate their idea is palpable.