If you have ever searched for YouTube videos using terms like  “21st century learner”, you would have found hundreds of matches that emphasize all the ways in which students are being let down by educators. They show students who are disengaged, simply because they aren’t watching YouTube videos, recording podcasts,  social networking, or gaming.

These videos imply that using any kind of technology to do anything is the answer to learning for all students. They also reflect a teacher-centric way of looking at education where the blame is on the teacher or school system for having the ‘wrong’ approach. These types of videos spend too much time pointing out the negatives, and leave out practical and powerful ways in which technology can help people (both teachers and students) learn.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this incredibly insightful video, “The Networked Student,” by wdrexler. Instead of offering generalized and stereotypical ideas, it shows practical ways in which 21st century people can learn by using technology to share, consume, analyze, organize, synthesize, and connect ideas, knowledge, opinions, and understandings. And what’s more–it shows the role of the teacher in the learning process as the guide, facilitator, and mentor to students.

The major points are:

  • Students develop their own learning network by using tools like: rss readers, social bookmarks, blogs, skype, and other tools. BUT it’s not about the tools–the magic is in how they use them to both share and consume.
  • Teachers help students build their learning networks, and guide them in problem-solving, asking effective questions, organizing, synthesizing, and analyzing resources and information, in order to draw their own conclusions.

What do you think about such videos or their critical counterparts? Do you have suggestions for other videos like this one?

Rare Find: Positive and Practical Look at 21st C Education
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