Monday, January 12, 2009

Becoming "Tearners" -- Linking Teaching & Learning

"Tearners" is a term that Wayne Hodgins coined to capture the transformative idea that learning environments, models, tools and so forth need to be created to foster our ability to effectively engage in both teaching and learning.

In his blogpost, Hodgins asserts that we are more in need of teachers than ever before because of the continued growth of knowledge. He also notes,
"In the past 20 years, we’ve certainly seen an increase in our focus on learning. Yet if we really look at our learning effectiveness (the speed with which we can acquire new skills, knowledge, and abilities), we don’t seem to have achieved an appreciable increase, despite the addition of new tools and new technologies throughout the entire e-learning and technology-enhanced learning era."
His solution is that we all need to be both teachers and learners. In other articles I have made similar suggestions and also described models for participation in teaching and learning and suggested that learning communities can be structured to foster roles in both teaching and learning.

Hodgins contribution to this discussion is the suggestion that we need to think about how to learn how to be effective teachers and we need tools that help us find the "right" teacher at the "right" moment. For example, he asks,
"Could we have more metadata about us individually? Could we get better at itemizing what each of us knows: our skills, knowledge, abilities, experience, expertise, to enable us to find people who are just right for us at just the right time and in just the right context?"
He also suggests that we don't just need to find content related to a question when we search, but we need to find content designed at the "right" level to match our interest, knowledge and understanding. This ability is definitely needed, but will be very complex to develop.

There is much work to do here.

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