Ok, so I’m going to try to bridge (hopefully not the collapsed Tacoma Narrows Bridge that we saw an image of in class) networked learning and mindfulness for this coming week’s post theme. I found technology to be such an interesting part of class this week. I was noticing in class how the computer was helping me to better understand discussions in class. In seeing that the topic for the week is mindfulness in teaching and learning, I first googled the definition of mindfulness in case I wanted to use it for this post. Being that mindfulness focuses on the present moment, I am debating if having google is keeping me present or distracting me from class. I was able to look up several words to better understand class conversations: ubiquitous, diatribe, what years millennials were born in, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge obviously. I used to hear words in class that I didn’t understand, and I would have to be a little confused in the moment and look it up later. Now that I can look up that information in the moment, it may be a small distraction, but it can actually keep me more present in the conversation. Remaining present in the moment can be such a huge part of education because being distracted and looking up information unrelated to class hinders education, as has been discussed in detail thus far.
While watching the second Michael Wesch video in class, I decided to google what the definition for learning actually is: “the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.” I found it fascinating that “being taught” is the last on that list while “experience” comes first. How much do we actually experience if we just move through life mindlessly? The answer according to Ellen Langer (Langer_Mindful_Learning+intro+and+chap+one (1)) is not much for Little Red Riding Hood. Mindfulness itself is a necessary part of learning so that we can experience life! When I think about each of these forms of learning, experience seems to be the most first hand. When I think of study, I imagine someone reading a book and not fully experiencing. “Being taught” (phrased in the passive voice) may remove that even farther as the activity falls on the teacher and the student is just the recipient. Both Michael Wesch and Ken Robinson speak about how teachers must fully engage students’ individuality, so “being taught” to me just doesn’t sound as engaging as we hope learning to be.
It would seem that similar to the curiosity that children have to learn and explore things (again concepts touched on my Michael Wesch and Ken Robinson), my curiosity to find information is something that can be helpful for learning. Instead of stifling my curiosity to learn by just focusing on the conversation at hand, I was able to explore some concepts that I was curious about. One of the myths of learning that Ellen Langer distinguished was that paying attention meant focusing on one thing at a time. I will agree that this is a myth because by my ability to seek out more information (thank you google!) mid-conversation, I learned something new. So after all of this debate and engaging in the week’s learning materials, my appraisal of my “distraction” during class is that googling unknown words actually helped me stay on topic and learn better. What do you think?