w2/ On connected learning

On Connected Learning Videos

Okay, I guess I get the point: There is internet, and it is all around the world. It is World Wide Web. It is ruling the world and, as everything, education system needs to be incorporated to this new artifact. But..

I was trained as a clinical psychologist in Turkey, worked in the addiction treatment field for years before deciding to pursue a teaching career, applying to a PhD program and being here. One of the major themes in my clinical practice as well as social life that perplexes me each and every time is how the touch-screen telephones, ipads or whatevers contribute to build up a senseless culture in which nothing is touchy any more. As if, the more sense-itive the technological devices become, the less sensitive the generation becomes.

Today, a student shared one of the acquainted news: A woman recorded on her phone how a deadly accident happened and how the person (who is recorded) is died. Instead of calling the police or ambulance, she just recorded it.. Okay, may be this is a bit intense. What about this:  A few days ago, I saw two young people taking pictures with a dead mole laying on the road. Not attempting to take its body from the road, not ignoring it, but laughing and taking pictures. That, hurts me. Hurts my humanity.


I guess I should admit that I have a no technology policy in my senior level class. The use of computers, mobile phones are not allowed. I do not use powerpoints and I go as-low-tech-as possible. I bring newspaper columns and allow the students to discuss on them. And contrary to the tone of back-voice at the second video, although I do not need to, I believe there is a beauty in walking two blocks away to get a newspaper. I encourage the students to draw what they experience about the topics and issues and let them talk about their experience in dyads, small groups and in large class. I ask them to know each and every classmate’s name, and to know something about each other..

My definition of connectedness is based on “real” interaction, and I am not sure whether as The humanity we are there yet.  Dr. Nelson mentioned a great point regarding the second video she shared in the class. In the video, the back-voice was mentioning about “connectedness” and (may be as a definition) showed a student sending an e-mail to an instructor-with-a-moustache, and he was writing back, and bumm: connection! I am not sure whether connectedness means communicating through e-mails, mooc’s or smileys..

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Saying all that, I just want to make sure that I am not against the use of technology, not at all. The main point I would like to make is, I am against to be used by technology, to get lost in the dreamy abundance of its resources, and to prioritize technology over humane values. I would like to state that we should incorporate the use of internet TO the education system. It should be a tool, not a world wide web that is wider than the human.


August 27, ’15


6 thoughts on “w2/ On connected learning

  1. Katie Ayers

    O Yesim, you are speaking to my soul!!!!!

    I also have a no technology policy in my class, students learn to take notes by hand and I encourage them to talk with each other in and outside of class about the materials we read.

    I so agree with you, as you found on my blog, that internet connectedness is not real connectedness. I also encourage students to learn each other’s names and require them to use each other’s names when speaking in class. It is so easy to yell at someone online because you do not really know them, much harder when you look at them and call them by name in the class.

    One last thought: “It should be a tool, not a world wide web that is wider than the human.” YES YES YES!!!!!

  2. fdelamota


    I agree to many of your comments and especially to preserving the human side of our interactions, including teaching and learning. Digital media has become our society’s obsession as it is difficult for most people to draw a line between need and want. I am an ardent believer that happiness is not having the most, but needing the least, and I think it also applies to teaching. More websites, more blogs, more gadgets can end up being distracting. I am teaching a full class for the first time this semester and I am really struggling with not having enough time to prepare for my class due to the heavy digital component of the course. I know next time I teach it I’ll simplify the electronic side of the class a lot. So far, some of the best college classes I’ve taken were those in which the professor showed up to class with only a bullet-point list of things he/she wanted to cover that day and talked about them and asked students questions on those concepts.

    The world is like a pendulum, going from one side to the other, never stopping in the middle. Perhaps that is the same for teaching and the pendulum has gone too far out in regards to connected learning.

  3. A. Nelson

    I completely understand your concerns, Yesim. Indeed I share many of them . A “virtual interaction” (photographing the dead mole) can indeed numb and distance us from meaningful communication. And it certainly does so at times. But I think we owe it to ourselves and our students to leverage the power that these environments offer to do good — to create arenas for meaningful, substantive exchanges and interactions — because the cat videos and the disaster vines will be with us regardless. As Katie noted, the web is a tool. It’s also a medium, a powerful and ubiquitous one at that. But just as Plato feared that the advent of writing would mean the demise of memory, I think we fear that the overload of information on the web can only distract and overwhelm. It certainly can do that. But as social learners, the web also offers us tremendous opportunities to enhance our learning. We need to do so mindfully and responsibly, but I would hate to see us reject networked learning entirely.

  4. Ashish

    I liked your blogpost Yasim! I also get troubled by how distant e are becoming because of one another because of excessive use of technology, and how we are pushing the human in us on the back burner because technology is driving our lives in such a way that we do not have no time “to stand and stare” and think about what we just saw. However, I would must add that if used properly and purposefully, the same technology can open up a plethora of information and learning opportunities for us. This poses a challenge for instructors, parents, societies and students alike to make the best use of technology.

    P.S. I also ask my students to interact with their classmates and know their names; and I have limited the use of technology to just powerpoint. I think this is a big and bold step in a department which die-hardly promotes the use of DyKnow to promote interaction with students. With DyKnow, students can just write their thoughts on a submission panel, instead of speaking out their opinions. While this writing down of thoughts does have some merit, I think it just does not develop confidence in students to speak out their opinion and interact with the instructor and the classmates face to face.

  5. yanliang4yang

    Hi, Yesim. I experienced exactly the same struggle as you. But just recently, I read a book recently about teaching, which changed my mind a little bit. In that book, the author mentioned that the future students in college will be the new generation. They grow up surrounded by high technologies. We have to admit the difference between us and them. They communicate with each other using social media; they learn things faster in images not words. That’s the way they are; that’s the way they learn. So as a future teacher, it may facilitate our teaching if we keep their cognitive learning features in mind as well.

  6. G. Purdy

    Definitely agree with the value of face to face interaction and the connections that can be made through this type of interaction. However, couldn’t there be some benefit to utilizing technology in the classroom as a way to supplement instruction? For the class that I taught, the students were able to use their computers and other devices. It definitely can be a point of distraction, but I also found that it allowed me to have them use their devices to supplement my instruction. If a question was asked that I did not know the answer to, off the top of my head, I could have one or two students do some investigating on the net and report back their findings. In some respects, using technology can be a way to not only enhance, but create new knowledge with your class in real time.


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