Monday, 15 September 2008

CCK08 - new week, new start, going on a diet!

After the hectic first week time to refocus. In the course of devouring the abundant course material last week I came across a myriad of metaphors and analogies - "taking this course is like...". I'm now joining those ranks with my experience. For me the first week was like being treated to one of those luxurious cruise ship buffets, where invariably you end up eating too much with the inevitable indigestion that follows. Eyes bigger than your belly, appetite grows while eating - been there, done that...

After the rather ill-advised gorging, this week I know better to resist the temptation and only savour what I enjoy the most. I don't want to feel overwhelmed anymore. Last week was a strong reminder and a good learning experience of what the deluge of information means in practice. Still, I don't feel the need for more structure or guidance either. I am quite thrilled about creating my own ideal menu out of all the theories, academic mumbo jumbo (sorry, I have been a grassroots practitioner for too long!) and fascinating insights from so many different people. And definitely I don't wish to lose the wide selection to pick and choose from- there is always a little space left for some unusual, new tasting sensation even after a gala dinner.

This week I want to reflect a bit more deeply on the weekly readings. I indentified with Lisa's blog post about the constructivist nature of this course. For me it's been a few years since my last academic further studies at the university, so I desperately need to construct some
understanding of certain key ideas of connectivism in my mind before I feel confident enough to engage in the conversations more actively.

Always the pragmatist, though, I know that my main interest will be in the possible applications of connectivism into my everyday work as a high school foreign language teacher. Over the years, I have learned, though, that it does pay to try and stay up-to-date of the latest research and academic developments in education and try to apply some of it in small case studies at the school level. There should be more connections between educational researchers and teachers, I feel. The gap between these two worlds is often too wide. I am interested in seeing whether this course will manage to foster any such connections, or whether this network will soon have strictly separate subgroups of academics, teachers, IT specialists, participants in different countries etc. etc. Concerns about the lack of a prerequisite amount of theoretical knowledge have already been voiced. This kind of talk makes me feel rather intimidated and inferior plus very hesitant about daring to participate and comment. Although, at the end of the day, I will gladly leave the more academic hair-splitting of terms, for example, to the university circles.

Photo: Grand Gala Buffet by mikepilat on flickr


lcolombo said...

While I'm still pondering over your reflections on using new tools (like Ning), here comes another interesting post I definitely agree with! I'm living this course experience with the same "pragmatist" view: live it like a learner and get the right implications for teaching!

Tomorrow another school year is starting and I'm sure I will be connecting views and new ideas with real class situations. While preparing my lessons, I'll keep in mind your photo!!
Thank you, Sinikka

Laura Colombo

sinikka said...

Thank you for your comment, Laura. You are only starting your school year now, whereas here in Finland we went back to school in the middle of August. Good luck with your lesson preparations! So nice to have found another pragmatist teacher amongst the thousands of participants - and by pure coincidence of connecting with where you are from! Group and network dynamics are fascinating, aren't they?