Monday, November 27, 2006

Wikis, Blogs, and Podcasts: Self-directed Learning Tools

Wikis, Blogs, and Podcasts: Self-directed Learning Tools

I was taking in the latest issue of I.E. magazine from Smart Technologies when I came across the term self-directed learning and it sparked my interest. Self-directed learning is possibly independent study, individualized instruction, distance learning, experiential education, real life learning, community education, self-regulated learning, alternative education, and more. That is self directed learning? Yes, it is all of the above and more!

What do I mean by more? Interactive learning of course! Interactive learning applies to self-directed learning in many cases or at least it should. For example, the individual takes the initiative and the responsibility for learning. Students have the freedom to select, manage, and assess their own learning activities, which can basically be pursued anywhere, at any time interactively via the Internet. Does this do away with teachers? Absolutely not! Teachers are priceless commodities at all levels. Moreover, at the K12 level teachers are an essential part of the educational process due to the maturity level of most K12 students.

How do we teach self-directed learning in our schools? It’s simple! In schools, teachers can work with students to develop self-directed learning skills and abilities through interactive technologies (e.g. blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos, etc.). At least, these technologies are currently the easiest way to promote self-directed learning at the K12 level.

By establishing class blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos, and websites you create self-directed learning and promote student ownership in the process. With these interactive technologies students are able to share and highlight their work for their parents and the world. Isn’t it time that all teachers start utilizing these technologies and in turn promote self-directed learning?

Wesley A. Fryer would most likely agree and disagree with my promotion of these technologies. Wesley has a great article in the latest I.E. magazine entitled “Blogs and Podcasts”. In it Wesley outlines the pros and cons of the aforementioned technologies. The article is well written and a must read if you are considering using blogs or podcasts with your students in the future. Great job Wesley!

By the way the I.E. magazine is free and has an abundant amount of informative information about interactive educational technologies. You can download it in pdf format online by clicking here. I will leave you with a quote that I found at an instructional design blog entitled Rose Colored Glasses…I believe it to be a fitting closure to this post…

“But if we believe what we profess concerning the worth of the individual, then the idea of individual development within a framework of ethical purpose must become our deepest concern, our national preoccupation, our passion, our obsession. We must think of education as relevant for everyone everywhere — at all ages and in all conditions of life.” ~ John William Gardner


Post a Comment

<< Home