Words, words, words

This video really tipped me on my head. It is a completely different way of approaching teaching and looking at how learners learn. The belief that deep learning goes on inside a learner as they process information visually is worth exploring and would certainly lend strength to the use of technology in a classroom when considered carefully. Matthew Peterson has done  the exploring , the testing and gaining of feedback. As a learner he was challenged. As a person who was swamped by text based learning he makes his point well. We cannot continue to tip word and print based activities onto students in our classrooms and learning groups if that is not the way they learn. The other thing which struck me was that he was talking about visual learners. When my home group was exploring what learning styles they had, all of them identified themselves as visual learners except two. The two identified themselves as kinesthetic learners. I was one of those. It was a really interesting exercise for us to be doing together as a group. Matthew Peterson’s talk, then, really had pertinence for me and what I was thinking about. Do we know how our students are learning? Do we know which methods are succeeding better? The students we now teach are more used to GUIs. Would we then be disadvantaging text based learners if we make the swap totally to technology or only certain types of software and devices? If I look at myself I learn best with a lot of text but I also learn really well and probably better if I combine text with an activity – a learning challenge. I need to be doing. I would never endorse the abandonment of words, words, words because they can be so powerful and that is something I want to teach – the power of language. Others, far greater than I have said that much better, so I leave you with these quotes so you can think about how you will best serve your students and yourselves as learners. Matthew Peterson’s talk rings very true, but so do these literary greats:

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.”
Arthur Rimbaud, Complete Works


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