Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is not just a buzz phrase. It is a mind set and way of life. Life is change and change is action. That cannot occur without neuroplasticity and critical thinking. Lifelong learning is vital for the development of communities, societies and individuals:

“Every person, at every stage of their life should have lifelong learning opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to fulfil their aspirations and contribute to their societies. “

World Education Forum 2015

Lifelong learning can occur easily these days across time and space because we have access to technology and connectivity. No one need ever be left in the dark and everyone can be learning enabled at any time of the day or night. We can learn what we want , when we want and how we want because we are connected and sharing our knowledge.

informED discusses 25 practices which foster lifelong learning:

“Lifelong learning is now recognized by educators, governing bodies, accreditation organizations, certification boards, employers, third-party payers, and the general public as one of the most important competencies a person can possess. But even if we all agree on its value, and harbor the best intentions of possessing it ourselves, it can easily escape our grasp if we approach it the wrong way.”

You have to be confident as a learner to participate in lifelong learning. You have to know that because you are not very good at something it does not mean that you cannot be good at it. Information, application and facilitation are the keys. You have to be able to identify your goals and then you have to be able to find the resources and opportunities for facilitating your capabilities. Being in a group helps you identify with others who know what you want to know or who want to know what you want to know. The group helps you to learn. It calibrates you and gives you feedback. You still have to have faith in your capacity to learn. Then there is the internet. There is so much information which people are sharing so that you can learn and develop your knowledge and skills or so that you can raise the issues and problems and work collaboratively to resolve them.

Lifelong learning is about:

1. Repackaging the skills and thinking you already have
2. Learning new skills and ways of thinking
3. Information and application
4. Questioning and reflecting
5. Celebrating the successes and good changes along the way

It’s about putting yourself out there and daring to be different with no fear of failure.

Make a video with a phone

Sunny Lennarduzzi has some simple, straightforward advice and help for improving phone video quality. People are making videos for social networks, YouTube and for job and organisation purposes. So many people have good in front of camera skills these days. They are video people and are used to the medium. We need to make better use of the technology we have access to by improving our use of that technology. We need to make an effort to learn some of the tricks of the trade. Phone videos can be used to quickly explain things t people, to inform others, to create a learning environment as well as an entertainment one. With these tips you can see you do not have to go the expense of setting up a studio in order to make viable videos. You use what what we all have access to more effectively.

SlideShare revisited

SlideShareSlideShare has partnered with LinkedIn or vice versa and has a whole new look. It suits the new device environments better and has a very good visual interface. I originally used SlideShare to improve my presentation skills and then to produce content for my class room. It was also a place where I could get ready made content for my classroom. Slide presentations are perfect for flipped learning, for IWB presentations and for sharing detailed and well thought out information which uses the essential notion of progressive disclosure. I had a student who would automatically create her own slide presentations from information I was teaching and then she had a beautiful visual record of what she was learning. There is now a clipboard section which I shall have to find out about because I have only just discovered through an email that SlideShare has been resurrected. We live in a visual world. We need well thought out presentations to guide us through and an easy platform for sharing our information. The feedback I got from the SlideShare community really helped me to improve how I presented my information and the success of some of my presentations both in the classroom and on SlideShare is proof that feedback works in a powerful way.

Benefits of gaming

Let’s get this clear. It is not all gaming and it is not binge gaming. There has to be discernment and balance with gaming as there ought to be with other things in life. One of the unexpected benefits of gaming I have discovered in my research into gaming is that they are actually helpful to people undergoing treatments for cancer and for pain management therapy. Cancer treatment of America looks at the benefits of gaming for cancer patients. It has been particularly good for children because it reduces the amount of pain killers they have to be on. NCBI has published research on the use of video games for pain management. Psychology Today looks at the cognitive benefits of game playing which is what has mostly been picked up in the media. Dr. Mark Griffiths who is a professor at the Nottingham Trent University in the UK looks at the educational benefits of video games in his research. C. Shawn Green and Aaron R. Seitz have a very thorough look at the impact of gaming and which games are helpful and how they are helpful neurologically . It also makes clear that games have to be tailored to the individual in order for them to be having a positive impact on cognition, attention and neurological development:

“The effect of a game depends on how it is interacted
with—A key difference from the action of a drug is that the
impact of a video game depends on how that individual interacts
with the game, with individual differences in motivation,
personality, and nascent cognitive abilities leading to
completely different game experiences. At the extreme, it is
obvious that having a child with ADHD press random buttons
on the game controller will provide an ineffective learning
experience. Thus, the results of a given video game
intervention can vary widely across individuals. While we
have discussed data from many demographic groups (from
children to seniors; from those with mental health impairments
to athletes and surgeons), showing that video games
can positively influence many demographics, there are
numerous reasons why a game that helps one individual may
or may not have the same effects on another.”

Make a vision board

Vision boards are actually about accountability and responsibility. When you create a vision board you are taking responsibility for who you are and what you represent and then you make yourself accountable for that because you are getting visual feedback about yourself and your ideas. Vision boards are a good way to look at your visual image and that is important in the digital world. You have to come to some kind of understanding of how you are representing yourself online and what that might mean and the impact that might have. Vision boards allow you to take control of visual imagery and , in particular, images which represent you . To do a now and future self is not such a bad idea. You can look at how you want to project yourself, how you want to be, what you want to be important. We relate very quickly to images and so do others. A vision board can sum us up in one view. That might be important in the digital world. How do I want others to view me? Why? Brand is built on images and action. You have to know what that entails and how to do it. I had a home group where we all made vision boards at the beginning of the year. We pinned them at the back of the class so we saw them every morning when we came in. The vision boards never failed to make an impact or a statement. Other students who came into the class room could see the ideas and inspiration. It had a positive snowball effect every day. The students who made them had a strong sense of self that year and were motivated to achieve what was there on the wall or to be clear why they didn’t want that in their life and thinking any more. The vision boards brought about a clarity of vision and inspiration and then a framework which acted as a personal guide and ideas generator for others. For me as a teacher it meant I became aware of things about my students I wouldn’t have known just by having home group. I could see their art skills, their ideas, their dreams and the fun . The choices you make to create a vision board is part of the cognitive process and along the way you learn a lot about technology if you do a digital one. It’s your vision board, you want it to be right.

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