The Changing Brain?

I recently attended a workshop in which we explored today’s learners. Jennifer Arns, the moderator of our discussions, showed a video about some brain research that had been conducted by Ian Jukes and his fellow researchers. This definitely go me thinking of how I learn and if it has changed since I began my educational career.

If it were today, I am sure I would have been identified as ADD. I was constantly moving about and in trouble because I was not at all interested in what was going on in the classroom. Let me explain. I have an older sibling. As he was going through the first year of school without me, I was not at all impressed that I got to stay home. Every afternoon when he came home, he unloaded his backpack of it’s contents for my parents to view. After this ritual was completed, I would take the stack of papers, and slip off into some quite corner of the house with my pencil with worn out eraser. I would erase the answers on all the worksheets and try my hand at finding the answers. Many times I was successful, but more often than not, I would seek out my brother for a one-to-one tutoring session so I could complete the work for the day. I had a desire to learn. I wanted to learn. Whatever the motivation at that young age, I had it. I do not know where it came from, but it was there. So, now, lets get back to the classroom. I was bored, unchallenged, and did not want to sit in a circle and identify my letters. I had that. I needed something more. As I progressed through school, not always getting the best of grades, I continued to want to learn. My desire shifted slightly, from content found in books, to information that would help me understand my surroundings. I was constantly outside and wanted to know all about my surroundings. I looked plants up in books, caught bugs so I could look at them closer, and explored what I believed at the time to be land only seen by a handful of people. I longed to be an explorer like Meriwether Lewis or William Clark. As time moved forward, my desire to learn waned. I no longer sought out knowledge, but learned it because it was expected. I was sorted into a program and learned a frame work of courses designed by others. They picked the courses that I must take. They picked the content that they deemed relevant. I learned, but was not engaged. I learned, but did not retain. I learned, but did not apply.

Now, as an adult, my learning has again changed. I have begun to enjoy learning and the process of obtaining new and fresh information once again. Most of my learning is now self paced and self motivated. I have begun to build a network of professionals and teachers whom I respect and follow on such tools such as twitter and facebook. Is it because the system has changed? Or is it because I have changed?

The video above really made me think about my learning. I wonder how learning will be different in the future?

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~ by Dean Phillips on September 27, 2010.

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