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On Line Learning, On Line Thinking

Original post made by Paul Losch, Community Center, on Aug 7, 2013

There is a great deal of fascinating, cutting edge stuff going on with how people learn.

Much of it is developing in Silicon Valley, and that is exciting for our community and offers up many expectations of how instruction, be it at the highest levels of universities to elementary school, will present itself thanks to the internet, inter alia. (pun intended)

I now will present a personal bias. Based on experience I had years ago and my recently graduated from college children: you can't learn to THINK using internet offerings. It requires human interaction face to face with people who understand the human dynamic, not just facts. People who are learning need to interact with experienced people who can lead that to thinking.

I am all for the on line ideas for instruction that are developing. My son is a 5th grade teacher, and the tools that his school acquire will do a tremendous job in making instruction in his class more effective.

But, for On line thinking? He needs to be in that classroom to guide the thinking as well as the learning.

Comments (8)

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Posted by Hochi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

This next generation will be different. They will be unable to read faces because they will be looking at screens instead of faces. They will never know the nuance of eye to eye teaching. Nor experience the level of understanding which comes from a teacher seeing the effect of his teaching by reading eyes. The next generation will be just that much dumber because of it.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:15 am

> you can't learn to THINK using internet offerings. It requires human interaction face to face with people

Learning is changing your programming. If you touch a hot stove you learn to be careful around stoves ... I really do not see where you get that learning takes human interactions.

Now, deliberate teaching is a different matter. We are wired to learn best by ... hate to say it, monkey see - monkey do, mirror neurons and all that - or another way, role models.

Part of the problem with disadvantaged groups is they have few role models, are not exposed to any people with different behaviors than they see every day. That's not to say they are not smart.

Face it, our society is very careful about who it lets see what. We really do not want lots and lots of smart people any more than we want lots and lots of rich people, or employed people, we keep our social control by isolating a lot of people from learning.

I think the real breakthrough in learning/teaching will come when we learn to mass produce these interactions, like we do now with movies and TV ... badly by the way, and then make facilitators available to assist students with the interpretation of what they are seeing, if they miss something, do not get it, have questions, etc ... and then feed back those questions to the designers of the "lesson" making it faster better and more accessible to all, and then link to all the other things that need that lesson as a prerequisite for the next step.

In the next 50 years we would bring the whole planet up to speed almost literally at the speed of light. But then the status quo powers that be might be very nervous and busy trying to justify the way they have built the existing infrastructure. But it would be worth it.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:03 am

> you can't learn to THINK using internet offerings.

Hmmm .. seems to me that learning is a personal thing. I don't remember any one teacher getting up before the class, saying: "Class, today I am going to teach all of you how to think".

So, Mr. Losch, could you tell us a little about the teacher who taught you how to think. What grade were you in? Would be fascinated to hear about the day you realized that you could now think.

Details, please ..


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Posted by Get real
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

With college becoming unaffordable for most people, yet most decent-paying jobs requiring an advanced degree ( master's or better), online learning may be the savior of our economy.


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Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

Joe,

This is not about me, and your fatuous question will not get a specific response from me.

Learning how to think is different from learning a subject matter. My point is that however much on line learning can help with the latter, I question that learning how to think can be accomplished on line.

Think about, Joe.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Hmm, I don't know what to think about this, other than I won't be able to figure it out on-line.


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Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

On line learning is the wave of the future. For $10,000 one can get a first class education online as compared to the cost of a traditional 4 year degree.

Obviously, there will have to be modifications to correct some of the shortcomings of online learning, but online learning is still the wave of the future....with some modifications of course


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Not sure about learning to think, but I think students learn when they are allowed to make a mistake and then put it right.

I see very little opportunity for them to make mistakes today. The system is geared for them to perform at the first attempt and any fail will be on their transcript forever - big mistake. Any failure the kids make are corrected by the parents before it gets to the teacher. They do not get to experience a failed experiment, a failed test or a failed class, and then put it to rights.

Apollo 13 was the famous failure which ended as a success. Our kids need to have Apollo 13s in their lives to learn from their successful failures.

The best drivers have often failed their first drivers' test. The best engineers have often failed in their first design. The kids today need to learn how to fail and how to grow from it, not be prevented from making mistakes.


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