On February 5, 2009 I wrote that I had two reasons for starting this blog. The first was to have a place to express my ideas about learning and life in whatever “meandering” order they occur to me. The second was because I simply wanted to learn how a “blog” works. Here’s part of what I wrote that day.
- “As a teacher and as a learner, I know that the only way to really learn something is to simply jump in with both feet and ‘JUST DO IT!’ (- as the Nike folks would say.) I have felt for over 20 years that the ‘World of Technology’ was a train that was moving so fast that I could never catch up. Now with 20/20 hindsight I know that I was right. I will never ‘catch up,’ so I will just have to close my eyes and jump on the train – taking whatever bumps and bruises may be the result! So here goes! Since I’ve learned how to use the “Delete this Post” button, I feel safe enough to ‘Publish this Post.’ ”
I wrote that almost 5 years ago – and today I realized why it’s taken me so long to move forward. It has to do with a belief about learning and teaching that I most certainly didn’t know I held. In fact, if I had ever been asked, I would have denied that I thought you need to have a teacher in order to learn – but my behavior has said something else. Just ask my husband. He is a great deal more computer savvy than I am so I’ve been pestering him to learn about blogging “for me” . . . so he could teach me what to do. That’s a bit embarrassing to admit – especially since I’ve been talking about the concept of “Natural Learning” for so many years.
So what is “natural” learning?
The easiest way for me to think about that is to watch how my grandchildren learn to play a new video game. In word . . . they play. They don’t think of learning as “work.” They don’t worry about how long it might take. They watch others and learn from them. They don’t follow a rigid set of rules – and don’t even seem to have a direction book. They have fun. And they don’t particularly want to slow down in order to teach their grandmother how to play!
A week or so ago tried to figure out how I could add a “Subscribe” feature to this blog. It took me a few tries – but at some point I realized I was having fun! Then I started looking at some of the other “Widgets” – and figured out how to add that classy little “Tag Cloud.” When I started writing this particular post I wanted to insert another webpage into the text. I got a bit frustrated when my first attempt didn’t work right – so I emailed the “Help” line. Knowing that someone would show up to help me very soon . . . I continued to play around. After a couple more tries I managed to insert this link into the text: Natural Learning Research Institute (It was also fun sending a second message to Elliot at Edublogs Support to tell him I didn’t need his help :)!)
It occurs to me that two of the most important aspects of Natural Learning are motivation and meaning. Not only that, I’m also wondering if those are two separate aspects or if they are the same? I’m motivated to continue learning about Edublogs because I’ve found a couple of things that mean something to me and I can use right now. On the other hand, when I begin to explore the site too deeply, I quickly become overwhelmed and begin to question my ability to figure any of it out. ( Yikes! What’s an Akismet Configuration???)
Next Post: The Five C’s of Natural Learning