Gardner writes about his experience with students in his film studies class finding an illustration for a critical essay–on YouTube. As usual, Dr. Glu extracts some important lessons for himself and his colleagues.
As the information abundance spreads, and if we are brave and curious enough to embrace it, we will find our own serendipity fields dramatically expanded. And we will find our students bringing archival gems into the classroom, casually and crucially. At that point, the professor’s role as advanced learner, one who models the “ah, what do we have here?” that’s the result and nursery of a good education, will be explicit and essential as never before.
My students constantly put me in that role of advanced learner (and sometimes not so advanced–just older) when 8-9 of them are using their notebooks to find resources, update our wiki, check facts, and Skyping and IMimg with folks all over the continent. (Picture sitting in a technology planning class talking about personal learning environments when one of your students says, “I’ve got Darren Kuropatwa on Skype and he has a different perspective. Darren, do you want to share your thoughts with us? I actually don’t remember exactly who Sheryl was Skyping with that night, but I remember being impressed.)
One of the shortcomings of traditional college teaching is that I probably know more about what’s happening in that film class at Mary Washington than I do at almost any of the summer school classes at William and Mary. I know that lots of faculty are using PowerPoint or Blackboard, but I know almost nothing about how they are making sense out of these new tools as they use them in class each day. What insights are they taking away from their interactions with their studens? Are they intimidated? Energized? Humbled? I wish there were more mainstream faculty who were sharing there reflections more broadly.