Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Multiliterate Autonomous Learner, and Teachers' attitudes influencing students' openness to technology (prequel)

The article derived from this prequel has been blogged here:

Comments welcome!

I've somehow taken on the job of Keeper of the Worm, the Technology Worm as part of the "Autonomy and the language classroom: opening a can of worms!" project for the IATEFL/LASIG: Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group's lead-up to the Exeter IATEFL conference. See the Can of Worms link at: http://learnerautonomy.org/wormsindex.html and mention of me as 'keeper' of the Technology worm here: http://learnerautonomy.org/wormsmay2007.html. In conjunction with this I have been invited to present (perhaps online) at the conference in Exeter in April 2008. I'm supposed to produce a paper on this by the end of June.

In correspondence today with Jo Mynard (she's the one gave me the worm) I got to thinking what I might write about this. Autonomous does not mean isolated or 'by oneself' - an autonomous learner is one who self starts him/herself in the direction of a learning strategy in which these days a learning community might figure highly. Therefore leaning strategies leading to community and network building might be productive in producing both autonomous teachers and learners.

I think we can find models of behaviours we would like to impart in teachers who take advantage of as many learning opportunities as are available in their distributed learning networks which they nurture and explore (i.e. are themselves autonomous vs. those who whinge about opportunities for professional development not being laid on for them - not particularly autonomous; but I'll try to avoid the negative when I produce the paper). These teachers MODEL in turn for students, and stand a better chance of inculcating the desired behaviour.

I chanced on a strong bit of support for that in a podcast I happened to be listening to on my way to work this morning. It was Cheri Toledo's presentation at the FOE conference that just ended: The presentation can be viewed and heard here: http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/foe-2007/Cheri_Toledo/ (nice slides, there's a trend toward artsy in slides these days; hard for some of us to keep up).

The audio support I had in mind was actually a sound bite from one of her guest voices, Kathy Clessen (heard on the recording; apologies for spelling) to the effect that she found in her district that students whose teachers used CMS's and Web 2.0 tools in their teaching tended to be the ones whose students became most comfortable with using technology in their ongoing teacher training whereas an avoidance by teachers of technology tended to harbor concomitant discomfort and avoidance in student teachers.

I liked the sound bite and took the liberty of mashing it up (cut out some audio here and there). I have stored it here:


In addition I have embedded the recording in Web players in two places on the Internet:

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