Image via WikipediaAs I approach each new tool within this alternate universe of Web 2.0, I write two words at the top of my page--Receptive and Productive. What can I take in or receive using this tool and what can I produce using this tool? A few tools back (before my tool box became so heavy), I learned about videosharing. I treated this as a receptive tool. Our professor, Jennifer, suggested that I should have created a video to upload to the internet myself. Since then, I have thought about creating or producing something with each tool.
However, beneath my reflections on the receptive and productive possibilities with these tools, there is a underlying awareness of the nouns and verbs of our practice. In Will Richardson's blog post of July 12, 2009, Marc Prensky made this comment:
“Verbs” are the skills you, I, Ravich, and everyone else thinks people should know, and learn as students. They include the skills you mention above: to collaborate, to solve problems, to think critically, to be creative, plus many others: e.g. to persuade, to present logically (I list 50 in my new book.) These verbs or skills, as Ravich points out, don’t change very much over time.
“Nouns,” on the other hand, are the tools (aka technolgogies) people use to practice and do these skills. Nouns have always changed over time, e.g. memorizing to writing, papyrus to paper, quills to fountain pens, handwriting to keyboarding. Today nouns are changing extremely rapidly: Powerpoint to Flash, email to IM, Myspace to Facebook to Twitter, encyclopedias to Wikipedia, local disks to cloud, reading to watching short video, laptops to smartphones, etc.
Image via Wikipedia
In my view, our goal should be that our learners use, to the extent possible, the best and most up-to-date nouns (tools) to learn and perform each key verb (skill). Older tools often still work for a time (e.g. books), and others work less well (e.g. slide rules). But technology will continue to provide us with better nouns for each of the verbs.
In teaching, our focus needs to be on the verbs, which don’t change very much, and NOT on the nouns (i.e. the technologies) which change rapidly and which are only a means. For teachers to fixate on any particular noun as the “best” way (be it books or blogs, for example) is not good for our students, as new and better nouns will shortly emerge and will continue to emerge over the course of their lifetimes. Our teaching should instead focus on the verbs (i.e. skills)students need to master, making it clear to the students (and to the teachers) that there are many tools learners can use to practice and apply them." (Comment by Marc Prensky)
As I approach this new tool (noun) of wikis, how will I be able to use it to help myself and my students or learning community to develop the important skills (verbs) for life and learning?
Prensky, M. (2009) Comment on The Larger Lessons. Posted July 12, 2009 at http://weblogg-ed.com/2009/the-larger-lessons/