How Do You Learn?

A week or two ago I was having a conversation with a colleague of mine who also has a career with instructional technology. We were talking about how learning is different now than when we were in school.  As a teacher I bet you learn differently as well.
   For example, a real world  random question that someone asked me last night  "Hey Clint, who was the drummer of the Allman Brothers Band?” Let's break this down. If it was a mere 25 years ago and I was asked that I would have to remember the question, go find an Allman brothers CD or tape, open up the linear notes and find the answer. Or, I would go to the library and find an old copy of a Rolling Stones, or get on the microfish to find an article. I would then write down the answer or commit it to memory.  Thankfully I didn't have to do that.  I did what most of us do when we don't know the answer to a question. I got out my phone and searched "Drummer Allman Brothers Band"I quickly read a wikipedia article, cross checked that with a Youtube video and the Allman Brothers site  and then read enough and listened just  enough to bring up the fact that Jaiemo also played for Otis Redding and that he will soon be getting the Harriet Tubman Freedom Award in Atlanta. This made me ask myself, "What are the requirements for the Harriet Tubman award?, Jaemo really has had an impact on music and I know that the Allman Brothers are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What is his story?"  I found all that out  and came up with my own question in a total of 4 minutes! I know that I am quite a bit older than our students but this is our reality now.  I guess my point is that finding and processing information is different for our students.It was important for me 25 years ago to remember lots of things because I did not have access to lots of information.   Now, students need to learn how to be good seekers of knowledge and know search skills. Although memorization is still important  we don't have to rely on it as much.  We now need to be able to synthesize and learn how to be good seekers of knowledge.Students now need to evaluate resources and decide what is a good source vs not a good source.   Students  now are now able to dive deepr into inquiry because information is literally at their fingertips.  There are some great digital tools that could help with this.  For example, Edpuzzle.  Edpuzzle is a site where you can insert questions into YouTube videos. Maybe students could watch a video and formulate their own questions.  Flipgrid, could be a good tool.  Or, one of my favorites. Twister.  Twister is a platform where students can  create pretend tweets. The could tweet as a historical figure. What would Albert Einstein tweet about? How could I summarize or ask my question in 148 characters?
 We're not replacing searching and finding knowledge or memorization. We're just doing it a little bit different.

 If you have questions or comments about this I would love to talk to you about it.

Take Care,


  1. Great share, Clint. I love what Erno Rubik says..."Questions are more important than the answers."


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