Cycle of Learning, Part I: The Age of Discovery

One of my most prized possessions is a compass that my father gave me for my 18th birthday. It was his compass from his time in the Scouts as a young boy and he wanted me to have it as I became an adult so that I would never get “lost.” It was a touching father-son moment and I’ve never forgotten it.

Great educators are a compass for their students, helping to direct them through their “Age of Discovery,” and hopefully to avoid getting lost. For many students today, however, finding their way through a dense sea of information is a challenging prospect. This is why I propose that the Cycle of Learning begins with Discovery and the 21st Century skill of curating. Navigating the oceans of adolescence can be difficult enough without complicating matters from the rising tide of media overload. It never ceases to amaze me how comfortable students seem midst the chaos.

Our students are flooded with information on a daily basis – how will they determine what merits attention and what can be dismissed? The ability to discern valuable from invaluable content is a critical one for the 21st Century. This responsible content consumption is the essence of curating, and it is a fundamental tool needed in the new information economy. Is it the only tool? Of course not! There will always be a place for more traditional practices for the development of content knowledge. Yet a place for this type of learning needs to be found in the classroom, and our pedagogy needs to evolve to match the epistemology of a new Age of Discovery.

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Filed under Educational Technology, School Leadership

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