Posted in education

Stories of Learning on the Web

Social-Media-2After reading the post and  watching interviews on Guiding Students as they Explore, Build & Connect Online, I feel compelled to share some of their ideas. W. Ian O’Byrne shares the voices of those who seek to “not simply understand the web but to empower adolescents to build a better open web.”


Garth, a high school student who creates and edits videos for gamers, shares his expertise with others online. He encourages educators to use students as a resource for implementing technology in the classroom. He notes that many students do not like school. Teachers can help students to “make something out of what they learn.” In doing so, Greg McVerry suggests that we can teach students to “remix” and add to what others have to say online. Thus, our students become not just consumers, but also producers online. He states that we cannot expect that everyone will have the same passion for technology, but we can “allow kids’ passions to drive how deep they get into web literacy.”


Laura Hilliger also shares her thoughts on education. She describes the Open Web in a way that makes sense to me, even if I consider myself new to the concept. Open culture, open web, open mind. For her, “education is about preparing people to be able to participate in the world in their own way as their own selves and have compassion and empathy for the world around them.” You can view this part of the interview here.


I also think her discussion of fear is interesting. As educators, when do we hide knowledge from our students? Knowledge is power. It makes sense when we are figuring out their background knowledge, but there are definitely times when hiding knowledge seems to be withholding power. We need to empower our students. As teachers, we are students as well. We seek information from others, but we must also teach students to do the same. We build off other’s ideas, so students must learn to do that as well.


The interviews described above told stories of learning. This conversation resonated with me and brought me back to some writing I did as an undergraduate. In reading the Harry Potter series, Great Expectations, and Mister Pip, I found myself believing even more in the power of stories. For the characters in the novels I read, stories reveal that the knowledge acquired through stories is powerful, essential for  personal growth, an escape to another world, and not just necessary for survival. The teachers in the novels are facilitators of knowledge and the characters tell their own stories of learning. They build off other’s stories of learning. In Mister Pip, Matilda learns about Pips  and his story from reading Great Expectations. His story helps her find her way when she leaves her own home in a war-torn country: “Pip is my story, and in the next day I would try where Pip had failed. I would try to return home” (Jones 256).


Jones, Lloyd. Mister Pip. New York, New York: Dial Press Trade Paperback, 2006. 1-256. Print.



Ian O’Byrne’s blog post on Three Steps to Becoming a Digitally Agile Educator

For Digital Storytelling