Connecting students with nature

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Starting next week I am going to be working on my “magic spot” project with students.  I have been doing this without technology for a couple of years but I want to incorporate technology more meaningfully into the students work. 

So, starting next week I will be taking a couple of grade three students and some iPads outside.  They will take a photograph of their spot.  With hope we will get outside every school day and take a photo.  We will then put these photos together into a stop motion video. 
I hope to create deeper connections between people and places. Often at international schools I feel that students and teachers do not feel connected to their place.  When people feel more connected they will be more likely to take action for their space (check out my thesis if you’re really more interested in this). 
Would love some ideas if anyone has them. 

How do you know when you stop messing around?

Messing Around

In the Living with New Media report messing around involves experimenting and exploring and doing things just to learn more.  It is more of a tinkering culture, a figuring things out, something I feel is where I am almost stagnant at least in some aspects of tech.  I’ve been playing around with code, but I definitely haven’t geeked out.  I’ve been working on the blog, but again, more tinkering and exploring.

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Tinkering and Connectivism

Tinkering fits nicely with a connectivist viewpoint.  Connectivism as George Siemens describes it is a fuzzy process which involves tinkering and no longer just happens at school or just from humans.  We can tinker with things, or converse with people and our knowledge grows. 
The ability to see connections between things, and create connections is a valuable skill according to Siemens. We need to help our students make those connections, and technology is one way we can connect people to sources of information. 
  

Tinkering with things allows us to experience, which we can then share with others to not only consume knowledge but to produce it.
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Slow Down

For me, slowing down and seeing or making the connections is an important step in the process. Slow education involves making those connections and deepening our understanding, maybe even “geeking out”. We are sharing our process together, so we need to take the time to develop our community, learn together, tinker together, wonder together.  Connectivism doesn’t see our learning as dumping information, it is a process of looking for connections, meeting people, learning more, and directing ourselves. As Siemens said we need the opportunity to plug into knowledge when we don’t have it, but sometimes I think it’s important to slow down and see where the outlet actually is. 
I think we stop messing around when we start to dig deeper into things.  Slowing down, looking at systems and making connections is a great way for us to start making these connections.