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Minnesota 1:1 Learning Summit Keynote-Aaron Doering

Aaron Doering
Aaron Doering, Associate professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Minnesota, and co-director of the Learning Technologies Media Lab, gave the keynote address at the first Minnesota 1:1 Learning Summit.

The Media Lab is looking at ways technology can have an impact on the learning environment. One of their latest products is FlipGrid.

As a former Geography teacher, he wanted to find a platform to engage and excite students in the classroom. His "Arctic Transect: 2004" is considered by many the first MOOC. 

Many believe this can't happen in education...
Rather than try to do something new and transformative, we often try to pigeon-hole technology into what we are already doing.

Today, we're looking at creating an esthetic learning environment. 

His Adventure Learning project writes curriculum based on an adventure/problem that students can help solve. Components include:

  • Find the Issue
  • Design inquiry based curriculum
  • Adventure Based
  • Collaboration
  • Synched learning
  • Media Artifacts
  • Pedagogical Guidelines for teachers
He shared his "Go North" experience, where he visited areas of the arctic over a 6 year period, and delivered an online educational experience.

He next shared Earthducation, where he is traveling around the world 

Why Does This Work?
1. Trust-Building trust, and teachers trusting students. When students come to your environment, especially online, need to have some trust built.
2. Experiences not Products
3. When they design a learning experience, they focus on TPACK, Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge. 
How do we move teachers to the center? They are developing an App at the Media Lab to help staff assess where they are at.

4. Learners as Experts-The Power of the Story-Students want to become part of a story that they can follow. 
5. Learners as Designers-How can we engage learners to design based on the tools that are available to them?
6. Collaboration-Using tools like Flipgrid, Google Docs, to collaborate and interact.
7. Aesthetics-Design environments that look good and WORK! (Doering-"I hate Moodle!")
8. Self-Narrative-students were part of the transformation and experience. Students need to be motivated to share their learning.
"Community is built where our stories intersect."
9. Innovative Pedagogy-Look at new ways to utilize the tools in the classroom. "Is it pedagogy, or is it media?" The more we work on design, they are having more of an impact.
9.5 Design as A Learner! When you sit in front of an environment you design, would you want to be there? If the answer is no, don't use it! 

He shared video of these different experiences which transform through collaboration.
"Real-world issues in real-time are motivating learners to get involved."-Doering
"It's a miracle curiousity survives formal education!"
-Albert Einstein 
 How do we get curiosity into the classroom?
In adventure learning there are affordances to the work:

His latest project is "North of Sixty," where he built a tapestry of arctic voices, by giving students living in the arctic tools to gather data and stories to interview elders and learn about their people and culture. Students are building this tapestry together collaboratively. He found that the students were able to get the elders to talk/share in ways they never have before. He shared this example:

Billy Arnaquq, Qikiqtarjuaq, NU, Canada from N60° ᕿᑭᖅᑕᕐᔪᐊᖅ on Vimeo.

Doering presented some interesting examples of how students using their devices can learn and interact with students around the world. The key is designing the activities around passions and structure to motivate the learner.  I see some great interdisciplinary activities here, that could tap in to an inquiry based learning environment. 

Ultimately, it comes down to Passion! if you're not motivated, try something new, collaborate with someone new, or get out!!

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