March 21, 2006

Dekita.org: Language Learning Ecologies

Dekita.org: Language Learning Ecologies
Aaron Campbell writes about learning ecologies and their relevance to teaching and learning, and particularly to language learning. The use of such learning ecologies seems to run counter to traditional classroom teaching, but Aaron points out how the two styles can be mutualy beneficial.
When we apply the ecology metaphor to learning, we get the concept of learning ecologies, about which both John Seely Brown and George Siemens have written. Technology, as Siemens explains, creates fluidity between knowledge and people, resulting in a learning ecology with the following characteristics:

* A collection of overlapping communities of interest
* Cross pollinating with each other
* Constantly evolving
* Largely self organizing

The role of technology is that of enabler, while that of the teacher is facilitator or gardener of the ecology, “releasing learners into this environment.” When it comes to language learning, our role is to induct our students into these ecologies, while making sure they understand how to best use the technology to make connections and communicate.

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