I attended a learning lab at the Masie Center in January 1997, the same year that Learning Trends was launched. Elliott Masie has now published the 400th Learning Trends newsletter, available as a 39 page PDF. It comes complete with a Creative commons license, which is a great advance from the previous blanket copyright statement.
Trends400 includes comments and prognostications from a wide variety of contributors. Informal learning is frequently mentioned and it is evident that there is a growing use of open source tools for learning – two subjects dear to me. The articles submitted by dozens of readers show how your audience [learners] can be the major creators of your content.
Here is what I found to be the best piece in Trends400, as it addresses some of the core issues around human learning:
Dear Elliott, A bit more than a year ago we met in the Swiss consulate in Boston and I remember how you walked around with a Sony Play station in your hand and talked about the opportunity to use this tool for locating people with similar interests in one’s environment and to learn from or in the community.
That reminds me of the situation that taught me how I learn and how my children learn best. I was shoveling gravel to create a new patio some years ago and my son, Leonhard, then 3, wanted to help level the ground. But since he was always between my legs or just where I wanted to either take or put the gravel, I decided to create a small heap of gravel just for him. It took him about ten seconds to find out that his heap was not where he could learn what he wanted to learn. The Center of Action was clearly my shoveling and that was where he wanted to be.
So, I adapted my mode of working to enable him to participate at the Center of Action. I learned a lot from participating – maybe not being of real help – at the Center of Action. And the Center was the only place where I did not mistakenly take the wrong cues. How to watch, how to move, what is efficient, what is a problem, what counts: it is all there. I believe that each child and every learner will immediately detect whenever he or she is distracted and pulled away from the Center of Action. The children and students lacking attention are just indicators that we do not radiate the feeling of being at the Center, or worse, that we are not there and therefore cannot teach.