What it takes to be a DIY Learner

Maria Anderson on Free Range Learning

With so much educational content now online for free, many educators are turning to DIY or free-range learning to support their professional development. It’s a great idea, but having limitless information at your fingertips does not equal learning. And simply consuming content does not mean that skills or knowledge will develop.

In this illuminating TED Talk, “Recipe for Free Range Learning”, Maria Anderson takes the audience through conditions and elements vital for successful self-directed learning.  Participating in online programs such as the Personal Learning Network can help learners meet many of the conditions Maria speaks about in her TED Talk. You can check out details of the next PLN course here.

Maria also highlights some of the common pitfalls in managing one’s learning such as info-whelm, decision fatigue and optimism bias.

This video could also be well worth viewing and discussing with students, perhaps as a springboard for further talks on time management, learning habits or future pathways learning.

TED talk: Your brain on games

With Christmas almost upon us we are seeing the usual raft of big name video game releases. With that in mind it seems timely to take a look at a recent TED talk by Daphne Bavelier exploring the effect of video games on the brain.

Professor Bavelier is a researcher into the brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. Her talk avoids the more difficult question of whether violent video games promote violence, instead drawing on her research to look at the benefits of playing fast paced games (such as first person shooters) on brain development. Her insights into the development of eyesight, multi- tasking and cognitive abilities of gamers might surprise many. You can even test your own abilities in some of the fields during her talk.

Professor Bavelier also touches the question of why educational games tend not to be as popular as traditional video games. Her analogy of ‘chocolate covered broccoli’ is a good reminder of the fundamental mistakes many game designers make when designing educational games.

On a related note, the Sydney Morning Herald recently published an interesting article about game designer Jens Stober, who is aiming to change attitudes towards asylum seekers with an upcoming game. It’s an interesting exploration of the topic of whether games can be used for change.



TEDx Melbourne talks now available

On the 19th of July the State Library of Victoria played host to the TEDx Melbourne event on Educational Leadership. The event explored the importance of collaboration in education and the way communication technology is changing the way we teach and learn. You can now watch the talks delivered on the night by Will Richardson and Toorak College’s Jenny Luca.

The event was documented in a drawing by Lynne Cazaly

In his talk Will Richardson explores the definition of learning and advocates for the importance of educators being involved in the conversation about assessment. Will also explains the changing role of the educator as a learner and a facilitator of learning, rather than the traditional pattern of teachers as content experts. You can read more of Will’s thought on his blog.

Many of you may be familiar with Jenny’s work through the Lucacept blog. In her talk Jenny touches on the value of the networked teacher and the opportunities afforded by new technologies in creating meaningful learning.

Congratulations to the organisers of the evening and to the presenters involved. You can find out more about this and other events at the TEDx Melbourne site.

TEDxMelbourne – 20 November 2010

If you are a fan of the TED talks (and who isn’t?) you might be interested in the TEDxMelbourne event coming up this weekend. (TEDx are independently organised TED events.) Although the physical session has sold out, you can participate online in a number of different ways.

Screen shot 2010-11-12 at 2.48.11 PM

Thanks to Hamish Curry from the State Library of Victoria for the following links:

General program


Speakers & performers

Blog on other ways to enjoy the experience

Registration for receiving the webcast

Oh, and late breaking news…here is the link to experience the event in Virtual 3D (like Second Life) – limited to 100 participants.

Hopefully you can join the action virtually if you were unable to get a ticket. You can also follow TEDxMelbourne on Twitter for news of other events.