I have just finished reading How I Learn, a crowdsourced book edited by Helen Bullock, aka @AnseoAMuinteoir, and it’s left my head spinning…in a positive way!
As you might guess from the title, each contributor has written about themselves as a learner. It is fascinating to read people’s personal reflections on what they understand by learning and how their learning style has changed over their lifetime or in different circumstances. Contributors range from nine years old to the far end of the spectrum. Some have had to deal with learning difficulties, others with exceptional ability in an inflexible education system. Some have come back to formal learning after long periods, others have never stopped actively pursuing new skills and knowledge. Particularly interesting are pieces by teachers who discuss their own learning style and experiences and how this informs their teaching practice.
Many of the contributors are people I have been following on Twitter for some time. It is really very interesting, and sometimes eye-opening, to read more than 140 characters at a time from them. A great deal of thought has gone into these pieces and, I would imagine, many have learned something about themselves in the process. Just reading this book has left thinking about my own learning experiences and what it means to be a lifelong learner. If I was a teacher, I imagine it would make me see some of my students a little differently. What this book illustrates very clearly is that, when it comes to learning, one size most definitely does not fit all. However, when the fit is right, everyone, regardless of age or ability, loves to learn.
Many of the authors are regular participants at #edchatie which takes place each Monday at 8.30pm when a group of teachers gather on Twitter for an hour to discuss educational topics relevant to Ireland. As a parent, it is just fantastic to see their enthusiasm for teaching and the ideas that they share. The #edchatie tag is also used as a way of flagging relevant information and comments during the week.
On the subject of Twitter as a learning and networking tool, if you have an interest in the area of giftedness, #gtchat is a very lively chat on Fridays at midnight Irish time. It is an international affair with many well-respected experts as well as “ordinary” teachers, parents and psychologists and it tends to move at quite a lick. For gifted issues with an Irish slant, you can check out #gtchatie.
How I Learn is the sort of book you can either read from cover to cover or dip in and out of. It’s thought-provoking, inspiring and well worth reading. All proceeds will go to the children’s charity, Barnardos Ireland, so you really can’t go wrong. Why don’t you take the plunge and buy a copy? You never know what it might lead to. In a mad fit of post-book enthusiasm, I signed myself up for an online course from Harvard…it seemed like a good idea at the time!
Purchasing instructions from Helen:
Or if you’d like to buy the printed version you can contact me through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @AnseoAMuinteoir or @HowILearn. The printed version is €15 plus €4 P&P. There’s a PayPal account set up so it’s hassle free and it’ll arrive to your door! I can’t say often enough that proceeds go to Barnardos!!