I love good questions. As I say in my TEDxTalk, a good question can change the world. My first big question was how and why some students succeed in navigating the university environment to finish with a degree in a short amount of time. I followed that question through my master’s thesis and doctorate thesis in education at the University of Turku, Finland. The answer I found was a fairly simple one: they succeeded, because they had previous experience from the university world, they planned their studies well, and they followed their plan.
Then I found a next big question of how can university graduates maintain and advance their expertise and got to follow that plan for two projects, one of which I was a project manager at. It was a fascinating question and we found some good leads, but then I had my daughter and was fortunate enough to spend time thinking about this issue without any limitations or premisses. The structure that answered my question concerning this is one based around e-learning supported with blended learning experiences.
I fell in love with e-learning, not because it was very good, but because it was the best way for me to learn at that time. With e-learning platforms rising left and right, youtube turning into a platform for instructional videos and applications for what ever learning need, I found a world filled with amazing things that allowed me to effectively use my time learning new things in what ever time I had when ever I happened to have it and where ever I was at the time. Although MOOCs have not been the success they could have been, for me, there are few things in the world of learning that beats the flexibility, availability and shear vastness of the learning content online. I also ran across new paradigms in learning such as personalisation, flipped classroom, phenomenon-based learning etc. and I loved how my main area of expertise had shifted under my feet even from when I first saw Sir Ken Robinson’s short clip on why school needs to change in 2013 as I was finishing up my teacher qualifications.
At the same time I was privileged to watch how my ever growing daughter learned. Anyone who has seen a child learn to walk, talk, run, climb, has seen the over-powering need to learn, the intrinsic motivation and sheer determination to learn I witnessed at home. As she got a little older, she learned numbers, letters, languages. Now, almost four years old she does basic addition and subtraction with the help of her or my fingers. She can count in 3-4 languages and name colors in 4 languages. At first all that was needed was to support her learning, facilitate it and remove barriers preventing her. Later she needed someone to also enable and scaffold.
All of this combined with the deep realisation within me that anyone can learn anything they set their mind to learning and if they have access to materials and support. I first tested this hypothesis by conquering two of my school-created traumas of not being good at Swedish and having a fear of equations with more than one unknowns. Both were conquered on my very comfortable home couch through e-learning applications. Now I can speak passable Swedish and can solve equations. And what is more: I fully enjoyed both processes, because I had the autonomy to learn what I wanted, when I wanted to and how I wanted to. I quickly saw how I gained in competence, which increased my intrinsic motivation to learn. I also had the support, sometimes in human form but often delivered by an application.
So in 2016, as I followed ever more closely the conversations, research, social media chatter about the change in learning, I decided on my next big question, which results in this website. The question simply is: how can be learn and teach better. How can we learn in ways, which best suit the situation, content and our needs? How can we teach / how can we as teachers act, do, help, scaffold, teach, support etc. so our students can learn and do learn? Because if you just teach and no-one learns, it is a colossal waste of everybody’s time. This is the big question I am following now. I have followed it mainly through three ways: Firstly I read, followed discussions and forums, read some more and continue to read. Secondly, I sought out opportunities to teach and substitute so I could see for myself what the situation was in schools and how some of the new solutions were adopted and used. Thirdly, I began to interview teachers, coaches, e-tech creators, learners, and game changers in education with the hope of distilling some of their wisdom. This content and process is what is going to appear on this site. Some of the content is small tidbits, techniques and tips. Others are opinion-pieces which everyone is welcome to take or leave. Some are introductions to ideas, techniques, solutions and applications. The idea is to build upon the pieces and form an answer to the question how we can learn and teach better. Note, that I am not looking for THE answer as I believe, in learning, one answer is not enough, but I am looking for an answer. So, this is me. Here is where I have come from. For more information about me, you are welcome to see my LinkedIn profile and Facebook profile.