When I hear the word “learn,” I immediately think of school. Learning, however, has taken place in many contexts over the course of my life – not just in school. Learning has occurred (and continues to occur) at my house, at church, at public places, the list could go on. My learning not only can be described by the places it has occurred but in the manner it has happened, including interactions with objects around me, discussions with people, and observation of my surroundings. Learning is a constant process, and I never stop learning.
Growing up, I learned the “basic skills of life” from my family. I have two very loving parents as well as two older sisters and a younger brother. Obviously, my parents have taught me much about what I know and what I believe. I have also learned a lot just from interacting with my family on a daily basis.
I began going to school when I was 5 years old, and went to public schools all through grade school. Overall, I had a positive experience in school. I do not have any horror stories about hating school or my experiences there. For the most part, I enjoyed school. One experience that sticks out in my mind is when I took AP Biology in high school. Our teacher, Ms. Harrell, was not afraid to challenge us and force us to work outside what we thought we were capable of. At first, the whole class hated her and thought she was unfair. By the end of the semester, though, we realized how much we had actually learned in the class and how proud we were of everything we had accomplished. We knew our learning was meaningful and important, not just for the academics but for life.
…..With Ms. Harrell
At school, I certainly learned academic knowledge, but also social skills. Constantly being around other people your age allows you to pick up on social cues and the “appropriate” way to act. So, my peers helped me learn in addition to my family and teachers.
Since I started college, I think I have been more open to learn and more aware of my learning. This is because I have had more time to research and invest in my own interests. I can learn more about the things I love or am passionate about. Not only have I had more freedom in what I am learning, but also in how I am learning. Technology has definitely had a huge impact on this change in learning because it makes it more accessible and individualized. With technology now, I can look up whatever information I want and read about it, listen to audio about it, or even watch videos about it – mainly through my computer and my phone. I can have access to this information basically anywhere I want and anytime I want.
The role of technology in my learning has definitely increased since I have been in college. I use my computer in a majority of my classes, and all of my teachers use online resources to communicate with us in one way or another. Since I use technology so much in my normal everyday life, it makes sense that I would use it in my learning opportunities as well. However, I still think ‘traditional’ learning with no technology is also very important. Learning is all about using different types of resources and perspectives. There is not a single “right way” to learn. Learning happens across all different contexts, spaces, and places.