March 25, 2012

Connecting Dots

A Radiolab video reminds us what it means to learn

When we explore what it means to learn, or try to define what happens when a kid experiences an ah-ha moment, we’re going to happen upon any number of key ideas or attributes. Perhaps its most profound when it’s experiential. Maybe it’s persistent when it’s rote. It might be richest when it’s goal-oriented or easiest when it’s motivated by a kid's peers. It could be most inspiring when it’s self-directed.

Whatever the attributes, whatever the cause, and however complex the resulting dynamic, learning might also be something quite simple: the process of making connections.

The folks at Radiolab, a public radio program out of WNYC in New York, may not have set out with the above video to illustrate such an idea. The digital short is more about language, the flexibility of words and their multiple, simultaneous values. Like saying, “you’re a dear, dear.” (Deer!) But language is a key instrument in demonstrating that something’s been learned, and watching this, well, it helps make that connection.






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