Weaving in the Ends: Networked Learning Project Conclusion

Over the past few week, I have embarked on a learning journey.  Using only internet resources, with an emphasis on YouTube videos and Help Forums, I became a novice at embroidery.  This video shows my journey of learning how to embroider using online resources.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoI326L-8g4]

Through this Networked Learning Project, I was able to apply the learning and cognitive theories about which I had read in CEP 810.  As a teacher, I believe that educators need to be continually learning in order to better our instruction.  As a result of this project, I also believe that lifelong learning is essential to my profession in order to better relate to the learning taking place in my classroom.

Learning how to do something using the internet was not new for me.  I use the internet on a weekly, if not daily, basis to figure out how to fix technology at school, teach a specific skill, and search for resources for my students and staff.  For example, one day I was tasked with putting iPad cases on our school’s new devices.  Those cases were so stiff and protective that I wasn’t sure how to manipulate them.  I turned to YouTube, and sure enough, a middle school student walked me through applying the case and screen protector.

However, learning a new skill to complete a personal project using only video and forums was a challenge.  Being restricted to videos and other online materials was initially scary as I usually begin new personal projects searching books and other written materials.  I also wanted to go to my crafty friends and ask them how to embroider.  I thought I needed an in-person coach to examine my technique and give me tips. What I discovered through this project, though, was that I had resources available to me at any time and place.  I could go back and review a video if I got stuck in the middle of a stitch.  I could share ideas and gain tips from crafters around the world.

After reflecting on networked learning, I will definitely continue to learn in this manner, and I will encourage my students and colleagues to learn this way too.  It is a flexible, personalized, and ultimately community-based approach to learning.  The video format helped this visual learner, and the availability of text further supported my understanding.  I recognize that I wasn’t thoroughly connected to the embroidery community while learning basic stitches, and would have benefited from a more active participation in the online community.  In the future, I will take advantage of the online sewing circle.

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