Monday, August 21, 2006

Meaning and Relevance


Does blogging provide meaning and relevance?

First of all, why should we even ask this question?

The brain is designed to seek meaning in the content, the process, or the product of the lesson (Nelson, 2001; Jensen, 2000; National Research Council, 2000). Meaning is complex and involves the need for relevance, emotional connections, transfer and pattern making (Jensen, 2000). “All meaning has at least one of these three ingredients, but the reverse is not true” (Jensen, 1998, p.92).

“Authentic, meaningful learning requires the student to process information in his/her own way, along his/her own timeline, and in relation to his/her own perceptual maps. Sorting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions in the context of one’s own life is the only learning that sticks” (Jensen, 2000, p. 279). Blogging!

“Relevance actually happens on a cellular level. An already-existing neuron simply ‘connects’ with a nearby neuron to make a connection. If the content is irrelevant (lacks understanding or emotional valence), it’s unlikely a connection will be made” (Jensen, 2000, p. 281). In other words, if the information is personal to us, if we feel deeply about it, and if it makes sense, chances are pretty good we’ll find it meaningful” (Jensen, 2000, p. 281). Hey, blogging, again!

"We should remember that what was meaningful for us as children may not be necessarily meaningful for children today” (Sousa, 2001, p. 49). Right! Blogging is meaningful to students even if teachers don't think it matters.

References:

Jensen, E. (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Jensen, E. (2000). Brain-based learning: A reality check. Educational Leadership, 57(7), p. 76f.

National Research Council. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (Ex. ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Nelson, K. (2001). Teaching in the Cyberage. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc..

Sousa, D. (2001). How the brain learns (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc..

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