As some of you may have seen from my twitter stream, this week I have been in Bucharest. The main reason for my visit was to speak at the launch event of a new European funded project on Lifelong Learning (more on that tomorrow).
But, on Monday, I was luck enough to be invited by my friend Magda Balica to the university who teaches a seminar based course on pedagogy.
This week she was looking at the use of mindmaps and she set the students a groupwork task to draw a mindmap with ‘learning; at the centre. I was extremely impressed with the results, and als0 with the willingness of a number of the groups to produce the maps and report on them in English for my benefit.
It was interesting that most of the groups recognised the diverse sources of learning and the different contexts in which they learnt. Interesting too, and less encouraging, was how separated the different contexts appeared to be. If joined at all, learning from different sources and contexts was seen as mediated, for instance by friends or classmates. The students were in general fairly scathing about the quality of formal education in schools in Romania, although I am doubtful that the response of German or UK students would be much different.
These were some of the comments in their report backs, as recorded in twitter:
- Student in Romania – fame is important as the result of your learning and career – recognition
- Student in Romania – you can live more from life than from school
- Student in Bucharest – we want to leave Romania – we have no education, no health system, just a promise of improvement
- Student in Bucharest – in school we learn as little as we can
Although many of the students had Facebook accounts, none had seen Twitter before and there was general excitement about getting ‘real time’ feedback from people in different countries.
Anyway, I promised to post the mindmaps on this blog (click on any of the photos below for a larger version). Thanks to all who made my stay in Romania so interesting and enjoyable.