Extreme Learning? – Hyper Learning? – Connected Learning? – what's in a name?

I was browsing through some exc-el blogs yesterday when I came across Barry Smith's reflections on
Extreme Learning. Barry expresses some concern about the term we are using and I have to admit to being slightly unsure of the term myself. Will it put people off? – although children might like the term how will colleagues and parents react?

In some ways the term does capture what we are seeking to do, i.e. it is outwith the norm of many pupils' learning experiences. There is also something in the notion of recognising that it it is extreme and that if we could just get teachers to move towards the
principles which underpin extreme learning – without necessarily adopting it in the form it is currently taking then it will have been a success.

Does a name matter? – is perhaps the most obvious question? Well over the last couple of weeks I would suggest that it does. There are many teachers, headteachers, parents and others with an interest in education who are having difficulty coming to terms with what “A Curriculum for Excellence” actually means. They understand the capacities but it is still too abstract for many who prefer dealing with concrete entities. In this sense Extreme Learning – or whatever we eventually decide to call it – has an important role to play in translating the abstract into the concrete.

So what might be the alternatives? – in a much earlier
blog entry I described how we had considered ACE projects and Exc-el Projects. However, in the course of working with colleagues over the last two weeks it has become apparent that one of the key features of the approach is the fact that the learner is required to make
connections in their own mind between topics, issues, areas of knowledge which are all too often considered as being discrete in the school curriculum.

If this connectivsm is a key feature perhaps we should higlight this within the approach's title? – how about Hyperlearning of Connected Learning? I liked Hyperlearning as it has connotations of hyperlinks and that it is an enhanced form of learning. I did a quick search for Hyperlearning this morning and – no surprises – found that
Lewis. J. Perelman had already coined the term – interestingly in a context which matches what we are attempting to achieve. The only problem I foresee with this term is that parents could see it as contributing to hyper-kids.

Connected Learning also has real strengths and I like the concepts which underpin
connectivsm.

It looks like our next meeting of all those who have expressed an interest in Extreme Learning (or whichever term we decide) will take place on the 25th October 4.00-6.00 – probably in the Marine Hotel , North Berwick. Invitations will be going out to all those who attended the first meeting on the 13th Sept. Perhaps we can can agree on a term at that meeting? If you want to come along and missed the first meeting you would be most welcome.