“At this point one might be tempted to ask how we might harness the power of these peer-to-peer collectives to meet some learning objectives. But that would be falling into the same old twentieth century trap. Any effort to define or direct collectives would destroy the very thing that is unique and innovative about them” (54).
How do we get students to participate in online collectives in safe, meaningful, and purposeful ways?
How do we facilitate their learning in a collective if we are not actually needed by them for their involvement in a collective? In other words what would our role be?
I am new to the idea of collectives. I think the concept of a collective is really interesting and could be used as a really unique tool for learning in our classrooms, and I am trying to figure out how I could hypothetically incorporate learning in this type of online space into the classroom. The above quote describes the temptation educations may have of trying to plug learning objectives into having our students use a collective. The author describes this sort of thinking as destructive to the motives of a collective. Therefore I struggle to figure out how to realistically use a collective in a public school classroom that gives high value to learning objectives. Perhaps, I need to further learn about collectives themselves to be able to brainstorms ways I can use them in my classroom. Does anyone have any examples or ideas? Perhaps teachers could start with a collective page for the class and expand it to other classrooms in the school or around the nation?
I am intrigued by the idea of “collectives,” because they move away from the more old school style education system of one teacher teaching, and instead allow for the incorporation of any participant to share their own knowledge and ideas into the particular learning environment or “collective.” I find it so interesting that the author describes a collective as “a collection of people, skills, and talent that produces a result greater than the sum of its parts” (52). This concept is so interesting to me, because it demonstrates that collectives do not have to have a particular direction or set of participants, but instead the participants are the driving force and their participation determines the type of learning and expanding that the collective will have. The best way I can comprehend a collective is picturing a moving cell without a nucleus that has the potential to expand if others join it.
Quote: “Learning that occurs outside of schools or the workplace-through hobbies, reading, the media, and so on-is almost always tied to the things that really interest them, those things are rarely acknowledged in educational environments” (57).
This quote reminds us that we (and students) learn about things we have passion for, therefore we need to give students choice in the classroom regarding what they want to learn and how they want to learn it, so that we do not waste their time or ours. Engagement and interest directly tie together and determine the amount of student learning happening in the classroom.
How do we incorporate more student choice and student interests into the classroom when we have over 30 individuals per classroom? How do we facilitate and direct all of their learning individually?
I find valuable the above quote, because I believe that adults should work in fields in life that they are passionate about. While most people would agree with this idea, the reality is that a lot of people are not passionate about their careers. I think school (especially High School) should be a time, where we devote our class time to students in ways that allow them to really explore their passions. If they are given the freedom or opportunity to explore skills and interests that excite them, students will be more prepared for their future careers and be better prepared for college or trade school. Last semester, I can recall asking many students what they wanted to do in life or what they wanted to study in college, and a common answer was “I don’t know.” Yet, at home or outside of school, our students are consumed by their passions, whether it be soccer or drawing model cars. If we could find ways to incorporate our students’ passions or pursuit for a passion into our everyday classrooms, then I think we would better be preparing our students for their futures.
I plan to try to incorporate as much student choice as possible into the projects I assign in class. When teaching a text, I want to try and find prompts that allow students to connect to their own lives, passions, and interests. I want to show students that they do not always have to write a literary response on theme, but instead find ways to connect what they learned from the text to their own lives.
“The new culture of learning is about the kind of tension that develops when students with an interest or passion that they want to explore are faced with a set of constraints that allow them to act only within given boundaries” (81).
-This quote is meaningful, because it explores the possibilities of student achievement when teachers guide students using the student's’ passion. It emphasizes the important role of the teacher as a facilitator who “sets constraints” on their students in order to guide students to new findings on their own.
What are some tools we can use to guide students towards finding their passion, as the text describes that today’s learner often has not been taught to find little or no value in bringing their passions into the classroom?
Connection and Aha all in one:
In this chapter, the authors describe the new culture of learning to be one in which teacher should foster inquiry based learning. According to the author's, inquiry based learning, “creates a motivation to learn and provides a set of constraints that make the learning meaningful” (83). When thinking about how I could create a "motivation to learn" within my students, through question or inquiry based projects, my first thought is how do I get every student on board? How do I reach every student? My answer to this question is to create a project that I know everyone will connect to. But how? What I have come up with is a research based project that finds answers to the simple question: What makes you happy? Students could start with what they think makes them most happy, maybe its doing new things or surfing, and then they could research why that is. They could learn why they think certain things or events in their lives make them happy. A project like this one would be so specific to each student's interests that I think they would really enjoy it. This sort of project would follow an inquiry based learning process as they could ask more questions the more they found out. For example, students could further question: why is it that you love surfing? Does it have to do with family tradition? Is it because of the people you surround yourself with while surfing? Maybe it is the friends you surf with that are the real cause of the happiness? Perhaps, a project like this this would help students better understand themselves and navigate their passions. Any thoughts peers?
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace?