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Barbara Lindsey

Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice - 1 views

  • Supposing learning is social and comes largely from of our experience of participating in daily life? It was this thought that formed the basis of a significant rethinking of learning theory in the late 1980s and early 1990s by two researchers from very different disciplines - Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. Their model of situated learning proposed that learning involved a process of engagement in a 'community of practice'. 
  • When looking closely at everyday activity, she has argued, it is clear that 'learning is ubiquitous in ongoing activity, though often unrecognized as such' (Lave 1993: 5).
  • Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavour: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope. In a nutshell: Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. (Wenger circa 2007)
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  • Over time, this collective learning results in practices that reflect both the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by the sustained pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore to call these kinds of communities communities of practice. (Wenger 1998: 45)
  • The characteristics of communities of practice According to Etienne Wenger (c 2007), three elements are crucial in distinguishing a community of practice from other groups and communities: The domain. A community of practice is is something more than a club of friends or a network of connections between people. 'It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people' (op. cit.). The community. 'In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other' (op. cit.). The practice. 'Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction' (op. cit.).
  • The fact that they are organizing around some particular area of knowledge and activity gives members a sense of joint enterprise and identity. For a community of practice to function it needs to generate and appropriate a shared repertoire of ideas, commitments and memories. It also needs to develop various resources such as tools, documents, routines, vocabulary and symbols that in some way carry the accumulated knowledge of the community.
  • The interactions involved, and the ability to undertake larger or more complex activities and projects though cooperation, bind people together and help to facilitate relationship and trust
  • Rather than looking to learning as the acquisition of certain forms of knowledge, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger have tried to place it in social relationships – situations of co-participation.
  • It not so much that learners acquire structures or models to understand the world, but they participate in frameworks that that have structure. Learning involves participation in a community of practice. And that participation 'refers not just to local events of engagement in certain activities with certain people, but to a more encompassing process of being active participants in the practices of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities' (Wenger 1999: 4).
  • Initially people have to join communities and learn at the periphery. The things they are involved in, the tasks they do may be less key to the community than others.
  • Learning is, thus, not seen as the acquisition of knowledge by individuals so much as a process of social participation. The nature of the situation impacts significantly on the process.
  • What is more, and in contrast with learning as internalization, ‘learning as increasing participation in communities of practice concerns the whole person acting in the world’ (Lave and Wenger 1991: 49). The focus is on the ways in which learning is ‘an evolving, continuously renewed set of relations’ (ibid.: 50). In other words, this is a relational view of the person and learning (see the discussion of selfhood).
  • 'the purpose is not to learn from talk as a substitute for legitimate peripheral participation; it is to learn to talk as a key to legitimate peripheral participation'. This orientation has the definite advantage of drawing attention to the need to understand knowledge and learning in context. However, situated learning depends on two claims: It makes no sense to talk of knowledge that is decontextualized, abstract or general. New knowledge and learning are properly conceived as being located in communities of practice (Tennant 1997: 77).
  • There is a risk, as Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger acknowledge, of romanticizing communities of practice.
  • 'In their eagerness to debunk testing, formal education and formal accreditation, they do not analyse how their omission [of a range of questions and issues] affects power relations, access, public knowledge and public accountability' (Tennant 1997: 79).
  • Perhaps the most helpful of these explorations is that of Barbara Rogoff and her colleagues (2001). They examine the work of an innovative school in Salt Lake City and how teachers, students and parents were able to work together to develop an approach to schooling based around the principle that learning 'occurs through interested participation with other learners'.
  • Learning is in the relationships between people. As McDermott (in Murphy 1999:17) puts it: Learning traditionally gets measured as on the assumption that it is a possession of individuals that can be found inside their heads… [Here] learning is in the relationships between people. Learning is in the conditions that bring people together and organize a point of contact that allows for particular pieces of information to take on a relevance; without the points of contact, without the system of relevancies, there is not learning, and there is little memory. Learning does not belong to individual persons, but to the various conversations of which they are a part.
  • One of the implications for schools, as Barbara Rogoff and her colleagues suggest is that they must prioritize 'instruction that builds on children's interests in a collaborative way'. Such schools need also to be places where 'learning activities are planned by children as well as adults, and where parents and teachers not only foster children's learning but also learn from their own involvement with children' (2001: 3). Their example in this area have particular force as they are derived from actual school practice.
  • learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice
  • Acknowledging that communities of practice affect performance is important in part because of their potential to overcome the inherent problems of a slow-moving traditional hierarchy in a fast-moving virtual economy. Communities also appear to be an effective way for organizations to handle unstructured problems and to share knowledge outside of the traditional structural boundaries. In addition, the community concept is acknowledged to be a means of developing and maintaining long-term organizational memory. These outcomes are an important, yet often unrecognized, supplement to the value that individual members of a community obtain in the form of enriched learning and higher motivation to apply what they learn. (Lesser and Storck 2001)
  • Educators need to reflect on their understanding of what constitutes knowledge and practice. Perhaps one of the most important things to grasp here is the extent to which education involves informed and committed action.
Dennis OConnor

Martin Dougiamas Keynote at Moodlemoot Canada | Some Random Thoughts - 13 views

  • Martin Dougiamas presented the keynote at the Canadian Moodlemoot in Edmonton.
  • Martin updated us with the current stats on Moodle 54,000 verified sites worldwide. 41 Million users 97 language packs (17 fully complete, the rest are in various states) 54 Moodle Partners who fund the project and its going very well ensuring the project will continue into the future. (such as Remote-Learner who I work for) USA still has the highest raw number of installations and Spain has half of that with much less population. Brazil is now 3rd in the world and has overtaken the UK now in total installs. 3 of the top 10 are English speaking per head of population, Portugal has the largest number of Moodle installations.
  •  ”a lot of people find that giving students the ability to teach is a valuable learning process” – Martin Dougiamas.
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  • As many may have seen before, there are 10 steps of pedagogical usage of Moodle, which is outlined on Moodle Docs. It details the typical 10 step progression which looks like: Putting up the handouts (Resources, SCORM) Providing a passive Forum (unfacilitated) Using Quizzes and Assignments (less management) Using the Wiki, Glossary and Database tools (interactive content) Facilitate discussions in Forums, asking questions, guiding Combining activities into sequences, where results feed later activities Introduce external activities and games (internet resources) Using the Survey module to study and reflect on course activity Using peer-review modules like Workshop, giving students more control over grading and even structuring the course in some ways Conducting active research on oneself, sharing ideas in a community of peers
  • A lot of people want that secure private place in the LMS with big gates, with students needing to gain competencies and knowledge.  Many people really want this “Content Pump” focus, becuase it is what they need. Others use it as a community of practitioners, connected activities, content created by students and teachers alike and many methods of assessment. These are the two ends of the spectrum of usage.
  • Moodle has two roles: to be progressive and integrate with things coming up, and a drag and drop UI, with innovate workflows and improve media handling and mobile platforms to be conservative and improve  security and usability and assessment , accredition, detailed management tracking and reports and performance and stability
  • Since Moodle 1.9 came out three years ago,  March 2008 and most are still using the three year old code which has had fixes applied since then (1.9.11 is the current release.) The support for 1.9 will continue until the middle of 2012 as it is understood that it will be a big move to Moodle2.   “If you are going to Moodle2, you may as well go to Moodle 2.1 as it is better with 6 months more work” .
  • However, the ongoing support for each release will be 1 yr moving to the future. Moodle will be released every 6 months which enables the organisations to plan their upgrade times ahead of time.
  • What will be in Moodle 2.1? Performance Restore 1.9 backups Quiz/question refactor Page course format Interface polishing Official Mobile app (there now is a Mobile division)
  • HQ are working on an official app which uses Moodle 2 built-in web services. This provides a secure access to the data in Moodle 2 for people who have accounts in Moodle which greatly benefits mobile apps.
  • Moodle HQ has looked at what is Mobile really good at and identified them one by one and implemented them.  This includes messaging, list of participants in your course, marking attendence (in class roll call). This will be for the iPhone first and then someone will make it for Android so it will lag behind, but will be the same.
  • What is going to happen in 2.2 and beyond?
  • Grading and Rubrics Competency Tracking (from activity level, course level, outside courses to generate a competency profile) Assignment (planning to combine all 4 into one type and simplify it) Forum (big upgrade probably based on OU Forum) Survey (to include feedback/questionnaire – being rewritten currently) Lesson Scorm 2 Improved reporting IMS LTI IMS CC (although it is in 1.9 needs to be redone)
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    An important overview for any one using Moodle, especially useful for those contemplating an upgrade to 2.0 .  (I'll make the move when we have 2.1 or 2.2.)  
David Wetzel

See How Easily You can Create a Project Based Learning Activity - 0 views

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    Project Based Learning is an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the science or math classroom.
David Wetzel

12 Expert Twitter Tips for the Classroom: Social Networking Classroom Activities That Employ Critical Thinking - 0 views

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    A dozen activities are presented for using an online education technology tool to engage students in classroom activities to develop a better understanding of concepts.
Amanda Kenuam

Simple Storytelling for Special Education Students with Storybird - 1 views

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    "special education, technology, reading, website, social media, reading activity, writing, sharing, collaboration, publishing, web-based activities, stories, storytelling"
Geoffrey Smith

Vocabulary, Vocabulary Games - www.MyVocabulary.com - 24 views

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    MyVocabulary.com offers free vocabulary lessons, word lists, and word puzzles designed for middle school and high school students. The vocabulary lists are based on books commonly used in middle school and high school classrooms. MyVocabulary.com also offers word lists and activities based on SAT vocabulary. Visitors to MyVocabulary.com will find stand-alone vocabulary lessons as well as activities to complement the reading of specific stories. Applications for EducationIf you're planning a series of lessons on one of "standard books" for middle school or high school, MyVocabulary.com could provide you with some good vocabulary lists and lesson ideas to get started. Students prepping for the SAT should take some time to explore the SAT word puzzles offered by MyVocabulary.com
Rhondda Powling

CyberNetrix - Internet Safety Education for Secondary Schools - 5 views

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    Australian online safety site CyberNetrix offers computer-based activities that have been designed for secondary students from years seven to nine as a cross-curricula, cross-year level resource. There is a teacher guide and 11 downloadable student activities.
Michael Johnson

Teaching in Social and Technological Networks « Connectivism - 17 views

  • The model falls apart when we distribute content and extend the activities of the teacher to include multiple educator inputs and peer-driven learning.
  • Skype brings anyone, from anywhere, into a classroom. Students are not confined to interacting with only the ideas of a researcher or theorist. Instead, a student can interact directly with researchers through Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and listservs. The largely unitary voice of the traditional teacher is fragmented by the limitless conversation opportunities available in networks. When learners have control of the tools of conversation, they also control the conversations in which they choose to engage. Course content is similarly fragmented. The textbook is now augmented with YouTube videos, online articles, simulations, Second Life builds, virtual museums, Diigo content trails, StumpleUpon reflections, and so on.
  • Traditional courses provide a coherent view of a subject. This view is shaped by “learning outcomes” (or objectives). These outcomes drive the selection of content and the design of learning activities. Ideally, outcomes and content/curriculum/instruction are then aligned with the assessment. It’s all very logical: we teach what we say we are going to teach, and then we assess what we said we would teach. This cozy comfortable world of outcomes-instruction-assessment alignment exists only in education. In all other areas of life, ambiguity, uncertainty, and unkowns reign. Fragmentation of content and conversation is about to disrupt this well-ordered view of learning. Educators and universities are beginning to realize that they no longer have the control they once (thought they) did
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  • I’ve come to view teaching as a critical and needed activity in the chaotic and ambiguous information climate created by networks.
  • In networks, teachers are one node among many. Learners will, however, likely be somewhat selective of which nodes they follow and listen to. Most likely, a teacher will be one of the more prominent nodes in a learner’s network. Thoughts, ideas, or messages that the teacher amplifies will generally have a greater probability of being seen by course participants. The network of information is shaped by the actions of the teacher in drawing attention to signals (content elements) that are particularly important in a given subject area.
  • While “curator” carries the stigma of dusty museums, the metaphor is appropriate for teaching and learning. The curator, in a learning context, arranges key elements of a subject in such a manner that learners will “bump into” them throughout the course. Instead of explicitly stating “you must know this”, the curator includes critical course concepts in her dialogue with learners, her comments on blog posts, her in-class discussions, and in her personal reflections. As learners grow their own networks of understanding, frequent encounters with conceptual artifacts shared by the teacher will begin to resonate.
  • Today’s social web is no different – we find our way through active exploration. Designers can aid the wayfinding process through consistency of design and functionality across various tools, but ultimately, it is the responsibility of the individual to click/fail/recoup and continue. Fortunately, the experience of wayfinding is now augmented by social systems. Social structures are filters. As a learner grows (and prunes) her personal networks, she also develops an effective means to filter abundance. The network becomes a cognitive agent in this instance – helping the learner to make sense of complex subject areas by relying not only on her own reading and resource exploration, but by permitting her social network to filter resources and draw attention to important topics. In order for these networks to work effectively, learners must be conscious of the need for diversity and should include nodes that offer critical or antagonistic perspectives on all topic areas. Sensemaking in complex environments is a social process.
  • Aggregation should do the same – reveal the content and conversation structure of the course as it unfolds, rather than defining it in advance.
  • Filtering resources is an important educator role, but as noted already, effective filtering can be done through a combination of wayfinding, social sensemaking, and aggregation. But expertise still matters. Educators often have years or decades of experience in a field. As such, they are familiar with many of the concepts, pitfalls, confusions, and distractions that learners are likely to encounter. As should be evident by now, the educator is an important agent in networked learning. Instead of being the sole or dominant filter of information, he now shares this task with other methods and individuals.
  • Filtering can be done in explicit ways – such as selecting readings around course topics – or in less obvious ways – such as writing summary blog posts around topics. Learning is an eliminative process. By determining what doesn’t belong, a learner develops and focuses his understanding of a topic. The teacher assists in the process by providing one stream of filtered information. The student is then faced with making nuanced selections based on the multiple information streams he encounters
  • Stephen’s statements that resonated with many learners centers on modelling as a teaching practice: “To teach is to model and to demonstrate. To learn is to practice and to reflect.” (As far as I can tell, he first made the statement during OCC in 2007).
  • Modelling has its roots in apprenticeship. Learning is a multi-faceted process, involving cognitive, social, and emotional dimensions. Knowledge is similarly multi-faceted, involving declarative, procedural, and academic dimensions. It is unreasonable to expect a class environment to capture the richness of these dimensions. Apprenticeship learning models are among the most effective in attending to the full breadth of learning. Apprenticeship is concerned with more than cognition and knowledge (to know about) – it also addresses the process of becoming a carpenter, plumber, or physician.
  • Without an online identity, you can’t connect with others – to know and be known. I don’t think I’m overstating the importance of have a presence in order to participate in networks. To teach well in networks – to weave a narrative of coherence with learners – requires a point of presence. As a course progresses, the teacher provides summary comments, synthesizes discussions, provides critical perspectives, and directs learners to resources they may not have encountered before.
  • Persistent presence in the learning network is needed for the teacher to amplify, curate, aggregate, and filter content and to model critical thinking and cognitive attributes that reflect the needs of a discipline.
  • Teaching and learning in social and technological networks is similarly surprising – it’s hard to imagine that many of the tools we’re using are less than a decade old (the methods of learning in networks are not new, however. People have always learned in social networks).
  • We’re still early in many of these trends. Many questions remain unanswered about privacy, ethics in networks, and assessment.
  • We’re still early in many of these trends. Many questions remain unanswered about privacy, ethics in networks, and assessment.
  • The tools for controlling both content and conversation have shifted from the educator to the learner. We require a system that acknowledges this reality.
  • In order for these networks to work effectively, learners must be conscious of the need for diversity and should include nodes that offer critical or antagonistic perspectives on all topic areas. Sensemaking in complex environments is a social process.
  • In order for these networks to work effectively, learners must be conscious of the need for diversity and should include nodes that offer critical or antagonistic perspectives on all topic areas. Sensemaking in complex environments is a social process.
  • In order for these networks to work effectively, learners must be conscious of the need for diversity and should include nodes that offer critical or antagonistic perspectives on all topic areas. Sensemaking in complex environments is a social process.
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    Discusses the role of teachers in the learning  process through social networks: He gives seven roles 1. Amplifying, 2. Curating, 3. Wayfinding and socially-driven sensemaking, 4. Aggregating, 5. Filtering, 6. Modelling, 7. Persistent presence. He ends with this provocative thought: "My view is that change in education needs to be systemic and substantial. Education is concerned with content and conversations. The tools for controlling both content and conversation have shifted from the educator to the learner. We require a system that acknowledges this reality."
Geoffrey Smith

Digital Dialects language learning games - 18 views

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    Digital Dialects offers a nice selection of educational games and activities for learning 55 different languages. Most of the games are designed to learn and practice the basics of each of the 55 languages listed on the Digital Dialects homepage.  Another good website for learning and practicing language basics is Literacy Center.net. Literacy Center offers games for learning and practicing French, Spanish, German, and English. The Literacy Center is a 501c non-profit with a contract from the US Department of Education.  Applications for Education The educational games and activities found on Digital Dialects and Literacy Center are great for students just beginning to learn a new language. The games provide instant feedback to students and parents so that they can monitor progress and choose a skill or set of vocabulary terms to practice. 
Ashley Haseman

4th Grade Math Activities - 0 views

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    Math activities that work with the math standards.
Clif Mims

SignUpGenius.com: Free Online Sign Up Forms - 14 views

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    SignUpGenius is a FREE online tool for creating and managing group sign up lists. "Teachers, Parents and Coaches... organize activities in a snap! Whether you need a classroom volunteer sign up sheet, a school potluck invitation, or if you're organizing a school supply list, snack schedule form or class holiday party sign up -- SignUpGenius is the best way to create super-easy online sign up forms. With great-looking templates and features like email reminders, you'll save time and manage your school activities without the pain of phonecalls, lots of emails, or pen and paper scheduling. SignUpGenius is a great way to increase your parent participation and keep your staff and volunteers connected. "
Barbara Lindsey

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE CONNECT - 1 views

  • But at the same time that the world has become flatter, it has also become “spikier”: the places that are globally competitive are those that have robust local ecosystems of resources supporting innovation and productiveness.2
  • various initiatives launched over the past few years have created a series of building blocks that could provide the means for transforming the ways in which we provide education and support learning. Much of this activity has been enabled and inspired by the growth and evolution of the Internet, which has created a global “platform” that has vastly expanded access to all sorts of resources, including formal and informal educational materials. The Internet has also fostered a new culture of sharing, one in which content is freely contributed and distributed with few restrictions or costs.
  • the most visible impact of the Internet on education to date has been the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, which has provided free access to a wide range of courses and other educational materials to anyone who wants to use them. The movement began in 2001 when the William and Flora Hewlett and the Andrew W. Mellon foundations jointly funded MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, which today provides open access to undergraduate- and graduate-level materials and modules from more than 1,700 courses (covering virtually all of MIT’s curriculum). MIT’s initiative has inspired hundreds of other colleges and universities in the United States and abroad to join the movement and contribute their own open educational resources.4 The Internet has also been used to provide students with direct access to high-quality (and therefore scarce and expensive) tools like telescopes, scanning electron microscopes, and supercomputer simulation models, allowing students to engage personally in research.
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  • most profound impact of the Internet, an impact that has yet to be fully realized, is its ability to support and expand the various aspects of social learning. What do we mean by “social learning”? Perhaps the simplest way to explain this concept is to note that social learning is based on the premise that our understanding of content is socially constructed through conversations about that content and through grounded interactions, especially with others, around problems or actions. The focus is not so much on what we are learning but on how we are learning.5
  • This perspective shifts the focus of our attention from the content of a subject to the learning activities and human interactions around which that content is situated. This perspective also helps to explain the effectiveness of study groups. Students in these groups can ask questions to clarify areas of uncertainty or confusion, can improve their grasp of the material by hearing the answers to questions from fellow students, and perhaps most powerfully, can take on the role of teacher to help other group members benefit from their understanding (one of the best ways to learn something is, after all, to teach it to others).
  • This encourages the practice of what John Dewey called “productive inquiry”—that is, the process of seeking the knowledge when it is needed in order to carry out a particular situated task.
  • ecoming a trusted contributor to Wikipedia involves a process of legitimate peripheral participation that is similar to the process in open source software communities. Any reader can modify the text of an entry or contribute new entries. But only more experienced and more trusted individuals are invited to become “administrators” who have access to higher-level editing tools.8
  • by clicking on tabs that appear on every page, a user can easily review the history of any article as well as contributors’ ongoing discussion of and sometimes fierce debates around its content, which offer useful insights into the practices and standards of the community that is responsible for creating that entry in Wikipedia. (In some cases, Wikipedia articles start with initial contributions by passionate amateurs, followed by contributions from professional scholars/researchers who weigh in on the “final” versions. Here is where the contested part of the material becomes most usefully evident.) In this open environment, both the content and the process by which it is created are equally visible, thereby enabling a new kind of critical reading—almost a new form of literacy—that invites the reader to join in the consideration of what information is reliable and/or important.
  • Mastering a field of knowledge involves not only “learning about” the subject matter but also “learning to be” a full participant in the field. This involves acquiring the practices and the norms of established practitioners in that field or acculturating into a community of practice.
  • But viewing learning as the process of joining a community of practice reverses this pattern and allows new students to engage in “learning to be” even as they are mastering the content of a field.
  • Another interesting experiment in Second Life was the Harvard Law School and Harvard Extension School fall 2006 course called “CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion.” The course was offered at three levels of participation. First, students enrolled in Harvard Law School were able to attend the class in person. Second, non–law school students could enroll in the class through the Harvard Extension School and could attend lectures, participate in discussions, and interact with faculty members during their office hours within Second Life. And at the third level, any participant in Second Life could review the lectures and other course materials online at no cost. This experiment suggests one way that the social life of Internet-based virtual education can coexist with and extend traditional education.
  • Digital StudyHall (DSH), which is designed to improve education for students in schools in rural areas and urban slums in India. The project is described by its developers as “the educational equivalent of Netflix + YouTube + Kazaa.”11 Lectures from model teachers are recorded on video and are then physically distributed via DVD to schools that typically lack well-trained instructors (as well as Internet connections). While the lectures are being played on a monitor (which is often powered by a battery, since many participating schools also lack reliable electricity), a “mediator,” who could be a local teacher or simply a bright student, periodically pauses the video and encourages engagement among the students by asking questions or initiating discussions about the material they are watching.
  • John King, the associate provost of the University of Michigan
  • For the past few years, he points out, incoming students have been bringing along their online social networks, allowing them to stay in touch with their old friends and former classmates through tools like SMS, IM, Facebook, and MySpace. Through these continuing connections, the University of Michigan students can extend the discussions, debates, bull sessions, and study groups that naturally arise on campus to include their broader networks. Even though these extended connections were not developed to serve educational purposes, they amplify the impact that the university is having while also benefiting students on campus.14 If King is right, it makes sense for colleges and universities to consider how they can leverage these new connections through the variety of social software platforms that are being established for other reasons.
  • The project’s website includes reports of how students, under the guidance of professional astronomers, are using the Faulkes telescopes to make small but meaningful contributions to astronomy.
  • “This is not education in which people come in and lecture in a classroom. We’re helping students work with real data.”16
  • HOU invites students to request observations from professional observatories and provides them with image-processing software to visualize and analyze their data, encouraging interaction between the students and scientists
  • The site is intended to serve as “an open forum for worldwide discussions on the Decameron and related topics.” Both scholars and students are invited to submit their own contributions as well as to access the existing resources on the site. The site serves as an apprenticeship platform for students by allowing them to observe how scholars in the field argue with each other and also to publish their own contributions, which can be relatively small—an example of the “legitimate peripheral participation” that is characteristic of open source communities. This allows students to “learn to be,” in this instance by participating in the kind of rigorous argumentation that is generated around a particular form of deep scholarship. A community like this, in which students can acculturate into a particular scholarly practice, can be seen as a virtual “spike”: a highly specialized site that can serve as a global resource for its field.
  • I posted a list of links to all the student blogs and mentioned the list on my own blog. I also encouraged the students to start reading one another's writing. The difference in the writing that next week was startling. Each student wrote significantly more than they had previously. Each piece was more thoughtful. Students commented on each other's writing and interlinked their pieces to show related or contradicting thoughts. Then one of the student assignments was commented on and linked to from a very prominent blogger. Many people read the student blogs and subscribed to some of them. When these outside comments showed up, indicating that the students really were plugging into the international community's discourse, the quality of the writing improved again. The power of peer review had been brought to bear on the assignments.17
  • for any topic that a student is passionate about, there is likely to be an online niche community of practice of others who share that passion.
  • Finding and joining a community that ignites a student’s passion can set the stage for the student to acquire both deep knowledge about a subject (“learning about”) and the ability to participate in the practice of a field through productive inquiry and peer-based learning (“learning to be”). These communities are harbingers of the emergence of a new form of technology-enhanced learning—Learning 2.0—which goes beyond providing free access to traditional course materials and educational tools and creates a participatory architecture for supporting communities of learners.
  • We need to construct shared, distributed, reflective practicums in which experiences are collected, vetted, clustered, commented on, and tried out in new contexts.
  • An example of such a practicum is the online Teaching and Learning Commons (http://commons.carnegiefoundation.org/) launched earlier this year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • The Commons is an open forum where instructors at all levels (and from around the world) can post their own examples and can participate in an ongoing conversation about effective teaching practices, as a means of supporting a process of “creating/using/re-mixing (or creating/sharing/using).”20
  • The original World Wide Web—the “Web 1.0” that emerged in the mid-1990s—vastly expanded access to information. The Open Educational Resources movement is an example of the impact that the Web 1.0 has had on education.
  • But the Web 2.0, which has emerged in just the past few years, is sparking an even more far-reaching revolution. Tools such as blogs, wikis, social networks, tagging systems, mashups, and content-sharing sites are examples of a new user-centric information infrastructure that emphasizes participation (e.g., creating, re-mixing) over presentation, that encourages focused conversation and short briefs (often written in a less technical, public vernacular) rather than traditional publication, and that facilitates innovative explorations, experimentations, and purposeful tinkerings that often form the basis of a situated understanding emerging from action, not passivity.
  • In the twentieth century, the dominant approach to education focused on helping students to build stocks of knowledge and cognitive skills that could be deployed later in appropriate situations. This approach to education worked well in a relatively stable, slowly changing world in which careers typically lasted a lifetime. But the twenty-first century is quite different.
  • We now need a new approach to learning—one characterized by a demand-pull rather than the traditional supply-push mode of building up an inventory of knowledge in students’ heads. Demand-pull learning shifts the focus to enabling participation in flows of action, where the focus is both on “learning to be” through enculturation into a practice as well as on collateral learning.
  • The demand-pull approach is based on providing students with access to rich (sometimes virtual) learning communities built around a practice. It is passion-based learning, motivated by the student either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something. Often the learning that transpires is informal rather than formally conducted in a structured setting. Learning occurs in part through a form of reflective practicum, but in this case the reflection comes from being embedded in a community of practice that may be supported by both a physical and a virtual presence and by collaboration between newcomers and professional practitioners/scholars.
  • The building blocks provided by the OER movement, along with e-Science and e-Humanities and the resources of the Web 2.0, are creating the conditions for the emergence of new kinds of open participatory learning ecosystems23 that will support active, passion-based learning: Learning 2.0.
  • As a graduate student at UC-Berkeley in the late 1970s, Treisman worked on the poor performance of African-Americans and Latinos in undergraduate calculus classes. He discovered the problem was not these students’ lack of motivation or inadequate preparation but rather their approach to studying. In contrast to Asian students, who, Treisman found, naturally formed “academic communities” in which they studied and learned together, African-Americans tended to separate their academic and social lives and studied completely on their own. Treisman developed a program that engaged these students in workshop-style study groups in which they collaborated on solving particularly challenging calculus problems. The program was so successful that it was adopted by many other colleges. See Uri Treisman, “Studying Students Studying Calculus: A Look at the Lives of Minority Mathematics Students in College,” College Mathematics Journal, vol. 23, no. 5 (November 1992), pp. 362–72, http://math.sfsu.edu/hsu/workshops/treisman.html.
  • In the early 1970s, Stanford University Professor James Gibbons developed a similar technique, which he called Tutored Videotape Instruction (TVI). Like DSH, TVI was based on showing recorded classroom lectures to groups of students, accompanied by a “tutor” whose job was to stop the tape periodically and ask questions. Evaluations of TVI showed that students’ learning from TVI was as good as or better than in-classroom learning and that the weakest students academically learned more from participating in TVI instruction than from attending lectures in person. See J. F. Gibbons, W. R. Kincheloe, and S. K. Down, “Tutored Video-tape Instruction: A New Use of Electronics Media in Education,” Science, vol. 195 (1977), pp. 1136–49.
Barbara Lindsey

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