That’s about it … social learning

students teaching learning with students
teachers  teaching learning with students
students  teaching learning with teachers
teachers  teaching learning with teachers

In “So many opportunities”, I  wrote about the plethora of  opportunities to be inspired to think about education.  Stephen Heppell says  “It’s a very exciting time for learning. It’s the death of education, but the dawn of learning.”   Alan November’s message at #ictev12 was and I para-phrase,  “peer tutoring is in the upper echelon of what will make a difference. ”   The obvious value of the social side of learning is coming through in so many of these conversations.  Will Richardson, says  “it is about what you do with others “ – not about learning alone.

The value of engaging a network of other learners, whether face to face or by on-line interactions is becoming a greater force – not simply as an end product but as part of the learning routine. I spent yesterday with a group of highly networked educators at the State Library of Victoria,  It was exciting to hear the questions and issues in the minds of those in the room. Hamish Curry conducted a wonderful dialogue and Alec Couros brought some of his vast experience to the room as well.

As I see it, the shift is in the use of the internet, from merely publishing final products to involving others in the process of creating the product.   The web was a place to publish, now it is a place to collaborate and create.  No new ideas here really as Web 2 products have been available for many years.  The idea is that good ideas are the consequence of the melding of many other ideas into something new and our sharing can make that happen.   Being open to risk sharing your thinking, despite your doubts that there are many who may think differently or know more is something many adults shy from, this I believe is a great challenge for adults but perhaps not for our younger students.  The concept is described as  ‘learning collectively’  in the Ideas Lab “The Collective Knowledge Constructive Model”.    This collaboration, importantly face to face is enhanced by the use of the tools at our finger tips – nothing beats the personal relationships.

Whilst I love the sound of all this, questions keep arising in my head

  • How do we shift the thinking of people who have a complacent comfort in continuing their isolated existence?  or for that matter should we?
  • How can collaborative learning ‘fit’ the current exam focused assessments our students are required to complete?
  • How equipped are many teachers to become ‘nodes’ in a network to support their students learning?
  • How do we learn and then teach others to filter the enormous wealth and diversity of thinking and knowledge?
  • Is social media a leveller – allowing conversations between people of all ‘levels’ of knowledge, skills and ability?
Luckily I will be able to continue these discussions and ask more questions next Friday, back at the State Library but this time it will be Will Richardson as our    ‘carrot’ offering his perspective.  If this taster is any example, it should prove to be another thought provoking experience.


iste-presentation from Will Richardson on Vimeo.

One thought on “That’s about it … social learning

  1. Those are excellent questions and I don’t have any good answers to any of them. I am just starting my walk down the winding path of going from learner to learner/guide and I grew up on the nice crest of the wave that is the Internet.

    However, I have some ideas. The first being to slowly dip people into the ideas. Maybe have people who are comfortable in using internet tools offer to collaborate with those who are hesitant/complacent.

    I think your question about social media being a leveller is interesting. I don’t know if it is in a lot of ways, however, I think it is in the access to education. You still have a lot of cultural/social barriers that may hinder people. Students have a wide range of home lives and the outlook of your immediate social network can have a great impact on how information is access and academic skills thought of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *