Just imagine, just imagine
Just imagine all the things that we could be
Imagine all the places we could go and see
Imagination’s fun for you and me
My daughter loves Barney, so I have heard these lyrics from Just Imagine many times over the past few weeks (Here is a website if you want to listen to the song and read the lyrics: http://www.songlyrics.com/barney/just-imagine-reprise-lyrics/). As I was reading through the chapters this week, this song popped into my head. The authors in the book states that “our schools suffer from excess structure.” They also state that “the need for innovation…is widely recognized – and imagination and play re key ingredients for making it happen.” It talks about how children of the past have grown into adults that stop playing, and how the technologies of the present – and future – are encouraging the children of today to embrace these changes and continue to play well into their adulthood. I gathered from this that as educators we need to teach our students to be innovative so that they can succeed in the workplaces of today that are also changing. Many of them are no longer structured and organized. You grow by learning new things and using your imagination to create innovative ideas.
Learning in the collective is a way for our students to learn from each other. In our annual district in-service, we have someone from Kagan give presentations on the many different cooperative-learning strategies that they have created. We want our students to learn from each other. So, “learning in the collective” makes sense. It actually makes more sense, because it requires the students to be responsible for their learning. It is said that students who own the information have a deeper understanding of it. In a collective, students learn from their environment. They learn by being around their peers and just conversing.
I like the idea and so I sat here and thought of a way to create that for my students. I think the best example would be our Twitter sessions that we have every Thursday. I have to admit that I often forget about them and then go back after the fact and read my Tweet Deck to see what was talked about. Not a very good way of learning because I am not there participating. However, the book says that this is also a way of learning in the collective. For example, people who read blogs may not actually post a comment and start a conversation, but they are learning from the text. I was thinking that it would be cool to do an after school twitter session with our high school students where we can just go and talk about our day at school. Not many of our students have parents that ask them about their day and what they are learning. It would also be a great opportunity for the teachers to get to know the students better – their likes and dislikes. Remember, Dave Burgess says that this is one of the first steps to “hooking” your students.
I also did some research to find other ways for my students to learn in the collective. I found a website on the Connected Classroom (https://www.examtime.com/blog/connected-classroom/). However, the collective classroom is seen as an extension of the physical classroom and the teacher should be one to direct the learning. Then, I thought about wikis and blogs. The definitions given on the EdTech Network site (http://www.edtechnetwork.com/wikis_blogs.html) described them as being more of a learning community. However, I believe, if you were more lax with the way the students interacted on the wiki/blog, then it could be more of a collective learning experience. For example, allow the students to post their own thoughts about learning on the blog and make changes to the wiki.
I am curious to read other blogs from this week to see what you all think about learning in the collective. I really would like more ideas of how this could work in – or out of – today’s classroom.