Monday, November 28, 2011

Reaching out to the Network

I just watched two keynote presentations from this year's K12 Online Conference: Playing in Public   by George Couros and The World’s Craziest Educational Videos Featuring ds106 by Jim Groom and Tom Woodward. One thing that struck me about both was that they reached out to their networks to help tell their stories. Each is part of a network of learners and they are prepared to do their learning in public.

Jim and Tom describe their experience teaching and learning with DS106, an open course that has participation from people both enrolled in the course and not. People share their work, comment on and help each other and even set assignments which anyone can choose to do. All those who contributed, spoke of this as a life-changing experience. In some classrooms, where peer-editing and conferencing is encouraged, some of this goes on. In DS106, educators are experiencing the "learning in public" that they expect of their students. I'm intrigued, but not yet ready to jump in. I've been part of the Flickr education groups and just keeping up with my own photography and writing in my photo blog,  as well as commenting on my contacts' work is time-consuming. I am not yet ready to commit more time.

George Couros' talks about putting learning "out there" - to connect and create ideas with others. Here is his blog post where he asked for feedback. He muses on play being about engagement (and isn't that what we want for our students). He pointed to educators who are posting their learning online and who are modelling what it is to be a lifelong learner. In the video, Dean Shareski points out that teachers have to be learning experts, not just teaching experts. Teachers need to model that learning, to show students that it is not about having the answers, but knowing how to find them, whether through books, the Internet or through our connections.

We have to play together, to connect with others and share our learning. And we have to make sure our students have the same opportunities to connect to learn in the larger community.

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