A Reflection of Chapters 1-3 in QQCE format
Quote: "...what the new culture of learning might look like and how powerful it can be when students see each other as resources and figure out how to learn from one another". The reason I chose this quote was because it really sums up the "new culture of learning" that Thomas and Seely are talking about. Students would be taught to not just sit and listen to what the teacher had to teach, but they would be taught to explore their resources. The teacher is no longer the sole resource, the world is a their fingertips. because the world's knowledge is now accessible the students can focus on how to ask the right questions, find alternative solutions, and ultimately change the world.
Question: One question I had while reading this chapter was when is the right age to stop teaching how to do something and start teaching how to use your resources to find out how to do something. As a mother it occurs to me that I have always been the resource for my children. With so many scary things and people out there, how do I know when it is okay for my child to reach out into their community. I answered my question in saying that everything just needed to be supervised.
Epiphany and Connection: What really stuck out to me in this chapter was the classroom "experiment" where the authors talk about the students actually taking over the classroom. The students were actually getting involved in the curriculum and talking with each other on how to make it better. This is exactly what is stifled in my classroom. My students are trained to only follow the teacher's directions. When I ask them what they thought of the lesson, they are typically silent. I would love their feedback and I'm sure they have their opinions, but they are trained to just do as they are told. In my dissections, I have very few students that will ask to stray off the path and investigate further. I have to push them to go look at other groups so that they can talk and compare specimens and techniques.
Quote: "...the teaching-based approach focuses on teaching us about the world, while the new culture of learning focuses on learning through engagement within the world". This is a perfect summary of what this chapter is all about, the difference of the old way and the new proposed way of learning. When I was in High School I was taught what they thought I needed to know. These were all facts and numbers that I needed to memorize in order to graduate and get my diploma. Some party or board decided I needed to know these things in order to be a successful and beneficial member of society. The authors propose a new way of learning that would involve 2 halves, one being the unlimited amount of knowledge that is the internet and individuals of our communities, and the other being the confines of structure and rules.
Question(s): What does this actually look like in a transitional classroom? What does this look like in a fully embracing school site? How would lesson plans be written? I would expect it to be a very broad project(s) where students would be given these rules of engagement and asked to come up with solutions to problems. Would they have basic math skills, scientific background? Would I be able to presumed anything about their incoming skills as a whole class?
Connection: I can connect this to something that I am doing in my current classroom. At the beginning of the unit students were asked to come up with questions they had about the particular body system we were covering. Students were then told that the only material being discussed in this unit was what they wanted to know about. The questions could be very broad to very very specific and detailed. From this list, the students formed groups and picked their topics. They did research on the internet and gathered resources they thought would be beneficial to their peers. The students were responsible for their own learning, but then had to share their learning with the other groups. The ambassador and the Public speaker were the only ones that could communicate on presentation day. It was up to the ambassador to bring back any information that they gathered from the other groups to their original group members. While these discussions were taking place the students were to look a the online resources and notes taken on the Google docs from the various topics. The entire class was responsible for the material at the end of the unit. Some students were upset, they wanted to be spoon-fed information from the teacher "an expert" instead of learning from each other. This was an exercise on trust more than anything.
Epiphany: The way I wrapped my head around this comparison of the two cultures was that in making this transition, teaching would make the switch from teaching what we know to teaching how to grow. Growing would involve changing and upgrading so to speak. Growing would be expanding yourself into communities and cultures and finding alternative ways of solving problems. In school, learning would be allowing the confines of the proposed problem and the "rules of the game" to guide the students in their learning journey.
Quote: "...'Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime,' to represent the height of educational practice today. Yet it is hardly cutting edge. It assumes that there will always be an endless supply of fish to catch and that the techniques for catching them will last a lifetime". This quote is awesome. It really caught be off guard because I was agreeing with the adage right up until the second part where the authors debunked it.
Connection: My connection to this is that I am in a science teaching position. I am suppose to teach what we know... now. Scientists know that everything is theory until proven...repeatedly. I try to take a little twist on my teaching in biology (while I still can, until the new standards are in place) I agree that students need to know how to think like scientists, how to think critically and I chose that to be my main focus and drive in the classroom.
Question: Is that just me teaching them how to fish? How can I better align my instruction with this "new" way of learning ?
Epiphany: My epiphany is to add problem solving to that main focus of my science classroom.
Another Question: Am I smart enough to create these scenarios and projects for my students on my own, because I haven't seen the resources available for science lesson that would mimic the new culture of learning style.
Thomas, Douglas; Seely Brown, John (2011-03-12). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change (Kindle Locations 188-189). CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.