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Published by woodheadp
The Learning Revolution
The Learning Revolution

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Published by: woodheadp on Jun 22, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Education 2.0
Wave Power
There is a tsunami heading towards your school and your classroom. It’s a wave of newlearning and technology generated by a seismic shift deep within the geology of education. For twenty five there has been a growing tension between two educationalmovements – digital technology and our understanding of learning. For the most part theexpected shock waves have failed to make an impact on the fabric of learning andteaching. All this is about to change with the arrival of the Read/ Write web, socialsoftware and increasing awareness of what needs to be done to prepare students for theknowledge based economy.
The Social Software Revolution. The Web is Us
Web 2.0 or the Read/ Write web has proliferated a new generation of social software toolssuch as Blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds, Podcasting, Video Casting and Social Book Marking
.This has supported the evolution of whole new communities, in which individual cometogether to learn, collaborate and build knowledge. Technology which is enabling peopleto do things for themselves and changing the way we are able to deal with knowledge
.The key words in this new learning paradigm are
creation, collaboration and communication
. The Pew Internet and American Life
project found that more than 53million American adults had use the internet to publish their thoughts, respond to others, post pictures or share files. Technorati.com lists more than 25 million blogs and Timemagazine officially voted You as the person of the year. Web 2.0 has put the We back into the web and changed forever the modality of communication and where theemphasis has shifted from the producers of content to the users of content.
The Education Revolution. Networked Learning Communities
There is a growing conviction that schools must move away from the institutional logicof school as factory to the network logic of the learning community. Educationalresearch makes the case for a new understanding of the learning process whichacknowledges the value of connected learning. The writings of Jim Hewitt, G Salmon
and others all comment on the potential of on line communities to engage learners in theco construction of knowledge and the collectivisation of knowledge. Scardamalia andBereiter’s ( 2003)
work on the Knowledge Forum showed the huge potential of this typeof medium to support collaborative learning and creative problem solving. From aslightly different perspective West Burnham and Otero make the case for building socialcapital through networked learning communities as a measure of school improvementand improving standards rather than solely focusing on improving classroom practice.James Surowiecki in Wisdom of the Crowds argues that the large groups of people can becollectively more effective at problem solving than small groups of specialists.
See appendix 1 of Social Software and learning. Futurelab report in Digital Natives for list of examples
See the Googlezon video
See report in Digital Natives
Jim Hewitt From a Focus on Tasks to a Focus on Understanding: The cultural transformation of a Torontoclassroom
Scardamalia, M and Bereiter, C (1994) Computer support for knowledge building communities.
Where does this leave schools and education?.
We are witnessing a user driven revolution in knowledge building and collaboration. The business world has been quick to learn the lessons of the tsunami; Companies like Legoand Goldthorpe have used the new technology to tap into and literally capitalize on theenergy and creativity of their customers. By comparison the change in schools andclassrooms has been glacial and yet our students are already active participants in on linecommunities, creating music, publishing stories and participating in games. The USDepartment of Education Survey shows that 35% of children between the ages of two andfive spend time online. Just imagine if we were able to tap into this level of participationand knowledge creation and channel it into our education system.As Annika Small
chief executive of Futurelab says “ how can we enlist learners to become co-developers in their own learning?.” If Wikipedia can match EncyclopediaBritannica for accuracy then why are we still using text books?
. How can we harness thecollective expertise of our teachers and enthusiasm of our students to drive a culture ogenuine innovation and collaboration across our schools?.
What will you do as the tsunami approaches?. Consider these scenarios
A group of Year 8 Harry Potter enthusiasts use a wiki to start an encyclopedia on Allthings Potter. It grows to 500 entries with world wide contributions and becomes adefinitive reference source of Hogwarts informationThe entry on wikipedia is more accurate and up to date than the school website and become the most popular source of information about the schoolA Year 7 student writes an essay about one of her Jane Austen set readings. Before shesubmits the work to her teacher she submits it for peer assessment on fanfiction. Within24 hours she receives constructive feedback from five other Jane Austen fans and sheimproves her essayA Year 6 student develops a blog about the Hong Kong in the war; the site is discovered by some old veterans. They interact and add their reminiscences of the conflict alongwith photos and scanned press cuttings. The site becomes a popular reference sites for other year 6 students.A group of students make their own video about bullying and post it on Youtube. Thesubsequent discussion sparks off a lively debate across all the schools; other studentsfrom the UK and Australia submit their own videos and the discussion goes internationalA group of year 5 students use a blog to create an on line IT Support network which givestechnical advice on such things as how to use java applets in their web pages. Theyquickly add a regular podcast about latest technological developments; it also includesadvice about how to be safe on the net.
Futurelab issue 04 of Vision 2007
See oercommons.org. An example of open resources for learning
What do you do?. Because these scenarios are happening now, in a classroom near you.
The questions we need to ask ourselves
What will you do when content is washed out of your hands because your students canfind it for themselves and in a form that is relevant and immediate to their needs?. Thereare over 2.7 billion searches run on Google every month; before Google who wasanswering these questions?. What will we do when the students have already personalized their learning using Blogs, Wikis, RSS feeds and social bookmarking. Whatwill we do when our classrooms are no longer the stock exchange of learning – whenwhat is learnt, when it is learnt and how it is learnt is determined outside the classroom.Are we building 21
century structures and systems that will enable us to manage thisnew way of learning or are we just re- creating old practices and re- arranging oldacronyms?. What will happen to the new management structures when we realize wehave lost our traditional hegemony over learning - where learning and schooling are nolonger different words for the same thing?. What we will we do when the curriculumdisappears and is replaced by an alternative curriculum or learning network put together  by the student. It is estimated that there are anywhere between 50,000 to 170,000students educated at home in the UK; the number of students and parents registering for on line courses in the USA grows by the dayEducation and schools have a huge capacity to resist real change, especially in the use of digital technology, the ESF is no exception. The danger is that the tsunami wave willsimply pass through us taking our learners with it, leaving us wondering why our students no longer feel we are preparing them for the world they are living in now. Theseismic shift that created the wave has the potential to change our assumptions aboutteaching and learning, but are we asking the right questions and are we making the rightconnections between technology and learning?. Will we use the introduction of the IB or PYP to exploit the new technology or just re create, albeit with new names, all that hashappened in the past?.. Are we equipping our teachers with the skill set so they can better understand the digital natives in their classrooms?.
We need to explicitly acknowledge that, if we are to create genuinely new deep learning experiences for our students, if we are to create a truly personalized learning environment where learning is authentic, situated and immediate, then we must usedigital technology
Part Two. How to Surf with Social Software
See diagram 1Look beyond the beach and towards the horizon at the learning networks beyond theclassroom. This is where your students are and this is where we they are learning stuff.Historically we have dismissed these learning experiences because they take placeoutside our classroom and we see them as unnecessary distractions from homework. Thefirst step is about letting go and not seeing this as extra work but as a better work; thestudents will be doing most of the driving anyway.

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