Archive for September 2011
The Filter Bubble warns that a potential downside to filtered searching [learning] is that it “closes us off to new ideas, subjects, and important information” and “creates the impression that our narrow self-interest is all that exists.” It is potentially harmful to both individuals and society. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble
Criticism towards the traditional education model typically revolves around its focus on maintaining an industrial model of education. I believe that related to this, and possibly even more damaging, is that the traditional model also creates a filter bubble of learning. Although the filter bubble is used to describe how the Internet algorithms are limiting searches to personal and confined interests, these ideas can also be used to describe traditional education. Some of the characteristics of traditional education as a filter bubble include:
- Students are grouped by age and typically similar cultural demographics as they are from the same neighborhoods.
- Students are told what to learn, when to learn it, and how to learn it.
- The topics to be covered, standards to be achieved, and curriculum to learn are mostly determined by the government.
- Textbooks and testing instruments are written by a few individuals who decide what is important to learn and know.
- Corporations decide which textbooks and testing instruments to highlight and disseminate.
- Conformity is rewarded, diversity of thoughts and opinions is not.
- Students who do not fit into the filter bubble are failed, asked to leave the system, or quit.
Illustration by Susan Sanford – see http://www.sanfordillo.com/
Interdependence is a dynamic of being mutually and physically responsible to, and sharing a common set of principles with many others. This concept differs distinctly from “dependence,” which implies that each member of a relationship cannot function or survive apart from one another. In an interdependent relationship, all participants are emotionally, economically, ecologically and/or morally self-reliant while at the same time responsible to each other. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdependence
I love the interdependent-synergistic relationship I have with Twitter and the people I follow-who follow me. This group, who is known as my personal and professional learning network, has a collective goal of reforming/revolutionizing education so that students are at its center as opposed to content (and its related standards, tests, politics, etc.).
Today I was exposed to two seemingly disconnected pieces of media via Twitter. In an effort to demonstrate interdependence and the role of social networks in facilitating interdependence, I am bringing them together in a synergistic way to make yet another case for a 21st century education – one based on interdependence.
The Declaration of Interdependence
When In the course of human events, it becomes increasingly necessary to recognize the fundamental qualities that connect us, then we must reevaluate the truths we hold to be self-evident: That all humans are created equal and all are connected. That we share the pursuits of life, liberty, happiness, food, water, shelter, safety, education, justice, and hopes for a better future. That our collective knowledge, economy, technology, and environment are fundamentally interdependent. That what will propel us forward as a species is our curiosity, our ability to forgive, our ability to appreciate, our courage, and our desire to connect… That these things we share will ultimately help us evolve to our fullest common potential.
And whereas we should take our problems seriously, we should never take ourselves too seriously. Because another thing that connects us…is our ability to laugh… and our attempt to learn from our mistakes… So that we can learn from the past, understand our place in the world, and use our collective knowledge to create a better future. So perhaps it’s time that we, as a species, who love to laugh, ask questions, and connect….do something radical and true.
For centuries, we have declared independence. Perhaps it’s now time that we, as humans, declare our interdependence!
If School Isn’t For Collaborating, Why Does Anyone Come?
Ira David Socol posted a new blog entitled, If school isn’t for collaborating, why does anyone come? He notes:
If students want to learn in isolation; if they want to sit at a desk and work on their own stuff, occasionally checking in with an “expert,” they have no reason to come to school. They can do a lot better at home, or at their local coffee shop or even the public library, where both the coffee and the WiFi connection will be better.
A legitimate case has been made for blended education as opposed to one offered strictly online. The face-to-face component is not about the content to be learned. This can easily be done via online videos, textbooks, webinars, and forums. The reason, then, for face-to-face learning becomes about the people . . . . making connections, working together, and creating new/more productive ways of being in the world.
An education for and of interdependence is being developed and disseminated by individuals and small groups. These pieces add up to a greater and fuller picture – one that is much greater than its individual parts, one that shows the potential of having the means, strategies, and tools to connect, share, and create globally. This may be the Interdependence Age of Education.
What follows is an informal questionnaire I use to evaluate if an educator is doing it right:
- Do the learners’ eyes light up when they see your?
- Do your eyes light up when you see your learners?
- Do the learners excitedly enter the classroom?
- Do the learners hesitantly leave the classroom at the end of the day/lesson – often saying, “Is it time to go already?”
- Do learners feel comfortable asking you questions about what, how, and why they are learning in your class?
- Do you see learners’ eyes flicker with new understandings?
- Because of what they are learning in your class, do learners want to tell you about what they have read, created, seen, and/or thought about?
- Do the learners ask if they can get on the computer to learn more about a topic being covered in class?
- Do learners critically examine and question topics being covered?
- Do you see your learners’ sense of wonder – the sense found in young children as they discover the world around them?
- Do learners get to tap into, explore, and use their personal passions during your class?
- Do learners propose learning projects to you – things they’d like to do in your class?
- Do learners spend extra, not-required time outside of class studying and/or working on topics covered in class?
- Does your heart break at the end of the school year when you say goodbye to your learners?
- Do learners contact you after your class has ended to share difficulties and successes?
- Do the learners contact later in life to say you have made a difference? (Note: This is more realistic given social media. I have had several students do so and it is an amazing gift.)
Doing it right is never about the worksheets, tests, textbooks, or scripted curriculum.
Others? Please suggest them!
Students Make Hats Depicting Favorite Literary Characters