Thomas and Brown state that the new culture of learning has 3 elements – play, imagination and questioning (2011, p.18). That a growing digital network will transcend the classroom and expand our learning opportunities with access to large amounts of resources and knowledge through our interactions with others online (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p.17). These interactions may happen through a myriad of online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts etc.
Whilst this is proposed as the ideal, how much of this really occurs in modern day learning and teaching?
Based on my own learning experiences in the past 2 years, a limited amount. Whilst this will vary for different people most of my learning has been based on face to face learning, a mix of online and face to face meetings and attending training courses through Adobe Connect. Virtually none of it has involved play and imagination, however, most of it has involved questioning.
Like Sam in Thomas and Brown’s article (2011) the majority of my most successful learning has come from collaborative learning processes using technology. I have found I learn a lot when I can use collaborative learning to ask questions, ‘question’ my ideas and gain new ideas and perspectives. Thomas and Brown (2011) would define this collaborative group as a ‘collective’ group – ‘a community of similarly minded people’ (p.21). An example of collaborative learning for me happens in the Yammer Librarian’s group, where I have learnt a lot about the various aspects of librarianship.
Like Allen (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p.26) another area where I have learnt a lot from with my own self-directed, informal learning is by ‘Googling’ my questions (the problem) to find a solution – particularly with computer program related problems.
I feel in INF532 we are trying to establish a culture similar to the gaming student’s example in Thomas & Brown (2011, p.25) who had formed their own community for learning, using the readings to make sense of what they were doing. We need to use our readings and share our experiences to grow our understanding of the process and tribulations of collaborative online networkers.
As an educator I tend not to use online collaborative learning (mostly due to a lack of access to computers) but have focussed on more traditional cooperative learning strategies (Nussbaum-Beach & Ritter, 2012, p.13). Also, at this stage I am unconfident in my ability to provide collaborative learning opportunities to my students but hope with the establishment of my own collaborative network this will change over time.
Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Hall, L. R. (2012). Defining the connected educator. In The connected educator: Learning and leading in a digital age (pp. 3-24). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Arc-of-Life learning. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (pp. 17-33). Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.