I accidentally posted this too soon, but here is the official version
of this idea (which is bound to change at some point).
What does it mean when you are faced with the following challenge:
The place that you work has given you the freedom to explore different
learning platforms, work with creative people, collaborate on process,
policy, and pedagogy, and the means to not have to say no too often.
The future you see for education is different than what is being planned.
The opportunities to branch out and create your own learning spaces
have never been more numerous or more engaging.
The community you actively engage in advocates for open communication
and documentation of every move forward that you make with your own
The boundaries on that communication have never been more clear: “Some
meetings are secret.”
The platforms for learning and support that you use are at odds with
“having someone on the other end of the line” when something goes
So, what here is a conflict of interest. Can all of this coexist and
not create chaos, unrest or animosity between my job, my network, my
living, and my passion?
(Too vague? Give me a few months, and perhaps specifics will surface.)
I accidentally posted this too soon, but here is the official version
So, this came across my tweetdeck today:
It outlines in very specific terms one way of integrating Google Docs,
Moodle, Wikis and Blogs. I say very specific because one of the
general hallmarks of the 2.0 version of teachers is that we tend to
all be pretty good at explaining things in vague terms for others and
specific terms for our students. We tend to be able to project a
vision to the outside world and not be able to back it up with the
specific ways of getting there, the ways that we got there in our own
The videos at this space are concrete (in-progress examples of just
how a classroom can run). The pedagogy page is a brilliant explanation
of how all of these tools should fit together, and it may be one of
the first coherent things I have seen that isn’t just a list of tools.
However the real reason for this post is not to talk about the site
itself, but rather the name. Goomoodlewikiog, although a mouthful, is
specific in terms of its purpose. It projects exactly what it aims to:
a collection of interrelated tools.
I believe that we should always be intentional in naming things that
we want to be associated with. We should always frame our
conversations in the terms that we want to be speaking about on a
daily basis. And although I’m not sure that I’m going to be using
Goomoodleikiog on a daily basis from now on, I am glad that someone
My question is: what other terms do I need to make more concrete? When
is it time to drop Web 2.0 and start talking with language that
actually means something?
I wrote a single thing on the back of a paper at a meeting today:
Scaling a system that exists vs. Creating a different system that includes networked learning.
What I meant by this I am not exactly sure (nor can I talk about all of the good and hopeful things that transpired during the meeting, either). All I know is that we shouldn’t be looking to make our current teaching model work in more and bigger ways. We should not be extending traditional pedagogy into online environments. We should not be taking something that no longer works for one school and then trying to emulate it for all schools.
I guess it makes sense to say this as well:
Just because a system can scale doesn’t mean that it should. And just because a system can’t scale, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable to someone. While I believe that all of our learning should be scalable, that doesn’t mean that we need to have every learner doing the exact same thing. Creating multiple entrances makes sense. There is no one ring to rule them all. We need spaces that work for every single one, not “everyone”.
Forgive my obtuse discourse tonight. I am having trouble with getting concrete at the moment. I hope you glean some meaning from the words. If not, I will try again tomorrow.
It is so strange how links seem to be related to one another when you have a single idea in your head. The tweets seem to come together in a way that makes you think that “the network” pushes you into a certain direction, just so that you can take the time to synthesize what you know. Well, that has definitely happened to me over the past few days.
To get right to the point, for some time I have been thinking about the stages through which an adult learner becomes a connected learner, someone who knows just how to find the resources and people that will support them in thir own learning. Well, I don’t think that I have it all figured out, but I will say that one of the stages that has struck me the hardest is The Collaborative Instinct.
When I say Collaborative Instinct, I mean the compulsion that exists whenever a learner creates something (a word document, powerpoint, well worded e-mail, etc) to share it with others. The simple act of sharing your resources openly, as an instinct, is something that changes the way in which you learn. By saying that your ideas and contributions are valuable enough to be available to others–that others might see their value–can transform your expectations about receiving feedback on your work, the process of revision, and the long tail of learning from others. A Collaborative Instinct is one of the easiest ways to create a community of learning around yourself. Others will want to create around your content, comment on it and remix it. They will use their own collaborative instinct to publish their own works that are related to yours. However, even if you never see these things, even if your Collaborative Instinct stops at sharing your own words, the community is being created. It will wait for you until you are interested in further connecting your learning.
Now, why did I start off with a paragraph about the links that have informed this post (and what will likely be quite a few others)? From Will Richardson’s blog, I was introduced to this study that finds those who contribute online are the ones who have the power to influence others, they control the debate about education, finance, science, and nearly any other field that values contributions from a community. I would go further to say that those who have A Collaborative Instinct are the ones who can make their own decisions. If you are not adding to the world’s knowledge, if you are not sharing what you have to offer, you are letting others make learning decisions for you. Influence and pursuasion only come from action, and yet it can be the simple action of putting up a word document on a wiki.
The next link is just a beautiful blog post. Steve Hargadon has simply hit it so clearly on the head, that I’m not sure how much commentary it requires. In this post, he recounts a story of heaven and hell which is a perfect parable for The Collaborative Instinct. Hell is where there is ample content to go around (the stuff that is saved on hard drives, carried around on flash drives, and hoarded in email attachements), but no one can feed themselves because they only have very long spoons tied to their hands. In heaven, there is the same amount of content, but no one goes hungry for resources because they are feeding each other.
The Collaborative Instinct is about knowing what nourishes us. It isn’t the heavy collaboration that lasts weeks and requires tons of planning. It is in the simple handing off of a resource that we have created which is valued by another learner. We are nourished by the long spoon of the teacher who blogs about a better way to do classroom mangement or who has an activity that explains how you can use voicethread in math.
The Collaborative Instinct isn’t hard or a very big idea, but it does require a shift in the way that we create things. If we are creating documents in Word and then saving them to the hard drive, we need to be able to submit them via e-mail to a sharing space. If we are creating things in Google Docs, we need to be clicking the share button immediately after we have finished a first draft and either publishing them as a webpage or sharing them with the people in our built-in networks (schools, organizations, other face to face collegues). Or, better yet, we should be adding them to a collaborative space and building value on top of them like this.
The preceding wiki is a new place for people at Hope Online (an Online Charter School) to share their work. I introduced the topic of The Collaborative Instinct using these simple questions:
1. How do you share with others?
2. What is your first instinct when you create a learning resource?
3. What is your tool of choice?
4. How do you leverage the learning that exists on the web?
5. How do you organize what you create?
6. What are your next steps.
Through these questions we are getting at the Collaborative instincts of all Hope teachers. We are questioning just how people share resources and whether or not there is a better way to do so. It is my greatest hope that every one of them starts to think about “the next step” after they create something. That they won’t simply be sharing the resource with the one person that needs it now, but with everyone, so that they will inform the discussion of that topic and nourish those around them.
The next post in this series will be The Reflective Pattern, but I don’t think that I will be able to do that one today as well, so stay tuned.
The last two posts that I have written have talked about ideas vs. Tools. I didn’t realize it until after I had written them that I had not used the word pedagogy once. I was speaking of ideas in education, concepts, schemas for how learning works now.
At some point I would like to figure out a new word, though, for what I would like to see happen in schools. Pedagogy is too small and idea is too large. Pedagogy is all about the art and science of teaching. It is about best-practices and research in the classroom. And ideas are simply the supporting structures that allow us to carry on a conversation.
What I would like is a word that describes an understanding of connected learning, a word that explains the use of a tool for all stakeholder’s learning, not just the student’s. I want a word that keeps a network in focus at all times to show that learning is not an isolated act.
Well, I will be thinking about this for a bit, but what I would love to know what your word for what you would like to see within people in education. Do you want them to know the pedagogy? Do you want them to have a schema? Do you want them to just get a clue?
I’m interested in moving this conversation along.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
I have to say, except for the fact that Kaplan is basically saying that they have a monopoly on these ideas, I really like the ad. Unfortunately, I’m not totally sure why a for-profit university beat the public school system to the punch. I’m not totally sure why we can’t run ads like this on television or the radio. Why is it that we cannot raise money to change education and then put these ideas out there without a brand associated with them. Why is it that these proposals are being co-opted faster in ad agencies and places like Kaplan then in school districts.
I can just see people using this video in their PD sessions and saying, “We should do this.” Yet, without a support system, they are going to turn to a one-stop-shop solution like a for-profit entity. I can’t help but feeling like this is already happening.
I remember a really great moment in a Podcast not to long ago (I think it was Kevin Honeycutt’s Driving Questions, but I’m not sure) when an interviewee said that the question he is always asking himself is, “Who is getting rich on education? If it isn’t the students, the teachers, or the public, then it isn’t worth paying for.” If the learners aren’t benefiting from the forward thinking of all institutions, then we need to seriously ante up again. So, if there is anyone who has a few thousand bucks lying around, I think it would totally be worth it to invest in some advertising time. But, instead of having the Kaplan tag line at the end, let’s have a link to a network of teachers that are actively pursuing change.
I do still have to give Kaplan credit, though. This is a great ad, and it is the kind of message that most people aren’t being exposed to. I just wish we would have done it first.
I was teaching yesterday using xtranormal (http://www.xtranormal.com/profile/horizon) and edmodo. I found myself trying to justify why I wanted to archive all of the learning going on in the room. As if somehow there were people watching and asking why I was doing what I was doing.
I waited, but no one asked the question.
In the end I want people to challenge my thinking. I want other teachers to ask what the virtue of chronicling all of the thoughts of students is. This is what I would have said, if anyone had put my pedagogy to the test:
Learning is not tangible. It isn’t something that all students just come to and recognize easily. It must be made visual and reflective. It must be made into an object to be manipulated. If we are not archiving everything for our students (or if they aren’t doing it themselves), how will they ever be able to say “I can use this.” If it we don’t save our students thinking, how can we ever know that it really happened? How can we know if they or we did a job woth doing?
Learning is not for a day or a class period. We need to stop treating it like it were.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
That is what I am most honored by.
Thanks to all who nominated me. If you care to, please vote for this blog. I don’t imagine I have written as influential of blog posts as the above bloggers, but I would like it not to be an absolute slaughter in the polls.