The Art of Knowledge
From Tim Boucher :: Reguarding friendster and it's usefulness
basically, imagine this:
you are teaching some course online. your group of friends, in this case, might be your group of students in the class. you would have tools at your disposal obviously besides this - probably a weblog for the course, and some kind of document management system, bulletin board, and i dont know. other shit. then, all the students in your class would have access to your blog, your documents, etc. but, in turn, each of them would have their own blog, resource list, documents, whatever. the idea I was thinking here, is that the teacher acts as the leader - remember me talking about knowledge mapping? a concept where the teacher acts as a guide, helping a group figure out what they already know, what they need to know, and steps to get there. and then, the class works together and individually to fill those gaps.
i think one of the big errors in most educational structures is the emphasis placed on individual learning. i think traditional thinking dictates that the student learns strictly from the teacher and the textbook, and only what the teacher designates within that text book. this forces the student into a framework of retaining information from the textbook, and it forces the teacher into the framework of only being able to assess a student on information they have retained from the text book.
im thinking this friendster model is great, because emphasizes connective networks - socially, and could be adapted to be about connective knowledge systems. they fit hand in hand i think. you mentioned something in your weblog about how it might be good for aggregating interest groups and stuff. which is definitely a key factor. like the whole point why friendster is getting popular is (1) that it facilitates social networks, and (2) that it allows people to congregate around topics and location. this makes it INTERESTING and FUN on some level. i think NONE of the other distance learning things i have seen take either of those into account at all. I signed up for blackboard.com last night as an instructor, and it was just stupid and chinsy. plastic, like you said. it wouldnt make anyone want to learn or do anything.
also, what i was getting at before. i like the idea of network learning, because it is decentralized. like, imagine that a teacher is not a hierarchical leader so much as they would be in a classroom setting, but a node in a network. they are focal points, from which radiate other points in the network - students. everyone in the network is an autonomous unit - that is to say, you will be able to learn as much from fellow students as you will from teachers.
it seems like learning from other students is usually frowned on traditionally. hence, the fact that cheating is seen so negatively. but really, cheating is naturally and intelligent, because you are figuring out how individual units can operate effectively towards achieving a specific goal. you figure out the strengths and weaknesses of a system, and then figure out how to exploit them towards achieving that goal. i think its no coincidence that your brain made you write about how much you learned from cheating in that weblog entry.
a few months before i left catalyst, i had succeeded in creating what i think was a near perfect classroom/office management environment. in the early stages, i worked closely with students to make sure everyone achieved basic skills. hm, i have a diagram i made about this somewhere. ill have to check. once they mastered basics, i immediately backed off from them, and started giving them conceptual puzzles to solve with those skills. by the time classes reached an advanced level, i had them operating almost completely autonomously from me. i would be able to walk into a class, discuss with them what they needed to do, conceptual building blocks of how to do it, and then let them work together to solve the problem. it was completely solid, because from the start, it trained them to think independtly from me, and work together with each other as resources and shit like that. i know you know all this, but im just refreshing our memories, cause its been a while since i thought about this stuff.
anyway, yeah, we should get back into writing each other about this shit. feel free to post whatever you want from my letters to your site, if you want to start that special educational section, like you were talking about.
Link posted by JVMM : 9:48 PM