Recently I have been thinking a lot about Ewan McIntosh’s description of ‘participation culture’ and a ‘networked approach to learning’, especially in the light of my experience at the ‘Learning Without Frontiers’ conference.
My class had been asking me about what I got up to at the conference, and I discussed with them the number of people I met, and how I had learned from them. The most profound shift for me in a social media enabled conference like this is that I can keep in touch with those people so easily. I created a twitter list of people I met in person, and speakers I saw, and I showed this to my class explaining that I had made it so I could continue to learn from these interesting people. I get so much from communicating with people like this and rather than just modeling it to the children I wanted to give them a chance to experience it.
We decided that we would try to blog every day to share more learning with the world. Later that day we were doing a Maths lesson on Odd and Even numbers, with a focus on explaining methods. At the end of the lesson I took a video of one member of the class explaining his method and as the children were packing up I uploaded it to YouTube. As I walked out to do my playground duty I embedded it in our class blog using my iPhone, and tweeted out the link on my twitter account…
By the time we returned from playtime they had four comments, including a teacher from our school who was on her day off and two Secondary Maths teachers giving him constructive praise for his methods, and ideas to take it further. As a result of this they have decided to make more explanation videos, which have since been shared with younger pupils at the school.
Their, admittedly heavily supported, networking has opened them up to new ideas on where to take their learning. Next steps? Encouraging networking in this way with other classes and children.