This aare some comments and thought after watching interest discussion about an after mooc experience: the #ectmooc experience
I found very interesting to hear the reflection of students after one year of their experience, where this experience have gone and why have impacted their professional and even personal life in the way it did…
One of the main topics that rapidly pop up in the conversation was the ability of the teacher to make everyone feel involved, welcome, and open to learn from mistakes. This makes me think in the importance of the teacher’s competences when we talk about open learning, or collaborative learning. Most of the participants where bringing positive comments about the way their teacher was welcoming them. In this case we were talking about Alec Couros, who has many years of experience in open and collaboraticve learning. I like the way how he opened the fact that in spite of the experience, they where sometimes making mistakes and learning from the experience. I think this is one of the main competencies that teachers need to learn, learn from the mistakes and overall being open to embrace them. Together with the one dHoward Rheingold was pointing out “learning to shut up as teacher and leave the students take the lead”, by real. The rol that teacher play modeling the behavior as community member was also catching my attention. At the end, as teachers, I think we have to be consecuente with the philosphy behind of the pedagogy choosen. In that concern Howard was also rising a sensitive topic, he open up the fact that it is indeed a lot of work to follow the activity of your students, but I understood it as part of being consequente with the pedagogy you choose. So, I think beside of any action, guideline, steps, recept can be said to support collaborative and open learning (there are many very complete and useful ones), i think non of them are going to work if teachers are not really consistent with the philosophy behind, where teachers are not responsible for having or delivering knowledge, but for facilitating the environment where students can find their way to build it.
Student attitudes and competences was another topic. All the participants stressed the fact that they were having fun while learning, and that was making easier the way to the unknown. I am wondering if there is also not needed that students know exactly that they are going to enter in a different way of understanding learning, and not only let them believe that it is simply another method to pass the exams… the time consumed for participating, for studying the material by themselves, for reflecting, collecting, connecting, sharing…. and even for learning the tools they will use and how to combine them, it is an extra effort that they need to digest as well. it needs to make sense for them to collaborate, to share, to connect…. if they are not used to that, it needs time until they understand what it is about… I am wondering if this can be implemented in a semester, surrounded by claiscal demands from other subjects… i guess this increase the need for teachers’ consistency and modeling.
it lead us to learning cultures, in open learning students are enrolled in a course by curiosity or personal interest, but in the formal environment, students are immers in the system. goig to the open implies to mix formal and informal learning (seamless learning), I honestly think students are ready for that change, but I am wondering if teachers and institutions can cope with it?…
In regard to learning, i found very interesting the idea that learning is something that doesn’t happen when you want it to happen, but when it happen… ALec was interested in knowing how to avoid drop outs, and at the end the discussion turned to be more about understanding that maybe some apparent drop outs are simply non active learniners, but learners as well. People that are participating in their way and who maybe are processing the experience in a different way. My personal case is that i was not active in the current #ccourses, but i’ve been reading the discussions and some recommended references, watching the seminars and videos, and I have been using that to discuss it with in other communities or to digest it by myself…. and I consider that I have leared really a lot in this course…. So, at least in open learning I think one cannot pretend to control the speed of learning process or eve the direction of it.
I think is one of the problems of collaborative learning in formal education. The curricular structure is build in a way as if learning would be a controlable process. I think learning itself needs time, and the culture of collaboration needs to be established, both things need time, consistency and patience. Confidencde need to be build among participants, it is really possible to do that in a grilled curricular structure, where subjects tend to open and close as it would be a department store?. I think collaboration among teachers is needed to enable real collaboration among students.
Last but not least (and just for now), technoology is an important factor. What is the relationship we, as teachers, have with technology? it is more than tools, that’s true, but it is needed anyway to manage the tools from a technical perspective. currently there are many tools available for enhancing collaboration… but I think it is needed more technological flexibility in the institutional policy to allow teachers to feel free of trying it out… This is connected with digital literacy, where I think part of being literate in the digital age is to determine how to use each technology and to be able to transfer our knowledge when a new technology can offer us better possiblities to enhace the learning process….
To conclude I think many lesons learned from many years of collaborative learning continue their way in open learning. There are no doubts about the importance of collaboartion in learning, but there is still a way to go until we deeply undertand that it is not another method to be used in our current system but a different philosophy that should could lead us to a transformation into an adequate digital age education.