Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Learning Analogies

SAT Question of the Day:

Redstone Circuits : Minecraft :: ________ : Arduino Robotics
  1. LEDs
  2. AppInventor
  3. Modk.it Editor
  4. Cellbots and Servers
  5. All of the above and more!
We use a project-based learning approach for ITeam. I want students to engage with the work so that they choose to spend time outside of school to work on their projects. So, I give them latitude in selection and encourage them to shoulder part of the project management responsibilities so that we can customize their learning. Since many have never learned this way in school, we have challenges making the transition to this way of learning. One of the biggest challenges is getting them to document the work they have done in ways that we can share with stakeholders and other interested parties.

Our recent foray into Minecraft originated in student engagement that they used to convince me that I had misinterpreted the genre. I saw the chopping as destructive and did not yet understand the real intent of the activity as gathering raw materials for creating new materials and artifacts.

Now, I am learning that some middle school ITeam members are setting up multi-user Minecraft servers at home and are developing the ability to tune-them to meet specifications that support our learning needs. Coby told me today, that he has shifted his focus from creating objects and structures in Minecraft to understanding and creating tools for others to use. He clearly has established a Pre-Capstone Project that shows potential for transferring what we are learning in the MTA Capstone Project to middle school and beyond. Clearly, we are shifting roles and moving toward authentic co-learning.

How can we help all students at all levels to take more responsibility for helping to manage their own learning?

The answer is clearly 5. All of the above and more!

Now, if I can just keep up with them. But, Coby described getting help from the Minecraft admin community in setting up port-forwarding in his network settings. So, I hope we have reinforcements ready in the wings in the form of mentors in new cultures of learning that David Thomas and John Seeley Brown describe in their book the New Culture of Learning:
In this connected world, mentorship takes on new importance and meaning
Where traditionally mentoring was a means of enculturating members into a community, mentoring in the collective relies more on the sense of learning and developing temporary, peer-to-peer relationships that are fluid and impermanent. Expertise is shared openly and willingly, without regard to an institutional mission. Instead, expertise is shared conditionally and situationally, as a way to enable the agency of other members of the collective.

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