|Ms. Sarah Hunter||
A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown was an interesting read. The thread that wove this book together was centered around the idea of play in learning. I'll share my reflections about this idea as it breaks down in each chapter in the series of posts that follows:
Quote: "The bridge between them [the two stories] - and what makes the concept of the new culture of learning so potent - is how the imagination was cultivated to harness the power of almost unlimited informational resources and create something personally meaningful." This was an excellent introduction to the ideas brought forth in this chapter, and in the book as a whole. The idea that it's not about what students know, but what they can do with what they know.
Question: My big question after reading this chapter is simple: how do these stories and these concepts find a place in my classroom?
Connection: This idea of learning as a fluid, changing, growing process resonates with me and represents with just about everything we've been taught in this program so far. One of the first things we learned was about the educators favorite "F" word: FLEXIBLE!
Epiphany: I don't think I experienced a full blown epiphany here yet. But I did have some "hmmns" going on as I read about the gaming connection to learning. I am not a gamer, so I've never really understood the allure. But I am curious to learn more as an educator about how the skills used in gaming can be applied in school.
Quote: "A second difference is that the teaching-based approach focuses on teaching us about the world, while the new culture of learning focuses on learning through engagement within the world." For me, this shift in how we educate is the most important, which is why this quote was my big takeaway from Chapter 2.
Question: I'm not sure how to articulate the question bouncing around in my mind for this chapter. The chapter addresses culture, but only the cultures of learning as a whole. So my question revolves around this idea of culture: how do these learning cultures make sure to include all of the different cultural experiences of our students?
Connection: My connection ties to my question and quote. If I want to be the teacher that engages my students to learn within the world, I need to use the teaching strategies and technology tools that we have been introduced to in this program and, specifically, in this class, to reach the different cultural perspectives and experiences of my students.
Epiphany: My epiphany is more like a "whoa." Learning is a series of questions, and an inspired learner never really reaches "the end" of the series of questioning. So, whoa.
Quote: "In a world of near-constant flux, play becomes a strategy for embracing change, rather than a way for growing out of it." I like this idea. I consider myself a more creative-minded person, and I have an easier time connecting to ideas and information when I can manipulate this in a creative, non-traditional way. I never thought of it as "playing" before, and never identified it as a learning strategy until now.
Question: Is this possible? Sure, the idea of letting kids "play" to learn is very enticing and in theory it makes perfect sense. But when a principle walks into my classroom and asks how my students are learning, is "through play" really a realistic explanation? Especially at the secondary level?
Connection: We've learned a great deal about this idea of student-centered and activity-based learning to maximize engagement. The type of learning described in this book takes these ideas to a whole new level for sure.
Epiphany: I need more imagination and play in my life! I've been doing it all along, but have definitely "grown out of it" quite a lot as I've transitioned into being an adult. If I'm not learning in this way, how can I expect my students to?
Thomas, Douglas, and John Seely Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace?, 2011. Print.