In his TED talk, author John Green (so that’s what he looks like. I wonder if my Fault-In-My-Stars-loving daughter knows?) discusses his learning journey and the strength derived in building learning communities online (I wonder if my daughter would appreciate the sentiment?).
So what is that sentiment? What do online learning communities provide and what is key to any learning community, whether in the virtual world or the real? Here, for discussion, are my thoughts:
- Learning is best when it is collaborative
- Acquiring knowledge does not always need a classroom, teacher, desks or interactive whiteboard (etc.)
- Peers can be an effective source of knowledge and information
- Effective learning requires feedback on progress…
- …therefore there needs to be opportunity to demonstrate understanding and progress
- Developing understanding requires critical thinking and effective guidance
So if my daughter is learning about fashion and makeup, music or her German homework (and I can learn the ukulele) by watching YouTube channels, then we need to embrace the idea that the paradigm has shifted in the sharing of ideas. And this embrace needs to be more fully realised within our schools, where the focus can be more effectively placed on developing the values and skills essential for a more tolerant and just society.