Learning in Public where the World is Your Teacher

At the 2012 Annual General Meeting of the Manitoba Association of Computing Educators (ManACE) Dean Shareski ‏(@shareski) and Alec Couros ‏(@courosa) explored the idea of learning in public.

Their talk titled, "Half-Baked" described the benefits of learning in public spaces, real and virtual, sharing one's "half-baked" skills or ideas and inviting responses from the larger community. They shared examples of individuals who benefited from the collective wisdom and support of online communities to support the individual's own skill development and growth in their own area of interest.

"Is learning different from sharing?" This question set the stage for a tighter integration between the two concepts. Learning in isolation vs learning in community.

"Does publishing still focus on perfection?" This question shone a light on learning processes and suggested that learning is never done, that the goal is continual development, not a final product.

Sharing one's learning journey in public spaces invites comment and criticism - feedback the learner uses for further development. When a learner is prepared to be taught, and there is a community that is prepared to teach, learning can be public. Other learners can participate, join in, share, and grow together. Those who take the time to respond and teach have their skills challenged - the process of articulating their own understandings serve to deepen their own skills.

Some changes I have tried include "gamestorming" where one's work is on a bulletin board space rather than tucked away in a binder. Everyone can comment and share, provide feedback and reflections in person or using sticky notes. Everyone in the class becomes both learner and teacher in this scenario.

Virtual learning spaces (Minecraft, in our case) also makes individual engagement with learning outcomes more transparent, more open. The ability to view everyone's work in progress generates an air of excitement and wonder inspiring others to try new things.

Online sharing spaces (Edmodo, in our case) takes traditional portfolio contents out of the binder/bin/folder and makes it available to everyone. This can be uncomfortable for some as it exposes not only one's skills, but one's deficiencies. Working with students to and appreciate learning efforts and engagement, adopt a supportive and nurturing attitude, and recognize growth benefits one's own development as a learner, but also encourages a greater sense of community.

Open and public learning means sharing processes, unfinished product, and raw work in addition to celebrating the "finished product". In addition to sharing our own personal achievements and successes, Shareski and Couros suggest sharing our learning needs and using our learning communities to further develop our skills and abilities.

Further reading:

What do you think? Share you thoughts below...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: