After reading the fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters of A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, I am reflecting on my reading following the Quote, Question, Connection, Epiphany format.
Quote: "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him as long as the fish supply holds out. But create a collective, and every man will learn how to feed himself for a lifetime" (Thomas and Brown, 53). This quote sums up the message of chapter 4. The authors discuss collectives and contrast them from communities. They describe how peer-to-peer learning is not a new concept and that collectives are ideal settings for cultivating this type of learning.
Question: As collectives are "well designed to facilitate peer-to-peer learning," what is the role of the teacher (Thomas and Brown, 53)?
Connection: Thomas and Brown talk about the learning experiences of college freshmen, which took me back to when I first started college. My experience is not the same as for most other college freshmen since I didn't live in a dorm and I did much of my homework at home instead of in study groups on campus. By not living on campus and getting the full college experience, I have often wondered if I missed out something.
Epiphany: I am curious about how "there is no sense of a core or center" in a collective and that participation doesn't "necessarily require a standard notion of contribution" (Thomas and Brown, 53). I think it's interesting that people can basically participate in their own way. As a lack of participation could cause the demise of a collective, I think there may need to be some community development within the collective in order to incite members to participate.
Quote: "The connection between the personal and collective is a key ingredient in lifelong learning" (Thomas and Brown, 72). I chose this quote because it discusses an extremely important aspect of learning, which is making what you learn your own. By connecting what we learn to our own lives and experiences, the content becomes relevant and is likely to be meaningful.
Question: As collectives continue to form in the digital world, and as collectives increasingly become the norm, how will this affect privacy?
Connection: Public versus private--I like my privacy! I use Twitter, but for the most part I try to keep it professional because I don't feel the need or desire to share every aspect of my life or my thoughts with the world (though I have been known to "like" a large quantity of pictures of Siberian huskies). Furthermore, I don't feel the world should know all my thoughts or what I'm doing every second of the day. But when I think about privacy, I consider how celebrities lose theirs and their lives are invaded by paparazzi. I would loathe such a life burdened by the world's scrutiny.
Epiphany: Thomas and Brown state, "Almost every difficult issue we face today is a collective, rather than a personal, problem" (Thomas and Brown, 59). This is interesting to me. There are many problems we have to deal with that other people are also facing. Collectives allow people with a common problem to connect and help each other, so they can work together to find a solution. In some cases, working together in a collective may be the only way to achieve a solution. Consider the Civil Rights Movement. People of color banded together and organized in the 1950's and 60's to rectify the oppression they faced. Though the work of the Civil Rights Movement is by no means finished, the point I'm making is that the only way people of color could begin to create a change for the better was to form a collective and work together to seek solutions.
Quote: "With access to the nearly endless supply of collectives today, however, learning that is driven by passion and play is poised to significantly alter and extend our ability to think, innovate, and discover in ways that have not previously been possible" (Thomas and Brown, 89). This quote embodies the message that the authors convey in chapter 6. They emphasize that learning must have purpose and meaning for each of us in order for us to really learn and engage.
Question: Thomas and Brown describe how students with a gamer disposition are increasingly common in school. How do we teach these students to apply this disposition in the classroom? How do we make our classrooms suitable environments to cultivate this disposition?
Connection: I really connected to the section "Learning as Inquiry." As a tutor, I have used inquiry to get my students thinking about their problems and to get the ball rolling for them as they develop techniques to solve problems. I have found that inquiry helps my students to learn the "why" in math. By using inquiry and asking questions to my students, they didn't just learn how to solve a particular problem, and thus memorize steps. Rather, my students learned how to ask questions that evoke thinking about the problem.
Epiphany: I haven't considered the usefulness of these massively multiplayer online games. Thomas and Brown describe the gamer disposition and the five character traits of gamers. On pages 87 and 88, the authors elaborate on the five traits, which are that gamers:
- Keep an eye on the bottom line.
- Understand the power of diversity.
- Thrive on change.
- See learning as fun.
- Live on the edge.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, KY. Createspace?