Essential Question: What are your thoughts about “learning in the collective”?
The essential question this week really caused me to look at how I learn in the collective and reflect on how much I have grown and have learned to rely on learning in the collective. Authors, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown, explain that in a face of rapid change we need a new culture of learning. One in which teachers don’t have to provide the latest information because the students themselves are taking an active role in creating and molding it. They call this a collective environment. “In a collective, people belong in order to learn” (Thomas & Seely, 2011, Loc 623).
When I was in school there wasn’t a lot of collective learning opportunities. Now with globalization and technology if you want to learn something you can. You can go beyond the walls of your classroom to create connections. Learning in the collective is not only useful when you want to learning with others, but learning to work in the collective is an important skill. “Collaboration is essential in our classrooms because it is inherent in the nature of how work is accomplished in our civic and workforce lives. Fifty years ago, much work was accomplished by individuals working alone, but not today. Much of all significant work is accomplished in teams, and in many cases, global teams” (The Difference between Collaboration and Collective Impact).
When I first was introduced to the open learning and collective learning, I was intimidated to say the least. I am a shy, introvert, who is terrified of criticism. Did I mention I am shy? I also have dyslexia and writing is not easy for me. Putting my writing out there for all to see was scary.
I am now in my 3rd semester of open learning and I am loving it. In fact I wish all my classes where this collective in nature. I’ve discovered that learning in the collective is how I learn best. I need to bounce ideas off others, hear different points of view, build and reflect with others.
I’ve grown to recognize the power and richness of collective learning and now traditional courses seem to be missing something to me. Currently I’m taking a class that is not open. I am paired with one student who serves as my “critical friend”. I find myself missing the community and connectedness that learning in the collective fosters. I don’t want just one “critical friend”. Relying on just one classmate when there is a whole class of students that I could connect with, has left me feeling flat about my experience. Luckily learning in the collective doesn’t limit who my collective is. I am able to branch out and learn from others beyond my class.
Linda Hill in her Ted Talk, How to Manage for Collective Creativity, said “You have to unleash the talents and passions of many people and you have to harness them into a work that is actually useful” ("Transcript of "How to Manage for Collective Creativity"").
In collective learning it’s a journey. It’s collaborative problem solving, with people who have different expertise and different points of view.” Linda Hill’s Ted Talk may not have been written for teachers but really it is the same idea. Our classrooms can become “a space where everybody's slices of genius can be unleashed and harnessed, and turned into works of collective genius.” Perhaps this why I am so drawn to collective learning.
Edmondson, Jeff. "The Difference between Collaboration and Collective Impact." Striving for Change RSS. Striving for Change, 12 Nov. 2012. Web. 02 Oct. 2015. <http://www.strivetogether.org/blog/2012/11/the-difference-between-collaboration-and-collective-impact/>.
How to Manage for Collective Creativity. Perf. Linda Hill. TEDxCambridge, 2014. TedTalk. Web. 1 Oct. 2015. <https://www.ted.com/talks/linda_hill_how_to_manage_for_collective_creativity/transcript?language=en#t-278790>.
National Education Association, comp. "Preparing Teachers to Deliver 21st-century Skills." Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century International Summit on the Teaching Profession (2012): 33-54. An Educators Guide to the Four C's. National Education Association. Web. 1 Oct. 2015. <http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/A-Guide-to-Four-Cs.pdf>.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Chapters 3. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace?