Participatory Learning (no audio)

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Published on February 19, 2009

Author: ed4wb



A look at how participatory could transform learning. Comments from Clay Shirky, Cathy Davidson, and John Seely Brown, among others.

The New Knowmads Participatory Learning

"...we are living in the middle of a remarkable increase in our ability to share, to cooperate with one another, and to take collective action, all outside the framework of traditional institutions and organizations." Clay Shirky 1

Outside of traditional educational institutions, people are learning an incredible amount from each other.

New tools allow people to create value for others while doing their own thing and following their own passions.

Experts abound and are willing to share.

So are amateurs. We’ve underestimated people’s willingness to help each other and overestimated the role of money as a motivator.

Clay Shirky at PopTech 2008 “Designing for Generosity” Credit: Pop!Tech @ Flickr “ We’ve been willing to buy--or at least tolerate--in our public discourse, the idea that the extrinsic motivations are motivations. That that’s essentially what drives people.” Clay Shirky

Immense value is being created by self-directed groups.

Hierarchical organizations however, are missing out. They cannot afford to hire or direct all potential participants, missing the contributions from the long tail.

"We generally regard institutions as being capable of more things than uncoordinated groups are, precisely because they are able to direct their employees. Here, though, we have a situation where the loosely affiliated group can accomplish something more effectively than the institution can." Clay Shirky 2 School Participatory Learning 3 WikiVersity UNIVERSITY

High-quality information is available online.

So is a lot of junk. Fortunately, those with the skills and knowledge are able to take advantage of large amounts of information. They use their networks to help them manage information. Personal Learning Networks

INFORMATION In this changing information landscape, filtering more often happens at the point of consumption rather than at the point of publication. (Clay Shirky 4 ) yesterday today CONSUMER filtered by: CONSUMER filtered by you and... (passive) (active) (peers)

Mass publishing and sharing are now cheap and easy.

Recommendation engines, social bookmarks, and commenting systems help networked learners find information.

Interested, authentic audiences are easily found online.

Publishing and sharing tools are highly interactive, allowing for rich feedback.

Feedback comes from interested others. Peer evaluation motivates learning.

A youth explaining how feedback from fellow participants feels more authentic than feedback received in school: “ It’s something I can do in my spare time, be creative and write and not have to be graded,” because, “you know how in school you’re creative, but you’re doing it for a grade so it doesn’t really count?” From: Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from Digital Youth Project 5

"...interest-driven groups also offer a way to gain recognition and reputation as well as an audience for creative work." From: Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from Digital Youth Project 6

As learning changes, so will assessment. Eportfolios will help with the "transformation of accountability driven by testing into richer conversations around inquiry into learning." 7

"The most profound impact of the Internet, an impact that has yet to be fully realized, is its ability to support and expand the various aspects of social learning." John Seely Brown 8 photo credit: Joi @ Flickr John Seely Brown

Despite social learning's potential, most schools are operating insularly. They separate students from the outside world; they separate students from each other; they separate subjects and staff from each other.

"The latest evolution of the Internet, the so-called Web 2.0, has blurred the line between producers and consumers of content and has shifted attention from access to information toward access to other people." 9 John Seely Brown

"Information technologies are having a significant impact on how people work, play, gain information, and collaborate. Increasingly, those who use technology in ways that expand their global connections are more likely to advance, while those who do not will find themselves on the sidelines." 10 2009 Horizon Report -Key Trends-

Notes, sources: 1, 2 Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations , 2009 3 Participatory Learning defined as: Participatory Learning includes the ways in which new technologies enable learners (of any age) to contribute in diverse ways to individual and shared learning goals. Through games, wikis, blogs, virtual environments, social network sites, cell phones, mobile devices, and other digital platforms, learners can participate in virtual communities where they share ideas, comment upon one another's projects, and plan, design, advance, implement, or simply discuss their goals and ideas together. Participatory learners come together to aggregate their ideas and experiences in a way that makes the whole ultimately greater than the sum of the parts. (Cathy Davidson et al) 4 Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, 2009 5, 6 Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project 7 Making Common Cause: Electronic Portfolios, Learning, and the Power of Community 8, 9 John Seely Brown, in Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0, Feb 2008 10 2009 Horizon Report: Read More:

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