What lessons might we take from successful and unsuccessful OCL institutional innovations and from the concept of Communities of Practice?
This weeks reading had me thinking about the credit recovery course we are designing and gave me some hope that I would have something to offer other than scheduling Skype meetings and sending out “recap” emails to my fellow classmates!
I found it interesting that learning really takes place through interaction and discourse within a community of people who share the same interests, goals, and excitement about a subject or problem and are looking to enhance their knowledge or learning through exposure of ideas, philosophies and experiences with like-minded individuals. More so than mere exposure to information.
Harasim (2012) writes how people involved within a community of practice “discuss their situations, their aspirations, and their needs. They ponder common issues, explore ideas, and act as sounding boards. They become informally bound by the value that they find in learning together.”
Last week we discussed the importance of discourse in online learning environments, how fundamental it is to feel attached, valued, and that your time is well spent. This class expects us to engage and reflect on the ideas each of us document in our blogs. We meet via various internet vehicles and we are in the midst of an online learning community…and in effect, with the development of our course project, a community of practice.
I think by understanding the nature of OCL’s and COP’s we should be able to build a “community” with our online classroom and develop learning tools that are relative to high school students. How can we make it fun? Get them talking to one another or their mentor/teacher? Currently, I am Tweeting and blogging, am feeling more tech savvy every day, and I’m having fun! But the most important point is, I’m learning!!!
My thought is that event though I know diddly-squat about teaching high school literature, I should be able to take the principles from these learning communities and create some diverse and fun activities for our credit recovery course.
I found an interesting article that talks of how creating online games for grade school students has proven a fun and interactive way for them to learn. The idea is transferrable to pre-collegiate students also but different parameters must be met. “It’s a misconception among some people that games will do the whole job. If you ask students to play a game, they will play a game, but they won’t try to learn from it, the teacher very much needs to know what objectives they want from the game.” Leading discussions before and after the game to draw connections between the game and what the students are learning in class is an essential part of achieving the desired learning outcomes, experts say (Ash, 2011).
While creating games may not be the most efficient learning tool for every subject or module, I think it’s worth considering delving into addressing teaching strategies that are going to seem relevant to a population of learners that were born with microchips at their fingertips.
Ash, K. (2011). Gaming goes academic. Education Week, 30(25), 24-24, 28. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy.consortiumlibrary.org/docview/858787054?accountid=14473
Harasim, L. (2012), Learning Theory and Online Technologies, London: Routledge