While reading this chapter I had a roller coaster of thoughts and emotions running through my head. While the concept of social learning through a masters and teaching cohorts is intriguing and forward thinking, I would be upset if I was paying for a class and I had to learn everything myself...why pay for it then? Now I don’t know all the specifics around tuition but my first thought was that would not be ok with me. Perhaps this is because I am so used to learning via the ‘push’ model where I am told what to do, how to do it and when it needs to be finished; it is all I have known really until this class. And I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit annoyed at first about this class and its freedom and flexibility. I was thinking if I had known about DS106 previously, I could have accomplished the same result for free. But then I lose the credits, the guidance of a professor, and a known, close knit group of classmates to collaborate with and seek advice. Now reaching the end of the this class I realized how much I’ve learned on my own and how much I’ve explored on the web that I never knew existed. So I guess I am a fan of the ‘pull’ concept and social learning.
Moving towards the school in New York, I was encouraged by the findings. I love the idea of what the Q2L School is doing and how they are going about their teaching. Their goal to use “game like learning to connect student learning to the demands of the twenty-first century and support young people in their learning across digital networks, peer communities, content, careers, and media” (p. 246) is exactly why I chose instructional technology as my masters. I want my students to be prepared for the 21st century and in order to be prepared; they need critical thinking, technology and problem solving skills that are so hard to teach from a text book in the standard classroom.
Now, playing devil’s advocate...how does this concept work with kids from all different backgrounds? I know typically New York is fairly diverse and these students were chosen from a lottery system, but as I was reading, I kept thing what background did the kids have? Were they already proficient readers and writers? Were they at grade level in math? Do they have internet access at home and parent support?
These are the things I have to think about when trying to apply this concept to my situation, even though I know this case study was 6th and 7th graders. It was also interesting to read that “school’s resourcing and operating costs fall within the parameters of the school’s district-approved budget” (p. 246), I would be curious to see what that looks like and how they got all the partnerships they did. What the Q2L school is doing sounds expensive and something my district would never consider so seeing the financials of this all would be interesting!
Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press.