Author David Price writes: "If schools are coming into direct competition with the learning opportunities available in the informal social space, it has to be said that this is a pressure, which barely registers within the political discourse.
In the following pages, Price describes three cases across the globe — in London, Sydney, San Diego — that have mapped a vision that answers the questions above. Here’s what they have in common:
- By insisting that their teachers and mentors share their learning, all three have de-privatized teaching and learning.
- By opening up the commons, and by designing workspaces without walls, they have brought Edison’s ‘machine-shop culture’ into education.
- By bringing into the commons, experts, parents and investors, they have given an authenticity to the work of their students that is impossible to simulate in an enclosed classroom.
- By modelling collaborative working to their students they have fostered the peer learning which is at the heart of ‘open’.
- By emphasizing adult and real-world connections, they ensure that students are preparing for the world beyond school by being in that world.
- By making their expertise and intellectual property freely available, they have created high demand from their peers and ensured that knowledge travels fast.
- By seeing technology not simply as an aide to learning but as the imperative for change, they ensure that their programs are relevant to societal needs and societal shifts.
- By trusting in their staff and students, and by giving them freedom and responsibility in equal measure, they have fostered a culture of learning that rewards respectful challenge, shuns unnecessary deference, and therefore constantly stays in motion.
Today, most educational systems are designed to work from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Students learn facts and figures and tiny fractions of knowledge long before anyone really puts things into a larger context.
Robin Good: What does curation mean from an educational viewpoint? And what is the key difference between "collecting" and "curating".
Nancy White (@NancyW), a 21st Century Learning & Innovation Specialist and the author of Innovations in Education blog, has written an excellent article, dissecting the key characterizing traits of curation, as a valuable resource to create and share knowledge.
She truly distills some key traits of curation in a way that is clear and comprehensible to anyone.
She writes: "The first thing I realized is that in order to have value-added benefits to curating information, the collector needs to move beyond just classifying the objects under a certain theme to deeper thinking through a) synthesis and b) evaluation of the collected items.
How are they connected?"
And then she also frames perfectly the relevance of "context" for any meaningful curation project by writing: "I believe when we curate, organization moves beyond thematic to contextual – as we start to build knowledge and understanding with each new resource that we curate.
Themes have a common unifying element – but don’t necessarily explain the “why.”
Theme supports a central idea – Context allows the learner to determine why that idea (or in this case, resource) is important.
So, as collecting progresses into curating, context becomes essential to determine what to keep, and what to discard."
But there's a lot more insight distilled in this article as Nancy captures with elegance the difference between collecting for a personal interest and curating for a specific audience.
She finally steals my full endorsement for this article by discretely inquirying how great a value it would be to allow students to "curate" the domains of interest they need to master.