I was recently asked to write a blog on learning circles for MicroSoft's Partners in Learning. I am going to include some of that blog here.
I have been involved with learning circles for most of my career. I started with learning circles for organizing cross-classroom collaboration in the 80's as networking was just beginning to be possible. Jim Levin had figured out that a military network, The Source, could be used during the night hours at a relatively low rate. So this was our first network of computers. We started connecting classrooms where we had research colleagues.
So Naomi Miyaki connected us with a classroom in Japan, Moshe Cohen had connections in Israel, Ron Scollins knew about networked classrooms in Alaska and we found some connections to classrooms across the border in Tia Juana and Mexico City. It was during this initial project - The Intercultural Learning Network- that the ideas for learning circles emerged.
I have since used learning circles in many different contexts. IEARN Global Learning Circles and Global Teenager Progject connects primary and secondary classrooms around the world, Jim Skelly connects collage studens in global conversations with learning circles and I use learning circles to connect researchers as they conduct their studies. So here is a brief overview of learning circles. ...