Students bring a large array of interests and expertise to classrooms, but often these ideas are laid aside in the panic to ensure curriculum requirements are met, and often complex ideas are tackled through direct or scaffolded instruction. I have done this myself. But as Chris Friend and Sean Michael Morris have written, we are obliged to include students in the learning process and let them try to mix it up with the experts. To learn from each other and to become experts themselves. Isn’t that the point of learning? But where to start? How can teachers capture and utilise the rich and random knowledge students bring with them? One idea is to begin to think of the classroom as a web of knowledge and relax into the students’ divergent ideas. To disrupt the linear, curriculum-oriented approach to learning. Teachers are creative and sophisticated facilitators of learning, but they are trapped in a logic of conformity enforced by performance and competition expectations. Social media provide opportunities to investigate learning outside the classroom using data generated in relaxed environments. By observing people as they learn through online activities, I have begun to question whether we truly understand just what learning is. The way teachers are trained to organise curriculum and pedagogy doesn’t seem to fit neatly into how people are learning (at least in online contexts). A couple of online experiences have led me to these questions about the present construction of schooling.
Read also: Listening for Student Voices