Monday, March 13, 2006

Learner generated content, or the best way to learn is to teach

Will Richardson captures the meaning of learner generated content perfectly with his post Teaching students to teach.
Ironically, this is especially true, I think, with the more multimedia technologies that we talk about. Podcasts, vidcasts, screencasts all give students the opportunity to take what they have learned and turn it into teachable content. That's what I hear when I listen to Bob Sprankle's or Tony Vincent's kids. That's what I sense with the Wheaton Academy vidcasts. And that's why I am so intrigued with screencasting as a new medium for students to use to teach.
This is a big deal, and something I'm trying to promote in my work. There are 2 key things I think are an important for teaching and learning today:

1. To learn through the production of content = constructionism
2. To learn through engagement with real and existing communities of practice = social constructivism

So a teacher today, or should I say facilitator is someone who focuses on building and maintaining a strong learning network around their topic, and assigning learners to create content based on what their learning, to feed back into that network.

A cyclic, sustainable learning that involves wider community (global) participation...


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4 comments:

Michael said...

Too right...

With your two points, I think (1) is really easy (engaging learners in learning through the production of _real_ content... in my case, working on real projects). I reckon most people prefer to learn this way.. I mean, who wouldn't? You come away knowing what you can do, not what you've supposably "learned" (Wrote up some reflections on 'Teaching' Web Design related to this.)

But as for your 2nd poing (learning through engagement with real COPs), I find that pretty difficult. The learners in our web course have all got their own blogs... some actively contribute to the learning of others through their blog - and that's unreal - but others don't really get into it or see the benefit of contributing... sometimes I wonder whether it's just one of those things that you have to try before you understand how helpful it is...

I'm trying to gradually widen their interaction to web professionals too, which is worthwhile for lots of learners, but some expect every post to be relevant to them... need to help people see the need to scan their bloglines and not read it!

Leigh Blackall said...

Hi mike. Are you maintaining an eGroup for you classes that includes past, present and even future students?

Michael said...

Yep, we've got a google group, designwebsites that includes present and past students... and I've invited prospective students to join. But it's not used so much for discussion, as the we set up our blogs pretty early on in the course... and try to communicate more through those.

Leigh Blackall said...

This could be good to know about, as the IT lecturer here just asked me for examples of student/teacher blogging and online communities in the web2 vein I've been talking about.

Now would be a good time to blog an invite for international participation in your work Mike. I'll forward that on to him...