Recently, I have begun thinking about social learning in the class room. No, not the corporate class room or even high school. I'm talking about the elementary class room.
My wife is a teacher. She teaches 2nd grade and has for nearly 5 years. At the end of last year, the district was asking teachers to incorporate more social technology in the class room. In theory, this is a good idea, even second graders can use a forum/message board these days. The objective was to have the kids ask questions to one another with in the classroom. They decided on using a wiki for this. Probably not the most appropriate use of the tool but it did suffice.
Either way, that got me to thinking about teaching, learning and social media in our K-12 sytem. I was watching Kevin Kelly talk about the next 5000 days of the web and how we have moved from connecting web pages to other web pages to connecting data to other data.
Now, this seems like an obvious change, but it got me to thinking about its impacts on K-12 learning. My wife and her small team of 2nd grade teachers share their lesson plans (all created using the Learning Focus Methodology) amongst one another. This is good! Sharing, standardization and reuse are all tenants of Web 2.0 (and consequently Learning 2.0).
So now the What If.
What if, we didn't just provide a shared drive for the district to share lesson plans (in a semi-haphazard way as it were), but we provided a social content management system where teachers could upload plans from around the world on given topics, discuss them and use pieces and parts from each to create the plan they want to use.
- Enhanced education quality - by allowing discussion, people can communicate and work out small details, share best practice etc.
- Time Savings - by allowing formalized reuse, teachers will save time and therefor have lower stress levels and the district less turn over.
- Money - yes, in all likelihood, this will save districts money! How? They constantly buy new material year after year but if you let teachers find and share what works, they may not have to do that as frequently
I'm eager to hear your thoughts on this.