A semester-long programme was designed for my 3rd year pedagogy classes inviting them to connect with a student across the globe. The design of the student-led open and connected content was based on a combination of survey of Connected Learning Principles (see download link below; Maul et al., 2017) and the f2f curriculum of the pedagogy class. As Didau (2015, p117) suggests, “We have to design lessons that get them to think about the connections they already know and how it relates to the new stuff we want them to learn. In this way, new learning becomes integrated into the webs of information they are building up in long-term memory.”
Students were presented an outline of topics and tasks that facilitated conversations about learning and experiences. Pedagogically, these tasks aimed to teach students skills as a digital communicator, learning to teach asynchronously and synchronously online, and helping prepare students for careers as practitioners in a changing landscape. The intention was to develop experience and skills for their future.
The proposed programme of tasks received ethical approval, details were included in the course handbook, and all resources were provided for students to use, follow, and adapt as suited them throughout the semester. The class of online ‘buddies’ was waiting, so there was no barrier to participation.
However, NOBODY from the university class of 25 would engage. The project was a complete failure; the students failed to connect.
Open is not new to these students. As an educator my practice is open. My content is openly sourced wherever possible. We have no required textbooks. My process is open; I learn openly in front of and with them. Bringing and using connective devices in class is encouraged. These students connect all the time. There is no barrier to active use of technology to connect.
This presentation brings together professor and student to discuss the issues raised by this failure:
• Formal vs. informal learning: Assumptions each bring, and challenges of integration of informal practices into formal settings
• Students’ willingness to engage and participate within class.
• The challenges and value of experiential learning in a passive-learning, test-driven culture
• The student transformation from an unengaged (lemon), presented from the student perspective:
“Obviously if you wanted the LEMONS in the class to change, you won’t get them to, similarly, a lemon can’t change its form. But if somehow, like with me, you got them to realise the usefulness of a lemon within the kitchen and just how many recipes include lemon, they would want to be used. It’s a transformation to a lemon that is now AWARE that the zest and juice it possesses has a purpose” (Brady Lloyd, student co-presenter)
Didau, D. (2015). What if everything you knew about education was wrong?. Crown House Publishing: Camarthen, Wales.
Maul, A., Penuel, W. R., Dadey, N., Gallagher, L. P., Podkul, T., & Price, E. (2017). Measuring experiences of interest-related pursuits in connected learning. Educational Technology Research and Development, 65(1), 1-28.
Van Horne, K., Penuel, B. & Michalchik, V. (2017). Document Connected Learning. available at: https://researchtools.dmlhub.net/#instruments [accessed 21 November, 2018].