For this week I reviewed the following chapter and artifact:
- Lankshear and Knobel (2011) Ch7: Social Learning, “Push” and “Pull,” and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning
- Institute-Wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education: Final Report (2014) Introduction
This article focused on the idea of a “push” versus “pull” approach to education. In a push system, the information and content is predetermined regardless of the students in the class. This type of mindset assumes what the students need/want to know. The chapter argues that educators should transition away from this “push” model and instead implement a “pull” model. The “pull” model encourages students to explore their own interests. By pursuing their own interests, students are able to develop their knowledge on their own. It is more important to provide students with the tools for developing knowledge rather than simply disseminating prescribed content. The chapter emphasizes that when students are given the tools for gaining knowledge they can drive their own development rather than depending solely on the teacher as a source of information. This mentality shifts the classroom from a teacher-centric environment to a more collaborative community. A collaborative learning community lends itself to creating more authentic work for students to create and/or produce. It is the authentic work that helps develop life skills for students to use in their future education, social life, and professional world.
After reading this chapter, I definitely understand the significance of students driving their own learning and exploration; however, I do wonder what types of scaffolds have to be put in place in order for students to develop these skills. At what age/grade level do teachers allow students to go out on their own?
For the supplemental reading piece I found a report from a “task force” that was asked to identify areas for growth/change in education for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was interesting to see the similarities in regards to the mindset towards the future of education. MIT is renowned for its research and development in the areas of technology. I found it refreshing to see that an institution such as MIT is constantly self-reflecting on ways to improve its environment to best suit its students. The report cites a survey that it conducted asking students what they believed help them learn the best. One of the tops answers was real-world problem-based tasks. This finding resonates well with the chapter we read this week (as well as most of the readings that we have done for this class) in that students learn best when the work that they do is authentic. Students generate and develop a true understanding and depth of knowledge of the content when the work that they do has real-world applications. What I have realized is that the teacher is not the one who decide whether the work is authentic, the work is only authentic from the perspective of the student.
The report also touched on the significance of online learning. It highlighted the various affinity groups that have been created by MIT students regarding their work at the institute. The report speaks to the potential power of these groups and uses them as proof that the education of MIT reaches beyond the campus “walls”.