Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CEDO 525 Week 4: Collaboration & Effort

Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. Collaboration

Clay discusses the mechanisms and ramifications of institutionalized vs. collaborative work.

As I was watching this talk I kept thinking about the institution of education and wondered, will this institution dissolve in the future? I think it already is starting to. Many school institutions are under criticism for under-performance and the calls for change are loud. Home schooling, online learning and virtual schools I think are a beginning to an answer. Though all of these are still very institutionalized, it is but just a step towards collaboration and cooperation. This institutionalized step is necessary for the transformation because it will take a couple of generations for people to become habitualized to this format of learning (or about 50 years as Clay mentioned). It will also take this long to put into place the mechanisms, tools and resources necessary for education to become non-institutional. Will it be more effective? ??? Will institutionalized education disappear? Probably not but the choice will be there. Are we participating in this transformation right now. I believe we are, by the fact that we are enrolled in this program and that we will be promoting the use of technology for learning.

Cooperative Learning & Reinforcing Effort:

As I discussed with my group last week and posted remarks about cooperative learning, I used this extensively with my ESL conversation teaching in Taiwan. Some of the most fun and effective activities were extended role plays. First the situation and the problem is discussed. Roles are assigned. Students with the same roles are grouped together first to discuss their role and possible things they might have to say or do. When groups of same roles are ready then groups are put together for run-throughs of the role play. I can see how this could be adapted to cooperative/collaborative learning projects in K-12. Having students with same roles get together collaborating and sharing ideas can benefit individual groups/teams. Of course this work can be done using technology as well.

As for reinforcing effort. Throw me in the cell and lock me up. It’s something I need to work on more.

Wild Ride: Intel Roller Coaster Curriculum

I’d love to be part of a project like this. However, it looks like something like this would take a lot of coordinated effort and planning with a school and teachers that know each other well and can work together.
On a related note, I and two other dads are starting up a First Lego League club at my son's school. We won't be competing this year but rather learning about FLL, how to build and program the Lego Mindstorms robots. It should be fun.

Links to Online Roller Coaster activities:


  1. I think we are in the start of a transformation, but I think we need both (face to face interaction and virtual) for a well rounded future. Are educational institutions ever going to disappear? Are paper books going to disappear? I don't think so for both...I think the usage many decrease. I recently watch a clip with my students about a kindergarten class getting ipads and I asked them if could they (or would they want to) picture their childhood without picture books...they all said "NO". At my school many teachers are fearful of incorporating technology into their classrooms whereas I embrace it. It's definitely an exciting time!

  2. I think the institutions of education are going through a transformation, but I think physical school buildings will still be the place where the vast majority of students spend their time. There is a lot to be said for the way in-person contact can benefit a learner. (Online 4-K anyone?) It seems that many schools already are embracing the idea of sharing information with other districts for the benefit of all, but I think "institutions", in the sense that we will still have physical schools, is here to stay.