In New Culture of Learning, Thomas and Seely Brown articulate the growing need and demand for technological responsive pedagogy. In their description, there is a very specific place for these technological cultures to take place in the classroom space, stating, “We believe that this new culture of learning can augment learning in nearly every facet of education and every stage of life. It is a core part of what we think of as “arc of life” learning, which comprises the activities in our daily lives that keep us learning, growing, and exploring” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 18).
Historically, education in the United States has been purely mechanistic, meaning process oriented to create a finished product. Students taught this way, have learned the steps to develop a finished product displaying their learning. This style was designed to out of the industrial revolution and the need to workers in the United States to operate and work in the mechanical workforce. Since then we have always taught in this same fashion.
By implementing a digitally responsive pedagogical style we can begin to break down this mechanistic style of learning and allows students to engage in different and fun styles of learning. By providing and teaching students digital tools, students have stepped out of the classroom dependent learning setting and the mechanistic learning style into now facilitating their own learning, and thus becoming classroom independent, the goal of every educator. We want each student to desire to learn and be able to learn material without the necessity of having a instructor constantly giving the information. This can be achieved through culturally responsive pedagogical practices as well as the use and development of digital tools that empower students to become learners of new information.
Once students are empowered to learning in settings that are meaningful and substantive to them the goal of education has been achieved, school independent learning in ways that engage their interests both intellectually and creatively.
What are some culturally responsive and digitally responsive pedagogical ideas/lessons that have engaged students creatively?
While reading Rainie and Wellman’s Chapter on digital relationships in the book, Networked in which they discuss the complexities of networked relationships. “Facebook and Twitter users control what information they disclose online. For example, neither Rainie nor Wellman discuss much of their personal lives on twitter” (Networked, 125). Further the discussion continues that there is a much richer and substantive relationship or networks being built in real life. I would disagree with these notions, first that educators or anyone for the matter need to be closed off to discussing their lives on the internet, while understanding what content is and isn’t appropriate, and second, online relationships and networking has profound impacts in real life.
Lets tackle one thing at a time. I always love it when a professor or one of my high school teachers would talk about their weekend, or what their kids are up to. I feel as if I am part of their life and important to them by getting to share in their experiences. There is some understanding that in a classroom setting making these connections for students is important and necessary for students to engage and learn. Now the fine line comes in on social and digital avenues. I have seen many teachers, engage with students on a secondary Facebook or twitter account. They balance between sharing their personal lives (something fun they did over the weekend, photos of their kids) with class content. I felt that it was a very well executed tool to engage students in a realm that they were interested in.
On to the second question, about authenticity of relationships in digital spaces. I feel that there is this dichotomy between the creepy weird stuff that is happening online, and people that are truly online to build relationships, networks, friendships and the like. This has quickly progressed I would say in the last 10 years, where the internet was not a safe space to converse, but now is an acceptable tool for meeting and dialoging with people. It also seems that people are more real online then they used to be. Sharing information isn’t feared as much and the online avenue of networking is used as a helpful and necessary tool in which people can engage. I also believe that these online interactions can help strengthen in person relationships, by connecting people based on interests online first and then the in person relationship can go much deeper as there is less need for the small talk to get to know people’s interests or dislikes.
Overall, I think that the online social networking tools are underused and understated in the educational system in which students and teachers can engage in a much more deeper and substantive level.