Friday, April 5, 2013

Week 7 Readings

Readings for Week 7: "Learning in Communities"

Origins and Guiding Principles of the Computer Clubhouse
 By Natalie Rusk, Mitchel Resnick, and Stina Cooke

 By Geetha Narayanan 

Creative learning does not happen by accident, it happens by careful design. Meta-design is needed to encourage designers. This design for designers is centered within communities where inquisitiveness, innovation, and motivation are nurtured by the group itself.  To push this idea to school reform, it may be necessary to rethink the idea of reform. Instead of a reform, why not a redesign?  

It is impossible to reform schools within the current structure. A reform is just a different form of the same system. The same structures, but maybe a new rule or two. A redesign of the structure is needed. The trio of articles propose designing communities of learning. These communities have little in common with traditional school. The communities discussed in this week's articles bring together learners, mentors, and experts on their own terms to learn about things that interest them. These communities resemble Ivan IIich's notion of Learning Webs.  

The Computer Clubhouse learning community discussed in the first article is built on four guiding principals. 
Principle 1: Support Learning Through Design Experiences
Principle 2: Help Members Build on Their Own Interests
Principle 3: Cultivate an Emergent Community of Learners
Principle 4: Create an Environment of Respect and Trust

These principals are the foundation for the design of projects, learning, and activity  It also forms the groundwork for community, an essential variable to building intrinsic creative spaces. 

Revolutionary learning communities are being successfully implemented in underserved areas around the world. The Computer Clubhouse aims to connect inner-city youth with advanced technology. The community provides a context for the technology. "In this way Clubhouses provide more than just access to technology. Youth in low income neighborhoods need access not only to new technologies but also to people who know how to use technology in interesting and creative ways."

In India, Geetha Narayanan looks to the community to build the concept of slow with Project Vision. "Slowness as a pedagogy allows students to learn not at the metronome of the school day or the school bell, but at the metronome of nature, giving them time to absorb, to introspect and contemplate, to argue and rebut and to enjoy." Slowness allows the learner and the community to place its own creative mark on time and space by asking people to closely interact with that around them. Time can be a valuable creative resource.  Narayanan uses the locality of community to reinforce community learning centres with localized values and culture. 

The questions flow...
Can we recreate these dynamic communities with reform or do we need redesign? Will these communities have to flourish outside of schools? Is the most creative learning done in "un-schooled" settings? 

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