I’m with D’Arcy and Jen on this one, especially her points #2, 3 and 7. It touches on something I found a bit worrisome at the recent WordCampEd: how so many great minds were working so hard to make WordPress work (in an open-ish kind of way) within closed institutions. Why? Is that the future we want to see?
If we can get students (novices) together in reciprocal apprenticeships to sort out real problems and grapple with real issues in the world, assisted by resources readily available to them, mentored by experienced guide/experts, then we’ve got magic. Back in the seventies I went to a high school WITHOUT textbooks. Each teacher threw a problem, a primary source document, a question on the table and it was up to us to figure it out, to come up with a hypothesis, test it and sort out the most promising approaches, to lurch towards understanding. We had each other and a library. And we did pretty darn well. It was incredible. With the internet, well, imagine how that kind of learning could go.
Please let’s not repeat the blunders of the past 100 years–making lousy textbooks and curricula, just now they’ll be available to all. Let’s use openness to open our minds to other ways of using the spaces, the connections now available to us to transform our approach to formal learning altogether.