Community as Curriculum and Open Learning

wow… sometimes the different threads of work that you are doing converge into the same place… it does make me wonder if they aren’t all just reflections of the same thing. anyways

Over the last few months i’ve been focusing much more on the idea of open learning and finding a practical foundation for my rhizomatic education and community as curriculum models. I’ve been lucky enough to work with George Siemens on a couple of projects, including the Edfutures course. When this is combined with my realization at Northern Voice that the entirety of my critique of knowledge and learning hinged on the tyranny of the moment… well… I decided to start writing a book. Which I’m doing.

As part of that process, I’m going to try and clean out the different ideas that I have, to explore them deeper and try to make them more transparent. The following video is my first attempt at drawing the threads together between open learning and community as curriculum… the method of learning with the way that we decide on what we learn. In it… you’ll see some books turn into people… this is related to the tyranny of the moment.

I know this is all jumbled up. But this is how it is in my head right now.

Community as curriculum – We are the learning. We learn from each other, through each other, from each other’s learning, from our ideas, our shared and unshared contexts and, maybe more importantly, we learn to continue to do this… because that open collaborative spirit is going to be the curriculum of success as we move forward.

Open Learning – We’ve got a paper coming out soon that explains this better, but openness in the sense of transparency of practice, of opening the doors and giving access of allowing people into our work. Of sharing.

The tyranny of the moment – Print is responsible for our retaining a massive number of things. It underwrites many of the advances we’ve made, it’s dreadfully important. But the technology that makes print forces us to think in terms of final drafts, of ended thoughts of things that are defined and finished. This is holding us back…

I don’t actually mention the latter in the video… but you can see it in there…

Author: dave

I run this site... among other things.

13 thoughts on “Community as Curriculum and Open Learning”

  1. Hiya Dave. Fun video, but to be honest, the jimmybob stuff got a little old over 5 minutes. I don’t think you need schtick. You are good. The ideas are good. Keep it simple. My two cents on that.

    The other question is have you looked at the other uses of “community as curriculum” such as Etienne Wenger’s use of it within the context of Communities of Practice, etc. I have not done any quality searching, but I think you are also building off of some threads that existed pre-internet and WWW that might really be interesting if you are doing the book thang.



  2. I’m wondering how much constructivism is simply the meat of the sandwich and that this community and network stuff is just more toppings on top of an already good sandwich. The whole networked learning and community as curriculum stuff just needs a lot more elaboration (not just by you, but by everyone). More questions than answers…

  3. Nancy,

    definitely re: Wenger. I see what you mean about the idea dragging out… good advice for a second run


    I agree that the network/community as curriculum thing needs more elaboration… I’ve been working on it 🙂 I don’t think constructivism can account for the network. It presumes a central creator/designer role that doesn’t reflect the learning I do on twitter, for instance. Or the learning that happens in a MOOC. At least… that’s what it seems like to me.

  4. Ooh, yummy thread. I had a gut reaction, reading your post Joe, that asks me to think more, but intuitively and from practice, I think the network/community thing is not a layer, but both an essential requirement for connectivism AND the mechanism for both scaling and successfully supporting learning in a complex environment (maybe I should have said “complex adaptive environment” but I caution myself from using terms I am not sure I fully understand!)

    The networks and communities are WHY connectivsm work, not icing. Does that make any sense? I’m feeling my way into this one, rather than thinking…

  5. I’m a little biased in agreeing with Nancy on this one, but i think that because we were talking about contructivism first, we have a tendency to think of the ‘network thing’ as something that is ancillary to it. I think if you forget which one came first, that contructivism is one of the paths that you might take to think about using network learning.

  6. Our school district is trying to do this by encouraging students to pursue job shadows and internships in high school. This is the vision of our school district.

    This is a rough draft of an addition to our curriculum policy we agreed to last Wednesday,

    “The Board also recognizes that curricula materials can only provide so much information. We encourage students and schools to be active participants in their communities

    The Board also encourages students to take an active role in their education by making use of the expertise of scientists, businesses, universities, and museums to learn about current thinking and research in subject areas. Students should be encouraged to utilize the natural environment and the community in order to move educational activities beyond the classroom as a way of fostering individualized education and deepening the learning experiences of students.

    The board encourages teachers and librarians to integrate local knowledge and help students to gain access to community resources and make use of local expertise related to student’s educational goals.

    The board encourages librarians and counselors to develop a list of community resources that students and teachers can turn to for advice about current events, thinking and research.”

    Also, I posted your video to my blog and facebook page. It is rough but I like the ending.

  7. The one thing i would emphasize from your very interesting draft is that it need not be restricted to ‘scientists, businesses, universities and museums’. Farming, for instance, is an incredibly complex task, and replete with side projects. Finding out how much grass a cow eats in its lifetime, where the feed comes from etc… teaches all kinds of nice hard skills and lets them acquire knowledge of their world… but more importantly it teaches them inquiry, collaboration etc… the real needs of 21st century.

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