Darren Kuroptawa has put together an extremely engaging in-service on teaching with blogs, RSS and the like that should serve as a model to all of us. It’s all about building a learning ecology in the classroom that supports the small pieces model, where students become self-directed learners using a variety of tools and techniques.

An ecology is an environment that fosters and supports the creation of communities … A learning ecology is an environment that is consistent with (not antagonistic to) how learners learn … The Instructor plays the role of gardener.

That is such a great metaphor, certainly one that fits what I think of when I look at the way Darren and Anne and Barbara and Clarence and Konrad and many others are employing these tools in our classrooms.

Darren’s workshop speaks to the unlearning that we have to do, because almost everything he asks of the participants challenges their preconceived notions of teaching and classroom structure.