Konrad Glogowski has an amazing post today about his grade 8 students’ blogging experiences, and it’s one that should be trumpeted far and wide in this community. Imagine being a part of this:
My community of grade eight student bloggers became so big and so engaging that I spent every spare moment reading and writing within this community. My class community suddenly blossomed and I started seeing myself as an important part of the classroom community and no longer as a teacher who peddles content. I became a participant in a series of dialogues. I witnessed the emergence of a semantic network, one where all links, all interactions were based on meaning.
One thing I really like about Konrad’s blogging is that he points me to so much good stuff about learning theory in the context of telling his stories about his students. Here, he references the community as networks of semantic relations that Stephen Downes writes about, Brufee’s “community of knowledgeable peers,” Bereiter’s “progressive discourse,” Scardamalia and Bereiter’s “intentional learning” ideas, and others. It’s a veritable feast for the brain, and it teaches me. And the best news is that he’s documented his transformative experience and plans to teach me, and us, even more in the days to come.
What really jumps out at me here is the power of the idea that we can now create learning communities of meaning that are much more powerful than communities of proximity. This community that I am a part of is testament to that. We are self-directed, nomadic learners, moving purposefully down paths that interest us, engaging in conversations, building connections and networks around our passions and our zeal to know more about them. We share our experiences to confirm our own understanding in the context of the community, hoping to teach, I think, and hoping to move the discussion forward. Is it strange that I get butterflies when I read things as powerful as what Konrad writes? That I can’t wait to make sense of it through blogging, to figure out what about it resonates? That I can’t wait to point others to it? Konrad is writing about his students here, but I think this could easily describe what we as edbloggers do as well:
…the idea of knowing in this community as“the intentional activity of individuals who, as members of a community, make use of and produce representations in the collaborative attempt to better understand and transform their shared world.”
A lot of us will be proximate next week at NECC, and that is always a good thing, but we’ll continue to learn from each other regardless of where we are. As long as, of course, we remain willing to contribute. In the case of kids, Konrad has found the best of both worlds:
That’s when I realized that this class community was truly engaged, that its members were interested in pursuing knowledge as researchers who are passionately involved and not as students who need to absorb the content.
How cool is that? Read the whole thing…