Friday, January 4, 2008

Learning Communities

What defines a learning community? How is learning defined, quantified, valued? Learning seems to be equivalent with change. If there is not change within a person, how can anyone say they have learned? I don't mean always change one can see. Such learning maybe quite invisible to most people. But if the status quo is good enough, then why bother learning anything? The learning may simply be a paradigmatic shift, quite invisible itself to the human eye.
Although the learning maybe invisible, the result is not always so. I think my learning in the Web2.0 world over the past year + a few months are quite evident to all. The shifts I have made in my ideas about quality learning are annoying to many, incomprehensible to some, downright radical to others.
Community is at it's loosest defined as a group of people. Hopefully there is a group of people gathered around a common goal. Makes me wonder what a community does, how does it act, who is within the community and who is without the community.
My community on the web keeps me company, supports me, corrects me (how else will I learn?), comforts me, cheers me on. They do not ridicule me, insult me, or discredit my paradigms. People (and behind every pseudonym, avatar, or virtual character there is a real person) who are a member of community, any community, fit this description.
I explained to a fellow learner at my school with how many people I was on New Year's. I don't pay that much attention to days anyway, but if one were to count those on twitter alone (not counting other modes of communication) I think there were a good thirty or more.
The point is community. Are we acting like a learning community? I find myself stretching many times to do that. I am naturally saracastic, bold, and as my IT guy would quickly point out belligerent.
How can we all act more like a learning community this year?
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Louise Maine said...

I am new to twitter (no friends yet) but am creating quite a blogroolof where I read. Not many comments yet but that is okay. I read a lot and even though on the fringe, I admire the community and they lift me up. Not sure where I would be as I was looking to leave education. I am energized today.

As the Classrooms for the future coach recently told me, I make people nervous and uncomfortable. Guess they don't want to learn. I would not define the teachers at my school as a learning community. It is pretty disappointing of late. I don't think I am being antisocial, but I cannot stay stagnate. I love to learn and cannot understand how we can impart that to students if we don't model it ourselves.

I believe the best minds in education who are blogging are a learning community. I think there has been a lot of bellyaching in regards to how education is these days, but that is necessary for the next step of change to happen.

As a belligerent person as well, I prefer to call it being the squeaky wheel. Sarcasm just adds a little spice to it all. Don't you think?

Jess said...

I think one of the important ways that we can act more like a community is by giving as much as we take, or giving as much as we possibly can at least. The more we put in, the more we will get out of it, and the more we will become a valued members and the more opportunity we will have to effect change. Another way is to encourage others to take part in our valued communities - even if it be one baby step at a time.

Louise Maine said...

Jess makes a great point. I am trying to immerse myself and feel like an outsider as I am new to the conversations. The more I learn the more confident I become to contribute. As most of us do not have such a community where we teach, the blog community has become very important in our lives.