What are your thoughts about “learning in the collective”?
Collective learning is a complex concept that is variously defined. It is generally conceptualized as a dynamic and cumulative process that results in the production of knowledge. Such knowledge is institutionalized in the form of structures, rules, routines, norms, discourse, and strategies that guide future action. Learning emerges because of interactive mechanisms where individual knowledge is shared, disseminated, diffused, and further developed through relational and belonging synergies. Collective learning can therefore be conceived as an evolutionary process of perfecting collective knowledge.
There are many benefits of working in a collective on a personal level. I am not sure I see the full picture of teaching through a collective, similar to a blog, would translate into an elementary classroom. People who join a blog or other types of collectives participate because they have an interest in the subject. Students typically only come to school because that is the law. Left on their own most kids would stay home and play or pursue their own interest. At the elementary level we teach the basics of reading, writing, and mathematics. These subjects are not kids generally find interesting. Thomas and John review the struggles of grading a group project. Do you grade the group as a whole or the individual’s participation in completing the project? From their perspective it is their personal connection with the project that matters. This is all well and fine, but how do you balance personal buy in and individual accountability of students learning the core outcomes of their grade level. We as teachers are accountable for each student learning the content of the grade level taught. Casual participation does not assure kids will have the basic skills needed in order to become a valuable member of the community when they grow up. Structure and accountability are needed in education on all levels. Thomas and John state traditional forms of education structure this new collective way of learning. I am just not seeing the full picture of how it will all work at this time.