12703 OL: What Is “Open” For? Co-Learning in the Connected Classroom
Organizers: Mia Zamora, Howard Rheingold, David Preston
Presenters: Mia Zamora, Howard Rheingold, David Preston, Nik Koyama
This panel seeks to reinvigorate and explore the potential of “open” through the lens of co-learning. Much hope, promise, and cash has been invested in technology for the classroom, yet this hype has often set the stage for nothing more than technologically powered traditional content delivery paradigms masquerading as innovation. The course of magical thinking that continues to celebrate “ed tech” often ends up replicating the same systemic problems that existed before the advent of new tools. Can technology serve as a transformative force for equity and justice? Technology is by no means a quick fix for the shortcomings of education today.
With this observation in mind, we seek to answer the question: In what environmental and cultural contexts can technology actually transform and facilitate learning? The answer (and the hope for institutional change that matters) lies in the potential of “open” in a co-learning context. Co-learning facilitates a freeing experience rooted in the connections we make. In a connected co-learning environment, learners are subjects rather than objects of technology. How can we conceive what constitutes learning itself in the Information Age? A connected co-learning model is essential to reimagining education and realizing democratic aspirations.
This panel will consider the crucial role of open design in the evolution and adoption of new technologies in learning. Our discussion will highlight best practices in co-learning as the engine of transformation. We will present co-learning in the context of both higher ed and high school experiences, and consider the need to bridge these two learning contexts more effectively through both revised expectations and a new understanding of “college readiness.”
The first half of our session will be anecdotal as we share our best practices for 21st century co-learning approaches. Each panelist will offer specific accounts of “pedagogies of openness” and how these approaches to learning allowed for new voices from the margins to be heard in the name of real social change. Zamora and Rheingold will discuss the urgency for a new kind of social media literacy and share examples of open networked discovery in the higher ed context. Zamora will highlight experiences from her “Writing Race and Ethnicity” connected course. Rheingold will speak about the unlearning necessary for students and instructors and about the fear instructors feel about the renegotiation of power that accompanies co-learning. Preston and Koyama will offer accounts of how the dynamics of co-learning can transform the learning context in high school and the marketplace. Preston will address the economic, structural, and cultural constraints that challenge open learning systems.
The second part of our panel will be an interactive collaboration with the audience. Shifting to a “working session” geared towards future action, we will facilitate a brainstorming session on institutional change that matters as we conceive of new initiatives that truly employ the potential of open learning. Together, we will generate a vision document capturing “new ideas for open learning initiatives.”