I had my very first open class this Tuesday for The future of Learning. I was in the classroom with Prof. Sugata Mitra, Dr James Stanfield, Jonathan Worth, Edward Jenkins and other students in Newcastle University, interacting with people from all over the world, sharing our notes on twitter. It was a new and interesting experience for me.
The theme of this class was to think about this question: What knowledge and skills should a child acquire by the age of 12 and how do we evidence it?
What knowledge should a 12 year old acquire? I think it is difficult to give an answer that generalizes all the 12-year-old needs. Every kid is different and I would rather not imagine them trying their best to meet a general expectation or standard. Also, shouldn’t these children have a say about what they want to know? Of course, guidance and tips from the teachers are a big part of the education and children at that age would need it, yet educators sometimes can take it a bit too far in terms of deciding what children need and how to make them “achieve” it. However, isn’t this the chronic problem we have in education?
This question makes me wonder, what could be done to make education better? What can the future of learning be?
Using twitter to share notes can be one of the ways to learn in the future. In Tuesday’s class, I twitted two notes and shared it with participants of the open class all over the world. Although the classroom was really quiet at most of the time (we were listening audio files and tweeting), my mind were experiencing a chaotic classroom with heated discussions (tweets popping up constantly) and sometimes the teacher’s voice (from audio files) was forced into background. I think I may be one of people who tweeted least in the classroom — about half of the students in the classroom tweeted more than 10 notes. That is impressive! It was challenging for me to listen, read, think critically and tweet at the same time—too many things were going on!
Overall, I enjoyed this interesting class. I have to admit that there were a couple of times I was distracted from the topic because of the diversified discussions on twitter. It was more like a big group discussion rather than a traditional classroom with order. The only drawback is that A LOT of my “group mates” on twitter are “talking” at the same time.