This weeks required reading: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices by Henry Jenkins, focused on participatory and collaborative learning. He talked about a myriad of reasons why and ways for students to learn together. Collaborative learning groups have obviously been around as long as people have. However, in our recently much more easily connected world, it is certainly much more simple to find people with learning interests in common, and perhaps more important than ever to find people who know the things you want to know and learn from them. Sadly, however, this concept, especially as it relates to using social online spaces for learning, is still largely revolutionary. Many Educational and corporate institutions continue to shield students of all kinds from social and collaborative spaces where people can meet and learn from others. The concept of Showing and Sharing Your Work can seem frivolous to some, and even dangerous and damaging to others.
I can say with complete certainty that my online Communities are the reason I have my career. I was fortunate to have stumbled from here to there as I was trying to figure out how to use rapid e-learning tools several years ago, into a whole world of amazing people working, sharing, and learning together online.
Some of my favorite experts: Jane Bozarth, Michael Allen & Tom Kuhlmann
One blog would lead to another and I found myself communicating sharing and collaborating with people all over the world. My mind was blown as I began to meet people at conferences whose blogs I had read or screen casts I had watched and learned from. I was definitely a fan-girl and a bit of an online stalker to many of these individuals for sure at first, but as I learned more and got a little bolder, I found that this community was about everyone sharing, asking questions and learning and creating together.
It is important for us as learners and educators of all kinds to continue to not only discuss but demonstrate how collaborative learning is an important tool to “Break down the walls that isolate classroom teaching from the larger learning ecology surrounding schools”. Jenkins (2008).