Archive for the ‘P2P learning’ Category
Sanjit “Bunker” Roy, a social activist, educator and the founder of Barefoot College, an organisation based in Tilonia, India — that aims to help the estimated 41 per cent of the Indian population who live below the international poverty line. Roy’s model — educating local people through peer-to-peer learning — is transformational in that it relies on the passing on of traditional skills and knowledge rather than an emphasis on outside educators bringing new ideas and influences. Local people are trained as doctors, teachers, engineers, architects, designers, mechanics, communicators and accountants and they use simple technology in innovative and disruptive ways: mobile phones are set to work monitoring water quality through an online dataset, solar-powered cookers are constructed to break dependence on wood or costly kerosene. Some lessons at the college are recorded and uploaded to the internet. There is no hierarchy: everyone eats sitting on the floor and no one receives a salary of more than $150 per month. Importantly, there is financial transparency. Staff bank accounts are published, as are company finances.
OpenStudy is a social learning network where students ask questions, give help, and connect with other students studying the same things. Our mission is to make the world one large study group, regardless of school, location, or background.
Like any successful startup, we work hard, have fun, and believe in what we do. We invite you to use us, join us, and spread the word. We want to change the way the world learns, and we’d love to have you be part of it.
Here, in a continuing series, Howard Rheingold reflects on his ongoing experiment in high-end, peer-to-peer, global learning via the internet and social networks.
The more I give my teacher-power to students and encourage them to take more responsibility for their own learning, the more they show me how to redesign my ways of teaching.
At the end of the first course I taught solo, I asked students for their frank opinions of what was working and what could work better. I didn’t want to wait for anonymous evaluations, which don’t afford dialogue or collaboration. The first pushback was a strong request for more project-based collaboration, shared earlier in the semester. The first year I tried this, we discovered that four students work better than six for a semester-long project — division of labor, intra-group communication, assessment, and the nature of the final presentation rapidly grow more complex with more than four collaborators. When teams presented their projects at the end of the term, we were all so astounded that one student astutely asked (to general acclamation): “Why can’t we show each other this kind of collaboration earlier than the last class meeting?” We had learned that learning to collaborate ought to be collaborative — the teams should interact with the other students in the class as co-responsible learners during the collaboration process, not just as an audience for the final product.