Thursday, March 14, 2013

Being visible

In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis write that "collaborative learning starts with reliable and responsible contribution".  That it's important to be visible online and to contribute content to others around the world.  This is the thing that many educators don't understand for both themselves and for their students.  Sometimes it's hard to be visible or perhaps risky to reflect on your practice and to share that reflection.  Sometimes it's difficult to question a policy of not publishing student work, for example, or of blocking certain websites or online activities and tools.  It may be easier to stay quiet, but that's probably not doing the best for our students.  We need to model collaboration, we need to contribute our reflections to help others move forward too.  Julie and Vicki write that "lurking is not an option in global collaboration because collaboration is an activity requiring participation from all involved:  you can't collaborate alone!"

In this section of the book I read about the 90-9-1 principle for social networking communities:

  • 90% of community members watch but do not actively participate
  • 9% show some activity
  • 1% creates or contributes content
This is where we need to be - we need to be pushing that 1% higher, contributing and collaborating more.

I've been in Japan this weekend, and interestingly enough I've come across a new Japanese word in the Flat Classroom book:  kaizen - which means slow, steady improvement in Japanese.  In order to achieve kaizen, we need to reflect, then choose and plan for improvement.  As Socrates said, "the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others."  Schools improve because teachers are reflecting on their practice, they are not happy with the status quo and want to do better, and they reach out to other educators in the global community who can help them do just that.

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