I believe that open learning is an emerging technology, pedagogy, and philosophy because it allows for the exchange of thoughts and ideas on a local or global scale. Many students already engage in a form of open learning for activities they enjoy, such as gaming. The pedagogy would open up that kind of collaboration for academic purposes inside and outside of the classroom. As a primary (kindergarten) teacher who just finished her first year of teaching, I would love to be able to collaborate with people from all different areas of the state, country, and world to help me strengthen my teaching practice.
I have spent some time thinking about an open learning classroom and how it differs from our current classroom. The most difficult part is figuring out how to set up an open learning environment in my classroom because “open learning generally takes place in structured settings, is overseen by a teacher and has defined objectives for student achievement. While student choice and autonomy are important to an open learning environment, this autonomy is significantly controlled in the K-12 environment simply by the nature of the curricular and policy demands of the educational system” (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O’Byrne, & Osterhout, 2014).
It would be quite easy to have my kindergarteners engage in open learning with other students of all ages within our school, which is why I would love to have a makers space or robotics club that is open to all students, but I am unsure of how to implement an online or more global open learning environment for primary students, like my kindergarteners. With this in mind, I looked for information on blended learning because I am curious if that would work better with primary students. I was able to find a course on coursera.org that is an open learning course about blended learning and personalizing education for students (Coursera, 2015). I have decided to take this course to learn more about blended learning in an open learning environment. I also found a slide show created by Francesca Ravanelli, who is a PhD student in Italy. In the slide show, Ravanelli shows how she set up a blending learning primary classroom using an open source learning platform called Moodle. Her guidelines for online students were very straightforward and included that “every child has an Internet connection, every family accepts this experience, every student receives a student name and password to connect to the platform, and children and parents were taught some simple steps in order to work with Moodle” (Ravanelli, 2012). I wonder if I could use a platform like this to incorporate students from around the world into my classroom. I know my students would be very excited and engaged.
Coursera. (2015). Blended Learning: Personalizing Education for Students . Retrieved May 27, 2015, from Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/learn/blended-learning
Graham, L., LaBonte, R., Roberts, V., O’Byrne, I., & Osterhout, C. (2014). Open Learning in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from academia.edu: https://www.academia.edu/10311797/Open_Learning_in_K-12_Online_and_Blended_Learning_Environments
Ravanelli, F. (2012, July 05). Blended Learning in Primary School – Online Class. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from slideshare.net: http://www.slideshare.net/franceframes/blended-learning-in-primary-school