Laura Gibbs’ says something heartwarming in her post for Week 3 which is about content. (Dave thinks of the word ‘content’ ‘lonely and disconnected… merging with the learning objective and the assessment to create a world where learning is about acquiring truth from the truth box.’ Laura talks about the #Rhizo15 course :
There are not assigned readings for Rhizo15 as there were in Connected Courses … and that is totally fine with me. It’s the blogs of the other participants that are really alive and important to me for the purposes of the (un)course experience. Yes, CONTENT IS PEOPLE:
Content for #rhizo15 is people and conversations happening, and learning/understanding being constructed in Twitter chats, blog posts, blog comments,etc.
It’s very rich and it draws its own path just as the unheld garden hose comes alive and is a bit wild.
Here’s an example in the form of a Facebook conversation arising from Simon Ensor’s post ‘Does content need a container?’
For #Rhizo15 the content really is the curriculum. But we are educators. No – we are educators who love to learn. No – we are educators who love to learn with each other. Content is people.
Is content people in secondary school? Definitely no. It is predominantly prescribed content delivered to the student by the teacher or assigned to the students through designated sections of a textbook, practised in homework and tested. It is graded, given a percentage, there is a volume that is known and that is assessed.
Is it created? No. Is it constructed? No. Is it shared? Not really, it is given to the teacher to check.
That is sad.
I tried to create an online community for my writing interest group. This is something the students choose to join. It’s not curriculum although the students can get diploma points.
Boys are like ‘how many blog posts do we need to do to get diploma points?’
I’m like ‘are you here for the diploma points?’
So the Facebook group is supposed to be a caring and sharing space far away from the bustle of the bright school lights. I’m thinking my students know how to be on Facebook. In meetings I’m like ‘so feel free to share what you write, something you’ve read that resonates with you in the Facebook group’.
(On Facebook) They’re like: silence (invisible).
I try not to go on about it. I share stuff, all sorts of stuff, hoping to show them how to do it, trying to be unschooly.
Some of them will ‘like’ but many of those I can see have read (or visited) will not offer any response.
Yes, I know they’re busy but sheesh.
I don’t know what to do. I can’t say ‘every term you must share 3 somethings in the Facebook group or else you don’t get diploma points. You understand why I can’t, yes? But what can I do?
How can I transform content from something cold, solitary and unhuman to something which is embodied?
I’ve written about this before. You can see I’m obsessed with it. Making the shift for these students to the kind of learning they construct together is important, more important than giving them content in a textbook-shaped container.
Content is a shifty word. It can mean different things to different people.