Click the link below to view my close reading on situated learning
Quote: “Legitimate Peripheral Participation” provides a way to speak about the relations between newcomers and old-timers, and about activities, identities, artifacts, and communities of knowledge and practice. It concerns the process by which newcomers become part of a community of practice. A person’s intentions to learn are engaged and the meaning of learning is configured through the process of becoming a full participant in a sociocultural practice. This social process includes, indeed it subsumes, the learning of knowledgeable skills. (29)
Question: How can teachers foster Legitimate Peripheral Participation with their students in their classrooms?
Connection: It is an interesting fact how learning is a product of curiosity through the interaction with others who are often at different levels of mastery. Collaboration is clear when I observe my students in class. During the day, I often try to incorporate activities that involve some kind of collaboration among them. Students reach out to those who they know have a higher level of understanding of what the task is about. Questions and arguments start popping around the classroom and many times it requires a third party to clarify the subject in question. For example, when students are using their iPads. I would say that LPP is clearly shown when students are handled an iPad for the first time. Everyone starts at different levels, due that some are already own a similar tools of technology at home. The curiosity and the need to share start being present right away. Some students start sharing what they know with their peers, and others start looking for resources to get started and look around in search for masters to answer their questions. After several days using their iPads the dynamics change. Those who were masters at something find themselves asking questions or working along with their peers, hoping to discover things together. A community is created among students in the classroom and they become interdependent. Very rarely they ask me (teacher) to help them or to explain how to do something on their iPads.
Epiphany: I thought it was very intriguing to see how Legitimate Peripheral Participation keeps participants in a stage of continuous learning. Without formal teaching or following specific lessons, students are learning through the process of social interaction and sense of belonging. The focus is not on the outcome, but in the interest of the learners to upgrade their knowledge with the help of mentors. The master mostly leads the way to the novice learners, however, it can also become a multi directional interaction in which the masters learn from the novice, at times, updating and reshaping the learning community. The community renovates itself by the constant creation of masters. It is a cycle where the novices become full participants over time and start mentoring new comers as soon as they are ready.
Teaching is an ongoing challenge. What worked for my class last year, does not necessarily work for my class this year. Year after year I find myself changing the focus to address common needs for my new class. I often compare my school and the school system from when I was growing up with the school I work for now. It seems very interesting to see, not only how things have changed, but also how many things have become obsolete for today’s learning. That is what Seth Godin explains in his speech Stop Stealing Dreams. He talks about the eight things that need to be changed in education. It is true that teachers should serve more as facilitators and mentors to show students how to use and apply knowledge. Schools should focus more on individual needs rather than creating massive patterns for teaching and learning. In education, “One size fits all” has never worked and should not continue to exist. The inclusion of collaboration is a most have tool that will benefit students of new generations.
The one area that I am not in complete agreement with Seth Godin is when he addressed the open book concept. To a certain extent I agree that there is no need to memorize every single piece of information there is. However, it does not seem right to encourage people to become dependent of a device for reference all the time and for every subject. In my personal experience, it has always been a plus to memorize basic knowledge and recall it whenever needed.
Seth Godin at TEDxYouth@BFS. (2012, October 16). Stop Stealing Dreams. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXpbONjV1Jc
Parents often ask me what I think of homeschooling. To be honest, I have never recommended independent studies for two reasons. One is the lack of social interaction. I strongly believe that it is important for children to learn how to interact and socialize with kids their age as well as to learn from a diverse range of role models. Another reason is the lack of educated guidance. I have been dedicated to education for over 20 years and I know that there is always room to better my teaching practices. Although there are many dedicated parents that have been successful homeschooling their own children, there are others who are not so open-minded, not so resourceful, those reluctant to technology. The video Hackschooling makes me happy by Logan La Plante has opened a horizon of options on how to make homeschooling work. It made it clear that technology is an important factor. He makes many references on how his schooling depends on using Web 2.0 resources such as communicating with experts, global interaction, exchanging research findings and exposure to real experiences. It addresses my concerns about limited exposure as well as social interaction. In addition it talks about inspiration by innovation and focus by engaging in activities that are relevant and interesting to each individual. It made me reconsider and believe that, in deed, homeschooling could be a good option to prepare students for this fast changing world we live in.
Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada. (2013, February12). Hackschooling makes me happy. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h11u3vtcpaY
I agree with Mr. Wesch that mass media communication, such as the Web, is shaping society. As every positive will have a negative, we can see how mass communication brings two sides. On one side, we have the business people, carving their way into future consumers using mass communication media to set the standards for everyone. They use one way mass communication to manipulate when and how people should buy, and what they should look like. The power of the Web seems to be so strong that it is possible to shape everyone to be and think the same, taking away people’s right to be different. On the other hand there has been people taking advantage of the Web and reaching out to unite people globally on a single cause. There have been those who have build and created things that we would have never seen if it was not for technology. As an educator I could see how I could use some of the ideas presented to apply and use the Web and technology in my class. I could use the Web to make subjects relevant and to inspire and awaken the interest of my students. It will be more engaging to show how things are important not only to them at home, but to many other students around the world. To cite an example, I could talk about water conservation in California and take it to a bigger scale where my students can make comparisons between our water problem, and the scarcity of water in other countries.
TEDxKC - Michael Wesch - From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2014.
Watching this video was almost like making a comparison between the way my twenty two year old daughter sees, thinks, and uses the web and the way I do. I always thought that my daughter and I took advantage of this resource just as equally, but there was that something that made it feel different. I know we do not share the same opinions about the way she and I use the web, but I could not clearly define nor describe what made it different. The way Dr. White explains it in his video, the difference lies between being a web visitor and a resident. That makes it very clear to me as of where I stand. According to this theory, my daughter is a web resident user and I am a visitor. It doesn’t seem that important for me to belong to any social network nor to share things on the web. As it states on the video, I am one of those goal oriented users that goes in and out of the web leaving very little or no trace behind. My daughter, on the other hand, seems to feel more at ease sharing, and moving around this virtual world. That is what she defines as “an extension, not an invasion of her privacy”. I have come to a realization that I have not allowed myself to become a resident. It is not so much for lack of engagement or motivation as it is for privacy reasons. I often feel like the world does not need to know everything about me. In spite of having issues about privacy, I am expanding my vision. I am exploring the digital world and leaning more towards becoming a web resident to be able to provide more digitally relevant and useful experiences to my students.
Visitors and Residents. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2014.