My thoughts on the open classroom format of EDU8213:
Positives: An open classroom style works really well for a module that is focused on the future of education, like EDU8213. This type of module cannot be taught in a traditional way because there is no criteria or model to use. I think it’s really innovative to pull in the Internet as a means of participation in the classroom. This opens up the discussion to the world and those who might be interested in the topics we discuss. Using blogs after class also helps to reflect on the in-class discussions as well as raise further questions. I think for those who might be quieter about participating in class, the use of blogs and tweets can really bring them into the conversation. I also think it is a really informal way of making meaningful connections between people and places.
Negatives: Although I really like this idea, there are some definite drawbacks. For me, the biggest issue is that at times we were replacing Twitter with actual in-person discussions, which can be damaging. I think there is a certain value in personal interactions that cannot be replaced with the Internet. Also, Twitter can be difficult because you are limited to 140 characters, which forces you to be quite concise. The other issue is that of academic honesty. I found that because it was such an informal setting, it can be really easy to use someone else’s idea as your own, at the university level it isn’t really an issue but bringing this open classroom to a secondary school might pose a problem. Finally, I know that the reason we were using Twitter was to engage with people outside of the classroom, but I found myself only responding to people I knew, as that is much more comfortable for me. I think it can also be difficult to make sure every student does this, especially if I were to use an idea like this in my own classroom.
Interesting: I found the idea of an open classroom, in general, to be really fascinating. I think we have a tendency to close our doors (literally and figuratively) when teaching and keep the conversation contained, but there are many benefits in moving the conversation to the Internet. By broadening the discussion, it shows how global the issue of education is and just how important it is around the world. I also really enjoyed being able to look back through various tweets just to see what people were thinking during different provocations. Overall, I think with careful planning and organization, the open classroom can work really well to show how meaningful certain topics are to the entire world. And of course, the use of the Internet changes the type of classroom, really making it a modern learning environment, which is essential when attempting to predict the future.
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