Education 2.0: Part Two

Troppodillians may recall a post of mine where I explained an avent I attended that was showcasing kids who’d undertaken exciting IT projects. Here’s an extract:

I got talking to Ben and Cameron. Ben had taught himself to program and been instrumental in building the app and getting it past Apple’s gatekeeping and onto iTunes. The picture is Ben, Cameron, Ben’s brother Jack and Steven Heppell. In any event, I’m afraid (be very afraid) this got me excited.  I spoke to Ben and asked if he’d like to teach other students how to program, as he’d helped teach this group.  It was obvious that he’d love to. So I said “Just wait there, I’m going to get the Head of the Dept of Education” and hightailed it off to Peter Dawkins who was circulating somewhat more systematically than me. I dragged him over to meet Ben and Cameron and suggested that we all see if it would be possible to get some peer to peer instruction in building apps going. Peter liked the idea, as did Ben and there was general enthusiasm for seeing what can be done. Indeed he immediately got his Director of Innovation over and said to her words to the effect “can we make this happen, and can we start tomorrow”.

So we’ll see what happens. But I think fantastic things could happen. Let’s hope so.

Anyway, we now have an even better exemplar for precisely the same course of action. Thomas Suarez who appears below.

and I thought I’d filled you in on what became of my work that day, but if I have, I’ve not done it in a postscript to the post. I didn’t want to get in the way, so I exited the scene. But I made a note to send Ben an email to ask what, if anything had happened. Of the two pieces of information he gave me, I was not surprised at the first, but I was surprised at the second. He told me that nothing had happened. And that he wasn’t surprised. I didn’t think he’d be that worldly wise at 14.

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12 years ago

Agreed that project work is a much better way to learn than sitting watching a lecture. The more “hands on” the better.

As for the peer to peer instruction, I think a lot of it comes down to personality and incentives. If you have good group work then it can go well but really a group should be a mix of people at different experience levels, and you need the right people, and quality leadership is of enormous value.

Modern educators (in my experience) tend to artificially impose groupwork and then wave hands and walk away from the consequence. It’s a tricky thing to get these things right more often than by accident.

12 years ago

By the way, learning by project work in small groups with a leading hand who is ahead of the others… doesn’t that remind me of something? Oh yeah, the thousand year old guild apprentice system. That would be Education 0.2 I suppose.