Part 3: Contributing to the learning of others
Knowledge in classrooms is not simply passed down from teacher to students; instead some of the most meaningful knowledge is co-constructed through discussions and interactions between learners (and instructors). In this section of the assignment, you will be responsible for recording and then reflecting on the ways in which you have contributed to the learning of others in your class. This should include specific details, such as a record of responses to other students’ blog posts, feedback to presenters/students/instructors on Twitter or other online spaces, or meaningful face to face discussions of student writing in staff groups. It should also include a reflection (3-4 pages) on how you your contributions have aided in the collective construction of knowledge in this class.
I have taken part in classroom discussion in various ways and have worked to help be a part of co-constructed knowledge throughout the course. I think being a part of the conversation opened me up to hearing different perspective, being able to consider them against my own and then also share with others ideas from my perspective. As part of recording the contributions I have made to the learning of others in the class in relation to responding to blog posts, responding to guest speaker’s presentation, and taking part in meaningful face to face discussions, I have located examples from online spaces and I will discuss specific face-to-face examples in lieu of documented evidence. With each example, I learned from others and my goal was also to contribute to other’s learning as well.
Responses to others’ blog posts:
These are some of my responses to others blog posts, in example number one I really appreciated the opening for classmates to respond to the third part of the question, since she hadn’t established an opinion based on the assigned reading/video. I offered my perspective, but also hoped for others to share theirs and have a discussion that might serve us all.
Additionally, reading the conversations other people were having and just reading blog posts helped me to access different viewpoints on the subject matter.
Feedback to guest speaker:
While I hadn’t used twitter to make further connects (I hope to use the tool more in the future), I did have the opportunity to discuss a guest speakers presentation with classmates on the blog sites.
Face to face discussion:
I was able to help co-construct knowledge during, lecture group, staff group and project group discussions. I really liked the lecture group discussion about the three constructions of the teacher. I was able to bring a different perspective to the group, because I had identified what I believed our program most constructed us to be. I was also able to understand the topic more by hearing their perspectives. In the staff groups, I found each of the opportunities to discuss the week’s topic helpful. I felt like I could always offer my perspective and build off of others. A specific example that comes to mind is when we drew and discussed how different classroom layouts might work, how they might be beneficial and how they might be restrictive. And in my class project group we were able to have a good conversation about identity, the hidden messages in our autobiography and relate it to the ideas of the course.
Reflection On My Contributions
By looking at the contributions I have made throughout the course via the blogs and face-to-face discussion I can now look at how my contributions have been a part of the collective construction of knowledge in our class. My opening contribution to the collective knowledge always began with my blog post, where I established my perspective. Everyone’s blog posts open up a conversation. It is from that point that I was able to respond to others’ posts, which allowed me to have a discussion about the content. Those discussions allowed ideas to be shared and collective knowledge to be constructed. Additionally, meeting in our staff groups allowed us to have face-to-face conversations that could draw on what was already being discussed and/or create new conversations that worked to construct knowledge as a class. So, how have I personally aided in the construction of our class knowledge and construction of that knowledge? By taking part and joining the huge discussion I was able to bring my perspective and ideas to the table, draw on what was being said and question ideas that I had or that I wasn’t sure about.
I think there is a passive way of accessing the class knowledge. By reading the blog posts and thinking about things I am passively taking in the knowledge that other people are bringing to the class. I became an active part in co-constructing our class knowledge by opening myself. I did this through making blog-posts, responding to posts, and talking to people in person.
Each week I would read or watch the information that was assigned. From that information I would make a blog post about what I thought, showcasing my perspective and virtually asking others to read my thoughts. Whether or not the class agreed with everything I said my understanding of the topic brought ideas, perspective, and knowledge to the class. My posts were open for others to comment, question and enter into a discussion that might further construct knowledge based off of what we thought could be agreed upon and the new perspective and understanding of topics that came out of a back and forth.
This exchange asked me to read others work and pick up on things that I could see in their understanding and personal construction of knowledge. I would read others’ blog posts and see how my ideas worked with theirs, and/or pick up on things that I had missed in my own construction of knowledge. I would respond to different posts to voice similarities in out viewpoints, but more importantly to ask about ideas that either I hadn’t thought about until then or share a viewpoint that might allow them to expand on their ideas. This process allowed us as classmates, I feel, to build up and expand on our own knowledge by accessing differing perspectives, but also to create that collective construction of knowledge that came out of all of the conversations going on. Reading all of the posts back you get a fuller understanding and are given more and more questions to try and research further. The questions that we asked each other presented us with opportunities to reflect on our thoughts. They also asked us to explore the topics further. That shared knowledge lent us perspective that we couldn’t get from just reading the textbook and having reflections that no one would question us about. The conversation wasn’t just dynamic and helpful on the blog sites; it carried out into face-to-face group discussion.
A specific example is the discussion on the blog post (#2) about technology in education and the ideas about the way learning practices are always changing. A large discussion unfolded in which different ideas were presented and considered as a group and also how similar ideas were expanded on as a class.
During the seminars, class discussion and staff group discussions expanded the conversation further. I felt that it would bring the online discussions into a real-life perspective. The immediate responses allowed for quicker knowledge building and revising. To me, our ideas felt a little more collaborative when we were having them in person. I found it a little challenging, as a quiet and reserved person, to get in on the larger class discussion in a way that I could help construct our collective understanding, but I was taking a lot of the ideas in that would later help me in my other discussions.
At the staff group discussions, I would voice my thoughts, listen to others ideas and build off of others ideas all as a part of joining the collective construction of our class knowledge. I would come to class with my own perspective, plus additions and reconsiderations from the blog discussion and the lecture discussions, and then have a face-to-face conversation where I could hear even more ideas and voices out loud. The group discussion in person brought another perspective of building knowledge as a group that to me felt lively and more conversational. Hearing someone say something allowed me to grasp ideas better. It also made it easier for me to respond and be a part of our collective knowledge building.
A specific example is the poster that our staff group made that detailed the ideas about how the physical layout and construction of a classroom implies certain ideas and beliefs, and makes some things possible and other things impossible in relation to classroom discussion and transmission of knowledge. I got to see how my ideas and group work could bring about a physical representation of the construction of knowledge we were taking part in.
I think my active participation in discussions online and in person aided in the collective construction of our class knowledge. By making posts I presented my ideas about the given topic for others to think about. My responses to others posts helped construct knowledge by providing feedback that built on what was being said and asking questions that encouraged the consideration of another viewpoint. Questioning what and how we know, I think, supports deeper understanding. By providing a perspective of my own and sharing in with a classroom of people doing the same thing we are constructing ideas that reflect many perspective, which is a part of aiding the collective knowledge we have. Taking part in face-to-face discussion aided in the construction of knowledge on a smaller, but more personal level. In person discussion allowed me to aide in the constructing of our knowledge by allowing me to construct and build off of ideas more quickly and with immediate reflection and group discussion. In all, the sum of my participation online and in person allowed some discussions to be had and ideas to be acknowledge that resulted in an overall class-wide collective construction of knowledge equalling all of the pieces people (including me) gave to our conversations so that we could come out with a fuller understanding about the topics we were discussing.