As 2011 was only a few days away from drawing to close, Ryan Deussing wrote an interesting post that has me thinking about classroom structure, information and the purpose of schools.
The success of the open source movement is about many things but this is a side of it that I’ve never thought much about. Open source communities of all types succeed because of the passionate people involved in them. The community I’m most familiar with has gathered around WordPress. Thousands of people developing new ideas and capabilities. Trouble shooters of all kinds and people working on keeping the documentation up to date. The community is deep and global. The software itself is free and anyone with the time or inclination can tear it apart, bolt new capabilities on to it and share their creations with the world. Dozens of jobs are posted at online boards seeking developers, theme producers and plug in builders. An entire economy built around a free product.
But the key to all of this? The learning that happens around the software. Its built around the community that provides the documentation and the feedback for new experiments that happen. So how does this happen in classrooms? This has much to do with passion based learning and project based learning and inquiry driven classrooms. How do we help our kids find communities they can be a part of? How do we help them to be photographers and coders and designers and writers? How do we help them to find their place within these communities? There are many roles in each place and we need to help them to find their place.