Affinity Spaces

Networked learning is the enemy of ignorance. Networked learning affords  exposure to learner from many different sources of information. In these environments, there is a much more free exchange of information and knowledge and the traditional teacher-student relationship dissolves. When that happens, co-learning occurs. WIth such a myriad of avenues to explore, there is a high likelihood that even experts will come across new information. Networked learning allows people to not only share their research, but also their personal experiences, something that, without peer to peer engagement, was lost.

Something as simple as posing a question on an online forum allows you to access the knowledge and first-hand experience of people all over the world. I use them to work on my sailboat frequently. The people who respond to my questions are interested in the results, and oftentimes, are learning along with me.

In a classroom, this would be a great way to allow students to answer each other’s questions. They can post online and have their peers help them with anything from homework help to random questions that pop into their head.  Lessons can even be based off of a guiding question where the students are all working towards the solution together. This can take place in realtime in class, or as homework. Students would be expected to contribute, but they would also learn a great deal just by observing the answer coalescing in front of them.

This peer learning would also be a great way to teach and monitor responsible internet use by students. As moderator, you can monitor and guide the conversations in ways that help student develop respectful online habits.

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