The new culture of learning includes two key elements: a massive information network with unlimited access to resources and a bounded and structured environment where children have the agency to build and experiment (New Culture of Learning). Today’s “new culture of learning” includes using gaming as an option in our classrooms. Students have the opportunity to participate in collaborative projects via the internet. In the past students could only participate in collaborative projects during classroom time. Using games such as “Scratch” allows students the opportunity to receive support from their peers and fosters good citizenship, (New Culture of Learning).
In the past the teacher not only modeled for students but ultimately told the students how and what to learn. In (some) of today’s classrooms students are being encouraged to learn on their own. Teachers act more as facilitators as students support each other as they learn. Children are learning how to learn on their own, and they learn how to use support from their peers to gain new information (Newman from “Drakkart, Why Minecraft Inspires Me”). One game that supports this new culture of learning is Minecraft. Recently I have spent a great deal of time learning how to play Minecraft for my other graduate level course. I am amazed at how much I have learned from my family as I learn to play this game. My husband and children took pictures of me playing the first night I tried and had a few good laughs. When I have questions I frequently ask my son to help me. Not only have I learned a great deal from him, but I have also developed a great connection with my son. If educators are willing to take the time to learn how to play games such as Minecraft, they can create connections with their students. Dave Burgess speaks about finding your passion in his book, Teach like a Pirate. In order for teachers to reach students today they need to focus on what they are passionate about and then bring that passion into their classroom. Teachers also need to take the time to get to know their students outside of the classroom; in other words, teachers need to learn what the students enjoy doing outside of school and take time to establish a relationship with students (Burgess, Dave, 2012).
Learning in the past took on a “mechanistic view” the goal was to learn as much as you could in as little time as you could. In A New Culture of Learning, the author suggests that learning should be viewed in terms of the environment. In this environment the teacher and students coexist. Rather than simply fixing a problem the students are working to “grow a solution”, (New Culture of Learning). Students learn through engagement in real world or real to life games/activities. This seems to be a very different perspective than when I was in school. Much of my education was dictated by my teachers; I don’t feel as though I was given the freedom to explore my own interests in elementary school. However, that being said, in the gifted program at my school I was able to do an independent study program where I spent the year exploring what I wanted. My daughter is currently doing similar things as a part of her sixth grade program. Why are we only offering these programs for select students? It seems that if we are to pursue this “New Culture of Learning” we need to allow more students to have the opportunity to take in the world by “sharing their interests, developing their passions, and by engaging in a play of imagination,” (A New Culture of Learning).
Thomas, Douglas & Brown S., John. (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change.
Drakkart-Why Minecraft Inspires Me. You Tube.
Burgess, Dave. (2012). Teach like a Pirate. Dave Burgess Consulting Inc. San Diego, CA