Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learning, Reimagined.

As often happens in this connected world, two articles flew by on my Twitter feed that caught my eye and sparked my imagination. The first was on an interesting new app called Spartify that allows you, the party host,  to turn over your Spotify playlist to your guests and allow THEM to control the music-"create a music playlist on the fly". I wondered how such a concept would translate to the classroom. What if a teacher had an app like Spotify that contained all the concepts he or she wanted students to grapple with that day? What if students could control how and when those concepts came through the classroom day. What if they could spend more time on a concept for deeper understanding and fly by the ones they know? What if they wanted to listen to Lady Gaga's version of grammar rules instead of learning from the text? What if a student wanted the bootleg version of Dylan's algebra? Well, a lot of folks are interested in personalizing learning for students but I think this Spartify idea is a step beyond.The students would be in control of personalizing their learning experience. Students would not just consume, but create their learning. Learning has stretched so far past books as we know them that it's difficult, yet so much fun, to try and prognosticate what classrooms will be like even 5 years from now. Hmmm, interesting and scary all at the same time.

The second item of interest was an article on the Fayetteville Free Library in Fayetteville, New York and how the librarian, Lauren Smedley, is reimagining the public library. Smedley's concept is to create a creative space, a Fab Lab, where the public would have free access to the necessary software and hardware to create and manufacture items. This software and hardware includes items like a MakerBot which is a 3D printer that "lets you print plastic pieces of your own design" according to the wonderful article at MindShift by Audrey Watters. She plans on opening the venue to the community to create, build, collaborate on their own, or through classes. The possibilities are endless! I love Smedley's articulation about what 21st century library should be--"free access to information and to technology, and not just books or using computers, but actually building and making things."

What an incredible time we live in.