Moving On-Line #6
Observations and Questions
Traits for Success - Interactive Social Learning
If a successful on-line school is able to build a digital community that can imitate the kind of social interaction that happens in the traditional school setting, then such a school can build classroom learning which is equally interactive and “social.”
Of course this evolution means some knowledge and adoption of social learning theory. Simply put, social learning theory posits that we learn as much from interaction with others as we learn from didactic instruction - instruction from the teacher.
Simply said, but demanding. Social learning theory then assumes, at some level, that the teacher is no longer the font of all knowledge. Strictly traditional schools put the teacher on stage, and assume the teacher is the only person with experience in or access to the fundamentals of knowledge. This concept of “sage on the stage” disappears when students have access to the Internet.
And yes, it’s trite to say the teacher becomes “the guide on the side” instead; however, when the student has access to a new browser tab and the Internet, the teacher looses influence. In digital learning situations, it is better to plan on this in advance - simply because it will happen in the normal course of interaction.
Instead of a one way system of interaction - from teacher to student - the interaction patterns in the digital classroom must change - student to student - and student to teacher. This rather upends traditional arrangements.
An essential question to ponder - If the patterns of interaction change, how does lesson planning change?