This week’s required reading was Lankshear and Knobel (2011) Ch7: Social Learning, “Push” and “Pull,” and Building Platforms for Collaborative Learning. For some reason I found myself going back to the article throughout the week, and adding on Hypothes.is once more annotations were added. I think part of it is there are so many different beliefs surrounding learning theory I sometimes find myself completely agreeing with one, and then reading about another, and seeing the benefits in that view as well. However, Lanksher and Knobel’s views on social learning and making learning authentic are ideas I can truly get on board with.
One quote from the chapter that really stood out to me was the following:
“If we want to learn deeply, we need access to the means, contexts, and tasks that are integral to generating knowledge, not simply to content transmission and abstracted activities of application like ‘essay writing.'” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011, p.212)
This quote along with their further explanation go on to say that knowledge can only be gained when the learning activities are authentic, transferable, and in context. Ironically this idea goes along with the Freire quote I included in my Week 5 Reading Response: DigStory Definitions. I think the message is that we as teachers are not the giver of knowledge, but instead we should be the facilitator of learning opportunities, where students are engaged in authentic, project-based learning, that can be applied outside the walls of the classroom.
All of Lankshear and Knobel’s discussion on social learning made me reflect on my theme of teaching diverse learners. What about the students who have difficulties socializing and collaborating? What does social learning mean for them?
These questions led me to an article from the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, titled Incorporating Typical Peers Into the Social Learning of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The article discusses different types of peer-mediated instruction and intervention that can be used in schools. These types include: integrated play groups, peer buddies, and group-oriented contingency. These strategies help children with ASD learn about social behaviors, which is the goal, but they also do so much for the typically developing students. It encourages these students to be more patient and understanding, and can increase confidence. I think this article introduces another type of social learning that Lankshear and Knobel don’t really address. I do wonder what they would say about students who struggle with the type of collaborative learning they focus on in their writings.
When I relate both readings back to my ongoing definition of digital storytelling though I do think that digital storytelling, interactive media, and project-based learning can really help students who struggle with social interactions, or traditional classroom learning. Maybe these more interactive, hands-on approaches can help students with ASD? However, I still think there is the importance of extensive planning and structure with these activities or students and teachers will feel lost/overwhelmed without guidance. In the end though I think the different modes of expression we have discussed in all of our readings can only help reach more of our diverse learners.