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1. what did you find

1.1. interesting about the article?

From my sophomore year of high school until graduation I attended the Jefferson County Open School. The Open School self consciously follows the community of learners model described in this paper. This is a quote from their website, which can be found at

“The Open School is a school of choice by students, parents, and teachers who want an emphasis on self-directed learning and active participation in the learning process in and out of the school setting. Students are in multi-aged groups based on interests, needs, and developmental levels. The staff works in teams and parental involvement is extensive. Evaluations and continuous progress are used in place of credits or grades (letter grades and grade levels). To graduate a student must complete the Walkabout Program, a series of Passages that are a transition from adolescence to adulthood, and write a narrative transcript that documents learning experiences and accomplishments in the school.”

What I found most interesting about the article was how the experience of the co-opers mirrored my own experience as a student at JCOS. Although JCOS is a K-12 school and many of my friends had been students there for 10 years or more, I was part of that community for only my last 3 years before graduation. Like the parents quoted in this article, I also experienced a period of transition during which it was easier to understand that environment in the terms of the teacher-run model I was accustomed to. That is, I saw the school as an example of the permissive child-run model and exploited the freedom it offered me but not the less obvious forms of structure and support it also offered. In time I began to realize that the Open school had its own coherent philosophy and to see the value in its norms and practices, but this was no more automatic for me as a student (already with 9 or ten years indoctrination into traditional schooling behind me) than it was for the adult co-opers from this article.

1.2. not interesting about the article?

Its unnecessarily pedantic style.

2. what do you consider the main message of the article?

The article describes the community of learners model of education and contrasts it with one sided (teacher-centered and student-centered) models.

3. analyze your own educational experience and

3.1. provide a rough estimate in percentage points for each category and

60% teacher-run, 10% student-run, 30% community of learners

3.2. one example for each category (in case you have encountered all three approaches)

I have encountered all 3 fairly recently.

Senior project in computer science is an example of the community of learners model, perhaps not the best example I have seen, but a current one.

The ACT prep class I am teaching is (unfortunately) an example of the teacher-run.

Social action internship in education was the most exceptional example of the student-run model I have encountered

4. which technologies are used / can be used /should be used to support

4.1. adult-run education

Technologies which support effective presentation.

4.2. child-run education

Technologies which support structured play.

4.3. community of learners education

Technologies which support communication, collaboration, and community building.

5. analyze our course from the three dimensions:

5.1. adult-run education

This course is essentially an adult-run experience.

5.2. child-run education

Not an aspect of this course.

5.3. community of learners education

I am hopeful that this model will be more visible as our projects progress.

6. which possibilities do you see to effectively integrate adult- and child-run education?

In what context? Since I talked about the Open school, I'll stick with that. An example of integrating these two styles that I saw during high school were classes taught by students. Anyone was free to offer classes there to anyone who cared to take them. Classes by students tended to follow a teacher-run model to a greater extent than those taught by experienced teachers. The decisions whether to teach and what the content of the course should be, however, were in the hands of the “child” (who then became the “adult”). This is an example of the two one-sided approaches being integrated under a philosophy that emphasizes transformation of participation.

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