I'm Skeptical of Anything Claiming to Create Geniuses by John Spencer
In this post, John writes about an article named "How a Radical New Teaching Method Can Unleash a Generation of Geniuses". In a nutshell, the article talks about a teacher in Mexico who adopted a project based learning style for his classroom and it produced very good test scores for the class. As the teacher gave up more and more control in his class, his students took more control over their own learning. One of his students did very well with this style of learning and finished first in the country on a standardized test. John points out several things he is skeptical about with the article. The first thing John disagrees with is the "radically new" concept of decentralized education systems being better than "top down" educational systems. John states this idea isn't new at all, in fact he relates them to connectivism and constructivism. John goes on to say these ideas are not new to teachers or schools. John didn't like the fact that the article didn't acknowledge the many schools in the United States that are doing the same kind of education, and have been for awhile. John also didn't like the term "generation of geniuses" in the article's title. He said the term has connotations of "being above others", and productive education shouldn't be about one student being above any other.
My Comment to John
I also read the article and shared many of the same thoughts as John. I find it remarkably frustrating when popular magazines decide what is "new" or "ground breaking", when in actuality it is not. John pointed out several schools had already implemented the style of learning the article talked about, and in my eyes that devalues the overall story of the article. The sad part is, the story is actually a very inspiring educational tale. I also thought the title of the article was poorly worded. In my opinion, education doesn't need to produce geniuses, rather well equipped, well rounded, productive citizens. Like John, I think the overall message that education should change is on point, but falsely claiming something to be new is off base.
Five Keys to Collaboration by John Spencer
In this post, John writes about five keys to collaboration. The first key is trust. He said true collaboration only comes if one trusts their group members. The second key is vulnerability. One has to put their own personal ideas out for the group and that can lead to feelings of vulnerability. John's third key is purpose. Having the same purpose and having the right purpose is important. The fourth key is conflict. John points out going through conflict with group members about details of the project can be a learning experience. John's final is key time and proximity. Spending the right amount of time face to face can help the finished product.
My comment to John
I started off by telling John I currently do a fair amount of collaboration in EDM310. I said I thought trust and vulnerability go hand in hand. The more one trusts their group members, the more likely they are to being vulnerable and sharing personal thoughts and ideas to better the project. I said conflict has the potential to help or hurt a collaboration. If group members are able to come together and work through conflicts, than the project can be great. If the group cannot work through conflict the project can fail. Truly being able to collaborate, sometimes requires sacrifices to be made. It's all about give and take. Willingness to sacrifice is a key ingredient to conflict resolution.