The value of peer-to-peer learning is neither new nor limited to technology. However, one of the emerging trends early in our pilot is the amount of peer-to-peer learning.
In great part, this is due to the community established by teachers prior to the pilot. As well, there is the newness factor of the technology. However, there is something else.
The nature of each student having a common device and their affordance of multiple pathways for learning opens this doorway in ways I’ve never seen. It isn’t something I can fully describe nor can I quantify it. But it is there and it seems profoundly natural.
From app and features to creating and making, learners (students and teachers) are discussing what they have discovered/built. From enhancements to transformations, learners are sharing what they find valuable to learning.
And these aren’t always about some revolutionary finding. These are often small in nature like today where one student discovered the ability to add a word to the Kindle App dictionary, which then provided access to the web and Wikipedia with one click. First, it was great for this student as we were all excited by the discovery. Second, students naturally started sharing how to do it and talking about its value – “why would I do this…” “because it allows…”. Third, these small findings build and sustain a community of learners.
Perhaps this will fade but I’m not convinced given the ever-changing nature of technology. And if it doesn’t fade, this reality of exploring, discovering, playing, making, and sharing among peers is something that fundamentally changes both community and learning.