I am increasingly taken with web pages that amount to syllabi or a very barebones scaffolds for a course of study. This NPR post on All Tech Considered is so link heavy it is easily a 3-d printing course in a box. Now what we need to do is show our learners how to take these posts and make learning happen. This is not only about aptitudes and skills development, but also about attitudes toward asking total strangers for help, toward learning how to reciprocate and offer mutual aid within the context of your own life, and about knowing when to stop and when to go one and who to ask about both.
What I am talking about here is the growing trend toward the autodidact who is on his or her own. That dog won’t hunt. We have to push students to develop caring networks of others who they can turn to for all manner of help. Teachers aren’t just learning brokers. We are in the learning counseling business, too. Learning has consequences like the check valve effect. Once the water goes through the check valve, it can never come back. Once our learners experience the joys of shared learning we cannot just abandon them to their own devices. We need to show them how to facilitate for others as well and to co-labor in increasingly effective ways. This is difficult to articulate but we need to do more than show students how to learn but we need to get them to reflect on why they are learning and what else they might want to know that serves themselves and others.