I don’t know the back story of the project, but I have to say it made me very excited to see a collaborative and supportive model of learning in action. It boiled down to responsibility and trust for me.
The discussion of the Independent Project’s significance brings me to the term pedagogy and how we have built a system of learning around a very old concept of learning that hasn’t changed much since the Greeks. A few years ago my colleague Matt Chwierut and I forecast the need to develop social learning platforms and practices that enable “sociogogy” – leading one another. (The forecast was for KnowledgeWorks Foundation).
The term pedagogy comes from the ancient Greek practice of assigning a slave—literally a leader (agagos in Greek) of children—to escort boys to school and generally supervise them as they prepared for life in Greek society. This paternal teacher-student relationship, of an adult leading a child through a course of study has persisted in basic form since then. The diffusion of Internet connectivity, mobile devices, and participatory media is disrupting this long tradition. The connected, open, and social media context is creating a new context for cultivating relationships among learners and teachers. Like the Internet itself, the structure of learning relationships is flattening, becoming more peer-based and networked than hierarchical, expert dependent, and “command and control” driven. Educator-learner relationships are becoming
more co-creative and self-initiated by individual learners. Many have referred to this learning relationship shift as a move from the “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side,” but in fact the transformation is more fundamental. Indeed the experimentation with networked, co-creative, peer-based relationships among learners suggests a shift from “pedagogy” to “sociogogy”—in which teachers and students are learning “companions” (from the Latin “socius”) leading one
In the video, the principal remarks how the students moved themselves through learning experiences vs being on a conveyor belt of lessons. I hope the video sparks new ideas, pilots, and more research so that we can move toward a more sociogogical (ugh, combersome word) system of learning.