A Caravan of Walkers

In the first post of this blog I briefly explained how our learning community works: students post their responses to a weekly prompt for everyone in the community to see. They also go back and look at other students’ responses for the previous week(s) and leave comments or questions for one another. Although we originally imagined that students would be completing the prompts more or less in tandem, for various reasons students have had a staggered entry into our learning community. Furthermore, students weave in and out of the space as school vacations or exam periods come up. So, our ‘togetherness’ is rather loose at this point and we have students currently working on different prompts. Nevertheless, we are seeing a lot of interaction among students and the overall feeling is that everyone is on one big collective journey, albeit in a slightly spread out caravan.

Where are we heading? Here at Project Zero we do not have all the prompts worked out in advance: we are trying to be responsive to what Paul writes as well as to what comes up in student responses. The emergent nature of the project is exciting. However, like Paul, we do have a “dirt map” and broad, overarching goals in mind. For our pilot study, which runs until July, we are experimenting with prompts related to the following four broad themes:

PROMPTS

THEME

FOCUS

1-4

Participating in an epic journey

Students share their hopes for Out of Eden. Students reflect on and investigate their local communities: they take a walk and observe their surroundings as Paul might. They talk with someone over the age of 50 about their neighborhood.

5-8

Investigating global issues

Students investigate local connections to global trends or developments. They practice looking for signs of globalization in their own neighborhoods and reflect on similarities and differences in what other students found.

9-12

Reflecting on self and history

Students think about the ways in which their own lives and those of people around them fit into a broader collective human story. They share with one another what they have been taught about history and reflect on the purposes of learning about the past.

13-14

Understanding the nature of learning today

Students investigate what young people are learning in different parts of the world today, including their own communities. They consider what’s worth understanding as we travel onward into the 21st century.

We are curious to see where our caravan ends up.

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