Complexity Theory & Education – Part II
I could continue the post on Complexity Theory’s liminal spaces by writing about it. But I stumbled on Sugata Mitra’s Ted Talk and this seventeen minute presentation demonstrates what liminal space is better than I can possibly write about it.
As I do not pay for my space here in Edublogs I cannot put the video directly into this blog post - I can only provide the link: Sugata Mitra – child driven education.
Sugata Mitra states, at one point in the talk, that he feels that what happened in this education experiment, if you will, was caused by the talk between the children. That is what complexity theory terms neighbourhood interactions, the discussion that takes place between students and between students and teachers. In this case it was between students only. The result is phenomenal.
In our technology classes we have one class of lower intermediate students that have very weak technology skills. Our current project is creating a music video based on one of four themes. The majority of students in this class were totally unable to do this project and, in typical lower intermediate fashion, followed me around like a gaggle of ducklings. My frustration with the class and the technology problems grew to colossal proportions so my teaching partner and I stopped the project and reverted back to typing practice and very basic technology problem-solving. My teaching partner had the students figure out how to save a Word document, yes, save a Word document, without asking for our assistance. The result was incredible to watch. Suddenly instead of surrounding and following me like ducklings, helpless and lost, they teamed up and helped each other and only 3 needed my assistance. Neighbourhood interactions and child-driven learning. Amazing. I whole-heartedly thank my teaching partner for doing this, (which I should have figured out on my own), because I was too frustrated to think my teaching problem through just like these students were too frustrated to think their problems through. We are now all happy and not frustrated! Well, for the moment at least. We are working on a short digital story. Let’s see what happens after the writing (by pen) is over and the technology comes into play!