Emergent Relationships

In an effort to get my Google Reader account to a reasonable number after a month of workshops, epic snow/ice in Atlanta, birthday celebrations, and life in general, I came across a post on The LIFT blog, “How to Introduce Yourself: The Value of Emergent Relationships.” On the heels of a trip to Philadelphia for Educon 2.3 and after spending over an hour this afternoon watching the livestream Prototype Camp presentations coming from Columbus, Ohio, I was intrigued by this sentence:

Complexity theory tells us that when an element of a system changes in quality and the linkages between the elements change in quality, it is possible for a new system to emerge that has collective capacities found in none of the parts. — Ryan Quinn (@ryanwquinn)

Three days at Educon and today’s #prototypecamp presentations are, in a way, helping me realize that it may be  “possible for a new system to emerge that has collective capacities found in none of the parts.” We must understand the power of networked learning and create drastically different learning spaces if this is to happen, but I believe that a new system is possible, and we — and the students whom we serve — will be better for it.

As I followed the twitter stream from #prototypecamp, the following exchange between two good friends who were actually attending the live presentations caught my eye:

See another theme? These groups are leveraging value of places that matter to them (Facebook) to effect change. #prototypecampWed Feb 02 18:35:56 via TweetDeck

@deacs84 yep. they are leveraging virtual (facebook), physical (school space), as well as emotional (empathy). #prototypecampWed Feb 02 18:37:50 via HootSuite

In their quest “to use design thinking to solve real world problems about the future of learning,” these high school students  were leveraging the spaces that meant most to them to find solutions to actual problems. As I think about the spaces that mean the most to educators, what are they? If they are only the individual classrooms where they teach (or offices where they work), I worry about our capacity for change. How do we get educators to emerge from the egg-crate culture of teaching and learning? How do we get educators to experiment with personalized and networked learning? How can we help to create paths which lead to new, diverse learning spaces — and ultimately — change?

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