I just finished course with Holland College that had a broad cross section of ages. The youngest was a freshly minted high school graduate with no work experience to speak of. The oldest was a determined 56 year grandmother, who had worked a series of retail and seasonal jobs. In between that was a group of students with a broad cross range of work and life situations.
Our program had a number of projects that required a collaboration for them to work, usually in groups of three or four. We were told what the topic was. We were introduced to a number of new technologies, such as Google Docs and Prezi – and then we were set free.
The topic was irrelevant really. It was the process of working together, adding ideas, bringing our own experiences and knowledge, and figuring out what worked and didn’t work. We cheated. As soon as one person figured out a particularly frustrating aspect of the technology, or found an excellent source of materials, everyone in the group, then everyone is the class knew too. There were no trade secrets held closely to our chests. It was an educational free for all. And each one of us was grateful for the sharing.
And where was our teacher throughout the process? At her desk. Ready to guide, ready to listen, but never telling us what our final product should look like. There was a certain delicious freedom in that.
On presentation day, each group had distinctively different takes on the same topic. One group might have relied heavily on videos, another might have relied solely on speaking notes and a Power Point presentation.
But at each presentation, you could see those lightbulbs going off around the room. A new knowledge, and understanding of the topic at hand, despite the fact that you yourself just presented on the same subject. You just never had that take on it. You examined it from a different angle.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”