Monday, July 8, 2013

Planting New Ideas

The authors of A New Culture of Learning, do a beautiful job of explaining how people tend to solve problems using each other and technology combined.  The authors state the following on page 31:

The people in these stories (pages 17-31) learned much more than facts, figures, and data.  They shared their interests, developed their passions, and engaged in a play of imagination.  They learned to participate and experiment.  In that sense, something larger was always being addressed, built, created, and cultivated.  Each of these stories is about a bridge between two worlds-one that is largely public and information-based (software and Internet) and another that is intensely personal and structured (classroom and colleagues).

My wife and I recently went through a very similar learning process.  As I recall, we were recently faced with the problem of coming up with something to do with some scrap lattice work.  My wife loves to garden and I like to build things.  Over a period of time, we had several conversations and tossed around several ideas.  I used my cell phone and or iPad to see what others were doing (Pintrest, Google Images, YouTube).  My wife spoke to a few people who were experts (Woodleys and Home Depot) and did a lot of observing spaces and places.  After gathering a few ideas, we decided to put one into action.  I built three vertical planter boxes using the lattice work and she planted away.  Unfortunately, rain and gravity over time threw a wrench in our little idea and we were back to problem solving.


The boxes actually sat empty for a few months while we looked at them over and over again.  Finally, we came up with a new idea and have experimentally implemented it as you can see here.  I am sure that at some point in time, our planter boxes will be a blooming success and we will be satisfied with our efforts.  It has been a long process that has had no time-constraints.  We have allowed ourselves to try and fail in order to create something that we enjoy.  We are waiting to see how the "Creeping Jennie" plants do before we fill in the bottom portion.      

I wonder if we gave our students the same freedom and time to research, collaborate, observe, discuss, try, fail, and do it all over again (with more ideas) if they would learn as deeply as my wife and I did building our vertical planters with recycled material?
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