In our BlendKit course this week, we are presented with four models of the role of educators in a networked environment. These four models are
- John Seely Brown’s notion of studio or atelier learning
- Clarence Fischer’s notion of educator as network administrator
- Curtis Bonk’s notion of educator as concierge
- George Siemens’ notion of educator as curator
I love the concept of the Atelier! In fact, my XQ SuperSchool submission is based on this concept. Brown describes it as “enculturation into a practice,” essentially immersing students in the practice and world of their learning. He uses blogging as an example of this, and this is definitely something I’m a huge proponent of this.
As a “network administrator” in the classroom, the teacher’s role is to help students develop the skills to create and grow their networks of learning. In our age of social media, this is an important role, especially since tools like Twitter are often considered valid news sources. Beyond that, there are many valuable resources buried in social media.
The concierge teacher helps the students to find resources. Considering most students’ favorite tool is Google, and their searches rarely go beyond the basic search, the concierge may have his or her work cut out! Students aren’t always aware of the possibilities, even beyond things like Google Scholar.
As an expert learner, the curator “creates spaces in which knowledge can be created, explored, and connected.” Essentially, this allows the students to delve into their learning without wandering aimlessly around the web hoping to find something useful. Although students are free to explore on their own, they are directed and given a framework in which to start.
While each of these roles may seem to be distinct, I think that most teachers play each of these roles at one time or another. Since no two days are ever alike and the world of teaching is constantly changing, teachers shift between roles depending on the circumstances, content, and student needs. They’re interesting ideas and they demonstrate each researcher’s unique view of teaching. As the BlendKit authors state:
“[T]he nuanced and complex nature of learning suggests each approach may have value in different contexts.”