It’s been a long week for me. I’ve been working on the next big thing that we’re launching next week at Balefire Labs. I won’t give it away here, but suffice it to say that only something really cool brought me up for air and inspired me enough to write about it.
Most of you know that I think the distinction between “content” and “creativity” educational technology resources is pretty bogus. I’ve written about it before (here, for example) so I won’t rehash all of that with you today.
Well, last week Tom Vander Ark, over at the Getting Smart blog, wrote an article called, “What If Kids Co-Created Customized Learning Pathways?” He talked about a bunch of different learning arrangements, but the one that really jumped off the page at me was adaptive learning. Tom’s point was that an educational resource is co-created if the learner controls some aspect of how use of the resource plays out, such as pace or path.
I hadn’t really thought about adaptive learning as co-created before, but doesn’t it make total sense? The whole point of an adaptive program is that what happens next depends on the behavior of the learner. Each learner brings something unique to the learning situation. When you consider that a learner makes a unique response at each response opportunity, and then compile that across many response opportunities in an adaptive program, well, you can see how the path of the curriculum could be completely unique for every learner. And how could that be anything but co-created?
Here’s how I envision it:
Individual Learner + Adaptive Learning Curriculum = Customized, Co-created, Learning Path.
What do you think?
What makes me happy when I think about this is that it helps provide nuance for the discussion about “content” resources. I hear about it mostly around educational apps being inferior if they are “just” content and not “creativity” resources. So this idea that apps that have been considered “merely” content apps provide the opportunity for “co-creation” is huge. This helps make the distinction between apps that truly are just for consumption purposes (think of a video or an ebook) versus apps that provide adaptive learning for skills (e.g., Native Numbers, an app I wrote about last year here). This helps us be more sophisticated in how we think and talk about digital resources.
I think of it a bit like scaffolding learning. Initially kids use apps that provide more support…co-creation apps. And when the skills required for those apps are mastered then the kids can move on to the apps in which there is no support…straight creativity apps. Levels of support are faded out as the kids become more independent. Isn’t this consistent with how we treat learning more generally?
What do you think of this concept of “co-creating?”