Throughout this book, Brown and Thomas have been setting the stage convincingly for what they believe to be a new culture of learning and how that is vastly different from what we are used to. This chapter is yet another section that builds on this and continues to redefine of we view learning. Specifically, we're all fairly familiar with the concepts of "knowing", "making", and "playing" as we know them in the traditional sense, however it is precisely these words that the authors focus on in getting the reader to contemplate them in the new culture enveloped in technology.
When someone asks us if we know something, we essentially are prone to fact recall. In other words we tend to think about what there is to know and regurgitate facts. As pointed out in this section though, the new culture directs us instead to search for the information we need. With a multitude of tools at our disposal, the shift is now towards the question of where the information is located. Hence, knowing is no longer a matter of what you know, but having the skills to find what you need. As a result, the information age has changed the way we even share knowledge by largely sharing information applications, search engines, or tools as opposed to the information itself. The book explains, "Today friends are just as likely to recommend websites or applications for information about places or events as they are to offer the information itself." In EDSS 530, this is exemplified by all the teacher web tools we've been exposed to in our class including diigo, pinterest, gooru, padlet, twitter, and a slew of other tools. Rather than giving us an explicit way to use these things we are free to use these in ways that suit our needs.
The term "making" has undergone a transformation as well. It still has a large connotation to hands-on learning and creativity, however, it now has an improved relationship with context. An example today is the way we use Youtube to share content. It's a massive community in which to make and share videos. With each new creation, users are almost forced to provide background or meaning in order to create a quality video. It is this new dynamic that further expands the definition of making.
Lastly, the word "play" is one that is not necessarily associated with learning, but within the new culture of learning it is an increasingly important factor in learning effectively. "Play provides the opportunity to leap, experiment, fail, and continue to play with different outcomes - in other words to riddle one's way through a mystery." I personally believe that independently working through problems by trial and error or genuine experimentation is a valuable way to internalize and retain thinking skills. I can't help but think of Michael Jordan's famous quote, "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." It's a reminder that failing on the way to success is not only more gratifying but a better growth experience as well. With respect to the word play, gamers provide perhaps the best example of those who learn by diving into the games themselves and crafting skills based on obstacles and subsequent failures that they encounter.
Chapter 8 - Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking out
This chapter simply describes the stages of transformation that one undergoes as a member within this new culture of learning. As the title states, the stages are "Hanging out", "Messing Around", and "Geeking Out" all with respect to digital environments. The first, as the author explains, is simply "learning to be" and learning how to do the most basic and universal functions within the digital platform. The next is "Messing Around" which of course is beginning to explore capabilities and increasing your interaction within the environment. Lastly, the "Geeking Out" stage is when one begins to approach mastery and becomes, as the book describes, "intense, autonomous, interest driven learning." Something that comes to my mind when I think about this process of learning on digital environments is social media presence. When people first join a network, there is a great deal of simply trying to "be" and figuring out simple functions. This is followed by further exploration and finding one's comfort with the network and beginning to express pieces of one's self. Finally, the last step is becoming so naturalized with the social media that interactions become second nature and learning through them becomes effortless. Needless to say, this chapter embodies the collective learning we've done in EDSS 530 and is quite obviously the reason we are awarded sequential badges bearing the same name. From our PLNs to our digital curriculum projects and even to our own 20% projects, we've certainly started n a place where many of us were brand new and now we find ourselves near masters of the digital tools we've encountered.
Chapter 9 - The New Culture of Learning for a World of Constant Change
This chapter of the book begins to tie it all back together using an interesting representative of the new culture of learning: World of Warcraft, the massive online multi-player game. It is time to start seeing learning in future that is enveloped by technology and constantly evolving digital environments. In World of Warcraft, hundreds of players come together, interact, learn, play, and collaborate to reach goals primarily for the sake of achievement. As I pointed out above, despite the fact that it is a game, playing is an important part of learning, and as it turns out, groups of players within the game go to great lengths and extremely detailed collaboration to accomplish goals. "Environments like World of Warcraft make it easy to see just how fun learning can be. They allow us to highlight the connections between knowing, making, and playing. They are places where we are permitted to let our imaginations run free." In EDSS 530, we are encouraged to collaborate through environments such as Twitter and Google+. While they may not be games per se, they are portals where we can explore and seeks answers where people in similar situations may already be working on the solutions or even hold the answers. As teachers in the future, this type of collaboration is not only important to us, but fostering digital literacy and participation within our students is relative to their success in the new culture of learning.