In Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World, Alan November describes what he calls “digital farms” as a way of changing the culture of teaching and learning. He begins by writing about how prior to the industrial revolution children were responsible for meaningful jobs that were important to the success of their family. These children later went on to become productive citizens within their community as adults. November goes on to describe how for many children there is now a real loss of work and contributions to the community. The heart of his chapter outlines six jobs that give students the opportunities to make valuable contributions to their learning community. Those jobs include:
- Tutorial Designers-Students record themselves solving problems using tools such as Camtasia or Jing. I also really like Screenr!
- Official Scribes-Students build class notes using a collaborative writing tool such as a blog, wiki, or Google Docs.
- Researchers-One or two students each day act as the official researcher and answer class questions using a computer (A one-to-one classroom could certainly change the dynamics of this job.).
- Collaboration Coordinators-Students are responsible for finding and organizing virtual meetings with outside experts or others from around the world. Meetings could occur on Skype or another video conferencing tool.
- Contributors to Society-Encourages individuals to be more socially responsible and aware using sites such as kiva.org.
- Curriculum Reviewers-Students create material for continuous review combining visual and audio components that can be posted online. Click here to check out an example!