The header graphic for the blog is my diagram for a conceptual open-source learning network. The diagram developed from a series of conversations David Preston and I had to help me understand open-source learning. This begins with interest-based networks at the basic node, or classroom level. The animated gif below describes the transformation from the traditional “sage on the stage” classroom, to forming interest based networks. Even in a basic 30 person network, making every possible connection across everyone in the room makes the network too dense to make sense. Interest based networks form learning groups, and these groups can connect to external mentors. When these students begin to work on their own with the mentors, the traditional classroom boundary disappears.
If we scale this concept up beyond a classroom to a community of 150 (following the Dunbar number), other interesting relationships develop. First, there needs to be opportunities for teachers to interact, forming their own network. Each teacher’s network of mentors is then extended. Most importantly, students need time and space to develop their interests with others outside of the traditional classroom – creating the interstitial as an active discovery zone at the center of school, and visible for all to see.