[Numeracy 613] Re: Dreaming big this weekend...

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Kate Nonesuch Kate.Nonesuch at viu.ca
Sun Nov 21 20:31:46 EST 2010


Hello, Susan--I am reading this, and enjoying it. I think providing a computer lab where students who are doing online courses could come together to work is a great idea--although wonderful things can be done online, a face-to-face group dynamic can add so much. I think it is important to dream big when the world seems to be contracting around us.

The Centre that you found at the link http://www.cc.viu.ca/writing/index.htm <http://www.cc.viu.ca/writing/index.htm> had two spaces: the Inhale Room, where small classes were led by a teacher, and the Exhale Room (names from ideas of Sylvia Aston Warner). The Exhale Room had 13 or 14 computers, and a couple of tables and a couple of couches. There was always a teacher in the Exhale Room, and there learners did work assigned from their Inhale Room classes, or worked on their own projects, or played games or did e-mail or surfed the net. (I use the past tense because it is in the process of moving to new space.)

It was not the computer lab that made this program special, however--it was the emphasis on learner participation in decision making, on learner choice, and on learner ownership. Bonnie Soroke did her MA thesis on her research at the Centre; it is called Doing Freedom: An Ethnography of An Adult Literacy Centre (2004) and is available at http://www.nald.ca/library/research/soroke/cover.htm <http://www.nald.ca/library/research/soroke/cover.htm>

The following is a quote from the description of the thesis given at that site:

This thesis is based on research on the experiences and perceptions of the people of the Reading and Writing Centre in Duncan, BC. The purpose is to document the relationship dynamics of good adult basic education in a place where teachers and students say they are "doing freedom"-freedom from stereotyping and individual blaming, authoritarian practices, and the narrow roles of teacher and student; freedom to respect themselves and others, make choices and be respected for those choices, and exercise individual and collective power.

Kate Nonesuch
Victoria, BC
kate.nonesuch at viu.ca

________________________________

From: numeracy-bounces at lincs.ed.gov on behalf of Susan Jones
Sent: Fri 11/19/2010 12:16 PM
To: numeracy at lincs.ed.gov
Subject: [Numeracy 611] Dreaming big this weekend...




I've been speculating and surfing, wondering about grant funding for a satellite computer lab to provide help for students taking online courses, and help for designing and developing better math curricula and courseware, and I found http://www.hewlett.org/grantseekers (and another even longer shot that would take too much explanation). Of course, I googled "Kate Nonesuch" (if you're reading this, hello ;)) and foudn http://www.cc.viu.ca/writing/index.htm and thought, "There's my model." (The Math Manual is already printed out. I'd like to propose melding the ideas therein with some of the neat systematic transition from concrete to semi-concrete to semi-abstract to abstract that I'm picking up from David Berg's material, with influence from The Algebra Project (www.algebra.org ) and www.learner.org materials... )
There is both a "deeper learning" bunch of grants and "open source educational materials" grant. Now it's time to figure out what the idea would look like In Real Life... any thoughts? Any "been there, done that?" advice?

Susan Jones
Academic Development Specialist
Center for Academic Success
Parkland College
Champaign, IL 61821
217-353-2056
sujones at parkland.edu
Webmastress,
http://www.resourceroom.net <http://www.resourceroom.net/>
http://www.bicycleuc.wordpress.com <http://www.bicycleuc.wordpress.com/>



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