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Shifted Learning - Proposing a Guild Concept for Learning Online

Browse recordings: livestream.com/educon9

Session Two: Saturday 1:00pm–2:30pm
Room 304
John Pederson, Julia Fallon, Greg Thompson
Affiliation: Night Elf Rogue, Gnome Mage, Night Elf Rogue
Conversational Focus/Audience:
All School Levels
Conversation Description:

Centuries ago, craftspeople rarely worked for a company. They were contracted for a period of time and then moved on to their next gig. To remain competitive in such an atmosphere, people formed guilds, or organizations designed to provide networking, ongoing training, standards, certification, and even social services among their members.

As the industrial age emerged, many guilds faded as machines replaced much of their work. Workers contracted for much longer periods of time (we called this employment), often their entire career, to one employer who took care of everything from tools to health care. These days are quickly going away.

Today, many businesses have returned to forms of contract labor. Successful workers are much more akin to craftsmen than to employees. Many work as subcontractors on projects then move on. Our ability to continue this cycle depends on our ability to network with others in our field and to continually learn, unlearn, and relearn in a world that is quickly shifting.

In addition to the nature of work shifting, we have a bunch of free time on our hands. Seriously. We encourage everybody interested in Shifted Learning to take a look Shirkys work around cognitive surplus. Of course we can, and will, debate this, but the idea still remains. Collectively, we throw a load of time and attention at Twitterand televisionand Google Reader and well you get the point. The idea is to begin collecting spare cycles and turn them into something.

Shifted Learning is a guild designed for the next generation of learners learners as digital craftspeople. We are dedicated to exploring the concept of guild as something between professional learning community and personal learning network along with the element of an online third place for individuals to congregate.

We are currently building on the foundation of a guild. To do this, we intend to provide an online place for real-time discussions, professional networking, reading, sharing, and events. Where it goes from here is up to the people inside of the guild.

Shifted Learning is not about simply collecting friends and followers, its about providing access to anyone interested in learning: pre-service teachers, K20 teachers & administrators, professional development specialists, leaders, parents, and those who arent a part of traditional schooling but still have the will and drive to explore learning online.

We are committed to organizing individuals, inspiring them to be the best in the world, challenging them to work more effectively than any other group in the world, providing them with the benefits of collective effort and, together, changing the meaning of what it means to be a learner and while many will struggle in a changing world, our members will drive the change rather than wait for it to come to them.

Conversational Practice:
A. Julia and John would first like to present the notion of "guild" in an online world sense, mainly from our collective 6+ years of playing World of Warcraft and taking the important lessons of developing and sustaining online communities. B. Question: Is it possible to translate that guild concept into some loose affiliation of professional educators online? Is there space between "personal learning network" and "professional learning community"? Seriously. We don't know. We want to explore this with smart folks, patch together ideas, take some criticism, and decide if there's some there there. C. Possibly demo the site http://www.shiftedlearning.org and take comments. We'll see where the conversation goes.


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