What can broadband + collaboration tools + light encouragement do?

Its about 7 weeks since we first started Jammin with the very first Batch of c2pKids.org. Batch1 has an interesting profile –  2 alternating coaches, 4 kids, 2 time zones, kids-n-coaches from 2 separate states (NC & IL) & kids from 3 separate schools. All of these differences close out every Sunday sharp @7:00p.m. EST on Google Hangout. We took our first break after 7 consecutive weekly Jams. We learned a lot along with kids participating in these Jams. One concrete thing that we learned (rather witnessed) is the future of learning and how it is rapidly changing. As we ( I and my buddy coach Hemanta) tried our hands at teaching, we realized how much we had to learn to “unlearn” how to teach and instead just coach.

The role of teacher is gradually un-bundling and becoming one of a coach, no different than a soccer coach. The traditional teacher is gradually having to move from the front of white board and is having to move on the sides —so kids can watch a highly immersible and targeted video delivering a near perfect instruction for a chosen topic. The teacher is now really a coach to summarize that targeted video and to add more color from his/her experience to the topic. Beyond this , the coach (aka former teacher) now has to set up a problem and strategy to solve it–very much like a soccer coach explaining each players the game, the position basics and how to execute the game strategy. After that, our coach, is once again on sides–letting the players execute the game and watch them either struggle or succeed with the planned strategy.

As we tried to get our Jams operational , we struggled to get up the learning & productivity quotients of our Jam sessions. Our course content is from Codecademy.com, so we resorted to their teaching resource kits as our best practices guide. However, we had limited success following their advise, as much of that advise was hard to apply to our virtual Google Hangout based learning experience. I am sure that advise will do magic for After School In-person setting.

It was around this time we ran to this very interesting and inspiring work done by Sugata Mitra (a TED Prize Winner) –on Building School on Cloud

 Here was a career educator , a Ted Prize winner and someone who had applied very statistically rigorous methods in studying some of the same teaching ideas that c2pkids.org (aka Jam Method) was flirting with. Sugata codified his work into a methodology called SOLE (Self Organized Learning Experience). As I kept on studying SOLE , I kept on realizing that JAM and SOLE had so much of a common DNA…the ONLY difference was SOLE was creation of a career education scientist while JAM-method was an improvisation of c2pkids coaches when they failed to attract enough local interests in parents to send their kids for an in-person face-2-face  after school coding program. Sugata’s SOLE-ideas inspired and validated many assumptions that c2pkids coaches were making. JAM method started appearing more of a specific application of SOLE-philosophy–viz teaching kids to code. We had concluded that c2p Batch size should not be more than 4-5 kids per batch–based on technology limitations , kids maturity and overall experience that we could support.

Like SOLE, our success is based on volunteers –we are trying very hard to devise a model in which volunteer coaches find teaching c2pkids enriching and learning experience. We are happy to inspire more kids , parents and more parents who wish to volunteer to start their own c2pkids Batch with few kids from their own community , home and blend with other kids from distant.  We are very close to launch 2-3 more batches by Dec-January time frame.

Net-net: unknowingly, we had adopted SOLE philosophy .  So –What can broadband + collaboration tools + light encouragement do?
For c2pKids.org’s Batch-1, in 7 jams, we are witnessing kids showing some early signs of producer kids. Our Batch1 kids understand how to learn , collaborate ,  decompose work online. They know etiquette of participating in a Hangout, they know how to write minutes of meetings, they know how to track and integrate work done in a distributed mode.

They are experiencing the Future of Learning  & Working on Cloud. Thanks for reading this far.