Week 8 Blog #etlead What are your thoughts about “learning in the collective”?


Before doing the reading this week I had never heard of “learning in a collective”.  This was a foreign concept to me.  After doing the reading I was able to get the definition and find out the importance of collectives.  A collective is a place where peer-to-peer learning takes place.  Students “learn through participation and interaction with each other through fluid relationships” (Douglas & Seely, 2011).  It is an opportunity for participants to create learning around shared interests and there is no expert or teacher involved necessarily.  Collectives are places where people can have the freedom to talk and discuss any issues or ideas.    

Humans are unique that they have many ways to communicate and transfer information.  Information is transferred between many individuals and therefore rapidly grows especially compared to other species (Khan Academy, 2011).  We are social species and collectives are a way for use to exercise that trait.  People can freely share and create new information together by communicating with one another.  “One of the most rewarding parts of teaching is the personal and professional relationships we develop on our voyage” (Burgess, 2012).  We create collective environments in our schools, districts, and with grade level teams. 

 Collectives are unique and important concepts to learning.  I believe that it is important for teachers to allow the time and space for students to create collectives.  One way that a teacher could do this in the classroom is to use “Kidblog” which is a teacher controlled area where you can allow your students to communicate through blogs.  I learned about this site at ASTE and plan to use it when I am back in the classroom.  It is a great way to get a collective going in your class.  I will definitely be using collective learning environments in my classrooms in the future.


Burgess, Dave. Teach like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity,

and Transform Your Life as an Educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess

Consulting, 2012. Print.

Khan Academy. “Collective Learning.” YouTube. YouTube, 23 Nov. 2011. Web. 04 Mar.


Thomas, Douglas, and John Seely. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the

Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace?,

2011. Print.


2 responses »

  1. I will be interested in finding out how you use collectives in your classroom and how well they work for you. I have been using online discussion groups in my upper level English courses this year and they seem to work somewhat well…especially since this is their first time with anything like that. The problem I find with my students is that they agree with everything other students are doing since they know these other students and don’t want to hurt their feelings by disagreeing with them. I do know, though, that if I give my students different things to research, then have them discuss their “expertise” with one another, this seems to work well since they are each bringing new “stuff” to the table to create synergy.

    • Gary, it sounds like the online discussions are working well for you but I have not had a chance to use them in my classroom. I am working in a position where I don’t have my own classroom this year but next year, I plan to try to use a collective in some way in my class.

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